New England
Lace Group

So You'd Like to Know More About Lace & Lace Making?

Ipswich Lace

The Laces of Ipswich: The Art and Economics of an Early American Industry, 1750-1840, Raffel, Marta Cotterell.2003. A documented history of lace making in the colony/state of Massachusetts, the only one of its kind in the United States. Includes six patterns. ISBN 1-58465-163-6

The Lace Samples from Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1789-1790: History, Patterns and Working Diagrams for 22 Lace Samples Preserved at the Library of Congress, Karen H Thompson. 2017. Recreation of the samples found in the archives of Alexander Hamilton, derived from the manufactory census of 1789. ISBN 978-0-9990385-0-5


Lace, A History. Levey, Santina M. 1983. Classic, famous text by the renowned textile historian from the Victoria & Albert Museum. Rare, but worth a look if you find a library copy. Many laces from private collections as well as museum samples, and rare portraits. ISBN 13: 9780901286154

Threads of Power: Lace from the Textilmuseum St. Gallen. Cormack, Emma and Majer, Michele, editors. 2022. Catalog of the museum exhibition that ran in New York, with superb photos of the items and essays on various lace history topics. Featured in The New York Times Best Art Books of 2022. ISBN 13: 9780300263497


Lace Identification: A Practical Guide. Dye, Gilian and Leader, Jean. 2021. Recent text on a frequent dilemma for lace fans: how to identify the styles of lace and recognize key features with a strategy for inspecting them. ISBN 13: 9781785008665

Guide to Lace and Linens. Kurella, Elizabeth M. 2000. Classic text with helpful strategies for approaching any lace and evaluating the features. ISBN 13: 9780930625894

Learning to Make Lace

Getting started making lace: I.O.L.I. Introduction to Bobbin Lace. Thompson, Karen and Davis, Kim. 2020. An excellent value, with the basic details every beginner needs to know. Simple patterns, effective photos. ISBN 13: 9780999038512

Torchon Lacemaking: A Step-by-Step guide. Tregidgo, Jan. 2010. Excellent photos and detailed instructions for making lace. Includes extra tidbits like adding beads and making bracelets, beyond the basics of bookmarks and the usual beginner pieces. ISBN 13: 9781847972019

Organizations and Activities

New England Lace Group

Promoting the making, collecting and studying of all laces throughout the New England area through demonstrations, classes, and presentations. The New England Lace Group is a charter chapter of IOLI.

International Organization of Lace, Inc.

IOLI is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and preservation of all types of laces. Our goals include teaching and promoting lacemaking and lace identification. As part of our mission, we also encourage educational programs for public benefit, such as lacemaking demonstrations and exhibits of lace collections. IOLI has members located through-out the world with the greatest concentration in the United States.

The Lace Museum

The Lace Museum, located in the Silicon Valley area of California, is dedicated to preserving lace and the art of lace making, exhibiting lace and its historical use, and offering instruction in all facets of lace making. We welcome and encourage anyone who has interest in the fascinating world of lace.

Lace Supplies

See links on the IOLI website

Videos and Podcasts

Lace in Literature

Tina: The Little Lace-maker by Mrs. Georgie Sheldon (1882)

In the middle of the 19th century a high-born young woman follows her own strict conscience and must support herself with her lace making skill. She finds her way to a happy ending despite abandonment, threats on her life and social ostracism.

On the Banks of the Ouse or Life in Olney a Hundred Years Ago by Emma Marshall (1888)

At the end of the 18th century the son of a dissolute country squire struggles to make conscientious life decisions. Drusilla runs the best local lace making school and manufactory.John Newton (of Amazing Grace fame) and poet William Cowper appear in the story.

The Lacemaker by Janine Montupet; translated from the French by Lowell Blair (1988)

In Alençon France during the reign of Louis XIV Gilonne is apprenticed to a lace maker at the age of 5. She is the unacknowledged daughter of a nobleman and must make her own way using her lace making skills. There are loves lost and found and abundant historic detail in this story that leads Gilonne toward her personal independence.

Framed in Lace by Monica Ferris (1999)

Betsy Devonshire owns a needlework shop in Excelsior MN on the banks of Lake Minnetonka. When a sunken ferryboat is raised, it is found to harbor a skeleton. One of the few clues is a soggy piece of handmade lace. Betsy works with her friends to solve the mystery of who the skeleton is and how it came to be there using the lace as a starting point.

The Secret in the Old Lace by Carolyn Keene (1980; 2005)

Nancy, Bess and George go to Bruges Belgium to solve the mystery of missing lace cuffs, an antique cross and a Flemish nobleman.

The Lace Reader: A Novel by Brunonia Barry (2008)

Towner Whitney returns to her hometown of Salem MA only to find that her great-aunt Eva has drowned under mysterious conditions. (Towner is a member of family who can see the future in the patterns of the lace they analyze.) Other accidents follow; Towner digs into the town’s history and her own memory to find the root of the evils besetting her.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri (2011)

Kate Robinson flees from Seattle to Ireland to escape family tragedies. She finds friendship with the women of Glenmara who meet regularly to make the lace they have learned from their mothers and grandmothers. They are in dire financial straits, but Kate has an idea to turn a profit from their lace making. Will they have the courage to defy tradition?

The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony (2012)

During the 17th century the lives of 7 characters in France and Flanders are woven together by the beauty of a single piece of lace. The author combines the stories of a lace maker, a greedy nobleman, a border guard charged with arresting lace smugglers, a dog used as a tool to smuggle the lace, and 3 others, each part of the story told from the character’s viewpoint.

Queen Anne’s Lace by Susan Wittig Albert (2018)

In present day Texas China Bayles runs an herbs and spices business in a house built in the 1880s. When China finds a box of mementos from the original homeowner, she works to find out what happened to that woman, who supported herself in her widowhood by making bobbin lace and running a cooperative to sell the lace that she and other women have made.

The Lace Maker’s Secret by Kathleen Ernst (2018)

Chloe Ellefson is a curator of preserved historic sites in Wisconsin. When she consults at the Heritage Hill Historical Park in Green Bay, she discovers a body and a secret heritage. In the mid-19th century there was a wave of immigrants from Belgium to the Wisconsin frontier and one of them brought a piece of lace whose provenance Chloe works to uncover. She manages to solve the murder as well as the secret of the lace.

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz (2018)

Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is the daughter of a Tory general in Williamsburg at the beginning of the American Revolution. When she is made homeless by patriots who chase her father away and destroy her home, she falls back on her mending and lace making skills to support herself (sound familiar?). She falls in love with a patriot and is in the perfect position to spy on both the English and the Americans. Which side is she on?

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green (2018)

Lace maker Vivienne Rivard flees the Paris of the French Revolution, where she would be executed if caught, to Philadelphia where an enclave of French refugees wait to return to their aristocratic lives in France. Vivienne has no desire to return; she will make her life in America. She has smuggled a great deal of her own lace out of France and Eliza Hamilton helps her sell it to help make ends meet. Vivienne takes on the responsibility of a boy suspected to be the exiled Dauphin, which endangers both of their lives for not all in the French enclave are royalists. We learn how she determines who is true and who is false and who will change her life forever.

The Lacemaker and the Princess by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have to make lace to support yourself and your family? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in the palace of Versailles with Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV? What if you were born into a heritage of lace making? What if you were a lace maker during the French Revolution?

Lisa and the Lacemaker,an Asperger Adventure, Written by Kathy Hoopmann, Adapted and Illustrated by Mike Medaglia

This charming graphic novella features three children, Lisa, Ben and Andy, two of whom have Asperger’s Syndrome. The children discover an abandoned building in the woods surrounding the old house where Ben lives. Lisa’s great-aunt Hannah tells them she used to work for the Cotton family, Ben’s home’s original owner. Hannah and young William Cotton were in love but couldn’t marry because of their differing stations in life. Hannah was assigned to work with the elderly lacemaker, Gwyneth, but their association did not end well. Many decades later Lisa was instrumental in resolving Hannah’s regrets.

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New England Lace Group © 1982-2024 Last update May 12, 2024