The Magic, Mystery, and Power of Lace

A gorgeous lace shawl to knit //

This beautiful shawl is the subject of Anne Berk’s article “Martha’s Lace Mystery.”
Photos by Joe Coca.

Welcome to PieceWork’s latest adventure with amazing lace!

If you have been tuning in each year for PieceWork’s annual look at lace, you know that I adore lace. Although most traditional textiles served a utilitarian purpose—to warm, to cover, to protect—lace’s raison d’être always has been to ornament.

To make any type of lace, one has to make connections. It all comes down to this—connecting threads, connecting people, connecting the past to the present. This issue pays homage to those connections with two personal family stories that showcase multigenerational lace connections: “Common Threads: A Story About Five Generations of Women Connected by Lace” by Nancy Ann Haffner and Andrea Jurgrau and “Martha’s Lace Mystery” by Anne Berk.

Elegant crochet lace to create //

Bart Elwell replicated the piece of bobbin lace found in the steamboat Arabia, using Torchon crochet.

There’s another mystery in this issue as well. On September 5, 1856, the steamboat Arabia hit a hidden snag on the Missouri River. Happily, all the passengers and crew were able to escape before the boat and its cargo sank. When the river shifted its course, the Arabia was left under 45 feet) of mud in a Kansas field. David Hawley discovered the Arabia in 1987, and, with the help of family and friends, began to excavate the boat and its cargo in 1988. Among the tens of thousands of items recovered was one length of black bobbin lace. Bart Elwell in his “Lace of the Arabia” asks: “[H]ow could such a fine web of black threads measuring about 1 by 22½ inches (2.5 by 57.1 cm) not have been cast aside during the muddy dig?”

I think it’s just one more testament to the magic, mystery, and power of lace.

And good news—during our spectacular Friends & Family Summer Savings event, you’ll save 40% off the price of the 8th annual (May/June 2015) issue! Enjoy the same savings on the other special PieceWork Lace issues!