Sue Babbs




I have been working with fibre* for as long as I can remember.  For the Christmas just before my seventh birthday, I followed the thread from my bedroom to my parent’s’ room, and discovered my first Singer sewing machine - a sturdy, child’s version which sews a rather nice chain stitch on the reverse side of the fabric. 

By that age, I was already knitting and hand sewing, and developed a passion for making soft toys shortly after.  In my teens, I taught myself to crochet – and only recently discovered that my maternal grandmother had been passionate about crocheting in her younger days.  Crocheting and beading were sources of income as I made clothes and jewellery* to sell to relatives and my mother’s friends and work colleagues.
I took my next sewing machine with me to Oxford University, where I studied mathematics, and took up English patchwork, with Laura Ashley fabrics which were very much in vogue at the time.  The piece was designed as a cushion cover, grew to single bed size, then full-size after I got married, and king-size when we later bought a bigger bed! 

That sewing machine only dripped machine oil on a project once – the bodice of my wedding dress.  Thankfully, my father had some dry-cleaning fluid which he used to remove the stain and I was able to finish making and wear the Liberty silk dress.

I started making bobbin lace in 1988, when my son was 10 months old.  I was hooked immediately by the rhythm of the movement of the bobbins, and the complicated patterns that appeal to my mathematical mind.  In the 1990s, I expanded my lace-making horizons by taking the English City and Guilds’ course in Lacemaking Part 1.

For years I put aside the embroidery, sewing, knitting, crocheting and was totally absorbed by the lace-making.  Nowadays I dabble more widely in other crafts, but I am most at peace when making bobbin-lace.

*The spellings of fibre and jewellery are deliberate as I am English.




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Last Updated January 7, 2020