Mystery Bobbin Lace Band

Leuven grey long

The lace seems to be very old -- the cool feel and texture of the thread all say very old linen.  

And it has the pale concrete color I remember from a length of heavy old handwoven linen in my mother's bottom dresser drawer, a piece handwoven by her grandmother in Europe..

The stylized geometric floral design design in this lace, however,  seems timeless.

That unusual graceful geometric pattern, the great size, the very supple but still strong thread and the lovely pearl grey color all contribute to make this long band of bobbin lace one of my Favorite Things.

The mystery of it seals the deal.  It obviously was a much-used piece, but to what purpose?  

GREY EDGEdetail359

There are lots of loose threads along both edges.  

Gray band back color mark

Bits of the original fabric it was attached to appear along one edge, only loose sewing threads along the other.  Was the other side more carefully and thoroughly removed, or was it attached to something else entirely on that other side?

The lace itself is in excellent condition, no mends are apparent.

Gray band end353

The piece measures about 2 yards 30 inches long, and about 4 1/2 inches wide.  The insertion lace at the ends is about 1 5/8 inches wide.

It is finished at both ends with another very old but eternally modern geometric bobbin lace. A definitive statement saying "this is the whole piece."

Could it have been a insertion in bed or table linens?  At nearly three yards long it seems to be too long for that. Perhaps an altar cloth of some sort?  No symbolism might argue against that.  It obviously was well used, and apparently for a very long time.

It emerged from the wonderful boxes in the lace shop Serena in Leuven, Belgium, at the end of a wonderful lace study week in Belgium (See Friday in Leuven and the various Travels in Belgium stories  on this website.)

It wants lacemakers to play with it again.  The designs are a wonderful sampler of bobbin lace stitches, and the various elements would make delightful little practice pieces.

Serious lacemakers see Vintage Floral Geometry in the COPY THIS section


POSTED  November 2013      219-659-1124    Elizabeth Kurella 2014