Skein Passion

Luscious 'fioro' hand died merino-silk yarn skeins from The Yarn Bowl in the shades sepia rose, abalone and plum purple As Valentines day approaches sprinklings of pink hearts and cutesy romance sayings start popping up all over the place. Yarn sales are overflowing with red and pink colourways and patterns are dotted with love knots.  But I want to talk about Passion. That deep intense desire you experience when you touch that divine squishy yarn skein, you know the one I'm talking about, that skein that makes your heart sing. It's a magic colour, squishing it is like touching a cloud with the lustre of angels. The yarn of your dreams. Where were you when you had that experience the first time? In a specialty yarn store looking at the silk-alpaca blends? I'm willing to bet it wasn't, more likely it was at the discount store passing the bargain aisle and this little ball of fluff caught your eye and you sighed and squished it and wished you had the skill to turn

How to make a bobbin lace bolster pillow

I dismantled my makeshift bolster pillow for parts.

dismantled bolster bobbin lace pillow

Here's a photo of it all unrolled with the blue cover fabric on the bottom, then thin green blanket, the bath sheet and the milo tin.

That's my phone and a bobbin for size referencing because I didn't have a banana on hand.

The pillow core

To make my permanent bolster pillow I used a bit of storm drain pipe we bought as an off cut from some crazy boy shop that sold lots of tubes and stuff used in building houses and gardens and whatever. The pipe is the core of the bolster.

camping mat wrapped around tubing

The layers

EVA foam camping mat I used

I also bought a double camping mat. When I bought the double camping mat I knew I was going to have to cut it in half lengthways and if I had bought 2 singles I wouldn't have had to do that. But the singles were only 0.5cm thick where as the double was 0.8cm thick, and in this case thicker is better.
the old tin next to the new tube and mat ensemble

I used a bread knife to cut the mat in half whilst it was all rolled up then I wrapped it around my pipe.

The pipe and the tin were about the same diameter but the pipe was certainly longer.

I wrapped my old wool army blanket around the mat. I assume it's a 100% wool blanket but it might not be.
butting the edges of the blankets together

100% wool is hard to find these days. A lot of sellers will claim 100% wool or high wool content and it won't be what they have claimed so all I can say is be careful. Buy vintage if you can and if you can't, be prepared to not get what you thought you were ordering.

The reason for using 100% wool in your lace making pillow is so you can push your pins through easily. So long as you can do that I guess that's all that really matters.

close up of the foam and wool layers for the bobbin lace pillow

I wrapped my thin  green higher quality wool blanket around the army blanket.

I made sure the ends butted up against each other without overlapping which causes bumps and generally tried to keep everything reasonably smooth.

12 inch ruller shows the bolster is an inch or so higher then the ruler is long

Then I just pinned the last edge into place.

holding everything in place with a few pins

Covering the bolster

easing the cover over the bolster bobbin lace pillow

To cover everything I decided the easiest option was to use a stretch knit cotton pencil skirt which cost $5 from somewhere and no longer fit me.

I stood the whole thing up on it's end and rolled it on sort of like stockings.

easing the cover over the bolster pillow end

To pull the cover over the ends I layed the pillow back down, bunched up the ends and used hair bands to secure them.

securing the ends of the cover

The stand

Hubby had made me a bolster pillow stand which I was really hoping was going to be the right size because it was made before the cushion was made. It was just some ply wood and dowel with a lick of paint.

The main features I was aiming for was a stable base where the pillow wouldn't roll from pulling on bobbins and that the pins could stay in the pillow as I turned the cushion when making braids, which was a major draw back of my cardboard box version.

The final diameter was 39 and half inches.

the old and new pillow stands

tape measures 39.5 inches around the bolster pillow

bolster bobbin lace pillow on stand

Of course I've been itching to make something on it ever since I had it all put together.

DMC Size 5 Metallic Pearl Cotton Thread, 27 yds (25m) Skein

I knew exactly what I wanted to make too.

the inspiration portrait Marguerite de Valois, ca. 1563  Francois Clouet  Musée Condé, Chantilly
Marguerite de Valois, ca. 1563 
Francois Clouet
 Musée Condé, Chantilly

I wanted to do the Margurite le Pompe lace in silver.

Saturday I finally sat down and made it. One 25m skein and many hours gave me 32 inches of pretty pretty silver lace.

close up of lace in progress

This thread is plied together and has a lot of texture to it because of the ply which made it rather challenging to work with but also gave a really nice body to lace.

rear view when making lace showing the pins clearing the pillow frame

I was so pleased that the pins clear the pillow frame easily. Yay!

close up of silver lace

The lace is still on the pillow so it can set. I want to try the regular embroidery thread to see how it compares as well.