Sprang lace shirt, May 2023
My most recent sprang shirt. The lace pattern was inspired by one of the pieces of lace in the Art and History Museum in Brussels, Belgium ... the source of lace which inspired my latest book of sprang lace patterns.
The body of the shirt began as a long false-circular warp. I began work at the hem and ended at the shoulders.
When the body was complete, I made a piece of circular warp, of a size to pass over my head, for the collar. I traced around the collar piece to decide where to cut to open the neck hole.
After deciding the location of my stitching line, and where to cut, basting around those places, I made a double row of machine stitching to secure the cloth.
Then it was a matter of attaching the collar, sleeves, and sewing up the side seams. Voila a new sprang shirt!
After much work, a new book of sprang lace patterns is almost ready for print.
It was back in 2013 that I visited the Art and History Museum, the visit arranged by Frieda Sorber. The plan was to view a collection of sprang lace. I was amazed by the variety and complexity of pieces in this collection. It is an ideal set of study pieces should a person want to explore sprang lace. I promised myself to find the time to work my way through these pieces, writing up charts and patterns, so that others in the future would more easily enter into the world of sprang lace.
But first I needed to perfect my method of charting sprang lace. Peter Collingwood writes in Techniques of Sprang, "It seems impossible to find a system by which every size and spacing of holes can be drafted easily..." I took this for a challenge and developed my own method for charting sprang. In 2016 I composed a set of instructions for sprang lace, and sent it to some of my students. That was my trial run at writing a sprang lace pattern book. The charts and instructions were so happily received, and so praised, that I printed more copies and offer it as the book Sprang Lace Patterns. Those who are familiar with this book will know that many of the charts and patterns are simplified versions of the lace in some of the photos. In this new book readers will find the charts and instructions that are true to the complexity of the pieces in this most excellent collection of sprang lace.
My followers will report that I have been talking about writing up charts and instructions for this collection for some time. When you finally see the various pieces in this collection you will understand why it has taken so long. I am grateful to people who have tested my patterns for me, Ria Hoogheimstra and Debbie McClelland. I am also grateful to my apprentice Sharon Wichman for her proof-reading skills, and to Ruth Temple for putting all of this work into a book-shaped object.
I am very pleased to announce that publication of Volume I of those patterns is about to happen. Yes, Volume I means that there will be a Volume II. Actually there are so many pieces, and so many different motifs that, honestly, I am planning for probably 5 volumes before I exhaust this collection. Volume I contains more than 40 motifs. It tries to introduce the reader to the "staples" of sprang lace, containing several different grids (used as background in many pieces) as well as basic shapes: triangles, diamonds, flowers, zig-zags. There is minimal overlap between patterns in this book and patterns from my other sprang lace books ... there are so many possibilities with sprang.
Ria Cooremans, current curator of textiles at the Art and History Museum contributed an excellent forward to the book. Readers will be delighted with the information she shares from museum records on the origin of this collection, as well as the history of sprang. Who was Mme. Lemye? Why is the title "Mme. Lemye's Lace"? The forward reveals all.
Publication is now immanent, and I therefore open up pre-sales. The price of the book (120 pages), once it is printed in June will be $25. Those who pre-order the book can do so for the very favourable price of $20 + shipping.
At long last, Peter Collingwood’s book Techniques of Sprang Plaiting on Stretched Threads is once again available to the public!!!
An agreement between Collingwood’s son Jason and Taprootvideo was reached earlier this year. That agreement resulted in the scanning of Carol James’s paperback copy of the book, and that scan mounted onto the Taprootvideo site. You can download the book (the file is quite large, so it down-loads in five separate files) to your computer for $35 USD. Because it has been scanned it is searchable. This book is a must-have for anyone who wants to explore sprang. It is encyclopedic in scope, and an excellent example of the saying "the simple is revealed when the complex is exhausted”.
The book was originally published in 1974 as a hard back book. That cover features a number of different sprang structures. The book was later re-published as a paperback with an addition to the forward. The cover of that book is mostly black. It is the later edition that was scanned by Taprootvideo.
Get your copy of the book at