Bobbin Lace Directions

Written by liz tomas
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Bobbin Lace Directions
Use bobbins to create lace. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Bobbin lace takes its name from the material needed to create the lace, namely bobbins. Bobbin lace is also known as pillow lace because a firm pillow is needed to create it. The threads used to create the lace are wound onto bobbins. There are two main types of bobbins. Spangles bobbins are used for the English lace pattern. Continental bobbins are used for lace patterns that require sewing or the need to change directions frequently within the lace pattern.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Bobbins
  • Thread
  • Lace pattern
  • Pins
  • Firm pillow

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  1. 1

    Create a slip knot on the end of the lace thread and tie this to the part of the bobbin that holds thread. Wind the thread onto the bobbin using a bobbin winder or by hand. Wind thread in a clockwise direction around the bobbin, making sure that the thread coils evenly on the bobbin. Wind all the bobbins needed for the pattern in this way. There are two bobbins per thread, one at each end of the thread. You can measure the thread prior to winding to ensure that the same amount of thread is wound onto each bobbin. The lace pattern you are using will specify the number of bobbins required.

  2. 2

    Cut out the lace pattern and prick out the pattern using a small pin. Prick out all the pinholes marked in the pattern. Turn the pattern over to make sure you have not missed any pinholes. Fasten the pattern to the firm pillow using a pin at each corner of the pattern. Push the pins in all the way up to the pin head. Use more pins if you do not feel the pattern is fastened securely.

  3. 3

    Stick pins into the first row of the pattern, but do not push the pins all the way in. Hang the pair of bobbins on one thread over the pin. One bobbin will hang on the left side of the pin and the other will hang on the right side. Let the bobbins lie on the pillow and be careful not to drop the pillow. You may need to hang more than one pair of bobbins on the same pin; refer to the pattern directions. Make sure that the bobbins on the same thread are lying next to each other no matter how many bobbins are hung on the same pin.

  4. 4

    Make the first row of stitches in the pattern. Bobbin stitches will require four bobbins to make a half stitch or a cloth stitch or just two bobbins for a twist stitch. Work out which bobbins you are using before making a stitch. When the pattern directions specify it, insert a pin into the pinhole. Make sure the pin is very straight because the pattern will require a lot of pins, and leaning pins will cause problems.

  5. 5

    Tighten up the thread when you reach a pin. Simply give each bobbin a light tug downward until there is no slack in the thread. Keep working the pattern, making stitches and inserting pins until the pattern is completed. Cut off the bobbins, knot the thread ends and unpin the lace. You now have a finished piece of bobbin lace.

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