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 now I'm not sure! I know a bit about English lace, but this is presumably Mainland Europe. Or machine-made, of course... I've had a look at Pat Earnshaw's book on identification of lace and it wasn't much help.

I'm going to post hi-res photos - ask me for more if quality not good enough. I'm going to post them one at a time, and make comments for each. (This is in case uploads go wrong - I don't want to have to keep redoing uploading large photos!)

First, small scale photo of piece 1 (the rest are better quality - honest!) This is to show pattern. It's two pieces sewn together.

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I still think that the bits you think are twisted are really plaits. The one that I put a red circle round shows the different elements of the plait. There isn't a pinhole in the middle (but I think these nets weren't always worked with pins) and the threads aren't even. I don't know why - whether it was made with uneven tension of threads, or whether it's been distorted with use. But I think it's this unevenness which makes it look weird. If one (or two) thread from one side got tugged straight, that would distort the plait, so some threads look as if they're going more upwards, and some side to side.  But in the one which I outlined, you can see the individual threads go over and under each other.

You do have the actual lace. Carefully separating some thread at the end of the lace may make a determination possible. Working from a photograph has its limits. This has been an interesting discussion.

Sorry for the gap. The ends were hemmed, and two pieces sewn together, so I had to undo that. In fact I cut the ends off finally! Here is the result. I tried to fray a bit of the net, and not other bits. It's all too small to satisfactorily separate threads and know what I'm doing. Still the photo shows something interesting. See the area pointed to by the arrow. I think that's a plait! Hence Mechlin...

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