CharacteristicsKnotted stitch is like a twisted buttonhole Designs are geometric, floral sprays and diamond shaped leaves Usually found in circular doyleys as it is worked in concentric circles Worked with a sewing needle over a foundation thread. Intricate patterns are created by combining different sized loops in a variety of ways.
Knotted lace, dating back to the Phoenicians, originated in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is found in many areas of Greece, particularly the islands of Naxos, Rhodes and Crete, in Cyprus, Turkey, Palestine, Armenia and Lebanon.
This lacework is known by a variety of names. In Greece it is called ‘dandella’, and in Turkey and Cyprus, ‘bebilla’ and ‘ouya’. It is also known as Armenian lace, Rodi lace, Nazareth lace, Phoenician lace, Palestinian lace, Smyrna (Turkey) and bibilla. In the Greek language, ‘bibilla’ is the term used for any small or delicate lace edging. However, in Cyprus, and many Muslim countries, it is the name of the technique used to make delicate flowers and leaves in knotted lace. These flowers were usually worked around the edges of headscarves worn by Muslim women, or fashioned into garlands used as collars.
Unlike Europe where lace was the preserve of the nobility, in Armenia it decorated everything and lacemaking was part of most women’s lives. Used mainly for ecclesiastical purposes, it also decorated head coverings, trimmings for clothing, doyleys, edgings and household items such as curtains, tea cloths and bed linen.
Puncetto, a closely related knotted lace was made in northern Italy in the 16th C and used a double knotted stitch.