I just bought the above book, which "describes from start to finish how to work Cantu lace" but the english is choppy and the terms undefined so I am lost.  Has anyone used this book who could help me?

What is the curling edge?  Both sides of a braid curl, is it the convex or concave part?

Pin after 4...does this mean pin after every 4 rows?

I am a beginner ,I have worked 16 samples from Torchon lace, and done the first plaiting sample from this site.  I am also working on this whole book , which I think is wonderful on cretan lace. https://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/pt_kkk_e.pdf

It is so well written and illustrated, I understand it totally and it seems very similar to Cantu, in that 7 pairs make the tape.  I thought it was a good lead in.  So maybe I just am not ready for this book?

Thank you!


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sorry, I was being unclear.  I cannot get a clear printout of the pricking, or the thing that shows where the threads go for #47.

Click on the image so you have only the image on your screen. Then save it to your computer or device.



Hi Lisa ;)

I just purchased this book as well as I love the look of Cantu lace. It is a little confusing so I have been doing what I can of online research through videos, blogs and photos of various pieces. It is starting to make a little sense to me, but I've discovered that Mimosa lace is usually the first step in Cantu lacemaking. Vera has a book out on Mimosa as well as grounds for Cantu lace. I will be starting out on the Mimosa, and then progressing as best I can with limited resources.

I did find an online copy of Betty Manfre's booklet, without photos, but the written descriptions with the Italian names are helpful. 


There are some videos on Youtube, some are trailers for Italian DVD lessons, but they clearly show how the work is done and very helpful even if you don't understand Italian. Some of the links for the channels for you;





Looking at some online examples of Cantu, you can clearly see the bundle Vera speaks about on the concave side of the curls coming out from the main branch. It is from this direction you should work the lace. (check out the pinterest page that has been linked in the online resources.)

For myself, I am a lingering beginner... I began Torchon several years ago, but it has languished pathetically. Tape laces call to me instead. So, once I work through Vera's Mimosa book (Mimosa is worked with 4 pairs from what I understand, and is used as a filler in Cantu lace), I have Pizzo di Cantu 4 & 5, where there are some patterns worked in Serpentine (like Mimosa, but with more pairs of bobbins and without the flowers, flags or curls coming off the main branch). Once I do get to the Cantu, if you are still having problems, maybe you and I could figure it out together, if you like ;)

I do have the book and only two patterns appear to be continuously made. They are located on pages 43 & 44. The other patterns, portions of the lace are made continuously and then other sections made continuously and sewed to other sections with false plait.

There is a style of lace that resembles Cantu, but has all the curls done on with other bobbins and lots of cut ends. It is called Rococo and there is a really good example of it at:


The cut ends are highlighted in green and you can easily see how this would not only be very unattractive, but would affect the integrity of the lace. In Cantu, sometimes you do add on bobbins, and from what I can see from photos, this is usually to add new branches or sections to the lace, but never in the curls, flowers or flags, which Rococo does add new bobbins for these smaller elements.

As I said in my response to Lisa, I am a lingering beginner, but I think the above mentioned article is excellent in showing the difference between true Cantu and Rococo.

Administrator said:

I don't have that particular book by Very Cockuyt, but I do have others. Her verbal descriptions are often hard to follow. And there is another problem. It has been explained to me (don't remember who) that there are 2 types of Cantu lace which look very similar, but have markedly different working methods. In one form the lace is actually a part lace, with many of the little bits each started fresh and knotted off at its bottom. The other form is a pure tape lace, in that no bobbins are added or removed throughout the lace. Instead they use a bundle of threads to move threads from where they are to where they need to go to start another motif. From what I have heard Cockuyt's book is about the first type, not the second.

Curling edge -- I can only guess, based on what I know from other related laces. In laces such and Honiton and Duchesse a bit of tape may go around a tight curve and there is not room around the inner edge of the curve for all the pins. The outer edge of the curve would have pins spaced fairly far apart, but the inner edge would have less space, often not enough to accomodate all the pins actually needed. So instead the weaver pair doesn't go all the way to the edge, but stops part way into the tape. The weaver is dropped and becomes a passive pair, and the last passive that was worked through becomes the new weaver.  Here are some diagrams for how to do turning stitch. There are 3 variants shown -- 1 turning stitch, 2 turning stitches in 2 successive rows, and turning stitch used in a rib where the turning stitch (ctctc) is worked on the edge of the tape itself.  These are only some of the possible ways to do turning stitch. There are at least 3 others.    


Pin after 4 -- means pin after 4 threads. Two pairs go outside the pin. In English this is often called "sewing edge". And "pin after 2" refers to winkiepin edge (pin after 2 threads).  "Pin after 4" and "pin after 2" are the translated continental ways of describing those edges.

I have seen the KKK book and downloaded a copy. It looks like very good basic bobbin tape lace. Cantu tape lace uses some very sophisticated techniques.

On Cantu, there is a booklet by Mary McPeek which she self published in the 1980s. It is very hard to find a copy nowadays. The Great Lakes Lace Group has publishing rights from the family (I have been told). We need to light a fire under them to reprint the booklet. It is the only thing I have heard of in English that describes the tape lace variant of Cantu.


Very interesting. Thanks for your report and for the links.

I've just received Vera Cockuyt's "The Techinique of Mimosa Lace" and it is not quite what I had hoped. 

The book is written with directions for working on a pillow instead of a bolster, so if you are working with a bolster pillow, that's something to keep in mind. The first page is the introduction,  second page, line drawing illustrations of Italy, a tombolo pillow and stand and a cantu style bobbin. Pages 3 -13 are instructions with diagrams on how to work Mimosa lace. Page 14 mentions that DMC cordonnett 100/2 is used as the thread for all the patterns and lists 6 filling grounds that are used in various patterns in the book. Page 15 is a diagram of the various filling grounds, but no instructions on how to work them. There are 10 patterns in the book and multiple fillings are used in each one. Techniques for the patterns vary and include the following; Tape, Duchesse, Rosaline, one Cantü pattern, and one pattern that is straight Mimosa. The various fillings used in the book are Virgin ground, Honeycomb, Bohemian square ground, Tulle ground, Plaited star ground, and Brussels ground. So some knowledge of various techniques and fillings will be a must to work the patterns.

However, the explanation of Mimosa lace is very useful in the first portion of the book and some of it is very clear on how to work Mimosa, which will be very helpful with working some of the patterns in the Pizzo di Cantü pattern packs that are still available since I can only sort of make out some of the Italian ;)

I have found someone selling Mary McPeek's "Studies in Cantü Lace on Ebay. Apparently Maria Provencher from Provo Lace still has copies that are available periodically through her eBay store (not her website, unfortunately) and bidding can vary the price quite a bit. Some auctions are below $20 and others over $50, depending on the demand. I'm not sure how many copies she may have on hand, but it's worth keeping our eyes open!

link for the items she currently has on sale  


Edited to add:

There is an Italian shop that has a free pattern of the month available. (Look on the right hand side of the page for Disegno del Mese and click on it. Completely free to download and use! )


I just won Mary McPeeks book in her auction on ebay today!  I am very excited to get the book.  I have never seen it but everyone who has raves about it.  

Oh, so it was YOU who outbid me!!! Ha! Congratulations and enjoy ;) Please let us know your opinion of it as I would be very interested in what you think. Hopefully I can get my hands on my own copy one day!

Lisa Davy said:

I just won Mary McPeeks book in her auction on ebay today!  I am very excited to get the book.  I have never seen it but everyone who has raves about it.  

Christine - a very useful book review of Vera's MIMOSA book !! Thanks.  And thanks for the info on Provo lace and the ebay site. We keep hearing interest in Cantu and Mary's book. Good to know a source exists, for however few copies might still be available.

I'm so glad that you liked it ;) In the next few months, I think I am going to get her Grounds for Cantü and I'll do a little write up of that as well.

I did some more digging around and Mary's book is listed as available from the IOLI library.... I just joined IOLI today. I need to dig around on the DVD's that they have available and see if they have the Italian ones.. won't understand a word, but I can watch and learn ;)

Administrator said:

Christine - a very useful book review of Vera's MIMOSA book !! Thanks.  And thanks for the info on Provo lace and the ebay site. We keep hearing interest in Cantu and Mary's book. Good to know a source exists, for however few copies might still be available.

I've just been in contact with the librarian from IOLI. Mary's book (Studies in Cantu Lace) is indeed available for lending and will soon be on it's way to me! So, another resource for her book if you are a member of IOLI.

They also have some of Vera's books. I didn't really pay attention to see if they had any that are related to Cantu, but I don't think they have those particular ones (Mimosa, Cantu Lace, Cantu grounds).

I am not yet at a level to try making Cantu myself, but a theme I keep hearing reading this is that good pictures of this lace are hard to find, especially those showing details of the construction. I own a copy of Elizabeth M. Kurella's, "Guide to Lace and Linens" copyright 1998, ISBN 0-930625-89-7. I just checked on Amazon and copies of her book are available from about 12 dollars (although one seller thought they could get over 100 dollars -- ignore that seller). While this is actually a book for collectors rather than makers of lace, her pictures (including an extreme close-up) and descriptions gave me a pretty good idea of how this lace could be made with no cut ends. For those who are trying to make this lace or trying to acquire this technique to use elsewhere (as in trying to design and make something new), I believe this book could help them visualize what the written descriptions available are trying to teach. 


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