Lifetime of lacemaking with royal recognition

PAT VELTKAMP SMITH
Last updated 10:32 08/02/2013
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Janet Macrae shows off a handmade lace wedding handkerchief. This one is for her niece. Previous recipients have been royal brides Camilla and Kate.

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Otautau, home to one of New Zealand's top lacemakers, will show case Janet Macrae's skills tomorrow morning when the English woman will demonstrate the use of bobbins and pins.

She learned the age-old art when, as a seven-year-old, she was given a half-day week release from school in Reigarte, near London, to attend lacemaking classes at the Royal School of Needlework.

It was 1947 when she was taught by the woman who had handmade lace for Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown. Over the years since, Mrs Macrae has made lace and taught others.

At present she is making a wedding handkerchief for her niece, who marries in Bristol, England, in May. She will deliver the wisp of lace-edged cambric to the bride in person. The 25-millimetre-wide lace edging represents 200 hours of close and painstaking work.

Such work has been recognised in the letters of appreciation sent by royal brides Camilla Parker Bowles and Kate Middleton, each of whom received a lace-edged handkerchief handmade by Mrs Macrae for their big day.

Mrs Macrae's demonstration at St Joseph's Catholic parish centre is part of Otautau's Three Churches quilt, flower and craft displays held in the western Southland township tomorrow.

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- The Southland Times

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