I’m not sure where I found this form of lace, but I find it fascinating. I thought this is a lace I can learn to make on my own. With the help of the internet, of course, I can. I searched high and low for techniques on making the braid and a list of filling stitches. So my mind instantly pictured hundreds of possibilities of all the things I could make if I could manage this timeless lace-making skill. The braid is crocheted and sewn over the lines, and the motifs are filled in with needle lace filling stitches. Support bars are added to the open areas between motifs. I found lots of needle-lace filling stitches, albeit some of them are very similar. Mostly, I found them in old books in public domain. Two good sources for these books are the Antique Pattern Library and Project Gutenberg. It can be difficult to tell exactly how to execute the stitches from these old drawings but you can figure it out for the most part, and some people have better photographs and even a few videos. I thought a small bookmark would be a nice introduction to this form of lace-making. The only change I would have liked is if it had more of a variety of stitches, but that’ll be the next project. However, it was a great warm up. This pattern was created by Debi Feye in 2010, and I found it HERE. First, transfer the pattern to a scrap of muslin or a piece of copy paper, and cover it with some packing tape to protect your lace from the ink. Second, measure all the lines in order to estimate the amount of braid you will need. Third, crochet your braid.
Fourth, couch the braid to the pattern with a sharp needle and a contrasting sewing thread. I did everything with size 10 crochet thread, except the couching. As a side note, the counching thread will be removed. Next, Cut the braid about a half-inch longer than needed for each section as you will unravel it a bit to stitch the ends to each other sewing the braids together wherever they touch. Then, It will look like this.
Next, is filling in all the shapes with filling stitches. Everything is laid out pretty good with this project, and there are so many filling stitches to choose from, this can be the best part of the project. I used a size 24 tapestry needle to do the stitches. They connect to the loops on the edge of the braids. This project only uses one, but it was a great practice going through all the steps such as copying the pattern, making the braid, couching the braid, and finding the loops to connect the stitches. Here’s what it looks like when the filling stitches are done.
In addition to the braid and filling stitches, there are support bars to help it hold its shape. I decided to weave the bars instead of wrapping them to keep them in theme with the filling stitches. As these areas are quite open, I thought they could use the extra support. I secured the threads to the braid right on top because I’m working on the back side. The front is facing the pattern. Once it’s completed, clip the couching threads from behind the pattern and gently peel the lace away revealing the front for the first time. I chose to block and starch mine from the wrong side after removing it from the pattern as I wanted it to be crisp and hold its shape.
I really enjoyed this little project and it took me an afternoon. I made my braids ahead of time. I have a few more projects picked out, like one from the Jan/Feb 2001 issue of Piecework Magazine. It’s a butterfly and has a variety of filling stitches to keep me busy.