Wednesday 27 May 2015

Honiton Lace ...... and a lovely few days in Devon!

Having just spent a long weekend at a friends cottage near Honiton I thought you may like to know what this beautiful town is famous for, lace, yes Honiton lace.   The late Queen Victoria had her satin wedding dress adorned with lace made there.  Here is a little bit about Honiton lace for you to read.

Honiton lace is one of the many varieties of hand-made bobbin lace produced commercially over the past few centuries, a lace that has become world famous for it’s intricate, delicate and very beautiful design. Honiton lace has been made in the East Devon of England area since the late 16th century and during that time has been purchased and worn by the wealthy of the world.

Honiton had an early history of textile production prior to lace making and so had many workers who could adapt and take up lace making for a living when it became a highly desirable fashion accessory. Wool was woven in the area, and more importantly flax was grown here to make the very fine hand spun yarns used in lace making at that time. With many textile workers already, it was natural that they should turn their hand to lace making when it came about.

No one "invented" Honiton Lace. Early bobbin lace from Flanders in particular, is very similar to the Honiton Lace of the same period, however, over hundreds of years the lace made here in East Devon developed characteristics that are the ones now commonly recognised as Honiton Lace. If lace was invented anywhere it was probably Italy, and from there spread to many places with an existing textile industry. Honiton, being a wool and flax area was ideally suited to taking up this new craft.

The wedding dress of Queen Victoria was worn by Victoria, Queen of England , at her wedding to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg on 10 February 1840. She selected a white dress, which was considered an unusual choice at a time when colours were more usual, made from heavy silk satin and The Honiton lace used for her wedding dress proved an important boost to Devon lace-making Queen Victoria has been credited with starting the tradition of white weddings  and white bridal gowns, although she was not the first royal to be married in white.  She was so pleased with her dress with the lace made in Honiton that she commissioned a christening gown made from there which all her children were christened in.

In Honiton today there are lots of antique shops in this beautiful town.  Whilst I was there I had a little walk around most of them, searching for some lovely vintage treasures.  I picked I a beautiful box of vintage embroidery threads ( yes I know, you would think I had enough!!) also there were some lovely mother of pearl carved buttons and some delicate vintage hankies......  But my lovely find was some beautiful Honiton lace..... I was so pleased to actually find some.

It was a lovely few days and very relaxing indeed.  I did do a little stitching but only for an hour whilst my husband and friend were putting together benches for our friends garden.  Which we then christened by sitting on and having some champagne and snacks and listening to the birds and his waterfall that is in his garden.

I have to get sorted this week and back into the swing of things.  I have sorted out my stitching and really must get to some stitching again this week.  I am going to photograph my purchases for you to look at as well when they are all unpacked properly.

Have a wonderful day and Happy Stitching!

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