Needlepoint lace

Also known as ‘needle lace’, this beautiful lace requires no pillow, bobbins or pins. The technique is thought to have developed from drawn thread work in which buttonhole stitches edge an area of fabric from which warp and/or weft threads are removed. Open areas are then filled with needle-woven designs.

 

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The open corner is filled with a ‘spider’ woven on the embroidery thread base. From Thérèse de Dillmont’s Encyclopedia of Needlework.

The earliest examples of needlepoint lace come from 16th century Venice. Known as Reticella or Punto in Aria – ‘stitches in air’ because it no longer required a fabric – the needle-woven lace now filled shapes defined by threads couched to a parchment base.

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Pattern for reticella lace c. 1587.

Freed from the constraints of even-weave fabric, needlepoint lace became increasingly elaborate as knowledge of the technique spread. Point de Venise, Point d’Alençon, Point de France, Kenmare Lace, Brussels Point de Gaze – all these fabulous laces use the fundamental techniques you’ll learn in this class.

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