Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Nottingham lace curtains

This beautiful example of a lace curtain was made on the Nottingham lace curtain machine, which was also used, despite its name, to produce other furnishing lace such as tablecloths and bedspreads. The machine was invented in Nottingham in 1846 by John Livesey to make large pieces of patterned lace. It differed from other lace machines by working the bobbin threads across two warps instead of across all the warp threads. This method of working makes a fabric made up of a series of square meshes which gives this type of lace its distinctive appearance. Although beautiful patterns can be made using the lace curtain machine, the early curtains made in this way were prone to unravelling along the length of the bobbin threads. Following adjustments made to the mechanism to reduce this tendency, lace curtain manufacturers were at pains to point out in their advertisements that their lace curtains were durable during use and when they were laundered. However, as you can see from the lace in the image, these old curtains do become weaker along the bobbin lengths as they age. 

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