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Happy Cattern’s Day

Harvest Festivals are so much fun especially when you can learn some of the crafts from times past and try your hand at them. Here I am learning to make bobbin lace. Using wooden bobbins and pins, the lace is made like braiding hair. In my pattern, I used one bobbin from the left side over two bobbins and then three over two from the right. Repeat and the pattern emerges.

I’m working with cotton thread but since lace became popular in the 16th century in Europe, all kinds of threads have been used, even gold which must’ve made a handsome decoration on a collar or cuff. The more traditional way to make lace is shown by the bobbins and pins set on the maroon-colored pillow next to me.

I can imagine what it must have been like years ago sitting down in the evening with a pillow in my lap and braiding the threads while a fire crackles in the hearth.

Not only stylish ladies wore lace, but even gentleman and clergyman wore lace. Check out the paintings of wealthy patrons by Rembrandt and you’ll see their elaborate lace collars and cuffs.

There’s even a lacemakers’ holiday which was started in England by Catherine of Aragon. Cattern’s Day is celebrated either November 25 or 26 as a day off for lacemakers.

So happy Cattern’s Day to all of you lacemakers who still make lace by hand!