Making hairpin lace

Vintage needlework fascinates me. I enjoy a wide variety of hand crafts, and I’m always eager to learn something new. Last summer friend of mine (an older lady) taught me how to make hairpin lace. She even had an extra hairpin fork that she gave me. It was a larger one, though, the size to use with yarn to make an afghan or shawl. I was interested in trying to make actual lace but I hadn’t seen any smaller hairpin forks for sale anywhere. It seems to be a pretty obscure and obsolete craft.

I was very excited to come across a 1.5″ fork at a thrift store a few weeks ago. I even had an old Workbasket magazine with a pattern for a hairpin lace doily, so I wasted no time in trying it out!
I’m still working on the doily. I think I misread the instructions for the edging or something. In any case, I need to take it out and try again.

In the meantime, I found patterns online for a bookmark… and a lace edging. They are still pretty chunky for lace, as I used bedspread weight cotton thread, but until I find a smaller hairpin fork I think that’s probably going to be the finest lace I can make.
It’s really not very hard to make. Not nearly as tricky as tatting. But, of course, I’m an experienced crocheter so that probably makes a difference.

I’ve been surprised, though, at how hard patterns are to find. I did a search online and most of the patterns were for shawls. I would love to find a book of different edging patterns… so I’ll be on the look-out!


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