The Art of Knipling.

In a conversation, knipling came up, which is a type of lace making. I am, and always have been, in awe of people who can make lace, regardless of technique. It’s one of those skills which elude me. Charly was kind enough to send me a photo of one of his mother’s pieces, which is gorgeous! Definitely click for full size. Charly explains: My mother is skilled at knipling, but she was never that good at making non-abstract designs. I am the opposite – I can make realistic designs, but not abstract ones. So sometimes when she has an idea for something that should resemble reality, she employs my skill.  This knipled black swan design I drew for her a few years back from a picture she found on the internet. She then made the actual lace and framed it as a picture.


A beautiful example of art collaboration.

Here’s a bit on knipling, and all I can think is what a mess of it I would make:


  1. says

    I think it is the Danish term for bobin lace. I did not know the correct English term so I employed a few translators. Two did not know the czech word at all and the third one gave me for whatever reason “knipling” and not “bobin lace”.

  2. says

    -ování -- does not make it a verb, but a noun derived from verb (that was itself derived from noun)

    Languages are complicated and not my forte.

  3. says

    In German it’s “Klöppeln” with the “Klöppel” being the spool and also an allusion to the sound the Klöppel make. Doing a Wikipedia Jump gives me bobbin* lace. Anyway, it’s on the long list of things I want to learn…

    *bobbin is such a weird English word. Why have a totally different word for the thread you use below than for the one you use on top?

  4. says


    Wow, bobbin lace. I tried that, couldn’t get the hang of it, and that was just a straight lace length.

    And people think video games need skilled eye-hand coordination.

  5. says

    I will try and either find or make pictures of some other things my mother has made.

    I tried to learn bobbin lace from my mother as a child. I was not bad, but it takes a lot, and I mean a LOT of repetition in order to master it and get the necessary muscle memory. Unfortunately I do not have the right kind of mind to go through that sort of thing. So as soon as I learned the basics at a semi-competent level, I got bored and then forgot it all again. I would like to learn it still, because I hate seeing crafts disappear, but I just am not the right personality for this, against my wishes.

    (jack of all trades, master of none -- that’s me)

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    The swan is beautiful and the textures of the lace add a level to the work.

    In Finnish, the art/craft is called nypläys and lace (of any kind) is pitsi. The verb nyplätä (to make bobbin lace) has gained side meanings, it is used for repeatedly touching, twiddling or diddling an (usually inanimate) object with one’s fingers (for example when you’re nervous and a pen happens to be in your hand).

  7. rq says

    In Latvian it’s called knipelēšana, I don’t know if there’s a more local word for it (this one’s most likely derived from German). No transferred meanings, and it’s a relatively rare pastime here (might be a regional thing, though -- or perhaps formerly classist, as my grandmother’s family was fairly well off, and there’s a world of difference between peasant families and the wealthier levels of society).

  8. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 13

    In Finland, making bobbin lace was an important part of the economy in some places such as the city of Rauma in the Southwestern Coast and the village of Heinämaa* in the parish of Orimattila** in Southern Finland. They hold a Lace Week in Rauma (which is the third oldest town/city in Finland and has a very nice old town made of wooden buildings) in July. How common nypläys is otherwise nowadays, I don’t know, apart from the fact that one of my aunts does it as a hobby.

    * = The name means hay field or hay land
    ** = Free translation: Stallion-Matthews

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