Sunday, July 4, 2010

Louisbourg P.S.

July 1

I can't leave Louisbourg behind without a few extra words about bobbin lace.

I was quite astounded that this interpreter could converse with us about her life as a wealthy sea captain's wife while juggling her bobbins and the straight pins holding her lace in place. "It's not hard," she said. "There's a pattern to follow." She showed me the pattern--just a piece of paper under the lace with the shapes of the holes in the lace drawn on it—no instructions like, "twist the thread on Bobbin B twice around the thread on Bobbin A . . ." In fact, all the bobbins look alike, and how she keeps them straight and their threads untangled is a mystery to me.

Her "simple lace" uses fifty bobbins. A more advanced lace maker at the fortress uses up to 150 and can spend three or four hours to make an inch of lace. With servants to do the household chores, the wealthy ladies hereabouts appear to have a lot of time on their hands, judging from the amount of lace decorating their dresses.

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