Spring Crush on Lace

Diamonds aren’t this girl’s best friend, Lace is!

Bobbin lace, knitted lace, crochet fillet, cut-out lace… oh boy, how I love lace. Almost as much as I love Summer, and nothing makes a Summer day better than spending it with a white lace dress.

This Spring, I guess my attuned with the Fashion World, since  designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Colette Dinnigan and Alberta Ferretti also fell in love with lace in their collections.


Cutwork lace dress

(image via HonestlyWTF)

Cut work is a lace like embroidery technique, in which parts of the embroidered fabric are cut out.


I also love how a single word can hold in it so many concepts and techniques. Unless I’m talking with my grandmothers and their friends, I would never say “Oh, look at that amazing tatting work in that vest”, however, the word lace is very limited to describe the complexity and the diversity of the several lace techniques existent.

Lace as we understand it today was probably originated around fifteenth century, it is said to have developed from macrame (knotting threads together) and early forms of cut and drawn work, and the earliest examples known are from Egypt.

There are two main types of lace: the one that is made with the help of some kind of tool – like bobbin lace, crochet and knitted lace and tatting; and the type that only uses needle and thread – such as needlepoint, filet lace and cut and drawn work.


Drawn thread work detail

(image via http://itsallaboutthecolor.blogspot.com)

Drawn thread work is a lace like embroidery technique in which some weft and warp threads are removed from a background fabric; the remaining threads are grouped and embroidered together into diverse patterns.


Tatting lace, work in progress

Tatting is a handmade lace fashioned by looping and knotting a single strand of thread on a small hand shuttle.


Bobbin lace, work in progress

(image via http://www.barcelonaphotoblog.com)

Bobbin lace is worked on a pillow with threads wound on bobbins; the pattern is marked out on the pillow by pins and the threads are braided and twisted around them.


Venetian Rose needlepoint lace detail, 17th century

(via http://morgaine-le-fays-textiles.blogspot.com)

Needlepoint lace is worked with just a needle and thread, by working buttonhole stitches over a paper pattern and then releasing from the pattern by passing a knife between the paper and the thread.


Irish Crochet detail, Penarth, c. 1900-10; showing raised rose motifs and edging of shamrocks; Museum of Welsh Life

(image from http://www.gtj.org.uk)

Irish crochet is a type of lace formed by separately crocheted motifs and assembled into a mesh background. Irish Crochet Lace is made with a very fine crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread.


There are so many variations on the each of these basic lace techniques though, with special procedures and motifs, and normally very specific to a town or a country – Valenciennes, Kenmare, Brussels, … lace. And it is so hard to identify them correctly and to understand their construction!

But if you know how to knit, you can also have a very special lace garment for this Summer, made by you! Check our Lace Knitting class starting in May, and maybe make something like this..


(image via Anthropologie)

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  1. Pingback: Needlepoint Pillow White Rose

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