Review Pizzo di Cantù Decalcabile/i 1-5, Casa Editrice Mani di Fata Searching for more Cantù lace information and patterns, I came upon this series. #2 is in the NSW Branch Library and I bought the others from Lacis (before the $A went down) for US$24-28 each. The dating on these is quite confusing: #1 September 2012, #3 2004, #4 2006, and #5 2008.
Numbers 1 and 2 are packets of four sheets of transfers (decalcabile means a transfer) which can be ironed directly on to pricking card. Each sheet is equivalent to 8 A4 pages and the patterns – for borders, insertions, mats, alphabet – tend to be on the large side and suited to church use, tablecloths and sheets rather than handkerchiefs! The packet also contains a sheet with minimal instruction, in Italian but with clear diagrams, for different kinds of braids. Only a small proportion of the patterns are “Cantù classic”, sometimes called punto Venezia, with characteristic 3- and 5-petalled flowers, combined with sweeping curves and curled tendrils. Other patterns may rely heavily on punto mimosa. a narrow meandering braid made with 4 pairs of bobbins, but with frequent links via false plaits (compare this kind of link with the simple twisted loops of Idrija lace). Other patterns include fruit and flowers, but you would have to work out for yourself how these should be accomplished. There is no escaping plenty of sewings with any of these patterns. The remaining issues are produced in the form of glossy full-colour magazines, once again with sheets of transfers, though in a different format, and with the addition of a couple of sheets of pricking card. The back cover has a small amount of instruction, including how to wind a bobbin, make a half-stitch braid and a 5-pair cloth stitch braid. The pattern sheets have occasional tips about what stitch to use but generally speaking, you are on your own. The magazine section has delightful photographs of the completed lace, but the text is along the lines of “think how lovely your dining room will be with this beautiful tablecloth adorned with lace inserts”. In other words, no instructions.
Some of the styles are not too complex and might be achieved by intermediate lacemakers without additional help. Portraits of the Virgin Mary in #3 and #5 fall into this class, as do many mats and edgings. To do the Cantù classico patterns, however, you would need additional resources in the form of tuition and/or books. Mounting the edgings or insertions, in whatever style, will usually be demanding as the footside is rarely straight. The name of the publishing house Mani di Fata; means dextrous hands;. They publish a wide range of titles ranging through embroidery to crochet