HNW - What is it?

Laura Shumar lshumar at
Sat Sep 26 11:17:30 PDT 1998

Sounds to me like you're talking about "lacis", or "filet lace".  I'm
surprised no one has been able to help you identify it as it's fairly
common.  "Filet crochet" is a common method of faking it (you can find
instructions for this anywher), but the real filet lace is a very old
craft (Mary, Queen of Scots and Catherine de Medici both did filet 

It is a two-step process...first you net the background, then you
stretch your net on a frame and darn in your pattern.  There are two
commonly used stitches but I've seen others as well.  The darning is
a bit more complicated than it looks because you have to figure out a
path for your stitching that will allow you to fill in your design 
without carrying too many threads around

Here's a list of books and suppliers I've found.  There are several
in here that don't talk much about the lace but can give you
information about the net.  If you're going to try to make this stuff
it's easier to learn to do the net on a larger scale - and you can
use your new skill to make all sorts of useful things like shopping
bags and basketball nets! - the only 
netmaking-oriented site I've found on the web, but an excellent one.
Includes instructions for square, diamond, and circular netting, as
well as an excellent bibliography.

Crowfoot, Pritchard, and Staniland, Textiles and Clothing:  Medieval
Finds from Excavations in London.  London:  Her Majesty's Stationery 
Office, 1992. ISBN 0-11-290445-9.  Instructions for mesh hairnets, 
pictures of medieval netted items, and diagrams of netting needles.  
If you can, buy your copy from Edward R. Hamilton booksellers
(advertised in many magazines) for $20.00 instead of spending the 
$60.00+ to order it from HMSO.

Davidson, Jacqueline, "The Net-Making Tradition of Vinalhaven."
PieceWork Magazine, July/August 1996,  pp. 40-43.  On netting in 
Maine.  Back issues of PieceWork may be ordered from Interweave press 
at 1-800-645-3675.

Knight, Pauline, The Technique of Filet Lace.  London: B. T. Batsford,
Ltd., 1980.  ISBN 0- 7134-1698.  Instructions for decorative netted
projects, made by varying the size and number of your loops.  Also 
lots of nice pictures of filet lace items, including many from the SCA

Morton, Barbara M., "A Tote Bag to Net."  PieceWork Magazine, July/August 
1996,  pp. 44- 47.  The bag from class, with very clear instructions for 
netting.  I learned from this article.  See above for ordering information.

Preston, Doris Campbell, Needle-made Laces and Net Embroideries.  New
York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-486-24708-2.  This is a 
reprint of a 1938 book and, like most Dover reprints, is well worth 
the $4.95 price.  It includes another set of directions for net 
making, as well as lots of instructions for other kinds of lace.

Vinciolo, Federico, Renaissance Patterns for Lace, Embroidery, and 
Needlepoint.  New York:  Dover Publications, Inc.,  1971.  ISBN
0-486-22438-4.  This is a reproduction of Vinciolo's 1587 book "Les
singuliers et nouveaux pourtraicts,"  dedicated to the Queen of France. 
No actual instructions, but very handy if you want to do filet lace in
the SCA, and a great deal at $5.95.

Leftover hippie-craft books from the 70's at your local library may
also have netting instructions.  There probably won't be much you can 
use for the SCA, but it could be fun. 


Lacis, 3163 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA  94703.  (510) 843-7178.  
Their prices aren't exactly competitive, and they want $5.00 just 
for their catalog, but you can browse it for free at  
They do have things I haven't been able to find anyplace else, 
including the steel netting needles.

The Mannings, - plastic netting shuttles

Westerbeke Nets, (800) 536-6387 - large plastic netting shuttles

Halcyon Yarn, 12 School Street, Bath, ME  04530.  (800) 341-0282.  - plastic netting shuttles.

I wish you luck!


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