Teaching Yourself Bobbin Lace
Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 9, 2009
Bobbin lace collar, “Johannan Ruusu,”, from Roses in Bobbin Lace, by Eeva-Liisa Kortelahti. I worked it in linen thread, Bockens 90/2, probably around 1998. Wish I’d kept records!
Collar in progress:
You’ve been bitten by the bobbin lace bug? You want to start but aren’t sure how? My first piece of advice is to buy good materials from the start. Stay far, far away from the Bobbin Lace Kit sold by Lacis, Joanne’s, and a few other places. It’s cheap but the materials are of such low quality that they are frustrating to work with and they’ll never be used again. Get your materials from The Lacemaker, Snowgoose, or Helen van Sciver. These merchants (who are not paying me to say nice things about them) will give you personalized attention. Their supplies are excellent quality and often you can call them and ask them to put together a kit for you, based on the kind of lace you want to make (if you already know), your budget, and needs.
It does cost more than knitting or crochet or tatting (it’s also a lot more demanding, which is probably one of the reasons that it’s not a widespread hobby these days). On the other hand, if you decide that bobbin lace isn’t for you, the supplies can easily be sold on eBay. Also, most of the initial cost is up-front. Once you have a pillow, pins, bobbins, and patterns, the cost of thread is minimal.
I recommend starting with Torchon because it is straightforward, logical, and not too fiddly. No leaf tallies! It works up fairly quickly and looks quite handsome in fine or coarse threads.
Some good books for beginners:
- Bobbin Lacemaking Pamela Nottingham. Good clear instructions
- Technique of Bobbin Lace Pamela Nottingham. An old standby
- The Torchon Lace Workbook Bridget M. Cook. Very nice designs in this one!