Seeing some coloured tape lace on an 1890s opera cape yesterday made me consider what a quick way it is to make a bold decorative statement. Of course it can also be used for small dainty lace, using handmade or machine-made tapes with needlelace or bobbin lace fillings, and much continental eastern European lace is also based on the tape lace format. However, my focus today is on contemporary, coloured, handmade, bobbin lace doilies that are purely decorative and non-functional. In both the pieces shown here I worked within an oval mat shape, first designing a continuous swirling tape pattern that worked its way in and out of the centre of the mat ensuring that the tapes touched the sides of the next tape at some point and all lay next to each other at the centre. For the doily in the main image I then made a surrounding outer oval shape using scraps of various gold fabrics stuck on to a base. Once the oval was dry I pinned it over the pattern and worked the tape lace, attaching it to the adjoining areas of lace and the edge wherever they touched.
To do that I used a crochet hook to pull one thread from the worker pair through the lace or fabric and linked the thread from the other worker thread through the loop. Once the basic swirled outline had been finished I used simple bobbin lace to add filling stitches in the open areas and added scraps of fabric to mirror the fabrics round the edge.
The second tape lace doily was worked without an outer surround and therefore the edge is less rigid than that of the first one. I could stiffen it with starch but have decided to leave it as a more fluid design. It also has scraps of iridescent fabric incorporated into the lace work to add a shimmer of colour and to make it non-functional, as I like to think of these doilies subverting the role of passive, put-upon lace mats.