This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Bone-Lace. Lace, usually of linen thread, made on a cushion with bobbins, and taking its chief decorative character from the pattern woven into it as distinguished from point-lace; so named according to some authorities, from the fact that the bobbins were originally made of bone. Fuller, England 1662, says that much bone-lace "is made in and about Honytoun, (Honiton) and weekly returned to London. Let it not be condemned for a superfluous wearing, because it does neither hide nor heat the bodie, seeing it doth adorn. Hereby many children who otherwise would be burthensome to the parish, prove beneficial to their parents. Yea, many lame in their limbs and impotent in their arms, if they are able in their fingers, gain a livelihood thereby." The question has arisen as to what sort of bones were used in the production of this lace. Fuller explains that sheep's trotters were used for bobbins, and that thus the name came into use, but other authorities say that the Devonshire lace-makers, deriving their knowledge from tradition, declare that when lace-making was first introduced into their country, pins, so indispensable to their art, being then sold at a price far beyond their means, the lace-makers, mostly the wives of fishermen living along the coast, adopted the bones of fish, which, scraped and cut into regular lengths, fully answered as a substitute.