HNW - lacis vs. filet crochet for Victorian

Carolyn Kayta Barrows kayta at
Fri Jun 25 22:38:06 PDT 1999

>I was going to teach myself filet crochet (we just bought a Victorian house
>-- time to decorate!) but got sidetracked by filet lace. From what I
>understand, filet crochet was developed as a means to imitate the older
>form, lacis.

Crochet was often done to imitate other more time-consuming (= expensive)
forms of lace.  It does this very well, from ten feet away.  So for
Victorian decorating stick with the crochet version, as many actual
Victorians did.  It looks almost as nice, takes WAY less time, and there's
no puzzling out where the threads go next.  I think crochet isn't as
fragile as lacis in situations where it will take a lot of wear, like
antimacassars and curtains.  It also has the virtue of being machine
washable, where I'd be afraid to run real lacis thru the washer and dryer.  

I have done Victorian filet crochet and cross-stitch from Vinciolo and
other Renaissance needlework reprints, and called it 'Gothic Revival'.
Conversely, 19-teens and 1920's filet crochet books have lots of squares
which one could do in lacis, many of which look sort of Renaissance.  A few
patterns are the same in both places.

I don't do lacis for Renaissance because finished lacis pieces (or any lace
pieces) are kind of upscale for the characters I play.  I do crochet for
Victorian because it is so typical of that period.  Besides which, if I
play a character who has the time to crochet in public then she is upscale
enough to have crochet pieces in her house.  

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