Making lace

Friday 18th December 2015

If anyone wants to teach me a new skill, I'm all ears. So I was really excited when a friend, Denise, who is one of Britain's most experienced lace makers, asked if I wanted to learn to how to make bobbin lace. But pretty soon I realised how incredibly hard it is!

A 'simple' bracelet

Densie taught me how to make a 'simple' bracelet, which wasn't at all. Bobbin lace involves twisting pairs of turned wood bobbins together in a specific pattern to make the lace textile.

Denise's studio is absolutely full of bobbins, thread, books and of course lace.

Her bobbins range from simple wooden ones to complex designs made from exotic patterned hardwoods, intricately carved bobbins made from bone, and some that are several hundred years old.

The starting point was a template, or pricking, which has holes showing the positions of the pins.

My bracelet was made up of nine pairs of 'passive' thread and one pair of 'worker' thread, which was blue.

The passive pairs are pinned at the top of the pricking, and then the worker pair is threaded through them by twisting the pairs of bobbins together.

It's extremely satisfying once you get it right, but rather tricky to get there.

After you've completed one square, the pattern changes to four set of plaits, and then back to another square.

This repeats until the bracelet is long enough to go around the relevant limb, and then small eyelets were tied into the ends to fasten it.

All together it took me about five hours to make this, and I'm very proud of it!

 

A fancy bookmark

Next Denise suggested I make a torchon bookmark. This was considerably harder and took me several months to complete. I kept getting stuck, finding that the pattern had broken down and I had to unpick it several times before I finally got the hang of it. During this time I got extremely frustrated and nearly gave up while I was in the Learning Curve Dip, but finally mastered it and now I'm looking forward to starting my third piece.

If you have a skill you think I'd be interested in learning, leave a comment below!

 

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