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: 139
Latest Activity: Sep 10

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 Devon Thein on September 8, 2020 at 2:04pm

It is quite coarse. The size is 24 inches across. Do you think it was fashioned into a cape in the 19th century? If so, wouldn't the border of stacked arches have been added then? Would it qualify as Coraline? I would like to know more about the Spanish production. Do you have a reference I could look at? 

Thank  you so much for your input!

Comment by Laurie Waters on September 8, 2020 at 1:19pm

This is one of my favorite needlelaces and I have a lot of it in my collection. The cloth is done in a knotted stitch, which is still perfectly understandable as a needlelace stitch. You can find it in Gros Point too.  (There's nothing you can't learn about needlelace by studying a good piece of Gros Point). Here there is no raised work in the cordonnet, which puts it in the class of probably later 17th c flat points. There's a discussion going on as to whether this was ever made in Italy, or somewhere else. Coarser examples like this are often attributed to England. Copies of Gros Point were made in England (see Levey figure 240), and often you find intitals or dates in both the flat and raised variations. 
What you look for in pieces like this is 
1. fineness or coarseness of the thread
2. How the lower border is treated (simple picoted single circles, stacked arches like in your piece, actual motifs along the edge, or no treatment at all. 
3. Type of design. Since these developed in the period of the gros points, many have similar designs (like your last piece below), but with no raised work. Others have a type of vertical symmetry similar to contemporary Point de France, but on a much coarser scale (like  your second to last piece). Others have a scrolling repeat pattern, often with motifs that are so heavily stylized it is difficult to tell what they are.  Yours seems to be of this last type with smaller motifs probably imitating Flemish bobbinlace.  
English needlelace must not be ignored, and was apparently well known in the late 17th c (also the more geometric van dyke things earlier in the century). The industry seem to have been located around London. Early in the 18th century they gave this all up and switched to hollie point, either working pieces alone, or as fillings for tape lace.  
There was also a big effort along this line in Spain at the same time done in convents.
There's lots of work to be done in identifying this kind of lace (which is why I'm collecting so much of it). But one thing to remember, if you find a large, intact piece, hold it up to the light and look through it.  It is absolutely amazing how it comes alive, mainly because the better pieces experimented extensively with different kinds of stitches.

Comment by Devon Thein on September 8, 2020 at 10:42am

I have encountered a strange needle lace. The cloth areas seem to be made with corded twisted buttonhole stitches, which is unusual. Also the edges of the motifs are not raised. I have been looking for other examples of this and have found two. Does anyone have any idea where and when it was made and what you would call it? 

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti on June 4, 2020 at 10:30pm

As I understand it, the Punto in Aria is worked with the needle thread laying the outline - as you go- and doing the filling stitches, whereas the "Other way" (which is the way I prefer to work!) is to couch down an outline first, and then do the filling stitches separately. 

Whatever - the final outcome looks very much the same!!  I love your photos of these lace pieces, Devon. Thank you for them - they are so clear, and one can see the separate stitches etc.  I am No scholar, but I am enjoying the conversation!

Comment by Devon Thein on June 4, 2020 at 2:51pm

Reticella was worked on a framework of threads from a woven fabric. Workers began to make diagonal support threads across the woven framework and to work on either side of those support threads. Afterward support threads were laid without the woven framework. Buttonhole stitches were worked on these, working outward from an interior skeletal thread and this is called punto in aria. At a certain point, workers began to lay threads to surround the design area and to fill these areas with needle lace stitches, including more decorative ones. In the later case, was the lace still called punto in aria, or is there another name for it? Does it make a difference if the lace was worked from an interior support thread out, or filling in exterior laid threads, or is the basic style the determinant of whether something is punto in aria? Here are some examples. The first three look like classic punto in aria to me. The last three have areas that look like they might be filled, principally because the needle lace stitches are not solid. Would the last three be punto in aria?

Comment by Laurie Waters on May 25, 2020 at 7:34pm

Regarding Genoa knock-offs, look carefully at the Sansepolcro industry, they did a lot of that kind of work. Heather Toomer and I are translating the book "Ginna Marcelli e il Merletto di Sansepolcro' published 1996, based on a few things we have just discovered.

Comment by Helen Bell on May 25, 2020 at 6:44pm

Hmmm.  Will have to do some research, as I don't remember which book or thesis I read about it in.  It may even have been a paper or document I found on the web.  I don't think there's very much info about it though.

I wonder if Pat Earnshaw's reference to 'snail's head pattern' is a reference to to early Honiton and the Honiton 'slugs'.

Comment by Devon Thein on May 25, 2020 at 3:46pm

Also, Pat Earnshaw refers to something called a "snail's head pattern" illustrating this term with a photo that looks a bit like these laces. Does anyone know what she means by "snail's head" in this context? I have never heard the term before. 

Comment by Devon Thein on May 25, 2020 at 3:41pm

Do you know of anything I could read about the Genoa knock off industry of older styles? 

Comment by Helen Bell on May 25, 2020 at 3:28pm

Your interesting thread transfer looks awfully like a fat plait, which we use in Beds all the time, and you do see it in the old Beds.  It's a very convenient way to move a group of threads from one place to another.

Lorelei's piece below almost looks like the edge was added at a later date, as it seems to have a different 'vibe'/style to it.  I'd also argue that close inspection could reveal a different level of workmanship, supporting the theory of multiple workers (lacemakers).

Is it possible/plausible that it's a knock off from the 1800's?  I know Genoa had quite an industry going at that time that was essentially a 'knock off' industry of the older styles.  The quality of the work and consistency of the square tallies/cucumbers shows some skill and attention to workmanship.

Fascinating piece.


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