Friday, 25 July 2014

Discovering a Past Hobby_Lace

Cleaning out my Grandfather's linen closet, which contained far more than just linen, and far more linen than was necessary, we discovered a pile of lace work and embroidery, neatly folded and in dire need of a long soak in Napisan. Piling these (and every doily I could find around the house) into a big Ikea bag, we took them home for the required clean and iron. While some of them are in remarkably good condition, some remain a little stained and most require some form of darning. In addition, all with tassels need the tassels to be softened and combed flat. 

To the best of Jocelyn's recollection, most of these pieces were created by her grandmother, Granddad's mum, in the days before TV, when she would spend the evening listening to the wireless, her fingers occupied with these pieces. Looking at some of the pieces more closely, she wondered how many had actually been made instead by her mother. 

Soaking, Washing, Ironing and Photographing them, I was able to take them to my Grandfather and he was able to provide the provenance of many of the pieces, enabling them to be appropriately identified and catalogued in preparation for the time when they would eventually be given new homes where they would provoke memories of these talented, long deceased women. 

Below is, as my sister said, an auction-house style list of the pieces we did find, and the information I could collect on each one. 

A square cotton tablecloth with triangular lace inserts, and cutouts in each corner. The cutouts are shaped to look like a bunch of roses and stems of leaves in a fluted vase. The whole piece is then edged with a zigzag border of lace and hung with tassels. The tassels are badly tangled and there may be a few that have come off. It just requires a little time and patience to improve. 
Possibly made by Assunta Morello, with the assistance of her cousin. Assunta's cousin used to make lace for weddings and Assunta would assist. Pieces for Assunta would sometimes be made from the left overs. 

A Rectangular cotton tablecloth with what appears to be a stylised chrysanthemum in the centre (upside down in the below photo) and in each corner. Chrysanthemum's are one of Granddad's favourite flowers. A few of the joining stitches have come apart but these will be easy to tack together again. Possibly a few small tears in the cotton, but nothing too serious.

A square mesh-style lace tablecloth in cream and white with alternating patterns. The edges are scalloped and leaf-like embroidery has been added to the top to provide patterns to the solid white triangles.

A square cotton cord lace table cloth with scalloped edging. A little mending is required just to reconnect some of the parts of the pattern and fix the edging, but nothing major. 

One of three cotton pillowcases, very plain with just a simple drawn thread border. 
Made by Assunta Morello

A square lace table cloth with a tasselled edge and 3D roses throughout. This table cloth used to sit on the round table in the corner of Granddad's sun room under his air con unit. It is rather beautiful but as the photos indicate, this one requires a considerable amount of darning. My guess is that this is due to the heaviness of the lace and the fragility of the old thread. If this is the case, it may become more damaged in the future. It is a beige colour.
Made by Assunta Morello

Two small tasselled doilies. These match the larger two below.
There is a collection of loose tassels that have been washed, but I don't know whether there are enough to match the number missing. These four pieces are all rather sturdy and barring the missing tassels appear to be in a very good condition despite being in constant use. They are beige in colour.
The tassels of all these pieces were made by Joseph Armarego. The pieces were all made by Assunta Morello

Four small coasters made from a form of tape lace (I think). Very sturdy and in good condition. They are beige in colour.
Made by Assunta Morello

My guess is this is a form of tape lace. It is a long table runner that originally sat on the glass topped table in Granddad's sun room. It has three large tassels at each end. This is beige in colour.
Made by Assunta Morello.

This piece is evident lying on the top of the table in this photo of Assunta with her eldest grandchildren.

Two oval doilies made in the same manner as the table runner above. They may have been used as a set. 
Made by Assunta Morello

A rather synthetic looking and feeling piece with synthetic 'silky' tassels.

Made from thin cotton with a delicate lace edge. In relatively good condition with possibly only a few light bits of darning required. It may be intended to go with the two circular lace doilies in the photo below as there is some similarities re. the detail in the border of the larger piece.

The green doilies are rather beautiful in their delicacy as they appear to be made from thread as opposed to tape and cord.
The green ones were made by Assunta Morello

A synthetic doily.

This one came to us still attached to a backing of pale pink tissue paper.

Made by Assunta Morello. The palm-like fronds of the 6 points and the way these are connected in to the centre is very typical of Assunta's style.

Made by Assunta Morello

A cord lace doily of a beige colour with the netting detail in white. 
Made by Assunta Morello

Two delicate cotton lace doilies of a mesh-like appearance with flowers.

Large round cotton doily.
Bought by Granddad in Malta.

Large beige square lace table cloth. Very detailed.
This may have been bought in Brussels/Bruge. (will update when I know).

Part 2: Hand Embroidered pieces.

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