- Holy stitch
- Holy point
- Hollie point
Hollie stitch is a needlelace stitch which is similar to single brussels stitch, but each buttonhole stitch has an extra knot.
It is historically used to create patterns or lettering by missing stitches to leave holes.
The origins of hollie stitch are hard to ascertain: some writers claim it was originally used to adorn medieval ecclesiastical pieces, and it wasn’t used for secular items until the Jacobean era. However, others suggest that early references to it refer to other forms of whitework stitched by nuns (the confusion arising from the term ‘holy work’). (There is also a school of thought which suggests the name comes from the holes created by the patterns in needlelace.)
The Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York holds amongst the earliest extant pieces: they have several 18th century samplers (including examples which show the use of the stitch to form letters) and a baby’s cap. The stitch was frequently used at this time to embellish caps and small garments, especially Christening gowns.
Structure of stitch
Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.59–60
Mary Thomas, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.122–3, 253-4
Pat Earnshaw, A Dictionary of Lace (1982) , p.80
'1766 baby’s cap', Cooper Hewitt. Available at: https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18474727/ (Accessed: 20 October 2021)
'Mary Brown 1732 sampler', Cooper Hewitt (2021). Available at: https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18617211/ (Accessed: 20 October 2021)
'Mary Babb 1783 sampler', Cooper Hewitt (2021). Available at: https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18483235/ (Accessed: 20 October 2021)
'Mary Finkel 1730 sampler', Cooper Hewitt (2021). Available at: https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18483259/ (Accessed: 20 October 2021)
R E Head, The lace & embroidery collector; a guide to collectors of old lace and embroidery (1922) , p.87-8