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Friday, July 21, 2006

bobbin lace "Princess lace machine"

What is Bobbin lace? That is the question from Nancy Jo...

Well, below is a picture of a piece I just started a little while ago, so not much is done on it. It will show you what a princess lace machine pillow from November 24, 1903, looks like. This photo was taken on my kids' drawing table. To protect the table from glue and ink stains and the like, the table has a covering of a plastic tablecloth. Not pretty, but functional. Please click on the photos to see the pictures better. If after you click on the photo the new picture has a + on the pointer then if you click again it will get even bigger. This doesn't happen (the second enlargement) with all photos, but some it does, so try. Thank you.

There is a photo of the patent date on it. Also, I reupholstered the pillow and bobbin board because it was so tattered it was unusable when I got it (it is covered in a dark green velvet). I wanted to use it, not collect it and stare at it.

The last picture is a close up of the original pricking (aka pattern) that came with the pillow, and the lace I have started on it. The thread being used is a discontinued manuela tatting thread.

The bobbins in the photo are known as student bobbins. I have what is called midland bobbins, which are real nice, but they are not on this pillow. Midland bobbins are spangled (which means they have beads dangling from the bottom of the bobbin). The bobbins are the wood items you see dangling from the threads.

The pins that you see are for holding the thread in place until you have worked enough of the pattern to pull them out. Once pulled out the pattern will stay in place, and you can use the lace.

The basics of making the lace are a twist and a cross. Which is how the bobbins are manipulated to go left and right.

If you have more questions let me know, and I will try to answer them.


  1. My goodness, that is way over my head, I would never be able to handle all thoses bobbins, I have trouble with the one in my sewing machine.
    Would you like this book I have? Its called "100 TRADITIONAL BOBBIN LACE PATTERNS".

  2. Sure if you don't want the book I would love to have it. I hope you thought it was neat though. Look at the book first it might just have some information that is interesting to you for future use.

  3. The lace patterns in the book are beautiful, I thought of you when I saw the book, and was sure when I posted the question you would be the one to reply.
    I will mail it out to you. How is ole Effie doing?

  4. Effie is fine I haven't worked on her in a few days trying to figure out a dress I like for her I might do some cro tatting and basic crochet for the dress not sure yet.

  5. This resembles tatting, doesn't it? Except the bobbins are much larger and the lace is thicker. I've seen older ladies tatting...wow they are fast at it. It's impressive! Do you pick up some speed doing this too, or do you work slower?
    Your creations are all lovely.

  6. To clare
    thank you for the complement on my work. Bobbin lace is a very old lace. It is made with a twist and a cross of 4 bobbins. Tatting is made with a larks head knot and 1 or 2 shuttle ( you can use more I have used up to 10 at one time very confussing). It, tatting, can also be done with a cro-hook , or a tatting needle. They , bobbin lace and tatting, are made in entirely differnt ways but both are very beatiful lace. Yes you can get very fast at bobbin lace but it is still slow.


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