Nika of Carillion – Bobbin Lace Trim

I’ve been making bobbin lace for a long time, but I only found the SCA this year, and immediately jumped into researching period bobbin lace and trying to make period patterns. They use a very different style than most modern work, so it’s been an interesting and enjoyable project.

This is my second sample of a period bobbin lace piece, still in progress. It’s trim worked using a pattern from a Venetian book from 1560 (Le Pompe II, one of the earliest known books of bobbin lace patterns – see scan at The book contains only an image with no instructions, but it’s a fairly simple pattern, so I just printed it out and worked using the stitches that seemed correct to me. My techniques match those used in museum exhibits of 16th century bobbin lace, and in published reconstructions of other patterns from the same book. The one modification I made is omitting the picots (small circles on the sides of the crossing plaits), since I prefer the pattern without them.

How bobbin lacemaking works: long wooden bobbins are used to hold, organize and manipulate the threads, which are woven together around pins that the lacemaker sticks into the pillow as they work, shaping the lace piece according to the pattern on the pillow. Different stitches create various effects. This pattern uses 32 bobbins in total, with an independently manipulated thread on each. I’m using blue linen thread and gold acrylic thread. I have made 32 inches of trim so far, and plan to keep going at least until I’m out of thread.

Link to a longer document with additional images:

4 thoughts on “Nika of Carillion – Bobbin Lace Trim

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  1. Oooo. I love the contrasting colors and the texture added by the beads. I took a class once, and it is NOT easy. You made it so neat too. 💖

  2. This is fascinating! I never knew bobbin lace techniques included plaiting or that a specially prepared pillow was involved. Now I’m thinking about making a little something similar to see if it helps with plaiting work. Thank you for sharing!

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