Hi, I'm new to your group and this forum. 

I have recently returned from a holiday where I saw needle lace being made. I've never seen anything like it before. I did try bobbin lace many years ago but gave up before I got very far. 

I have been a keen crafter for most of my life and enjoy knitting and crochet as well as parchment craft, I have also done a cross stitch portrait of my girls which is 80,000 stitches so I definitely have the patience to learn this beautiful new craft but I have no idea where to start, 

Is anyone able to recommend a beginners book to teach myself and also let me know what I need to buy to get started please? When I started doing parchment craft I bought loads of bits that I didn't really need and haven't ever used so I think this time I should take some advice before I start.

Thank you for your help x

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Hi Carolyn, welcome to this wonderful exciting world! Lorelei usually comes online later in the evening and she will delighted to help you find your way around this brilliant site. Whilst you wait for her,you might like to look at the guild of needlelace site which is very informative about getting started. I would suggest you enter it via google rather than through NLT as you'll get more comprehensive pages etc. also, if you look at YouTube and type in 'beginning Needlelace' you'll find about a dozen short video lessons there. These help if you are more of a visual learner. You will find tremendous support from NLT and contributions are made from members at all levels. Do you know what type of needlelace you saw being made?

Hi Teri, We visited Burano in Venice so I'm guessing it is called Venitian lace? I think it was the lack of bobbins that appealed to me. I love little intricate things and could have stayed all day, unfortunately the guided tour only allowed us about 15 minutes to watch and there were quite a few people there. The lady was making a butterfly against a cushion and it was attached to layers of fabric, a pattern and a top sheet. When it's finished the sheets get snipped away and just the lace design is left without any fabric backing.

But now I have found this site I realise there are lots of different styles of needle lace and that maybe I need to find out which one would be most suitable for me to choose to learn.

Hi Carolyn, how wonderful to have seen this craft worked first hand. One of our members, Ombretta Panese, is an authority on Burano lace and you will find much inspiration on her page.Yes, there are many NL styles but you may be better just taking the plunge and getting started before you decide on a certain type. You don't need to go purchasing any books at this stage, everything you need to know is available here. The Encyclopedia of needlework has many NL stitches to guide you and if you type in the details on the search section on this site,you can access it and have it as your bible. Many people start by doing bookmarks but if you were to start with a butterfly or leaf, you would master decreasing and increasing stitches faster. The main thing you have to remember with the outline is that all junctions must interlock and should be done with a continuous double length of thread. The guild has quite a comprehensive library for members to loan books,so that is another option.


Firstly, you don't need to buy lots of stuff to start needle lace. Burano, Venetian and western European needle lace all start in basically the same way. You make a sandwich of your pattern and 2 to 4 layers of cloth (the cloth being a little larger than your pattern. If you sew, you have lots of scraps, which are fine. Most of us stick clear plastic sticky sheet on top of the pattern, to strengthen the pattern and prevent printer ink from rubbing off on the thread.  Then you need ordinary sewing needles (for couching the cordonnet/outline threads), tapestry needles for doing the lace stitches, a thimble (only needed when couching the outline threads), scissors. If you are past 40 a magnifier of some sort will be useful (eyesight diminishes with age).

There are 2 pages on my personal website which explain the basic working method. It would be useful to review them.



You will also find 2 tutorials I have written. I have posted them on my website and here. They look different because the software is different, but the content is the same.



http://needlelacetalk.ning.com/page/tutorials-1   Look for BEGINNERS NEEDLE LACE TUTORIALS

The opening page of this group -- BEGINNERS -- have lists of resources, including reccomended books and several good tutorials on other sites.  Look under the group's icon for the links to the various resources.  Also you asked about finding photos.  Look at the gray bar across the top of the screen. Each tab will take you to another section of this site. In the PHOTOS section several of us have created albums of related photos.  Click on ALL ALBUMS. Just above where the images start, on the right is a slot where you can tell the software to give you an alphabetized list.

Take some time to review all this overload of information, and then come back to us with more specific questions. You will find we are all eager to help.

Most of us use the technique of this kind of lace to work our own contemporary pieces. But some of us have learned to work some specific antique kinds. The nifty thing about needle lace is that you can use anything, literally anything, as a pattern: a photo, an image from a child's coloring book, a simple drawing of your own. It gives very great freedom for you to work totally  unique and personal pieces. You just have to commit to some practice to get control of tension.

Welcome to this wonderful world of Needlelace. It is a lovely craft - but very addictive!!  You will get heaps of help here, so I am glad you found us.

You do not need to work on a pillow, as you saw at Burano.  You can hold the pad in your hand as you work if you prefer.

Start with just simple pieces, - like the leaf or sampler on this site in the Beginners section, and work quite a few pieces before trying a different sort of needlelace.  As you can see from the site, there are various types, using different techniques.  I would leave Gros Point (my favorite!) till later, when you have more experience, and also Alencon, and some of the others, and just get used to working simple outlines and a good selection of stitches before tackling the more complex types.

Thank you everyone for such a warm welcome. I've managed to find the photo's now and just been staring in amazement at some of your work. It's stunning! Lorelei, your instructions are perfect for a beginner and I can't wait now for a trip to a craft shop to buy some cotton to start me off. I thought the base cordonnet was backstitched when I had looked at other online pictures, but your pictures are so good I can now see that it is a base cord that is stitched in place to create the template. 

I am so excited about trying something new. As soon as I have something worth sharing, I will let you all see. Thank you so much x x 


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