U s i n

Using a Bolster Pillow
Alexandria Marguccio
The techniques shown in this document
are based on what I was taught
during my 2008 lace apprenticeship
in traditional Idrija Lace technique by
Master Teacher Stana Frelih,
Idrija School of Lace
Idrija, Slovenia.
What is a bolster-style pillow?
• A bolster-style lace pillow
is made using a
cylindrical piece of fabric
stuffed firmly with clean
sawdust and secured at
each end.
• This cylinder is then
covered by a second,
more loosely fitting tube
of fabric that is tightened
at each end with draw
• The pillow can vary in
size depending on the
size of patterns used on
Applying the pricking
• Position the pillow as
pictured in (A) and lay
the pricking in the
center of the pillow.
• Pull some of the loose
fabric from the cover and
pin it over one edge with
several lace pins. (B)
To Secure a Pricking
• With your hand, smooth
the pricking flat against
the pillow surface.
• While holding the
pricking in place, pull
some of the loose cover
fabric over the opposite
edge of the pricking and
Hanging on Bobbins
When using a bolster-style
pillow for the first time, one
often wonders how to deal
with the clump of bobbins
that are hanging from the
• The typical Idrija pattern
uses 5-7 pair of large
bobbins. If you work the
stitches as you hang each
bobbin, you can anchor
the discarded pairs by
hanging them on the
edges and sides of the
pillow or using separator
• You can use these
anchoring methods
throughout your working
of the pattern.
Handling the bobbins
• Because of the design of
the pillow, you handle
your bobbins with palms
• The crossing and twisting
movements are done by
manipulating each pair
with your fingers
• Tensioning on a
bolster pillow is done
using arm
• Because the bobbins
are held in the palms,
tensioning is done
with a lateral, sidepulling motion.
Positioning the pillow
• Positioning of the pillow
the basket is also
important to the
tensioning process.
• In addition to the weight
of the bobbins, gravity
also provides tensioning
to your work.
Positioning cont’d
• Position your pillow as
needed so that your
work is always in front of
• Use the sides of the
basket as a means to
prop your pillow.
Bolster pillow and tape laces
• In many ways, bolster
pillows are ideal for
working tape laces.
• Tape laces typically use
fewer bobbins, so there
is less concern about
room on the pillow.
• The pillow can be easily
positioned to
accommodate the turns
of meandering tapes
such as those found in
Idrija lace.