Purfylle: Bobbin and Lacin' Around

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Bobbin and Lacin' Around

Bobbin Lace has always intrigued and intimidated me.  It just looks soooo complex and the one book I do have that explains how to do bobbin lace gave me the impression there would be lots of counting stitches.


I don't like counting stitches which is why I have never knitted anything more complex then a scarf. I get distracted and forget where I am. Anyway, I was convinced that bobbin lace making was difficult and I would never learn how. This is the story of  how wrong I was.
I was ironing a zillion meters of bias binding and watching You Tube which was still novel for me on account of suddenly having enough bandwidth to do so.

A couple of bobbin lace tutorials later I was firmly convinced of just how wrong I had been and that lace making just may be a whole lot easier then I thought. But you needed so much equipment, and starter kits were not exactly on the cheap side. I wasn't about to throw money at something until I had given it a go to see if I liked it first.

2nd attempt at bobbin lace
A few days later our power was out, for hours and hours, so I decided that was the perfect excuse to 'waste' some time on learning bobbin lace.

I rummaged around with the torch for my pins and a bit of ethafoam (that's the shiny foam that stuff gets packed with instead of styrofoam) that was destined for the rubbish bin, some crochet cotton and Thérèse de Dillmont's Encyclopaedia of Needlework, first published in 1884 (free from Gutenberg,

You'll find I reference her book A LOT - so go and get it.  I've also got two hard copies of the anniversary edition which were about $18 each at a discount book store. Thérèse worked for Dollfus-Mieg et Cie (DMC), it is an amazing resource that every crafter should have. I digress, back to our story).

Ethafoam packaging  with a bag of stones in the middle to keep it weighted.

I still had to figure out what to use for bobbins. A rummage around the shed and I decided some big house building nails just might be the go. I set myself up outside in the sunshine and made a 'pricking' and set to figuring out how to cross and twist and twist and cross the threads.

The nails worked, they made my yarn and my hands quite dirty but they had a lovely weight to them and made a pretty tinkling sound as I used them. I did wish the heads had been a bit bigger though.

I made a terrible mess of my first attempt but I learnt where I had gone wrong and started over. My second attempt was more successful. Yes, I think I would like to pursue this craft further. This meant I needed to sort out a better lace making kit.


4 comments:

  1. I watched, for the first time, a few ladies making bobbin lace the other day during a tour of our local woolen mill. It was really interesting to watch, it almost looked like a game they way they were moving the bobbins around. It looks like it could be a lot of fun.

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    1. It's a lot of fun and quite simple once you know how. For me the hardest part was not having any idea which kind of lace pillow I needed and which type of lace I wanted to make. I think I'm hooked for life now.

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  2. This brought back so many memories for me. My Grandmother is Dutch and taught all her granddaughters how to make lace when we were small. We each had our own cushions and bobbins that she had handed down to us. Loved seeing the bits of lace when we had finished, but I don't think I would ever remember how to do it now... :D

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    1. What a great skill to have learnt whilst young and have such a lovely memory of your Grandmother. my Nanna taught me to knit, I can still only knit the bits she taught me.

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