Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Needle Lace Easter Egg – Free Pattern


Amazon Books

Here’s a little needlelace pattern for you – it’s oval (not quite egg shaped, but close enough) and perfect for decorating something Eastery.

It seems there are many names for this kind of lace. I call it needlelace, which is a more general term. In some books, it’s also called point lace or reticella, and I’ve even seen it called needlepoint lace.

Needlelace is worked independent of fabric. In fact, it can be worked over paper, removed from the paper, and then added to fabric. When I venture into needlelace like this, though, I generally work it over my fabric, then cut the fabric behind it in an X shape, then turn the fabric back to the edges before working the final buttonholing or overcasting around the motif, catching the fold of the fabric. Then I cut the excess fabric away.

Still, I have worked it on paper, and it works up fine! The last step when working it on paper is overstitching it to the fabric (buttonhole or overcast on the outside lines) and then cutting away the fabric beneath it.

Mostly, needlelace is worked in conjunction with whitework. That’s not to say it has to be worked on a whitework piece – no way! You can make little pieces of lace to decorate anything you want, really!

A very long time ago, I featured a tiny sample of needlelace here on Needle ‘n Thread. If you want to see some nicer examples of needlelace, check out Textile Dreams, especially the reticella heart. There’s also a very nice needlelace tutorial on Textile Dreams!

An excellent online book on needlelace is Therese Dillmont’s Needle-made Laces, which you can find in two PDFs hosted at the On-line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics (that’s a mouthful!) In the first PDF file, you’ll find clear step-by-step directions for this type of needlelace. Here are the direct links to the PDFs:

Needle-made Laces, Part I
Needle-made Laces, Part II

This particular design is cleaned up from an old Variety magazine pattern. The original booklet was printed in 1926 by Carmela Testa & Company. If you come across any of these old booklets, they’re really nice to have! (But they’re not always in the best shape!) Still, snatch them up! They’re worth it – a great addition to a needleworker’s library. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes these old booklets – though full-up with wonderful little patterns like this – lack clear instruction, especially when compared to today’s step-by-step photo books! They assume the stitcher has already achieved a certain level of skill.

Well, without further ado, the egg. Below it, you’ll find a link to a PDF version.

Needlelace Pattern

Needlelace Egg (PDF)

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(3) Comments

  1. Mary,
    Your needle lace site and drawing is the coolest site.
    I belong to a yahoo group called Ladies of Steeles and we discuss hand embroidery only.
    We had a block exchange recently that I coordinated and I recieved blocks from Saudi Arabia, Baghdad, Florence and Cornwall England.
    The woman in Florence did the needle lace. I thought it was the best thing I ever saw. Now I am going to try and make my own attempt at this lovely technique.
    By the way. The Doctor in Baghdad won all 18 blocks and she was thrilled. I have a picture of her and of the blocks if you would be interested in seeing them.
    Thank you ,
    Janice Miller
    Silverdale, Washington USA

  2. You have a wonderful web site! I also learned how to hand embroider about the age of 10- taught by my grandmere and mother- and it has always been my first love. And now- needlelace! I’ve been all over the net looking for info and tech on needlelace- I went crazy for reticella lace about a year ago. Thank you for such a neat web site, and for the sample patterns and links! Sincerely, Janne

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