Monday, December 30, 2013

Module 5, Chapter 1: Lace research

After much deliberation I chose to look at the very early needlelace designs: Reticella and Punto in Aria as I knew very little of their development.  I am originally from an area of Scotland where Ayrshire lace and other associated whitework embroidery on sheer muslin was more familiar, and I had consequently studied this in the past.  I decided to take the opportunity of module 5 to look into something relatively unknown.

1.1 Supporting information to display boards
Also in an earlier life I had spent some years making bobbin lace and these designs reminded me of the geometric nature of torchon lace.  I guess I also enjoyed the precision of bobbin lace so I had a go at sampling a reticella lace insertion design (1.3).  I had thought that bobbin lace took an age to complete but that was nothing compared to this!

I followed the instructions I found here, and prepared a 2 inch square framework on 32 count linen using cotton perle 12.  Even on this scale, the double running stitches and satin stitches to bind the perimeter tested my patience and eyesight under a magnifying glass, so I don't know how lacemakers could do this repeatedly on a 1 inch square!
The reticella lace was then worked over this framework using buttonhole stitch, woven bars with picots and cast bride threads to create the pattern.

1.5 sample of reticella insertion square
This type of lace was obviously time consuming to make and a fashion feature generally for the nobility and wealthy families of Europe.

The rigidity of reticella lace made it particularly suitable for the proud nature of collars and excessive ruffs often seen in the Elizabethan era.
Punto in Aria lace developed as lace designs moved away from the geometric constraints of the warp and weft threads remaining in the ground fabric, and lace was formed "in the air" without a ground fabric at all. This enabled edgings to be more curved and intricate and whole lace to incorporate motifs of flowers, scrolls, birds using needlelace stitches without cutwork.  Again I found a similarlity to Bedfordshire bobbin lace, particularly the floral designs with many picots.


1 comment:

sharon young said...

What a great start to your lace module, Helen, I love your boards and I'm so impressed that you had a go at a sample yourself.