At our May meeting, we had a Bobbin Lace presentation by Fay Evans. She has a lace maker shop in Courtland Ohio, and has been studying and teaching the finer fiber work for many years.
The tools needed were passed to her 15 years ago, because it was recognized that she was stubborn enough to actually do it. She has collected pieces along the way, and researched the techniques used and countries of origin for each. She could instantly recognize examples we brought to be identified as either real lace or fancy crochet work.
She explained that lace work is technically weaving because the threads cross at right angles. It is an artistic arrangement of voids in fabric.
It is believed that it started in Italy or Belgium, but no one knows when or where for certain. In the days before literacy, patterns were color coded connect the dots. The best lace filled dowry boxes and were passed down in wills. Wars were fought over lace.
She showed us a shawl she made with 678 pairs of bobbins, but stressed that there are only two stitches; a cross or a twist; and only four bobbins are in use at any one time. It’s all about how many crosses or twists occur before or after pinning. They originally used fish bones before straight pins were invented. The pins stay in 24 hours to set the work. Some of us were easily distracted by all the pretty beads used to decorate and add weight to the smooth wooden turnings.
When she sat down to demonstrate, her hands move with a sureness that only time and experience will bestow. It was a very impressive, and very pretty presentation.