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Blissful Bobbin Lace

So far, my experience in bobbin lacemaking has been limited to using existing instructions and patterns. If you have a bobbin lace letter and a technical drawing, you usually know what to do. The execution is then relatively simple.
But now I wanted to challenge myself and create my own lace pattern. And it was easier and more difficult at the same time.

Bobbin lace can be reduced to geometric shapes. No matter how detailed a lace may be, these geometric figures immediately catch the eye of the viewer. They provide clarity and structure.
I found it easiest to assemble the lace with geometric shapes. In this case, the bobbin lace consists of a straight upper edge and a jagged lower edge. The latter creates triangular shapes that serve as the framework of the lace.

In the next step, the lace could be filled with design elements.
Cloth stitches and whole stitches are very stable and rigid. I placed these along the jagged edge and top edge. This defines the lines of the lace and creates a clearer structure.
I filled the inner surfaces of the triangles with shaping and braiding strokes.
The tallies you see form small dainty flower patterns. The braids run in similar zigzag patterns, that are similar to the framework of the lace. This gives it a consistent and coherent look.

It took several attempts before I came up with a satisfactory result.

first draft of a bobbin lace design

Here are some aspects I noticed during the creation process:

  • It helps to look at laces that have a similar structure with resembling elements. You learn a lot by examining the construction of existing lace patterns.
  • I designed the bobbin lace pattern using a vector program and drew in the lines of all the bobbin lace pairs. This helps to trace the course of each thread. This way, any mistakes can be corrected before the first lace draft is made.
  • Depending on the intended use of the lace, it should have enough support. While laces that consist mainly of cloth stitches and whole stitches are relatively stable, other patterns can warp quickly and be very delicate. Open patterns with just a few braids and half stitches are very elastic and have less support. So, in addition to the aesthetic aspect, the functional properties of lace patterns should also be taken into account.
  • The most difficult part of creating a bobbin lace pattern was the following fact: while a certain number of bobbins are needed at certain points of the lace, in order to complete the pattern, they must all be accommodated and incorporated into the pattern before the start of the next repeat. Finding the balance without making the pattern look too tangled and cluttered at certain points, or too empty at others, was not very easy.
Bobbin lace with leaves and a jagged edge
Bobbin lace with leaves and a jagged edge

Of course, it must be said that this is my very first attempt. Surely there are other approaches to creating and designing bobbin lace patterns. This was the most obvious way for me. And as it is with everything: With each step, you get to learn more!

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