Ladies night 10th March 2014 featured a talk on the history of Lace Making by Elizabeth Knight, from the Olney Lace Circle and star of stage, screen and radio!
Despite this being an evening for the ladies, hearing about the history
of lacemaking and how it differs from different areas and some of the equipment used made it of interest to all.
A round pillow stuffed hard with straw resting on a specially designed 3 legged stool, numerous bobbins and of course the thread are the main items required.
The bobbins are made from either wood or animal bone. There being numerous designs with patterns or even names and date of birth carved on them. Usually they were made by the husband or boyfriend.
Beads attached to the ends of the bobbins, though adding to the look are just to add weight and some bobbins were carved with a bulbous end to serve the same purpose
In victorian times, to enable lacemakers to work in winter time a lace makers lamp was used to shine a beam of candle light onto the pillow enabling the lacemaker to see her intricate work. An example and of a lacemakers lamp was demonstrated.
This consisted of a candle holder on a ratchet to allow it to be raised or lowered. A glass bulb filled with water which causes the candle light to be concentrated into a beam or spotlight. By raising or lowering the candle, the angle and therefore position of the beam could easily be adjusted to allow the lacemaker to see what she was doing.
The club thank Elizabeth and her husband/chauffeur/assistant Charles for giving this superb demonstration.
My apologies for the poor quality photos, they were taken with my iPhone without using flash!
I found this youtube video on lacemaking with links to further videos, so if anyone wants to pursue this craft further these links may be of use.