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 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.

Comment by Yuuka Harris on September 14, 2016 at 2:49pm

I'm a bit nervous about making my own piece, but I think this will be the week where I dive in :]

Comment by Lorelei Halley on September 12, 2016 at 4:38pm

I think the best way to answer your question is to suggest that you look at our album of contemporary needle lace. I have actually collected 4 albums of our members' work. You will see how they dealt with that problem. 

As for eyes, there are several possibilities. There are little tiny buttonholed rings that you can make and stitch on top of the lace. Or you can work a hole in the filling where the eye is. When you look through those photos, notice how others have depicted eyes. That might give you some ideas.

Comment by Yuuka Harris on September 12, 2016 at 2:50pm

Those actually did help me visualize the process beforehand :] 

Are there any stipulations for choosing line drawings as lace patterns? As in, do all the lines in the picture have to join? If the pattern has eyes, for instance, is that not a good pattern to work since you're outlining the eyes with a disjointed cordonnet that doesn't connect? 

Comment by Lorelei Halley on September 11, 2016 at 4:41pm


Take a look at the 2 tutorials I wrote and posted on this site. They are not videos, but have many photos and diagrams, and I think the explanations of why to do things are pretty clear.

Basically you start the filling by wrapping the filling thread around the outline threads to secure them. This is part of the function of the outline threads. It is also the reason behind buttonholing the outline, when all the fillings are complete. The buttonholing firmly secures the beginning and ending tails.

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)


As to where to start filling stitches, once the cordonnet is laid down, there is no hard and fast rule. Sometimes you want the rows to work in perfect horizontal lines. Sometimes you want the rows to follow the curve of the motif.

Whether you choose to work the GoNL mushrooms exactly as they did, or whether you choose your own, is up to you. If you look at the examples posted online I think you will see several possibilities.  For the fillings I don't think the sequence usually matters much.

For the working order on buttonholing the outline when all the fillings are complete, there is one thing to consider.  One issue is that when you have a design where some parts lie in front of other parts (like petals of a flower, some of which are conceptually on top of others) you would buttonhole the background parts first, and the "top" parts last, to enhance the appearance of layering.

Comment by Yuuka Harris on September 10, 2016 at 6:41pm

I really wish it came in pdf form :[ It's not so easy to ship things to my house and I buy most books in pdf. 

Also, after I lay down the cordonnet, how do I know where exactly my needle goes in first? I've seen videos, but I don't feel quite clear on it and I would rather know the "why" instead of just the individual "where" for that particular project

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti. on September 9, 2016 at 8:10pm

Catherine Barley's book is one I cannot live without!!!! However, it is not a beginners book, but is Wonderful for the more experienced.

Valerie Grimwood's book Starting Needlepoint Lace is very good for beginning -- if you can find a copy anywhere. I believe they are scarce these days.

The Guild of Needlelace's 2 books for Beginning and Intermediate are also Very good, and easily obtained from them. If you are going to buy them - get Both, as there are only about 6 or 7 pieces in each book, - but they take you through the learning process step by step, and introduce a new stitch each time. I recommend them to beginners, as they are inexpensive, and give all the necessary information clearly.  I wish they had been available when I started!! I have copies here at home, so anyone can refer to a certain pattern or page, and I have it here, so I can help if necessary. I am always happy to do that.


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