HNW - lacis vs. filet crochet for Victorian

Carolyn Kayta Barrows kayta at
Sat Jul 3 14:04:42 PDT 1999

Gosh, wouldn't a tablecloth
>have to stand up to use? 

I have a couple of darned net pieces intended for table use.  For special
occasions they'd be fine.  For everyday (think antimacassars) I wouldn't
risk it.

Anyway, my question is with regards to the
>patterns that are not squaures. I've tried to understand the directions for
>making extra spaces at the ends of  rows for the shaped pieces ( as opposed
>to simple squares) . Is it the kind of thing where you just have to do it
>and practice it before it gets easier? 

If you have some idea of increasing and decreasing, and do whatever method
you use the same way each time, then whatever it is will be fine.  I fake
mine - neatly, of course.

Also, the idea of working across the
>chart then turning and working across it the other way is something I
>suspect results in some disorientation at first? is there any one book you
>found of great use when you started this, or did you  have the advantage of
>needleworkers in  your family to show you?

I am ambidextrous and dyslexic.  This turns out to be an advantage when
switching from left-to-right to right-to-left.  Either way is the same with
me.  I work one hole or block at a time, so either way is good.  The only
needleworker's advice I can pass on from my family is this:  If you make
one mistake, rip it out.  But if you make the same mistake at regular
intervals, call it a pattern.  (This from my mother the knitter/Math major.)

>< And, according to some period photosI have seen, overly fussy was just
>one way to do Victorian Eclectic.  Not everyone laid on the needlework with
>such a heavy hand as you mention not liking.>
>It's not just the needlework that seems to be laid on with a heavy hand,
>it's *everything*. 

What I meant was that cluttered was only one way to do the Victorian
Eclectic thing.  Many photos I have from this nominally cluttered period
show a very modern-looking lack of clutter on very plain wallpaper.  And
there are others where you can't see the wallpaper for the stuff hanging on
the walls.  Just like some homes today have crochet toilet tank covers,
with matching crochet toilet paper roll covers and Kleenex box covers, and
some don't.  The 'heavy hand' school is just one style of decoration, and
not the one which gets all the publicity.  Compare Eastlake furniture with
Roccoco Revival to get an idea of this.  

On the other hand, the Victorians did more decoration of walls than I
remember being fashionable in the 1950's and 60's (pre-Hippie).  I don't
remember much needlework when I was growing up, other than needlepoint
pillows (by my mother), handwoven place mats and runners (by my
grandmother), and crochet lace tablecloths (by my aunt) for fancy
occasions.  Nothing fussy or ruffled. 

My mother's mother's house was classic shingled Craftsman, with abaca cloth
on the upper halves of the walls, with framed etchings and Japanese prints,
and built-in no-glass-fronts bookcases below.  The tops of furniture might
have woven runners and bowls of flowers.  Lots of floor lamps instead of
table lamps.  

My father's mother's house was a low budget 'twenties bungalow in Oregon,
with lace doilies under table lamps, and glass-fronted bookcases full of
books she didn't read.  I don't remember her house as well as I remember
the other grandmother's house, but I seem to remember that the decoration
was more kitchy and less the work of an artist.  I don't remember her doing
any needlework, where the other grandmother wove on the three looms she
owned and had artsy friends my mother called 'Bohemian'.  Both grandmothers
used antimacassars.  

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