Monday, 23 November 2009

A fabulous little French lace-making pillow for use in the home

This is a really pretty item in its own right, but also incredibly practical! It is a lace making pillow from France dating to about 1900. It was used to make Le Puy bobbin lace in the home. While lace could easily be purchased at the time, lacemaking was still a popular pastime, making edgings for clothes, linens etc.

It is quite a robust object, made from wood and covered with pretty floral patterned oilcloth. Cardboard patterns were either bought or made, and fitted onto a roller in the middle of the pillow, and pins put into the pattern. The roller could be turned as the work progressed, and the pins reinserted carefully and the work could then progress to the required length. The fine linen, cotton or silk threads on any number of little wooden bobbins was passed around the pins in order to create a length of lace. There. That sounds easy, doesn't it! I am sure it is much harder than it looks, a skill that improved with practise. I purchased this for a customer a while ago, but rather regret selling it, so I will be looking out for another one if possible. I think I would like to have a go at making some simple lace myself!

There is a handy comparment in the back for holdingspare bobbins, thread and pins etc, and inside, I found a piece of newspaper that had been folded up and thread wound onto it. I carefully removed the thread, and was fascinated to read the little advertisements etc, and even found a date of 1911. A wonderful piece of cultural history.


  1. this is lovely. I have had a go at lace making myself but this is so much nicer than the english lace pillows I have seen!

  2. Hi Mo, lovely to hear from you! Next time we meet, we must have a chat about lace making, I would be very interested to find out what kind of lace you made! xx

  3. I just discovered you! How wonderful to be able to see such textile wonders.
    Must lookmore...
    Thank you!

  4. Thanks for the compliments Marcie, welcome to my blog, do come back often! Lois x