- Punto Avorio
- Valsesian stitch
This is a simple needlelace stitch which loops the thread in front of the needle and returns back behind it. When worked in rows the stitch is worked back and forth in alternate directions with the action of the stitch being reversed.
Most authors refer to this stitch as a freehand needlelace stitch which means it is worked in the hand by ‘casting on’ a number of stitches which then form the basis for subsequent rows. However, it can also be used as an edging stitch; our instructions show this method in order to show the working clearly.
A corded version of this stitch called Point de Turque will feature in a future release.
Puncetto Valsesiano originated in Valsesio, north western Italy, as part of the Valsesian needlelace tradition. It is used to form intricate patterns normally based on a grid. It is hard to establish when the stitch was first used, although it certainly seems to have been in existence during the 17th century as a painting of that period shows a woman stitching a piece of needlelace and a contemporary legal document lists a handkerchief adorned with ‘ponchietto’.
The alternative name ‘punto avorio’ translates as ivory stitch and references the appearance of a tightly worked piece of needlelace.
Bring your thread out near the edge of the fabric and then take it back into the fabric just to the right. Wrap your thread in front of your needle and back behind it (in an anti-clockwise direction).
Hold your needle and wrapped thread between your finger and thumb and draw the needle through.
Insert your needle into the fabric slightly to the right of the previous stitch and repeat the stitch.
When you reach the end of the row, insert your needle under the horizontal thread between the previous two stitches.
Wrap your thread around your needle, taking it first in front of and then behind the needle, then pull the knot taut. (The thread wrapping always goes in front of the needle first, so the direction is reversed from the previous row.)
Continue forming stitches in this way, changing the thread wrapping direction at the end of each row.
Structure of stitch
'Anchor Manual of Needlework', archive.org (1958). Available at: https://archive.org/details/anchormanualofne0000unse/mode/2up (Accessed: 30 June 2022)
'Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso di Varollo - Puncetto Valsesiano', SOMS Varallo. Available at: https://www.puncettovalsesiano.it/storia/ (Accessed: 08 March 2023)