Before making lace, I think about different lace uses, their measures, the motif it should show, etc. Then I can find a suitable pattern or draw one if necessary. After that, I choose the right thread and do some lacemaking plans. Never forget to take your time to wash your hands and clean the bobbins, choose the needles, wind the bobbins correctly and have the pattern well attached. These tasks can be very time-consuming.

It's the only way to enjoy lacemaking, relax and let my mind drift elsewhere because my fingers know what to do. I wish you all that lacemaking would please you and bring you a retreat from the stresses of everyday life. Here are some tips to make your lacemaking preparation enjoyable. You can also find a few links to shops with the missing supplies if you don't know where else to search for those.

content divider


Anyone who hasn't inherited them from their grandmothers or mother is probably wondering what they must be like. Bobbins usually consist of different types of hardwood. They must be so finely worked that the thread does not tear, and bobbins slide nicely between the fingers. Each type of wood creates a different (for me) meditative music.

How many pairs of bobbins should you buy and where? The answer depends on what you want to make. Idrija lace techniques mostly require between 2 and 11 pairs of bobbins. It is a good idea to have either a stock of these either you have to rewind the thread for each project.

To ensure that residual dirt (from previous knitting projects) will not transfer to the thread, remember to clean the bobbins first with clean hands and a damp cotton cloth. Don't you agree that there's nothing lovelier than snow-white lace without yellowish stains?

empty and clean bobbins.
content divider
threading bobbins

Now, you can wind your bobbins. I advise you double check whether you have wrapped the thread in the right direction and firmly enough. It should follow in small sections from the top to the bottom of the bobbin and back towards the top. Correctly wound bobbins reduce the time needed to make the lace as they do not unwind. In addition to saving time, the absence of constant thread length adjustments also means snow-white instead of yellowish lace.

Winding the bobbins is also time-consuming if you use a bobbin winding machine. I only suggest hand winding when you can't do it any other way or the lace is small. It is painful to wind your bobbins by hand, and you can do it in the wrong direction. Bobbins should unwind to the right side.

In your lace projects, you can use several traditional cotton and linen threads in different thicknesses, thicker silk threads, metallic and other threads. The rule is: the higher the thread number, the thinner it is. For example

content divider

How can you put the pairs of bobbins together? Since attending Idrija lace school, I have used a shorter version (weaving knot). But you can also use a stronger lace knot, which is more durable. You can check the textbook Klekljanje 1 on page 18 for detailed instructions for the lace knot. The textbook is no longer available for free sale, but some libraries in Slovenia still stock it.

You can see photos of how to make a weaving knot and, in the video on the right, a tip for tying the thread when it breaks while you are making lace.

content divider
Roll the thread in one direction to hide the knot.

After successfully tying a pair of bobbins, you should roll the thread in one direction to hide the knot (at least for a while).

The length of the rolling depends on the sample. I sometimes overdid the rewinding and had to discard too much of a perfectly usable thread. Of course, it's also bad if one underdoes the rewinding because the knots show up too quickly in the lace.

content divider


Another lacemaking accessory is a lacemaking pillow. It can be of different sizes: from a few centimetres to 70 cm in length. You can order them in the (online) lace shop Čipke Mojca (also in extra sizes).

Experienced lacemakers use several sizes of lacemaking pillows. These need to be larger than the design if you want to prevent them from floating in the air. At the same time, it does not make sense to use a lacemaking pillow that is too large and unnecessarily heavy for a small pattern. If you are a beginner and will be making smaller patterns, it is best to choose a smaller one- between 25 and 30 centimetres long.

Bobbin lace pillows consist of a fabric covering sawdust and a wooden stick. An exterior looser piece of cloth protects the inside one. Its function is to allow a pattern to be properly attached to it. This fabric layer is removable. From time to time, it is wise to wash it. The same applies to extra-large cushions. However, these are not made of sawdust but of styrofoam. Otherwise, they would be too heavy to move. We use flat lace pillows for making jewellery.

The basket gives stability to the lacemaking pillow and allows it to move with the pattern. It shouldn't be too small or too large because the lace pillow could overturn or move too much while making lace. Lace makers who work several hours a day have height-adjustable stands. Long-term sitting can worsen a person's posture if one holds the arms too high or too low.

lace pillow
content divider
Fix a pattern on a lacemaking pillow.

How to choose and fix a pattern on a lacemaking pillow?

Have you ever seen a lace pattern that you just wanted to try? You unbuttoned all the bobbins, turned it over and were proud of yourself, but then the lace got its place in the drawer? Of course, there's nothing wrong with that. Many lacemakers make laces because of their feelings in the middle of the work. I like to decide where and how I will apply the lace (e.g. jewellery, curtains, a handbag, etc.) and only then do I choose the "right" lace pattern.

I love to make old, tried-and-tested patterns of the Franc Lapaine Company, the Idrija Lace Cooperative and the Idrija Lace Company. They have been made for decades by the diligent hands of the lacemakers. Some have been digitised and are publicly accessible in the Idrija Municipal Museum. Beautiful lace patterns make Irma Sedej, Tina Koder Grajzar (author lace patterns), and Maja Svetlik (Idrija Lace School, Andra Jereb and the President of the Idrija Lace Makers' Association, Andreja Uršič, also draw lace patterns for their souls. It is worth following their Facebook profile, where they post their work. Of course, there are many more patterns, but I have listed just a few that I have used myself. Sometimes I like to draw a pattern myself, inspired by the moment. You can find some on this subpage.

I use thicker paper (120-160 g/m2), which I put under the chosen pattern. To protect it, I also use self-adhesive transparent film, which makes it harder and prevents the lace from getting dirty. After that, I then use pins to firmly attach the pattern to the lace mat, as shown in the picture.

Just a quick note: the lace patterns are copyrighted works. As such, they cannot be copied or used for commercial purposes (except with the author's consent). When publishing a photograph of a lace pattern, you must also name the pattern author.

content divider

I've listed the main supplies you need to start making some lace. All you need is a suitable crochet hook, stainless steel pins and scissors! And you're ready to go! Are you already familiar with the most common Idrija lace techniques?