This and That

Random bits of my life

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!

Kortelahti bobbin lace collar

Collar in progress:

Kortelahti 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:

5 Responses to “Teaching Yourself Bobbin Lace”

  1. pam said

    Bobbin Lace is amazing and so lovely – but I can’t imagine managing all those bobbins at once. You are my hero for even trying, much less creating this beautiful, delicate collar. Thank you for sharing.

    • apinnick said

      Actually, one only handles about 2 pairs at a time. Hands aren’t big enough to handle more! The rest just sort of lie there “in waiting”, usually on bobbin holders like knitting stitch holders. Bobbin lace looks complicated but it’s just another form of off-loom weaving.

  2. worksofhands said

    these books are really good, Avital. I myself am hunting them in ebay. hope to get hold of them soon. For the moment I borrow german editions from the local library here in Berlin. 🙂


  3. Penelope said

    I like your collar very much.

    The vendor you mention is Holly Van Sciver, not Helen Von Sciver.

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