Making the Laces of Le Pompe

This file is two postings I made to the rialto, hence the question/answer format.
>When I have visited this bridge, I have found many discussion on many
>topics, with the mix varying from time to time.  Someone has to
>start the threads, you know.
>As so I will bring up _my_ topic.  I have been trying to reproduce
>16th century Bobbin Lace.  I am using _Le Pompe_ a reproduction
>pattern book, and photos of period lace.  I am not getting the right
>look.  Threads of what seems to be the right thickness seem too stiff
>and tightly twisted.
>Who else is making lace?   What thread do you use?  How has it turned
>out?   Have you found any good close-ups?  I have many pictures
>that show the pattern nicely, but not enough to see what the thread
>is like.
I am :-)

>The technical section in _Le Pompe_ is very poor and mostly
>doesnt even mention what size and kind of thread used.  To anyone
>who hasn't seen this book, reproductions of one and part of a second
>period pattern book are bound with modern prickings and directions.
>The author of this section seems more familiar with later lace and
>works them much more "lacey" than the pictures of period laces that
>I have have found, which are quite sturdy looking.

I agree you should ignore the reconstructions in the back of Le Pompe . Payne's most egregious error I think is with the tape style laces - she doesn't user *nearly* enough bobbins. The period examples I've seen of this type of lace have a rich satiny surface which comes from working them with a large number of fine threads. The tapes should be highly warp-faced, not at all like cloth-stitch. In the figured laces, she uses half-stitch which is quite OOP. The example on page 105 has several problems, the most egregious of which is the lack of an edge to the tape. There should be an extra 2 pair travelling in a braid along the edge outside the pinholes, the plan treatment she gives makes the edge too fuzzy where the weaving pairs wrap around the pin.

Her treatment of the tape laces is pretty good, but in this case I think she uses too fine threads. The period examples I have plates of have heavier threads woven very very tightly. It's hard to tell what the texture would originally have been since the linen laces would have been washed and starched from time to time. The softer texture and 'mushed together' appearance likely resulted from repeated washing.

>Any other period pattern books available?  What books do you like?
>The best pictures I have come from a book in French with a name
>like _Three centuries of Lace_  owned by a friend.  She copied all
>of the period pieces for me, but the book (and the friend) are
>now in England.  Neither one of us could read the text.  Apparently
>all or most of the pieces are in musuems in Bruge where she studied

>Renate knew a _lot_ about lacemaking, but many of the construction
>details of 16th century lace were new to her.
The absolutely best book on the subject is Lace: A History by Santina Levey published by the V&A in associaction with Maney. Unfortunately it is only published in England and isn't cheap, but you may be able to get it on inter library loan.
>> Who else is making lace?   What thread do you use?  How has it turned
>> out?   Have you found any good close-ups?
>I've been working on some metal lace that is influenced by Le Pompe. Had
>to fiddle with and scale up the pricking to get the right balance with the
>thread I am using (DMC Fil Or and Fil Argent). I'm fortunate that the
>exact width of the finished lace was not critical, since it is easier to
>adjust the pricking than find another thread. I used Patterns of Fashion
>by Janet Arnold for close up photos of metal lace. 

Ah, new I left something out. I've gotten good results with those myself, Unfortunately, they are rather flatter than round, but nothing beats the real metal surface. The next time I start one of these, I'm going to experiment with a double thread of this stuff on each bobbin. That looks like what is happening in plate 354 of Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd and plate 10 of Le Pompe.