Preparation: The project before the project

I decided to get a little bobbin lace project (or two) together to remind my hands that I did still know how to make lace. (And to confirm that it doesn’t tick off the arm too badly. Mixed results there.) Cotton thread (no sense wasting the linen thread I’d misplaced and then ordered new on effectively a disposable project), try some new to me bobbins (and my two favourite pairs). Cut a failed project off the pillow. Awesome. I have bobbins, thread, pillow and pattern.

And then the preparation starts. This is the bit that actually takes significant time, just the same as in weaving. Measure thread and wind onto bobbins. Take a good guess at the size of pricking you’ll need for the thread you’ve chosen (or be fortunate and have your pattern tell you.). Piece it together, glue it to card (if you didn’t photocopy it straight onto card). NOW pre-prick all of your pin holes. Important for accuracy, and when digging around with a tiny pin under a windmill crossing, you appreciate just having to find the hole, rather than peering to try and decide where a hole should be. This could easily take hours, if not days depending on your project.


Weaving is just the same. Pick your warp and weft, pick a pattern. Measure your warp, tie it off carefully. Sley those heddles, thread that reed with hundreds of threads in a very precise order. Hours if not days of the least ergonomic work in the world. (Make it more ergonomic, your back and sanity will thank you.) Wind onto the back beam, tie it all off, grumble that tension is funky, untie and tie again.

All the while, you are impatient to get to the REAL project! Finally! Actually weaving! Actually making lace!

Except that all that bit before.. it WAS weaving. It WAS lacemaking. It’s as (or more) important than the later steps! I have no magic cure for the impatience. I try and be mindful about enjoying the feel of the thread, of getting to know the pattern. It helps a little. If you find a way to make the prep time more enjoyable, let me know.


2 thoughts on “Preparation: The project before the project

  1. The only way I’ve found to make prep more enjoyable is to do it with company. Funny how a lot of socialization used to happen around doing things with fiber, thread, cloth…


  2. Pingback: Madder abuse (pt 1) | Adventures in A&S

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