HNW - Buratto, not Lacis (long)

Mike Newell 72123.411 at
Wed Jun 30 11:37:22 PDT 1999

Dear List:

I decided to browse through my copy of Margaret Abegg's "A Propos
Patterns". She has some photos of extant pieces of darned net, and I think
that what I am doing technically counts as buratto, not lacis. The only
difference I can deduce is that buratto is darned on a ready-made net,
while in lacis you make the net, first, then darn it.  What I found
exciting was that the photos *seem* to indicate reprise stitch, not cloth
stitch! Since I thought only cloth stitch was used in the Renaissance,  I'd
appreciate any second opinions (I used a magnifying glass).

Fig.82, 85 "Embroidered Net or Buratto, Italian, XVI century, formerly in a
private collection, NY.

Burratto (meaning in Italian, sieve, sifter) is: "Linen of the kind called
Buratto (from the word bura, coarse linen) which is a stiff, transparrent
material something like canvas, provides a convenient medium for the quck
and easy attainment of drawn-thread effect. The texture is treated like
drawn linen and on the already transparent ground the design is worked in
darning or linen-stitch." Elisa Ricci, Italian  Lace, Vol.1,London,
Philadelphia, 1913, p.41.

The figure 85 shows a pattern I recognize from a 16th century lace pattern 
book (Possibly L'Honest Essempio", by Mattio Pagan), showing a Sphinx, man
playing a flute  (holding a club?) and a dog, with foliage.

Fig.63 of Abegg shows a burrato piece also dated as 17thc entury, but
showing a very classic pattern of birds shown in earlier Italian pattern

I also looked at a recent book I acquired: "Guide to Lace and Linens"  by
Elizabeth M. Kurella. (great book!) She lists Lacis under Filet and it's
very difficult for me to find any difference between that and her listing
for Buratto, except that Lacis is worked on a hand knotted mesh. She lists
it as "darned net" as well, which it is.

I am * very* encouraged to find that I can continue to do reprise stitch on
a pre-made foundation net and be authentic for SCA purposes! This does not
mean I won't, eventually, try my hand at netting my own background, or try
to figure out cloth stitch (and hopefully get it to be neat and tidy).

- --Kathryn
SCA: Kathryn Goodwyn
"too many centuries...too little time"
Go to to perform mailing list tasks.

More information about the H-needlework mailing list