Saturday, November 24, 2012

Irish lace collection

I just got back from a sewing conference in the States. It was a Sulky Certified Teacher Training course. Talk about fun! 3 days of sewing and most all, the kits and threads were provided. I highly recommend going to one.

On the second day there was a show and tell. I presented the Battenburg lace edging that I am making. It is coming along and I have almost enough for the bottom of a shirt. I still need enough for the arms and maybe around the neck. I have a lot of time before I have to decide what to make. For me lace making is slow going since I only work on it during flights or long car or train trips.

One woman at this conference is a lace enthusiast. When I told her I had some pieces from France stored away stateside, she asked if I would bring some of them it. The next day I walked in with a bag full. I had everything from old curtains made with crochet and handmade netting to lace bits.. She makes Princess Lace, beautiful work I might add, so her interest in this type of thing was high. I had one example of Princess lace, I have been told it is called Calais here, after the town in the north of France.  Princess lace is hard to find here. The piece I showed her is the only one I have run across and it was out of the box of lace I bought 2 years ago in Bourgogne (Burgundy). I call the box Yvonne and Suzanne (Y&S) after the two beautiful handkerchiefs I found amongst all the things in the box.  

As she Ooh-ed and Aah-ed I told her I had nicer things here in France and she made a special request. The request? She wants me to make her jealous showing her some of my collection of lace bits.

I will now attempt to do exactly that. May I present my bag of Irish and Irish wanna be lace bits.

We will start with the bag of bits.  Intriguing isn't it?

Digging into my bag, one thing I don't have in it are doilies. I have lots of doilies, I collect them but they are not included here since most were just brought are stateside. What is in the bag are things I might use to embellish a shirt.

I have two pieces I would not call doilies. They scream "put me on a shirt". It is just I am not sure what kind of shirt yet. They are unique, to me at least, since they are the only ones I have ever found. (Y&S)

Collars, This lace technique has been used an incredible amount to make collars. Here are the ones in the bag.

This one is broken and not repairable, it is fair game to be cut into pieces.

Here is the one out of Y&S that has become part of a shirt I wear in the summer.

Here is the completed shirt.
Y&S, the handkerchiefs, were dated in the early 1910's. That sort of dated everything in the box rather nicely. This piece was worn at the neck. it is actually 2 pieces so one was sewn down the other added dimension. This one is crying to be used again.

How about some wide yardage. It appears to never had been used and there is a little over a meter of it. It is a little over 6 inches wide. I bought this in Strasbourg at a flea market this last summer.

I have assorted yardage of lots of different designs. Some of these came from my husband's family. My Husband's aunt sent me a small box of lace bits years ago and there was some of this in it.  This means that this bag has sentimental value and whatever I make with it has to be fantastic or I do not want to touch any of it. So, it sits waiting for me to come up with an idea for it.

Here are  my token off white/ecru laces. They are not as common as bright white. The second one down is backed with netting (Y&S) and I have two of them...more on why later.

How about, what is now, a very large pile of 1-1/2 inch medallions? Some are round, some are square. Some come from the US and most from France. After I took this picture, I rounded up another dozen to toss in the bag that were new arrivals or somehow had escaped the bag.
Finally I have a set, not Irish, but of the same type of thread so it makes for a good match.
These are the bottom of underwear, you know, bloomers.
I can now spot them even if they are not round like these are by the length. Very common to find in France at flea markets. Now look at the piece with the netting backing. That must have been one fancy pair!
Ok, end of the digging in the bag of lace bits. I have reached the bottom of the bag.


  1. WOW! What a collection, I'd love to have some of those. I do crochet, mostly like the type of your small medallions, I make lace tablecloths. I've been trying to finish one started in the late 70's, but ran out of the thread that is not available here in the US, very fine DMC type, and a very light caramel color.

    1. Our local Michaels Crafts (in SoCA) has a huge DMC choice even including the metallics. I too have looked for DMC's and they'll order what isn't in-store or online. And, a finework blanket proj I have now called for metallic thread, but DMC's skeins were higher quality and more length when ply's are seperated to proj specs. Best for your project!

  2. Oh, how lovely all your Irish pieces are! Tho German, I love Irish Lace also! I encourage you toward mending the beautiful 'broken collar' as Irish crochet method is as today's crocheting, just finer thread and more picots. Crochet is surprisingly easy to mend. Thank you for sharing these, and for your blog (and linking to your page on yahoo egroups). Sign me, In Awe!