Gracie Larsen – Co-Founder of The Lace Museum


Gracie had a contagious love of life and uplifted all around her. She was a creator, constantly busy with multiple projects. She made lace, quilted, played music, painted, baked and wrote. She was delicate with her hands, poised on the dance floor and on ice skates, witty with words and always singing. Gracie loved engaging with friends and family in all sorts of games. She was a gracious hostess, welcoming people into her home. She maintained her love of travel with many trips to Norway. She volunteered for events related to her Scandinavian heritage and to the community, including the national bicentennial celebrations in 1976.

Her passion for needle arts led her to invest her time and energy teaching and organizing to ensure the continuance of this intricate craft. She started The Lace Museum in her home town and established the Heritage Arts Guild and the Lacy Knitters Guild, which grew to have members all over the world. She gave the world almost 97 years of her joy. Her legacy will live on in her large, loving family and her wide circle of friends.

Back to the Future

– written by Gracie Larsen, October, 1991

Having an inquisitive nature – and being an incurable romantic, I have always been fascinated by the stories that certain laces might tell:

Who made it – where was it made – and when?
Where has it been since it was made – who used it?
When the lace was made – what were the times like?
Was it made with tender, loving care – for a specific use – or produced under duress?
Was it bartered for – or with?
Was it given or received? By whom – to whom?

Of all the lace that has been produced since early times, just how much has been chronicled in this way? Of all the laces in our possession, what do we know about them, for sure? Or perhaps, that’s why lace seems so intangible, mysterious and inscrutable.

There is a small piece of Maline (Mechlin) in my collection that has been identified (because of the type of ground and the silk that it is made with) as possibly having been made in the 17th century. Holding it in my hand gives me a bit of a tingle – knowing that somehow, this fragile remnant of another era, has apparently weathered the elements, been protected from war and catastrophe and eluded the wear and tear of living – and still retains its silent, elegant beauty.

How much of our laces have been documented in this way? Not only for our present information – but to satisfy the curiosity of others in the future.