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Amazing HANDMADE LACE: A 6-Country Tour
rees viing thh
Nee d e ork
One Woman’s
The Story from
World War I p. 8
Make Your Own
Needle Lace Frisado
de Valladolid Pendant
Elegant Tatted
Stunning Knitted
Lace Shawls
How to Make
May/June 2018
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Volume XXVI, Number 3
Subversive Lace
Evelyn McMillan
16 Spanish Frisado de Valladolid
Needle Lace: Treasures in
Gold, Silver, and Silk
Carolyn Wetzel
23 A Medallion of Frisado de
Valladolid-Style Lace to Stitch
Carolyn Wetzel
32 The Lace Mantilla:
A Centuries-Old Spanish Tradition
Mary Polityka Bush
37 A Victorian Lace Square to
Appliqué and Embroider
Kathi Rotella
40 A Shawl Based on a Weldon’s Veil
Pattern to Knit
Carolyn Wyborny
44 Diamond Dust Wrap to Knit
Andrea Jurgrau
52 Irish Crochet Buttons to Make
Pat Olski
56 A Tatted Treasure
Kathy Augustine
58 A Handkerchief Edging to Tat
Trish Faubion
59 Lace Pichwai
Chitra Balasubramaniam
60 Impressions of the Thing Itself
Veronica Patterson
Letter from the editor
Events of interest
Don’t miss out!
Products of interest
We post new content every day to the PieceWork
blog. You’ll find quirky, informative, and fun
posts, each with the PieceWork slant. Visit The website
also has the PieceWork index, editorial calendar,
contributor guidelines, charts and illustrations
from previous issues, the current issue’s Calendar,
and much more.
62 Abbreviations & Techniques
63 Trimmings:
Mary Elizabeth Greenwall
Edie’s Knitted-Lace Samples
Frances H. Rautenbach
M AY / J U N E
ere we go again—our annual Lace Issue of PieceWork! It’s our
eleventh look at this extraordinary fabric, which continues
to captivate.
Although the techniques for making lace vary—from bobbin and needle
to knitted, crocheted, and tatted—the stories behind the creations keep this
theme on our perennial list. The offerings in this issue are no exception.
When Evelyn McMillan, who wrote about lacemakers in Belgium in the
May/June 2017 issue (see “Gratitude in Lace: World War I, Famine Relief,
and Belgian Lacemakers”), inquired about sharing a different story on an
individual lacemaker for this issue, I immediately said “yes.” The irst few
sentences from Evelyn’s article, “Subversive Lace,” set the scene:
Louise Liénaux-Vergauwe (born in 1890), a young Belgian wife and
mother, created six exceptional pieces of pictorial lace during World
War I (1914–1918). She used this unlikely medium to express her
thoughts on the German occupation of her country, to offer her own
form of resistance to the invaders, and as a way to cope with her
grief over the separation of her family by the war. Through her highly
political depictions of the realities of the war, Louise both commented
on and celebrated her country’s perseverance in its ight against the
German army that had overrun Belgium, a small neutral country.
Louise, her family, and her lace survived the war. Her story adds new
meaning to the words “indomitable” and “courageous.” I know her story
will enthrall you as it did me.
Before starting to work on this issue, I knew nothing about a Spanish
needle lace called frisado de Valladolid. I am delighted I know about it
now. Made with gold, silver, and silk threads, frisado dates to the sixteenth
century and adorned church linens and household items. Because the
gold and silver threads were made with real metals, this lace was only
available to the rich and powerful. Carolyn Wetzel provides the background
in “Spanish Frisado de Valladolid Needle Lace: Treasures in Gold, Silver,
and Silk.” Outstanding examples of this sumptuous lace are in several
collections. That any survived the centuries is miraculous—an untold
number of items made with precious metals were literally picked apart in
order to recoup the metals.
Mary Bush turned to Spain as well for her article “The Lace Mantilla:
A Centuries-Old Spanish Tradition.” That intrigue played many roles
in the lives of mantillas is a surprise. Mary includes several accounts,
including this:
. . . versions of mantillas began to appear in the sixteenth century in
paintings by such renowned Spanish artists as El Greco (Doménikos
Theotokópoulos; 1541–1614) in his Portrait of a Lady with a White
Mantilla, circa 1577 to 1580; Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) in his
The Lady with a Fan, circa 1638 to 1639; and Francisco de Goya
(1746–1828), who painted The Black Duchess, a portrait of the
thirteenth Duchess of Alba, in 1797. The duchess, María Cayetana de
Silva (1762–1802), was thirty-ive years old when Goya painted this
controversial portrait. Rather than the French mode du jour adopted
by women of her social class, the duchess posed for her portrait in
the costume of a maja (belle or beauty) of the lower class, complete
with a sheer black, rufle-edged mantilla. Because the Duchess of Alba
ranked second only to the queen of Spain, her choice was seen as
social betrayal and drew much criticism.
These are just a few examples from this issue. There’s much more.
The history of lace is wrapped up in stories of survival, subterfuge, and
the sheer joy of being able to create something with just thread or yarn and
a few simple tools. Long live lace!
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
Jeane Hutchins
TECHNICAL EDITORS Deanna Hall West, Lori Gayle, Daniela Nii
COPY EDITOR Veronica Patterson
Diane Kocal, Doreen Connors
Bekah Thrasher
DESIGNER Samantha Wranosky
Stephen Koenig
Julie Macdonald
Greg Osberg
Jennifer Graham
PieceWork® (ISSN 1067-2249) is published bimonthly by Interweave, a
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Photograph ©
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Melbourne, Florida: May 19–August 11. Apron Strings: Ties to the
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Albany, Oregon: June 29–July 1. The Black Sheep Gathering, at the Linn
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Minneapolis, Minnesota: Through July 1. Miao Clothing and Jewelry
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London, England: May 9–13. London Craft Week. info@
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Bow Tie, at The National Quilt Museum. (270) 442-8856;
Southampton, England: July 19–20. The sixth interdisciplinary and
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Boston, Massachusetts: Through March 10, 2019. Collecting Stories:
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Brooch,” sponsored by the Royal School of Needlework, at Grand
St. Paul, Minnesota: Through May 13. Storied Lives: Women and Their
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Hall, University of Minnesota. (612) 624-7434;
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Subversive Lace
ouise Liénaux-Vergauwe (born in 1890), a young Belgian wife and mother, created
six exceptional pieces of pictorial lace during World War I (1914–1918). She used this
unlikely medium to express her thoughts on the German occupation of her country,
to offer her own form of resistance to the invaders, and as a way to cope with her grief over
the separation of her family by the war. Through her highly political depictions of the realities of the war, Louise both commented on and celebrated her country’s perseverance in its
ight against the German army that had overrun Belgium, a small neutral country.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
In the early weeks of the war, with her husband already called up for duty, Louise and her
two small children joined the thousands of refugees leeing to the Netherlands. The 62-mile
(99.8-km) walk from their home in Antwerp to
the Dutch town of Rotterdam took them many
days. Her daughter, Yvonne, was three at the time,
and her son, Carlo, was only one. At night they
camped out in the ields. The roads were crowded
with those trying to escape the German forces
that were burning and bombing Belgian cities,
towns, and villages in their quest to reach France.
Upon their arrival in Rotterdam, Louise’s children were placed in a foster home, but she had to
return to Belgium. As a secondary school teacher,
she was considered a government oficial and all
oficials were ordered back to their posts. Her
hopes of being able to journey back to Rotterdam
periodically to check on her children were dashed
as it quickly became too dangerous: the border was
sealed and those attempting to cross were shot. It
would be four long years before she saw her children again.
Louise turned to Belgium’s national art of
lacemaking as a channel for her grief over the separation from her children and her outrage over the
occupation of her country. First, she taught herself
the simple, traditional styles of bobbin lacemaking,
Above: The Prediction by Louise Liénaux-Vergouwe. Bobbin lace. Belgium. 1916. 15½ x 11½ inches (39.4 x 29.2 cm). Collection of the
Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles, Belgium. (D87.39.03).
Opposite: Defense of the Yser by Louise Liénaux-Vergouwe. Bobbin lace. Belgium. 1915. 13 x 12½ inches (33.0 x 31.8 cm). Collection of
the Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles, Belgium. (D87.39.02).
Photographs © the Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles;
M AY / J U N E
Belgium “Bowed but Undefeated” by Louise Liénaux-Vergouwe. Bobbin lace. Belgium. 1917. 14¾ x 19 inches (37.5 x 48.3 cm). Collection of the Musée Mode
& Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles, Belgium. (D87.39.04).
Photograph © the Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles;
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
such as Torchon and Cluny. After quickly mastering
these, she set out to develop her own style and techniques—ones that would permit her to create the
pictorial laces she came to call her “lace engravings.”
To facilitate her work, she designed her own bobbin
lacemaking pillow, which rotated 360 degrees on a
ball bearing, allowing her full access to her work from
any direction. The pillow was mounted on a stand.
In 1915, Louise designed the irst of ive political laces that expressed her thoughts on the war.
She did so in an environment where it was forbidden to express any patriotic feeling about one’s
own country or anger toward the occupiers. This
irst piece, Defense of the Yser, used a simple
outline map as its background. Two symbolic
animals, standing in for the combatants, were
worked into the lace. In the piece, a calm and resolute Belgian lion is seen knocking the helmet off
the head of the stunned German eagle, which has
landed on its back. The lion’s hind paws stand on
the part of the map tracing the Yser River in West
Flanders. The lace depicts the place where the
Belgian army successfully stopped the advancement of the German army, keeping one small part
of Belgium free.
In her next piece, The Prediction, started in
1916, Louise again used an outline map as the
background. Symbolic animals representing the
major countries involved in the war are positioned
on the map. She dangerously subverts Germany’s
motto of Deutschland über alles (Germany over
all) to Deutschland unter alles (Germany under
all). The Belgian lion has pinned down one wing of
the German eagle. The eagle turns its head in rage
toward the Russian bear that is standing on its tail.
The French cock has landed on the eagle’s other
wing and has turned its own head toward the head
of the eagle, while the English bulldog expresses his
contempt. With this piece, Louise forecasts how the
war will end, two years before it did.
Had she been caught with The Prediction in
her possession, Louise would have been subject
to arrest and possible execution. One evening,
she came very close. She was working on the
piece when German soldiers entered the building she was living in. In notes she left about
her work (translated from the original French),
Louise wrote:
. . . I heard the tread of their heavy boots in our
corridor. They were coming round to steal the
America Enters the War by Louise Liénaux-Vergouwe. Bobbin lace. Belgium. 1917–1918. 19¼ x 13½ inches (48.9 x 34.3 cm).
Collection of the Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles, Belgium. (D87.39.05).
Photograph © the Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles;
M AY / J U N E
wool from our mattresses. I led with my lace,
working cushion tucked under my arm and
wrapped in a raincoat. The haste made my bobbins click as they dangled free, while I walked
twice around the town till nightfall. The hairine thread and the bobbins were so mixed up
that an entire section had to be sorted out and
re-made. It took a whole day, but I was still
free! Had they seen the picture I was working
on, they would not have been amused, and my
punishment would have been severe.
The irst two pictorial lace pieces came from
Louise’s own imagination; however, her third
was inspired by an illustration. She described her
encounter with the picture of Belgium and France
that she would use as inspiration:
Still in 1917: The time for animal imagery has
passed. One day I saw, in a banned Belgian
newspaper, a picture entitled: “Belgium,
bowed but undefeated.” This igure was at
one with my poor heart. Could I ever realize her and retain the weary sadness of her
dropping head – in lace? Was that not beyond
my ability? In front of the mirror I hung my
head to better note the form of neck, head
and shoulders in that position, but Belgium in
the drawing was ininitely more sad: She was
the whole of Belgium, all the mothers who
had already lost their sons and their daughters in the bombardments. My children were
still alive! Perhaps I would see them again,
yes, yes. To work, to work then! I must be
able to show my children. The only thing I
could do to console myself of their endless
absence was the creation of laces they had
never seen me work on, and which I was only
able to achieve because of my overwhelming
sadness. To work, to work, but this subject
was immense! Would it be beyond me? But,
calmly and quietly, one Sunday morning . . .
I sat down in front of my lace-work cushion
and decided to start with the distraught face
of Belgium. If this did not convey its utter
desolation, it was useless to proceed with the
Portrait of King Albert by Louise Liénaux-Vergouwe. Bobbin lace. Belgium. 1918–1919. Collection of the Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles, Belgium.
Photograph © the Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles;
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
whole of the picture. From time to time, a
small tear blurred my vision and I had to wait
a while before proceeding.
In her notes, she also contrasted the differences between the igures of the two countries.
She says that the igure on the left, representing
France, is richly clothed and her cloak is fastened with a brooch. On her head she wears a
Phrygian helmet, and she is shod in sturdy boots.
She stands strong and erect with a military bearing, clasping a large sabre with a strong arm. By
contrast, the igure on the right, representing
Belgium, is poorly clothed. She has no cloak, no
helmet, and is wearing only sandals. Her arms
are badly bandaged and there are wounds on her
legs. Her sword is smaller, and she seems too
exhausted to carry her shield. It lies against the
shattered tree trunk on which she leans—weary
but still standing. Louise wrote of this piece,
“Faces in which mood and feeling can be discerned reveals my technical progress.”
Louise completed “Belgium, Bowed but
Undefeated” in the same year she started it and
then began work on another piece also based on an
illustration she had seen. America Enters the War
shows a surprised Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany
(1859–1941) gaping at the battalions of American
troops, represented by rows of helmets, arriving in
Top: Peace Fan by Louise Liénaux-Vergouwe. Bobbin lace. Belgium.
1918. 17¾ x 9 inches (45.1 x 22.9 cm). Collection of the Brooksbank
Photograph courtesy of Kerry Brooksbank.
Above: Original sheet music depicting the image Louise LiénauxVergauwe used for her Peace Fan. Collection of Evelyn McMillan.
M AY / J U N E
Formal portrait of Louise Liénaux-Vergauwe taken in 1922, four years
after the end of World War I. Collection of the Brooksbank family.
Photograph courtesy of Kerry Brooksbank.
Europe to join the ight. Behind the troops stands a
magniicent rendition of the Statue of Liberty, who
has been endowed by the original illustrator with
a sword and an expansive pair of wings patterned
with the stars and stripes of the lag. Her sword
points toward the billowing waves she has crossed
to reach Europe, while behind her are countless
rile barrels. Louise wrote in her notes that the
illustration she saw had the Kaiser saying “Who
brought all these troops over here?” and the reply
is “The Lusitania.”
In 1915, the passenger ship Lusitania sank
quickly off the coast of Ireland after being torpedoed by a German submarine. Americans were
horriied over the huge loss of innocent lives.
Louise conjectured that the impressive wings may
have been added to the Statue of Liberty in an
attempt to make up for the two-year delay between
the sinking of the Lusitania and the entry of the
United States in the war. Again, she successfully
portrayed human emotion in her work. The Statue
of Liberty is calm and resolute, while the Kaiser
is startled and worried. His uniform is carefully
represented in the lace: the spiked helmet, the
iron cross, the belt buckle, the gold chains across
his chest, right down to the black fur collar of his
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
cape. Louise’s technical prowess shines through
in both the emotions she depicts and the astonishing details she achieves, such as black fur worked
entirely in white thread.
When the chief curator of the Cinquantenaire
Museum in Brussels saw America Enters the War,
he expressed such amazement at the level of realism Louise had accomplished that he seemed to be
questioning if she could ever achieve it again. Feeling
challenged, she told the curator that she would create a portrait piece that would further demonstrate
her mastery of her own style of pictorial lace.
This piece, Portrait of King Albert I, was based
on an illustration that showed King Albert (1875–
1934) serving in the trenches. He is seen peering
through his glasses in order to aim his rile, a
depiction itting for a man known as the “Soldier
King.” After the war, Louise offered it to King
Albert’s wife, Queen Elisabeth (1876–1965), who
accepted it as a tribute to her husband and kept it
for the rest of her life. Upon her death, the piece
was returned to Louise.
In early 1918, when it looked as though the war
inally was ending, Louise started to plan a quite
different lace piece, one that would convey her
joy at the anticipated reunion with her children
and the return of peace in Europe. She wrote in
her notes:
Was the war really coming to an end? Could
freedom and life and love really be near? At
last I felt capable of expressing my love for
my children . . . in lace. My ultimate message
of all my work in all these years which, for
me, had been a nightmare, day and night. This
love, and not only the yearning to see them
again, had to be expressed in lowers presented in a fan.
First, she sketched irises blooming in the garden
of the school where she taught, then she cast about
for an illustration that would best represent what
was in her heart. She found it on a piece of sheet
music. She noted:
The fulillment of my wish – it was a poignant and tender picture suggesting a
mother bending down towards her baby
who reaches up to her. It’s full of delicacy,
sweetness and gentleness – yes, that’s what
I’ll make in lace. It will be a celebration of
the end of the war, the birth of peace, life
and love have returned.
This tender moment between mother and child
serves as the focal point of Peace Fan.
The war ended in November of 1918, and Louise
was reunited with her beloved children, now ages
ive and seven. Her husband also returned home
from his wartime duties. As the children adjusted
back to life with their parents, they saw their
mother making lace for the irst time as she inished
Portrait of King Albert I and Peace Fan. When the
two pieces were completed, Louise never made lace
again. It had been her way of coping with the horrors and separation of war:
My hands must have been able to absorb the
mental pressure of my intense grief at the
complete absence of my children, a grief that
nearly killed me. My hands, by their intense
activity during the making of the laces, guided
my whole being towards a viable equilibrium.
Then, I was never surprised at my ability to
make these laces, but when viewing these few
pieces later, I say to myself; is it really I who
made those?
She went on to live a full and happy life. Her
children thrived: her daughter also became a
teacher and her son became a ship’s engineer. Like
their mother, both were artistic: Yvonne drew,
painted, and designed clothing and Carlo was a
musician. After the war, Louise won many awards
for her unprecedented pieces of igural lace, but
history was to repeat itself when she again found
herself trapped behind the German lines during
World War II (1939–1945). She tried to evacuate to
England to join her married daughter’s family but
was unable to escape. She was concerned about
the survival of her delicate laces during the conlict and inally decided to mail Peace Fan to her
daughter. She had made it for her children, and she
wanted to make sure they had it even though sending it through the mail was risky. Forced to stay in
Belgium, she continued to teach just as she had in
the previous war. Yet again, both she and the lace
pieces survived the conlict.
Louise died in 1974. In 1987, her family donated
her ive political World War I pieces to the Musée
Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles, where
America Enters the War is currently on exhibit in
the museum’s Lace Room. Peace Fan remains in
the family and is displayed in her grandson’s house
in England.
Louise’s extraordinary use of Belgium’s
national art form to express her resistance to the
occupiers of her beloved country makes her subversive pieces of lace unique. Each piece builds
on the skills developed in the previous piece
while chronicling the history of the war. She
showed what courage, independence, and determination could do, even in such a dificult and
demanding medium as lace. ❖
The Story of “Ma’s” Laces, 1914–1918, Her Response to the
Trauma of Wartime by Kerry and Carol Brooksbank. “Ma” is the
family name for Louise Liénaux-Vergauwe. Collection of the
Brooksbank family. The photograph on the cover of the book at left
shows Louise Liénaux-Vergauwe working at her bobbin-lace pillow
in Antwerp, Belgium.
Brooksbank, Kerry, and Carol Brooksbank. The Story of
“Ma’s” Laces, 1914–1918, Her Response to the Trauma
of Wartime. 2004. Note: “Ma” is the family name for Louise Liénaux-Vergauwe. The information in this article is
drawn from The Story of “Ma’s” Laces, 1914–1918, Her
Response to the Trauma of Wartime and from correspondence with Louise’s grandson, Kerry Brooksbank, and her
great-grandson, Richard Brooksbank. Copies of this privately printed book can be purchased from Kerry Brooksbank by emailing him at brooksbank_kerry2@hotmail.
com. The Lace Museum of Sunnyvale, California, may also
have copies of the book for sale; check on their website at
Musée Mode & Dentelle de la Ville de Bruxelles; www
EVELYN MCMILLAN volunteers for the Lace Museum of Sunnyvale, California, and has long been interested in the lace and
decorated lour sacks that came out of Belgium during World
War I (1914–1918). You can contact her at lacehistory@gmail
.com. She thanks Louise Liénaux-Vergouwe’s family for their
help and support with this article.
M AY / J U N E
Spanish Frisado de Valladolid
Needle Lace
Treasures in Gold, Silver, and Silk
Fringe. Fitted lace of Valladolid. Gold, silver, and green, pink, and yellow silk threads applied on a plain maroon velvet fabric. School of Valladolid. Spain. Second half
of the sixteenth century. 62 x 62 centimeters (24.4 x 24.4 in). Collection of the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid, Spain.
Photograph © the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
n the 1500s and 1600s, when the Spanish Empire was a world power and the
Roman Catholic Church ruled along
with the monarchy, gold, silver, and silk
were used to make some of the most spectacular lace and embroideries ever created
in the Western world. One type of lace made
during this time was frisado de Valladolid, named for its surface texture of gold
or silver loops and its center of production
in Valladolid in northwest Spain. Frisado
comes from the Spanish verb frisar, meaning “to lift and curl the hairs of fabric.” I
have had the great fortune to travel to Spain
twice to study this fascinating lace in its
historical context.
Frisado de Valladolid is a needle lace constructed
by making detached-buttonhole (also called corded
Brussels) stitches with colored silk thread over
a strand of gold or silver thread. The stitches are
spaced apart to allow the shimmer of gold or silver
to shine through. Along the edges of the lace and
the connecting open areas within the lace are loops
made of the precious metal thread. In solid areas of
motifs, the surface can be embellished with loops
of the metal threads to create the characteristic “frisado” effect. Similar lace that lacks loops on the
surface is called anillado lace and is contemporary
with frisado lace.
Frisado lace was irst made by the Carmelita
Descalza nuns in Catholic convents established
by Santa Teresa de Jesús (de Ávila). She was born
Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada in Ávila in
1515. She died in 1582 and was canonized in 1622.
Teresa founded the order in the Castile region of
Spain. During her lifetime, she established seventeen convents and left a body of writing that
continues to inspire and inluence philosophers,
theologians, and laypersons. Lacemakers will appreciate the irony in the fact that Santa Teresa is a
patron saint of lacemakers and of headaches.
Statue of Santa Teresa de Jesús in her former cell at the Monastario de San José Carmelitas
Descalzas, Medina del Campo, Spain.
Photograph by Carolyn Wetzel and courtesy of the Monastario de San José Carmelitas Descalzas.
Among the body and clothing relics of Santa
Teresa on display in the Museo Teresiano at the
Monasterio San Jóse de Carmelitas Descalzas in
Medina del Campo are several beautiful pieces of
frisado lace. Frisado lace authorities Natividad
Villoldo Díaz and María Ángeles González Mena
say that the nuns at the Convento de Carmelitas
Descalzes in Toledo, Spain, have a drawing of a
corporal (the altar cloth used under the Eucharist)
made by Santa Teresa while she lived there,
although the actual piece of lace was lost during
the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Whether or not
Santa Teresa actually made any of the lace, she was
in close contact with the nuns who were making it
and would have had occasion to use it.
M AY / J U N E
Border. Silk and linen metallic needle lace; bobbin-lace inner edge.
Spain. Seventeenth century. Collection of the Cooper-Hewitt,
Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, New York; gift of Richard
C. Greenleaf Esq. in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf.
Photograph © Smithsonian Institution, Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian
Design Museum / Art Resource, NY.
Edge. Needle lace. Gold, silver, and silk threads. Spain. Circa 1615–1630. Collection of the
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; gift of the Vereniging Het Kantsalet. (BK-2000-3).
Photograph courtesy of the Rijksmuseum.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
Gold- and silversmiths were plentiful in Valladolid
when Santa Teresa was there, as were quantities of
gold and silver mined in the New World. The region
was the commercial center of Castile, already one
of the richest kingdoms in Iberia before the uniication of Spain in 1492 under the Catholic monarchs
Isabel I of Castile (1451–1504) and Ferdinand II of
Aragon (1452–1516). They married in Valladolid in
1469 and made it the political capital of the Kingdom
of Castile. It remained the royal and political center
of the Spanish Empire until the court was moved to
Madrid in 1561, but Valladolid continued to be the
provincial capital and many members of the nobility kept residences there long after the move. Along
with the nobles came rich palaces with luxurious furnishings and clothing.
Christian, Jewish, and Moorish artistic skills and
aesthetics blended together in this wealthy city.
In 1492, Jews who did not convert to Catholicism
were expelled from Spain; that same year, after
the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula,
Moors were allowed to stay in Spain under a protected status. Despite the cultural upheaval that
occurred, all three traditions can be seen in frisado
lace, along with Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance,
and Baroque elements. However, much of it is
Spanish Plateresque (meaning “in the manner of
a silversmith”), a style prevalent in art and architecture in Spain during the ifteenth and sixteenth
centuries. Because no trained artists drew the
patterns as they did for other needle laces, the
lacemakers themselves created designs based on
elements that they saw around them: arches, lourishes, leaves, animals, and rosettes.
Household inventories and other documents
from the beginning of the thirteenth century list
textiles made of precious metals and silk, although
it is rarely indicated if the textile comprised lace,
embroidery, or woven fabric; even if lace is mentioned, the style or technique is not. This lack of
information makes it dificult to determine how
much frisado lace was made and who owned it.
In addition, portraits of the time lack depictions
of frisado lace. However, because several sumptuary laws in effect during the peak production
Fringe. Ringed lace from Valladolid. The border is superimposed on a velvet band. School of Valladolid. Spain. Second half of the sixteenth
century. 60 x 60 centimeters (23.6 x 23.6 in). Collection of the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid, Spain.
Photograph © the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan.
years limited the use of lace in clothing, it is most
likely that the lace was primarily made for church
use, for the many religious confraternities, and for
household adornment. These uses are documented
by extant examples of frisado lace in museums
and private collections: altar linens used during
Catholic services, edgings on velvet embroideries of
coats of arms, and display cloths used in religious
As styles and fortunes changed, frisado lace fell
out of use. In the eighteenth century, lighter-weight
French, Italian, and Flemish bobbin laces became
popular. Examples of frisado lace were lost
from religious properties during the Peninsular
War (1808–1814). In addition, laces disappeared
in a series of “ecclesiastical coniscations” (la
Desamortización) by the Spanish government
between the late eighteenth century until 1924, during which many convents and monasteries were
forced to close. And the Spanish Civil War took
a toll as well. Valuable religious art and artifacts
were coniscated or stolen as the convents and
M AY / J U N E
Fringe. Ringed lace from Valladolid. Silver and pale gray and blue silk threads; the border is applied to a plain velvet garnet fabric. School of Valladolid. Spain.
Sixteenth century. 70 x 70 centimeters (27.6 x 27.6 in). Collection of the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid, Spain.
Photograph © the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan.
monasteries were shut down; countless items were
sold, some of which are now in museums and private collections around the world. Because of the
fragile nature of frisado lace and the value of its
precious metals, it is speculated that much of it was
destroyed to recover the gold and silver.
Knowledge of how to make frisado lace might
have been completely lost as former needleworkers
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
passed away without teaching the next generation
if not for two events in the early twentieth century that revived interest. In 1915, the Sociedad
Española de Amigos del Arte put on an exhibition
of Spanish laces for the Marqúes de Valverde (José
María Fontagud Aguilera; 1867–1939) who had a
palace in Valladolid. The marqúes wrote an introduction to the exhibition catalog and is the irst
Right: Contemporary pieces of frisado de Valladolid. The heart and the
star were designed by Rosa María Asensio and made by Carolyn Wetzel;
the others were designed and made by Carolyn Wetzel.
Photograph by George Boe.
Bottom Right: Frisado de Valladolid fan in progress. Designed and
made by Rosa María Asensio, Escuela De Encajes Orcana,
Valladolid, Spain.
Photograph by Carolyn Wetzel.
person to refer to the lace as “punto de España
frisado, escuela de Valladolid,” since shortened to
frisado de Valladolid. Before being given that label,
it was referred to as punto de España de aguja
(Spanish point needle lace) and described by its
materials: ora (gold), plata (silver), and seda (silk).
The marqúes also praised sixteenth-century lace as
being the most glorious example of a distinctively
Spanish genre.
At about the same time in Barcelona, the foundation was laid for what is now the Escola de
Puntaires de Barcelona. In 1910, sisters Antònia
and Montserrat Raventós y Ventura (dates
unknown) started delving into local libraries and
collections to learn about lace and realized that
many techniques had been or would soon be
lost. They painstakingly re-created the lost techniques, teaching them at the Escola de Puntaires.
Fortunately, frisado de Valladolid is one of the
laces that they revived, and it is still taught there
today. Both of my frisado lace teachers in Spain
are of the Barcelona school lineage.
Lacemaking is very popular in Spain, with
lace gatherings drawing hundreds to thousands of lacemakers who set up at tables in
town squares or streets for hours of socializing, show-and-tell, and shopping. But most
of the lacemakers are doing bobbin lace; few
make needle lace of any kind, much less frisado.
When our group of North American lacemakers
attended a lace event in Medina del Campo, we
drew attention both because we were foreign
and because we were working with eye-catching
gold, silver, and colored silk threads in the manner of their Spanish ancestors. ❖
Baroja de Caro, Carmen. El encaje en España [The Lace of
Spain]. Barcelona: Editorial Labor, 1933.
Browne, Clare. Lace: From the Victoria and Albert Museum.
London: V & A Publications, 2004.
Conde, Margarita Moreno. “El Instituto de Valencia de
Don Juan y el origen de sus colecciones arqueológicas”
[The Valencia Institute of Don Juan and the Origin of Its
Archaeological Collections]. Boletín del Museo Arqueológico Nacional. Volume 35, 2017.
M AY / J U N E
My Frisado de Valladolid Journey
My foray into frisado de Valladolid lace started in 2012, when Mariña Regueiro González-Barros introduced me to it and encouraged me
to learn it and teach it to American lacemakers. Mariña owns the Escuela de Encaje in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and is a frequent
bobbin-lace teacher in the United States and Europe. She sent me
a few photographs of the lace, and I found examples in online collections such as at the Victoria and Albert Museum (accession number 57-1869) and at the Rijksmuseum (accession number BK-2000-3).
It was like no other needle lace I had ever seen, and I was keen to
learn more.
In 2015, I visited Mariña in Madrid, where she arranged for me
to have a frisado-lace class with a lacemaker trained at the Barcelona school. We also visited the private Instituto de Valencia de Don
Juan, where several spectacular examples of frisado lace are on display. Upon my return home, I continued to practice making the lace
and did further research on its history, especially through the works
of María Ángeles González Mena.
González Mena was director of the Museo de Artes Populares de
la Universidad Complutense de Madrid for more than twenty years
and is a noted authority on Spanish lace and embroidery. In the 1970s,
she started publishing her research on Spanish textiles, including frisado lace. González Mena has studied most of the known pieces of
frisado lace, and she made drawings of their structural elements, usefully classiied according to their historical artistic style. Although
several other books have entries on the lace, her books and articles
make up the most authoritative body of work on the subject of frisado de Valladolid.
In 2017, Mariña organized a tour for a small group of North American lacemakers. During this tour, we visited most of the main locations in Castile associated with frisado de Valladolid lace, viewed
frisado lace in museums and collections, took a three-day frisadolace class, and then participated in a lace festival in Medina del Campo. Our teacher was Rosa María Asensio, who runs the Escuela De
Encajes Orcana, which is housed in the Monasterio de San Joaquín
y Santa Ana in the heart of old Valladolid. There, she teaches embroidery, patchwork, and both bobbin and needle lace. Rosa Maria
learned lacemaking from Natividad Villoldo Díaz at a lace school in
nearby Tordesillas.
Natividad Villoldo Díaz learned to make lace at the Escola de Puntaires while she lived in Barcelona for twenty years. She started El
Museo y Centro Didáctico del Encaje de Castilla y León in Tordesillas
in 1999. Natividad designs, teaches, collects, writes about all types of
lace, and publishes catalogs of the annual congresses she organizes.
On display in her museum are striking contemporary fans, accessories, and pictorial artwork made in frisado lace, as well as authentic
and reproduction historical examples.
Natividad teaches a multiyear course of study in needle lace, with
frisado being one of the last techniques learned. She is also creating
a new form of lace by combining bobbin lace and needle lace made
of gold, silver, and polychrome silk in a style she calls el Punto de
Castilla. Our day with Natividad was a highlight of the lace tour with
Mariña. I highly recommend a visit there for anyone interested in any
type of lace (see Further Resources).
—Carolyn Wetzel
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
El Museo y Centro Didáctico del Encaje de Castilla y León;
Escola de Puntaires de Barcelona; www.escolapuntairesbcn
González Mena, Maria Angeles, and Valencia de Don Juan.
Catalogo de encajes / Instituto Valencia de Don Juan:
con una adicion al catalogo de bordados [Lace Catalog /
Valencia Institute of Don Juan: With an Addition to the
Embroidery Catalog]. Madrid: Instituto Valencia de Don
Juan, 1976.
González Mena, Maria Angeles. “Un encaje castellano: el Frisado de Valladolid” [“A Spanish Lace: Frisado de Valladolid”]. Narria: Estudios de artes y costumbres populares.
Volume 21, 1981.
———. “La Ornamentación en los Encajes Anillados y Frisados de Valladolid” [“The Ornamentation in the Anillados
and Frisados Laces of Valladolid”]. In Tejido artístico en
Castilla y León: desde el siglo XVI al XX [Artistic Fabric
in Castilla y León: From the 16th to the 20th Century]. Valladolid, Spain: Junta de Castilla y León, 1997.
Monasterio San Jóse de Carmelitas Descalzas, in Medina del
Campo, Spain;
Escuela de Encajes;
Textile Research Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands;
“Saint Teresa of Avila.” CatholicSaints.Info;
Valverde, Marqués de. Catálogo de la Exposición de Lenceria
y Encajes Espanoles [Exposition Catalog of Fine Linen
Goods and Spanish Laces]. Madrid: Artes Gráicas Mateu,
1915 (available online at
Wardle, Patricia, and the Rijksmuseum. 75X Lace. Zwolle, the
Netherlands: Uitgeverij Waanders, 2000 (the lace on the
cover is frisado de Valladolid).
CAROLYN WETZEL has been exploring the techniques of
needle-made laces for more than twenty years. She traveled
to Spain twice to study the history and technique of frisado
de Valladolid. She is compiling a list of frisado lace in museums
and private collections; if you have information about accessions that you think are made with this technique, please
contact her at When she is not
making or teaching lace, Carolyn is working on a Master
Weaver certiicate and has a full-time job teaching college
biology in western Massachusetts.
A companion project follows A Medallion of Frisado de
Valladolid-Style Lace to Stitch
Inspired by the preceding article Carolyn Wetzel’s stellar frisado de Valladolid-style lace medallion is the perfect introduction to this centuries-old technique.
M AY / J U N E
n stitching this medallion, you will learn the most
common elements of frisado de Valladolid needle
lace traditionally made with gold, silver, and silk
threads. There are two methods for making gold
passing threads, each of which results in different handling properties and appearance. The irst
type is manufactured by drawing out a thin metal
wire, lattening it, and wrapping it around a cotton, silk, or synthetic core thread. This method is
used to make most European metal threads. The
wire is composed of different metals depending on
the grade and color of the thread, ranging from 2
percent real gold to 0.2 percent real gold in threads
labeled “gold” or “gilt,” respectively. (Similar processes are used to make silver and a multitude of
other colors in nonprecious metal passing threads.)
The second type is manufactured by applying a
layer of gold, silver, or colored polymer on a support such as paper or thin plastic, cutting the sheet
into narrow strips, and then wrapping the strips
around a core of cotton, silk, or synthetic thread.
These threads are not well suited for frisado de
Valladolid lace because the wrapped strips are too
wide, making the curves irregular; plus, the strips
tear easily when being drawn through the stitches.
Spanish lacemakers primarily use gold thread from
Monforte Systemil S.L., a company that has been
making threads in Barcelona since 1857 (www.mon Their “oro entreino Muestras
No. 4” is a 0.2 percent real gold smooth passing thread
over a synthetic core. For this project, I chose a
reasonable substitute that is made in England and distributed in the United States by Access Commodities.
It is 0.2 percent real gold over a silk core. It has a
slightly different look and feel than the Monforte
Systemil thread: it is a bit thicker and the wrapped
wire ribbon is narrower, so that it gives a slightly
heavier and more matte effect in the lace than the
Spanish thread.
Any smooth passing thread should work, as
long as it can smoothly form the tight curves
needed for the loops. Given the expense of real
gold threads, I suggest using an inexpensive nonprecious metal thread to learn the basic stitches
and techniques. However, do not expect the
smaller loops to be as ine and smooth as what you
can achieve with real gold.
All real gold threads will tarnish over time in
the light and open atmosphere. To slow this process, store your thread and lace when not in use in
bags or boxes designed to prevent tarnish. Wash
your hands regularly and avoid hand lotion while
working with the thread, and do not over-handle the
lace. Some Spanish lacemakers coat their metal
thread with a clear lacquer product before use,
but this can affect the lexibility of the thread if
applied too thickly.
• Gütermann S303 Thread, size 100/3, 100% silk,
100 meter (109.4 yd)/spool, 1 spool each of Red
and Burgundy
• Access Commodities Gilt Smooth Passing
Thread, Fine #4 with Silk Core (Met-4653),
18 meter (19.7 yd)/spool, 1 spool
• Pellon Apparel Interfacing, medium-weight
woven sew-in, SF785, 55% cotton/45% polyester,
2 squares, 4 inches (10.2 cm) each
• Paper, White, 2 squares, 4 inches (10.2 cm) each
• Con-Tact Self-Adhesive Clear Covering, matte
finish, 1 square, 4 inches (10.2 cm)
• John James Needles, size 28 tapestry and size 9
• Sewing thread, 1 spool of Dark Green
• Fire Mountain Gems Round Hoop, H20-4108FY,
Focal, gold-plated steel, 2 inches (50 mm) in
diameter with 4 internal loops
• YLI Wonder Invisible Thread, size .004, 1,500
yard/spool, 1 spool of Smoke (used to attach
lace to the metal hoop)
• Scissors, embroidery and another pair to cut
metal thread
• Tweezers
• Jewelry pliers
Pattern may be photocopied for personal use.
Finished size: 2 inches (5.1 cm) in diameter
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
To prepare the stitching pad, center and trace the
pattern onto one paper piece. Remove the backing from the adhesive paper, center and adhere it to
the front of the traced pattern. Layer the following
materials into a sandwich pad from bottom to top:
two layers of interfacing and the paper with pattern/
adhesive-paper unit faceup. Cut the pad into a circle
about 1 inch (2 cm) larger than the outer pattern
outline. Overcast around the edge of the pad with
the sewing thread and the embroidery needle, sewing the stitches about ½ inch (1 cm) apart; knot and
trim the thread.
To couch down the outer gold outline, unwind
about 1 foot (0.3 m) of the passing thread, being
careful not to add any additional twists. Do not cut
the thread from the spool.
M AY / J U N E
Figure 1
Figure 2 A
Figure 2 B
Figure 3
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
Lay the end of the passing thread along the
outline and slightly to the left of the A on the
pattern. If right-handed, lay thread clockwise;
left-handers should reverse all of the stitch directions for easier stitching.
Thread the embroidery needle with the sewing
thread and knot. From the front of the stitching
pad and through all layers, use the needle to pierce
a hole into the pattern outline at A. Bring the needle up through this hole from the back, around
the passing thread, then through the same hole to
the back again. This is the irst couching stitch.
(Figure 1.) Pull the sewing thread tightly enough
to secure the passing thread in place but not so
tightly as to create a dent in its surface. Keeping
the passing thread curving smoothly around the
outline, continue to couch down, making stitches
about 1/8 inch (3 mm) apart. At each outward-laying loop on the pattern, make a slightly larger
loop with the passing thread and hold it in place
with a couching stitch at its base. (Figures 2 A
and B and Figure 3). Gently pull the gold thread
to the smaller inal loop size. Add another couching stitch at the top of the loop. This prevents the
working threads from catching on the loops. Stop
couching when arriving back at the starting point.
Secure sewing thread on the back and trim. Do not
cut the gold thread.
To stitch the irst row of corded Brussels
(detached-buttonhole) stitches over the passing thread, use the tapestry needle with about 18
inches (46 cm) of the red silk thread and knot the
end. Bring the thread up through the stitching pad
about ½ inch (1.3 cm) from A. Thread the needle
under the last four couching stitches and along the
inside of the passing thread, heading toward the
A. (Figure 3). This will secure the end of the silk
thread. Do not cut off the knot until the entire piece
is complete.
Note: None of the corded Brussels stitches
pierce the stitching pad; they slide between the
passing thread and the adhesive-paper surface.
Work the irst corded Brussels stitch over the
couched-down and the continuing strand of passing
thread as close to A as possible. The continuing passing thread should lie to the inside of the
couched passing thread. Work two corded Brussels
stitches into each space between the couching
stitches. (Figures 4 A and B and Figure 5.) This
spacing will determine how dense or open the color
is compared to the passing thread; less dense spacing makes more gold show and more dense spacing
makes more color and less gold show. When arriving at a couched passing thread outer loop, take a
Figure 4 A
Figure 4 B
Figure 5
Figure 6
stitch into the loop’s base to secure it. (Figure 4 B.)
Keeping the passing thread curving smoothly along
the inside of the couched-down strand, stitch over
both passing threads, returning to A again.
When the length of silk thread runs short, start
a new thread with a waste knot on the back of the
stitching pad. Thread the new thread along the
passing thread until the old thread gets too short
to work, then switch entirely to the new thread,
stitching over the old thread for about four or ive
stitches. Use the embroidery needle to sink the tail
of the old silk thread to the back of the work to get
it out of the way.
For the next row, work one corded Brussels
stitch into each festoon (the loop of thread between
the corded Brussels stitches of the previous row)
and around the new passing thread. (Figures 6 and
7). If the stitches of the last row were well spaced,
one stitch should it into each festoon of the previous row. If a denser or more open appearance is
desired, then add or skip stitches as needed. End
the red silk thread when arriving back at the starting
Figure 7
M AY / J U N E
point of this row by burying it into four or ive
stitches. Do not cut the gold thread.
To make the outer ring of the inner circle, couch
down the passing thread with the green sewing
thread. Using the burgundy silk thread, work a row
of corded Brussels stitches on the couched-down
passing thread without including the continuing
passing thread. (Figure 8.) Stitch into the festoons
of the previous outer row wherever it touches the
circle to connect the two sections of lace together.
Make a second row of corded Brussels stitches,
resuming the passing thread. On the third row, form
loops with the passing thread that lay toward the
Figure 8
Figure 9 A
Figure 9 B
Figure 9 C
Figure 9 E
Figure 9 D
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
Figure 10
Figure 11 A
Figure 11 B
center of the roundel. Make as many stitches as
needed to space the loops correctly next to each
other. (Figures 9 A–E.) When reaching the end of
this row, cut the passing thread, hide the tail under
the irst loop, and secure it with an extra stitch or
two before burying the silk thread into four to ive
stitches. Cut the silk thread.
Begin the next ring of the inner circle at B on the
pattern in the same way that the outer ring of the
circle was started. Couch down the new strand of
passing thread. On the irst row of corded Brussels
stitches, catch the base of each passing thread loop
and secure it. (Figures 9 and 10.) Then work three
more rows of corded Brussels stitches, for a total
of four rows. Reduce the number of stitches as they
crowd together toward the center. End the burgundy silk thread at the end of the fourth row. Do
not cut the passing thread.
For the next round, use the red silk thread and
make a row of true “frisado” loops (loops that lay
on top of a solid area). (Figures 11 A–C and 12.) For
Figure 12
Figure 11 C
Figure 13
M AY / J U N E
Figure 14
the inal row of the inner ring, make three interlocking passing thread loops that lay in the open center
and at the positions marked on the pattern. After
making the second loop, estimate how much passing thread will be needed to complete this row and
cut it from the spool. Interlace the second loop with
the irst loop and then interlace the third loop with
the irst two. (Figure 13.) At the end of this last row,
secure and cut the silk and passing threads. (Figure
14.) While the lace is still attached to the stitching
pad, gently tug and prod irregularly shaped loops
into shape using the tapestry needle.
Snip and remove the overcasting threads holding
the stitching pad layers together. Begin to gently
separate the two paper layers. Using the embroidery scissors, snip each couching thread between
the paper layers, gently pulling the layers apart.
(Figure 15.) Do not sharply fold the lace in this process. Once all threads are cut, pull the lace off the
stitching pad, being careful not to tug strongly on
anything that resists as it will distort the lace. If
resistance is met, igure out why and ix it before
pulling on the lace again.
Using the tweezers, pull out each snippet of
couching thread from the front and back of the lace.
Again, be careful not to distort the lace. Carefully
trim any silk or passing thread ends. It’s better to
leave the passing thread with a little tail on the back
than cut it too short. If necessary, use the tapestry
needle to reshape loops or nudge uneven stitches
into place.
The lace medallion is now ready to be mounted
in the metal hoop. Remove the four inner loops
from the hoop with the jewelry pliers before
mounting the lace. Starting at the top of the hoop
and using the Smoke invisible thread, leave a tail
hanging and tack each outer point of the lace to
the hoop, spiraling around the hoop to travel to
each successive point. Arriving back to the irst
point, tie the ends of the invisible thread in a tight
knot and trim.
Figure 15
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
The Lace Mantilla
A Centuries-Old Spanish Tradition
Woman wearing the traditional mantilla during Holy Week in Seville, Spain. 2012.
Photograph by Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images.
atholic women and girls in Seville, Spain’s Andalusian capital, dress with utmost
care for the many processions, church visitations, masses, and prayer services marking Semana Santa (Holy Week), the solemn period of religious devotion between
Palm Sunday and Easter. For them, tradition dictates an understated black dress with long
sleeves, a modest neckline, and a hemline that covers the knees. Accessories include shoes
with mid-height heels, stockings, and gloves—all black—as well as a strand of pearls, pendant cross, or religious medallion and simple pearl, gold, or silver earrings. The ensemble’s
grace note is a lavish black mantilla of the inest lace one can afford. Falling from the top
edge of a tall, elaborate hair comb, it frames the face and skims the shoulders before cascading to the hemline of the dress.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
The mantilla is the signature head covering of women in Spain and its onetime colonies.
For many years, the Spanish national costume
was primarily the province of the lower classes
because royals, aristocrats, and the wealthy
favored the fashions of France. That ended with
Queen Isabella II (1830–1904), who rekindled
national pride by adopting the mantilla, thereby
establishing a trend among her courtiers that
reverberated throughout the country. The trend
that Isabella ignited seemed destined for an
abrupt end when she was forced to abdicate in
1870 and French fashion was reinstated. But that
reversal was deeply unpopular among Spanish
women, who refused to wear French hats and
remained loyal to the traditional mantilla in a collective show of cultural pride that historians refer
to as the Mantilla Conspiracy.
A Spanish woman’s mantilla is as much a part of
who she is as the color of her eyes. Although sumptuary laws may have controlled who could own and
wear a mantilla over the years, they also protected
the garment. In fact, current law has deemed the
mantilla so precious and such a deeply personal
possession that it cannot be taken from the woman
who owns it, even as payment for a debt. It is unsurprising that mantillas are cherished heirlooms
passed from one generation to the next.
The mantilla’s beauty is clearly undisputed, but
its lineage is less certain. Because it was worn to
veil the face early on, some posit a connection to a
Muslim woman’s hijab or izār (veil or head covering), an inluence that would connect it with
the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula
(711–1479). Others contend that today’s mantilla
represents a natural progression from the cape
or shawl once worn over the head for warmth.
Because the word “mantilla” is a diminutive form
of manta (blanket), manto (cloak), or manton
(shawl), this logic may have merit. The textiles
for such mantillas would have varied from heavy,
warm fabrics such as lannel, wool, and velvet in
the colder north to light, gauzy fabrics (sometimes
embroidered to make head coverings called tocas)
and eventually lace in the warm southern climes.
The lace mantilla as we know it probably dates
to the eighteenth century, although versions of
mantillas began to appear in the sixteenth century
in paintings by such renowned Spanish artists as
El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos; 1541–1614)
in his Portrait of a Lady with a White Mantilla,
circa 1577 to 1580; Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) in
his The Lady with a Fan, circa 1638 to 1639; and
Francisco de Goya (1746–1828), who painted The
Mantilla. Maker and date unknown. Hand-embroidered on tulle. 84 x 66 inches (213.4 x
167.6 cm). It is believed that this mantilla belonged to Empress Carlota of Mexico (1840–
1927), the wife of the Emperor of Mexico, Maximilian (1832–1867). Collection of the Lacis
Museum of Lace & Textiles, Berkeley, California. (33287).
Photograph courtesy of the Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles.
M AY / J U N E
Many laces, including bobbin lace and needle lace, as well as embroidered
reseau (net ground fabric), have been used for mantillas over the centuries.
Black Duchess, a portrait of the thirteenth Duchess
of Alba, in 1797. The duchess, María Cayetana de
Silva (1762–1802), was thirty-ive years old when
Goya painted this controversial portrait. Rather
than the French mode du jour adopted by women
of her social class, the duchess posed for her portrait in the costume of a maja (belle or beauty)
of the lower class, complete with a sheer black
rufle-edged mantilla. Because the Duchess of
Alba ranked second only to the queen of Spain,
her choice was seen as social betrayal and drew
much criticism.
There is no single, deinitive type of mantilla
lace. Many laces, including bobbin lace and needle
lace, as well as embroidered reseau (net ground
fabric), have been used for mantillas over the centuries. Most of these were imported, many from
France. Mantilla lace can also be knitted, crocheted, or produced rapidly by chattering industrial
machines. It is, however, the exquisite laces that are
slowly and painstakingly created by hand, employing meticulous techniques and the consummate
skill accrued through years of experience, that are
sought after for the inest mantillas. Chief among
the laces that elicit sighs of wonder and admiration
is Chantilly lace, the exquisite silk bobbin lace
named for a town northwest of Paris. Chantilly
lace has long been favored by mantilla makers and
owners with a taste for the best, perhaps because
it expresses the feminine ideal via romantic interplays of elaborate swirls and botanical designs, spot
motifs, and borders of utmost delicacy on a ground
as ine as gossamer.
Blonde lace, another mantilla lace, is a lustrous, comparatively soft, continuous bobbin lace
that was in vogue in Spain from the seventeenth
through nineteenth centuries. Unlike Chantilly lace,
its name has nothing to do with locale and everything to do with the natural cream color of the silk
from which it is made. Blonde lace was originally
produced in France; after production migrated to
Spain’s Catalonia region in the nineteenth century, it became known as Spanish blonde lace.
Generally categorized as a heavier bobbin lace,
Spanish blonde lace is distinguished by large lowers arranged so densely that they occupy most of
the total area, leaving only a token amount of sheer
background visible. In its inished state, blonde
lace may remain its natural color or it may be dyed
black. One stunning mantilla in the collection of
Mantilla. Maker and date unknown. Hand-embroidered on tulle. 62 x 25 inches (157.5 c 63.5 cm). The flowers were embroidered on the tulle with blonde (naturally
off-white) silk. Collection of the Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles, Berkeley, California. (27696).
Photograph courtesy of the Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
the Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles in Berkeley,
California, features a loral pattern embroidered
with running stitches, darning style, using thick
untwisted strands of creamy blonde silk on delicate black silk net. Roughly similar in appearance to
bobbin lace, such embroidered net lace would have
been less expensive though equally stunning. Large
pieces of Chantilly lace and blonde lace are made
from narrow strips that are invisibly joined by hand
using the so-called veil stitch to create the dimensions desired.
Just as there is no deinitive lace for mantillas,
there is no deinitive shape either. Although mantillas are often rectangular or triangular, they may
also be circular, semicircular (popular centuries
ago), or oval; some include lappets (side pieces).
Triangular mantillas are generally of a size that
allows the side points to be clasped or pinned at the
bosom. Circular mantillas may be small enough to
fold and tuck into one’s handbag for impulse visits
to a church or large enough to be a splendid bridal
veil. A bridal mantilla might also be a long rectangle
that trails down the aisle behind the bride or is carried by attendants supporting its edges. It may be
draped over the head, gathered above a chignon, or
held in place with a lace headpiece, tiara, or circlet
of lowers.
Trims—bows, tassels, decorative knots, and
ball fringe—have made occasional appearances on
mantillas. Edges are more often scalloped today, a
feature known as a castanet border for its resemblance to the small, handheld percussion instrument
played by lamenco dancers. Occasionally, deep
lace lounces or rufles are sewn around a mantilla’s perimeter. The soft corona such a narrow rufle
can produce is evident in at least one photograph
of Carlota, the irst (and last) empress of Mexico
One of Carlota’s shawl-size lace mantillas,
according to a handwritten afidavit from its donor,
is in the collection of the Lacis Museum of Lace &
Textiles. A blend of head covering and shawl, the
piece has a panel of black silk charmeuse in the
center, typical in garments of the era, surrounded
with deep lounces of Chantilly lace. Yet this exquisite sweep of lace is a reminder of Carlota’s tragic
end: After her husband, Emperor Maximilian
(1832–1867), was captured and executed by rebels,
Carlota, who had returned to Europe before those
events, suffered from depression and became a
Although there have been and continue to be
exceptions, black and white are the two traditional
Mantillas are draped over a peineta (comb) to add height and
dramatic effect.
Photograph by Tamorlan and courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
colors for a mantilla. Customarily, girls and unmarried young women wear white mantillas; older
and married women wear black. However, events
and circumstances alter this divide. Women of all
ages and social classes wear black mantillas during Semana Santa and for everyday occasions; they
wear white ones for gala events such as weddings
and corridas (bullights).
The signature complement to a lace mantilla,
and the base over which it is draped to add height
and dramatic effect, is the peineta (comb), a curved
hair accessory notable for its size and elaborate
fretwork. Though generally worn with a mantilla, it
may be worn without—á la a lamenco dancer who
inserts hers into sleeked hair at a seductive angle
to amplify the come-hither attitude of her dance.
In centuries past, peinetas were carved from the
shells of tortoises and turtles (the hawksbill sea
turtle yielded especially prized material); others
were made of mother-of-pearl; silver; metal that was
gilded, inlaid, or enameled; and ivory. In this day of
M AY / J U N E
Portrait of the Duchesse de Montpensier, Infanta of Spain; she is
wearing a mantilla. Included in History of Lace by Mrs. Bury Palliser
(1865. Reprint, Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2012).
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
3 by 7 feet (0.9 by 2.1 m). Securing one to a peineta
requires expertise and patience so the delicate lace
does not suffer damage. The peineta is irst positioned between a chignon and the back of the head
with the comb’s concave curve facing forward.
Although the peineta’s long teeth appear capable
of holding the mantilla in place, a second, smaller
comb and bobby pins are usually employed as insurance. With its scalloped edge covering the forehead,
the mantilla’s midpoint is attached to the top edge
of the peineta with carefully placed straight pins.
The front edge of the mantilla may be arranged in
a graceful curve of scallops across the forehead or
gathered and pinned to the hair at the base of the
comb. For other, more festive occasions, a large lower
or bow may be added. Tiny pleats, hand-gathered in
back, are secured with a glittering brooch pinned
through the veil into the chignon. Finally, to help
control the weight of the mantilla and ensure that
it will not fall aside, the mantilla is pinned to each
shoulder of the dress, again with straight pins.
Spanish though its origins may be, the mantilla
has become cherished around the world as a ritual
garment, as a wedding head covering, and simply
as a beautiful accessory. In the end, one’s reason
for wearing a mantilla—be it spiritual or secular—
matters little. Spain’s gift to the world is a beautiful
expression of femininity women everywhere can
appreciate. ❖
increased environmental awareness, peinetas are
made from synthetics that effectively mimic endangered materials. Peinetas, which today range from
8 to 12 inches (20.3 to 30.5 cm) in height, were once
so much higher (and wider) that they were satirized
in periodicals of the day. In the nineteenth century,
one lithograph lampooned a peineta of such exaggerated dimensions it necessitated the demolition of
a doorframe before its wearer could pass through—
sideways. Another pictured a woman walking
down a street unescorted because her peineta, as
wide as the street itself, preempted space for her
A majority of the black mantillas seen during
Semana Santa are long rectangles measuring up to
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
MARY POLITYKA BUSH of Piedmont, California, fondly recalls
her Polish mother, Jean Polityka, who was a devout Catholic
all her life, wearing an ethereal black mantilla to Sunday Mass.
The mantilla was a rectangle of delicate embroidered black
net that fell past her shoulders. It was the expert handwork of
nuns in a convent in Puerto Rico, where it was purchased by
a family friend who transported it home to Allegan, Michigan,
as a surprise for Mom. She was overwhelmed.
Bath, Virginia Churchill. Lace. New York: Penguin Books,
May, Florence Lewis. Hispanic Lace and Lace Making. 1939.
Reprint, New York: The Hispanic Society of America, 1980.
Montupet, Janine, and Ghislaine Schoeller. Lace: The Elegant
Web. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990.
Palliser, Mrs. Bury. History of Lace. 1865. Reprint, Mineola,
New York: Dover Publications, 2012.
Securing a mantilla to a peineta (comb); www.pinterest
A Victorian Lace Square to
Appliqué and Embroider
Kathi Rotella used cotton tulle and tape laces to make this sweet lace square. Antique scissors and etui from the collection of Loene McIntyre.
Photographs by Joe Coca.
M AY / J U N E
• DMC Brilliant Cutwork and Embroidery Thread,
Article 107, size 16, 100% cotton thread, 23
meters (25.1 yd)/skein, 1 skein of Ecru
• John James Needles, tapestry size 24 (for embroidery) and sewing (for basting)
• Sewing thread, Ecru (for sewing) and contrasting color (for basting)
• Muslin fabric
• Marker, fine point permanent
Finished size: 7½ x 7½ inches (19.1 x 19.1 cm)
he inspiration for this design came from a vintage piece of lace purchased by a friend from
an antiques shop in Missouri. The lace particularly impressed me because it has a delicate visual
presence even though it was created entirely from
machine-made lace net (tulle) and machine-made
tape laces. The tapes formed little lowers upon
the net background that mimicked my favorite
• Lacis tulle, #HE01, 100% fine cotton, 18 hole,
1 piece 9 x 9 inches (22.9 x 22.9 cm), Ecru
• Lacis princess tape lace, #CN17, 100% cotton,
2 yards (1.8 m), Ecru
• Lacis Honiton tape lace, #CN14, 100% cotton,
10 inches (25.4 cm), Ecru (for small leaves)
• Lacis Honiton tape lace, #CN15, 100% cotton,
6 inches (15.2 cm), Ecru (for large leaves)
• Lacis dot tape lace, #CN18, 100% cotton, 6 inches
(15.2 cm), Ecru (for small rings)
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
Using a light source, trace the pattern with the
marker onto the muslin. When dry, lay the tulle on
the muslin, smooth it out, and secure by pinning it
in several places. Using the sewing needle and contrasting thread, baste a horizontal, vertical, and two
diagonal lines across the center of the design, basting through both the tulle and the muslin. Remove
the pins.
Take the princess tape and pull the gathering thread
on the straight edge, gathering about 2 inches (5 cm)
of tape. Starting in the lower left corner of the
design, place the tape on the left corner loop of the
design and work the tape clockwise around the
loop, holding it with your ingers and securing it to
the tulle and muslin with pins. Continue placing the
tape around the design, making sure the straight
edge of the tape is even with the straight edge of the
pattern. Gather tape as needed until returning to the
starting point. Cut the tape and hide the edge under
the irst loop. Using the sewing needle and contrasting thread, baste through the center of the tape all
around the design, catching the muslin and taking
out pins as you stitch.
Thread the needle with the Ecru thread and make
tiny whipstitches on the straight edge of the tape,
securing it only to the tulle. Whipstitch around the
loops, being careful to secure the overlapping area
of the tape. Using the needle, tuck the loose gathering threads underneath the tape. Whipstitch the
centers of the loops to close.
Thread the tapestry needle with the embroidery
thread; do not knot the end. Stitch the stems by
weaving in and out of the hexagonal holes in the
tulle. Start and end each stem at the center of a
lower or leaf or under a loop so that the ends will
be hidden.
Take the princess tape and pull the gathering thread
somewhat aggressively until it curls around and
Lace Square
Pattern may be photocopied for personal use.
Enlarge by 20 percent.
overlaps. Cut and place the loret just made on the
tulle and pin. Fold over the cut end. Using the sewing needle and Ecru thread, whipstitch the edges
together. Whipstitch the scalloped edges of the loret to the tulle. Press lightly.
For both the large and small leaves, cut leaves off
of the Honiton tape two at a time and position on
the tulle according to the pattern. Secure the leaves
with pins, if necessary. Using the sewing needle and
Ecru thread, whipstitch the middle and each end of
each leaf to the tulle only.
Place a cloth over the tulle and press, using light
steam. Remove all basting threads and the muslin.
Remove the excess tulle on the edges by carefully
cutting it away underneath the tape close to the
KATHI ROTELLA is a lacemaker and embroiderer who lives in
Nebraska. This project originally appeared in the November/
December 2001 issue.
M AY / J U N E
A Shawl Based on a Weldon’s Veil
Pattern to Knit
Carolyn Wyborny’s captivating shawl in luxurious merino/silk yarn will delight.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
’ve often felt like I belong to an earlier time than
that into which I was born. I love ifties- and
sixties-era clothing as well as Victorian-era needlework pieces and furnishings in all their frilly glory.
When I was given a set of the Weldon’s Practical
Needlework facsimile editions, I couldn’t stop oohing and aahing over the beautiful needlework, much
of it forgotten or ignored now. I’m always looking
for a new edging or stitch pattern to inspire a new
project and to keep that classic and beautiful needlework alive and contemporary, and every time
I pick up and look through my Weldon’s set, I ind
new inspiration.
For this project, I wanted to create a lacebordered shawl in the wide crescent shape that
is so popular now, but with a lace pattern in the body
instead of the solid fabrics shown in many patterns.
Additionally, I wanted the construction to be a
single piece worked in one direction to make it
suitable for a gradient-dyed yarn.
I had planned to put two different patterns
together, but then I found “A Veil: Knitted in an
Open Diamond Pattern, with Vine Leaf Pattern
Border” in Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Fifteenth
Series, included in Volume 5 of Weldon’s Practical
Needlework. It had all the things I was looking for,
with the bonus of having the transition between the
two patterns already worked out. The original pattern is a rectangular shape, so all I had to change
was the shaping. I charted the pattern, ixed a couple of errors, and added a decrease chart to create
the desired crescent shape.
The silk-blend laceweight yarn shown produces
a very light shawl with a nice drape. It uses only
about 400 yards (365.8 m) of yarn and could easily be adapted for ingering-weight yarn with the
adjustments suggested in the instructions.
• Hazel Knits Filigree Silk, 50% merino/50% silk
yarn, laceweight, 800 yard (731.5 m)/100 gram
(3½ oz) skein, 1 skein of White Winged Dove
• Needle, size 6 (4 mm), circular 32 inches
(80 cm) or longer to accommodate the large
number of sts
• Stitch markers
Finished size: About 58 inches (147 cm) wide by 16
inches (41 cm) deep, after blocking
Gauge: 24 sts and 30 rows = 4 inches (10.2 cm) in
St st; one 12-st rep from Rows 3–14 of the Border
Chart measures about 2½ inches (6 cm) wide, after
blocking; exact gauge is not critical for the success
of this project
Notes: See page 62 for Abbreviations and
Techniques. When slipping edge stitches, slip with
yarn in front if the purl side of the stitch is facing you
and with yarn in back if the knit side is facing. If you
use stitch markers to separate the pattern repeats,
place them to coincide with the red outlined pattern
repeat on each chart and reposition the markers as
needed to follow the red outline. When working the
Body Decrease Chart, you may ind it helpful to place
markers before the irst ten-stitch pattern repeat and
after the last ten-stitch repeat, even if you are not
M AY / J U N E
Carolyn Wyborny’s shawl shown in full.
using markers between the repeats. These markers separate the irst and last full repeats from the
stitches in the decrease area at each end of the row.
When a decrease area no longer contains enough
stitches to work the chart pattern, move the marker
inward by ten stitches to reassign the stitches from
one full repeat to the decrease area, then continue
in pattern. For example, after completing Row 8 of
the Body Decrease Chart, there will be two stitches
before the irst marker with the right side facing
(the selvedge stitch and a decrease stitch). Move the
marker inward ten stitches to the left so there are
twelve stitches in the decrease area before the irst
marker, which is enough to work the irst twelve
stitches of Row 9 (decreasing them to nine stitches
as shown). After completing Row 24 of the Body
Decrease Chart the irst time, with right side facing,
move the irst marker to the left by ifteen stitches:
ten stitches to assign a repeat to the decrease area
plus ive more stitches to follow the jog in the repeat
outline. Move the second marker to the right by
only ive stitches: ten stitches to the right to assign a
repeat to the decrease area, then ive stitches back to
the left to follow the jog in the repeat outline. There
will now be the correct number of stitches in each
decrease area to begin working the chart again.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
CO 342 sts, using a stretchy method such as the
cable cast-on.
Work Rows 1–28 of the Border Chart—215 sts.
Work Rows 1–4 of the Transition Chart.
Work Rows 1–12 of the Body Chart 2 times (once if
using ingering-weight yarn).
Work Rows 1–24 of the Body Decrease Chart
2 times (see Notes)—55 sts.
Next Row (RS): P1, p3tog, p to last 4 sts, p3tog,
p1—4 sts dec’d.
Next Row (WS): P1, p2tog, p to last 3 sts, p2tog,
p1—2 sts dec’d.
Rep these 2 rows once more—43 sts.
BO loosely pwise.
Wet-block irmly into a wide crescent shape.
Because her family was traditional, in that all the women did
needlework, CAROLYN WYBORNY has been crocheting, knitting, and tatting since she was very young. She works as a
software engineer for a large high-tech company but spends
most of her free time coding up knitting and crochet designs.
She lives west of Portland, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and several pets.
10-st rep
k on RS; p on WS
p on RS; k on WS
k2tog on RS; p2tog on WS
ssk on RS; ssp on WS
16-st rep decreased to 10-st rep
sl 1 kwise, k2tog, psso on RS;
p3tog tbl on WS
Body Decrease
sl 1 kwise, k3tog, psso
sl 1 pwise (see Notes)
no stitch
pattern repeat
10-st rep
Charts may be photocopied for personal use.
The charts for this project are available in PDF format at
10-st rep
M AY / J U N E
Diamond Dust Wrap to Knit
The back of Andrea Jurgrau’s “Diamond Dust Wrap.”
Photographs by Donald Scott.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
iamond dust is a ground-level “cloud” composed of crystals of ice. Also called ice crystals,
diamond dust generally forms under clear skies. It
is most commonly seen in Antarctica, and this type
of precipitation may continue for several days without interruption.
A massif is a section of the earth’s crust that is
marked by faults. When the crust moves, a massif
retains its internal structure while being moved as a
whole. The term is used to refer to a group of mountains formed in this way.
Mount Vinson is the highest peak in Antarctica,
at 16,050 feet (4892.0 m). The massif is about 750
miles (1,200 km) from the South Pole and is about
13 miles (21 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) wide. It
was named after Carl Vinson, a U.S. congressman
from Georgia. The Vinson Massif was irst seen in
1958 and irst climbed in 1966. As of February 2010,
1,400 climbers have attempted to reach the top of
Mount Vinson.
This piece combines classic hex-mesh and
leaves, along with stylized ice loats and sea creatures. It is a full circle/hexagon with an opening that
wraps around the wearer like a cloak.
• Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace, 100% baby alpaca
yarn, laceweight, 437 yard (399.6 m)/50 gram (1.8
oz) skein, 2 skeins of #1413 Silver
• Needle, size 2, circular, 40 inches (100 cm) or
size needed to obtain gauge
• Toho 8/0 Japanese Seed Beads, 25 grams (0.9 oz)
in #TB-F635 Silver-Lined Matte Crystal AB with
square holes
• Crochet hooks, steel, size 14 (0.6 mm) or size to
fit beads and size 0 (1.75 mm) for bind-off
• Markers (optional)
• Tapestry needle
• Smooth waste yarn
• T-pins, stainless
• Blocking mats
• Blocking wire, four 60-inch (152.4 cm) lengths
Finished size: 40½ inches (102.9 cm) wide and 16½
(41.9 cm) long at center back, blocked and relaxed
Gauge: 32 sts and 28 rows = 4 inches (10.2 cm) over
St st, blocked and relaxed
Notes: See pages 50 and 62 for Abbreviations
The front of Andrea Jurgrau’s “Diamond Dust Wrap.”
and Techniques. A word about slipping selvedge
stitches: Don’t! This piece was designed to block
freely and slipped selvedge stitches will create a
less lexible edge.
With waste yarn, CO 3 sts.
K 13 rows.
Next Row: K3, do not turn, but rotate piece 90
degrees to right, then pick up and p 6 sts along leftside edge (1 st in each garter ridge). Turn work
another 90 degrees right and pick up and k 3 sts in
provisional CO, removing waste yarn—12 sts. Turn
Next Row (RS): Working Chart A, beg at right
edge of Row 1, k3, (k1tbl, yo) 5 times, k1tbl,
k3—17 sts.
Next Row: Beg Row 2 at left edge of chart, k3,
p1tbl (k1, p1tbl) 5 times, k3.
Work Rows 3 –34 of Chart A as established—149 sts.
Work Rows 35–68 of Chart B—269 sts.
Work Rows 69–78 of Chart C—379 sts.
Work Rows 79–90 of Chart D—457 sts.
Work Rows 91–112 of Chart E—484 sts.
M AY / J U N E
23 cm
91.5 cm
53.5 cm
66 cm
Chart A
work 5 times
pick up strand between sts and (k1, yo, k1)
into loop without twisting
k on RS, p on WS
knit into front, back, then front of same st
p on RS, k on WS
[(k1, p1) 3 times, k1] in same st
sssk, k4tog, psso
place bead
make 1 by lifting horizontal bar from
row below and knit without twisting
crochet BO: gather sts indicated by bracket,
then chain the given number of sts
no stitch
pattern repeat
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
M AY / J U N E
Chart C
Chart B
work 5 times
work 5 times
Chart D
work 3 times
Chart E
work 2 times
Chart F
work 4 times
Note: Stitches on Charts D, E, and F shaded in purple are duplicated for ease of
following the two halves of the charts; work the shaded stitches only once.
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
work 4 times
8 times
work 3 times
work 5 times
work 2 times
work 5 times
work 4 times
work 4 times
work 5 times
M AY / J U N E
Placing Beads
This method allows precise placement of the bead in an individual stitch. Although it’s
easier to put the bead on the stitch before it is worked, doing so can compromise the
tension on that stitch.
Work to the stitch designated for bead placement, work the stitch as specified in
the instructions, slip a bead onto the shaft of a crochet hook, remove the knitted stitch
from the knitting needle by lifting the stitch just worked with the hook (Figure 1).
Slide the bead onto the stitch just worked, return that stitch to the left needle, adjust
the tension, then slip that stitch onto the right knitting needle (Figure 2).
Figure 2
Figure 1
Gathered Crochet Bind-Off
Insert hook through the back legs of specified number of stitches (Figure 1; three
stitches shown) to gather them, pull a loop through (Figure 2) so there is one
loop on hook, work a crochet chain the specified length (Figure 3; eight stitches
shown), *insert crochet hook through the back legs of the next group of stitches
(Figure 4), pull the yarn loop through these stitches as well as through the stitch
of the chain (Figure 5), work a crochet chain for the specified number of stitches;
repeat from *.
If working in rounds, finish by joining the final chain to the base of the first gathered
group, then pull the yarn through the final loop leaving a 9-inch (22.9-cm) tail.
If working in rows, finish by pulling the loop through the final group of stitches, then
pull the yarn through the final loop, leaving a 9-inch (22.9-cm) tail.
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Work Rows 113–138 of Chart F—688 sts.
BO Row (RS): Gather 3, ch 7, *[gather 4, ch 7]
6 times, [gather 3, ch 7] 13 times, [gather 4, ch 7]
14 times; rep from * 4 more times, [gather 4, ch 7]
6 times, [gather 3, ch 7] 13 times, [gather 4, ch 7]
6 times, gather 3, pulling yarn through all lps on
hook, ch 1. Cut yarn, leaving a 9-inch (22.9-cm) tail,
pull tail through rem st.
Weave in ends but do not trim. Soak in cool water
until fully saturated (about 30 minutes). Press to
remove water, roll in a towel, and blot to remove
extra water.
Weave one long blocking wire along top edge and
three more long blocking wires through crochet
loops along bottom edge. Pin wrap out to schematic
measurements. Allow to dry completely. Wrap will
relax to inished measurements after removing pins.
Trim ends.
ANDREA JURGRAU is a nurse practitioner and avid lace knitter.
She is the author of New Heights in Lace Knitting: 17 Lace Knit
Accessory Patterns and New Vintage Lace: Knits Inspired by the
Past (published by Interweave in 2016 and 2014, respectively).
Her patterns have appeared in other books and a wide variety
of magazines.
Elevate Your
Lace Knitting Skills
Figure 5
Set against the backdrop of the world’s tallest peaks,
author Andrea Jurgrau’s New Heights in Lace Knitting
(Interweave Books, 2016) helps knitters create a beautiful collection of lace shawls and accessories and gain
conidence in creating standout knitted lace.
“Diamond Dust Wrap,” featured here, is one of the
seventeen patterns in the book. To order a copy, visit
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
Honor ing the
Rich History of
People with a passion for traditional needlework,
embellished clothing, and beautiful lacework—
all made by hand—are PieceWork magazine’s
core audience. PieceWork explores the personal
stories of traditional makers, what they made, and
investigates how speciic objects were crafted and
why. The stories and projects within the pages of
PieceWork make the traditions come alive for today’s
embroiderers, lacemakers, knitters, and crocheters.
Irish Crochet Buttons to Make
Pat Olski’s stunning Irish crochet buttons will add pizzazz to any garment. The Roll-Stitch Button is the smaller of the two (at left); the Seventh-Wheel Button is the
larger one (at right).
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
roudly displayed in the quaint thatched-roof
building that houses the Sheelin Lace Museum
in Bellanaleck, Northern Ireland, is a magniicent
1900s ecru cotton Irish crochet jacket. The jacket is
a showstopper; it’s covered in exquisite encrusted
motifs and bordered with a riotous curlicue fringe.
Most compelling, however, is the neck closure—a
pair of 2-inch (5.1-cm) disk buttons, each covered
with a inely wrought, padded, and dimensional
thread rosette that is a deinitive hallmark of Irish
crocheted lace.
Commencing in the 1830s and later taught in convents and cooperatives, Irish crochet was initially
developed as a substitute for costly Venetian lace.
Eventually, crocheting the lace provided income for
industrious workers and offered a measure of relief
for many during Ireland’s Great Famine that had
begun in 1845. Because the piecework manufacture
and sales of a crocheter’s unique motif often supported her family, a worker would jealously guard
her own work from prying eyes. And because many
of the workers were illiterate, patterns were rarely
written down.
The popularity of this distinctive lace spread
throughout Europe and the United States, and Irish
crochet garments became a highly prized fashion
staple. However, by its nature, lace is fragile, costly,
and time-consuming to make. In the Los Angeles
Herald of March 1909, a lace expert was quoted as
saying, “It is not many years ago since Irish crochet
was looked upon as a luxury only within the reach of
the very wealthy woman. The woman who required
a whole dress had to give her order a couple of
years before she wanted to wear it.” Unsurprisingly,
smaller pieces, such as jabots, collars, buttons,
and trimmings, were more accessible for early
twentieth-century shoppers and more practical for
needleworkers than whole garments. A beautiful
button was a luxury embellishment that was within
reach of the home crocheter and required only a
modest outlay of time and money. Patterns were
available in popular publications from Priscilla,
Weldon’s, and Beeton’s. The only materials necessary
were easily sourced cotton crochet thread, a ine
steel crochet hook, and a button form.
The title of an article in the March 26, 1910, edition of The Washington Times announces “Irish
Crocheted Buttons Used to Replace Pearl on Waists.”
The article describes in detail how the buttons
should be used and even gives instructions for cleaning them. The opinion that “these lace buttons are
more effective on a smart ine blouse than any pearl
button, and that any addition of baby Irish [lace] is
effective” is more relevant today than the accompanying directive to cleaning the buttons with gasoline
and a sponge! A pattern printed in a 1912 book notes
that “pearl buttons are excellent for covering if regular button molds are not at hand.”
A button is a great entrée into the fanciful world
of singular stitches and dimensional lace motifs
that are the characteristic features of Irish crochet. I adapted patterns from Irish Crochet Lace
and The Priscilla Irish Crochet Book No. 2 for the
Seventh-Wheel Button and the Roll-Stitch Button,
respectively (see Further Resources).
• DMC Pearl Cotton, size 12, 100% mercerized cotton thread, 131 yard (119.8 m)/10 gram (0.4 oz)
ball, 1 ball of #712 Cream
• DMC Pearl Cotton, size 3, 100% mercerized
cotton thread, 16 yard (14.6 m)/14 gram (½ oz)
skein, 1 skein of # 712 Cream
• Crochet hook, steel, size 6 (1.00 mm)
• Knitting needle, size 6 (4 mm)
• Dritz Half Ball Cover Buttons, size 75, 17⁄8 inches
(4.8 cm)
• Cotton fabric, lightweight to cover button form
• John James Needle, tapestry, size 24
Finished size: 17⁄8 inches (4.8 cm) in diameter
Gauge: Petal measures about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long
pc—padding cord
Notes: See above and page 62 for Abbreviations
and Techniques. The button is composed of a
seven-petal motif—a center circle motif and seven
eyelet rings that are crocheted separately and then
attached together. The fabric-covered button is
inserted under the crocheted cover after Round 4 of
the button underside. Then the underside of the button is inished to secure the button form in place.
Seven-Petal Motif
Make 1. Note: Petals are made in a continuous line
that is linked at the end.
Begin at the bottom of the irst petal. Cut a 1-yard
(0.9 m) piece of the pc thread.
Row 1 (RS): Using the size 12 thread, place a
slipknot on the hook, then *work 14 sc over the pc.
Rotate the work to work along the bottom edge of
M AY / J U N E
the row just made, over the same section of pc, ch
1, work 1 sc in between each sc of the last row, and
1 sc after the last sc—14 sc completed at the bottom
edge of the previous row, turn.
Row 2 (WS): Ch 2, sk 1st 2 sc, [dc in next sc, ch 2,
sk next 2 sc] 4 times, sl st in turning ch from Row 1,
Row 3 (RS): Working over pc, ch 1, [2 sc in next
ch-2 sp, sc in next dc] 4 times, 2 sc in last ch-sp
(petal made).
Rep from * 6 times—string of 7 petals made.
Connecting petal edging: With RS facing, sc in 1st
7 sc along edge of 1st petal, linking the petal chain,
ch 1, *sc in last 7 sc of 1st petal edge, sc 3 in turning
ch at top of petal, sc in next 7 sc down other side of
the same petal; rep from * 6 times, moving from one
petal to the next, commencing in the 8th st of the
next petal, sl st to join. Fasten off all threads.
Make 1.
Wrap pc 3 times over the knitting needle. Remove
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
the ring from the knitting needle, and using the size
12 thread, work 21 sc into this ring, sl st in 1st sc to
join rnd.
Next (Joining) Rnd: Join center ring to petals as
foll, working over pc, *sc in next 3 sc of ring, sl st in
base of 1st petal, ch 3, turn. Working into 1st ch, [yo,
draw up lp] 7 times, yo and draw through all lps on
hook, sl st into same ch (bobble made); rep from *
6 times, sl st to join. Fasten off all threads.
Eyelet Rings
Make 7. Note: Each ring is made and then attached
to the valley between two petals by a stem.
Wrap pc 3 times over the knitting needle. Remove
the ring from the knitting needle, and using size
12 thread, work 20 sc into this ring, sl st in 1st sc to
join rnd. Ch 2 (for stem), sl st over the V in between
two petals to secure stem to motif, turn work, work
2 sc over ch-2 stem, sl st in sc at bottom of ring to
secure. Fasten off all threads.
Button Backing
With RS facing, attach size 12 thread to the top of a
petal, sc in same st, *ch 5, sl st in 5th st of next ring,
sl st in next 9 sc around top edge of ring, ch 5, sc in
top of next petal; rep from * 6 times, ending last rep
with ch 5, sl st in top of 1st sc to join rnd.
Rnd 1: *Ch 5, sl st in next ch-5 sp, ch 5, sl st in next
ch-5 sp to the left of the ring, ch 5, sl st in the top of
the next petal; rep from * 6 times, ending with sl st
in 1st sl st to join rnd.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, 4 sc in each ch-5 sp around, sl st in 1st
ch-1 to join rnd—84 sc.
Rnds 3 and 4: Ch 1, sc in each sc around, sl st in 1st
ch-1 to join rnd. Do not cut thread after Rnd 4.
Using the tapestry needle, weave in all cut thread
Place the fabric-covered button inside the crocheted piece. Turn the button over to the back side
and continue to crochet.
Rnd 5: Ch 1, [sc in next 2 sc, sc2tog] around, sl st in
1st ch-1 to join rnd—63 sts rem.
Rnd 6: Ch 1, [sc in next sc, sc2tog] around, sl st in
1st ch-1 to join rnd—42 sts rem.
Rnd 7: Rep Rnd 5—21 sts rem.
Rnd 8: Rep Rnd 6—14 sts rem.
If necessary to secure button further, continue to
crochet sc sts and dec as needed. Fasten off all
Weave in ends.
• DMC Cebelia, size 30, 100% mercerized cotton
thread, 567 yard (518.5 m)/50 gram (1¾ oz) ball,
1 ball of #712 Cream
• Crochet hook, steel, size 6 (1.00 mm)
• Dritz Half Ball Button, size 45, 11⁄8 inches
(2.9 cm)
• Cotton fabric, lightweight to cover button form
• John James Needle, tapestry, size 24
Finished size: 11⁄8 inch (2.9 cm) in diameter
Gauge: Bullion st is about ½ inch (1 cm) tall
Bullion Stitch (Bs)
Wrap yarn around hook loosely the speciied number of times, insert hook into front of work, draw up
loop, pull loop through all of the wraps on hook, do
not pull tautly, yarn over and pull through loop on
hook. Bullion stitch completed.
Note: See above and page 62 for Abbreviations and
Ch 4.
Rnd 1: Work Bs with 8 wraps in 1st stitch of ch,
[(ch 3, Bs with 8 wraps) in same ch] 5 times, ch 3, sl
st in top of 1st Bs to join rnd—6 Bs.
Rnd 2: Sl st to center of the 1st ch-3 sp, ch 3, 3 Bs
with 10 wraps in same ch-3 sp, [(ch 3, 3 Bs with 10
wraps) in next ch-3 sp] 5 times, ch 3, sl st in top of
1st Bs to join rnd.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in top of each Bs, and 3 sc in each
ch-3 sp around, sl st in 1st sc to join rnd—36 sts.
Rnds 4 and 5: Ch 1, sc in each st around, sl st in 1st
sc to join rnd. After Rnd 5, do not cut thread.
Using the tapestry needle, weave in all cut thread
Place fabric-covered button inside crocheted piece.
Turn the button over to the back side and continue
to crochet.
Rnd 6: Ch 1, [sc 2, sc2tog] 9 times, sl st to join
rnd—27 sts rem.
Rnd 7: Ch 1, [sc 1, sc2tog] 9 times, sl st to join
rnd—18 sts rem.
Rnd 8: Ch 1, [sc 1, sc2tog] 6 times, sl st to join
rnd—12 sts rem.
If necessary to secure button further, continue to
crochet sc sts and dec as needed. Fasten off all
Weave in ends.
PAT OLSKI is a knit, crochet, and needlework designer who
loves to teach, stitch, and write. Her book Creating Dorset Buttons was published by Dover Publications in early 2018. Visit
her website at
de Dillmont, Thèrése, ed. Irish Crochet Lace. Mulhouse,
France: DMC, 1900. (Reprinted by Dover Publications in
1986 as Masterpieces of Irish Crochet Lace: Techniques,
Patterns, Instructions.)
“Irish Crochet Is to Be the Lace.” The Los Angeles Herald,
Volume 36, Number 175, March 25, 1909. https://cdnc
“Irish Crocheted Buttons Used to Replace Pearl on Waists.”
The Washington Times, March 26, 1910. www.newspa
Sheelin Lace Museum. Bellanaleck, County Fermanagh,
Northern Ireland.
Taylor, Eliza A., ed. The Priscilla Irish Crochet Book No.2.
Boston, Massachusetts: Priscilla Publishing, 1912.
M AY / J U N E
A Tatted Treasure
he shortest distance between two points may be a straight line, but it isn’t always the
most interesting. Although interstate highways can provide an eficient route, much
can be missed along the way. One day last summer, after having repeatedly traveled
the 180-mile (289.7-km) path from our home to our daughter’s, my husband and I decided to
deviate from our usual time-expedient course. It was an especially rewarding decision.
In addition to enjoying a scenic drive, inding a
park for our dog, and treating ourselves to some ice
cream, my accommodating husband also indulged
me by visiting several antiques shops along the way.
And I emphasize “indulge” because he knows that
I can easily lose track of time while exploring the
assorted books, clothing, glassware, toys, tools, linens, furniture, and more found in these shops.
Just a short distance off New York’s Interstate 88
between Binghamton and Oneonta, we happened
upon the town of Bainbridge. Tucked between the
Susquehanna River and the surrounding rolling hills,
this small community is home to several antiques
stores, including Iroquois Antiques housed in an
old feed mill that was converted into a multidealer
market. Iroquois Antiques is where I discovered the
tatting sampler I treasure.
I irst spied the sampler hanging slightly askew
on a dividing wall, partially concealed by some of
the other paraphernalia in the booth. To ensure I’d
remember the piece, I snapped a quick picture. I
then continued to browse through the wonderful
abundance of merchandise stacked high and low
throughout the shop. The framed piece did not come
home with me that day; instead, I left with a smaller
purchase. But the memory of the sampler kept tugging at me. Luckily, when I was able to return to the
shop about two weeks later, it was still there.
Tatting has a long history, but its roots are vague.
It has been thought that the term originated from
the English word “tatters” (small pieces), the Indian
word tattie (a mat), or an old Icelandic word taeta
(to tease, knot, or pick up). But no matter the etymology, Lady Katharin Louisa Hoare (1847–1931), in
her 1910 book The Art of Tatting, asserted that the
origin of tatting dates back to ancient civilizations
and is related to macramé, examples of which had
been found in Egyptian tombs.
Termed frivolité (French) and occhi (Italian),
tatted lace also has been called “poor man’s lace”
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
because it was more accessible and less expensive
to create than bobbin lace. Although delicate and
dainty in appearance, tatted lace tends to be sturdier than its crochet or knitted counterparts. Rather
than looped stitches that can easily ravel, tatting is
characterized by a series of individual knots that
form rings and chains.
Interest in tatting has ebbed and surged throughout the years. Several eighteenth-century portraits
depict women working on lacework with ornate
tatting shuttles. Later, magazines and lealets of the
Victorian era included tatting patterns along with
knitting and crochet designs. During the irst half of
the twentieth century, companies such as American
Thread Company and Lily published a plethora of
instructional pamphlets with tatting patterns for
their target audience—the thrifty homemaker.
But what makes this tatting sampler so special?
It doesn’t have any documented history, isn’t constructed from expensive materials, and isn’t in pristine
condition. But it is one of a kind and suggests a particular maker. And it was also clearly a labor of love.
The piece measures 25½ by 19½ inches (64.8 by
49.5 cm), including the frame. Thin plywood provides an economical mounting board; a black cotton
broadcloth fabric, secured in the back with glue,
covers the board. Folded strips of calico create an
inner frame, which measures 19 by 13 inches (48.3
by 33.0 cm). Forty-eight tatted motifs, in varied
sizes, thread weights, colors, and complexity, are
arranged on the plain black background. Each sample appears to have been adhered to the fabric with
a small dab of glue (not a recommended method for
textile preservation).
I learned that before I found it hanging on the
wall in Iroquois Antiques, the sampler had been an
auction purchase. Perhaps it was part of an estate
sale, and so possibly the sampler’s maker had been
a New York resident and maybe even lived near
Bainbridge. So why had these tatted bits of lace
The framed tatting
sampler Kathy
purchased at
Iroquois Antiques in
Bainbridge, New
York. Maker,
location, and date
Photograph by
George Boe.
been framed? After examining the sampler, I tried to
imagine how it had come into being:
The sampler’s creator may have grown up
in the rural countryside of New York and
been an avid tatter during the 1940s and
1950s, when tatting was especially popular
for doilies, insertion lace, and handkerchief edgings. Perhaps she kept a box of her
experiments, which possibly included some
of her own designs and some published patterns that she had tried. The knotted threads
in the box represented hours of work, and
each snippet may have helped her remember
where she had been at the time it was fashioned. Years later, she may have rediscovered
her collection and mounted her tatted motifs
to create a record of her needlework and a
visual memory album.
Unfortunately, after her death, the sampler
apparently did not ind its way to an appreciative
friend or family member. Instead, it was sold in an
estate auction to the antiques dealer who hung it in
the booth where I happily discovered it.
Although interstate highways may help you get
to where you need to go quickly, the road less traveled can often bring unexpected rewards—as it did
when I found my tatted treasure. If threads could
talk, what stories would they tell? While I will never
know precisely when or why this tatting sampler
was assembled, I feel a kinship with its unknown
maker because I share her needlework passion. ❖
KATHY AUGUSTINE lives in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, with her
family and small lock of sheep. She is a frequent contributor
to PieceWork.
Hoare, Lady Katharin Louisa. The Art of Tatting. 1910.
Reprint, London: B. T. Batsford, 1989.
Pictorial references for tatting in art;
Strawn, Susan. “A Mysterious Handmade Tatting-Sample
Book.” PieceWork, May/June 2016.
Note: In addition to Susan Strawn’s article, a variety of other
articles and projects on tatting have been included in
PieceWork over the years. Visit the PieceWork indexes at and search for
the word “tat.”
M AY / J U N E
A Handkerchief Edging to Tat
Handkerchiefs with
various edging
treatments; the
project handkerchief
with the lovely tatted
edging is on the
top. Antique shuttle
from the collection
of Loene McIntyre.
Photograph by
Joe Coca.
atted edgings add elegance to handkerchiefs,
and this one is the perfect project for beginning
tatters. Purchase or make your own linen handkerchief and sew the edging on using sewing thread.
• Handy Hands Lizbeth, size 20, 100% cotton
thread, 25 gram (0.9 oz)/ball, 1 ball of Fern
• Tatting shuttle
• Linen handkerchief
• Sewing needle and thread
Finished size: Handkerchief, 11½ x 11½ inches
(29.2 x 29.2 cm)
number = number of double stitches to make
R = ring
+ = join
= picot
* = repeat from here
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
Wind the thread on the shuttle. Cut the thread. R
5—3—2—3—5. * Leave ¼-inch (6-mm) space. R 5
+ (join to last picot on previous ring) 3—2—3—5.
Repeat from * until you have 46 inches (116.8 cm)
of edging.
With the sewing needle and thread, attach the edging to the handkerchief by taking a small stitch at
the base of each ring. When you are two or three
rings away from a corner, take three evenly spaced
stitches over the joining thread between rings in
addition to taking stitches at the rings themselves.
Do the same as you move away from each corner of
the handkerchief.
TRISH FAUBION was PieceWork’s irst managing editor. She is an
avid tatter. She originally created this project for the September/
October 2003 issue.
Lace Pichwai
his striking lace pichwai was hung at the far end of the Textile Section of the
National Museum in New Delhi, India. The large white panel has been identiied as an
imported artifact not made in India. For centuries, India’s textiles were much sought
after and traded far and wide. But this piece is a reverse case—a machine-made cotton lace
customized for use in India and imported into the country in the late nineteenth or early
twentieth century.
Pichwais are religious depictions on cloth of various scenes from the life of Lord Krishna, a Hindu
God. This piece shows Nauka Vihar, a depiction
of Lord Krishna’s boat ride during the hot summer
months of May and June when Lord Krishna and
his consort are taken for a ride in the cool waters.
Often, Krishna is shown playing a lute for his lover
and companion, the Hindu goddess Radha, on a
moonlit night. The two might be alone or shown
with cows and gopis (friends of Radha).
The word pichwai (also, pichvai) comes from
Sanskrit and literally translates to “back hanging in cloth.” Pichwais, or temple hangings, which
originated from the temple town of Nathdwara,
are usually placed behind igurines of Lord
Krishna (also referred to as Shrinathji). The idols
are small, and the pichwais’ large size helped temple-goers see a hanging’s scene from afar, and the
images told a story to many who were unable to
read. Artists traditionally paint pichwais on cloth
(with commercialization, they have moved on to
paper as well).
This lace pichwai in the National Museum was
probably made in the lace mills of Edinburgh,
Scotland. Dr. Anamika Pathak, curator of decorative arts at the museum, is also of the opinion that
it came from this area because the many decorative
motifs, including the large lower vases, are similar
to motifs found in the tapestry embroidery of Great
Britain. In addition, a reproduction of a similar
lace pichwai appears in a book titled In Adoration
of Krishna by Kalyan Krishna and Kay Talwar
(Mumbai, India: Garden Silk Mills, 2007).
How or why this piece was commissioned is
unknown. Was the basic design sent from India?
Were the people who commissioned the pichwai
Indian? The questions are many; the answers are elusive. Nonetheless, the lace pichwai is stunning. ❖
Lace pichwai depicting Nauka Vihar, Lord Krishna’s boat ride. 122 x 111 inches
(310.0 x 283.0 cm). Collection of the National Museum–New Delhi Collection,
New Delhi, India. (87.124).
Photograph © of the National Museum–New Delhi Collection.
CHITRA BALASUBRAMANIAM pursues freelance writing on textiles, food, travel, and heritage along with investment analysis
and research. She also runs a small travel blog at www.visitors Connect with her on Instragram (@visitors2delhi)
or via email (
M AY / J U N E
Impressions of the Thing Itself
Cyanotype by Anna Atkins (1799–1871) of Pteris aquiline. 1853.
Britain. 10 x 75⁄8 inches (25.4 x 19.4 cm). Collection of the J. Paul
Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California.
Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.
n 1842, the British astronomer Sir John
Herschel invented a technique for making copies of his scientiic notes. In
1843, Anna Children Atkins, the daughter
of John Herschel’s colleague John George
Children, began work on a book that was
published a decade later, British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. The book’s illustrations
were photograms: photographs made without a negative or camera. The object casts
its shadow directly on a surface treated to
record the impression. The book contained
relatively little text but about 400 photograms
with captions. All the pages were printed in
cyanotype, which we are most familiar with
today in the form of architectural blueprints.
Anna Atkins had some art training as a young
woman. She had made lithographs and had illustrated her father’s translation of the French
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s Genera of Shells
with drawings of more than 250 shells. The drawings relect her accuracy and her awareness of
visual detail. She was quick to see the value of
cyanotype to create an accurate illustration.
Cyanotype is a simple process that involves only
two chemical compounds: ferric ammonium citrate
and potassium ferricyanide. Together, they can be
applied to natural iber surfaces, including paper
and fabric, with a brush or a sponge. After the paper
is dried in the dark, it is ready to record whatever is
placed between it and the rays of the sun. Washing
the cyanotype in water brings out its blue color and
makes the print permanent.
Anna Atkins made frequent trips to the seashore
to collect algae and likely exchanged specimens with
friends who shared her interest in the popular
nineteenth-century collecting pastime. The algae’s
varied, often delicate forms, their occasional sliminess, and their fragility when removed from water all
made the task of drying them to obtain a clear negative image a challenge. Most evidence, especially the
sharp edges of her photogram images, suggests that
Anna Atkins printed her specimens unmounted. (If
the algae had been mounted on glass, the gap created by the glass between the object and the printing
paper would have softened the edges of the image.
If mounted on mica, edges of the sheets would be
evident. If mounted on paper, the texture would be
visible as it is in the labels.)
The collection of algal specimens together with
their preparation and handling—probably the most
taxing and time-consuming aspects of producing
the book—required great patience and skill. As long
as a specimen was not broken during the handling
and exposure, the image could be repeated for the
required number of identical plates.
After the publication of British Algae, Anna
Atkins turned to recording a wider variety of subjects. Among the objects she printed for private
albums were feathers, ferns—and lace. ❖
VERONICA PATTERSON was PieceWork’s founding editor. She originally wrote this piece for the September/October 1994 issue.
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M AY / J U N E
Abbreviations & Techniques
beg—begin(s); beginning
BO—bind off
CC—contrasting color
cn—cable needle
CO—cast on
cont—continue(s); continuing
dc—double crochet
dc3tog—double crochet 3 stitches together
dec(s) (’d)—decrease(s); decreased;
dpn—double-pointed needle(s)
fsc—foundation single crochet
foll—follow(s); following
hdc—half double crochet
inc(s) (’d)—increase(s); increased;
k1b—knit 1 in back of stitch
k1f&b—knit into the front and back of the
same stitch—1 stitch increased
k2b—knit 2 in back of next 2 stitches
kwise—knitwise; as if to knit
k2tog—knit 2 stitches together
k3tog—knit 3 stitches together
k5tog—knit 5 stitches together
LLI—insert left needle into back of the stitch
below stitch just knitted, knit this stitch
MC—main color
M1—make one (increase)
M1k—increase 1 by knitting into the front
and then the back of the same stitch
before slipping it off the left-hand needle
M1p—increase 1 by purling into the front
and then the back of the same stitch
before slipping it off the left-hand needle
M1L—(make 1 left) lift the running thread
between the stitch just worked and the
next stitch from front to back, and knit
into the back of this thread
M1R—(make 1 right) lift the running thread
between the stitch just worked and the
next stitch from back to front, and knit
into the front of this thread
p2tog—purl 2 stitches together
p3tog—purl 3 stitches together
p4tog—purl 4 stitches together
p5tog—purl 5 stitches together
p7tog—purl 7 stitches together
pm—place marker
psso—pass slipped stitch over
p2sso—pass 2 slipped stitches over
pwise—purlwise; as if to purl
rem—remain(s); remaining
rep(s)—repeat(s); repeating
rev St st—reverse stockinette stitch (p rightside rows; k wrong-side rows)
RLI—knit into the back of stitch (in the “purl
bump”) in the row directly below the
stitch on the left needle
RS—right side
sc—single crochet
sc2tog—[insert hook in next stitch, yarn
over and pull up loop] 2 times (3 loops
on hook), yarn over and draw through all
3 loops on hook (1 stitch decreased)
sk2p—slip 1 knitwise, knit 2 stitches
together, pass slipped stitch over (2
stitches decreased)
sl st—slip(ped) stitch
ssk—slip 1 knitwise, slip 1 knitwise, knit 2
slipped stitches together through back
loops (decrease)
sssk—slip 3 stitches one at a time as if to
knit, insert the point of the left needle
into front of slipped stitches, and knit
these 3 stitches together through their
back loops (decrease)
ssp—slip 1 knitwise, slip 1 knitwise, purl 2
slipped stitches together through back
loops (decrease)
St st—stockinette stitch
tbl—through back loop
tch—turning chain
tr—treble crochet
tr2tog—treble crochet 2 together
tr3tog—treble crochet 3 together
tr4tog—treble crochet 4 together
ttr—triple treble crochet
WS—wrong side
wyb—with yarn in back
wyf—with yarn in front
yo twice—bring yarn forward, wrap it
counterclockwise around the right
needle, and bring it forward again to
make two wraps around the right needle
*—repeat starting point
( )—alternate measurements and/or
[ ]—work bracketed instructions a specified
number of times
Cable Cast-On
Begin with a slipknot and one knitted cast-on
stitch if there are no established stitches.
Insert right needle between first two stitches
on left needle (Figure 1). Wrap yarn as if to
knit. Draw yarn through to complete stitch
(Figure 2) and slip this new stitch to left needle
as shown (Figure 3).
Figure 1
Figure 2
I N T E R W E AV E . C O M
Figure 3
Mary Elizabeth Greenwall Edie’s Knitted-Lace Samples
The May/June 2016 issue of PieceWork includes the story of Mary Elizabeth Greenwall Edie’s handmade
knitted-lace sampler book. We asked Frances H. Rautenbach to re-create some of Mary Elizabeth’s samples:
ive are in the May/June 2017 issue; below are Frances’s notes and instructions for knitting ive additional
samples. Each sample retains the number that Mary Elizabeth assigned to it. Frances used Nazli Gelin
Garden (100% cotton thread, size 10) in #700-02 Cream and size 1 (2.25 mm) or size 000 (1.5 mm) needles to
make her samples.
Frances H. Rautenbach re-created five samples from Mary Elizabeth Greenwall Edie’s knitted-lace sampler book, which is now in PieceWork’s collection.
Shown left to right and from the top to the bottom are: No.1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5.
M AY / J U N E
These ive lace patterns from Mary Elizabeth Greenwall Edie’s knitted-lace sampler book were designed
to be worked on four needles (for circular knitting). The following patterns are written in modern terminology, using standard modern abbreviations, to knit the stockinette-stitch patterns as lat pieces worked back
and forth on two needles.
See page 62 for Abbreviations.
No. 1
Gauge: 18 sts and 22 rows = 2 inches (5.1 cm) in patt
Size: 3 inches x 13/8 inches (7.6 cm x 3.5 cm)
Using size 000 (1.5 mm) straight needles, CO
28 sts (or a multiple of 4 sts).
Row 1 (RS): *K1, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): P.
Row 3: *K2tog, yo, k2; rep from * to end.
Row 4: P.
Rep Rows 1–4.
No. 2
Gauge: one 14-st rep and 14-row rep = 1¼ inches
(3.2 cm) wide and 1¼ inches (3.2 cm) tall in patt
Size: 2½ x 2½ inches (6.4 x 6.4 cm)
Using size 1 (2.25 mm) straight needles, CO 26
sts (or a multiple of 14 sts).
Row 1 (RS): *K7, yo, k5, k2tog; rep from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): P.
Row 3: *Sl 1, k1, psso, k5, yo, k1, yo, k4, k2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 4: *Sl 1, p1, psso, p4, yo, p3, yo, p3, p2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 5: *Sl 1, k1, psso, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, k2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 6: *Sl 1, p1, psso, p2, yo, p7, yo, p1, p2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 7: *Sl 1, k1, psso, k1, yo, k9, yo, k2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 8: *Sl 1, p1, psso, p5, yo, p7; rep from * to end.
Row 9: K.
Row 10: *Sl 1, p1, psso, p4, yo, p1, yo, p5, p2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 11: *Sl 1, k1, psso, k3, yo, k3, yo, k4, k2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 12: *Sl 1, p1, psso, p2, yo, p5, yo, p3, p2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 13: *Sl 1, k1, psso, k1, yo, k7, yo, k2, k2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 14: *Sl 1, p1, psso, yo, p9, yo, p1, p2tog; rep
from * to end.
Rep Rows 1–14.
No. 3
Gauge: one 13-st rep and 10-row rep = 1½ inches
(3.8 cm) wide and 1 inch (2.5 cm) tall in patt
Size: 3 x 1½ inches (7.6 x 3.8 cm)
W W W. I N T E R W E A V E . C O M
Using size 1 (2.25 mm) straight needles, CO 26
sts (or a multiple of 13 sts).
Row 1 (RS): *S1 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k2tog, [yo, k1] 3
times, yo, k2tog, yo, k3tog; rep from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): P.
Row 3: K.
Row 4: P.
Row 5: K.
Row 6: *S1 1, p2tog, psso, yo, p2tog, [yo, p1] 3
times, yo, p2tog, yo, p3tog; rep from * to end.
Row 7: K.
Row 8: P.
Row 9: K.
Row 10: P.
Rep Rows 1–10.
No. 4
Gauge: one 11-st rep and 8 rows = 1¼ inches
(3.2 cm) wide and ¾ inch (1.9 cm) tall in patt
Size: 3¾ inches x 1½ inches (9.5 cm x 3.8 cm)
Using size 1 (2.25 mm) straight needles, CO 33
sts (or a multiple of 11 sts).
Row 1 (RS): *K2tog twice, [yo, k1] 3 times, yo, ssk
twice; rep from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): P.
Row 3: K.
Row 4: P.
Rep Rows 1–4.
No. 5
Gauge: one 9-st rep and 6 rows = 11⁄8 inches (2.9 cm)
wide and ½ inch (1.3 cm) tall
Size: 3¼ inches x 2 inches (8.3 cm x 5.1 cm)
Using size 1 (2.25 mm) straight needles, CO 27
sts (or a multiple of 9 sts) and p across.
Row 1 (RS): *Sl 1, k1, psso, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, k2tog;
rep from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): P.
Row 3: *Sl 1, k1, psso, k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, k2tog; rep
from * to end.
Row 4: P.
Row 5: *Sl 1, k1, psso, yo, k5, yo, k2tog; rep from *
to end.
Row 6: P.
Rep Rows 1–6.
FRANCES H. RAUTENBACH lives on Salt Spring Island in British
Columbia, Canada. She learned to knit at age four from her granny.
Deciphering old knitting instructions has become a recent interest, and passing on what she learns remains a lifelong passion.
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