At first glance the two seem to be identical. The charming centres have a tiny flourish of lace with satin stitched roses and leaf sprays on either side. Each doily then has two rounds of the same hand made lace. Interestingly though, on the second doily the sequence of the two rounds of lace has been reversed.
Looking at the first doily, the two more solid areas on either side of the centre are hand embroidered on a very fine cotton fabric.
The dainty pattern of daisies is worked in satin stitch while the leaf sprays are shadow work, done in reverse herringbone stitch or double back stitch. The shadow work gives the embroidery a delicate subtlety.
|First doily - hand embroidered side panel|
Each little section of the doily is joined by a tiny narrow seam of fine overcasting, just visible in the photo above. I really can't imagine trying to work such tiny fragments of embroidery and then joining them up with such fine seams, can you?
Now for a closer look at the second doily.
On the two cotton side panels you will notice that the sinuous floral design is quite different to the daisies and leaves we saw before.
|Second doily - side panel detail|
These two panels appear to be machine embroidered - much to my surprise! If you look at the tendril near the top of the photo, you may just be able to pick up the zigzag machine stitches used to embroider it.
The floral design of the net embroidery is also quite different. Because the cotton panels next to them are machine embroidered, I can't quite decide whether the net areas are well-executed machine embroidered lace or whether they are indeed hand embroidered needle run lace as they appear to be.
The two little doilies are indeed similar, yet quite different when you look more closely. I'd love to know more about them. Do let me know if you have come across anything similar. I'm intrigued at the similarities and the marked differences between them. I would also like to know more about how they came to be made. I'm sure there is an interesting story behind them.