Needle lace… What’s that?

To continue my slightly odd obsession with lace making for another post, recently I looked up lace making courses in my area. I’m not sure why, as I’ve mentioned previously, lace making with bobbins isn’t something I think I have the time (or space) to do. Really I think I was just wondering what kind of things were available locally. I’m often quite mean about the town I live in – and to be honest, it’s no where near as bad as all that. We have wide open green spaces, and that’s one of the things I like about it most.

snowy spaces

Anyway. To my surprise I found a lace making course near me. You could learn three types of lace, needle lace, bobbin lace and knitted lace. I can’t knit and it’s not something I’m looking to learn at the moment – but I was curious about needle lace. What is it? Is it tatted lace, but with a needle?

On further investigation, (also known as asking my mother) I found a book on needle lace. It looked like a 1970s horror. A cross between embroidery, and… I’m not even sure what else, odd miniature weaving or something. Which confirmed it. It wasn’t something I wanted to do.

But I’m very nosey at times, and further investigation online lead me to this page: Antique needlepoint lace, from the collection of Marla Mallett.

That’s more what I was expecting! That’s not a 1970s nightmare, it’s intricate and beautiful. There’s also a lot of different types of needle lace it seems.

Incase you’re interested, this is my favourite.

Reticello Needle Lace Border

It’s called Reticello. (Or Reticella – is one plural? My Italian is non existent). It is, I think, a cross between cut and drawn threadwork. Initial investigations haven’t got me very far (but then I’ve not had a huge amount of time to look).

The odd thing is, I came across a blog the other day, quite by accident where someone is teaching herself. It looks great! Mica, I am most impressed. I’ve put further investigations on hold at the moment as I’ve got a lot of other stuff I should be doing, but I’ll see what else I can find out in the new year.

UPDATE: Incase anyone doesn’t read the comments, there’s a needlelace tutorial here!


5 thoughts on “Needle lace… What’s that?

    • oh – that’s *fantastic*! Thank you for the link!
      I must head to the V&A in the new year – I had a look at their tatting last year as I was just starting out, and it’s amazing how tatting has progressed in terms of techniques and stitches.
      Thanks so much for the tutorial, I’ll have a good look over the weekend. (Don’t hold your breath for anything spectacular though, seriously, I’m really impatient with needles at times 🙂 )

  1. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out to help you learn more about different laces.
    Then sometimes you can google images of certain types of laces to see various examples (assuming they are named correctly) or google the subject OR even google youtube with the subject and you can find online tutorials. No garantees that they are good but they give you an idea of what you are getting into. I’m having a hard time finding good clear resources for needle lace. Maybe I just need to practice more!

  2. Actually, I have all the stuff for bobbin lace but haven’t done it for a while. I might pick it up again tho as I’ve found a need for some specific lace inserts. If you are interested I could show you how to get started…

  3. Tamsin – that would be awesome!

    Despite the fact I have no idea what I’d do with lace if I made it (except give it to you 🙂 I’d love to have a go. Having said that, if you want something tatting up instead, let me know.

    We shall talk. Yay!

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