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: 238
Latest Activity: Apr 6

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

Sampler bookmark progress 17 Replies

Started by Trinity. Last reply by Trinity Apr 6.

Single Brussels Stitch 5 Replies

Started by Trinity. Last reply by Carolyn Wetzel Mar 11.

Cordonnet question 5 Replies

Started by Trinity. Last reply by Elizabeth Ligeti. Mar 2.

Continuous Outline? 19 Replies

Started by May. Last reply by May Jan 30.

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.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Yuuka Harris on September 30, 2016 at 12:43pm

Hello everyone :] 

I apologize for being so late, I've been up to a lot in other areas of my life and briefly put needlelace on hold. I'm back now and have selected a simpler drawing for practice that I'm happy to show. I've already pricked holes where the cordonnet will go and attached the pattern to the temporary backing. I'm still planning how to lay the cordonnet, though. 

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti. on September 21, 2016 at 10:18pm

The 2 books sold by the Guild of Needlelaces are very good - One is showing the very beginning - laying the outline, and then working the filling stitches, and each pattern teaches you a little bit more.  The other book (Intermediate with the deeper green cover) follows on, with more stitches and techniques.  You do not have to belong to the Guild to buy them, and they are well worth getting, in my opinion.  As some of us have them, we can help you more easily, if you ask the question, and refer to the page in the book, and we, this end, can look it up and have a fair idea of where you are at!! 

Everyone has a slightly different way of doing things - depending on where and who they learned from! None are wrong - just different!!

We love to see new lacemakers progressing, and are always happy to help, but  sometimes it is hard without seeing exactly what you are doing.

Comment by Lorelei Halley on September 21, 2016 at 3:41pm

Yuuka - Here is an antique piece. Notice how all the motifs touch either the outer border of the lace or the straight inside edge. This is partly so that the net filling stitches which lie between have something to anchor to.

This is a 20th c Chinese piece, See how they solved the problem of free floating motifs.

Another point de gaze. See how the motifs are positioned to break up the ground area, so the net stitches have an anchor. And the motifs either touch each other, or touch the footside (the straight edge that would be attached to fabric).

And here is a famous example of modern needle lace by a world expert. She has a large free floating motif in the center. The ground stitches attach it to the rest of the piece.

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


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