Tagged ‘bobbins’

Lace work

April 29th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Carolyn and Margaret make some calculations.Yesterday, Carolyn and her friend Margaret came to Plymouth to work on winding bobbins. I have lots of pictures.

Quite a lot of time was spent calculating how much thread should go onMore conferring and confirming before cutting. each pair of bobbins. I think lacers come from the same school as carpenters, the “measure twice cut once” school, or in this case, figure twice and double-check the calculations. So this part took a long time and was crucially important though maybe it didn’t make the most exciting photos.

Finding the middle and the end, and winding on.Then the interesting stuff started. Carolyn and Margaret measured quite long lengths of thread, found the center, and then wound each end onto a separate bobbin. This process involved long pieces of nearly invisible thread stretched across the room.

At one point I totally did not see the silver thread and nearly created aMargaret holds a bobbin. disaster by walking “through” it. No harm done, fortunately. Here are pictures of winding, and one of Margaret holding a wound bobbin with the tiny hair clip holding the metal thread securely.

Stringing the spangles.For one set of bobbins they had to string spangles on the thread. Mark left us a tin of about 160 spangles and they used them all, plus 40 of the 50 we had left over from last time.200 spangles.

Here is a picture of Carolyn stringing the spangles, shaking them down the thread to where they need to be (she very patiently did this three times till I could get a decent picture) and one of the loaded bobbins. That’s 100 spangles per bobbin.

Thanks to Carolyn and Margaret for their hard work. They’ll be back to set up the second lace pillow later this week.

Last week we received a beautiful pair of yellow knitted gloves from Megan D and an equally lovely pair of brown ones from Jessica S. Thank you both.

Spangles on the Bobbins

April 24th, 2008 by Tricia

Tricia sent me this post for tonight:

Spangles on lace bobbins with hair clips.I know many of those lacers reading the blog would like to see how we are keeping the spangles on the bobbins. Here you see the spangles on one with Carolyn’s small hair clips to hold the thread in place.

Bryce makes lace.We are also adding pictures of Bryce, our speedy lace maker from the April session and her early progress.

Everyone enjoyed watching her fast hands clicking the bobbins and having the airy lace start to float off of the pillow.

The first piece of real lace takes shape.I started thinking that I would have to get out my own bobbins and learn myself!


Of birds, and lace

February 17th, 2008 by Jill Hall

The bird on the blog header is indeed the same as the bird on the jacket, as Mary says in the comments. The bird on the jacket will be a little smaller, though, and the stitches may be a little different. Since we traced and Tricia worked that sample we’ve received more detailed photos of the original. Last I talked with Tricia about the bird she was musing that there might be something more interesting and complicated going on than she’d first thought. She has to study the photos some more, and maybe consult with Ms North at the V&A. I can’t wait to see what she finds out. Of course we’ll share with you too.

robbin workingSpeaking of sharing, tonight I have pictures of Robbin (of the laptop donation) and one of her treasures. Robbin brought in the piece of antique Honiton lace that was her wedding veil.Honiton

I learned that Honiton lace takes its name from the place in the west of England where it has been traditionally made. Honiton is worked in pieces or motifs and sewn to a net ground. Long ago the net was made by hand, but the piece Robbin has dates from around 1900 and the net is likely machine made. Robbin explained that Honiton was made by the cottage system, where workers made individual lace motifs which were then put together to make big pieces of lace. A worker might make one motif, the small flower with leaves perhaps, over and over and over and over.

Robbin bought this piece of lace intending it for her veil and then shopped for a dress to go with it, like the dedicated textile lover she is. Here’s a detail of the veil.

Robbin also brought her lace pillow with her sample lace still affixed. She thought I would like to see it that way, and take pictures for the blog. She was right. I was fascinated to see the lace on the pricking with some of the pins still in, and the bobbins still attached. Robbilaceonpillown was careful to mention that these bobbins are not the kind recommended for working the sample, but she has lots of them and not lots of the recommended (Dutch) kind. They worked tolerably well, she thought, and was willing to put up with their drawbacks as it was less trouble than hunting up enough pairs of the other.

These are the lace bobbins with spangles – bobbin spangles, not the kind of spangles that will be worked into the lace. Yeesh, this is confusing.

Spangles Redux

February 4th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Both Robbin and Wendy answered my call for more information on spangles on bobbins. See Robbin’s comment on yesterday’s post. Wendy emailed me with pictures; her note is below.

I have attached two photos for the “Spangles” discussion.
They show lace bobbins from my collection ( I have been collecting tools for over 25 years) with 2 spangles that Mark made! I thought it would help to give a sense of scale.

spanglesonbobbinsThe book Lace and Bobbins by T. L. Huetson first published in the USA in 1973 has several chapters devoted to the lace bobbin – the definition given in the book is as follows:

“ The purpose of these spangles was threefold: they added a little extra weight to the bobbins so that as they hung down on the pillow the thread had a little tension; bobbins not being used at a particular moment were pushed away to either side of the pillow and the spangle prevented them from rolling back and getting in the way of the other bobbins the worker was using; and they helped the bobbins to grip in the spool of the bobbin winder when they were being wound with thread”

In the world of bobbin collecting there are a wide variety of types and styles – some of which are; wooden, bone, carved, inlaid, bead inlaid, church window and inscribed. Inscriptions include names,
engagements, sentiments and executions. Bobbins with certain types of spangles are highly sought after. An example would be a bobbin with a “Kitty Fisher”, a grey colored bead with white dots that have blue centers thought to resemble the eyes of the famous actress. The large bead in the center of the circle of beads is sometimes referred to as a “pompadour”. The square cut beads on either side of the center bead are often “square cut”, they help to prevent the bobbin from moving about when not being used.markspangles

Hope this helps!


Thanks to both for helping a great deal.

Sequins, Spangles, Paillettes, Oe My!

February 3rd, 2008 by Jill Hall

Tonight’s post was written by Wendy, a Spangle Quester with a background in metal work and jewelry making. I know the lacers wish we wouldn’t call the teardrop shaped metal bits that will be worked into the bobbin lace “spangles”. To lacers, spangles are a hoop of beads affixed to the end of a particular kind of lacemaking bobbin. Be-spangled bobbins are for a certain kind of lace making, and I’ve been told the spangles weight the bobbins thus aiding the tensioning in that kind of lacemaking. However, having seen some of these bobbins, I think they may just be an excuse for pretties on the fiber tools. (OK lacers, I know you’re out there. Tell us the real story.) We keep using the term, though, to distinguish between the teardrop shaped metal bits on the lace and round metal bits (we’re calling them sequins) that will be sewn to the jacket in between the gold and silk embroidery. In the 17th century round sparkly metal bits sewn decoratively to a garment were sometimes called “oes”, as in the plural of ‘o’. Anyway, as you can see Wendy found a morass of terminology in the historical record:

Being involved with the jacket has been a wonderful experience so when Tricia said to me “you need to look at these and see what you think” I was more than curious. As mentioned in a previous entry Tricia and Mark had examined the spangles under magnification and were able to draw some conclusions, take measurements and ask even more questions. So I began first to look for anything “written”- after all these are over 400 years old- but because they were not a “necessity” and were used on a woman’s garment what if anything would be out there?


While digging for information on spangles (those “twitty little things” -PF) I found that the terms used were not necessarily consistent and that there were not usually references to the origin or a cited work- frustrating but nonetheless intriguing.

Spangle – contemporary – used almost interchangeably for sequins which come in two styles – flat and cupped. Paillettes refers to the large sequin disks with either one or two holes punched at the top edge (this helps create a “fish scale” look by hiding the stitching which secures them to the ground fabric).

Spangles as used prior to 1850 refer to little pieces of metal or tags; this term appears to be English in origin.

Paillon – a term used in metalsmithing- “another name for a solder snippet or small piece of sheet metal used decoratively” – Untracht, Oppi; Metal Techniques for Craftsmen- 1968

Paillette- a sequin or spangle sewn onto a piece of clothing- a term we use currently to denote the small round sequins sewn to the cloth ground. (French)

Tremolo- the Italian term for the hanging type of spangle (makes perfect sense as the hanging type would move or “tremble” thus adding to the sparkling or glittering effect especially in candle light). M. Channing Linthicum; Oes, R.E.S. Vol 7 1931 (No 26 April) Oxford Journals

In his essay “Oes”, Linthicum discusses the misleading lumping together of the descriptions of these two very different decorative elements. “Oes were metal eyelets tacked or clinched to the material in such designs as “squares”, “Esses”, ‘wheatears” etc or powdered over the whole surface. They could hardly be designated spangles since they occur in accounts usually with spangles” He defines spangles as “thin leaves of gold or other metal usually attached by the top and hanging free so that they trembled at every movement of the wearer.”

Ohhh sparklies!!! Not only does the gilt silk and the oes or paillettes but the spangles sparkle too! (The examples we have seen are pretty well oxidized/ tarnished)

So thinking I now knew what I was looking for I plodded ahead and ran straight into a wall.

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