Punto in aria

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Punto in Aria is one of the earliest forms of needle lace. It is closely related to Reticella lace, and the name means "points in the air" due to the technique used to create it.

Reticella was a lace in which threads were drawn out of the fabric and some embroidery stitches used to embellish and hold the remaining stitches in place (as a decorated framework.

After a while, the laces became more and more "lacy" with more and more gaps - so many threads were pulled out that the fabric became flimsy. Eventually the lacemakers realised that, rather than starting with whole-cloth and removing threads, they could start with nothing, and simply build the framework themselves out of needle-made stitches.

The lace-makers felt they were building their stitches "in the air", thus the name of this technique.

This was the birth of true needle lace. Freed from having to use the structure of the warp/weft of the fabric, Punto in Aria developed flowing, curving structures, triangles and starburst patterns that are often seen in the pictures of lace collars and ruffs from this time-period.