Lace





=Lace.= Lace is the name applied to an ornamental open work of threads

of flax, cotton, silk, gold, or silver, and occasionally of mohair or

aloe fiber. The latter are used by the peasants of Italy and Spain.



Lace consists of two parts, the ground and the flower. The threads may

be looped, plaited, or twisted in one of three ways. First, with a

needle, when the work is known as "needlepoint lace." Second, when

bobbins, pins, and a pillow or cushion are used; this is called

"pillow lace." Third, by machinery, when imitations of both point and

pillow lace patterns are produced.



Special patterns for these laces date from the beginning of the

sixteenth century. The early productions of the art had some analogy

to weaving; the patterns were stiff and geometrical, sometimes cut out

of linen or separately sewed and applied to the meshed surface, but

more frequently they were darned in, the stitches being counted in, as

in tapestry. This kind was known as darned netting. With the

development of the renaissance of art, free flowing patterns and

figure subjects were introduced and worked in.



Whether of needlepoint or pillow make, both the ornament and the

ground are produced by the lace maker. Needlepoint is made by first

stitching the net with thread along the outline of a pattern drawn on

paper or parchment, thus producing a skeleton thread pattern. This

threadwork serves as a foundation for the different figures which are

formed in the lace.



Bobbin or pillow lace more nearly resembles weaving. The threads are

fixed upon a circular or square pillow, placed variously to suit the

methods of manufacture in vogue in different countries. The object of

using the pillow is to prevent too much handling of the lace. One end

of each thread is fastened to the cushion with a pin, the main supply

of thread being twined around a small bobbin of wood, bone, or ivory.

The threads are twisted and plaited together by the lace maker, who

throws the bobbins over and under each other. The operation is fairly

simple, since children of eight or nine years of age can be trained to

it successfully. It demands, however, considerable dexterity with the

fingers.



The design for pillow lace must of course be adapted to the technical

requirements of the process, and cannot therefore be the same as one

for needlepoint, which has a better appearance and greater strength

than pillow lace. For this reason it was in former times generally

preferred for wear on occasions of state. On the other hand, pillow

lace has the quality of charming suppleness, and for use in mantillas,

veils, and fichus it is better than needlepoint, lending itself with

delicate softness and graceful flexibility as a covering to the head

and shoulders of women.





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