Lacey things

Here’s what I spent a large chunk of yesterday designing:

It’s a bobbin roll, for keeping bobbins safe when they’re not being used. Nicely padded with some of the scrap corduroy Lytteltonwitch gave me a while back. It can hold 2 bobbins per pocket, so I should be able to fit about 30 pairs in there (which isn’t actually all that many once you get seriously into lace-making – I was flicking through one of the tutor’s books the other night and spotted a pattern calling for 102 pairs!). Of course, at the moment I’ve only got 2 pairs of my own, plus the 12 pairs the tutor lent me, so I won’t be running out of space in my roll too fast 🙂

And of course, the point of all this is the actual lace-making. I’ve completed the first few exercises now, and am slowly accumulating bookmarks illustrating the different stitches:

From left to right:

1. My first ever piece of lace. It’s half-stitch Torchon ground – in other words, the boring background stitch you use to hold all the more interesting stitches together. The tutor described it as the lace equivalent of garter stitch in knitting – you’d never actually knit something completely of garter stitch, but you still need to know how to do it before you can do anything else.

2. Ok, this was actually a mistake. Or two mistakes, really – one the tutor’s, and one mine. I hadn’t been paying attention, so put the colours in the wrong order when I hung the bobbins (the green was supposed to start at the outside edge, not in the middle), and then when I got to the diamonds and asked the tutor how to do the stitch, she thought I was on the third exercise not the second, so instead of showing me a half-stitch diamond, showed me the whole-stitch diamond from exercise 3. So this ended up being a bit of a mish-mash of different patterns. By the time I realised what I was producing didn’t look like the picture in the book, and asked her what I was doing wrong, I was so far down the pattern I decided to just keep going with what I was doing. And I kind of liked the effect it gave, anyway.

3. This is what #2 was actually supposed to look like. I had a second attempt, this time doing it with half-stitch diamonds the way it was supposed to be.

4. And this is exercise 3, with the whole-stitch diamonds (and strips) that ended up in #2. It’s also got a different ground – this one’s a whole-stitch ground. I wasn’t all that happy with how this one turned out – I think I made a few mistakes where the diamonds join to the ground, which can get a bit complicated. So I should probably have another go at it sometime, once I’ve got the logic straight in my head.

(“Real” lace would normally all be one colour, of course, but we use different colours of thread in these exercises as a teaching aid to help us learn what effect the different stitches have on the paths the threads follow, which is important to know when you get into the more complicated stuff. Plus of course it makes otherwise boring stitches look a bit more decorative 🙂 Real lace would also be made with much finer thread, but again, using thicker threads to start with helps you learn the shapes of the different stitches.)

Similar Posts


  1. You creative types kill me. I sooooooo want to be creative. I’d love to sew or knit or crochet or quilt or or or. Like my mother before me I’m a born consumer, not a creator *sigh*.

    You should be very proud of yourself as they’re all lovely pieces!

  2. I like the first one and third one the best. I don’t think I’d have the patience to do this. As I get older, I’ve given up a lot of creative activities. Anyway, I was thinking if you made them smaller and starched them, they would be great for bookmarks. I’d buy one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.