Bobbin winding bliss

IMG_5729I have always found winding bobbins by hand intensely therapeutic and deeply relaxing.  But it is ultimately quite time consuming and can take a toll on your hands / thumbs / arms.

Last year I attended two days of classes with Tricia Bury and Sue Newell in Cambridge.  On day 1 I did Idrija.  But by the end of the day I was well on my way to finishing the piece that I started that morning, and it was going reasonably well.  So I decided that I wanted to take the opportunity to learn Binche basics on Day 2 instead of doing more Idrija.  Tricia talked me through what I needed to do to prepare, and gave me a pricking and basic beginners’ instructions for getting started with Binche.  The only thing that stood between me and my dream to learn Binche under Tricia and Sue’s expert guidance was having to wind 59 PAIRS of bobbins overnight.  ……Sigh…..

Never one to back away from a challenge, I drove home at the end of day 1, had a quick bite to eat, settled in front of the television and started winding bobbins.   It took me almost five hours to wind 108 bobbins by hand, but I got there in the end.  Let’s just say that I had had enough of winding bobbins by hand for a very long time after that.  But I’m so happy that I persevered, because that got me started on my Binche journey.

My first piece of Binche

As I got more immersed in making Binche I soon realised that many of my favourite Binche patterns require a lot of bobbins (anywhere between 100 and 300 pairs).  With my lacemaking time already in such short supply, it seems a bit of a waste to spend days, and potentially weeks on winding that many bobbins.  Not to mention the toll it might take on my hands.  So I thought to myself there has to be an easier way.

After some online research I found the perfect bobbin winder at a German bobbin lace supplier.  My birthday gift from me to me (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).


The bobbin winder that changed my life!

The bobbin winder is made of wood and has a very sturdy construction.  My bobbins fit very snuggly and securely into the attachment.  The winder can be used with electricity or with a battery pack.  It is incredibly quiet, very easy to use and very fast.  You can also choose whether to wind bobbins clockwise or anti-clockwise (by flipping a switch on the battery pack).


Winding bobbins is truly a breeze – I can load up my bobbins with a lot of thread in no time at all.  I had to have a few practice rounds in the beginning to get used to how it works.  Because it is so fast, my thread snapped the first time I used it.  But once I figured out how it all worked there was no looking back.  My only regret is that I didn’t buy it years ago!


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