Designing Bobbin Lace

For those who want to talk about designing bobbin lace, whatever style.

Members: 107
Latest Activity: May 9



For modern work look at where photos of really innovative work are posted daily.


Uta Ulrich GRUENDE MIT SYSTEM, Verlag Barbara Fay, 2009. 448 grounds


Bridget Cook & Geraldine Stott BOOK OF BOBBIN LACE STITCHES, Branford, Watertown Mass. 1980. 262 pages.  A great variety, but omits some continental grounds.

Cook & Stott INTRODUCTION TO BOBBIN LACE STITCHES. Batsford, London, 1983. 86 pages.  Adds some continental grounds omitted in the 1st book.  I would call these the most basic ground.

Christine Hawken  121 HONITON FILLINGS  "121 HONITON FILLINGS: this a a good book for the experienced Honiton lacemaker who wants ideas for fillings.  Each filling is well graphed and diagramed.  The only drawback is that the pictures of the fillings are not of the best quality.  But that is understandable since the book was published in 1997." review by Cathy Kozlowski, IOLI LIbrarian       IOLI B-298 121 Honiton Fillings


NKO 1983 - 2008 

Discussion Forum

International Torchon Lace Design Competition 1 Reply

Please take a look at the competition rules and prizes as it would be fantastic to see your entries.

Started by Jenny Brandis. Last reply by Jenny Brandis Aug 31, 2016.

How can you design lace when you can't draw? 21 Replies

Paula's Honiton Cowis a good illustration of how one can design a piece of lace without possessing drawing skills.…Continue

Tags: tricks, Design, Lace

Started by Devon Thein. Last reply by Gul'naz Taylor Jan 23, 2016.


   To start here is my analysis of the basic grounds used in bobbin lace.First some basic…Continue

Tags: bobbin lace fillings, bobbin lace grounds

Started by Lorelei Halley Administrator. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Nov 9, 2014.

Designing something a little different. 9 Replies

 Is there anyone else who likes to find something just that little bit different?ElsaContinue

Started by Elsa Elisabeth van Baaren. Last reply by Selena Marie Joosten Dec 8, 2013.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Devon Thein on May 6, 2012 at 3:47pm

I am disappointed that no one has commented on the idea (in photos) of making tributes to favorite pets with the "make a tape and fill it" approach to quick and dirty design. I was assuming that everyone would be grabbing their pet and a flash-light to make a sillouette for the purpose of memorializing said pet in lace.

How do other people pay tribute to special pets in lace? Or are pets generally an uninspiring subject for textile art?

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 6, 2012 at 3:23pm

Here is a sort of sampler of basic grounds, using Devon's idea about a tape lace design:

Comment by Devon Thein on May 4, 2012 at 6:16pm

Finally, we asked Ann Keller to paint the sticks for us. She was already an accomplished painter of endangered species on bobbins, including pandas, so we knew her work. She very kindly asked if there were any particular panda images we liked that she could try to include. So we copied some pandas from some of our favorite books and sent them to her.

When the sticks arrived they were magnificent. I had availed myself of the Springett video about how to mount a fan on fan leaves and followed the instructions. I had also availed myself of some powdered glue. The Springetts favor wall paper glue due to its fungicidal qualities. I seem to recall getting a similar product in the conservation supply business Talas. It made me feel better that the glue came from a conservation supply store rather than a wall paper store, since this was such a special fan. (While I was at it, I also purchased some Orvis, because I prefer to buy horse cleaning products in conservation stores in small quantities, whenever possible.)


Comment by Devon Thein on May 4, 2012 at 6:09pm

I took an appropriate grid. I can't recall where I got it. It is possible I generated the grids on an early lace design program. I have never been able to actually use a lace design program, but as I recall, I did get the hang of generating grids and the program was helpful because you could locate the right size grid by the actual thread name on that program. Since then, I more often just go to Jo Edkins's grids and choose from her pre-determined sizes of which there are about 4. This is usually just fine, and they are so easy to use. I print them out. Then, with scissors and the help of a light box, or possibly just a window, I trace the outline on the grid and cut it out and tape it in place.

In this fan, I had imagined that I would have a lovely polar graph that would have a perfect row of pin holes along the top, such as I had seen from really good designers. This didn't happen. So, I came up with the solution of making some bamboo leaves, as in "what pandas like to eat", and I placed them around the edge to hide that design defect.

I also recall there was some problem with the directionality of the grid. It was fine in the panda, because you just shifted it around, cutting and taping as needed. But for the background there was some crisis in the directionality. I managed to finagle it around the panda's ear where it was really narrow and you didn't notice. Later on, I saw this being done in professionally made laces of the 19th century. Never underestimate the importance of creating some places where design elements nearly touch each other for purposes of finagling the grid.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 4, 2012 at 5:55pm

Here is an example of how easy it can be to design a fan. Ann Keller was painting fan sticks at the time. She had a fan shaped outline that she provided that you could design a fan on. I took the outline, photocopied it several times and gave it to my daughter, then a child, and told her to design a fan. She drew this panda bear.

I made a tape that was five pairs with two twists around a pin at each edge. If I were going to do it again, I think I would do a sewing edge because it would make it neater to sew in the pairs for the fillings.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 4, 2012 at 5:38pm

Free Patterns! Everybody wants them! In fact, there has recently been a call put out for patterns for the annual IOLI Charter Chapter CD. They are always welcome at the Bulletin of the International Old Lacers, Inc. So, anyone with an original design can have it promulgated in any number of exciting media formats!

But, more to the point, how do you design?

I'll go first. I have already mentioned the tremendous design potential of "child labor". The simplest way to do a lace design is to have a child draw a picture. Then you make a tape, that goes around the outline. Consulting a book of different grounds, like Cook and Stott, you choose one to fill in the outline with. You take a grid, possibly from Jo Edkins site that seems to be the right size for your thread and you cut it to size to fit in the outline, scotch taping it in place. Then you photocopy it so it is not too thick to work on. Slap on a blue contact paper and you are good to go.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 4, 2012 at 4:57pm

I've been checking the statistical software which tracks activity on our site.  Nearly 50% of our traffic comes from search engines.  Guess what search phrases are the most popular.  FREE PATTERNS!!!   And the bobbin lace groups that receive the most visits are: beginners, torchon, tape lace (braid lace), and point ground laces.

So, I have a proposition for you.  How about designing a small piece in one of those techniques, perhaps a bookmark, a small mat like a coaster, or a motif that could be appliqued to a purse or tote bag.  And then offer it to the world here, for free.  You wouldn't have to make a perfect sample.  Just post the pattern, and then some of us could try to interpret the design, and we could discuss various alternative ways to execute it.

Carolina de la Guardia, Janice Blair and I have each posted a free pattern that we designed.  How about some others?

How about a pattern for embroidered tulle (hexagonal net)?  Or a sampler for this kind, to practice lots of stitches?

And describe the process you go through to design something.  I have been surprised at the number of searches on "how to design bobbin lace".  Let's answer their questions.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on March 19, 2012 at 2:21pm

An interesting idea -- a tape which transforms into a tally.  #99

Comment by Carolina de la Guardia on February 22, 2012 at 5:50am

The book from Gisela Wirtz  "Kloppeln am laufenden band", published by Barbara Fay -ISBN 3-925184-75-9, contains besides of chaos ground some variations of it.

The book comes with diagrams of the stitches used for working the patterns

The geometrical patterns are made of different braids which combine the stitches, giving a very pleasant appearance and finess

Comment by Janice Blair on February 20, 2012 at 12:32pm

Has anyone, or can someone, post a photo of this chaos ground.  I took a short class years ago where we made a leaf and did whatever we wanted for the ground, changing the stitches across the row or doing rows at diagonals.  I think the class was called "Every which way". Janice


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