Friday, April 3, 2009

Saba Lace

While visiting Saba, one of the things that I was very eager to see was the Saban ladies working on Saba Lace.
It doesn't matter what part of the world you're in, when you sit down with a bunch of ladies who have their fingers busy, their tongues start wagging! I had so much fun listening to the banter and gossip - it reminded me of Knit Night at home !

My Aunt Sue has been learning how to do this as well, and has some really remarkable pieces.
The technique of Saba Lace is not really unique to Saba, and is also called Drawn Thread Work or Whitework Embroidery because it's done on 100% linen (usually white). However, it's not a craft that's well-known (as, just for instance, knitting, heh heh), and I have a suspicion that a few of the patterns being worked were unique to Saba.

(Which is why a book detailing how to do Saba Lace would be really cool, *wink wink*. Don't you think so too, Aunt Sue?)
Poor woman. She's busy enough without me nagging at her to start writing a book! (See how busy she is?)
The Museum had some really beautiful examples of antique Saba Lace. The most beautiful example was a christening gown, but due to the glass, I couldn't get a very good photo of it. The pillow shams were almost as amazing, though!

If I ever did anything like that, you can bet Handyman's (rather greasy) head wouldn't be allowed anywhere near!

Ms. Helen owns a small shop in Windwardside where she sells odds and ends and her own handmade lacework. The shop, which is really just a small room without a bathroom or air conditioning costs her $200 a month!
I really liked some of her work, and I decided to purchase this piece so that I could frame it. It's got four different lace panels, as well as the crocheted border and two lace corners. I couldn't believe she was selling it for only $35! She told me it took her an entire day just to remove the threads. That doesn't even mean she got started doing the lace - that's just the prep work!
I'm going to start keeping an eye out for books about Drawn Thread work, since there isn't anything written about how to do Saba Lace (*hint hint*). However, due to the demands of three little kids and one big kid (Handyman), it'll most likely be about 18 years before I have the attention free to learn something this complicated!


All Natural Mama said...

I thought it looked like thread crochet work on the outer edge. My great-grandma did tons of thread crochet - big items too like bedspreads and my christening gown. While I try to follow in her footsteps, the most I have the patience for is snowflake christmas ornaments.
It is a lot of work! The lace is so gorgeous, though. Hopefully they will pass down their patterns and methods to the next generation!

Christening Gown Mom said...

The crochet work looks wonderful!

Ellen said...

The pieces are absolutely beautiful...

The experience you got to have with all the women sitting around working on it sounds wonderful! How fun. :)