Which would be a recommended free lace to start someone in on free laces? Any recommended books? 


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Well, that is an interesting question.  By "free laces" I assume you mean "part laces", "sectional laces"?  Any style of tape lace is good because you learn how to make the threads curve gracefully by doing fudge stitches, "turning stitches"  (there are several variants), and you get lots of practice doing sewings.  Bruges bloomwork is probably the simplest part lace, but it basically consists of a set of stock motifs, which are just rearranged in each different piece.  You learn to add and remove threads as the bits widen and narrow.  But since the motifs are mostly replicas of each other you end up learning a set of stock solutions to a very limited array of motifs, which isn't really helpful if you want to design your own work.  I would say Withof and Rosaline are both out because they are outgrowths of Duchesse, and teachers usually assume that you already know Duchesse.

If it were me, I would say that either beginner Honiton or beginner Duchesse would be equally good places to start.  They both have their own ways of doing turning stitch, their own ways of adding new threads, ways of starting motifs.  Duchesse, it seems to me, has a very large array of standard motifs--once you learn one you can apply that to other variants.  The motifs exist in many different versions: flowers may be flattened in one lace and round in another.  Petals can range from narrow to wide in the same flower, but a flower made the same way in another piece may have that particular flower with all the petals the same length.  The point is that there is a lot of variation applied to the particular motifs in a particular lace.  This teaches you flexibility in solving problems.  And, it seems to me that Honiton, at its best, aims for some degree of realism in the design.  So problem solving is part of it from the beginning.

If you can find a teacher willing to work on a macro scale, so much the better.

Bistra Pisancheva has a picasa account and this is one of her albums:


Elsie Luxton was the first to write extensive lessons for Honiton.  Sue Thompson wrote 2 that were even clearer.  But I think both authors may be out of print.  Sheila Wells has a paperback pamphlet which is actually quite good.  I took a class from her in the 1980s and that is how I learned enough to make all my part lace designs on my website.  I'm not up on the newer books.

For Duchesse, Anneke Reijs has a series of self published pamphlets that start with Duchesse and end with Withof.  Available from her website.  You would just need the 1st volume. There is also a useable book by Jane Newble-deGraaf.

I hope some of our other members will also respond to your question.

I just discovered that I never got around to filling in the book lists and online resources for our Honiton and Duchesse groups.  I'll have to do that in the next few days!  I welcome help with suggested titles.

Wow, okay, thanks! So Duchesse or Honiton, gotcha. Those photos are amazing! I'm practically speechless =D 

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