"Mi Pequeño Taller" was born in 2003, with the intention of studying and investigating the different techniques of bobbin lace in a group. Some time later, the original workshop (which started with a few lacers from Guadalajara, Spain) became a "virtual" workshop, with lacers from all around the world.

With the creation of this blog, I want to share with you the information obtained.

Leave a comment in the space just below the article. I am looking forward to reading it. It will help me decide
what to write next.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas ornament

Thanking you all for following my blog, this time I am not writing an article but I am giving you a Christmas pattern to decorate your Christmas tree baubles as a present.

It is a very easy design, made of spiders, appropriate also for beginners.

Before starting to work, you have to take some measurements.

First we have to measure the top circle of the bauble. Then we have to draw this circle on a cardboard (it measures normally around 8 mm diameter). To this circel we have to attach three patterns (as can be seen on picture 3).

Next, we have to measure the bauble itself: our design has to measure the length of the contour divided into 2. So, you have to adjust the pattern to this measurement enlarging or reducing it.

Materiales necesarios

Depending on this measurement, you can use a more or less coarse thread. I have used a silver thread mixed with a yellow thread to make it look golden.

To start, place a few pins all around the edge of the circle, and make a ring putting one thread several times around the circle of pins.  Knot the bobbins of this pair and let it hanging. This pair will be one of the pairs used for the tape of spiders. Hang the remaining 7 pairs to the central ring one next to the other with a hook.

Almohadilla con trabajo en progreso
Work the tape of spiders following the design.

When reaching the end point, leave all pairs pending, as you will need them to finish up the bauble. We can cut the threads at 10 cm, to have the bobbins free to use again.

Once the 3 tapes are finished and all pending pairs are cut to 10 cm, take all the pins off the pillow and remove the lace in order to "dress" your bauble.

We must introduce the top of the bauble through the ring of our lace, cover the bauble with the 3 tapes and tie the ends of the tapes at the bottom of the bauble. With one pair we can make a festoon as long as we like it.


Finally, we have to cut all threads to the same length with a pair of scissors.

Now we can hang our bauble from our Christmas Tree or place it where we prefer.

I hope you have enjoyed making this bauble and that you have a good result. I would like you to send me the pictures of your finished laces in order to be able to show them here. I am sure each of you will give a personal touch to the lace.

I wish you all a

Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2011!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book on Spanish Hinojosa tape lace soon to be published

Portada del libro de Mariña Regueiro
Very soon we will be able to have in our hands Mariña Regueiro's new book. Mariña is a well known bobbin lace teacher, and also an investigator of almost forgotten techniques and promoter of Spanish laces abroad.

Her last book is the result of the investigation of a tape lace made in a small part of the region of Extremadura (west of Spain), in Hinojosa del Valle, with the aim of reconstructing its history and systematize its technique.

The Spanish Hinojosa tape laces are a real jewel  in the history of Spanish lace. They constitute a new gender directly related  to the laces brought from Flanders into Cádiz in the 18th century and they reflect the European tendencies of end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th.

All this makes this book an essential guide for the new generations of lace makers. It is written in 4 languages: Spanish, French, English and German and is aimed at the international community of lace researchers.

As soon as it is on the market, I will give you more information about its price and the way to buy it. Until then... lets wait. The book will soon be here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lace stocking fronts

Stocking fronts
The piece of lace shown in this article belongs to the private collection of Tess Parrish, who has kindly shared it with us.

The first thing that surprises us when looking at this lace is its pointed oval shape. Afterwards, we ask ourselves the question "What is this?". Well, they are pieces of lace that were inserted in the front part of stockings and were fashionable as far back as in the days of Elizabeth I. (Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, was Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603). The lace was inserted starting from the top of the shoe up to below the knee.

Detail: notice remains of silk stocking at edges
But the laces in this  picture are not as old as that. They were probably made toward the end of the 19th century, when decorated stocking fronts were very much in fashion. 

Tess explains: "It is white Chantilly. [The pieces] are boat shaped and are quite fine. The white silk stockings to which they were attached are gone, but they were obviously cut away because there are remnants of the silk knitting still evident".  

If anyone is interested in seeing more of these decorated stockings, there are a lot of them in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Go to the museum collection database (http://www.metmuseum.org), then the Costume Institute, and then type in "stockings."


Thank you very much to Tess Parrish for letting me publish the picture of her lace and in my blog.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I love the Internet, because it is a perfect way to get in touch with people with our same interests. Bobbin lace is a not very common activity, and it's not easy to find someone to work with or to help us near where we live. But via the Internet we can estabish contact with anybody anywhere in the world. This is the case of Esperanza, who has written from México to ask me how to make a bolster pillow. Her question made me decide to write a small article for all those interested.

Necessary material
I always try to make my pillows myself. With a little skill and interest, they are cheap to make and we can make them as we want. In Spain it is not easy to buy them, becasue they are not very traditinal, except in very few places. But, if we want to work tape lace (for example, the Spanish Hinojosa lace, Russian lace, Slovenian, Schneeberg, etc.), this kind of pillow is necessary and ideal.

Central tube for the filling and already sewn material
Let's start making a cilindric cover: we have to sew a piede of material on the long side and make a hem in the short sides. The size of the cover will be the size of the pillow. A 35 cms long pillow is too small, and we will only be able to work small motifes on it. Longer than 60 cms is uncomfortable to work on. I reccomend a medium size pillow: about 40 cm long and 80 cms diameter.

To fill the straw it is important to use gloves
Once we have the material ready, we have to fill it. My preferred option is straw. But not always easy to find. If the pillow is to be small, we can fill it with sawdust or sand. And another appropriate filling is a hard and compact foam, for example, those matresses used for making gymnastics...
But, whatever material we use, it is essential to make a very hard and compact pillow. If it is soft, the pins won't stay in place. And if the pins are loose, it is impossible to get a good final work.

Almohada terminada, con la funda por poner.

It is also convenient to make a cover for the pillow, so that we can take it off and wash it regularly.

Here are some links for instructions on how to make a variety of bolster pillows.

Filled with straw:

a) Filled with sawdust and b) filled with a tube and wool blankets:

With foam and in the center a plastic tube full of small stones, to give weight:

Perhaps these instructions are not enough. But if you have any doubt, pelase ask for more information.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Russian lace of Vologda

Panel de encaje de B. Beselova, 1967
I've been interested in Russian bobbin lace for many years. The fact that there is so little information about it in my country, makes it even more attactive to me. It is a challenge trying to make it correctly and finding interesting patterns.

Quite briefly, what we usually call "Russian bobbin lace" is a continuous tape lace (that is, we start and end at the same place) and normally a fixed number of bobbins are needed. The tapes make curves forming flowers or other motifs to fill the space. When one tape touches another, it is joined with a crochet hook.

Scarf made by Nieves García
After having got in touch with a few Russian bobbin lacers and after having read quite a few books on Russian lace, I think I know fairly well its characteristics. So, it's time to start working. Some colleagues from "Mi Pequeño Taller" and me decided to make a scarf. We like to use the lace we make and not keep it in a drawer. So, a scarf seemed the ideal piece: neither too big, nor too small, and wearable. 

But we needed a pattern. Finding it was complicated... but we finally  got the inspiration from a panel made in 1967 by the Russian lacer B. Beselova, and adapted it to our necessities, reducing the number of repeats and making a long row of them.

And this is the result, a few months later.
Scarf made by Antje González, still on the pillow

Friday, October 8, 2010

Statue of a bobbin lacer in Rauma

The historic centre of Rauma is very pleasant and cosy. It has a Lace Museum with over one thousand pieces of lace, many Lace Shops along its main street, a Lace Association dedicated to the preservation and teaching of bobbin lace... And it also has a statue of a lace maker.

The staute, made of bronce, is in Helsinki Square (in Rauma), in the middle of a small park covered of grass and surrounded by bushes and trees. It was placed there in 1976 to commemorate the lace making tradition, which started in Rauma in the 18th century, and still continues today. 

The statue was made by the Finish sculptor and professor Kauko Räike (1923-2005).
The statue represents a Finish lacer, with traditional pillow and bobbins. We can also observe in the statue the way the Finish lacers work the lace: they work palms down. In most parts of Spain we work palms up.

In most of the cities that are famous for its lace we can find a statue of a lacer. In Spain we can find them too.

With your help  we could make a chapter where we could admire these statues and observe their differences. If you have travelled and photographed any of these statues, send me please your pictures and I will publish them next to some details. With your contributions, the blog can be much more interesting.

Friday, September 24, 2010


One of the biggest problems I had when visiting Finland was the language. Finish is a language of Finno-Ugric origin. The only other languages which are slightly similar are Hungarian, the Samoyedic languages, and the Permic languages, spoken in small groups of Siberia and South of Russia. That is, they are of very little help to us. Spanish and English speakers won't find a word that sounds familiar to us.

So, as you can imagine, my visit to the Rauma Museum wasn't as satisfactory as I had expected. Precisely because I couldn't understand what was written on the signs. An English translation was only on some of them.

Having this difficulty made me write a list of lace related words, which I want to share with you, just in case you need it some time.
punto enteroVCVC
whole stitch
hilo de contorno o reseguido
gimp thread
punto zurcido CVC
cloth st
hoja de guipur
medio punto VC
half stitch
hepática (planta que inspira muchos de los diseños de E.L. Kortelahti)
hepatica (plant that inspires many of E.L. Kortelahti's designs)

Hepatica nobilis

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's a small world

It's a small world, also when speaking about bobbin lace. From the 17th century onwards, merchants and dealers moved a lot of products from one country to another. And lace was not free of this movement either. In those times, when high society liked to use lace on their costumes and also on their home linen, lace was imported and exported in great quantities. This made it easy to copy designs or to inspire the new creations.

Due to this exchange along the time, we can recognize some of the local pieces of lace while visiting a museum in another part of the world. And that is precisely what has happened to me while visiting Rauma (Finland): the popular lace of this museum reminds me a lot to our Spanish lace of Camariñas and Almagro. And, in some cases, they not only remind me, but they are identical.

For example, the edging we use to call in Spain popularly the "lace of the princess" (because this lace, made by the lacemakers of Camariñas, was given to our princess Elena as a gift on her wedding), can be seen in Rauma, in a collection of lace redrawn by the well known Finnish lacemaker Impi Alanko. In a small card underneath the lace it says: Impi Pitsi (Impi's lace).

Whether this lace arrived in Finland from Spain, or it arrived from another country, whether it is original from there and it arrived in Spain from another place... this is something we perhaps will never know. What is sure is that this model, which I especially like, has also been liked by other peoples in other places of the world.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A brilliant designer: Eeva Liisa Kortelahti

We can't talk about bobbin lace in Finland without mentioning Eeva-Liisa Kortelahti. I am sure that most of you have seen her designs in books or magazines, sometimes without knowing  that they belong to her. But a life dedicated to designing (modern, delicate and absolutely personal designs), deserve an article in my blog. 

Thanks to my trip to Finland this summer, I have been able to know her personally. She is one of today's best lace designers. Her designs have a personal touch: in most of them appears a three lobed leaf  (sinivoukko in finish, hepatica in English) which she herself considers to be her distinctive  or logo.
At one side of her impeccable garden, there is a typical Finish wooden cabin, with the name PITSI-PIRTTI (bobbin lace cabin) carved in its front.


As soon as I entered, I was impressed of all the laces (about 500), all of them designed by her, and exhibited with an exquisite taste. From the wooden walls hang laces in a frame, other s inside showcases, panels with laces on them, 3D  figures hang from the windows ... It is also possible to buy some of her numerous published  books, patterns, postcards, even laces.

Eeva Liisa has dedicated all her life to designing and making lace. She has published over 10 books. Her patterns are easy, and at the same time contain much detail. For example, they include small arrows, very useful to indicate which way we have to follow. 
Apart from edgings for tablecloths, doilies and handkerchiefs,  Eeva Liisa designs pictures with festive and religious subject, as well as human figures full of movement. They look like drawn pictures.

In her warm cabin she teaches a few lessons a week. I wish I lived near to be able to attend her lessons!

You can buy her books in her own Web page http://www.pitsipirtti.fi/ or in specialized bookshops.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

RAUMA: a city full of lace

We all know that Finland is a Scandinavian country in the North of Europe. When we think of Finland, we imagine a landscape with snow, a sled dog race, forests, elks and Father Christmas...

But Finland is much more than that. And, speaking of lace, it is important to know that it has been made in the past and still made today. Rauma is one of the most representative cities in the field of bobbin lace, having its own Lace Museum, a Lace Association, a statue of a a lacer and a few shops where you can buy lace and jewels with lace motives.

The exact date of the beginnings of lace in Rauma is not known for certain. But there are documents that mention the year 1754 as the year of the creation of a lace industry there. By then, the arrt of making lace was already well know. At the end of the 18th century, lace bonnets were made. They were very fashionable at those times.

After a short walk in Old Rauma, with narrow pebbled streets and wooden houses, I went into the Lace Museum. It is located in the Old Townhall. A small building, whit small exhibition rooms.

I must admit I was a bit disappointed when I saw that the museum had only two rooms. But I had to correct inmediately, seeing the huge amount of laces exhibited. Rauma Lace Museum has about one thousand bobbin laces, apart from the bonnets, dating the oldest from the beginnings of 19th century, and hundreds of patterns and prickings.

Each lace has a name to identify it, normally inspired in the shape of the motifs or on the name of the lacer who did it.

In Rauma, two types of lace are made. The oldest are torchon and guipur type, which remind me of the Spanish popular laces. But they are worked with a finer thread. From the 19th Century onwards, ground laces are made in Rauma, especially for the bonnets, very fashionable in those times.

The upper floor of the TownHall is usually for exhibitions. I was lucky to arrive when Austrian laces were exhibited: jugendstil laces, with a very fine and delicate look.

Apart from the museum, Rauma has a Lace Guild, that is recovering old laces and also teaches the art of bobbin lace.

In Rauma we can also see a huge and impressive statue of a lacemaker.

And, for those very fond of bobbin lace, in one of the main steets of Rauma, you can find a small jewelery shop, Kultasuutari, that sells pieces inspired in lace motives.

...(to be followed)