The Fine Art of Lacemaking

We had a much-needed break in the weather yesterday. Temps climbed into the 40s. Can you believe it? It was fabulous.

Beautiful Day for an Empty Nest Visit
Beautiful Day for an Empty Nest Visit

It was a great day to be out and about. And thanks to my friend Janet, who owns The Empty Nest in Old Town Warrenton, I got to see something really cool yesterday. Lacemaking! Demonstrated by five members of the Piedmont Lace Guild of Virginia .

In addition to paint, Janet loves vintage textiles. She LOVES them. Really.

I’m not sure how Janet met/discovered this group of ladies, but she invited them to do a demonstration at The Empty Nest.

Piedmont Lace Guild of Virginia's Lacemaking Demonstration
Piedmont Lace Guild of Virginia’s Lacemaking Demonstration

The image above shows the ladies. Clockwise, starting on the left: Elke Roeschke (Knitted Lace), Birgitte Tessier (Bobbin Lace), Joy Schaya (Needle Tatting), Anita Barry (Shuttle Tatting), and Bonnie Swank (Needle Tatting).

I’ve seen lacemaking before. Both of my grandmothers used to crochet doilies, Christmas ornaments, and such. But I never thought of their work as lace. It was, though. As I learned yesterday, lace can be made with various widths of thread. And crochet is only one of the techniques used.

Bobbin Lace

Seeing images of bobbin lacemaking Janet shared on her site is what made me want to see the demo.

Birgitte Tessier Making Bobbin Lace
Birgitte Tessier Making Bobbin Lace

Look at all of those bobbins! Click on the image for a larger pic so you can see more of the detail.

Antique Bobbin Lace  "Pattern"
Antique Bobbin Lace Pattern

The pattern shown in the image above belonged to Birgitte’s Aunt in Denmark.

Knitted Lace

It was quite interesting to see the various techniques.

Elke Roeschke was demonstrating Knitted Lace, but she crochets, too.


Note the fine-ness of the thread. Knitting isn’t only for yarn!


Needle Tatting

Bonnie Swank and Joy Schaya were both demonstrating needle tatting.

Needle Tatting Demonstration by Bonnie Swank

Bonnie very kindly and patiently explained needle tatting to me. It was fascinating to watch.

Needle Tatting in progress.

Joy Schaya was making little florets in case any children wanted an example to keep.

Needle Tatting (red florets at top of image)

I was tickled to learn that the snowflake ornament I’d been admiring, shown in the image below, was made by Bonnie.

Snowflake Ornament by Bonnie Swank
Snowflake Ornament by Bonnie Swank

She said the ornament was an easy project (for her) and took about two to two-and-a-half hours.

Shuttle Tatting

Anita Barry was doing the shuttle tatting demo.

Shuttle Tatting Demonstration by Anita Barry
Shuttle Tatting Demonstration by Anita Barry


The ladies had brought a number of items for display, too.

Lace Adornments




Bonnie’s Needle-tatting Toolkit


Vintage Lace


Lace Frame


It really was something to see. Thanks again, Janet, for hosting them. And a huge thanks to The Piedmont Lace Guild of Virginia for the very interesting demo.

To learn more about the guild, visit their website — New members are welcome at any time. If you sign up, let me know.  If I didn’t already have so many hobbies, which I don’t have enough time for, I’d join in a heartbeat. I think making lace would be awesome. How about you? Help keep a dying art alive!


3 Replies to “The Fine Art of Lacemaking”

  1. Wow, so cool. That bobbing lace making is something else. Looks so confusing.

    My mom used to do needle tatting and doily making. I used to marvel over what she could do with such tiny thread. I tried crocheting once. It is best I stick to cross stitching.

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