Wednesday 17 January 2024

Needle-run lace


Needle-run lace is essentially embroidery on net, which combines the beauty of stitching with the lightness of lace. It can be used to make quite large pieces of lace far more quickly than can be done using traditional handmade bobbin and needle-lace techniques. Needle-run lace was very popular in the early nineteenth century when lace machines could only produce net, but not patterned lace, so lace ‘runners’ were employed to embroider the net to make veils, stoles and collars.

To work needle-run lace the net background has to be stretched in a frame to keep the work taught. The pattern can be drawn in water-soluble ink on to the net or drawn on paper and tacked underneath it.

The design is then worked using a blunt-tipped needle and thread, first by outlining the design in a running stitch and then adding decorative stitches to produce shading. I enjoy making needle-run lace because it allows me to produce quite large pieces of lace with bold designs fairly quickly. For example, I used this technique in the series of mats that make up the body of work in Marriage bond, my research into Amy Atkin, the first female Nottingham machine lace designer who had to give up work on marriage; and you can see an image of one of the mats at the head of this blog.

No comments: