Thursday, 28 June 2018

Swiss and combination lace machine stitching

I’ve been studying some of my images of the original Battle of Britain lace panel trying to determine the different stitches used in it. The books on the panel say the lace is Swiss and combination and I’ve been trying to find out what that means. Apparently, the Swiss guide bar is linked to the bottom board threads, which are usually the second finest in the machine. Lace samples I’ve seen labelled as Swiss include the V shaped stitching seen in the photograph and it can vary in length and width depending on how many threads it crosses or moves down per stitch. It can also be fine and close together or thicker and more spaced out depending on the thread used to produce it. The book I have about ‘Lace furnishing manufacture’ by Keith Harding gives detailed instructions for the gears and Jacquard cards required for all types of stitch combinations. Discussing Swiss and combination he says that the warp bar makes a single nip combination on one motion and the Swiss bar makes its effect on the other motion, so they are working together to produce the final lace. I can’t help feeling it would be much easier to understand if I could see the machine in operation rather than trying to work it out from diagrams!

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