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: Jun 26

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

Strange mesh 3 Replies

Does anyone recognize this lace? My first thought was Lille, but the design is a little off, more like 19th c Valenciennes. Maybe Valenciennes with a round-hole mesh? But Val isn't known for the…Continue

Started by Laurie Waters. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jun 26.

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.

Comment Wall


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

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.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 13, 2020 at 4:22pm

What would we call the lace in these photographs? It is Dutch, 17th century bobbin lace. Is there another phrase that would further describe it or describe how it is made? Is it Freehand lace? If you were looking for this lace what words would you put into a search mechanism? Is there a book that deals with this kind of lace that I could read?

It is a very interesting lace structurally, with more rows on the head side than on the foot side. 

Comment by Kimberly Davis on May 13, 2020 at 2:56pm

Yes, I also saw her comment, and I also agree.  I am trying to find my comment in our discussion, but can not, regarding the braid being worked inward or outward.  She is talking about the same thing I was.  This is the basis of the Miao braids that are similar to bobbin lace.    But, you can work this way either towards the middle, or towards the outside.  I have not noticed any moving outward in giant plaits up until this point, but they could just be more difficult to spot.  Also, we have not seen hundreds of pieces yet, as we have with other techniques. 

My samples are coming along, but not quite done yet.


Comment by Devon Thein on May 13, 2020 at 2:33pm

I heard from Chris Vail via arachne. She described a way of making a wide plait which I tried and I think she is right. .Picture below.

She wrote:

I haven't gone through the entire Ning discussion, ,so apologies if this is

not pertinent, but... in the early (16th C) lace, there are braids made

entirely of TC and you can make them as wide as you like depending on the

number of pairs. They can be made center-pointed by changing the order of

pairs used.


Where typically (especially those of us trained on Torchon :D ) we work

left to right or vice versa in neat sequence (i.e. work pair one through

all pairs before returning to the starting side), for a pointed TC braid

you work pr 1+2, pr 3+4, pr 5+6 (for a 6 pair braid), then work 2+3, 4+5,

and repeat these 2 rows to length required. When ready to end, then work

only 3+4. This will give your point, and is surprisingly easy to keep the

whole braid in tension at this point. I won't swear this is how your braid

is made, but it an option. You can modify this to work in a more typical

diagonal fashion, but while I can do it I'm not sure I can describe it - it

basically is just, as you work for the point you do not work successive

pairs at the end i.e. 1-6, then 1-5, then 1-4, etc.


Don't know if that helps or not. the long tallies look a lot like my

regular tallies - the straight parts are easy to tension, it's getting neat

points that always messes me up :D

Comment by Laura Sandison on May 8, 2020 at 3:46pm

Yes! This is what I'm finding. With so many pairs hung in, it really is a nice diagonal cloth. I'm really supposed to be cleaning, so I'll photograph in a bit and send it on. Looks a lot like yours, Devon! I've stuck some of those picots on the sides of different areas to try them out. 1 thread is all it takes and I pull the 2nd from the left or right and drop it back in on the worker's return trip. Keeps it laying a little flatter.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 8, 2020 at 2:50pm

I think Kim is really on to something. I did TC across and it forms a nice plait no matter how many pairs you have. Arguably you could say TC all the way across is "compressed half stitch". I only went in one direction with the worker always starting on the left side. I started with four pairs and gradually increased to 8. 

Then I tried to transition into the ground, and Kim is correct that this is an easy transition. I had a photo of a part of the Giant Plait lace where there is a transition from plait to ground in front of me. I did this by doing a CTC on the pairs I wanted in the ground.  My work was not that even. 

One issue that I find is that CT results in you always working in a slant. I think there must be some way to also work partial rows in the opposite direction in order to make a chevron type transition into the ground. All the transitions between plait and gound on the Giant Plait piece seem to be chevron like, whereas in my method it would make more sense to have it be a diagonal line across. I did try to work in the opposite direction when doing the ground, but my tension isn't very good, so it isn't a very good test of the concept. 

Comment by Laura Sandison on May 7, 2020 at 9:04pm

Lorelei, I'm working on it, but have unexpected (ick) company dropping by tomorrow so have to actually clean a bit. I'm doing it scaled up, to see the movement of thread. Also, we need to remember these have been washed and used quite a bit.

Kim, the Miao braiding is the work I was thinking of. There is a name for it in other terms. My friend, Pam, in Santa Fe has a business selling their work. Her stand is very old and elegant. I covet it so! On occasion she has braids or articles with braids/laces on them. Her website for contact is

Comment by Kimberly Davis on May 7, 2020 at 8:07pm

I've got a colored one on my pillow to work on tonight.  Too much museum paperwork during the day!

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 7, 2020 at 7:57pm

It would be nice if some enterprising person might work up samples of these various possible weaves in order to compare the historic piece with modern samples. Like proving the theory.


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