Freehand Lace

Freehand bobbin laces are a group of peasant laces made in various countries in Europe.  What they have in common is that pins were only used along the 2 outer edges, and careful tension control made the threads follow their proper path.  Some of the localities for these laces are Sweden, northwestern Italy and southeastern France.  Scania, Queyras, Maurienne are some of the varieties.

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Latest Activity: May 16, 2017


Swedish         Queyras           Maurienne       freehand         freehand


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Comment by Administrator on May 18, 2016 at 3:40pm

Gon Homburg has just started posting a group of Miklailov lace patterns. She says they were originally worked with pinholes only along the 2 edges. I guess that makes them freehand laces. I had always thought of them as torchon. Any ideas?

Comment by Administrator on March 18, 2015 at 3:17pm

Freehand lace in Croatia. photo by Igor Beros, from Lepoglava lace festival. Looks like an antique pillow. Date unknown.

Comment by Nancy M. Terselic on November 17, 2013 at 10:28pm

These are great resources, Lorelei!  Thank you!

Comment by Administrator on November 17, 2013 at 7:06pm

Grounds are not all based on pairs moving diagonally. It can be pairs moving diagonally crossed vertically or hoizontally by single pairs.

Sometimes it is 2 pairs moving diagonally, crossed by another 2 pairs moving diagonally in the other direction.  

Sometimes it is 2 or 4 pairs in vertical stacks, crossed horizontally or diagonally. Sometimes it is 2 pairs in vertical stacks, connected to each other in alternate rows, crossed by horizontal pairs.

Comment by Administrator on November 17, 2013 at 6:43pm
Comment by Administrator on November 2, 2013 at 2:39pm

Thanks Devon.

Comment by Devon Thein on November 2, 2013 at 6:49am

I put a link to Lena Dahren's dissertation on early gold and silver bobbin laces on the Barbara Fay Verlag website in the "resources" section of the Early Lace Group. Lena says that Barbara Fay is the only dealer who carries it.

Comment by Nancy M. Terselic on October 31, 2013 at 11:47pm

Devon, I found something similar to the holed trail in the book Handleiding Voor De Vrouwelijke Handwerken book from but I don't know Dutch and Google Translate is iffy.  I roughed out a translation of the pertinent section but haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Comment by Nancy M. Terselic on October 31, 2013 at 11:27pm

Lorelei - actually, I only used one pin under the flowerhead, and only utilized it once.  I was not familiar with the idea of using the same pin multiple times.  The pinned windmill was on the "upstroke" going into the flowerhead, and when I came out I just tensioned very carefully between the pair coming out of the pin and the pair that had been making the flower.  It didn't look on the pricking like there was enough space to use a second pin, and while I think I tried going back to the same pin to see if I could make that work, it just seemed to make the lace "clumpy" at that point, so I abandoned that track.

Comment by Devon Thein on October 31, 2013 at 4:02pm

I think it is safe to say that the bars may have been made in different ways, since the lacemakers, like ourselves, were having to interpret what was in the pattern book. However, from looking closely at 20.186.91 and also 20.186.117, it appears that these bars may have been interpretted by some lacemakers as in the following diagram. The very different quality of the linen thread and the way it puffs up makes the bars look more substantial than my drawing. (Wish I was better at drawing these diagrams.)


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