Early instructions · Netting

A purse in star netting

This blog is focused on looping but will still touch upon a few topics that are really knot problems in that context. The classification of simple looping and its related forms as “knotless netting” (noted in the preceding post) is a hybrid issue and will be considered in greater detail in a later entry.

In contrast, the next in the sequence of six purse instructions that I’m translating from the 1823 volume of Penélopé is for classic fancywork netting (knoopen — knotting — in the original Dutch). A corresponding section on purses in the 1822 volume of Penélopé is devoted entirely to netting and is as relevant to the early documentation of that craft as the 1823 purse instructions are to their respective looped crafts. I’m therefore going to split the difference and provide a link to the plate in the 1822 material (which is the second page in the section on netting) but translate the 1823 instructions in full. The 1822 plate also illustrates a basic net purse at full scale, rather than in the enlarged detail shown immediately below.

A Purse in Star Netting


This is very simple and easy to complete. Make a net purse of heavy cordonnet silk, plain and simple, without a pattern, around a fairly large mesh that gives the full width in 40 or 50 stitches. When the purse is finished, pull it onto a form or a rolled piece of heavy paper and stitch it firmly in place. Now sew very finely twisted silver or gold wire around each of the stitches, first from top to bottom, then crosswise from bottom to top; and then the same way around. Do this four times. The round silk eyelets and the wire crosses create a most pleasant effect. This can be done in all colors, even black and white. Untwisted black silk prepared with silver wire is also appropriate. This also creates a very good effect with gold wire, as long as you keep in mind to use very heavy silk and very fine wire.

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