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Random bits of my life

Puncetto Valsesiano, Part 1 – Introduction

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 29, 2010

Call me a trend-setter. No, maybe not. I can’t see an obscure Italian needlelace muscling its way past knitting, crochet, and quilting. Recently someone posted a comment on one of my Flickr photos asking whether I knew of a source for instructions in Puncetto Valsesiano in English. To my surprise, there isn’t a lot available, apart from the 500 page Anchor Manual of Needlework, which costs a fortune to ship to a place like Israel.

Puncetto Valsesiano is a knotted needlelace from the Valsesia region of Italy, in the Piedmont. It is worked with only a needle and thread. Unlike many other forms of needlelace, the patterns tend to be strictly geometric.

If you’re wondering what Puncetto looks like, check out this video. I’m blown away by the yardage that this woman has produced with only a needle and thread.

If you’re a newcomer to needlelace, Puncetto is one of the less demanding forms for beginners because it doesn’t require as careful tensioning as the buttonhole stitch-based lace. (I also confess that I never have the patience to couch the tracing thread to a backing.) You can teach yourself from the video but it’s easier from pictures or diagrams. I’ve photographed the steps for making the stitch and will post them another day. This is just an introduction. One note: I’m not an expert! I taught myself from diagrams with advice from other needleworkers, like Marina, whom I met on the Internet.

Here’s my first Puncetto motif:

Puncetto needle lace

It was copied from one I saw in the video, in the screenshot below. I didn’t make the sketch clear enough, so I forgot to fill in some of the squares.

Screenshot from video

I later started a corrected version. Honestly, I’m not sure I ever finished this attempt!

Puncetto needle lace

Most of the information about this lace on the Web is aimed at tourists. Some lovely examples are shown on this lace blog, Con Nuestras Manos (“With Our Hands”). Very few people do this kind of work. Marina may be one of the only ones. Her work is exquisite. She gave me a lot of advice when I was struggling with the stitches, especially the tipped square or diamond shape.

Puncetto Valsesiano

Puncetto

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27 Responses to “Puncetto Valsesiano, Part 1 – Introduction”

  1. aswirly said

    Oh my, I am way impressed.

  2. Miriyummy said

    Never one to shy away from a new form of needlework, I think this may be a first for me. I don’t know if I have the eyesight or the patience for this. Kol hakavod to you that you tackled this. How long did it take you to make that square?

  3. Karen R said

    Wow, that is really neat – I wonder how long it took the lady int eh video to make that length she had? That’s somehting I’d like to see done in person…

    • Avital said

      Good question. For all I know, she may not have been the sole worker on this piece.

      • drikyz said

        “Good question. For all I know, she may not have been the sole worker on this piece.” Hello, I’m the author of the video. She did the work all by herself, like many other even larger. I will publish another video with various works done by my mother. Hi

      • Avital Pinnick said

        How cool! Please send links when you upload the video!

  4. Impressive! I don’t think I have the eyesight for this, but still worth the try.

  5. [...] WordPress.com « Puncetto Valsesiano, Part 1 – Introduction [...]

  6. [...] artist Avital Pinnick has recently posted very useful information on Puncetto Valsesian at http://apinnick.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/puncetto-valsesiano-part-1/ The design shown above is one of Avital’s, and although not strictly typical of this lace, it [...]

  7. Marny said

    No matter how many times I look at the YouTube video, I would still love to be right next to her and watch in person!

    This needle lace Puncetto Valsesiano is absolutely exquisite and I would like to learn!! Patience and detail are part of why I think this a good craft for me.

  8. Elizabeth said

    I found that the video started the stiching, then jumped to some rows completed. It missed the very bit I needed!!

    Avital, did you work a row of stitches first, – lengthwise over a thread fixed down on fabric, or how did you work the base of the square?

    For the only piece I tried, the instructions started in a corner and was the lower point of a diamond. I found my work curved in the centre – so got cut off!!
    Starting on the straight looks to be a better idea.

    You have soroke the lace beautifully.
    I Love the round centre. That is a whole new area to try!! Going round in circles might be a lot harder!!

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thanks, Elizabeth! I began with the ladder in the square motif. Motifs that begin from the point of a diamond, like the one you tried, are trickier to get the tension right. I’m not sure I could do a full diamond motif. Must try it sometime. I’m still learning! Yes, starting on the straight edge is much easier.

  9. Onna Addis said

    Love the video. I think I would be able to learn it if you could shoot one again. Over the shoulder, so the viewer sees it how it would look in their own hands. I love it and want to do this..just really cannot break it down as there is too much info missing. Is there a riddle or rhyme you use to do your rows of work? Do you work back and forth everytime or do you do like a brussels lace, where you draw a thread back to the other side and work over both to give it more stability ? I am full of questions aren’t I?
    Onna

  10. I’d love to do this !!! I must definitively try this needlelace.
    Very nice
    Virginie

  11. [...] idea – the foundation chain is almost like embroidering chain stitch in mid air. I also found these tutorials, which are very helpful – although I make the foundation chain like the lady in the video, [...]

  12. Krystle said

    Hi Avital! Just wanted to let you know that the wiki version of this page has been chosen for featuring on the wikiHow home page on 3/26. Congratulations!

    http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Basic-Puncetto-Valsesiano-Stitch

    I hope this brings you many new fans! :)

    Krystle

  13. [...] – research source http://apinnick.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/puncetto-valsesiano-part-1/ – research source Article [...]

  14. [...] – research source http://apinnick.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/puncetto-valsesiano-part-1/ – research source Article [...]

  15. Barb said

    Hey there!

    First off your tutorials helped me out a lot!!! I found the video a will ago and have been hooked on trying figure out how to do this.

    I have a question though, I’m trying to do the square the woman in the video did as well but I’m confused on how to do the diamonds. Is it the same as your diamond tutorial or is there something else I need to do?

    Thank you so much for any help!!

    Barb

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Hi, Barb, I sent you an email. Thanks for commenting on my blog. (For anyone else who is wondering about the answer, the diamond in the YouTube video of the woman making a square is the same as the diamond in my tutorial.)

  16. Maxine Miller said

    I want to thank you for this tutorial. I have been wanting to learn this needle lace work and could not see the details in her video. Thank you for clarifying the stitch details. I would like to know where i can find some patterns for this work.

  17. Alessandra said

    Hallo,
    I am one of those mad people (very few!) who are in love with this lace. If you ever happen to come to Milano I will be glad to show you how it works! I’ve seen your sample; it should be much more tight, you should not see holes among the dots…but this is something that comes with practise!
    I read a question regarding how long it takes…ages!! a 4 cm square takes 5 hours to be finished. I think this is the reason why puncetto is almost unknown, also in Italy!

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thank-you for the offer! I just may take you up on that. I can well imagine that a 4 cm square would take 5 hours, since one is constructing a thick fabric, millimeter by millimeter. I have great admiration for the women who have done tablecloths and big doilies! I only managed small squares (and my stitches are tighter now).

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