Lace is an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand. The holes can be formed via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric, but more often open spaces are created as part of the lace fabric. Lace-making is an ancient craft. True lace was not made until the late 15th and early 16th centuries. A true lace is created when a thread is looped, twisted or braided to other threads independently from a backing fabric.
Originally linen, silk, gold, or silver threads were used. Now lace is often made with cotton thread, although linen and silk threads are still available. Manufactured lace may be made of synthetic fiber. A few modern artists make lace with a fine copper or silver wire instead of thread.
Types Of Lace
There are many types of lace, classified by how they are made. These include:
- Needle lace; such as Venetian Gros Point is made using a needle and thread. This is the most flexible of the lace-making arts. While some types can be made more quickly than the finest of bobbin laces, others are very time-consuming. Some purists regard needle lace as the height of lace-making. The finest antique needle laces were made from a very fine thread that is not manufactured today.
- Cutwork, or whitework; lace constructed by removing threads from a woven background, and the remaining threads wrapped or filled with embroidery.
- Bobbin lace; as the name suggests, made with bobbins and a pillow. The bobbins, turned from wood, bone or plastic, hold threads which are woven together and held in place with pins stuck in the pattern on the pillow. The pillow contains straw, preferably oat straw or other materials such as sawdust, insulation styrofoam or ethafoam. Also known as Bone-lace. Chantilly lace is a type of bobbin lace.
- Tape lace; makes the tape in the lace as it is worked, or uses a machine- or hand-made textile strip formed into a design, then joined and embellished with needle or bobbin lace.
- Knotted lace; including macramé and tatting. Tatted lace is made with a shuttle or a tatting needle.
- Knitted lace; including Shetland lace, such as the “wedding ring shawl”, a lace shawl so fine that it can be pulled through a wedding ring.
- Machine-made; any style of lace created or replicated using mechanical means.
- Chemical lace; The stitching area is stitched with embroidery threads that form a continuous motif. Afterwards, the stitching areas are removed and only the embroidery remains. The stitching ground is made of water-soluble or non heat-resistant material.