How do I clean lace?
Very carefully! Lace is delicate as it is…wet lace can be a disaster because the water adds weight to the lace and you might risk tearing or breaking the bridges. Never machine wash lace…hand wash. If you are just washing a bit of trim, a small basin will suffice. A large tablecloth should be washed in your bathtub. Never twist or wring the lace, just gently agitate, squeezing lightly. You can use a delicate detergent or if there are stains and discolorations I recommend Restoration or Perk (for Silk Threads). See my website for details on both these products. Rinse well, two to three times, to be sure to remove all the soap. When you pick the lace up, have a sheet or large towel handy to support all the heavy wet weight. Dry your lace flat, in the sun on a nice day is best, I recommend as I look out the window and see the snow. But any flat surface will do. If it is trim you are trying to dry, you may have to 'block' the piece, which is reshaping it. Otherwise it might curl up. This can be a tedious procedure. I use lots of straight pins and a well padded ironing board. I do 3 feet sections at a time, pinning the lace to the padding in its original shape.
Feature Article: "At the Auction"
Ever go to an auction? I am not talking eBay, I mean real life, with a real auctioneer. You get to actually preview the items you are bidding on in real life...Touch them...Look at the details. A couple of weekends ago I attended a textile auction in Upstate NY that offered over 500 lots, 90% of them were quilts. Many were hanging in all their glory, most were delicately folded on tables and we were constantly reminded to "Please put the quilts back on the table you found them".
Some important things to keep in mind at an auction such as this is:
#1 - Be organized! Buy the catalog and take lots of notes...With so many items, you are not going to remember all the details.
#2 - Use a pencil! You don't want to be walking around 200 year old textiles with ink. Using white gloves is recommended but not required always, you don't want that 5 karat diamond (or that ragged finger nail) snagging a lace insert.
#3 - Do everything you need before the auction starts. I hate missing a beat, so I have registered, used the ladies' room, and have my Diet Pepsi and snack handy, all before the auctioneer is up on his podium.
#4 - Preview everything well...Know what you intend to buy, know your maximum price, and stick to it. Stay disciplined so you don't get caught up in the heat of a bidding frenzy and overpay what you had wanted.
#5 - Have your Bidder's Number ready...and use it! Don't try to be cool with that one finger by your nose to bid...it only works if the auctioneer knows you and what you bid on and there isn't a lady with a big hat in front of you. Use your paddle or bidding number to bid. The auctioneer will be sure to see you and you won't miss bidding.
#6 - Don't be afraid to yell out to get the auctioneer's attention...he's human...he might not see you right away. If you don't know his name, a good old fashioned Brooklyn "Yo!" does fine.
#7 - Know the terms of the auction: Buyer's Premium? Payment methods? Delivery Options? You don't want any surprises at the end of the day.
#8 - Have lots of fun!
There is almost nothing more exciting that being surrounded by all those glorious quilts this weekend...and being able to touch them, handle them...and even bring a few home. You can see a few of them here.