Pastimes for Regency Women - Part II

There was something I keep meaning to look up. Ah, found it. I knew I had it in one of my books. Carton in Ireland, owned by the Duke of Leinster, and inhabited by one of the famous Lennox sisters, boasted a shell cottage. The ladies of the house decorated the inside walls of the cottage with shells from all over the world. The young ladies spent hours picking the shells and designing the patterns.


Lace was always very expensive, so women learned different techniques for making things that looked like lace. Netting was one of these. Classical Netting, also called Filet Lace, embroidered net or Lacis is worked in two operations. First the ground is netted in rows going back and forth. After that the ground is stretched over a frame. Then a pattern is embroidered onto the ground.

It was often used for the production of purses to carry coins. In Jane Austen's Pride and Predjudice, Mr. Bingley notes the ladies industry, including netting.

A special needle is required. I checked out some of the instructions on the internet, but I must say, I think I would need to be taught. It doesn't look at all simple.


Purses were also crocheted. This is something I can do. The following extract is from a book dated 1842. A little later than Regency, but probably employed similar techniques

The Hand-book of Needlework By Lambert (F.), Miss Lambert: "Plain crochet purses are exceedingly strong and may be made prettily with a moderate sized netting silk Those worked rows of the length of the purse are the most easily made Make a chain in scarlet netting silk of one hundred and stitches on which crochet three plain rows in the same Then five plain rows in shade of green or stone colours two stripes are to be repeated until the purse is of a sufficient width When completed it is to be neatly sewn up or joined by crocheting the two sides together The ends are then be drawn up and the purse trimmed"

The Victoria and Albert Museum showed stocking purses of crocheted silk and carved wooden sliders.


Samplers were often used to teach children, and this is one example from the period. But ladies embroidered a great many things, from slippers, to fire screens to cushions. It was not only a pastime but also a form of art with a functional use.

Well that is it for me this week. Looking forward to starting a new topic next week.

Until then. Happy Rambles.

Pastimes for Regency Women - Part II

Pen Work

Pen Work was very popular with ladies during this era. Pictures, drawn by hand on wood using pen and ink.

This particular picture is of a ladies work box, where she would have kept her sewing supplies, her pens and ink, paints, and it is decorated with pen work. The item at the V & A to show this pastime was a wooden fan.

Here is another box. This one looks more of the home made variety don't you think?

It was very popular during our era and there was a very strong Chinese influence to much of it.


Knotting is the foremother of tatting. In doing a bit of internet research on the subject I came across the Tatting Ring. And since I Tat,I will be joining up. The internet is a wonderful place. Tatting does not seem to have taken off until about 1840, so too late for our period, but knotting, which was done with both silk and linen thread was produced prolifically.

This is a knotting shuttle. Some of them that survive are extremely exotic and expensive items, because it was something that wealthy ladies did. This example is tortoiseshell and silver.

For knotting, a fairly thick thread would be wound on to the large open-ended shuttle, about 4" to 6" long, and then the needleworker would make special knots at intervals thus producing a thread with a texture, rather like a string of beads or French knots by the yard.

Later she would couch the knotted thread on to fabric, laying it down in a design of flowers and leaves or scrolls.

Miles of knotting must have been produced as it was used on large scale household furnishings such as chair covers, bedspreads and curtains. The picture is an example of the finished work. The knotted length of string is now attached to the fabric. So now you can imagine what our Regency bottoms were parked upon.

I have a couple more pastimes to bring to you next time, then we will be off on our travels around England again.

Until then, Happy Rambles.