For discussion of construction and style details of antique Alencon needle lace, and for those who want to learn it.   Alençon  We are now including Argentan. There are some differences but many similarities between the two. Eventually we will be able to clarify. 

Christiane says: "Anne Kraatz in her catalog of laces "Les dentelles" indicates that, nowadays, Argentan laces are those that consist of more significantly by the "brides bouclées" hexagonal network and a smaller number of "modes" or "fillings". Pat Earnshaw also addresses the Argentan and the Argentella too. The latter type, Argentella, I would point out, is made in the town of Argentan and is characterized by its "rosacé network" or "rosette network " but still in the same family as the Alençon . But basically, the two towns of Alençon and Argentan know well and exercise either the three types." "

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Latest Activity: Jan 22

Books and Resources for Alencon Needle Lace

"La dentelle à l'aiguille" by Brigitte Deslesques Dépalle.   (Dorothy Searle translation of part of this book)    Brigitte and Laurie Waters "studied at the Atelier National du Point d'Alencon at the same time in 1980". Brigitte's "book is the definitive work on the technique."  

Laurie Waters translation of Brigitte Deslesques Depalle   La%20dentelle%20%C3%A0%20l%27aiguille.pdf

There is a book, Alencon Lace derived from the original Histoire du Point D'Alencon by Mme Despierres, 1886, that is a translation by Roberta Morgan into English that describes a lot about the organization of the industry.

Pat Earnshaw NEEDLELACE. Merehurst, London, 1991 has a chapter on Alencon and its stitches.  I don't know if her choices are exhaustive or merely common ones.

This video shows lace makers at the school in Normandy, showing how they hold their hands.

A set of photos showing working methods and some antique laces (but not closeups)

Loretta's diagrams for horsehair picots are here.

Loretta's instructions for Brides Bouclées  a one page pdf file.

Stitches of Alencon - ;

Photos of Alencon lace

Discussion Forum

Alençon books 2 Replies

Hy everyone. I learned some Burano and Aemilia Ars stitches. I also do Orvieto Crochet with cotton n.100.I'd like to learn Alençon lace but I'm in Italy and so I have to found a book or some books or…Continue

Started by Francesca Merletti. Last reply by Francesca Merletti Aug 21, 2018.

Concernant la brode, concerning the « brode » in Alençon lace 13 Replies

Bonjour à vous tous,Peut-être pourriez-vous m'aider. J'ai acheté du fil 100/3 en coton pour commencer un essai en dentelle d' Alençon. Est-ce que doubler le fil 100/3 pour la trace sera suffisant ou…Continue

Started by Christiane Machabée. Last reply by Angelina Aug 21, 2018.

How to work the basic Alencon reseau stitch 12 Replies

I have followed the comments about the basic stitch for Alencon reseau with interest.     A few days ago I was fortunate enough to be able to examine some antique Alencon lace under a 400X…Continue

Started by Maureen Bromley. Last reply by Maureen Bromley May 17, 2014.

A beginner's sampler 6 Replies

Here is my first attempt at an Alencon sampler. It consists of 9 half-inch squares and uses gassed cotton thread - size 160 for the reseau in the centre and 120 for the rest. I see that this thread…Continue

Started by Dorothy Searle. Last reply by Karen Roy Jan 2, 2014.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti. on November 22, 2010 at 8:50pm
Yes Please!! all the information you can give us would be appreciated - by me, anyway!! I would Love to make a piece of alencon lace. - We have a Triennial competition in another couple of years time, here in austrlaia, and I would love to enter a piece of this beautiful lace. - Or so I have just decided!!! All those picots - they don't faze me, so that part is OK. However, some of the features in flowers seem to look like they are added on later, - like Pt . de Gaze with their extra petals. The more I see, the more questions arise!!! In the video, they way she burnished the ciompleted lace seems to make the cordonette stand out a bit more - and look more raised.
Comment by Carolyn Wetzel on November 22, 2010 at 8:38pm
Great video! I'm just back from an afternoon of close study of a large piece of Alencon completed in 1809 and now I can visualize how it was made! I'll be reporting back to you later this week, with pictures. No horsehair left to be seen in the picots.... but clues about how the cordonnet was added.
Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti. on November 22, 2010 at 8:17pm
On the www.paysdalencontourisme site in photo #3 of the 6 on show - top row on the right, it appears as if the cordonette around the little rings is free of the fillings, and only held to the lace at the crossings. Look at the vertical row of rings, just left of centre, - 2nd from the top you can see the filling below the buttonholed ring, and also about 6 or 7th from the bottom of the photo, the right hand buttonholing appears to be free of the filling which shows to the right of the cordonette.
What do others think?
It is beautiful lace, and the video was very interesting. It is the first time I have seen anyone using a burnishing tool! I have an aficot, - so now I know how to use it - or one way, anyway!!!
Comment by Lorelei Halley on November 22, 2010 at 7:37pm
Silvia: I agree. That video shows how the lace workers hold their hands, prick a pattern, buff the lace when finished. It shows the needle-away method, with the work held in the hand. And the pricking is done beforehand.
Comment by Silvia on November 22, 2010 at 2:11pm
Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti. on November 21, 2010 at 6:07pm
Wow! Beautiful lace. thanks for posting those sites. I can really have a good look at taht lace. I Love it!! (Oh dear, another one I have to try!!!)
Comment by Lorelei Halley on November 21, 2010 at 4:14pm
Comment by Devon Thein on August 16, 2010 at 9:41pm
Alencon 1 is a sample from the Virginia Gordon collection from which I have bought a number of samples. Many of them are mounted on ribbons or cloth and have notes written on them, presumably by Virginia Gordon. I never met Virginia Gordon, but she was a friend of the dealer who has been selling the pieces.
I think that Alencon 1 shows the Alencon ground which has a whipped return.
I also think that the cordonet looks as though it was applied to the top, and not worked through the outline stitches. Of course, I really don't know if these are good samples of Alencon or not. Despite dating in relation to the style of the lace, you never really know if it is really an old lace, or a 19th century reproduction. I would be interested to hear anyone else's thoughts on the piece.

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