Patterned netting and Lacis

February 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Netting | 1 Comment

In my on-going quest to discover as much about patterned netting – sometimes called mezza mandolina – as possible, I have found a book online that includes what appears to be a Lacis pattern that includes some patterned netting as part of the border design. This picture is taken from Musterbuch  fur Stickereien Und Spitzen von Elisabetta Parasole, which as far as I can figure translates roughly as Eliabetta Parasole’s Masterbook for Lace and Embroidery. As far as I can tell, it’s a  1891 edition of a book originally published in German in 1616 that was itself essentially a reprint of an Italian book originally published in 1597. Since I speak neither German nor Italian this is based largely off the numbers on the title page, some Google Translate wizardry, and a little inference. Other than the short introductions – one in German, the other in Italian, the rest of the short book is taken up with pictures of what seem to be lace patterns, each one labeled with the type of lace technique one would presumable use to make the design.

On page 42 of the book, under the subject heading Lavori di Maglia (which seems to translate roughly as “mesh work”) we see these designs. The central design is clearly fairly standard Lacis patterns, but the upper and lower border look like the pattern may be created through the network itself. These borders, with their suddenly much larger diamond mesh and concentration of the thread in the middle of each design look an awfully lot like what you would get if you did a lot of decreasing and increasing . Notice in particular that the second design shown here has both more meshes decreasing into each other and a larger “white spot” in the middle where the larger number of threads would all be converging on the same spot. The space between each mesh is larger and the number of large meshes is smaller than that in the first picture , all of which would be consistent with patterned netting where the first pattern was decreasing only two meshes while the second pattern decreases (and then increases) four.

This third picture has an even more intricate pattern on the upper and lower border. While I’m not 100% sure that it is patterned netting, my gut reaction is that it is. Not only does it very strongly resemble the pattern in sixteenth century Belgian hairnet, but The changing size of the mesh – which is alternative both larger and smaller than that of the mesh in the main Lacis design – could only be accomplished by changing the size of the netting gauge.  Although I suppose one could use some of the lacier Lacis techniques to create the intricate web, none of the other Lacis patterns in this book appear to be using anything other than a basic darning stitch, which furthur points to the use of patterned netting.

For more information, I found the Musterbuch  fur Stickereien Und Spitzen von Elisabetta Parasole in two parts on the internet at the University of Arizona.  Part One includes the title page and introduction, while Part Two contains the pictures I have reproduced here.

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  1. I have been interested in mezza mandolina for many years. I am delighted that you linked to the source. Thank you.

    Those border stitches look similar to stitches I have called spider, dancer, and diamond netting. (pictures of those stitches can be found on and

    I’m still trying to figure out how they worked the stitches, since the square background is created diagonally (increasing from one corner to the width wanted, then decreasing to the opposite corner).

    You’ve given me something to think about.

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