Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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1. Definition and manufacture

Lace (French dentelles, Dutch kant, German Spitze, Italian merletto) is a collective term for decorative elements made of thread or thread and fabric (Textiles). In all its forms it is openwork: spaces of various sizes between the threads constitute a pattern. Lace must not be confused with embroidery (Textile technology). Its origins probably go back to the decorative treatment of hems by the darning, knotting, or braiding of warp threads.

Technically there are two kinds of lace: needle lace and bobbin lace. In the former, threads are stretched on the pattern alongside the drawing; they constitute the base grid, which is then embroidered all around. Needle lace made with linen thread is costly and difficult to produce. In the manufacture of bobbin lace, a pattern is pinned to the lace pillow, the so-called pricking. The thread is wound on bobbins and …

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Reith, Reinhold, “Lace”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 05 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_027819>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190124

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