I've got just a few pieces of fancywork to feature in this series. This time, a ruffle edged doily.
This is another piece of thread crochet from my great aunt. It had been starched and the ruffled edges are still quite stiffened. It seems to have been packed away rather poorly over the years. While the centre motif is in very good condition, with only a few stray wisps of thread coming loose where it appears a new thread had been started and the ends sewn in, the edging has quite a bit of damage. Especially the white portion. I would love to give this a thorough cleaning and get the starch out, but I don't know what would have been used. Who knows how long ago it was starched in the first place? About the only thing I can say for sure is that it was NOT stiffened with sugar.
Whatever it was, it gives the white threads an almost translucent quality. I'm afraid that cleaning it might actually damage it even more. There's no chance of repairing it, if it can be repaired at all, until the starch is removed.
I wonder if I should contact our local museum and see if there's someone there who can advise me. They don't have a lot of stuff like this (their displays are mostly bead and leatherwork), but it wouldn't hurt to ask. Or perhaps the Crochet Guild of America could give me some pointers.