About Braid Lace

In Bobbin Lace, this group of laces may include: – Russian, Milanese, Idrija, Italian, Austrian, Schneeberg, Bruge, Cantu etc. Braid / Tape laces are characterised by a simple or more ornate braid which is joined back on itself to create larger pieces. Spaces are either filled with decorative stitches as the work progresses, or added later. It is usually made with a small number of bobbins (typically 3 – 12 pairs) of continental (unspangled) bobbins.

Early tape laces were made in the mid 1500s in Italy and Flanders; most modern forms are found around the Mediterranean and in Eastern Europe. Some of these have similarities which need an expert to differentiate; they are usually named for the area where they originate, and there may be some variation in names and spelling.

Russian lace has been made for hundreds of years. The traditional metal threads (gold or silver) are no longer evident, but bright colours continue to be used. It is a hard-wearing lace designed to be worn or used. Fillings are made at the same time as the tape, and there is much use of decorative gimps (in the tape) and tallies are common in the fillings.

Milanese is a beautiful Italian lace with a wide variety of more complex braids, which adds fancy decorative stitches and holes into the tape itself. Traditional Milanese often features elegant curves and scrolls in floral and leaf forms. With use of colour and more varied shapes, there are many stunning Milanese lace patterns.

Braid lace in Progress by Ethel Zuccolotto.

Schneeberg (or Schneeberger) lace originated in the mountainous mining area of Saxony, eastern Germany. It is a relatively new kind of lace, created in the 19th century to help lacemakers compete with machine lace. It is characterised by an open braid of variable width, with lots of twists. It is often worked in silk threads and takes only a small number of bobbins. Austrian lace is similar but done with fewer (usually 3) pairs.

Cantu lace (from the town of Cantu, in Lombardy, Italy) as we know it began in the 19th century, although it stems from a much older tradition. It often features curling branches and flowers with three petals or lobes, and differs from other braid laces in that it bundles threads to move them from one part of the design to another.

Bobbin lace making in Idrija (or Idria), Slovenia, has a history of more than 300 years. After a long decline, it has had a big revival – the Idrija Lace School was established in 1974 as part of a Secondary School in Idrija, and now an annual Lace Festival is held there. The lace features a continuous tape meandering through design, connected by plaits or other elements.

Modern braid laces often include techniques taken from a variety of sources.

There are also a number of Needle laces described as tape laces, which use pre-made tapes, tacked onto a design drawn on paper or calico. Tapes are sewn together, and fillings made in the spaces, using needlelace techniques.

Find a teacher.