Lace Languages

Tutorial Tuesdays header

From the royal halls of castles to the humble cottage abode, lace adornments always were and always will be a favorite decor item.  It may adorn a collar or cuff of clothing,


Lace Collar

or grace an arm or back of the chair ,

chair web

Antimacassar Set

possibly a cushion, pillow or curtain

curtain web

Machine made curtain


Hand crocheted portiere

but most certainly it is cherished wherever displayed.

The term “lace” is used to cover a broad spectrum of textures so let’s break it down into a more definable art form.


Tatting: knotted lace made by hand with a shuttle of linen or cotton thread

tatting web

Made by a fellow needle-worker

Crochet: needlework lace done with a needle having a small hook at one end for drawing the thread or yarn through intertwined loops; varied sizes of hooks or thread will alter the appearance greatly


Personalized gift from my nursing home friend. She uses NO patterns.

Irish lace or Irish crochet: very fine steel crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread. Uses an outline of the pattern on a piece of cloth. The cotton cord is for volume and shaping. The finished motifs are then basted onto a cloth in the shape of the pattern. Is is a raised dimensional design.

Irish web

“Bumpy” doily

Machined lace: mimics several styles of lace but all reproduced by machine; early ones looked like this




Bobbin lace:  lace made by hand with bobbins of thread, the thread being twisted around pins stuck into a pattern placed on a pillow or pad; usually with an elevated pad


Bobbin Lace

Another type of handwork that some refer to as “lace” is actually drawn work; threads of the linen are pulled together to develop a pattern


Mexican Drawnwork

Cut work: cotton or linen, are cut away and the resulting “hole” is reinforced and filled with embroidery or needle lace.


Vintage cut-work set

So whatever you decide to embellish or adorn you can use the term “lace” with confidence. But you should also know that you can never have too much of it.



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