I am interested in trying Aemilia Ars/Punto in Aria. I found a little "taster' piece online (https://pysankigirl.wixsite.com/graceslace/instruction) and started to work on it. However, I noticed that my left hand had issues holding the tiny piece (not quite a pinsor grip but close) and my right hand wrist had to contort a bit to get the right angle or to complete a stitch. I also hunched over my work a lot. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to approach this art form with better ergonomics? I'd love to give it a go but my experience with the little "taster" is leaving a bit of a reluctance, especially since I had previously knotted myself up learning to knit.

My usual embroidery posture is flat against the back of the couch with my knees up to brace the hoop/bring it closer to eye level, left hand holding the hoop steady and right hand doing most of the work.

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You might consider using a pillow.  If you stitch your pattern guide to a larger piece of fabric and place that on a pillow or roll, then put a dowel underneath that you can shift around to create an arc to allow access, this might work for you.   Here's a link to a post on Facebook showing what I mean:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/EarlyPeriodLacemakers/permalink/632...

 and the most pertinent image from that post, shared by A Mathew Armon-Gnagy:  No photo description available.

If one does transfer a pattern onto fabric/place it on fabric, how do you suggest it be done? I tried pinning a paper pattern to some fabric I placed in a hoop but *sad trombone noise*

First, don't use a hoop - you need to be able to bend the pattern to get access to the working area without constantly bumping into and distorting the rest of the work as you build your lace.  Second, once the pattern is printed/traced onto paper, cover it with a clear of translucent sticky plastic, much like clear shelf liner.  This protects your thread from the ink on the paper.  Next, decide what kind of pillow you are going to use; you need to baste that pattern to a strip or panel of fabric the right size to work with your pillow.  Look at the photo above:  Mr. Armon-Gnagy has pinned the pattern to one edge of the pillow with straight pins. The side is open so he can move the spool around to get easier access to the different areas of the lace. He's working on the side closest to the edge of the pillow.  Using this approach, he can use both hands to control the thread.    I hope this makes sense.  I've been trying to find a link to the video he made showing the use of a dowel under a larger piece, but it may only be available through my subscription to his Patreon account.


Ah-hah!  I found it!  Here's a link to Mr. Armon-Gnagy's YouTube video using this approach:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJd6mkrsUCQ&t=539s

And here is a fun video of a beginner learning how to make Battenburg lace via one-on-one video chat.  The part that shows applying the pattern to the backing fabric is appropriate for any needle lace done with a pattern.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFInpv20_Gc

Thanks for the videos. The pillow might be the solution I'm looking for since, like my hoop, I can use it as a "prop". Do you have any suggestions on what I should look for? Do you recommend the polyfoam "cookie" pillows I see on the lacemaking sites or something else?

Based on how you described your favorite needlwork posture, try a small cookie-type pillow propped up against your thighs.  In the fun video on Battenburg, she shows how to make a pillow using cardboard and scrap felt & fabrics.  Or you could just use a throw pillow, and use safety pins to attach the pattern.  You don't need a pillow that will hold pins so much as something to which you can attach the pattern and hold it fairly firmly while you work.  I've even seen someone pin the pattern to their jeans at the knee! If you are thinking of doing bobbin lace at a later time, then a small cookie-type pillow would be a good investment.

I made myself a small Needlelace pillow out of a coffee tin, and wrapped it in some thick fabric (? blanket material!) and covered it with a dark cotton fabric, then I could pin my pattern to it, and have a bit of dowel to slide under the area I was working on, to lift it up so I could easily use the needle.  

I must admit that I preferred holding the pad in my hand, not using the "pillow" but it was there if I needed it, - and sat, for the rest of the time, in a small wicker basket!  That was a useful thing at demonstrations (Craft Demos!!) as I pinned a partly worked piece onto the pillow and stood it on the table near me, so people could see what was going on, and how the lace was made.

Hi Eve, the link seems to be for Reticella rather than true Punto inAria. The differences are Reticella starts with a fabric, while Punto in Aria is just thread. If you are working from fabric and the piece is small. Add some other fabric to all sides to make it bigger. Any stable fabric will do, homespun , calico ( muslin) , even an old sheet. This way the piece will be big enough to hold onto and to put in a hoop. 
If you are doing the Punto in Aria method, the design will be drawn on paper, attached to a fabric base, then all covered in contact. The fabric base is usually two or thread layers of something like calico or homespun. This can then be put into a hoop to work or on a lace pillow. Hope this helps. 

Thank you. I'll have to see what's in our odds and ends box to see if I can cobble something together. My bed pillow is a buckwheat hull one so that might provide an appropriate solid/give ratio.

Kathleen - a good demo. Thanks for finding it !

Kathleen Minniti said:

And here is a fun video of a beginner learning how to make Battenburg lace via one-on-one video chat.  The part that shows applying the pattern to the backing fabric is appropriate for any needle lace done with a pattern.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFInpv20_Gc

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