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let's make some lace

it’s all in the know-how

Handmade lacemaking is definitely an art that dates back to the 1600s. Not only was lace popular for household linens, it was used to embellish women’s clothing as well as men’s collars. Young girls attended special lacemaking classes in the early to mid 1800s; but industrialization and the beginning of the machine age brought the decline to handmade lacemaking.


These bobbins, carved by sailors in the 1800s, were used in the making of handmade laces; they are from the estate antique collection.

The whalebone bobbins have beautifully carved, intricate designs and detail.


Antique beads are located at one end of the bobbin; at the opposite end, thread is wrapped. I’ve unwrapped the thread just a bit so you can see the detail. This thread is used in the making of the lace.


The beads were purposely selected for their size and weight. The weight they added to the bobbin pulled the thread taut so that it could be woven and wrapped around pins or fids to create the desired pattern.


Look at the intricate carving detail on these whalebone bobbins.


Lucy’s name has been carved into and painted in red and gold on one of the bobbins. The photo with the same beads as the bobbin with Lucy’s name is actually the backside of that same bobbin.

how it works

This photo shows the entire collection of bobbins.


The two in the lower left corner are made from carved wood. Two of the bobbins are wrapped with pewter for added embellishment.

I wish there had been a lacemaking pillow in the estate antique collection. So far, I have not seen one.


This is a photo taken of a picture within the book entitled Sewing Tools & Trinkets by Helen Lester Thompson, 1997, that is with the estate antique collection. It depicts a pillow used in the making of lace.

In the top center of the pillow, already completed lace can be seen.


The pins in the center of the pillow are stuck onto the pattern; and the thread from the various bobbins is then woven to create the desired pattern.


Notice the beads that are visible on a few of the bobbins. They give weight to the bobbin to help pull the thread tight so that it can be wrapped and woven. The bobbins seen in this photo appear to be made of wood.


It is my understanding that if these antique lacemaking pillows can be found, they range in value from $300.00 - $600.00, depending on their quality.

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