Bobbin Lace


Elizabeth Peterson, Swiss Point Ground Bobbin Lace Baby Bonnet, 2014

Bobbin lace has no clear origin. It has been found in Egyptian tombs and can be traced in the traditions of many cultures.

Bobbin lace first came to Utah with LDS Pioneers in the 1800s. At that time, women made bobbin lace to generate income, and it was a common embellishment for clothing and home goods.

Lace enthusiasts of today enjoy bobbin lacing for its artistry and technical challenges. To make bobbin lace, a pattern is attached to a firm pillow. Lace thread is wound onto bobbins and then crossed, twisted, and knotted following the lines of the pattern. Fine lace pins are poked into the pillow to hold the knots in place. The bobbins act as a weight for suspended threads and come in many varieties from glass and hardwood to ivory and silver. Bobbins are counted in pairs, and an intricate piece of lace can take over a hundred bobbins to complete.


Elizabeth Peterson, English Bedfordshire Bobbin Lace Baby Shoes, 2006

After years of making lace, Elizabeth learned that her grandmother also made lace in her homeland of Switzerland. Her family jokes that it must be in Elizabeth’s genetic memory to create such intricate work. Becoming an expert in bobbin lace has opened many doors to her and her family. She has traveled all over the world to teach, share, and learn with fellow lace makers. Elizabeth Peterson has passed along her skills to her daughter, Kirsten. Her granddaughters also now enthusiastically ask when they can start to “cross and twist.”


Elizabeth Peterson, Torchon Bobbin Lace Baby Dress, 2006

Elizabeth created these items hoping that they would be family heirlooms, something that her grandchildren can look at to remember her love and the opportunities that arise from traditions. She has created a bonnet for each of her grandchildren with their name and birthdate embroidered on the edge. When unfolded, the bonnet becomes a frame for wedding photographs.