This crazy quilt detail is how I used some very old piece of lace which I found wrapped around a section of cut off broom handle in an old junk shop in Oxford, England. I was browsing around the store when I spotted a roll of damaged laces. What had happened is someone had wound a piece of lace on to the broom handle and slipped a pin in to secure it then they had wound on another piece and slipped a pin in. They had done this until the roll was about 4 inches thick.
The wad of laces looked to me as if they were of 50’s vintage because that was what was on the outer layer. However since the pins had rusted, there was no real way of knowing what was in there. At the time I was curious about it and when I expressed an interest the shop keeper removed two pieces from the roll to discover the lengths were about 15 cm (6 inches) long and in removing them the lace was likely to tear. She offered them to me for a couple of pounds and I jumped at it.
When I got back home I was delighted because these small pieces of lace got older as I carefully unwound them. I think they were samples from a lace maker as each was tagged. To my amazement I discovered as I unwound the samples they got older and they went back to the Victorian era if not older. Unfortunately they were all badly damaged. The use of numerous pins to secure each piece of lace had caused rust staining, mould had also caused stains, and worse the samples were often torn.
To be honest that did not bother me as I wanted to use them for crazy quilting. If they were in good condition I would not have used them but since they were damaged I felt there was no harm if claimed them for crazy quilting. I dyed the badly rust stained, repaired what was worth repairing and in the case of the piece on this block covered a tear with buttons. Basically I reclaimed what I could and made something of it.
This selection of laces also influenced this quilt in another important way. Because I wanted to use the scraps I had salvaged I decided to make the blocks the size they are. The blocks 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 cm) which once the seam allowances were taken care of the blocks became 5 x 5 inches (13 x 13 cm) I felt the proportion of the blocks to the laces, highlighted them better than if they had been used on larger blocks.
I think it is worth reposting a picture of the block because when you see this lace in context you see how nice it is.
Placement and Foundation Fabric:
The lace sits over pieces 1, 2 and 5 on the diagram used when I introduced block 4 In the same article I also talked about the foundation fabrics I used.
What is the back story?
This regularly published series aims to illustrate and document the hand embroidered seams, embellishments and decorations on my crazy quilt I dropped the button box. All articles are categorised in the projects under Crazy Quilt details which enables readers to browse back through the series.
Free Crazy quilt block patterns
In the process of documenting the seam decorations on this quilt, as I get to each block I am diagramming it out for readers as a free crazy quilt pattern. Links to these free pattern pages are listed on the CQ details FAQ page.