We are spoilt for choice when it comes to the lace tools on offer. I thought I would share some of my favourite lace tools this week to help beginners navigate the maze of lacemaking tools available.
As a beginner I found the different lace tools quite confusing – there were so many to choose from, and I wasn’t always sure what they were used for. But over time I have identified a few firm favourites that have made my lacemaking journey so much easier. Here is a selection of my favourites:
A pricker is used to prepare the pricking, which is the working pattern for making bobbin lace. The pricker is used to prick the pattern of pin holes through the pricking card. The pricking card is typically thin (but sturdy) glazed cardboard.
Pins are used to secure the stitches of the bobbin lace. These pins are pushed through the holes of the pricking and into your lace pillow.
The pricker pictured above is fitted with a pin vise, which is a collar tightening device. This is very useful, because it allows you to insert different sized needles into the pricker as required for your pricking.
Take care with selecting the appropriate sized needle before starting with your pricking. If the needle is too thin compared to the pins you are going to use, it will be difficult to push the pins into the pin holes in the pricking. On the other hand, if the needle used to prepare the pricking is too thick, the pins may move around when you tension your lace, and this may distort your lace.
Repeatedly pushing pins into the pricking and lace pillow with your forefinger can become quite uncomfortable after a few hours of lacemaking. Pin pusher to the rescue – it makes light work of pushing pins into the pricking and lace pillow.
The tip of the metal rod is concave, so that it fits the head of a pin nice and snuggly. The pin pusher is placed on top of the head of the pin and is used to push the pin through the pin hole in the pricking and into the lace pillow.
You may also find it convenient to use a pin pusher when you make lace that requires a lot of pins to be placed very close together (eg, Binche or Bucks).
The pin lifter makes removing pins from your lace pillow an absolute breeze. Pulling lots and lots of pins out of your lace pillow can take quite a toll on the finger pads of your thumb and forefinger, so a pin lifter comes in very handy.
Bobbin slides – also called bobbin tidy or bobbin tamer
These bobbin slides are my absolute favourite lace tool and I cannot recommend them highly enough. I use them to keep my bobbins tidy and in the right order when I make lace. They are also useful for stacking bobbins if you are using a lot of bobbins on your lace pillow. The ones I use are made of wood and each slide is fitted with an elastic loop that is used to secure the bobbins.
The slides that I use come in two sizes – the small one is used to secure four to six bobbins, and the large slide is used to secure eight to ten bobbins. Here is picture of my bobbins slides in action:
When I work with Midlands bobbins I tend to use metal spring stitch holders to secure my bobbins.
I have a small pair of scissors on a beaded chain that I wear around my neck whenever I am busy winding bobbins or finishing off a piece of lace. So convenient -it’s right there when I need to snip some thread. Remember to fit the protective plastic sleeve over the scissor blades after using it, otherwise it might poke a hole through your clothes!
Crochet hooks are used when making sewings in bobbin lace, and are also used when tying off bobbins in certain types of lace (eg, Torchon). Crochet hooks come in different sizes. The type of lacemaking thread that you are using will determine the size of the crochet hook required. For finer threads I find that I use the 0.6mm and the 0.4mm most frequently.
Happy lacemaking this week – see you next Sunday!
If you would like to see more photos of my favourite lace tools, have a look at Letslace’s Pinterest board.