Bedfordshire bobbin lace is a braid/plait based straight lace.  The designs usually involve a graceful clothwork trail that meanders through the design, and are usually curvilinear rather than geometric (except for the simplest ones).  The ground is usually a 4 strand plait/braid, often with picots.  The more complex designs often require threads to be constantly added and removed to achieve a good density.

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New to Beds 6 Replies

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…Continue

Started by Sheila Antell. Last reply by Helen Bell Dec 29, 2016.

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Comment by Jenny on September 6, 2017 at 6:11pm

This is the right side

Comment by Jenny on September 6, 2017 at 6:10pm

Morning All,

Well, I have done my join, finished off the ends, and am ready to mount my edge to handkercheif Linen. First time I have done a join in Bedfordshire, first time doing a bobbin lace handkie edge, first time using linen thread, and first time working these flowers.

Comment by Jenny on September 5, 2017 at 11:30pm

Lorelei, Thank you. Makes sense planning  endings before beginnings. something to add to the back of the brain for the next one. Your pages are fabulous, I must look at them more often.

I have finished off half the ends behind the foot side, and about to tackle the others . I'll post a pic when I am done

I am happy I have finished the edge, it has been a huge learning curve in more ways than one. I struggled with the thread choice, my teacher told me linen, but I have snapped and broken it so many times I can now do joins with my eyes closed.The slubs in the linen were also a pain when it came to tension. The flowers were also a challenge, but I put it all down the thread. I am going to do them again one day soon in a different smooth thread to get them better. This edge may not be my best piece, but I have done it, and I am proud that I have. My teacher was not to keen on me doing this one, so I have done it by myself at home. 

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on September 5, 2017 at 7:22pm

For dealing with the threads that will attach to other braids -- one possibility would be to take 3 of the threads from a braid and lay them behind the start point, using the 4th thread to wrap the beginning braid +3. I have also seen some lace makers using tallies to hide ends. (Of course being very careful not to snag tally threads and damage the tally.)

As I understand it, the most elegant solution is to plan for the ending before you even hang on, planning on having ending braids change direction, so all can be hidden behind the footside.  Here is an example (on a simpler design) where I explain how these changes of direction at the ending can work. Obviously, this doesn't help your current situation, but for future reference.

This diagram is explained on this web page, about 60% down the file.


Comment by Jenny on September 4, 2017 at 9:17pm

Thank you Lorelei. I didn't even think of bundling together  in this instance. I left plenty of thread when I cut the bobbins off to do something with. On the foot side I think I will be OK, but it's where plait joins a plait I was worried about. I might plait them together & run behind a plait into the foot side. Unless some else has another idea.

Comment by Jenny on September 4, 2017 at 9:12pm

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on September 4, 2017 at 9:01pm

Weaving ends in is only one possibility. It depends on the particular pattern. It also depends on how long you left the threads after knotting and cutting them.

One possibility is to make a bundle, using 1 or 2 threads to wrap the other threads, then sew one of those to a weaver loop a little further on. Or if you had not cut the threads, you could make a short braid/plait about 1/2 to 1 inch long.

I have some options in a page on my website. But I do admit that endings are probably my own weak point.

Perhaps some of our members will have a better idea.


Comment by Jenny on September 4, 2017 at 7:05pm

Morning All, For those of you who are following my journey in my Beds handkie edging, I am nearly finished. I am up to the join and this is my first Beds join. I have really only done one major join before, in a piece of Torchon. In that piece, I joined with sewings, tied the bobbins off in a reef knot, cut the bobbins off with length, then wove the ends for a small distance into the work. (as per my teachers instructions) In this piece, I have done  the sewings,  tied the bobbins off in a reef knot, then cut them off with plenty of thread to do something else with. As this beds edging is more open than the Torchon piece, how can I weave ends back in? What do I do with these ends now? Help please. 

Also, as this is going to be mounted on some handkercheif linen, what stitch is best to use? The foot side id curved. TIA

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti on September 29, 2014 at 1:36am

Yes, I, too, tend to give something a try, if I am told you can't do it!!!!!!

there is no point making lace if you are not enjoying it, so keep making it the way You like it. You can't go wrong, then!!!

Comment by Jenny on September 28, 2014 at 11:43pm

Thanks Liz. My lace is for my pure enjoyment & to learn something new, no other reason. I only have to please myself, & if I am happy with what I have done then that is all that matters.The occasional piece has been given away to those I know will appreciate it. I showed my bookmark to some fellow stitching friends, some of whom were afraid to touch it! They could see no mistakes because they are not bobbin lace makers. I have also shown it to two other lacemakers, who both picked up on the tallies, but I knew that myself already. One commented on how they had improved. Neither, however commented on my picots! I knew they were wrong but didn't know how to make them better, and it was only after Helen commented that I went back to the beginning of the book to review how they were done! That is good thing in my books. I will learn any way I can, but if anyone tells me not to do something for whatever reason, then that is my cue to go for it & show myself I can do it!


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