Saturday, June 08, 2013

Of Lace, Antique and Otherwise.

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Ever since we bought our little 1920s house, Robb and I have found ourselves at a lot of estate sales.  It seems he and I have the taste of extremely wealthy ninety year olds.  

One thing that I always look for are handmade textiles.  I have a visceral response to these things, and feel genuinely sad that nobody wants the beautiful handmade objects that someone once labored over.   

Today, I brought home a collection of hand made lace.  The top photograph is a tablecloth that seems to be made of linen, in some kind of netting and embroidery technique.  



This lace runner is clearly part of the same pattern of grapes and leaves around a geometric center.



Likewise, these all seemed related to the tablecloth and runner.  Same motif of grapes and grape leaves.  I'm not sure what the purpose of these object might have been.  The lower row of lace is puzzling to me.  Where might these have been used?



In some ways, these are somewhat primitive forms of lace.  The stitches are fairly large. The yarn used is coarse, by standards of antique lace.  I'm guessing that these objects are made of linen, because of their lovely stiffness.

Despite my calling these items "coarse," I could hope to make something as lovely and delicate as this lace.  I'm simply delighted to have it in my home.

All this lace is dusty and dirty.  I'm reading up on how to care for -- and clean -- this sort of thing.  If any of my blog readers happen to be experts in care of antique textiles, I'd sure like to hear what you have to say.  For now, we're going to bag them up because both Robb and I are super-allergic their dustiness.




On a somewhat related note, I finally finished this red cotton lace scarf that I've had on my knitting needles for far too long.  It's a fascinating stitch pattern, that takes advantage of the natural tendency for knitted lace to slant or "bias."

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

My first impression of the pieces in the third photo was 'antimacassar'.

Donna/tempus fugit

Anonymous said...

It's hard to judge the size of the pieces, but perhaps one is to put on the back of an armchair(where you'd rest your head) and the other 2 on the arms of the armchair. We had these types of lace covers on our living room chairs and couch when I was growing up. I guess they protected the chairs from grubby arms and hair!!!
sojourner

Anonymous said...

Could the three items be arm covers and a back cover for a couch or chair? The other piece in that group could be a piece that goes under glass on a table.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa!
The three pieces on the bottom of that pic are an Antimacassar and arm rest covers. The Antimacassar goes on the chair back where your head rests. Not sure when these are from but guessing 20's- 30's. Are you sure they are not just super heavily starched ?
Deb Shippee

The V's said...

Like the others said, the odd pieces were to protect the areas of a chair where your head and hands go. Washing lace is not hard. Hand wash with Woolite or Ivory Detergent. I swish it in a wash pan of lukewarm water. Lay flat on a white towel to dry. Lightly iron with spray starch if desired. Best consult would be your local needlework guild.

The V's said...

The odd pieces are chair protectors as was mentioned before.
As for washing, hand wash in a dishpan of lukewarm water using Ivory dish soap or Woolite.
Lay flat on a white towel to dry and iron on medium heat with spray starch if desired.
Contact your local needlework guild for the best advice on washing fragile textiles!

Gothknits said...

Eucalan would be my safest suggestion. Call them and see what they suggest. They are quite lovely there.

tiggermama said...

And they're probably not made of linen. If they were made in the 20's/30's, it's probably hand-tatting with a little shuttle thing, like my great-aunt used to do. There was a special, sort of heavier cotton thread they used to use - she showed it to me once. i have a lot of lace pieces hand made by her, including two whole tableclothes, several runners, and a couple of antimassacars.

ellen kirkendall said...

I pick up items like this at second hand stores sometimes. It makes me sad that they were not treasured by their families of origin.

Stefaneener said...

I have some lace books you ought to see. I'll try to remember them for tomorrow. . .

Tivoli West said...

They are probably anitmacassars, you can see a picture here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/65509933/crochet-victorian-chair-set-antimacassar They look like they were made with a technique called filet crochet. Nice find!

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