LCR: You give an excellent description of lace-making. Have you seen it made?
LCR: Tatting is also done with bobbins. Is lace-making the same as tatting?
Bobbin lace originated in the late 15th century. It’s made with bobbins that are longer and more cylindrical than shuttles. The lace itself is created by the twisting and crossing of multiple threads. Traditionally, the lace was made atop a pillow and held in place by pins. In times past, hundreds of bobbins were used to make a single length of lace.
LCR: Where did you get the information about the harsh treatment meted out to lacemakers once they became blind?
In some eras, ‘lacemaker’ was synonymous with ‘prostitute’. In other eras prostitutes were taken off the street and trained as lacemakers. In every case, lace was always piecework at this level of society and rarely did it ever pay enough to live on. Lacemakers were driven to prostitution either to supplement their income or because, having been damaged by their trade (left arthritic, tubercular, and blind), there was literally no other option open to them. In the world of my book, in the 17th century, the misshapen were not looked upon charitably, even by those in the church. Physical deformities were believed to be punishment for sin. A blind, hunch-backed lacemaker would not have evoked much sympathy in the general population. If she had no family, begging would probably have been her only option. Her virginity (if she still had it), her only possession of worth.
LCR: You write that if the lacemakers dropped their lace on the floor it become useless. Then why would lace be transported by dogs? Wouldn't the lace get dirty?
LCR: Now let's move on to you. Favorite dessert?
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