Antique Crochet Lace Collection

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The scene is a familiar one.
Driving through a small town, far from home, examining the sites through the car window, when all of a sudden, you yell STOP. Because that antique market right there is so full of goodness that it's spilling out of the warehouse and all over the parking lot. Any decent person would stop and take a look, and fortunately, I married a very decent person, and he stopped, knowing his fate was sealed.

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It was a sea of antiques and collectibles. Everything from old VHS tapes (are those considered antiques now?) to fancy French tea sets to classic cars.
I knew there had to be needlework.
And oh yes, there was.

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On the edge of a sidewalk, near the front door of the building itself, was a table covered in crocheted pot holders. They were adorable and tempting in their own right, but just behind them, scarcely concealed…was an old basket overflowing with bits of antique handmade lace. Jackpot.
I confess, I didn't leave anything behind for the next person.

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It's a lovely mix of crochet and tatting and rickrack, about half of it still in complete collar-and-cuffs sets. One small envelope held roughly 5 yards of crochet edging, marked "May Yingling $12.00".
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Some of the work has been removed from garments and repurposed. Some cuffs with a bit of damage have been repaired and sewn together to make lovely fichus. Bits have been sewn into different shapes to hide stains. One particular crocheted piece is in thread so fine that I can't even see the individual stitches without a magnifying glass.
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It's an absolute treasure trove. I've been having fits of imagination about the woman who must have made all of this, and worn it, and repaired it. Google isn't getting me very far, though I'm not terribly surprised, as (alas) fichus and social media have never coexisted.
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My next trip to Pennsylvania will certainly include a trip to the Duncansville town hall, where I hope to pick up the trail of this incredible needlework. Does May have children and grandchildren in the area who have carried on her fine work? Did she do her needlework with a group of ladies and are any of them still around? She obviously sold some of her pieces, but where and to whom? And can I have more?
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I'll keep you posted!
Until next time,

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