5 March 2012

Sprang: medieval references

Again, another post mainly for my own reference purposes. This one is to detail references to sprang, particularly those that are medieval or later.

A History of Hand-made Lace, by Mrs. F. Nevill Jackson and E. Jesurum. On p. 2, a hairnet that looks (to me, at least) like it might be sprang, due to the pattern. "From a Roman Cemetary in Middle Egypt."

One garter from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (accession no. 43.2011a). A single garter in pink and green silk (and possibly another colour?), plus gilt metal. Tasseled ends. In 57 7/16" x 2 9/16". Dated to 1575-1600; Italy.

Fragment from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession no. 28.197). A 16 3/4" x 14" fragment in dark wool, incorporating a repeating pattern made of holes. Dated to 1450-1500; England (specifically London).

Purses from Colonial Williamsburg.
  • A 'stocking purse' or 'long purse' in pale blue silk, incorporating a repeating diamond pattern of holes. Embroidered with silk and silver metallic threads, metallic threads on tasselled tip. Accession no. 1971-1421.  Dated to 1650-1720; England. [To find, click on "Explore purses, then select the fourth purse.]
  • A stocking purse in medium green silk, incorporating a repeating pattern of holes (including diamond patterns). "Oblique frame twining." Metallic threads on tasselled tip. Accession no. 1971-1423. Dated to 1750-1800; England. [To find, select the fourteenth purse].
  • Note: later purses (dated 1790-1840, accession no.s 1971-1458 and 1971-1427) are knitted but incorporate holes in diamond patterns, possibly mimicking the earlier sprang.
An interesting thesis on sprang stockings/leggings. Not really medieval and I can't read the text so I'm not sure of the details. Basically, the gist of it is that the author believes the patterned stockings of both Ancient Persian and Renaissance European costume are made using sprang. Interesting hypothesis, though in my opinion, complete rubbish (particularly the Renaissance bit).


  1. just giving more information. Please see http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/sprangbib.html (Mistras Thora's listing of sources)
    and in http://books.google.com/books?ei=nlN4T76REKWq0AGBm-CaDQ&id=m8LWAAAAMAAJ&dq=traditional+icelandic+embroidery sprang is used as a term to describe embroidery on netting that *resembles* filet crochet/filet lace. It's a single item, and is described in:

    (sorry, no images, I looked).

    & I wandered here from your comment on livejournal in the handsewngarb community.