Beginners Needle Lace


Beginners Needle Lace

For beginners who want to learn true needlelace. Post questions and answers here.  How to make needle lace.

Members: 230
Latest Activity: 20 hours ago

Needle Lace Patterns Books and Supplies

I have broken down our lengthy list of books, supplies and resources into several sections.  Click on the links below. 

Recommended books and videos 

Supplies and materials needed

Patterns and tutorials on this site 

Online resources at other sites 

Working Setup: in the hand and with a pillow

Photos of Beginners' Work

Working setup, various ways -   

Discussion Forum

My little wings 17 Replies

Started by Michelle H. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Apr 26, 2019.

First try 12 Replies

Started by Verónica Castro. Last reply by Verónica Castro Feb 26, 2019.

needlelace 2 Replies

Started by Hannah. Last reply by Hannah Dec 13, 2018.

my first piece of needle lace 1 Reply

Started by Hannah. Last reply by Sandra Popek Dec 2, 2018.

Pillow preference 7 Replies

Started by Tina Heron. Last reply by Sandra Popek May 4, 2017.

Needlelace Tutorial - Leaf 10 - Part 2 8 Replies

Started by Lorelei Halley. Last reply by Maria Delaney Mar 1, 2017.

My first try - sampler 8 Replies

Started by Maria Delaney. Last reply by Maria Delaney Feb 27, 2017.

New and first try at needle lace - comments, please? 10 Replies

Started by Gina Shillitani. Last reply by Maria Delaney Feb 11, 2017.

Total beginner! 7 Replies

Started by Averil White. Last reply by Teri Dow May 24, 2016.

bolster pillow 3 Replies

Started by e parkes. Last reply by e parkes Dec 14, 2015.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Lorelei Halley on September 21, 2016 at 3:14pm


The reason we keep asking to see the pattern you will work on is that we can't answer your question without knowing the specific problem. If we have an example we can point out several alternative solutions.  

Sometimes, if you have a free floating motif you can connect it to the outline/border of the piece with the net filling stitch, or with bars made of close buttonhole stitches.

There already is a collection of videos. Laurie Waters of lacenews has collected playlists of various lace videos, sorted by country and lace type. Her list has a few playlists of needle lace. I have not search them all, but there probably some how-to videos in there which might serve.  Also study Michael Dennis' videos. If you can't find instructions for the particular stitch you want, choose one that he does demonstrate. With your first piece the important thing is to learn the basic principles, the general idea, of how needle lace is made. Once you have that solidly in your understand, you can work on beauty and personal expression.

Comment by Teri Dow on September 21, 2016 at 11:28am
I can understand any reluctance to purchase books at the beginners stage, but among the serious lacers, they become our bibles over time. Many wonderful projects have been achieved just by using the resources of NLT. You will not go far wrong with the online encyclopaedia. If your query relates to a floating element within your design, then it will need some form of "ground stitch" to hold it all together, and there are many patterns to chose from.
Comment by Teri Dow on September 21, 2016 at 11:19am
Hi Yuuka, needle lace, along with so many other crafts, is a constant learning curve. I doubt everyone knows all the stitches simply because the scoop is so vast. NLT is an excellent resource, especially the Encyclopedia of Needlework by Theresa de DIllmont. Additionally, there are quite a few good second hand books available, or books from the Guild of Needlelaces. Pat Gibson and Catherine Barley books are also available and not at the ridiculous prices found on the web, and the books by Ombretta Panese and Marialuisa Severi.
Comment by Yuuka Harris on September 21, 2016 at 6:59am

Side Note: 

Have any of you thought of starting a needlelace YouTube channel showcasing the various stitches? 

I would do it myself, but I'm a beginner and I obviously don't know half the stitches most of you here already know :] 

It might be a nice resource for newcomers or to practice with and it would add to the needlelace resources out there. 

Comment by Yuuka Harris on September 21, 2016 at 6:57am

I want to keep it a surprise until it's done or almost done :] 

I've watched Michael Dennis' tutorials several times and I understand the cordonnet and general steps, I was asking more about individual motifs within the lace that aren't connected to the main outline cordonnet (for instance, flowers that fit inside the inner part of the design that aren't connected to the cordonnet). I wasn't sure if you can somehow finangle buttonhole stitches into a certain shape (like a circle) with the beginning and ending being connected to the main cordonnet. 

I studied the stitches you diagrammed and they unfortunately didn't help me to figure out how all to do the stitch I was aiming for, mostly because I've never done well with fluid-motion drawings, I tend to overlook or get things confused. But after I practice other, more simple stitches, I'm sure it will all click. There aren't an overabundance of needlelace resources that go into detail, so, I will make do with all the ones I can :]

Comment by Lorelei Halley on September 19, 2016 at 5:30pm

Yuuka - your questions.

1. All buttonhole stitches used as fillings must be attached to the outline cordonnet at the beginning and ending of every row. The first row of the filling is usually worked over the cordonnet. My photo below shows this. The rusty orange threads are the outline cordonnet, and the yellow are the filling stitches- a simple buttonhole stitch. You can see the yellow thread wrapped around the cordonnet at the beginning of the row, and the first row of buttonhole stitches worked over the cordonnet.

2. All the sections of the design should be surrounded by the cordonnet, so that all the filling stitches are attached to the cordonnet. That is the purpose of the cordonnet. It offers the filling stitches an anchor.

3. As to how to do the stitches, I have some diagrams on my personal website, which may help. Please look at those and try to understand it. I have the twisted buttonhole diagrammed sequentially.     

Also we have Michael Dennis' videos with access from this site. I think some of the possible stitches will be shown and perhaps that will be easier to follow. 

I strongly recommend that you look closely at all his videos, and also at my tutorials on this site. My lessons explains the purpose of the outline, and how to lay the cordonnet for some simple pieces, so you can learn to understand the basic idea behind needlelace.

TUTORIAL 1 -- Plain bookmark sampler, part 1: laying the outline, corded Brussels filling

TUTORIAL 1 -- Plain bookmark sampler, part 2: more filling stitches, bars, the cordonnette

TUTORIAL 2 -- Leaf 10, part 1: laying the outline threads

TUTORIAL 2 -- Leaf 10, part 2: more fillings, buttonholing the cordonnette (outline)

Are you using the Guild of Needle Laces mushrooms? or did you find something different?

Comment by Teri Dow on September 19, 2016 at 10:11am
Hi Yuuka, would it be possible for you to post a photo of the design you have in mind. Beware copyright etc, unless you have permissions etc. An accompanying legend of stitches would help too. Twisted stitch is the basis of many patterns but takes hours and hours of practice. YouTube has three Italian Burano lace videos which are very informative.
Comment by Yuuka Harris on September 19, 2016 at 8:05am

I've finally printed out the pattern I want to use :] 

This has actually created some new issues, as I'm planning how to deal with some design elements, and I have a new batch of questions :P (again)

1.) Is it possible to buttonhole stitches that aren't connected to the outline cordonnet? I don't think so, as I can't pierce the paper with them. 

2.) Can I cordonnet around individual motifs within the outline cordonnet (where the stitches should go) so that the stitches have something to cling to and build off of? 

3.) Elizabeth mentioned using a twisted stitch as netting. I went looking for it and the diagrams I found on stitches didn't help me much, as drawings usually are difficult for me to visualize with something as constantly-moving as sewing. How do I do that stitch, and can I use it to connect the individual cordonnet'ed motifs to the rest of the lace piece? 

I apologize if my questions are vague, I feel like needlelace is a jigsaw puzzle of sorts and it's my job to figure out how I want the pieces to fit together in my own work. :P

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti. on September 14, 2016 at 9:36pm

Lorelei is right, Yuuka, you have to have a go at the craft, and then, after you have worked a piece (or part of a piece) we can help you.  If you take a photo to show us, we can see where you need the help, or what is going right, (or wrong1)

Just thinking about it, will not get you started.  thread that needle, and have a go!!

Remember - we were all beginners once, so we know the difficulties!!!

Comment by Lorelei Halley on September 14, 2016 at 5:08pm


Don't demand perfection of yourself on your first attempt. Just do it. As you work you will discover difficulties and problems. You can then write to us and our members will respond with specific advice. Just promise yourself that each piece will be better made than the last one. That is enough progress.


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