For those who love hand made lace.
Hi all: I have always only done torchon lace and am now learning to do Bedfordshire lace. I am looking for basic advice. How does one know when to leave the pins standing up and when to push them all the way into the pillow? What size pins are best for Bedfordshire lace making? Do I use a different pin for the picots? I have never purchased pins for making my torchon lace, always used plain dressmaker pins.
Thank you in advance for any advice you have for me.
I use long fine silk pins and larger ones for the picots. Depending on the pricking, you can leave your pins up if you are doing something straight such as a bookmark. If your pattern follows a curve such as a circle, you will want to push them down. If you are doing something with lots of bobbins that includes throwing pairs out, you might want to push the pins down so they are out of the way of discarded bobbin thread.
Only, be sure to set the pins perfectly vertical, before you push them all the way down, or the pattern may rise up off the pillow.
As to pin size, that depends on how fine the thread is, and how close together the pins are. For the most part pins won't be a problem, because Beds doesn't get as fine as Bucks poin or Honiton. However, I would avoid pins with ball heads. Sometimes a braid (plait) goes backward for a short distance, and the ball heads could get in the way.
What book are you using? There are several good and usable ones.
Welcome to Beds lace! (My favorite Bobbin lace!) When you tackle Tallies - and Leaf-shaped ones, - learn to like making them -- as you will make lots, - and then Lots more!! so enjoying the weaving process will help you a lot!!!!!!!!!!! :)
Hi Sheila, Generally speaking, in Beds, you don't push the pins all the way down. There are a few exceptions to that rule: if you are joining trails/lace at the completion of a small motif piece, or joining a larger piece like a handkie or doily. The other time might be if you have a piece on the pillow that isn't going to be moved up (like a small piece), and you might want to push down the outer most pins in the headside/ninepin edge. General rule of thumb is that if you're working lace (especially yardage or things like bookmarks), you should leave in at least 1 inch of pins in your work, before you start lifting out pins and 'recylcing' them, as you progress. I leave my edge pins in for as long as I can, and I always angle edge pins out and back - and if I can angle the pins out a little around the edges of motifs in the lace, I do that, so that the lace stays flat on the pillow and doesn't ride up the pins.
I don't use picot pins - I didn't learn with them, and so don't find a need for them. that said, some people do use them. I don't think they were used traditionally, as pins were expensive so lacemakers valued them.
You do want to use a heavier pin for heavier thread, like 50 linen, and then use a finer pin for finer threads like 100 cottons or finer, as you become more confident and skilled, and tackle more complex patterns that have more dense areas of work. You probably don't want a very short pin or a very long pin - you should find the length that suits you, but I use ones that are around 32mm long - but that's my preference. I also prefer brass (I'm old school, but that's all I had when I learnt lacemaking in the mid 70's). Steel is fine - and starting with dressmakers pins is OK. I don't recommend the ones with the coloured heads, as those will obstruct your view of what you're doing and where you're going on your pillow.
You will want to get your self some divider pins and lots of stitch holders (the knitting ones are great), so keep your bobbins and pillow organized and managed. Corsage pins are great for divider pins (and they're pretty too :-) ).
Good luck with your foray into Beds. Just be aware that you have to think a little differently, and it doesn't always flow in the same way that torchon and other grid based laces do. My tip to you, is to work from the middle out, and be careful not to get too far ahead of yourself in your enthusiasm :-) If you work from the middle out, you give yourself the room to maneuver and work.
Helen -- great answer!
thank you :-)
Helen -- great answer!