Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Filet lace panel of Neptune and fish

The prompt for today’s lace challenge is ‘ocean’ which made me think of this filet lace panel I bought a while ago of Diana and Neptune on the sea with assorted fish and sea monsters. The pattern for this seems to have originated in Germany at the beginning of the twentieth century when there was a revival of filet lace both for furnishing and as a hobby for home lacemakers. However, the origins of filet lace or lacis as it was known stretch back to the sixteenth century and there are numerous pattern books dating from that time, many of which have been repurposed since, so the design could have older origins.

Many designs for filet lace are shown with the pattern marked in small crosses which does suggest that they could also have been worked as embroidered cross stitch. It is also a bit misleading though as the filet technique has no links to cross stitch and in fact is made in a running woven technique. The thread pattern has to be carefully worked out before the worker starts as the thread is woven over and under the meshes of the net in a continuous line vertically up and down the pattern like the diagram above. At points in the design the worker changes direction and works horizontally across the threads already laid this time weaving under and over the laid threads as well as those of the net mesh to give an open but woven appearance. It does produce a firm type of lace though well suited to furnishing.

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