Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bobbin Lace Making

Hi folks

It's been a while since I've written a post but thought I would write and let you know all about my new crafting hobby - bobbin lace making! This is a lace textile made using a particular method of twisting and crossing threads with tools called bobbins and while the end result looks similar to tatting, the method itself is very different. Bobbin lace is also called pillow or bone lace, the latter because the bobbins used to be made of bone or ivory, and evolved in the 16th century Italy from braid making.

The picture below shows a partially completed book mark that includes foot side, using the Torchon style - this means it usually follows a geometric pattern, such as the diamonds and lines shown on the pattern. The bobbins are not usually tied up as mine are in the picture, this was taken after I'd started to pack up my board.

Many people have told me this looks like a complicated craft, and I agree that it does LOOK it, however the actual technique is not very confusing at all. This particular pattern requires fourteen pairs of bobbins that have been wound  in a clock wise direction on one piece of thread - rule of thumb is the thread should be 4 times the length of the pattern, you wind one end of a bobbin, apply a slip knot and leave a length of approximately 15-20cm. Using a second bobbin, wind the end of the thread (that's attached to the first bobbin) clockwise onto the secondary bobbin, leaving a 20cm gap between the bobbins on the thread. Repeat this technique for each pair of bobbins until all are done. Each pattern can have a different way of starting, youtube and google are excellent for patterns and tips.

Using a working board, the next step requires a tool which looks like a needle with a handle attached - however you can use a plain large needle but the handle is useful if you suffer from carpal tunnel etc. My pattern above had clear contact applied before I used four pins to hold it down. I then pricked each of the little black holes on it, this helps for later on when the pins are inserted to hold the lace in place while you work.

Once the bobbins are wound and are attached to the first pin you can then begin the process of the stitches. While there are several different stitches that can be moved, there are only ever four bobbins used at a time (the rest are irrelevant if not being used in a stitch) and there are only two moves, the cross and the twist - which can be done in a variety of ways to create different stitches.

For this particular bookmark I used the following stitches:
Footside: this is the edge of the piece, which run vertical down the sides.
Cloth work: the technique used to complete the diamonds, it looks like a tight weave. You can also complete this stitch using a half stitch which results in more of a basket weave look.
Ground: Stitches used outside motifs like the diamonds, this holds the lace piece together
The below is a snake I created in my first lesson of bobbin lace using the cloth work stitch:

For those interested in joining a group around Australia, please check out:
http://lacegumnuts.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=261&Itemid=2  for more information

I hope you have enjoyed reading my quick overview of Bobbin Lace - thanks for reading!

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