Learning Bob in Lace

Since I could not work too much in the workshop and the garden, I have decided to learn how to make bobbin lace from my mother. It is a bit frustrating because as much as I love my mom, she is terrible at explaining things. But I have learned how to make lace as a kid, and once forgotten things are easier to learn again, so I have succeeded somewhat and I have learned two basic lace-making techniques.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

These are bookmarks. The green leaves are meant to stick out of the book. I have decided to learn by making these because they are a bit useful whilst being enough boring to learn the necessary muscle-memory. And the eleven curves were excellent exercise – that part took three times as long as the straight part.

The red and blue ones are made with technique “plátno” (canvas). I started with the red ones, that s why those have three different colors in them, so I can easier keep tracks of the various threads. On the blue ones, I was more confident so the body is made entirely of blue with just the outer line white. The yellow ones are made with technique “polohod” (half-throw) and are the last ones I have made. I already knew sort-of what to expect and the colors were chosen for the looks.

In order to keep my hands functioning, I will have to interrupt knife-making and gardening with easier tasks, and bobbin lace seems to be a good fit. It can be interrupted at almost any time, it is easier than drawing or painting, it can be done whilst watching a movie and once prepared it can be done either just a few minutes a day or a few hours a day, whatever one can fit into the schedule. And it does not strain fingers, which is why my mother could continue doing it even after having metacarpal bones in both thumbs destroyed by arthritis to the point they had to be replaced by plastic ones.

Only now I have nine bookmarks without actually needing more than one. Well, I have more knives than I need too…


  1. Jazzlet says

    Wow, I am very impresed Charly, beautiful. Roughly how long does it take to make one?

  2. Nightjar says

    These are beautiful! Love the yellow ones.

    I always admired how my grandma and my mom did this kind of thing while watching TV and so quickly. They tried to teach me but I think the problem wasn’t that they were terrible at explaining, it was that I am terrible at doing this stuff.

  3. says

    Thank you, I am glad you like it. I hope to make something a lot better in the future.
    @Jazzlet, my mother estimates she could do one in about two hours. She never has made one of these, because I have designed them specifically for the purpose of my learning.
    It took me about three-five hours apiece -- I did not time it precisely.

  4. voyager says

    Those are fabulous, Charly. I don’t know much about making lace, but it seems like a good way to keep your hands active, and not strained. They’re marketable, too.
    You’re a real renaissance man.

  5. says

    They are lovely.
    I’m fascinated that your learning process starts with “making my own design”, which in my experience is what comes when you are fairly accomplished already.

  6. says

    @Giliell, I was designing bobbin lace with my mother since I was about six years old, so I already knew a lot about that part of the process. A lot of the things that my mother has made over the years was my design, which she subsequently tweaked a bit and made the actual work.

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