Learning to Make Turkish Lace

We took my friend's car through the congested traffic of Istanbul to the suburb where her mother lived. The tall apartment buildings in varying shades of pastel colors and brownish grey filled the suburbs of the city; the streets hustled and bustled, people going from doner kebab restaurants to little shops, carrying about their day. 

Suburbs of istanbul learning to make lace

After a homemade lunch and ‘cay’ (pronounced chai) or turkish tea, my friend's mom pulled out the lace she made on the edges of linens, towels and scarves. Her designs were delicate and elegant and I started to imagine making pieces with a more modern twist almost immediately. 

Using a very tiny crochet hook (about 0.55mm to be exact) she showed me the stitches to make little flowers, scallops and designs on the edge of an old t-shirt. I still have the shirt to this day, although my lace making has improved greatly since then.

The small details were mesmerizing and after an hour or more of practice the repetition of the patterns started to have a rhythm. 

You’re probably thinking, an hour! You learned in an hour?! 

I had a little head start. I grew up crocheting and knitting, plus have always loved handwork so transferring that love to lace was not a huge jump. 

After one day practicing and learning with my friends mom, I went back to my apartment and immediately started playing and creating. My first pieces of jewelry were made with what I had on hand; leather, a small crochet hook, thread and a lot of patience.

learning to make lace

That’s how the seed was planted for this business, in a tiny apartment in Istanbul, crocheting in the sun. 

learning to make lace istanbul

Of course, it took me another year and a half, plus a move back to the States to officially start my business making modern lace jewelry, but that’s another story for another day. 

learning to make lace
learning to make lace