Needle lace is a type of lace created using a needle and thread to stitch up hundreds of small stitches to form the lace itself.

Needle lace borders from the Erzgebirge mountains of Germany in 1884, displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Needle lace, detail

In its purest form, the only equipment and materials used are a needle, thread and scissors. The origins of needle lace date back to the 16th century in Italy, and its origins may be found in the openwork on linen technique called reticella.[1] A variety of styles developed where the work is started by securing heavier guiding threads onto a stiff background (such as thick paper) with stitches that can later be removed. The work is then built up using a variety of stitches—the most basic being a variety of buttonhole or blanket stitch. When the entire area is covered with the stitching, the stay-stitches are released and the lace comes away from the paper.

Needle lace is also used to create the fillings or insertions in cutwork.


  1. ^ de Dillmont, Thérèse, ed. (1902). Needle-made Laces: 1st series. Mulhouse, France: Dollfus Mieg & Cie.

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