Granny’s lace

I was tidying my sewing room last night and I really should do it more often because I found a fascinating treasure in the bottom of a drawer.  A bag full of yards of different types of lace.  My grandmother’s lace.

My father’s mother died a few years ago and during her life created many beautiful things in needlepoint and embroidery.  I’m sure she knitted and sewed too as did so many of her generation.  however she hadn’t sewn for a long time so parts of this collection are probably several decades old.  The above picture shows the bulk of the collection, some of which is in relatively good condition.

In the picture below you can see the two pieces in the worst condition.  The upper has long shattered sections interspersed by stretches that are intact.  The lower is less broken but very very stained and fragile, though you can still see some of the original colour.

There are different weights and types of lace here and they feel like they were for garments of some sort or other.  From the feel of it there isn’t a nasty nylon amongst them and one or two feel positively silky.

I have just found the name of a museum textile conservator who I hope will willing and able to advise me whether it is possible to restore any of it.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to use it one day?

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14 Responses to Granny’s lace

  1. Jennifer says:

    Ooo, what a lovely collection! How special that they were your grandmother’s! I do hope the conservator can offer some advice.

    • Thanks Jennifer and I’m rather looking forward to talking to the conservator. She sounded very professional on the phone and it will be very interesting to see what can be done, how old the lace is and so on. I’ll keep my fingers crossed about the broken pieces too, though I’m not terribly hopeful, sadly.

  2. Claire says:

    You’re lucky to have inherited all these laces. Amazing to think that your grandmother had amassed all that! She must have had big ideas for crafting at one point. Now it’s your turn to incorporate lace into your sewing and crafts. Thanks for sharing this unique hidden treasure with your readers!

  3. GORGEOUS! I’ve restored vintage/antique lace with a good soak in Biz or Oxyclean, but a lot depends on how fragile it is. If you have small scraps with beautiful detailing, you might want to clean them up and frame them in rows (like a sampler). I’ve seen historical collections done that way.

    And yes, the invention of nylon — while a marvelous fabric in many ways — spelled the beginning of the end for lace. *sigh*

    • Thanks for the tip about Biz or Oxyclean – I’ll look them up to find out what the equivalent it here. The sturdier heavier cotton kinda macrame pieces will be fine what that I expect. There are several gorgeous little pieces I’d love to put into a sampler of some sort too so great idea about framing it. I’ll keep my eyes open for a suitable frame now…

      PS I have some awful nylon stuff lurking in my drawer too. I am hopeful that one day it’ll just disappear and go live with the left socks or something.

  4. What a treasure! Maybe you already know that heirloom sewists often age their lace in coffee and tea before sewing. I’m wondering if the discolored pieces can be “aged” to give them a uniform look. Good luck!

    • I have read about aging lace and other textiles with tea and had thought about it for some of these pieces. I have contacted a conservator from the national museum here so hopefully she’ll be able to help. Can’t wait to see if the more raggedy bits can be salvaged.

  5. Kalina says:

    It’s so beautiful! I would very interested to know more about how it can be restored, looking forward to what the textile conservator will say!

  6. Wow, what a beautiful find both from the things you found and the fact that they were yours grandmother´s collection. Wonderful!

    • Hiya – yes it makes me smile but I do wish I had ‘found’ it all before now. I suspect the bag has been sitting in my drawer for, ahem, years. Granny won’t be too impressed with that, let me tell you!

  7. StephC says:

    Ooooh! Pretty, pretty pretty lace! Thanks for sharing. I like the wheely one the best.

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