Back in the 1990, my mom was browsing in an antique shop in a small town in MD.  She saw this tablecloth, but it didn't have a price tag.  She took it to the man working at the register, and asked for a price.  He, too, could not find a price tag on it, so he said, "$65."  Mom agreed to the price, and he rang up the purchase.  As he was completing the sale, his wife came in, saw what he had done, and got quite upset.  She claims to have paid much more for it, having gotten it  from an older woman going into an assisted living situation.

I did not know that Mom had the tablecloth, she has never used it.  When I told her I was teaching myself to tat, she claimed to have a tatted tablecloth.  When I visited her next, she brought it out to show me, and told me the story of how she got it.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was not tatted, or crocheted, or hardanger.  I had never seen anything like it before.  As I left to return home that evening, the tablecloth came home with me, a spur of the moment gift. 

I am currently taking the Thistle Threads class "Cabinet of Curiosities," and they also have a ning site, so I posted photos to see if anyone there recognized what technique it was, and the general consensus was Filet Lace.  One women even suggested that it was hand knotted.  Having just discovered and joined this site (thank you Lorelei for the warm welcome) I thought I would share the photos with you.  If the netting is indeed hand knotted, how do you know the difference between hand and machine made? Lace making is new to me, so any help is greatly welcomed.

Donna

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Comment by Lorelei Halley on September 28, 2015 at 9:46pm

Yes, I agree that it is filet lacis. The question about hand knotted vs machine made is a sticky one. This lace is a little different in that regard. Personally, I have a problem figuring out how a machine could make a knotted lace which exactly duplicates the knot of the hand made version. It involves putting a needle inside a small loop and letting go the needle to move it to its next position. I have heard lace makers whose other opinions I respect say that a machine could exactly copy the hand made knot and that they are indistinguishable. I persist in being doubtful about that.

There is a form of lace made on a woven fabric that has large spaces between the threads, producing a pattern of holes similar to the hand knotted mesh, except that the junctions are not knotted but woven, as any fabric is woven. This form even has a name of its own: Buratto. So Buratto is hand embroidered on a machine made foundation. I fail to see what would be the point of making machine knotted base foundation when a woven form already exists.

Both Buratto and filet lacis look the same when seen from a distance. The embroidery stitches used are the same. You have to get close enough to see the knots or woven junctions to be able to tell them apart.

So for your piece, my verdict is hand knotted net with the standard embroidery stitches used in filet. A lovely piece, whatever the label.

For comparison purposes -- 

http://lynxlace.com/filetlacistenerife.html 

https://www.pinterest.com/lynxlacelady/filet-lacis/ 

http://needlelacetalk.ning.com/photo/albums/filet-lacis (This album includes some Buratto.)

Lorelei

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