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A brief description of the types and how they are made
The bobbins used for lace making within the UK are grouped largely by the area where they evolved and the type of lace
they were used to make.
- East Midlands: Used in the areas of Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.
Usually about 110-120mm in length, they typically have spangles attached to add weight and to stop them from rolling on the pillow. I ensure that the neck end is made from perfectly straight wood,
making a bobbin which will not break with normal use.
- South Bucks: Used to make the fine Buckinghamshire point lace
While these usually have no spangle, it is not unknown for examples of these bobbins to have a drilled hole where a spangle could be attached if required. My bucks bobbins are
of the 'bobtail' variety - i.e. made of two types of woods, one at the head and one at the 'bobtail'.
- Devon/Honiton Bobbins: Usually around 90-100mm in length and 5.5-6mm in diameter, these bobbins were used in the making of Honiton lace.
Honiton lace involves much sewing, and more modern examples of this type of bobbin have sharper points. My version is typically 90-110mm in length and 6mm in diameter, of hardwoods.
- Malmsbury Bobbins:These vary from east midlands style by having a single head, and from the Devon bobbin by being slightly longer and straight-ended.
Generally these bobbins are undecorated and are often referred to as 'Malmsbury Sticks'. Usually around 100-120mm in length and between 4-6mm in diameter, they were used to make the Malmesbury Point lace.
- Downton Bobbins: From the Downton area area in Wiltshire, usually between 80-100mm in length and between 8-12mm at their widest point.
These were used to make the Downton Point Lace, were usually made of box or fruitwoods and were also generally undecorated.
Influence from Europe brought to the UK shores other types of bobbins which have since made their homes here.
Described here are styles which I routinely make.
- Rosaline: Shaped a bit like a dolphin at the tail end with a point for sewing, the Rosaline bobbin is about
110mm long and depending on the size, either 10-12mm or 15-17mm in diameter at the widest point.
Rosaline lace involves much sewing, with typically 14 bobbins being used at any one time on the pillow. Small motifs are inidividually made and then
sewn into a larger piece, hence the requirement for the sewing point. My Rosaline bobbins are based on a bobbin purcased in Brussels, described by the shop lady as the bobbin used
in that area to make the 'Bruxelles Lace'. The only difference is the Brussels bobbin has a small ball on the end, useful for 'pulling the loop' when sewing.
- Large Bayeaux: These are slightly larger-sized bobbins at around 120mm in length and around 10-11mm at the widest point, being typically used for heavier
threads and tapestry weaving.
Normally purchased for use with gimp threads, due to their additional weight and thread storage capacity.
- Large Continental (JbT Lami-Continentals/Gimp): These are bobbins I came up with for use with gimps and thicker threads. Usually around 130mm long with heads of between 10-12mm in diameter
and 16-18mm body at widest point.
Laminated with different types of woods usually with boxwood forming the head and neck.
- Angela McEwan Large Lami-Continental: Designed with a 40mm neck and with 1,2 and 3-ply wool and shawls in mind, these bobbins are popular amongst those who do lacework with yarns.
Called the Angela McEwan after the lady who asked for modification!
- Wire-Work Bobbins: Especially designed for those who like to work lace with fine wire. The smooth finish and large diameter neck (with plenty of stwoing space) prevent the problems of
winding wire onto standard sized bobbins or working. The JbT anchor point high up on the neck allows almost all the wire to be used, and resolves the problem of the 'Crinkle-Cut Finish' so common in wire-work lace.
The quality brass eye at the top holds the wire 'thread' gently but firmly in place, preventing it from springing loose and unwinding while you work.
With the exception of the Rainbow Bobbins© , colour-coordinated to suit the Rainbow Collection© patterns - all the bobbins sold on this website are made individually by me
- without the use of a copy lathe or automated equipment. Each is carefully prepared, turned and finished to perfection, and all are absolutely unique. I don't usually make bobbins to order,
I make a better product when I am 'playing at woodturning'.