Lace making – a family affair

Lace making is my hobby. It is my joy, my pleasure, and my peace of mind. It excites me and offers an escape from daily toil. But mostly, it rewards me in unexpected ways.  I have been dreaming about making lace since the age of twelve. But I only started making lace in 2010 when a friend invited me to a lace meeting in Cambridge.

When I first started, I spent many hours on the internet and discovered the wonderful world of bobbins, lace pillows, pattern books and thread. I found it quite hard to figure out what type of bobbins to buy and where to buy them from. All my research on the internet convinced me to try my hand at turning my own bobbins. So I tried. Before long, I had two new hobbies – lacemaking and woodturning. Two very different pursuits. Both exciting and rewarding in their own right, but each demanding more and more of my time.

My dad, Mauritz, sensed my dilemma and offered to make the bobbins while I focussed on lacemaking. But, as time went by and I learnt more about lacemaking, I developed a preference for square continental bobbins, which are too fiddly to turn and shape, and cheap enough to buy over the internet. Dad also got side-tracked by a wider lace vision and started to make all kinds of lace gadgets – mostly to surprise me.

Now in his seventies, my dad came to woodturning late in his life – inspired by my lace making. His enjoyment and sense of achievement give me as much pleasure as the beautiful pieces that he makes for me.

Dad usually saves a new piece as a surprise or for a special occasion. When I finish a big project at work or pass an exam, there is usually a celebration meal by mum and a lacemaking tool from dad. He has produced a few heirloom lace tools that will one day be passed on to my young niece, Lara, who is already showing a keen interest in lacemaking.

I have included some pictures of dad’s work. Initially he worked on small projects – turning needle cases and lace rollers.  His next project was a pincushion stand with room for six spools of thread.

Pin cushion stand, lace rollers and needle cases

His projects gradually increased in size, and next he turned two beautiful bobbin stands to display some of my bobbins.

Bobbin stands to display some of my bobbins

But the crowning glory of his woodturning adventures is the bobbin tree that he turned for me in the last few months. It is 42cm high and has eight spokes. Each spoke is 22cm long and is designed to hold ten pairs of bobbins. All up, the bobbin tree holds 160 wound bobbins. A brilliant solution to keep my wound bobbins neat, tidy and tangle-free! I have recently started making Binche, which typically requires a lot of bobbins, so the bobbin tree has come in really handy. I can’t wait to see what dad will come up with next!

Bobbin tree


8 thoughts

  1. Oh, wow, that bobbin tree is beautiful! My dad helped me make some very simple bobbins once upon a time, but nothing this fancy.

    I enjoyed coming across your bobbin lace blog and look forward to reading your future updates.

  2. How wonderful to have such a beautiful piece of woodwork. My dad made my first bobbins 30 years ago when I was first learning. Unfortunately I didn’t continue the pursuit until recently and now he is too old to turn any more wood. You are so blessed to have these treasures.

  3. Wow, if your dad ever feels that he would like to sell any of these items, please let us know. Love the bobbin tree. You are so lucky.

    1. Hi Anne. Yes, I love my dad’s creations. I am trying to twist his arm to turn me another bobbin tree – I keep him quite busy with all my requests! My dad really appreciated your comments.

  4. Wow I love your bobbin display stand. I have some I would like to display but they are in a box tucked away. Must do something about that! Inspiration from your dad. Thanks

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