Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pastimes for Regency Women - Part II

There was something I keep meaning to look up. Ah, found it. I knew I had it in one of my books. Carton in Ireland, owned by the Duke of Leinster, and inhabited by one of the famous Lennox sisters, boasted a shell cottage. The ladies of the house decorated the inside walls of the cottage with shells from all over the world. The young ladies spent hours picking the shells and designing the patterns.

Netting

Lace was always very expensive, so women learned different techniques for making things that looked like lace. Netting was one of these. Classical Netting, also called Filet Lace, embroidered net or Lacis is worked in two operations. First the ground is netted in rows going back and forth. After that the ground is stretched over a frame. Then a pattern is embroidered onto the ground.


It was often used for the production of purses to carry coins. In Jane Austen's Pride and Predjudice, Mr. Bingley notes the ladies industry, including netting.

A special needle is required. I checked out some of the instructions on the internet, but I must say, I think I would need to be taught. It doesn't look at all simple.

Crochet

Purses were also crocheted. This is something I can do. The following extract is from a book dated 1842. A little later than Regency, but probably employed similar techniques

The Hand-book of Needlework By Lambert (F.), Miss Lambert: "Plain crochet purses are exceedingly strong and may be made prettily with a moderate sized netting silk Those worked rows of the length of the purse are the most easily made Make a chain in scarlet netting silk of one hundred and stitches on which crochet three plain rows in the same Then five plain rows in shade of green or stone colours two stripes are to be repeated until the purse is of a sufficient width When completed it is to be neatly sewn up or joined by crocheting the two sides together The ends are then be drawn up and the purse trimmed"

The Victoria and Albert Museum showed stocking purses of crocheted silk and carved wooden sliders.


Embroidery

Samplers were often used to teach children, and this is one example from the period. But ladies embroidered a great many things, from slippers, to fire screens to cushions. It was not only a pastime but also a form of art with a functional use.

Well that is it for me this week. Looking forward to starting a new topic next week.

Until then. Happy Rambles.