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white work

noun
1.
needlework done in white on fine white cloth, especially linen.
Also, whitework.
Origin
1860-1865
1860-65; white + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for whitework

embroidery worked in white thread on white material, originated in India and China and popular in the West since the Middle Ages as decoration for personal, table, and various church linens. Especially favoured in the 15th century as embellishment for underclothing, whitework, sometimes known as filet lace, a forerunner of real lace, was crafted by mounting strips of fine-gauge mesh in light wire frames and embroidering them for use as edgings and insertions.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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