KONIAKOW, Poland - For two centuries, the women of this small Silesian highlands town have hooked thread in intricate crochet patterns to create lace tablecloths and altar ornaments coveted by royalty across Europe.
It was an art taught by mothers to daughters, done at home after the daily farming chores were finished, bringing honor and income to the 500-year-old village in southwest Poland still traversed by horse-drawn carts.
Then came G-strings. Last fall, some lace makers trying to earn money spun a racy twist to the art, deciding that underwear would sell better than doilies. Since, the town of 3,000 has been in an uproar, neighbor pitted against neighbor, over the "stringi," Polish for string.
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