This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘needlelace’

Book Review: Manuale del Puncetto Colorato

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 29, 2011

Puncetto Colorato

Book review: Paola Scarrone, Angela Stefanutto, Manuale del Puncetto Colorato (Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso di Varallo, 2006), 72 pages. €23, available from Italian Needlecrafts.

Puncetto Valsesiano  needle lace is currently enjoying a revival. Its simplicity of construction — a single knot, created with a needle and thread — and its elegant designs have contributed to its popularity. The familiar all-white Puncetto is characteristic of the Valsesia region, located in Piedmont, northern Italy, near the borders of France and Switzerland.

Its lesser-known variation, coloured puncetto, is primarily from the Mastallone valley, an area north of the Valsesia river. Coloured Puncetto is a prominent feature of women’s costumes of Sabbia, Cravagliana, Fobello, Cervatto, and Rimella. A panel of needle lace runs vertically down the center of  the bodice and the stylized apron. On either side of the lace panel, the fabric is gathered with smocking worked in the same pattern and colours as the lace. Sometimes narrow embroidered floral designs are worked beside the lace panel.

Puncetto Colorato

According to the authors of this book, different colours were used for different occasions, such as work, wedding, baptism, mourning. Red is suitable for young women and for weddings, blue for older women, blue and purple for half-mourning, and black for full mourning. In the past, coloured puncetto was worked with silk threads, but silk has largely been replaced by perle cotton, which is more readily available.

Puncetto Colorato

This book builds on the basic tutorials and motifs provided in A Scuola di Puncetto Valsesiano although, interestingly, it was published three years before Scuola. Its format and diagrams are very similar. Most coloured puncetto designs are based on the stelle miste (mixed “star” or square) design, characterized by the corners being worked horizontally and the center, diagonally.

The book is written in Italian. Because it relies on the information provided in Scuola, I recommend that you use both books together. The diagrams are very clear, but you will need a good understanding of the structure of the motifs in order to follow the graphs.

The book is organized into two parts. The first part provides step-by-step diagrams of motifs (as in the photo above, with the four women), while the second half provides only finished diagrams (see the photo above with the close-up of the embroidery). If you are comfortable with the techniques described in the first book, you should have no difficulty following the patterns in the second book. The binding seems to be of better quality than Scuola; I haven’t had any problems with the cover coming loose. The photos are extremely sharp, which makes it easy to count stitches and to duplicate designs whose patterns are not included.

I have a few tips to offer:

  1. The diagonally worked sections tend to stretch more than you would expect, so make sure that your diagonal spiders (ragni) are quite dainty. It’s generally good practice to make a loop a little smaller than you think it should be. A too-short loop can be stretched into shape but a too-long loop looks sloppy and is impossible to cover with stitches.
  2. Use an extra needle for coloured puncetto. It won’t eliminate the tedium of threading/unthreading needles for the contrasting spider centers but it will reduce some of the the threading because you can keep a needle threaded with the main colour of the spider.
  3. When you join a new thread, do not cut the ends of the threads close to the work until you are well past that area, especially if you need to work stitches into that area later (for example, joining corners of the center to the stitches around the edge). It is very frustrating to have a loop suddenly come undone because you cut the thread ends. Tightening a knot puts a lot of pressure on the loop into which you are working the stitch, and if the ends are cut short, they will slip out of place.
  4. After every row, hold the motif in the air and let the needle dangle free to untwist the thread. Because you are working hundreds of single knots, the thread will become more tightly twisted with each stitch.
  5. Try to keep the tail threaded through the needle fairly short (no more than about 6 inches) if you are using thread that tends to snarl. While you will have to pull more thread through each stitch, it will cut down on the knots caused by the tail thread getting caught in the main thread. Those tend to be the hardest (for me) to unpick.
  6. Keep a sharp pin handy to unpick knots if you make a mistake.
  7. If you’ve made a big mistake, cut the section off with sharp embroidery scissors. You don’t need to start all over again constructing a new base. The new joined thread is easily hidden by working stitches over it, so try to salvage as much of your work as possible.
  8. If you finish and you discover a mistake, see whether you can fix it by working more stitches with a needle and thread. Puncetto is so dense that a few stitches added to a row will never be noticed in the finished piece.

The photo below is a typical example of a stelle miste design with DMC Cordonnet 30 and a size 26 tapestry needle.

Puncetto Valsesiano

Here are a couple examples of coloured puncetto squares that I worked from the book with perle 8 cotton and a size 26 tapestry needle.

Coloured Puncetto

My First Coloured Puncetto Square

Posted in Crafts, needlework, Puncetto Valsesiano | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 9 – Diamond

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 17, 2011

For some reason, people seem find the diamond a tricky design. I think it’s because if you don’t realise that the rows are worked diagonally, you might be tempted to work back and forth horizontally, increasing at each side, then decreasing on each side. That would give anyone hives. Fortunately, the diamond is not all that difficult, especially when you see the thread path in the animation that follows.

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 9 - Diamond

Diamond

The sample is worked on 10 loops (= 11 knots). The actual number is irrelevant because the diamond itself occupies a space that is 2 squares wide and 2 squares high. I am using a 3-knot square as my base, so this diamond covers 6 loops (= 7 knots).

Abbreviations: L to R: Left to Right. R to L: Right to Left

  1. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Repeat. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. This forms the lower left block of the sample.
  2. Skip 2 loops of the base row of loops and make a knot in the the 3rd loop, leaving enough thread to form the diagonal side of the triangular space on the lower left side of the diamond.
  3. Skip 2 loops of the base row and make a knot in the 3rd loop, leaving enough thread to form the diagonal side and the right vertical side of the triangular space on the lower right side of the diamond. You are read to start the lower right block of the sample.
  4. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops and 1 knot on the vertical thread. Repeat. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. This forms the lower right block of the sample.
  5. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  6. Start working the diamond. R to L: Make 5 knots on the right diagonal thread and 1 knot on the left diagonal thread. L to R: Make 4 knots in 4 loops. R to L: Make 4 knots in 4 loops and 1 knot on the left diagonal thread. Repeat the last two rows 3 times. You have finished the diamond. Continuing R to L: Make 2 knots on 2 loops (over top of the lower left block).
  7. Start the upper left block.  L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Repeat. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. This forms the upper left block of the sample.
  8. Make a knot in the top loop of the diamond, leaving enough thread to form the top edge of the triangular space on the upper left side of the diamond. Make a knot on the first loop of the lower right block, leaving enough thread to form the top edge and right side of the triangular space on the upper right side of the diamond. Work the upper right block: L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops and 1 knot on the vertical thread. Repeat. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  9. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Make 3 knots on the thread over the right triangular space. Make 3 knots on the thread over the left triangular space. Make 2 knots in 2 loops (over top of  upper right block).

Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 8 – Web

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 3, 2011

The Web pattern is a fairly common filling stitch with many variations.

I’m getting faster at working with Flash but this animation took longer than I expected. It had so many frames (over 800 hand-drawn keyframes!) that my computer began to slow down.

Puncetto Valsesiano: Web

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 8 - Web

Web

This sample is worked on a base of 11 knots (10 loops) but the base doesn’t matter because the web itself is two squares high and two squares wide. You can work a web between vertical bars, solid squares, and as a filling, as shown in the drawing above.

Abbreviations: L to R (Working from left to right); R to L (working from right to left). Remember that the work is not turned.

  1. L to R: Make 2 knots on 2 loops.
  2. L to R: Skip 2 loops and make a knot in the third loop, leaving enough thread to form a diagonal side and an upright side of the left triangular space.
  3. Working upwards, make 3 knots on the loop you just formed.
  4. L to R: Skip 2 loops and make a knot in the third loop, leaving enough thread to form a diagonal side of the second triangular space.
  5. L to R: Make 2 knots in the last 2 loops of the row. R to L: Make 2 knots in the two loops you just formed.
  6. R to L: Make 4 knots on the first diagonal thread. Make 4 knots on the second diagonal thread and 2 knots in the loops. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R toL: Make 2 knots in two loops.
  7. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops, leave a space of thread to form the horizontal bar of a triangular space and make a knot in the top loop of the left diagonal thread. Make a knot in the loop between the diagonal threads. Make a knot in the top loop of the right diagonal thread. Leave a space of thread and make a knot in the loop just beside the number “6”. L to R: Make 2 knots in the next 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  8. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops, 2 knots on the horizontal thread over the right triangular space, 2 knots in 2 loops, 2 knots on the horizontal thread over the left triangular space, and 2 knots in two loops.
  9. L to R: Make 2 knots in two loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Repeat these 2 rows.
  10. Leave enough thread to form the diagonal of a triangular space, skip 2 loops and make a knot in the center loop.
  11. Leave enough thread to form the diagonal and the upright bar of a triangular space, skip 2 loops and make a knot in the third loop.
  12. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Repeat these 2 rows. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  13. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops, 4 knots on the diagonal thread of the right triangular space, 4 knots on the diagonal thread of the left triangular space, and 2 knots in 2 loops.
  14. L to R: Make 2 knots on two loops, leave enough thread to form the horizontal bar and upright bar of a triangular space, and make a knot in the central loop of the row below.
  15. Working upwards, make 3 knots on the upright bar between the triangular spaces. Leave enough thread to form the upright of a triangular space and make a knot in the top loop of the right diagonal thread. Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  16. R to L: Make knots in all the loops.

Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 7 – Open Squares

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 31, 2011

I’m trying something a bit different. I’ve been so busy with work and other projects that I’ve been neglecting the Puncetto tutorials. Since I’m taking a course in Flash, I decided to try using its vector drawing tools and animation to replace the multiple photographs/drawings that have accompanied the earlier tutorials. Since this is a Flash .fla converted to .mov and uploaded to YouTube, I can’t add controls so that you stop/start the video, other than the ones that YouTube uses, so I recommend that you get used to pausing/playing the video. Otherwise it runs through very quickly. If you find it too fast, I can try to slow down the frame rate in the future.

At this point I won’t be making cosmetic changes. It’s done with frame-by-frame animation, by drawing the figure, erasing a bit at a time, and then reversing the frames (a mere 450 frames!). The tail-knot animation was also done frame by frame because shape tweening doesn’t do knots very well.

I will, of course, continue to include written instructions so that these can be saved and printed out. Since this is an experiment, I would appreciate feedback!

Open Squares

This is not an easy motif but it’s a natural progression from the earlier Squares and Bars tutorial. These little squares are usually worked in groups of four or nine squares. The basic principle is the same. You create the open squares and then finish with the knots  around the outside edge. In older patterns you often find these made by the dozen and inserted into a design, tipped on one corner like a diamond. I should tell you that making even squares is tricky because the first knots slide around on the thread. That’s why I included step 4, where you anchor the tail of the thread by tying it down, to keep the knot (#3) from sliding all over the place.

Here’s a drawing of what a finished 4-square unit looks like:

Puncetto Valsesiano: Open Squares

Instructions:

Note: The working order of squares is bottom left, bottom right, top left, and top right.

  1. Make the first knot on the thread tail so that it forms a square. (If you are a beginner, you might find it easier to form the square by shaping it around a narrow pencil.)
  2. Make 3 knots on the loop you just formed, so that you are working up the right side of the bottom left square.
  3. Make another knot on the thread tail to form the bottom right square.
  4. At this point you will find that the 2 knots on the tail slide around a lot. You will find it much easier to work the rest of the motif if you anchor the thread tail by threading it into a needle and working a knot in the corner. That’s the squiggly tail animation you see at this point.
  5. Make 3 knots on the loop you just formed, so that you are working up the right side of the bottom right square.
  6. Working from right to left, make 3 knots on the top of the bottom right square, then 3 knots on the top of the bottom left square.
  7. Make a knot on the third (middle) loop of the previous row, so that it forms the top left square.
  8. Make 3 knots on the loop you just formed, so that you are working up the right side of the top left square.
  9. Make another knot on the last loop of the row below, so that it forms the top right square.
  10. Make 3 knots on the loop you just formed, so that you are working up the right side of the top right square.
  11. Working from right to left, make 3 knots on the top of the top right square, then 3 knots on the top of the top left square.
  12. Working from top to bottom, make 3 knots in each square.
  13. Working from right to left (you will be holding the motif upside-down), make three knots in each square.

Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial, videos | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 6 – Squares and Bars

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

It’s taken an unconscionable length of time to write this post. I had to figure out how to do squares and bars again. I also decided that it would be useful to devise a way to diagram the stitches because it’s very hard to see stitches in a photograph.

This tutorial is about the squares and bars (both vertical and horizontal) that form the foundation of Puncetto lace. I will cover diamonds and webs (spiders) in a later tutorial! The diagram below is a fairly typical simple Puncetto design. I used it as the basis of my tiny motif a couple years ago.

Puncetto Pattern

Puncetto needle lace

Puncetto Valsesiano designs are based on a grid of squares that can vary in size from 2 knots to 4 knots (for the sake of clarity, I am going to use the word “knots” instead of “stitches”). A grid of 3 knots is the most common variation and that is the size that I am using throughout these tutorials.

My sample is based on a ladder foundation of 12 knots. Count very carefully! If you make a mistake in the number of knots, you will have to start over.

Squares and Bars

The photos of this tutorial are followed by drawings. Please excuse the messiness. My main computer is getting repaired and upgraded, so I don’t have access to fancy drawing tools on this loaner laptop.

1. Starting from the left end of your ladder foundation, work 3 knots in the first three loops. You will be working from left to right. Without turning your work, work 3 knots in the 3 spaces you have just made, working from right to left. Repeat these two rows. Work another left-to-right row, so that your thread is at the right side of the block you have just made.

Puncetto 5.1

2. To form an empty space, skip 3 knots (= 2 loops) and work a knot in the third loop, leaving enough thread for the top and side of the empty space.

Puncetto 5.2

3. To make a vertical bar, work 3 knots on the thread loop you have just made. Remember: If you are working on a 3×3 knot grid, vertical and horizontal bars will have 3 knots on them.

Puncetto 5.3

4. Skip 3 knots (= 2 loops) and work a knot in the third loop, again leaving enough thread for the top and side of the empty square. This photo also shows how to join a new thread, which is described below. Work 2 knots in the next two loops.

Puncetto 5.4

5. This part is a little tricky because it seems counter-intuitive, but this is how you make a square after an empty space. Working from right to left, make a knot in each of the 2 loops and a knot on the thread forming the left side of the square (= 3 knots, working right to left).

Puncetto 5.4a

6. Working from left to right, make 2 knots in the 2 loops. This seems odd to be working 3 knots/2 knots/3 knots/2 knots, but trust me. Squares surrounded by empty spaces are worked this way.

7. Now you’re ready to work the final right-to-left row over the entire sample. Make a knot in the 2 loops of the square, make 3 knots in the first horizontal bar, make 3 knots in the second horizontal bar, and make 3 knots in the last 3 loops. Including the starting point of your thread (= knot) and the 11 knots you just worked, you will have 12 knots total in this row.

Puncetto 5.5

Drawings

The drawings below show the working of the same sample. There is one mistake: I actually drew 11 knots and didn’t realise it until I had to draw the final square. That shows you how important it is to count your knots!

1. Start with a ladder foundation of 12 knots.

Puncetto 6.1

2. The arrow indicates where you start the first square. Work 3 knots in 3 spaces. Repeat 5 times. Skip 3 knots (2 loops) and work a knot.

Puncetto 6.2

3. The vertical bar has 3 knots. Skip another 3 knots and work a knot.

Puncetto 6.3

4. Work 2 knots in the next 2 loops to form the first row of the square. Working from right to left, work 2 knots in 2 loops and the third knot on the vertical thread that forms the left side of the square. Working from left to right, work 2 knots in the 2 loops (remember — only 2 knots!).

Puncetto 6.4

5. When the square is complete, work the final right-to-left row (“2” in the drawing): 2 knots in 2 spaces, 3 knots on horizontal bar, 3 knots on horizontal bar, and 3 knots on 3 loops.

Puncetto 6.5

This diagram shows that upright bars have 3 knots on them, whether they are vertical bars or sides of squares. Horizontal bars also have 3 knots.

Puncetto 6.6

Square over Empty Space

This diagram shows how to place a square over an empty space. Your instincts will tell you to start in the loop spanning the square and space in the row below, but if you do that, the square will not be aligned properly over the space! The arrow marked “HERE” points to the correct loop for beginning a square over a space.

Puncetto 6.7

Square over Square

A square over a square is more straightforward. There should be 3 loops over the square. Work 3 knots in the 3 loops.

Puncetto 6.8

Joining a New Thread

1. When joining a new thread, work a couple knots over the new thread with the old thread.

2. Drop the old thread.

3. Work a couple knots over the old thread with the new thread. You will have some doubled thread loops. Treat these as ordinary loops, working knots in the loops.

4. Cut the thread ends close to the loop.

Posted in Crafts, needlework, Puncetto Valsesiano | Tagged: , , , | 18 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 5 – Ladder Foundation

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 4, 2010

The ladder foundation is easier for beginners and less fiddly than the foundation thread. It is suitable for square and rectangular motifs.

1. Using the circular thread foundation, make 3 stitches (or knots) on the thread. This is your first row (left-to-right).

Puncetto Valsesiano 4.1

2. Working from right to left, insert the needle in the first loop, wrap the thread around the needle, and make a stitch in each loop.

Puncetto Valsesiano 4.2

3. Work back and forth on these two loops until you have a ladder.

Puncetto Valsesiano 4.3

Puncetto Valsesiano 4.4

4. When the ladder has as many rows as you need stitches for the width of your motif, turn the ladder 90 degrees and work the next row of stitches on the side of the ladder.

Puncetto Valsesiano 4.5

Remember not to flip the work over. The front of the ladder is always facing you. The first row worked down the side is a left-to-right row.

  • Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 4 – Circular Foundation Thread
  • Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 6 – Squares and Bars
  • Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

    Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 4 – Circular Foundation Thread

    Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 4, 2010

    This method of beginning a Puncetto motif is suitable for circular motifs and for “ladders,” another method for starting a square or rectangle. (Ladders will be described in the next lesson).

    1. Wrap the thread around the first three fingers of your left hand, with the tail hanging down towards your palm. (If you’re a tatter, wind the thread around your fingers as though you are about to begin a ring.) Make sure there is some tension so that the loop doesn’t flop off your fingers while you’re trying to form the first stitch.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 3.1

    2. Pinch the tail and the thread loop together to keep them steady, and insert the needle into the loop.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 3.2

    3. Wrap the thread around the needle to form the first stitch.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 3.3

    4. Tighten the stitch. Now the loop is established. You can tighten it later by pulling the tail of the thread.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 3.4

    5. Insert the needle into the loop again, wrap the thread around the needle, and form the second stitch, about 1/8 inch to the right of the first stitch.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 3.5

    6. Continue until you have enough stitches for the base of your round motif.

    If you are starting a ladder, you only need 3 stitches (= 2 loops, one between each stitch).

  • Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 3 – Foundation Thread
  • Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 5 – Ladder Foundation
  • Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

    Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 3 – Foundation Thread

    Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 4, 2010

    Sorry for the long hiatus between tutorials. I cut my left index finger while making a salad. It was not very photogenic, so I put off taking the photos. Then the Jewish High Holidays intervened. But I’m back with the next step, starting a Puncetto motif on a foundation thread. This starting technique is suitable for square and rectangular motifs.

    Important note (thanks, Marina, for pointing this out): I have made the stitches large and loopy so that they are easier to see. When you work the foundation you should make the stitches much smaller and closer together.

    1. Measure enough thread for the width of the foundation plus a couple inches (for securing the tail later).

    2. Hold the thread between your left thumb and index finger, with the tail hanging down and the needle in your right hand.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 2.1

    3. Anchor the tail firmly between the second and third fingers of your left hand (see the photo for step 7 below).

    4. Place the tip of the needle under the foundation thread as in the photo below. The loop above my thumb is the “wrap” of the stitch around the needle.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 2.2

    5. Wrap the thread around the needle, counter-clockwise (see the lesson on making the stitch if you need a refresher course in forming the stitch).

    Puncetto Valsesiano 2.3

    6. Pull the needle upwards through the loop and gently tighten the stitch. Do not worry if the first loop, held between the thumb and first finger, isa little large. You can tighten the loop later by pulling on the tail when  you have a few more rows done.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 2.4

    7. Make another stitch (knot) on the foundation thread. The photo below shows how I’m grasping the foundation thread between a couple fingers to keep it taut.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 2.5

    8. Make enough stitches for the width of your motif. The exact number will depend on the size of your squares.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 2.6

    9. When you are finished working the left-to-right row, start working the right-to-left row, without turning the work.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 2.7

    Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

    Puncetto Valsesiano, Part 2 – The Stitch

    Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 1, 2010

    In my last posting on the subject, I gave a short introduction to Puncetto Valsesiano.

    In this posting I will show you how to make the basic stitch.

    Puncetto Valsesiano is worked back and forth in rows (or rounds, if you are making a circular doily or working around the outside of a square piece). The work is never turned over and the same side always faces you. The needle is held pointing away from you.

    Puncetto Valsesiano is not worked on the edge of a piece of fabric unless you are working an edging. Motifs and doilies usually are started with a loop of thread, but it is easier to show the back-and-forth movement of the stitches with a firm base, so I used a folded piece of fabric. (In the next lesson I will show you how to make a “ladder” base, which is used for starting square and rectangular motifs.)

    Materials

    • Crochet thread. Any smooth, mercerized cotton thread suitable for crochet can be used. Perle 8 is fine for a beginner. Later you may want to try something finer like size 30 or 50.
    • Needle. I used a needle with a sharp point in the photos below because I was working through the edge of fabric, but I recommend a fine, blunt tapestry needle. Size 26 would work well. Just make sure that the size of the needle is proportionate to the weight of your thread. Don’t try to force a thick needle through fine stitches.

    Working Left to Right

    1. Thread a needle and hold the tail on the fabric, near the edge.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 1

    2. Insert the needle, point facing away from you, through the edge of the fabric. Note that the thread that you are holding with your left thumb passes in front of the needle.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 2

    3. Wrap the thread behind the needle, from right to left, forming a loop.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 3

    4. Grasp the needle with your right hand and draw it through the loop.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 4

    5. Carefully draw the needle through the loop and tighten the knot. This forms the first stitch or knot.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 5

    6. Insert the needle to the right of the first stitch.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 6

    7. Loop the thread around the needle again, left to right, then behind the needle and right to left.

    Repeat until you have a row of stitches. Now look carefully at the stitches. You will see loops of thread between each knot. These loops are used for working the next row of knots.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 7

    Working Right to Left:

    These instructions presume that you have already worked one row from left to right. Do not turn the work.

    1. Insert the needle under the first loop.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 8

    2. Wrap the thread in front of the needle, from right to left, and then behind the needle, from left to right, so that it forms a loop.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 9

    3. Grasp the needle with the right hand, draw the needle through the loop, and tighten the knot.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 10

    4. Insert the needle under the next loop of the previous row, wrap the thread around the needle, and draw the needle through the loop to form the stitch.

    Puncetto Valsesiano 11

    That is how you work horizontal rows in Puncetto Valsesiano. This stitch is also used for filling in the solid squares and pyramids. Try not to work it too tightly or you will end up with a very stiff, dense lace.

    Posted in Crafts, needlework, Puncetto Valsesiano | Tagged: , , | 25 Comments »

    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

    Posted in Crafts, needlework, Puncetto Valsesiano | Tagged: , , | 34 Comments »