I’ve been trying to learn how to distinguish handmade and machine-made lace with the help of Pat Earnshaw’s very helpful book on the subject ‘How to recognise machine laces’. She notes that not only did machines imitate handmade lace they also imitated other machine laces so distinguishing them can be tricky. She gives some firm indications that a lace is machine made, such as the presence of vertical lines in the lace, and a zigzagging rather than a weaving effect in ‘cloth stitch’ areas. Her less firm indications include a line of picots attached to the lace rather than picots incorporated into the border, rigidly repetitive motifs and an inconsistent passage of threads between the design and the ground. She’s also very helpful at distinguishing between different types of machine-made lace and describes the different nets produced by different machines. There is a lot to learn!