HNW - Lacis squares (long)

Mike Newell 72123.411 at
Tue May 4 14:28:54 PDT 1999

Dear Lori:

Your curiosity about quotes in needlework books re lacis squares sent me
scurrying to my bookshelf. Here is a fairly short and annotated list (not
in alphabetical order -- sorry):


Vinciolo, Federico, "Renaissance Patterns for Lace, Emboridery, and
Needlepoint",  Dover Books, NY 1971

"Vinciolo was probably summoned or brought to Paris by that same Catherine
de Medicis who was the first to teach France the art of fine Italian
lackemaking and who, at her death, left behind in her chests nearly a
thousand carrés de réseuil [squares of net embroidery] similar to those in
the second part of this book."

Pallister, Mrs Bury, "History of Lace",  Dover Pub. NY,1984 (reprint)

p. 20 mentions that lacis was used to for altar cloths,baptismal napkins,as
well as bed coverlets and tablecloths.

Synge, Lanto, "Antique Needlework", Blandford Press, London, 1982

In mentioning the items left in the will of Mary, Queen of Scots, (p.54).:

        "Mary  also left a set of lacis bed hangings, only partially

Knight, Pauline, "The Technique of Filet Lace", B.T. Batsford, London, 1980

p.19 "Journeying backward in time to earlier lacemaking brings us to the
seventeenth and sixteenth centuries from which we still have much lacis
available in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. We think mostly of
lacis as worked with white linen threads and applied to white linen. Yet at
this time coloured slik threads were often used for the fine netting with
white linen thread for the reprise stitchery. Or, in reverse, the gound has
been  netted in a natural thread and various colours used for the design.
.References to this coloured work trace it chiefly to Italy and Sardinia."

Swain, Margaret, "The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots", Ruth  Bean,
England, 1986

Mention is made that  Catherine de Medicis liked lacis (p.30). 

        "When she died in 1589, nearly a thousand squares of this lace were
said to be found in boxes among her possessions."

Levey, Santina, "Lace: A History", V& A Museum (W.S. Maney &Son,
Ltd),England, 1983.

You need to really look at this magnificent book -- there are several
reproduced portraits of ladies with lacis partlets. Ms. Levey mentions that
 most lacis survives as tablecloths, runners, etc, but that portraiture
shows evidence for it being used on dress.


Your query has taught me two things while running this information down.
(1) lacis was sometimes done in color, and (2) it was used on costume.
Thank you for teaching me by making me run to my books!

< I make the netting now and would enjoy stitching upon it.>

What do you use as a frame? I am *years* behind on needle lace, myself. I
was thinking of making  my own frame by winding wire around 4 nails set in
a square, then wrapping the wire around with sturdy thread.

- --Kathryn
SCA: Kathryn Goodwyn
"too many centuries...too little time"

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