Varieties of Lace

If you’re a lace enthusiast this delicate fabric has existed for centuries. Either made by machine or by hand, lace is a fabric of either yarn or thread. It was originally made from linen, silk, silver, or gold threads. However, now lace is often made from cotton thread. Manufacture lace is also available which may use synthetic fibers. Today, modern artists may even choose copper or silver wire. However, no matter what the materials, there are many varieties of lace. In fact, dozens of varieties exist. To get an idea of the types, these are the primary varieties of lace. The classification for each type depends on how the lace is made.

Needle Lace

Needle lace is a category for many types of lace including Venetian Gros Point. This lace is made with a needle and thread. Needle lace is actually one of the more flexible varieties. Needle lace purists view this as the height of lace making. In fact, historians looking at the history of fabric have found antique needle laces made from a very fine style of thread that is not made today. Very often time consuming, this style could also be made faster than some types of bobbin laces.

Bobbin Lace

Just like its name suggests, bobbin lace is made with bobbins and a pillow. The bobbins are usually wood or plastic and hold the lace threads. The thread is woven together and held in place with pins that are stuck in the pattern on the pillow. The pillow used is not actually meant for sleeping. It usually contains straw or styrofoam. This style of lace may also be known as Bone-lace since bobbins historically could be made of bone as well. Chantilly lace is a variety of bobbin lace.

Tape Lace
This style of lace may either be made by machine or by hand. As the lace is being made, the textile strip is formed into a design. Then, the piece is finished by joining and embellishing with bobbin lace.

Crocheted Lace
Crocheted lace involves using a crochet hook and the maker’s desired choice of threads. Some of the notable styles in this category include Irish, pineapple, and filet.
Knotted Lace
Macrame and tatting are both styles of knotted lace. Like the name suggests, knotted lace involves using a variety of knots to achieve the unique designs and textures. For the specific tatting style, this lace is made with a tatting needle.

Knitted Lace
The best example for knitted lace is Shetland lace. The style is very fine and difficult to make.

This style of lace can actually be almost any of the other styles mentioned. However, it simply refers to lace which has been created by mechanical means. Today, machine-made lace is extremely detailed and often difficult to recognize as being different than hand-made pieces.
Chemical Lace
This is a style where the stitching area is completed using embroidery threads. After finishing, the stitching areas are removed, leaving only the embroidery behind. The ground is usually made of up a water-soluble material which can be dissolved by soaking in water.
These are a few of the primary styles of lace. Lace enthusiasts may already know some of these varieties as they are available in specialty and finishing shops.

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The Lace Museum in Sunnyvale, CA

The Lace Museum and Guild is located in beautiful Sunnyvale, California. Established in 1976, this museum is one of only two lace museums in America. It helps to preserve the history and the art of making lace. The museum hosts events and features special happenings as well as a quarterly exhibit change. Holiday celebrations and special events bring in crowds, as well as the attractive no general admission fee. Group tours are available for a small donation. Church groups, senior citizen groups, school groups, and other special interest groups love to visit and learn about the rich history of one of the world’s oldest and most popular materials.

The museum boasts an emailing list that has information for subscribers about sales and general museum information and updates. The museum’s missions are to preserve lace and the art of lace making as well as to exhibit lace and its historical use and to offer instruction to the public in all aspects of lace making. The exhibits feature not only fabrics, though there are plenty of different and intricate patterns to examine throughout the building. Tools, looms, example patterns, illustrations, audio, and books are found here as well. Though they do have gift shop in the museum, the Lace Museum and Guild is a non-profit organization that thrives off the donations of local supporters and the revenue from its shop and classes.

In addition to the money coming in from its various streams, the Lace Museum and Guild offers supporters a rare and unique opportunity to sponsor an antique and historically esteemed piece of lace for up to three whole years. The supporter receives recognition for his or her donation at the various functions that piece may attend as well as the peace of mind of know that their donation preserved a slice of fabric history. The museum is fortunate to have passionate and dedicated volunteers who ensure the effectiveness and productivity of the museum. Without volunteers and donations from the public, the Lace Museum and Guild would not be able to maintain. Luckily, since 1976, people have been contributing their knowledge, funds, and time to the preservation and historical significance of lace and lace making.

The Lace Museum and Guild offer workshops to applicants who have an interest in perfecting their lacing technique, or perhaps just trying to lace for the first time. There are workshops intermittently throughout the year, and candidates should mail in with their application and their small workshop fee to reserve their spot in the classes. Lectures at colleges, schools, and educational functions help to ensure that today’s society has an interest and understanding in the finer points of the history and development of lace.

In conclusion, the Lace Museum and Guild is a wonderful slice of history that still exists today. It serves of a reminder of a time when people took a great deal of pride in their crafts, and that same pride is evident in the smiles of the friendly and passionate volunteers and educators who lend their time, energy, and resources to the preservation and betterment of this museum.

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How to Tell the Difference Between Machine and Hand Made Lace

Lovers of lace are in many cases indifferent to whether it is of handmade or machine origin. That being said, in quite a great deal of other cases, there are countless individuals who greatly prefer a handmade type of lace over the machine-made variety. So for such folks, there are thankfully some very easy ways to tell the difference.

— The Tell-Tale Signs

To the untrained eye, the machine versus handmade lace appearance can seem very similar. One of the most common forms of lacing also provides an excellent case study for learning to spot this distinction — the Chantilly Bobbin Lace.

Even having two nearly identical pieces of lace side-by-side of Chantilly Bobbin Lace and one was machine-made and one was handmade, it would still be difficult to tell them apart without knowing exactly where to look. There is a specific area where the difference can be found.

Looking close in the areas knowns as “motifs” where there are half-stitches will show the clues needed to get to the bottom of a handmade versus machine-made question. The machine-made motifs (or shaded-areas) usually seem more sporadic and scattered as a way of filling in the area, rather than tight circles or semi-circle shaped patterns all interlocked.

— Should it Matter?

Whether it should matter or not is really a question of what the individual thinks. Some people are simply convinced of the sentiment that handmade beats machine made in all cases and generally speaking, that voice is so over-abundantly the dormant one that it drowns out everything else. When a motif is made by hand, this much can be said: more care and more attention needs to be put into each half-stitch, which has a certain result.

The handmade half-stitch in a Chantilly motif is usually more defined when the lace is made by hand compared to a machine-made lace of an very similar design. To that effect, usually prices are higher for handmade lace versus the machine-made counterpart. In the end, perhaps the discussion shouldn’t even be framed in terms of quality but simply effort.

— Summary

Fans of the highest quality of lace or of the cheapest possible lace might stay and argue in favor of the machine-made variety but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a very special and important place for the handmade variety. It usually will cost more and thus the concern of not unintentionally paying for something that is supposed to be handmade when in fact it is really machine-made.

Spot the tell-tale signs of a machine-made lace piece and for all time— the piece in the bag is going to be the piece that really matches it’s price tag. Really, it is also a question of honor. It could really be an embarrassing moment to even unintentionally end up trying to pass off a piece of material as something that it isn’t, without even having any ill will. The investment of interest in being able to discern the difference always pays off for those who take the time to pursue knowing it.

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How Lace is Made By Hand

First of all, Lace is a delicate fabric made of either yarn or thread, crafted in a pretty web-like pattern by machine or by hand. Initially silk, linen, gold and silver threads were used, although nowadays this has dramatically changed and cotton thread is used frequently around many countries worldwide. Most lace patterns are incredibly beautiful and appealing to look at, but they’re equally intimidating especially when made by hand – threads are very tiny, specialized materials and patterns must perfectly match with grids and dots, and so on.

Before you start, some of the supplies and materials needed are such as thread (natural fibers are the best), bobbins or clothespins, cork tiles and pillows, paper patterns, cores or tubes, and a finishing lace. Below, a simple guide on how lace is made by hand.

#Preparing the Bobbins

Lace basically is made with pairs of bobbins, and each thread has two bobbins attached to it.

  • – Start working from the center of the thread all the time.
  • – If a pattern has like 24 ends, cut 12 pieces double the length of the lace you need.
  • – Next, cut the threads.
  • – Fold each strand in half and tie the slipknot to hold the center point.
  • – Start wrapping a clothespin at one end and wrap as much thread onto it as possible.
  • – You may prefer to use a slipknot at the end of each strand to tie around one part of the clothespin.
  • – Similarly, wrap another clothespin from the other end and use the spring action to adjust two pins in order to keep them equidistant from the slipknot as possible (specially important for starting off well).
  • – Finally, repeat this process with all your other strands.

#Running Out of Pins or Pattern

Eventually, you might run out of pins. Incase this happens, this is what you should do:

  • – Pull some pins from the beginning of the pattern.
  • – Be careful not to pull the ones on the outer edges, they’re meant to protect the lace from being ruined as you work beneath it.
  • – If you make your lace long enough, pull all the pins off.
  • – Pull each pin one-at-a-time — and afterward pull the whole lace straight up.
  • – If you run out of pattern before the lace is long than it ought to be, simply add another piece of paper pattern to the end. The added pattern should fit seamlessly.
  • – Add more cork tiles at the edge to continue the pattern normally.
  • – Keep working until you reach the particular length you want accomplished.

#Finishing Part

One great option for finishing your piece is to work toward the very end of your lace length.

  • – Simply tie off all the pairs of bobbins with square knots.
  • – Choose between overhand knots and leave fringe – or any other option you find suiting.
  • – In case you’re applying a finish of some sort to the lace, wait for the fringe to finish and afterward trim them off as you wish.
  • – Don’t unpin the final lace until all the bobbins are cut (the weight can easily distort the lace when you pick it up).
  • – Unpin the lace
  • – Lastly, work from the start to the finish and be careful to pull all the pins vertically. And that’s all about it!

Above all else, lace has been around for ages. Even though today the craft may have been fastened by technology, many people still prefer to create their lace patterns by hand. Consequently, the ultimate care and great length of time committed to produce a variety of perfect lace and pretty patterns — always make them expensive. All the same, above is a simple guide that will walk you through on how lace is made by hand.

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The History of Lace

Lace is a machine or handmade type of a fabric that is developed from fine threads. The structure or pattern of a lace fabric resembles that of a carefully decorated open web. It can be termed as an expensive and a luxurious piece of item because it consumes a lot of time to make one. Very few people would afford them in the ancient times and anyone who wore them was recognized as very wealthy in the society. It was seen as a symbol of prestige.

The history of lace dates back in the 2500BC, however, no date can be assign as the specific date of origin of lace. Several writings have been put in place to try explain its origin and the lace trade in general. The first piece of lace existed as a piece of hair knot. Lace pieces were found in parts of Thebe and Egypt, which is the home of ancient technology. The lace in the form of hair knot had porcelain beads amongst their meshed network.

In those years, the lace was made through braiding.

In the 12th and 13rd century, lace started becoming common among the people and lace garments were made to respected churchmen and leaders.

In the 16th, century lace making became widespread. Theories have been put in place to try track down the origin of lace, several of them indicate that lace making started in Venice, Genoa and Ragusa though there is also another theory that claims lace to have been brought from china.

The different places had different patterns to of lace making. The different types of lace are; the bobbin, braid, netting, tape, embroidery, needle lace among others. In Venice, the lace was developed from linen threads that were spun from fine flax. The fine flax originated from the coastal regions of Belgium and France where it was cultivated. However, the quality of flax nowadays has diminished owning to the modern fertilizers which have made the fibers no longer fine.

Italy became the main producer of laces in the 16th and the 17th century with Venice becoming the main centre of this business. The main type of lace produced was the needle lace which was made from fine pulled thread work, resulting into a finely polished end product. In the 17th century lace making flourished in most other parts of the Europe.

Bobbin lace originating from Genoa has developed over time resulting to the current Maltese, Bedfordshire and Cluny styles. These styles require like a 1,000 tallies to produce a polished product.

Despite this, bobbin lace is most dominant in Belgium. It is also known as pillow lace. The very first pictures of this lace were found in an Italian family in the year 1476.

In the 17th and 18th century lace production reached its climax. At this time it was seen as a sign of richness and prestige. It was mainly used to decorate accessories, clothing’s, underclothing, and costumes worn by the religious and the military. Also other household linen were not off this fashion, the mats and tablecloths were decorated too.

Today, production of lace has continuously raised, owning to their large demands. Despite that machines have been devised to the making of lace, traditional methods of using needles are also dominant.

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