Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Instructions for tambour lace

I’ve been looking at some of the net-based embroidered and needle-run laces as I found the technique quite successful in my Battle of Britain lace panels. This week I’ve been reading Irish lace making by Eileen C O’Connor (the image comes from the booklet), as these types of lace are particularly associated with Ireland and, in fact, are now most commonly known as Limerick and Carrickmacross lace. I was very surprised to read her instructions for tambour lace which say that the working net should be tacked onto the design marked on linen paper. If you have ever done any tambour lace you will realise that the tambour hook passes through the net and picks up the thread that makes the chain stitch from below the net, therefore you can’t do it with something tacked on to the net! Further reading discloses that the designs ‘are intended to be worked with a needle and thread’. That makes sense as far as the working is concerned – you are making chain stitches with a needle and thread through the net, above the pattern, which is removed when the lace is finished. However, can it be described as tambour lace? I had always thought the definition of tambour lace was that it was made with a tambour hook. Perhaps that’s wrong, and it just describes lace patterns on net utilising chain stitch, after all if the result is the same does the technique matter?

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