12 Little Needle Cases

Lacis: Starts and Stops

This needlework piece is part of my ongoing exploration of different medieval embroidery styles. A full explanation of the project can be found here.

Lacis is hard. Its difficult to wrap your head around. My best advice is to do a bunch of samples before you start. Practice twists and turns.

Then do a small piece like one of my flowers. And don’t be afraid to get this far and start over.

My first attempt at a flower

Because once you get it, and getting it is hard, you will be so impressed with your results, and you will want to make more and more. Maybe even some curtains.

Lets talk about what I learned: Knots. It really is best to do Lacis in a frame with a really really long thread. A frame, like a slate frame or even a picture frame will do, will hold your piece taunt but also cover up all the edges so your very very long thread will not catch on them. A long thread is necessary so that you do not have to make too many knots.

You can see in my piece the two different ways I dealt with knots. the Lacis Manual says that you should not knot your thread to the canvas, but instead install a weaver’s knot between the old thread and the new thread and continue onward. This will leave pesky knots in your work that, are not thaaaaat visible, but are annoying to stitch with because the knot gets caught on everything. Secondly, there are tails. For one of my knots I simply was about to catch the tails in the linen stitch as I went (this can be seen on the spine of the flower between the two leaves). For another of my knots, they popped out, and were too short to weave in so I trimmed them. This makes me nervous.

Either way, dealing with the knots is something that I will have to devote additional time to. Practice makes perfect, but it also might require changing my technique. I am not a big fan of knots in embroidery. I am a weave the threads in kind of person. Which, is just not always possible in Lacis. However, it is something I believe requires additional contemplation.

To expand this process I went ahead and purchased the lacis making kit from Filet Lace by the Sea. I plan on taking this kit to the beach with me so I can do my own lacis by the sea. The Book Filet Lace by Marie-Jo Quinault recommends starting the piece with a temporary knot, and then when you run out of thread, you tie another temporary knot and let the thread hang loose. Start another thread with a temporary knot. When the piece is done you tie these threads together with “permeant knots”. These knots are made with 1 simple knot, over it a double knot/surgeons knot, then a simple knot, then an overhand knot as close to the work as possible. The ends are then snipped short. She says that with washing and shrinking the knots will tighten, full, and disappear into the work.

I intend to explore this method deeper in the future.

Next Month

I will be finishing up the goldwork on my opus piece. And thankfully, Tanya Bentham’s book on Opus Anglicanum just arrived in perfect timing! I highly recommend.


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