Thursday, April 15, 2010

Punto Avorio - Puncetto needle lace

Puncetto as it is commonly known today, has many other names, Punto Avorio being one of them. This needle lace is very attractive and though more commonly done in geometric designs, it can be used by the more advanced lacemaker to make curves. It is done in monochrome or even in bright multi-colours as on the traditional costumes of the Valsesia area in Italy.

If you've got access to Thérèse de Dillmont's Needlework Encyclopedia (also known as DMC's Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework), look under 'Needlemade laces' and check out the part on 'Knot Stitch Laces'. Look for Punto Avorio.

The best way to begin is to use the edge of a piece of fabric to attach to. Later you can try starting the way this lady does in her video.

There are a few books on this lace though all the ones I know of are in Italian and are difficult to find. Check out my library listing for titles relating to Puncetto. I have to admit to collecting everyone I have found so there are quite a few... to get you started I would say either the Manuale del puncetto valsesiano or the A scuola di Puncetto Valsesiano but if you are itching to give it a try right away, the Dillmont instructions are good or there are even some instructions in the Anchor Manual of Needlework under "Puncetto Work".

This is the corner of a fine linen handkerchief with Puncetto work that I purchased in Italy:

For free download of an Italian book from the early 20th century, go to Tuttoricamo, under the 'Books' section, then 'downloadable antique books', then under Amelia Brizzi Ramazzotti, click on the word 'Puncetto'.

UPDATE: Unfortunately the Tuttoricamo website is no longer active. You may search ebay for this book, it's called: Il Puncetto, insegnamento pratico illustrato.


  1. This is interesting pattern.I haven't try to crochet Italian design. Is there any English version for the book? thanks

  2. Hi Helena,
    As I said above, all the books that I know of are in Italian but you can find some English instructions in the DMC Needlework Encyclopedia or the Anchor Manual of Needlework (see the second paragraph of my post for terms to look for in order to find it).

    Good luck!

  3. hello,thanks for putting up this site.just this month i came across puncetto. i wish to learn the basics and i am trying to find info on techniques but the best info are only those i found in the tuttoricamo pdf and i am trying so hard to understand from the illustrations just to make the "ragnetto" (the online translator said it meant spiders), but to no success. could you somehow please post a beginner-friendly translation on the ragnetto section? tons of people are willing to share tutorials on knitting,crochet etc. but puncetto? seems like most people who know about it want to keep it to themselves T_T

  4. There is a file here:
    that you can download the .pdf which may be a little clearer for you. I have never done a ragnetto so I can't give you any tips on what to do but I think that it is one of the more advanced patterns. I think you would need to understand the basics first in order to complete something more complicated. None of my attempts at Puncetto have ever turned out, they always look distorted somehow. Have you tried the groups on NING like Stitchin Fingers or Needle Lace Talk?

  5. thanks for replying.i have tried searching through the discussions on NING, and came across Marina Tomasini (aka bluesea5 on Flickr), who discussed puncetto and has made wonderful works by the way.but unfortunately NING underwent some changes in their site previously and i couldn't access the pages relating to the discussions. i downloaded the pdf in ricamo italiano, quite clear instructions but i had to make do with the lopsided translation the internet can offer :( but anyways thanks so much, and more power.

  6. I tried to stitch one yesterday but its just a mess, there must be some vital step I'm missing. Don't give up! There has got to be a way to figure it out. Keep in touch!

  7. hello jeanine, i just got a bit of breakthrough! you see, i don't have the means to acquire any of those books you mentioned that's why i'm patiently studying Puncetto Valsesiano from the info and pictures i obtained. and thanks so much for posting the handkerchief corner picture above,i was able to understand fully the instructions from the ricamo pdf! that handkerchief corner was done with the "ragnetto" design i mentioned before, and now i'm quite good at it by practicing. i am planning to create some videos, only on the basics, and i wish to know if it's alright to post them? i don't know if this craft is protected by rights.

  8. I'm so glad you've had a breakthrough!! I have been back reading over the Anchor Manual of Needlework directions as there is a bit about the ragnetto there but mine are just so distorted.
    There are a couple of online videos on Puncetto (youtube) so I don't think you should have any problems posting yours. Will you let me know when you do? I'd love to watch it!

  9. thanks for the support! i will try my best to come up with decent videos, i am still figuring out how to make one with just plain cellphone camera and webcam. that's all i have, but i'll let you know if i've already made one ;) by the way may i have a clear, closeup jpg file of a page showing the finished empty square, full square and diamond design from the puncetto books you've acquired? i just need to confirm if i got the number of stitches right. thanks so much. -- rae

  10. Of all the books I have, none have photos that are so close up you can count the stitches.
    There are many different stitch counts for full and empty squares: for small holes it says skip one stitch, for medium holes, skip two stitches and for large holes, skip three stitches. Which diamond design are you referring to?

  11. it's supposed to be a rotated square (i think, but when i tested out my theory, it's actually a rectangle because the path only follows an odd number, so im quite confused). in the designs i saw, the diamond occupies four "squares". here is the link to the motif i'm practicing on.

    i can't make out the number of stitches per row and the height required for the diamond even if i zoom in. i also observed that probably there are 2 types of medium empty square: the first one uses 3 stitches on the top side IF the above square is also empty; the other one uses 2 stitches if the above square is a full square. is my theory right? phew! this is killing me XD but i want to learn and do it correctly...

    1. Hola, lo mejor es

  12. That's a nice motif for including many elements in one piece!
    If I understand correctly everything must be equal, so if your filled square is made up of x stitches, then the hole must be too... it would make sense then that the diamond would have to be equal from side to side to the amount of two empty holes or one filled and one empty (above and below the diamond in this motif)
    Does that make sense to you?

  13. I'm glad to see this interest in Puncetto! I noticed that there's a shortage of accessible instructions in English, so I've started a series of tutorials. So far I have posted 6 tutorials. Here is a link to the first one:

    The general patterns/tutorials page link takes you to all the parts:

  14. Avital your tutorials are fantastic!
    Thank you so much for the links!

  15. Scusate non so l'inglese, ma se siete interessate ancora al puncetto guardate qui:
    Un caro saluto Catia

  16. Cara Catia,

    Grazie per il link ai video su YouTube!

  17. Dear Jeanine,
    You wrote: "For free download of an Italian book from the early 20th century, go to Tuttoricamo, under the 'Books' section, then 'downloadable antique books', then under Amelia Brizzi Ramazzotti, click on the word 'Puncetto'. "

    I really CANNOT FIND THIS LINK. Could you copy and paste the link please?


  18. Sorry Alessandra, the website has since closed down.