Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Knitted lace medallions


I’ve been reading Mary Thomas’s Book of knitting patterns and came across a chapter on medallions. She says that medallion knitting was popular in the 18 and 19 centuries as people used round medallions as bonnet caps and those in other shapes for making up into bedspreads, blankets and cushions. Round medallions are also the basis for lace doilies as well. The image shows a detail of an early 18 century sampler of bonnet backs. She explains how to build up the shapes using four or more needles and shows how this can be done in a geometric or straight fashion or with a swirl or bias to form hexagonal shapes. When drawing up a chart for a medallion she notes that you have to put in the building units first and then add the ornamental units that make the pattern. That’s one of the things I like about Mary Thomas – she doesn’t just provide a pattern she explains how you can build your own.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Brussels lace shawl


This beautiful Brussels lace mantle is illustrated in an interesting book I bought during my last visit to the Lace Guild. It’s a catalogue entitled Lace in fashion 1815 -1914 and was published to coincide with an exhibition of lace at Utrecht Museum in 1985. It includes some beautiful illustrations as well as two interesting essays about changing fashions for lace by Mary de Jong and Patricia Wardle (who also wrote the catalogue) and obviously brought together a range of lovely pieces from some of the major museums and collectors in the Netherlands. I thought the Brussels lace shawl, or more correctly mantle, in the illustration was an interesting example from the third quarter of the 19 century, as it is made of bobbin lace applied to machine net and embellished with needle made fillings, showing how all three types of lace could be combined. The design is also quite light and open and reminiscent of the Chantilly shawls that were also popular at this time. I wish I could have seen the original exhibition as it includes some lovely lace

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Plauen lace curtain design


I found this lovely design for a lace curtain in a folder of Plauen lace designs, it isn’t dated but they are probably from the early twentieth century. I blogged about Plauen lace a couple of weeks ago when I was researching lace collars. It is generally considered one of the chemical laces in which the design is embroidered on to a backing material using a Schiffli machine and once it’s completed the backing is burnt away chemically leaving the embroidery. This one seems to be quite an open design though so must have been embroidered on to net or a fine backing. I can’t find any Plauen lace curtains in any of my old lace sales catalogues but combination guipure curtains are being sold in 1904 for 17 shillings for a pair measuring 4 yards in length and 72 inches wide.