A lightweight, open weave fabric worked with needles, spindles (bobbins) or crochet in looped, twisted, knotted or interlocked threads – lace making has it’s own language. These techniques characterise the lace type ( see below) and create a border or a piece or work that is built up gradually–a bit like a spider’s web. .
* Lace-work is often associated with open, light, delicate, pretty qualities. The element of not quite seeing through can bring an element of ethereal fantasy to a room (much for the same reasons it is used for wedding veils), and acts in the same way as filigree carving, ironwork and pierced panels do, by introducing an unparalleled lightness and sense of freedom.
* There are many different types of lacework , they often take on the name of the town or region where that particular pattern or style of design was developed.
* Handmade lace is a luxury, as costly as it is time consuming, so choose with great care–a little goes a long way. Commissioning your own lace is a lovely thing to do if you can afford to do so, with the added advantage of knowing you are supporting a real art and will gain a unique textile or edging.
* Antique, hand made lace is undervalued and inexpensive; we regularly pick up collars and trimmings from antiques markets to re-cycle on the more feminine furnishings, mostly lampshades and bed cushions.
* Machine made lace is quite a different animal. It has none of the character of the hand made, however the low metre cost makes it possible to use over larger areas: curtains, sheers, bed drapes, cushion, bolsters, quilts, tablecloth lining, and bed valance edgings
* As window curtains, lace in any form introduces a floating, infinite translucence, taking your eye into the distance through a veiled view; as under curtains it can hide an ugly outlook or serve to protect the main curtains. For any of these uses it must be easily washable.
* Most hand made lace is now imported from India.
Categories of Lace
Lace types may be broadly categorised by technique: needle lace-including embroidered and cutwork laces; bobbin lace – including ancient, continental, point ground, guipure, part and tape laces; tape lace – knotted lace, crocheted lace, lace knitting and machine-made lace.
The time lines and exact classifications of many laces is indistinct and virtually impossible to tie down, given the individual, local and period diversities that need to be accommodated. However, there is a generally accepted list that looks something like this:
Needle lace – embroidered: Buratto, Filet, Limerick, Nanduli, Reticella, Tambour, Tenerife
Needle lace – cutwork: Battenburg, Broderie Anglaise, Carrickmacross
Bobbin lace – ancient: Antwerp, Eclesiastical, Freehand, Torchon
Bobbin lace – point ground: Bayeux, Blonde, Bucks Point, Chantilly, Everen, Lille, Tender
Bobbin lace – guipure: Bedfordshire, Cluny, Genoese, Maltese, Venetian
Bobbin lace – part laces: Bruges, Honiton, Brussels
Crocheted lace: Broomstick lace, Irish crochet, Hairpin crochet, Filet crochet
Lace knitting – Shetland
Machine-made lace: warp knit, bobbinet, leavers, pusher