Bruges crochet is a type of crochet that mimics the appearance of a type of vintage handmade bobbin lace known as “Bruges Lace.”
According to The Dictionary of Needlework, Bruges lace is actually two different types of handmade lace that were popular in Bruges, Belgium by the time the book was published in 1882. Here’s a quote for you from the dictionary that describes Bruges lace:
“The lace made at Bruges is of two kinds, one similar to Valenciennes, and the other called guipure de Bruges. The former was not considered of much value, the reseau ground being a round mesh, the bobbins of which were only twisted twice. The guipure de Bruges is a species of Honiton lace, with the sprig united with bried’s ornees. It is held in high esteem.”
After perusing my library of vintage needlework books, it looks to me as if the Bruges crochet technique most resembles the more valuable guipure de Bruges variety which derives from Honiton lace.
What Distinguishes Bruges Crochet from Other Crochet Techniques?
The Bruges crochet pieces that I have seen tend to resemble tape or braid type handmade Guipure laces. They often feature turning chains that are decorative, beautiful, eye-catching and “lacy” in addition to being functional — whereas, in most other traditional crochet techniques, the turning chains tend to be functional rather than decorative. Rather than blending seamlessly into the rest of the work, the turning chains stand out in attractive airy arches and scallops that please the eye and resemble lace.
Types of Crochet and Needlework Projects Possible Using the Bruges Crochet Technique
You can make either simple strips of Bruges crochet, or pieces that require more complex shaping, including curves and arches — then use these strips or pieces to construct many different sorts of larger projects.
Such strips can be incorporated into just about any sort of needlework project. Linens, accessories and garments, particularly shawls, scarves, hats, collars, vests, blankets, throws, pillows and tablecloths are popular projects to complete using this technique. It would also be lovely to use Bruges crochet for making bags and totes, although it would be advisable to line such bags with fabric for maximum utility.
Bruges Crochet Skill Level
Bruges crochet is much easier and less complicated than the traditional vintage bobbin lacemaking techniques are. Bruges crochet patterns can range from easy to expert level.
Materials Needed for Bruges Crochet
White and cream colored crochet threads are popular choices of materials for Bruges crochet. However, in theory, there shouldn’t be many limitations to the materials you could use; why not try using any fiber or material that can be crocheted, and seems appealing to you?
I think it would be interesting to try the Bruges crochet technique in “earthy” looking materials such as raffia, twine or hemp.
Of course, you’ll also need a crochet hook sized appropriately for your chosen thread, yarn, fiber or material.
Stitches Used for Working Bruges Crochet
In its most basic form, you would use chain stitches and double crochet stitches to work Bruges crochet, as pictured in the photo posted at above, right. However, there’s no limit on the different stitches and stitch patterns you could incorporate into your Bruges crochet projects.
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- Crochet Master Class
- ISBN 10 — 0307586537
- ISBN 13 — 978-0307586537
- By Rita Weiss and Jean Leinhauser
- The Dictionary of Needlework: An Encyclopedia of Artistic, Plain and Fancy Needlework
- By Sophia Frances Anne Caulfield and Blanche C. Saward