New England
Lace Group

Jill Hawkins adventures

February 05, 2013 8:42 AM | Devon Thein

I must say that I am enjoying Jill's indefatiguable attempts to gain entrance into her local lace group. Bravo for becoming a vendor at the sold- out a year in advance lace day! That is really thinking outside the box. I hope she was able to buy a ticket for 2014. It seems as though it was enjoyable and worth it. Also, it would appear as though other lace societies are opening their secret doors under Jill's relentless pounding. But, like a well-crafted mystery, the hints and foreshadowing keep coming. What is this about the local group that has no common members with the other local group? I am sitting on the edge of my chair to find out more. Is this simply a matter of the inconvenient scheduling, and other structural barriers, or is there an historical rivalry, possibly a blood feud? Will the newcomer figure out the mystery? Will she have to start a new lace group for people who were not born in the towns around Olney, Bedford and Milton Keynes? Will she discover a secret cache of mimeographed newsletters in a hollow tree that explains it all? I can't wait for the next installment!


  • February 05, 2013 11:14 AM | Patty Foley
    It is so true, Devon! IT'S A SECRET! We need to spread the word about the wonderful world of the Art of Lace! We all need to share the wealth of knowledge before it goes underground again!
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  • February 07, 2013 5:04 AM | Jill Hawkins
    LOL! You make me sound like some kind of Miss Marple! I'm glad you're enjoying my articles. Naturally, I find them very interesting, but it's never easy to know what others will like.

    I was at a meeting of the Olney group this week and they mentioned that they had had a speaker from the US a few years' ago and they were all totally shocked that someone would drive for more than hour to go to any event! I think that probably explains the insularity of at least some of the lace groups. Historically (and still today), villages were not accessible by public transport and if you didn't own a means of transportation then you were rather isolated. Plus, going only 5 or 10 miles is a LONG way, in their opinion.

    On another note, the historical society in the village next to mine is hosting a talk next Tuesday on the History of Lacemaking ( It will be very interesting to see what the speaker has to say, and whether there are any lacemakers in attendance. Stay tuned for an update!

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    • February 13, 2013 7:41 AM | Jill Hawkins
      As promised, here's a quick update on the talk last night at the Sherington Historical Society. It was actually more about the financial side of the lace industry, and was given by the former history librarian at Aylesbury (Bucks) library. I was fascintated to learn that according to several independent sources, Newport Pagnell (where I live) sold more lace than any other place outside of London, with a weekly lace market and lace fairs six times a year! Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing in the town that gives evidence of this.

      Coincidentally, the Sherington Lacemakers were meeting at the village hall last night and I was introduced to them! They meet weekly, and last night there were about 10 people in attendance. Two of the ladies are members of the Olney Lace Circle - in fact one of them is the current Chairman. They go to Sherington on a Tuesday evening and the Olney group on a Wednesday afternoon. They both remembered me from an email I had sent a couple of months ago, and invited me to join them on a Tuesday evening. Unfortunately, that is the same evening that the Olney group meets, so perhaps I will have to split my time between the two groups?

      Several of the ladies there are off to the Fenny Fiddlers inaugural lace day on Saturday (see the Feb. newsletter for details on this group), so at least I will recognise a couple of faces.

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    • April 24, 2013 10:47 AM | Patty Foley
      Go Jill! Peeling the onion back will give everyone, worldwide, a chance to enjoy lace everywhere. Keep up the good work.
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