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: 105
Latest Activity: May 7

Examples + Resources


Bobbin lace    antiquebobbinlace     bobbinlace3     Needle lace    needlelace2 

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

My antique lace boards on Pinterest 

My collection of boards on Pinterest

Tatting     tatting2   tatting3      

Embroidery on tulle-needlerun      Embroidery on tulle-tambour        Carrickmacross  

Filet lace    filetlace2    filetlace3   filet lace4    Buratto 

Sol lace   sollace2   sol lace3

Knitted lace    knittedlace2     Crochet lace        Irish crochet lace      IrishCrochet2      

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)   

I don't know how this machine relates to the Barmen or Rascheel (or other machine)

Bobbin tape lace  bobbin tape lace 2   

Mixed tape lace-machinetape      Romanian needlepoint lace  

For recognizing Swedish bobbin lace:




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

Help with Needlepoint Lace ID 16 Replies

HI All,I have recently acquired this wonderful lace collar which I believe is a needle or needlepoint lace. Even though I have purchased 3 books on lace ID(which I love by the way)  I often become…Continue

Started by Jill Schwartz. Last reply by Administrator Feb 15.

Lace Maps 3 Replies

I thought it might be useful to post a map of part of the lace making world. This google map shows part of modern Belgium. The red balloon i the town of Mechelen/Mechlin/Malines. It is haflway…Continue

Tags: Mechlin, lace history, lace identification

Started by Administrator. Last reply by Administrator Feb 11.

Lace Collar~ Totally Lost 13 Replies

I am hoping to learn more about this gorgeous lace collar. I am so impressed when I see the color markings on other posts by admin. I am also so impressed by the amount of knowledge on this amazing…Continue

Tags: collar, lace, antique

Started by Lorene. Last reply by Administrator Jan 10.

Hoping for some help identifying this piece 11 Replies

Hi, I was hoping for some help regarding the type of lace this is. I was also hoping that I might find out it's age and origin. Thank you all so very much. I have learned so much already just reading…Continue

Started by Lorene. Last reply by Helen Bell Jan 8.

Comment Wall


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

Comment by Paula Harten on January 27, 2012 at 1:06am

I made a bookmark using the holes.  Are these images close enough? hole with cross and open hole  The colors spoil the design, but do show the progression of the threads.

Comment by Paula Harten on January 26, 2012 at 5:43pm

Now for the Pre-Columbian lace from Spiro, OK.  This image Imaging Spiro lace  shows the whole artifact in its plexiglass case.  Unfortunately, someone had glued the lace to a backing before they were able to preserve many of the artifacts.

The next photo Locating microscope images shows the process I had to go through to organize some of the best images.  It would have been better to set up a grid and be systematic about taking the photos and microscope images.  this lace is in the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, OK.

I used the Nikon DSLR to get close images of various areas of the lace.  It was not easy to get good images through the plexiglass. This one shows the relationship of all the elements in the lace: the ground, open holes, twined band and holes with a cross.  Note the 5 pairs entering the holes from R and L and two ground pairs passing between the holes.  The ground pairs pass through the twined band.  Note the hole with a cross closest to the band is actually started above the band.

The microscope image here Corner of large hole shows an upper right side of a large hole where five pairs come together and then begin leaving, one at a time, along the side.

I made many versions in my attempt to recreate what I saw in the photos, using a bobbin lace pillow and bobbins.  This is one Recreation of Spiro lace that is not exactly right ( I took a pair out before bringing in all 5 on the right) but it is the way I would have done it if I had been them☺

One last picture for those of you who do not gat the bulletin - Spiro lace recreation in red  The historical textile specialists say the textiles were colorful and red was one of the colors.

This lace is, unarguably, not beautiful, but it is moderately complex.  In any case, it is a piece of history most of us had never seen or heard about.

Comment by Administrator on January 26, 2012 at 5:31pm

You got the link function to work exactly right, Paula.

Comment by Paula Harten on January 26, 2012 at 5:03pm

I think I am doing this right.  This is a photo of the  Chancay  gauze in the museum here in Oregon.  Another photo Chancay bird is a close-up of that piece.

Comment by Administrator on January 26, 2012 at 2:18pm

A question came up on one of my photos about the distinction between Duchesse and Bruges Bloomwork.  So I thought I'd post a link here to that comment.

Comment by Beth Schoenberg on January 26, 2012 at 3:05am

Oh, thank you, Paula, I for one would love to see them in the Photos here!  "Outtakes," extras, and all!  I don't subscribe to The Bulletin at the moment (long story ... intercontinental moves ... husbands with killer diseases ... unemployment of self & assorted kids ... grumblemutter ...), so I have to find someone here who gets it who might lend me their copy.  Kudos to you for tackling such a project!  Sometimes it's really good to brake to a screaming halt & take a weird sideways turn.  I hope you ended up with something really good from it?  It sounds fascinating.

As a collector, I'm working up to investing in at least a small piece of Chancay gauze to add to my lace collection.  It's gonna be awhile before I get there.  I've been very curious about what other lace-makers and lace collectors think of these textiles.  I haven't yet had the time to investigate much more than what I've referenced above, and I'm not a weaver (or acquainted with the technologies), but the product made in the Chancay Culture looks close enough to meet my interests.

I have to confess that I, too, prefer a more generous definition of "lace", one that includes unconventional "fibers", scale, and end uses -- though I was only half-joking about including "practical uselessness" as part of the definition.  OK, OK, "ornamental", maybe, instead of "useless."   :-D

... And I know exactly what you mean, Devon, about pitying the folks who make "so many textiles that are not lacelike."  I'm passionate about making needle lace -- but I battle a little temptation every time I see a really good quilt show -- or museum-quality blown glass -- or really excellent artisan jewelry ... I'm up to needing about 18 lifetimes, at least. 

Well said, Patty.  Especially that last paragraph.  It reminds me of what G. K. Chesterton once said (wrote?):  "There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds."    :-D                                         

Comment by Patty Dowden on January 25, 2012 at 2:37pm

Well, there are well-defined laces with long histories and because they were intended to be lace and are made in a certain way that are accepted as lace.  I think the principal distinction of lace is that it is ornament.  So any stringy thing with holes for the purpose of ornament makes the cut for lace with me.

My personal  description of my infatuation with all things lace I call "string and a hole." No holes, no lace. The string can be any thread or long, flexible material or perforated material.  The method can be bobbin lace, macrame, tatting, knitting, crochet, sprang, naalbinding (The Lace Museum in Sunnyvale, CA has a drop dead gorgeous shawl in delicate open-work naalbinding.)  or anything else that fits the description that I haven't seen yet.

The further you get from the well-defined historical western laces, the more ambiguous the term lace gets, but I think that ornamental textiles (strings!) with incorporated spaces is as limited as I can get.  So my ideas about lace are rather accepting.

One cannot usually master every different kind of ornamental strings and holes and a lace organization has to respect the knowledge and the skills of the people who they call upon to help develop the skills of their members.  But I can't help thinking that looking at lace as a closed subject is a loss.  An organization that loses its focus, soon ceases to be an organization.  But there should be a little wiggle room for the odd, peculiar, spare and strange.

Lace is art and art has the bad habit of transforming itself every so often, especially when we start to think we know exactly what it is.  I think that part of the charm of lace is its elusiveness.

Comment by Administrator on January 25, 2012 at 2:35pm

Paula: it would probably be best to put your photos into our general PHOTO section, and then add another comment box here with links to the photos. (Use the link button above this box--2st one).  If the photos were yours originally, you still own the copyright and can put wherever you want.  Sometimes photos which are put directly into a comment box become distorted -- the length and width ratios don't remain the same.  I don't know why it happens, I've written to ning but they haven't solved the problem.  But if you post the image into PHOTOS first, the distortion doesn't happen.

Comment by Paula Harten on January 25, 2012 at 2:24pm

I am not sure where to jump in on this discussion.  Perhaps, for those who do not receive the IOLI Bulletin, I could put up some photos, since they are mine.  Should I attach them here or in the main photo area?  I would like to share some that were not in the Bulletin.  Thank you to those who have been interested.

As to the discussion of  Chancay lace, I have referenced a book I own, "Textiles of ancient Peru and Their Techniques"  by   Raoul D'Harcourt.  This book shows examples of PreColumbian Peruvian textiles using nearly all the lace techniques of today.  The techniques for doing the gauze are not definitely known.  D'H. makes a  guess, but modern Guatemalan women do it differently, according to the editor.  I guess the warp threads are fixed to create the tension needed. The warp is twisted before and after the weft, but can return to plain weave, unlike in sprang. The animals, such as the birds on the piece I have photographed here in Oregon, are embroidered around the netting and open spaces created in the weaving,

My personal definition of lace is much like Pat Earnshaw's in her dictionary of lace.  I would include wire or other fibers in the fabric that must have holes that form an essential part of the design and made by special movements of the fibers.  This is why I tackled the recreation of the lace found in Spiro, OK.  Even though I have no way of knowing whether they created a pillow and used "pins" or it was made by manipulating the threads hanging on a frame, I wanted to know the "special movements of the fibers"  Gee - should have put that in the article!  I will never be finished with this project, I guess.

If the members are interested, I will put some photos of the Chancay gauze and the Spiro lace up tomorrow.  I am putting them in an acceptable format.

Comment by Devon Thein on January 23, 2012 at 10:34am

The article, which is well-researched shows an image of a Chancay gauze weaving, but deals more with a textile found in Spiro Mound, which is in Oklahoma. The writer recreates, using bobbins, the textile which is preserved in the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The textile looks like a torchon ground with holes in it and is at an archeaolgical site of the Mississippian culture, which is pre-Columbian.

It seems to me that the Spiro textile has to have been made without a fixed warp. It is unclear to me whether the Chancay gauze is made without a fixed warp. With a term as unclear as "lace", I suppose one cannot become too picky, but personally, I like to leave fixed warp weaving of open work textiles to weavers to gush over because I pity them for making so many textiles that are not lacelike. But that is just my personal eccentricity.


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