Early Bobbin Lace

Early Bobbin Lace is the lace designed up until the mid 17th century, or approximately 1650.  These early laces were often made freehand, but they are not the same as what has become known as the peasant free hand laces of many regions.  All aspects of early lace are welcome for discussion here, including revival era laces, publications new and old, materials, etc.

Members: 61
Latest Activity: Apr 7

Examples + Resources 

From Caroluskantjes.

From LePompe 

Nuw Modelbuoch available as a free download ;

From Rosemary Shepherd 

Gillian Dye's early lace website + her books ;

Another, source unknown

Katherine Davies,various sources, including Art Institute of Chicago

Lena Dahren, Med kant av guld och silver, En studie av knypplade barder och uddar av meetall 1550-1640,  This study examines bobbin-made borders and edgings in gold and silver during the period 1550-1640. The Swedish collections that were studied are unusually well provenanced, which is very important when studying lace, as there were so many copies of lace made in the 19th century. It is a dissertation presented to Uppsala Universitet in 2010. It is in Swedish, but there are so many beautiful color photos and diagrams that it is still a useful book for the non-Swedish speaker, although it would be even more useful if it were to be translated. One thing that sets it apart is that the author is a skilled lacemaker as well as a scholar. The address given for distribution is but Lena informs me that the only dealer who carries it is Barbara Fay Verlag so potential buyers should contact Barbara Fay Verlag.

The successor to the OIDFA Freehand Lace Study Group-

Book List

These may be a little late--mid 17th c

Discussion Forum

Stitches used in early bobbin lace 20 Replies

Please, has anyone determined for sure what stitches and connection methods were used in bobbin lace in the 16th Century?  Did they ever just twist the thread rather than plait it?  And did they use…Continue

Started by Laurie Elliott. Last reply by Kimberly Davis Apr 7.

Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520-1620 11 Replies

Of great interest to Early Lace enthusiasts is the exhibit Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520-1620, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. This features the…Continue

Tags: #FashionandVirtue

Started by Devon Thein. Last reply by Carolina de la Guardia Mar 17, 2016.

Spangles on lace 15 Replies

I was curious about what research has been done regarding spangles on early lace.I was reading a copy of Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court in the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King…Continue

Started by Nancy M. Terselic. Last reply by Elizabeth Ligeti Dec 17, 2014.

Tips for planning a museum visit for lace 6 Replies

Greetings!I'm planning to visit a museum which has several samples of 16th and 17th C bobbin lace.  Based on the website, only one piece of the period lace is out on display, and it seems that most…Continue

Started by Nancy M. Terselic. Last reply by Kathleen Minniti Jul 21, 2014.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Rebecca Mikkelsen on March 10, 2014 at 5:45am

Nancy, what size and type is your thread?

Comment by Nancy M. Terselic on March 8, 2014 at 11:18pm

I've been working on a pattern from New Modelbook (Neu Modelbouch) from 1561 since November.  It will eventually be used to edge a coif (head covering) and I'm aiming for 2 yards (I have a little over a yard done now, and it takes about 14 1/2 minutes per inch).  Here's a photo of it so far:

Comment by Devon Thein on February 22, 2014 at 12:40pm

Good idea, Adele. The thread called Rococco seems to be similar to some of the threads in the metallic laces.

Comment by Adele Shaak on February 21, 2014 at 7:11pm

Devon, have you looked at the various purls, etc, available for goldwork embroidery? As these are made of soft metal, they can be pulled, flattened and manipulated quite easily. It has always seemed to me that the non-standard metallics I've seen in old work are very like the current goldwork supplies.

Comment by Devon Thein on February 21, 2014 at 6:39pm

I have been examining images of metallic laces in the museum, and one thing that strikes me is the variety of metallic strips, and crinkly threads, and other threads available to the 17th century lace maker. I think we may be missing a large segment of what they were doing, not only materials wise, but also technique wise because we have so few of these threads. Are there sources for them that I am unaware of?  

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti on February 21, 2014 at 6:06pm

I think the woven bit is just the 2 plaits are rather flat, and laying exactly side-by-side.

I have the Rosemary Shepherd book, and have worked the pointy edge quite successfully.  I tried it as she advised - using very few pins!1 - I ended up adding a few more than she showed in the pattern, but kept them to a minimum, and tried to only use them Beside the intersections, not within them as we do these days!  It was an interesting experience!!

I only have the one Gil Dye book (so far!) The "Elizabethan Lace" one - though I made the hankie edge from her pattern in UK Lace a few years ago.

I love these Early laces, and hope to get in her class at IOLI.

Comment by Nancy M. Terselic on February 21, 2014 at 5:00pm

Oh no!  I'm already registered for an event in PA in early August - there's no way I'd be able to get to the convention.  *major bummer*  Those samples from the class descriptions look fantastic.  I'll have to stare at them for a while and see what I can figure out.

Speaking of figuring things out, I'm trying to understand the pretzel-looking crossing between the fans on the epaulet of this jerkin, as well as why one fan looks like it has linen stich at the bottom (it may be due to the flat metal strip, but it looks more woven than the other fans).  Thoughts?

Comment by Sue M. on February 21, 2014 at 3:47pm
Wonderful, Nancy, that received all three books! I have her first and just received Rosemary Shapherd's Early Lace Workbook. I did see that Gilian Dye was teaching at IOLI Convention. Registration submitted.
Comment by Selena Marie Joosten on February 21, 2014 at 3:12pm

So happy for you Nancy - after looking at the value of the books they look very special indeed. It will probaly take some discipline to decide what to do next, with all my patterns i end up taking quite a while making a decision at what to do next and because of this end up doing nothing!

Comment by Devon Thein on February 21, 2014 at 2:50pm

Gil Dye will be teaching two classes in early bobbin lace at the IOLI Convention in Sacramento, Aug. 3-9. One is 16th/18th C Bobbin Lace: Gold and Silver Edgings, the other is 16th/17th C Bobbin Lace Linen Edgings/Insertions. Click on the highlighted names for more information. Here are some photos from the class descriptions:

I have been spending these snowy days experimenting with the edgings and insertions in Gil's three book series, and am having a great time with them.


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