Bobbin lace is an old art that has gained a new following. Many new and reprinted books are available to help you learn the many forms of bobbin lace. However all forms require a few basic pieces of equipment. Several kits are available commercially, but not all are of good quality. The lower quality kits are very hard to work with, and most nicer ones are a bit pricey if you aren't sure you're really going to enjoy making lace. Fortunately, the basic supplies are simple to make and quite inexpensive.
The first thing you will need is a pillow. Ordinary pillows will not work...bobbin lace pillows need to be very firm to support the pins with the weight of the bobbins hanging from them. While there are several other types of lace pillows, the best for a beginner is a basic square pillow. These are very easy to make. You will need:
Using the heavy fabric and strong thread, sew a "pillow case" to fit your board. Use a generous 1 inch seam allowance and leave four to six inches of "turn back" on the open side. Turn the case and slip the board into to it.
Now stuff FIRMLY with straw (and herbs if you wish) on ONE side of the board. This is easier if you tamp the straw every few inches using a hammer handle. You'll be surprised at the amount of straw that will fit! After stuffing, fold and pin the turn back firmly and pound the pillow to form a flat top with sloping sides. Check for firmness...it should have very little "give." You may need to add more straw, tamp and pound several times to achieve the needed firmness. Turn under the open end and stitch by hand with a doubled thread, whipping first in one direction the the other to form "X's." You're finished with the pillow itself. (Whew!)
Using some of the light weight cloth, cut enough to cover the pillow and pin into place, making sure that the points of the pins are buried in the fabric...this cover can then be easily removed to clean it. The rest of the lighter weight fabric can be hemmed (on the non selvaged edge) and used as a cover cloth to protect your pricking and lace when you aren't working on it. This is very important! Few things are worse than a spill or stain on your lace, especially if you have a lot to go before you can remove it from the pillow for cleaning. Concealing the lace and bobbins is also a good idea if you have a cat, they are notoriously interested in"helping" with your bobbins. Children also find the pretty beads well nigh irresistible...Or want to try making their own lace! If you're not going to be working on your lace for a while, or if you need to travel with it, strategically placed pins can secure the cover cloth and help hold the bobbins in place.