"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.

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.