Help IDing lace pieces?

mahatmacat1February 21, 2009

I'm not usually drawn to lace but I found 6 lace rectangles -- I would say they're placemats but there's no cloth in the middle, just lace all over--maybe they're placemats anyway...they're definitely vintage, and very fine (to my eye), very endearing work, no stains...what kind of lace is this, does anyone know? And how does one take care of it? And what would be the approximate value of these? Does anyone have any favored lace sites or books I could consult?

Thanks very much in advance, and I'm sorry about the quality of the closeup -- it's hard to do it with a flash. If anyone needs a better photo I could try again tomorrow...

Here is a link that might be useful: the first two pics :)

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jemdandy

The first two pieces are crochet, and in the form of "dolies". The usual use is to cover (and decorate) the table tops of small end tables, center piece for the dining table, and kick-kack shelves. The 'thread' can be anything from fuzzy yarn to hard-twist crochet thread depending on the effect desired. The ones made from hard-twist thread/string may be heavily starched and ironed into a stiff disk. Many patterns are available. One popular pattern has a flat center surrounded with large ruffles. This one is also starched and ironed to shape.

My mother, when she was alive (bless her soul), made many crocheted items including a baby blanket crocheted with orlon yarn that she gave to my baby girl. My little girl became very attached to its feel and texture to the extent that nothing else would do - Shades of 'Linus', the "Peanuts" character, and his blankie.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:13AM
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simpletaste

Jemdandy said it best. Crochet dollies. Though yours is a very lovely model. Unusual, or should say a more advance pattern in the detailing and design, whoever created your piece was someone who was experienced.
Lace is easy to find. Lace as in dollies are plentiful, often bought and cut up and made into something.
A piece such as your own would be valued for as much a $20 but, often sold for less.
Placements are a good idea, not its original purpose but a good way to use them now.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 4:01AM
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lindac

That's not crochet....but it is a placemat.
It's a needle or knotted lace....perhaps machine made....but maybe not.
Obviously a set of 6 place mats likely made somewhere where labor is cheap, maybe India, Phillipines?
I would put a value of $60 to $100 on the set.
I crochet and am very sure they are neither crochet, knitted nor tatted.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:52AM
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fatquarters

I agree with Linda. It's not crochet or knit.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 11:01AM
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linnea56

Looks like bobbin lace to me. The kind made on a pillow, pinned out, with multiple bobbins manipulated over and under (etc.) by the lacemaker. A former coworker collected lace. She sold me a few pieces but I could not talk her out of any bobbin lace. I attached a picture with a center pattern that looks similar.

Can you tell what the fiber is? It might be possible to tell if it is old or new. If it is linen it it more likely to not be an import. It could have come from an area with an immigrant population trained in lacemaking. I have new crochet from China but have not seen any import bobbin lace from the east.

Here is a link that might be useful: bobbin lace being made in Slovenia

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 12:28PM
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mahatmacat1

Good morning--thanks, you all. Yes, I agree that they're knotted, from what I looked up last night. And not machine made, acc. to the characterizations on lacefairy (a website I found) -- in the outside curvy pattern, the lines follow the curves, not go straight up and down.

They're old (they have that slight 'old' odor, nothing bad, but definitely an odor). And I agree, linda, whoever did this put a lot of labor into them -- if I could show you a closeup of other parts (the part where the pattern is in two layers -- one underneath and one on top, not attached but created as part of the pattern -- how do they do that?!) -- it's one of the outside rows that has the densest 'field' lace with a line going on top of it -- that's got to be labor intensive and difficult, not just a matter of repetitive motion.

Maybe I'll try to get a few better pictures in the natural light today...I just keep thinking of all the work that was put into these, and they all ended up so beautifully done...I've lost the use of my right thumb to a pretty large extent and my hands are getting a bit arthritic -- the pictures of women far older than I am doing intricate lace just astound me.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 12:29PM
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centralcacyclist

I would guess cotton thread. Hard to tell from a photo.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:47PM
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lindac

I am visiting a friend who is a linen collector. We dug through drawers and found a piece of "the same kind" of lace as you have, but the scale is much much finer.....which is what leads me to believe that is is newer and from one of the non traditional lacemaking places.
The little "stars" like are in the center of your piece are about 1/2 inch in diameter.....and the thread is finer than any sewing thread I can remember. But on close inspection we seem to agree it's hand made....eventhough she originally thought it was machine made.
You can't tell "old" by smell..,..I have new stuff that smells old by being stored in an old chest of drawers.
Also, placemats didn't come into use until about 1940.....and then only for informal stuff. These are plainly for a nicely set table.
My guess is 1950's, cotton.....and I'll bet there were napkins with an edging to match.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 4:09PM
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groomingal

flyleft- I have a few pieces similar to those that were made by my grandmother and she used the cro-tat method. But the rings of the work remind me of tatting while the star pieces/vines look similar to crocheting.
I'm with linda- I don't think those were made until the 50's and I wouldn't doubt there were matching napkins and possibly a table scarf/runner to go with it. If someone went through that much work for placemats surely they wanted to adorn the entire table.

I put a link for you that is for a lace museum, maybe if you email them they can be more helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: lace museum

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 12:57AM
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mahatmacat1

Thanks, barnmom, linda, & groomingal :) I'd really love to see that friend of yours's piece, but I guess that would be too much...what kind of lace is her kind, linda? Thanks very much for bothering when you were visiting your friend, btw.

I should take a pic of the other piece I found -- that definitely looks crocheted to me, and is done with thicker thread. I wish I could get a decent pic of the 6 pieces...I'll try again just so people could see details. I've read about what makes a good lace photo and just for the fun of it I'll try my best tomorrow morning.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:46AM
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Patricia43

I think it is tatting.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 7:44AM
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lindac

nope...it's not tatting.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 8:20AM
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lindac

And I am becoming more convinced that it's needle lace,

Here is a link that might be useful: needle lace

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 8:21AM
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icbloomers

They are bobbin lace, and handmade. Looks to me like a variation on a style of lace called "Bruges bloemwork". I'm a lacemaker as well as a gardener - hope that helps!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:14PM
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centralcacyclist

I tat and crochet and it's none of those though parts resemble tatting. I bow to the lace experts. Linen thread would be likely feel hard and have a sheen to it and no fuzzies.

My great-grandmother (who passed away in the 50s) did a lot of lacy handwork such as tatting and crochet and some embroidery - table cloths, bedspreads, doilies, lace for clothing. But neither my grandmother nor my mother were inclined to make such delicate decorative items. If they did handwork it was sewing or knitting and maybe a little crochet with yarn. Neither of them tatted. (I took a class.) I wonder if this was a generational difference or individual.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 3:11PM
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mahatmacat1

I am actually loving the multiple guesses--it's very much part of the whole project itself. I can see from some online pics how they could be bobbin lace, too. I have taken pics against a black sweatshirt in daylight--I have high hopes they'll turn out to be much more helpful than the ones I have posted. When DH and DD get back, I'll ask him to upload them.

And barnmom, I know what you mean about how the generation just before us didn't want to do what the generation before them did (and some folks seem to be coming back to now). I know my American grandmother (not my Armenian one) kept telling me that "there's no shame in Betty Crocker", as in that was a moral issue to her to use a cake mix rather than from scratch...my mother couldn't cook a lick and could barely sew. I can cook, sew more than she could, but instead of doing this kind of obsessive-compulsive work, I do pretty intricate mosaic work instead, using a machine grinder to shape pieces just the way I want them, rather than following almost surreally intense instructions. My hat's off to you, icbloomers, for your lacemaking today.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 6:02PM
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mahatmacat1

Ha HA! I was able to take what I think/hope are better pictures today...do these help at all?

Here is a link that might be useful: The ones on black background. Please excuse the cat hairs :)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:16PM
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lindac

I am not a "lace maker" like icebloomers. I have made lots of yards of crocheted lace and a few ow knitted lace, but never bobbin lace nor needls lace.
But I have watched people making bobbin lace and needle lace and do not understand how the pattern could be made with bobbins on a pillow.
The other runner or doily in the picture is crocheted.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:28AM
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jaybird

I'm not a lacemaker and I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but you can buy lace pieces just like those at Hobby Lobby off and on during the year. I just LOVE them and have collected all the different shapes. They don't always have them, but if you keep watching, they will show up! They have a tag on them that says they are made by hand in China or Indonesia. They are really beautiful.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 12:05PM
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mahatmacat1

Hi y'all...Linda, yep, that's why I photo'd the second piece, as I figured it was crocheted and the difference between it and the other pieces would come into sharp contrast. It's not all that special (probably like the ones jaybird is referring to) but the 6 pieces are the ones I'm interested in. Jaybird, would you be willing to photo the one(s) you think are closest to the piece I did the detail photos of?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 12:44PM
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jaybird

Yes Ma'am...but I have to use 35MM camera and have the film developed to disc, so it will be a few days...I will picture several that I have..

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 1:49PM
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linnea56

Wondering if you have had more input on this.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 10:53AM
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mahatmacat1

Ah, wow, jaybird! And to think we did that all the time just a few years ago. I still have my 35 mm and never use it anymore. Don't put yourself to any trouble, though--if it's too much of a bother, please don't.

linnea, I will be going to a local lace society meeting on Monday, of all things, where the ladies said that one person could look at my lace and tell me about it. Should be interesting :)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 12:44AM
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mahatmacat1

Well, I just got the answer from a very knowledgeable lady at the local lace society: they're cluny bobbin lace. linnea and icbloomers, you win :)

She said that they're not the same pattern as was used when China flooded the market with them back in the 1930s, but that she can't tell exactly where they were made. From seeing "chinese cluny lace" on google images, compared with cluny from Europe, it sure does look like mine aren't from China...the Chinese is thicker and wouldn't have caught my eye...

but at any rate, that's what it is--here's one link to show something very similar--my vocabulary is wanting, but you can see the similarities anyway :)

Here is a link that might be useful: link to some cluny -- the leaf parts and the connectors with the little tags

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 3:44PM
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linnea56

Glad you found out! IÂll bet that meeting was fun. I wonder if thereÂs one around here.

So I win, huh? WhatÂs my prize? IÂd likeÂ

...a picture of where you eventually put these, posted to this thread! So we can appreciate them in their new home.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 6:18PM
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mahatmacat1

Ach, linnea, you ask a lot...what *am* I going to do with the beautiful little things...I can't possibly use them as placemats, the way my family eats. Trying to figure out what would be the right thing to do with them.

And I didn't get to go to the meeting after all -- it was way farther away than I'd thought, and I just couldn't bring myself to drive all the way out there to interrupt their meeting with my silly little question. The club expert was extremely gracious, howeer, in looking at the better-taken group of photos (on matte black sweatshirt material) and told me *so* much about cleaning, storage, etc. I learned *loads* about cluny lace, linen vs. cotton, how to clean it and how *not* to, etc...

If anyone has any good ideas for displaying rectangles of lace, I'm all eyes :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 7:29PM
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lindac

Save them for a "ladies lunch"...or maybe a tea party....
Do you have adult dinner parties? They could march down the center of the table cloth or the table when you have a lot of people.
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:21PM
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justlinda

I think they would look fabulous mounted in a set of picture frames, with the background being a piece of dark velvet to match the colour of your decor. JMHO

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:31PM
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mahatmacat1

Both nice ideas, lindas :) I am preferring the idea of mounted on the wall (not all 6 but maybe 3?) on the right color velvet...I'd just be a bit sick if something got spilled on them, considering they've made it to me relatively unscathed (except for a little curling).

I also forgot to mention that they're from bet. 1900-1950, acc. to the very generous lace society expert. Such a helpful person she was...wonderful to find it in this age of charging for every bit of knowledge one possibly can. She just really loves lace and wants to share her passion.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 1:33PM
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mahatmacat1

Well, have to add another piece of cluny to the household register :) At Goodwill today I found a really fetching all-lace Cluny tablecloth! Can't wait to photo it and show you all, and show my lace expert acquaintance as well. It's so beautiful, IMO. The question will be did it come from China or was it made somewhere else...the expert said that the ones from China commonly had a butterfly pattern on them--I see one on eBay like that right now, in fact. This one doesn't have that. It's so pretty. I'll photograph it tonight and post it. It's about 60x78, all lace, with a central stepped-rectangle pattern. Even the fill areas look cool, kind of dimensional. I'll show you :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 8:04PM
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lindac

Oh come on!!! Good will???
Yeasch.....even if it's from China it's still hand done lace!
Makes my little goodwill silver candle sticks look like not much!
Really? Good will??
How much??
Where are the pictures!!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 9:42PM
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mahatmacat1

LOL Linda! I know what you mean. I've had it in my head that I wanted to find a handmade lace tablecloth at Goodwill and lo and behold it has become reality. Maybe you just need to concentrate on what you want and then it will appear :) It's not perfect, and I have an e-mail in to my online expert acquaintance. I'll let you know what she says.

(oh, and we didn't choose the carpet--the PO had it almost new when we moved in, so we kept it, but eventually we're changing it out for hardwood. Just ftr :))

Here is a link that might be useful: what should we name her? :)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 1:01AM
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mahatmacat1

I also meant to say that silver candlesticks are *always* a thrill, Linda :) (they'd look good with this tablecloth, don't you think? :))

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 1:02AM
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mahatmacat1

Linda, are you having to bite your tongue on this? Go ahead, say whatever you think. The lace person still hasn't replied, but it's only been a short time...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 11:11AM
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lindac

I'd call her "Fancy".....just lovely!
I can see where a thread broke and someone tried to mend it....that "loop" is the part that should go around the flower petal.
I recommend finding someone to mend it....someone who knows what she's doing.
Just to make us all go AAAHG!....what did you pay?
And what will you use it for? I can just imagine putting it on your table and having someone set their jeweled purse on it and pulling a thread.
About 12 years ago, I spent a week in and around Venice, and a day on Burano. I could not BELIEVE what a little handkerchief edged with lace cost!
I didn't even look at the big pieces!
Can you tell? Was it made in sections and swen together?
Linda C....running right out to Goodwill!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 11:48AM
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mahatmacat1

cute :) Maybe since she's Cluny (unless I hear otherwise from the expert person) I'll call her Francy :)

I paid more than I like for this, specifically $6.99. More than the amazing Roseville for $5 just posted here *sigh* but still not bad.

I did ask the expert person if fix a non-needle-inclined person such as I could dare fix the loose threads--you know, I've taken on tile, framing, drywall, paint, plumbing, minor electrics...I'm afraid to touch lace!

I have no idea whether it was made in sections. There's nothing screaming out obvious as a connecting line, to me. Do you see any in the photos? You can make it larger by clicking "all sizes" if that helps...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 7:01PM
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lindac

Not to rain on any parades here....but inspired by a great find, I went cruising around the web, and what looks like wonderful lace table cloths are going for what seems like very little money to me....like $80 and less for a mid sized cloth in pretty good condition....in fact I was sorely tempted!
Do a google search for cluny lace cloth and hand made lace cloth...
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 12:13AM
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mahatmacat1

Hey linda, no bubble burst here--my bubble wasn't very big anyway :) Lace is way more expensive on the primary market than on the secondary. I'm also finding that there is a HUGE range based on criteria I don't really know yet.

I heard back from my 'friend', really the dear person who shares her knowledge whom I really need to repay somehow someday. The lace is actually "filet guipure", or embroidery on a pre-existing net. One of the earliest forms of lace, and mine is very nice and more densely embroidered than many she's seen. I have to agree with her--it looks a lot like ones that sell for hundreds rather than tens of dollars. But hey. What do I know. Clearly nothing!

Here's the low end of things I've found like it:http://www.touchofeurope.net/MK599TC/Large+1930s+filet+lace+tablecloth+handmade+Germany.html

There's lots of lesser filet around--it's what I have always called 'pixel lace' LOL...mine is better :)

Here is a link that might be useful: high end--I like to think it's like this one :)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 12:33AM
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justlinda

Hi, is this type of lace white in colour, or could it perhaps come in an 'ecru/beige' colour. Yesterday I saw a great tablecloth in this type of lace, but don't know whether it was just dirty and off colour, or if it could also come in that colour.

I'm a real lace tablecloth neophyte, but you've tweaked my interest.

ps: I left without buying it because of my ignorance :(

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 10:32AM
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mahatmacat1

I would imagine it was made in different colors by different people...can you take a pic of the tablecloth and post it? Can you return it if you buy it? It's amazing to me how low-priced these things are, considering the labor quotient. Evidently, acc. to the expert person I correspond with, mine is a very good example of filet--there are others that do nothing for me and honestly I wouldn't even put them in the same category, but I guess the process is the same. The ones I posted are more like mine,I think...is what you saw like that?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:44PM
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