Lace Makers to Meet in Coralville

Jul 22, 2015

Making lace as a hobby isn't all that common, but there is a small yet dedicated group of women in Eastern Iowa who spend their time weaving bobbin lace.

Ruth Lyons is local chair for the International Organization of Lace Incorporated’s Annual Convention which will be hosted in Coralville July 27-August 2. She says making lace is one of the most difficult things she’s ever done.

“I’ve always liked to make things with my hands, and making lace is addictive,” she says. “Some of the instructions are not easy, and some of the terminology is different from one author to another. Stitches may be different in England than they are in Belgium. It’s like a puzzle. That’s what lace is for me most of the time.”

It takes about an hour to make one square inch for lace.

“Some threads are extremely fine. Some are big and heavy. You’re going to spend a lot more time with finer thread,” explains Sally Olsen, who is also serving as a local chair for the event.

Lace was once only worn by royalty. Techniques and styles migrated around Europe as royal families married. During this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with Lyons and Olsen, who are both part of the Doris Southard Lace Guild about learning to make lace.

There will be classes on techniques and styles of lace making as a part of the convention, taught by teachers from Germany, Japan and Belgium among others. The event is open to the public on Thursday and Saturday.