Sunday, September 21, 2014

Flea market finds

A week ago, one of the neighborhoods nearby had its yearly flea market. The flea market filled the medieval streets, restaurants had open doors with  "Flea Market" food specials. Outdoor seating was set up to invite people to sit and eat when they took a break from all the shopping.

Some people hate flea markets, other people love them. I am in the love category. I find it interesting what people have in their basements and attics. To walk through a flea market is like walking through the past, or through a dump, depending on the items for sale.

I am always on the lookout for lace or linen items. At these types of markets, I always find a little something. The one this past weekend was not disappointing.

 Here is my take from the market:

I don't often buy colored embroidery. Why? Well, most of the time it is stained and those stains, from experience, are hard to remove. The one on the left was beautifully embroidered and had no stains. It helped greatly that they were literally giving it away. The crochet table cloth underneath it is damaged. Damaged equates to me as permission to cut it apart for use in something else. After washing and pressing, it is in otherwise good shape and was made with cotton so it will take dying quite well.

On the upper right is a bundle of hand french knotted ribbon. 
I will find a good use for that. When I find this type of thing, I buy it. I can not imagine the boredom of the person who made this. Meters (yards) of french knots. just amazing! In the picture both the front and the back can be seen. Beautiful workwomanship.

In the center is the piece that just fascinated me. Helpful was the price, but I would have bought it for twice the price without a second thought.

The piece, I thought, was what was removed from the bottom from a curtain. When I got it home I found out it was a religious piece from the alter of a church. Clearly on the left two of the religious blocks can be seen.
The piece is almost  5 1/2 meters ( 6 feet) it is entirely made up of bobbin lace squares. The blocks measure 9 inches square. I put it on the mantle in the living room. This is only a portion of it that you see.
It was a very large and long alter.

What about the condition of the piece? First off, moldy smelling objects, when they find their way into my home get to meet the washing machine. In a protective bag of course. My thought is that if the item does not hold up well to washing, I don't want to use it for most applications. Once dried, upon inspection, there are two damaged areas. Here is one of them. The hole in the upper left looks bad but is actually where the whip stitches came out that held this block to the one to the left of it. The missing area on the bottom left is an easy fix. Looking at the bottom and side edge is a 2 1/2 cm (1 inch) wide edging. It is also bobbin lace. Same yarn was used most likely made by the same person to the size needed.

Across the top is a linen tape. This piece would have been basted on the to alter fabric. Basting means easy removal when the main cloth piece needed washing. Less wear and tear on the lace if it is not being washed all the time with the base fabric. It also means the lace piece could be changed out with the season as well. Below you can see a basting thread still attached to the tape in several places. and speaking of below,
Here is the center of the alter piece. No question, clearly made for and used in a church.
I was thrilled to find out I had a religious piece. Anytime I find religious themed lace, I buy it. It truly was a surprise. I was so sure it was a curtain bottom edging. 

Not long ago I was in Budapest. Seeing something I wanted in the window, I stopping in to a shop that sells fabric/lace/yarn/sewing supplies, I had to used the grunt and point method after trying French, German and English to purchase 3 meters of this:

At it's 10cm (4 inches) width, yes it is modern, cotton and machine made but you never know when something like this could come in handy. Think winter baby christening and how this would work, hand dyed along the bottom it a small coat or blanket.

Back to the bobbin lace. Pulling out the seam ripper the damaged, easy fix block was removed. It is becoming something now and is a WIP.

Stay tuned.


  1. Beautiful finds. The altar lace is actually embroidered filet net I believe, similar to the lace shown in the background of your blog.

    1. So right you are! Thanks for telling me the name! I mentioned you on the next blog entry since I made something with one of the blocks Like I said I would.