The Brilliant Story of Lace

by : rhusain

There was wool stitching with colorful wools from famous paintings and on Biblical subjects in the nineteenth. And there were beadworks as well which is an allied to embroidery and very popular in the seventeenth century during the reign of Queen Victoria. And lace was one the subject of interest in the earlier days.

In the nineteenth century there was a fashion for working brilliantly colored pictures in wool; many were after famous paintings, but the greater numbers were of Biblical subjects. They are known as Berlin woodwork, for both patterns and materials were prepared and exported from Prussia. They were sewn with thick wool and in big stitches; many were of large size and must have taken a considerable time to finish.

Beadwork is allied to embroidery, and was used on its own as well as in conjunction with work in wool and silk. It was widely popular in the seventeenth century, and revived during the reign of Queen Victoria when it was used often for making banners for fire screens and panels for covering footstools.

In other parts of Europe styles similar to those of England were followed, but with local variations in both designs and materials. Similarly, in America the inhabitants followed the styles that they, or their forbears, had followed before they reached that land. Much of the work is indistinguishable from European, but samplers exist with names of individuals and cities that make their identification certain.

Chinese embroiderers favored silk, which they had in the first place introduced into the West, of which the production was pursued with zeal. Fine embroidery was used on robes, in many instances on both sides of the fabric with the thread-ends care- fully concealed. It was used also with great effect in the form of pictures. The Japanese did similar work.

Lace was once studied eagerly and extensively, but today only comparatively few collectors take notice of it. There is probably more interest shown in the equipment used in its making (pillow-lace bobbins, in particular) than in the finished material. A brief mention is made of some of the many varieties, but only the barest outline is attempted; the names of the many patterns and the stitches employed would alone fill a book.

Hand-made lace is divided into two distinct types: that made with the needle, known as needlepoint; and that made with bobbins on a cushion, known as pillow. Basically, needlepoint lace is made from one single continuous thread, and pillow lace from a number. In the latter, each thread is wound conveniently on a bobbin made of wood or bone, often the subject of 'folk' decoration, and many are hung at one end with a bunch of colored glass beads.

In the sixteenth century lace making was a flourishing art, pattern books began to appear, and both Venice and Flanders were early seats of activity. Stimulus was provided by fashion decreeing that lace should be worn by both sexes, and contemporary paintings prove its popularity.

The most renowned needlepoint laces were made at Alencon and Argentan, and at Brussels. It is stated that the net forming the background in some of the finer Alencon pieces was composed of hexagons with sides one-tenth of an inch long, these sides being 'overcast with some nine or ten buttonhole stitches'.

Pillow lace was made also in Venice and Flanders, and in other countries. In England, imports from Europe threatened the native industry, and prohibition of foreign work was followed by the immigration of some of the workers themselves. English pillow lace was produced in several places, Honiton in Devonshire being the most famous. Other centres of lesser importance were: Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Suffolk. Lace was made also in Ireland, principally in the nineteenth century.

More than the lace there was more interest shown on the materials use in its making. The two types of lace such needlepoint and pillow are made with the same types of threads but one with hands and the other bobbin made of wood or bone. This lace ahs traveled a long way in making decorative works of our clothes and other dress materials, etc.