Cover Image Property of PUBLISHER
This image was scanned courtesy of Carolyn Kotlas' private collection


  • Preface
  • A Dictionary of Lace A-Z
  • Recommended Reading
  • Plates

Title: A Dictionary of Lace
Author/Designer: Pat Earnshaw
Format/Publication Date: TPB:1999(1st edition 1982,Shire Publications, UK; 1984 revised)
Publisher: Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, NY
Page Count: 239
Book Dimensions(ht. x w.): 8 1/4" x 5 3/4"
ISBN: 048640482X

SUMMARY- The copy I got to see is a nicely done reprint of the revised 1984 edition. The only illustrations you get are some black-and-white photos all tucked in the back of the book, instead of with their entries - and there is no photo plate for an example of tatting, one of the most common types of lace being made. I don't feel that a verbal description gives any real help to distinguish one type of lace from another, as it usually also requires terms that the seeker may also be unfamiliar with. Photos and illustrations are very necessary in a work like this, in my opinion. She gives no entries to Cro-Tatting, needle tatting, shuttles and picot gauges/hooks, important designers in the evolution of tatting, or even the controversy over tatting's genesis. The explanation of tatting is fairly brief and unsatisfying:

Tatting, tatting shuttle. A form of knotted lace which may be said to have originated in the eighteenth century from the knotting of embroidery threads, in preparation for couched work, by which ladies passed the time on tedious coach journeys, sometimes using a shuttle for ease of manipulation. This knotted thread could be converted into a lace by curling it into loops, which could then be caught together using a needle and thread, thus building up patterns of small circles arranged as squares, triangles, diamonds and so forth. The basic knot was the lark's head. In the 1870s there were two important innovations: the introduction of picots, which added interest and daintiness to the work; and the use of a second shuttle with a second thread, by which the loops could be knotted together, without the need for additonal sewing.

Thomas Wright and Caulfield regard tatting as a copy of the sixteenth-century Ragusa gimp, and knotted, laces, but there is no foundation for this assumption - except that such laces were made in Dalmatia in the nineteenth century.

The shuttle has a short central column on which the thread is wound, covered by two elliptical shells, pointed and curved towards each other at the ends. This enables the shuttle to pass smoothly through the loops of thread without catching. It is often made of polished bone or tortoise=shell, occasionally of steel, more recently of plastic.


The most interesting part of this book for me was her recommended reading list, which covered three pages of the book by itself. I'm sure there are tidbits here that will be useful to others, but I was mildly disappointed with the entry for my particular interest. Your mileage, of course, may strongly vary.