For discussions of lace history and lace identification.  You can post a photo into a comment box for a lace you want to discuss.  Bobblin lace history.  About historic lace. Kinds of lace.  Distinguish types of lace.

We can identify a piece of lace for you, but we need good detail.  At least one photo with this kind of detail is necessary.  Otherwise we are just guessing.  A shot of the whole thing is useful because that shows us the style.  Style gives us clues to date and possibly geographical origin.  But we need the detail shot to tell us how it was made.

Members: 138
Latest Activity: May 25

Examples + Resources


Jean Leader's new website, different types of lace -

To compare needle lace, tatting and crochet, Kathleen Minniti's sampler.

My antique lace boards on Pinterest 

My collection of boards on Pinterest 

Jo Edkins lace collection online:

Laces compared:

A university based website specializing in the social history attached to lacemaking


 Bobbin lace    antiquebobbinlace     bobbinlace3     Needle lace    needlelace2 

For recognizing Swedish bobbin lace:

Tatting     tatting2   tatting3      

Filet lace    filetlace2    filetlace3   filet lace4    Buratto 

Sol lace   sollace2   sol lace3

Knitted lace    knittedlace2     Crochet lace        Irish crochet lace      IrishCrochet2      


Bobbin tape lace  bobbin tape lace 2   

Mixed tape lace-machinetape      Romanian needlepoint lace  


Embroidery on tulle-needlerun      Embroidery on tulle-tambour        Carrickmacross  



This is what it takes to make a cloth stitch strip with a machine. I don't know which machine this is. ;

Chemical lace   ChemicalLace2  chemical lace3     chemical lace4     

See this for a technical explanation of the chemical lace process.

Barmen machine lace        Raschel machine lace     Leavers machine

machine1 (not sure what machine) a booklet which purports to distinguish machine from hand made laces. Some of the diagrams of typical machine structural elements are quite good. But too many of the comparison photos do not have enough detail to verify whether they are in fact machine made or hand made. The photos don't all show the individual threads. Still, the booklet is useful for the diagrams and descriptions of the various machine laces.




The Koon collection CD is a collection of images from the Eunice Sein Koon
Collection of Lace donated to IOLI by Ms. Koon. Ms. Koon was the editor of
Lace Craft Quarterly and a collector of lace.  It is not related to the
Minnesota collection to the best of my knowledge.  The CD is a series of
Powerpoint slides organized as the collection pieces are numbered.  There
are approximately 100 pieces of various types of lace in the Koon
collection.  Pictures from the CD could be copied and pasted into another
Powerpoint presentation, or the images could be used to request pieces of
lace from the collection for study by IOLI members.  Policy for use of this
lace is described on p. 58 of the IOLI Member Handbook. -- Jo Ann Eurell


The IOLI - Internation Organization of Lace, Inc. has a study box of lace fragments that members can borrow.  

(I am searching for a link)

IOLI also has a lending library for members' use

A site with good photos of high quality antique laces: ;

Discussion Forum

Lacemaking history 6 Replies

Please, does anyone know for sure how lace tokens were used in Great Britain in the 1700s?I have read theories that the tokens were given in lieu of governmental coinage due to a coin shortage, but…Continue

Started by Laurie Elliott. Last reply by Laurie Waters May 13.

Mystery technique 6 Replies

Someone has contacted the New England Lace Group to ask for help identifying the technique used to make a shawl, the fiber used and how best to repair it. The first problem is actually figuring out…Continue

Started by Jill Hawkins. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Feb 10.

History of Lacemaking 3 Replies

A friend has been asked to make a presentation about the history of lacemaking. She asked about reference books for her preparation.  My suggestion is An Early Lace Workbook by Rosemary…Continue

Started by Sally Olsen. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jan 31.

Identification of two pieces of lace 27 Replies

My sister-in-law bought two pieces of lace while in Bize (southern France). She wants me to identify them. I assumed to start with that they are machine made, but I've looked carefully at them and…Continue

Started by Jo Edkins. Last reply by Jo Edkins Oct 13, 2019.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Identification-History to add comments!

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 20, 2020 at 7:14pm

Karen - I really like your Cardinals in Winter. The various colors in the twigs makes believable bark.

Devon - Your Dutch piece from May 13 is interesting. These dense cloth stitch edgings are similar to work in CAROLUSKANTJES. They do appear to be straight laces. I looked to see if there were sewings connecting the footside section to the head side section. But I'm not sure I'm seeing that. It looks like the weaver in many places goes on from the footside to the headside. Whether they were made as freehand lace is impossible to determine, but it could be.

Your piece of May 14 is interesting. I have seen a very early tape lace with a straight tape folded when it changes direction, at the Art Institute of Chicago. That it has needle lace fillings is typical of that type. When I first saw it, many years ago, I wanted to believe that that kind of working method was an invention of the 19th century attempts to make lace faster. But your example, and the one I saw at the AI just prove that lace makers are ingenious at figuring out ways to prevent us from rigid thinking. I would not venture to suggest a date.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 15, 2020 at 2:49pm

Kim- I look forward to seeing the photos of the lace piece. 

Thanks for the tip about Mailander Spitze. It has some very interesting old lace in it, including a piece made with the tally like tapes. It is in the collection in Gandino. I didn't see anything resembling the most recent mystery tape, the one with both diagonal and straight lines, but maybe  I missed it. 

Comment by Kimberly Davis on May 14, 2020 at 8:41pm

Devon, Do  you have Mailander Spitze auf neuen Wegen?  It is a DKV book. From the outside it looks like it is just going to be modern Milanese. Inside, it has a few pieces of old Milanese where the braid is like this.  Granted, the fillings are all made by bobbin and do not have any needle lace stitches.  They are dating the 1600's.

Comment by Kimberly Davis on May 14, 2020 at 8:21pm

In regards to yesterday's piece, the most similar item I have found is from the Karelian Isthmus.    The laces were sturdy and used to decorate aprons.  I find this to be part of the problem in looking for the sturdier laces: they were used on utilitarian objects of non-nobles, and likely wore out and were  discarded, for the most part.  

In the book, the researcher states they only used CTC and CTCT.  I have found this repeated over and over when talking about older laces, IE, there was no half stitch.  We do not find half stitch, per se, in the older laces.  But, I am not sure that means they did not know it "could" be made. These laces needed to be very sturdy and half stitch that was not compacted would really not have held up well. 

The author also does not show the original samples, only her own.  Her own are clearly made in a modern lace makers mindset.  If you take a class from Gil Dye, Rosemary Shephard or myself you will hear us all saying the same thing; you need to get out of your modern mindset.  I am going to see if I can track down the original photos from the museum the samples.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 14, 2020 at 3:29pm

I have encountered this piece. It was listed in the catalogue of sale as Milanese and implies an Italian origin. I think I would consider it Mezzo Punto since it is largely needle lace worked with premade tape. The tape is very interesting. It is different than the plaited tape that we were earlier discussing because on close examination it has not only diagonal threads but also ones that are at right angles to the edge of the tape. So, possibly some kind of half stitch braid?
The workmanship is very fine. For some reason, I assumed it was Flemish, possibly due to the tulips, but I haven’t found anything like it on the Rijksmuseum data base. I don’t know of a similarly comprehensive data base in an Italian Museum.
Has anyone ever seen anything like this? Ideas?

Comment by Devon Thein on May 14, 2020 at 2:53pm

Regarding Kim's comment on Chris Vail's comment on how to work a wide plait. Years ago I wrote an article about the Giant Plait in which I hypothesized that the plait was worked from the inside out to each side to facilitate tensioning. I suggest that you all go and rip the article out of your Bulletin and dispose of it because I think Christ Vail's way of doing the plait is more likely. Kim points out that she hasn't found too many examples of working from the inside out but that she has found examples of working from the outside in, as in the Miao braid. I am sure she is right because she has been studying this for a long time. But, I think what Chris is descibing is different. I think she is describing a process where you work twist cross with the first two pairs on the left. Then you put those two pairs aside and you work twist cross with the next two pairs. This is a movement somewhat comparable to when you work the alternate row in Point de Paris where you work distinct groups of two all the way across. Then, in Chris's method, you work again, distinct twos across, but they are using the alternative pairs from the row above. In fact, when I did it, I worked the twos across to the right, and worked the alternate twos back to the left. This allows you to always work straight across and accommodates tensioning, as opposed to when you do TC across as in our usual way of working which results in the work taking on a diagonal slant. I am not sure I have explained this very well. In fact, I am not sure that I am correctly stating Kim's viewpoint. 

Thanks to Kim for offering to look through the Freehand lace books. I look forward to seeing what you discover. 

Comment by Kimberly Davis on May 13, 2020 at 10:27pm

Beautiful piece, Karen.

Devon, regardless of what else it may be called, I would definitely classify this as a freehand lace.  It is an interesting piece on the evolutionary chain with both CTC as we know it, and plaiting technique.  Laces that are made with heavier thread and with this esthetic are still alive and well further north in Europe.  I have heard them referred to as peasant lace, sometimes.   I have several books from various areas still making freehand lace.   I will look through tomorrow to see if any of them have similarity in technique or pattern.

Comment by Karen Thompson on May 13, 2020 at 6:23pm

I have enjoyed making the CT braid for many years, like in this Cardinals in Winter I designed and made in the 1980s. I just had no idea it was an early lace technique. It is quick, easy to tension, lays flat and is fun with colors.  

Comment by Karen Thompson on May 13, 2020 at 6:21pm

Comment by Laurie Waters on May 13, 2020 at 4:38pm

Talk to Frieda Sorber about this, she's the expert on early Nederlands laces.


Translate This Site



Created by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jan 19, 2012 at 7:07pm. Last updated by Lorelei Halley Administrator Dec 9, 2014.


Created by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jan 19, 2012 at 7:29pm. Last updated by Lorelei Halley Administrator Sep 2, 2014.

How to Post a Long Article

Created by Lorelei Halley Administrator Mar 7, 2013 at 4:47pm. Last updated by Lorelei Halley Administrator Mar 7, 2013.


Created by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jan 19, 2012 at 6:58pm. Last updated by Lorelei Halley Administrator Dec 20, 2012.

How to embed a video on the IOLI site

Created by Tatman Jan 25, 2012 at 3:26pm. Last updated by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jan 25, 2012.






Other Events

Laurie Waters has a very substantial EVENTS list on lacenews.   

EU Cookie Directive

© 2020   Created by Lorelei Halley Administrator.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service