Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Literary Yarn Told With Old Lace

A FANCIFUL FABLE about a talented, but too trusting, lace-maker is a cautionary tale by English travel writer and blogger Jenny Woolf to illustrate how the creative endeavors of the ill-informed can be snatched away when ownership issues are buried in the complex details of a contract.

Jenny's literary yarn unfolded strand by strand and readers were invited to compose their own ending to The Story of Poor Little Red Shoes. I participated and to my utter amazement (because I never win anything) my name was randomly drawn and I won a prize.

The mystery gift that arrived in the mail was antique lace that I learned was likely over a century old and possibly belonged to Jenny's fondly regarded relative, Mabel, born in the very late 1800s.

I can easily envision the dainty detachable collar prettily embellishing her dresses like an elegant necklace. Perhaps each snowflake, petal and jewel shape was created by hand with hooked needles and silken thread but no one knows for sure. Machines were invented during the Industrial Revolution in Britain and mass production of lace was well underway by the mid 1800s.

The love of lace spread throughout the world and it became highly valued.

Although it is impossible to tell if the making and distribution of lace began in any particular place, it is often connected with the once thriving trading center of Venice.

When holidaying in Venice in 2010, I visited the Island of Burano where lace, historically coveted by the royal and wealthy, had in former times been intricately fashioned by local women who might have gotten the idea when patching up fishing nets.

It is a joy to have this treasure in my care. I first planned on an ornate frame with a plain background to feature the work. But an ornate design reminiscent of Mabel's era caught my eye and I liked how the multiple patterns integrated. Ghostly reflections in the glass made it difficult to photograph my prize that now sits snugly on the bookshelf alongside a doily crocheted by my mother.

Read Unfair-y Tale Concluded to find the true ending of Poor Little Red Shoes.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

To see more sights from around the globe visit Our World at the sidebar.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. That is a unique way to store your lace. It is gorgeous!

  2. A true treasure in those fragile pieces of thread.

    Bring on spring.


  3. Oh, thank you so much for this post, I am thrilled to see Auntie Mab's lace so beautifully displayed and described. I'm really glad you won.
    It's just perfect!

  4. Oh, yes!! This is a gorgeous and unique treasure indeed!! I love it!! Thanks so much for sharing it with us today!!!

  5. How wonderful to win such beautiful lace ~ lovely post ~ thanks, xxx

    artmusedog and carol

  6. I like the way you framed your treasure and the interesting facts about the history of lace-making.

  7. Beautiful lace and a great story. I have very old lace colors that I inherited but have never done anything with. I keep thinking I will but for now they are in a cedar chest.

  8. Hello Maria, you've displayed that beautiful, delicate lace just perfectly. Such a generous prize that has found a lovely home. I enjoyed your words about the history of lace too :D)

  9. The lace looks to have timeless worth, so graceful and elegant and I like the way how you displayed it and your writing. I think having the antique thing means keeping the legacy, from Mabel via Jenny to Penelope.

  10. It is either Bedfordshire lace or Maltese. The latter is usually in silk.

  11. How wonderful you won. And what a beautiful frame and display you made for your amazing prize.


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