Friday, 19 August 2011

Lace Making: Speciality Bobbins

Some more bobbin eye candy for you today.  A lot of bobbins made today - even the elaborate ones -have origins in designs that date back several hundred years and like quilt block patterns do, retain the same names.


This is an unspangled 'jingles' it has a couple of wooden rings that move about the main shank and 'jingle'.


They are no different in size to the other plainer bobbin types.  This may look like a regular bobbin below. However, it's not...


...Inside the body of the bobbin is a tiny brass bobbin. You can see them through the window created by carving bits out of the bobbin.  This is a 'Mother and Babe' Bobbin - sometimes called a lantern Bobbin because of the way you can see into the bobbin. 


I also have a lantern bobbin with seed beads which move up and down when you move the bobbin.


One of my favourite of these speciality/novelty bobbins must be the Cow and Calf, which is another Mother and Babe type bobbin.  From the outside the bobbin looks like a regular wooden bobbin.  You can see it in the 3rd picture I've posted. It's the one on the far left with blue seed bead spangle. When you pull apart the bottom of the bobbin it relieves a tiny wooden 'calf'

The spangles on this bobbin and it's pair (the mother and babe above) are known as bird cage spangles, which are a traditional way of spangling and slightly fancier than the regular beads you'd find on an antique bobbin. In fact most common were plain glass beads, square lamp work beads and sometimes round 'evil eye' beads said to protect the lace making from bad luck.

I have mentioned you can get all kinds of bobbins made from wood and bone. You can also find bobbins made from other materials like glass (which I don't have) and metal.  I do have a pair of brass bobbins; they are not the greatest to work with so I don't think I'd want a pillow full of them. The bottomn brass bobbin is a style called 'caterpillar' as it's got a caterpillar shape to it.


You can find more bobbin pictures in my flickr set here.

Next time I'll talk about patterns, prickings and the first piece all beginner lace makers make.


  1. I had no idea there were so many different types/shapes/names of bobbins - really interesting! Thanks for another great post!

  2. and another interesting bobbin post-thank you, it is really interesting


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