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 Kimberly Davis on May 7, 2020 at 6:11pm

I am not familiar with the Trollen Wheel, I will have to investigate.  I have been studying all of the braiding techniques I could get my hands on for about 10 years.  The fastest way to get a flat braid, in my opinion, would be loop braiding.  This has the advantage that you only need one "holder" (bobbin, finger, tama, etc" for each two elements.  For a long time I envisioned cloth stitch coming out of weaving, but would be lying to say I have not pondered a connection between loops running in pairs, and bobbins running in pairs.  It could just as easily be co-incidence, but it is a thought I keep in mind.

There is a good deal of evidence suggesting early lace was worked  in the open method. 

When working in the mindset of a plait and not in CTC, TC, etc, one TC or CT would be a "cycle" in a braid.  My suspicion is that packed half stitch is part of  giant braid. 

When you follow through a giant braid, there are fairly straight places that you can see there are essentially alternating workers   When you get into the weeds of places they join, curves, etc, you start to see more of the packed half stitch.  I think the big hurdle is leaving the "CTC as our foundation" mindset.  I think that the half stitch is our foundation.  CT and CTCT  (or their reverse, TC, TCTC) are really the foundation of these laces.  When you think about them that way and leave CTC out of it, the strange joins, edgings and motifs tend to fall into place fairly naturally.

The wrench in all of this is if there are truly workers going across in diagonal weave.  It is REALLY hard to tell when you get in the weeds.  I have followed them through on various giant plait.   Sometimes it looks like there is a pair moving with the same pattern of over and under, and sometimes it just looks like on thread.  Working rows in TC,TC,TC winds up as compacted half stitch, with a diagonal weave, when tensioned.  In the earliest patterns we have not seen, so far,  half stitch areas resulting in open spaces, we only see CTCT resulting in open spaces.

It is my current working theory that this is the exact place stitches, as we know them, evolved.  Who knows when, where, with what pattern or whom.....but I think that in this process of thinking like a braider, these stitches evolved into some more akin to off loom weaving.   

Comment by Laura Sandison on May 7, 2020 at 5:17pm

Sorry I wasn't clear about where the diagonal weave comes from...not the Wiener Spitzen that Kim referenced. I've just seen it in older pieces for many years here and there. There are flat braids that can be made in many traditions: kumihimo, Italian laces (for lacing up clothing, ties for leather, etc.), Chinese braids (name escapes me), etc. They can be narrow with 3 up to wide with 100's. Some of the weaves rely on the diagonal for the pattern.  Also, in bobbin lace, a packed half stitch will appear diagonal as the worker is tensioned. It tends to pull the diagonal weavers to the surface, which is what we see in the old pieces that have been posted. 

Comment by Devon Thein on May 7, 2020 at 3:55pm

I have been looking at some mezzo punto. Mezzo punto is made using a premade tape, laying it in a shape, then filling and embellishing it with needle lace stitches. Based on previous Arachne conversations I had been going on the theory that the premade tapes were made using a small loom and represented a time saving effort. That made sense when the tape looked like that in the first photo. But, during today’s examination I realized that the tape which looked like a warp faced weave was actually a diagonal weave (second photo). Continuing my examination, I found another piece where the tape looked like it might even be different than the other two. (third photo) This one seemed to have diagonal and horizontal lines causing me to wonder about Laura’s enticing reference to compressed half stitch. I think the diagonal weave (2) may be in many other pieces. But how was this made? Is the only way to make it with bobbins? This seems very time consuming, but people did consume a lot of time back in the 17th century doing things like that. Thinking about Kim’s observations about braiding, I looked at a book on braiding and realized it might be possible to make a diagonal looking flat tape with a kumihimo device or a square device, possibly tablet (or card) weaving. Would this be faster than with bobbins? I also found some discussion about making braid on something called a “trollen wheel”, but this seems to be a discredited concept. Thoughts? Devon

Comment by Devon Thein on May 7, 2020 at 1:11pm

Laura could you give me the page number in Wiener Spitzen of the packed halfstitch.

Comment by Laura Sandison on May 7, 2020 at 9:44am

Devon, thank you for the enlargement of the piece. 

Comment by Laura Sandison on May 7, 2020 at 9:39am

Thanks for the reference to the Wiener Spitzen book, Kim. There are so many fun ones we can use as resources. 

As I look at the shapes, some are worked as tallies, some as packed half stitch. I'll be going down this road today instead of cleaning! I'm planning to work them in perl cotton to get the feel of this. 

Comment by Kimberly Davis on May 6, 2020 at 7:37pm

Yes!  Lia does talk about Ragusa lace.   I do not think I have read her article, though.  That would have jumped  out at me.   She was the person who first introduced me to leadwork.  I sought her out because I did not think the solution someone else was using was right, and I wanted her opinion.  She drew me a quick diagram, which I found later on to be in Practical Skills all along.  My realization, at that time, is that there are a number of things which are not accessible to English only speakers written on these topics. Since that time, I  have been more creative in looking for information.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 6, 2020 at 7:30pm

Recently Lia Baumeister wrote a piece for the IOLI Bulletin in which she mentioned Ragusa lace. Devon's photo posted yesterday looks superficially somewhat like Ragusa. Apparently no one know much about that type of lace. I have no idea if it is really relevant.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on May 6, 2020 at 7:26pm

Back in the mid 1980s I did a lot of research at the Art Institute of Chicago's Textile Department. I saw many laces called "Genoese" which had long long tallies acting as tapes, and many with tallies containing more than 2 pairs. But I don't have pictures.

Kim, I think your idea that early lace makers thought mostly in terms of braids and braiding is right on target. I agree.

Comment by Kimberly Davis on May 6, 2020 at 6:53pm


This is the cover of a book and a page that diagrams the technique of the giant tally.  I have also heard of this technique as leadwork.  Practical Skills in Bobbin lace has a diagram of similar things, as well. 

One of the things I have found is a lot of these techniques from early lace that we think died out are around in the fringes, but not widely practiced anymore. 

I have a few books like this where it appears most of the lace from a given area is from the revival era.  I know there were multiple revivals in many places, but I  am speaking of the period in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  It is really fun because I will pick up a book that I would not otherwise be interested in, but you see vestiges of the pieces that ladies were copying.

To be clear, this is not the technique Laura is talking about trying, she is looking at a giant plait.  Laura, do you have the article Devon wrote about the giant plait?  It is worth a read before reconstructing this. I am interested to see what you come up with, do post pics!

This is excellent timing for me to write a new article as I have just finished off the last project from the 5 year or so back up I experienced while so many around me died, and I am lucky to have kept my head above water.  I have my first book which went into final editing back in January, but my editor wound up catching covid, and we decided that with the pandemic going on we would take a little break.  This is the first project where it will actually be fresh and fun, and the timing is just too perfect!



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