Milanese lace

Read and Kincaid books
Q.    Has anyone actually tried to work any of the Milanese patterns from the Read and Kincaid books?  My reason for asking is that the pinholes on the prickings seldom seem to line up with what is required to work the pattern.  For instance, the pinholes on the inside of a curve should be a lot closer together then on the outside of a curve.  The point being, that people who have not worked patterns without pinholes before trying Milanese, will have a lot if trouble overcoming these problems!  My way, is to ignore the marked pinholes and place the pins where they are needed.  (What else can you do?)  Also noticed that the prickings are not necessarily the same as the finished article.  (Look at the Japanese lady).  Has anyone else noticed these things??

A1.  I have worked a couple of the patterns and have had to adjust some of the pinholes.  I find that with most of ‘the braid type laces’ that you often need to gauge it yourself where to put the pins – you may have a different thread to the original, you certainly will have different tension to the original and possibly a different number of pairs anyway!  I don’t pre- prick a braid pattern – just ‘go with the flow’ as I work it.  The other thing to bear in mind is to look at the pattern and where another braid sews into the braid you are working – allow for where the pinholes are going to need to be for that braid too – i.e. if the second braid is on the outside of a curve outside the first braid – don’t space the pinholes too far apart!

A2.  I have done the girl in the bonnet with a closed parasol.  I also found that I had to ignore the pinholes in many places, but I had not noticed discrepancies between the prickings and the illustrations.  I must check that out.

A3.  The thing is that you will not be pricking your pattern before working it; that is the point here, because the “marked” pinholes are not always in the right spot, so you have to put the pinholes in as you go.  That is why blotting paper would be good as it is soft enough for pins to go through, without having to prick them first!  So, first you would need to trace the pattern by “connecting the dots” as it were, using good tracing paper, and then covering that with coloured contact, and placing blotting paper under that.  Pin this onto your pillow and away you go, pinning where the pins are needed.  Like you I also enjoy these interesting little items, and it is good to share and help each other. I find it a very pleasant way to learn things.  Hope I have explained what I meant well enough to understand it. If not, let me know.

Q.  Do you think that would work?  I’ve never tried doing lace without either graphing it or photocopying.  I prefer graphing, because I think it is easier to trace the threads.

A. Yes I’d say that would be the best way.  It certainly will be my way in future.  I plan to trace it around like ‘Withof’ lace and then place the pins where they are needed.  You can trace the entire design onto good tracing paper, cover it with contact, but as you cannot prick it first, you can’t use a card under it unless it is quite thin, or bye-bye pins!!  You would have to put something under it or you won’t be able to see the pattern once it is on the pillow.  How about something like blotting paper which would take care of the “thin card” as well!