Bobbin Lace Design

I thought it would be interesting to talk about the design process I go through when making a new piece of lace.   I have decided to make a piece that is suitable for a little girl's bedroom ... so of course it has to include girly colours such as PINK!  So where do I begin?

1. Decide on a theme.  In this case: butterflies.

Copy of my 'butterfly' page in One Note
2. Research images - Google is great for this.  I use Microsoft Office One Note to take clippings of lots of different images that I like. Eventually I begin to see a link between certain designs. For example I decided I preferred images that were more 'fantasy-like'.  See screen shot copy below - here you will see a copy of part of my 'butterfly' page.

3. Draw some designs on squared paper (this makes it easier to include some elements of symmetry if you like). When you have a good idea of what you want, then try to draw a 'neat' copy.

4. Research stitches and methods.  I have a few 'standard' texts that I look at for ideas. These are just a few:
The Technique of Bobbin Lace by Pamela Nottingham; 
Practical Skills in Bobbin Lace by Bridget M. Cook;
The Bobbin Lace Manual by Geraldine Stott

 5. Make lots of notes of which stitches / methods / techniques you want to use.  Experienced lacemakers will be aware of a number of Lace techniques used in various types of lace. If you like, it's a kind of lace sampler! I find it challenging and interesting  to link different lace styles like this, but you may prefer to stick to one type.  In this example I have included the following:

i) Head: whole stitch with a decorative hole.
ii) Top body: Half stitch
ii) Lower body: Whole stitch and twist
(all with 4 about the pin foot side edge).
iii) The Inner wings: a simple whole stitch braid, with joining plaits and picots.
iv) Outer edge of top wings: simple whole stitch braid with picot outer edge.
v) Top wings: filling of plaits and leaves.
vi) Lower wings: filled with honeycomb stitch and the 'loops are gimp threads.
vii) The Antenna and extra lower wing parts will be made using a Honiton Lace technique ... details to follow.

6. Copy onto squared paper then trace a 'clean' copy onto white paper. I then numbered each section in the order I intend to make it.

7.  Photocopy onto card... to create your pattern (pricking).   The great thing here is you can re-size as often as you like.  I have made 3 copies (100%, 75% and 50%). I am going to make the middle size first.

8. Choose your threads.  Different thicknesses of thread can be used with different pricking sizes. Here are 4 sewing threads: 3 Gutterman 100% cotton in pale green, pale lemon and medium pink; Gutterman metallic thread in medium pink. I may use these or others - not sure yet, but I like the colours and know I want quite a fine design.

9. Pin pricking to pillow; wind bobbins and BEGIN!

I will try to take photos of each stage as I make progress.

The next stage:  I completed the body and 3 inner wing parts, then began the edging for the outer wings.

The main part is as follows:
Head: whole stitch
First section: Whole stitch & twist
2nd section: whole stitch  2 separate halves with a whole stitch join in centre to create 'vein'.
... each section with simple twist at edge.

Inner wings:
1 half stitch
2. whole stitch
3 half stitch

Outer wing edge:  simple whole stitch braid.

Next stage: silver leaves added to main wings!

Sorry it's taken so long to update, but this is the finished butterfly before mounting in a ring. The lower wings are basically braids, with some link joins. I had some problems with the threads here and was running out of time to get it finished, but it shouldn't be too hard to work out what I did!!! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing. I always wanted to do this but first I have to master at least a few more basic techniques of bobbing lacing.