Varieties of Lace

Laces, often named for their location of origination, are of many types. Valenciennes is a fine, diamond-meshed lace much used for trimmings and ruffles. Mechlin is of similar type, but filmier; torchon is a simple, loose lace, made and used by peasants all over Europe; Honiton, one of the fine English laces, has a net foundation with appliqués of delicate, handmade braid. Brussels is a rich lace of several varieties. Duchesse has exquisite patterns with much raised work. Maltese is coarse and heavy, usually made of silk. Chantilly is a delicate mesh with ornate patterns, originally made of the yellowish undyed silk called blonde, later often dyed black. Point d'Espagne is lace of gold or silver thread.

A number of laces fall outside a strict classification. Guipure has a heavy pattern formed by a braid with a less valuable core covered with fine silk, gold, or silver thread. Limerick lace is tambour work on net. Renaissance or Battenberg lace is of heavy tape formed into a pattern and filled in with lace stitches. Carrickmacross is cutwork lace. So-called English point or point d'Angleterre is Flemish point, at one time smuggled into England and renamed.

Filet is a combination of knotting and darning, reminiscent of the earliest lace forms attempted. Cutwork, or various combinations of early lace forms with embroidery, also formed an important step in lace making. The better-known knotted laces are tatting and macramé; macramé evolved from the early Italian punto a groppo. Crocheted lace reached its finest development in Ireland. Knitted laces, for which many intricate patterns survive, have been mainly of peasant use.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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