By Addie May Bodwell
1913 08 page 3
Perhaps this charming work, novel in combination, would be more properly classed as “Filet with Embroidery,” since this simple, effective lace-stich – the “square mesh” of netting – is employed to fill the open spaces surrounded or outlined by solid embroidery. Any pretty filling-stitch, such as is used in modern lacemaking, may be substituted for the net with pleasing results; but the one which is described, once the knack of making the knot is acquired, is very easy and rapidly executed; and nowadays these qualifications are a strong recommendation.
The “openwork” phase of needlecraft still retains a firm hold on popular favor. Following the filling of cutout spaces with an underlay of net came Fayal (or filet-) drawnwork in the same capacity, and later punchwork, or big-needle work, which is scarcely less sought for than when it made its initial appearance. Just now, however, it is dividing honors with filet, as a background, and many charming pieces of work result from its combination with embroidery. Most punchwork designs may be used for it – indeed, when the net is evenly made it closely resembles the other, the difference in general effect being that it is more open and lacelike, Again, too, a linen of much closer weave may be used, than for the punched-work.
To begin, it is advisable to stitch the outline of the spaces to be filled with the net on the machine, or with short running-stitches. It is also essential that the work should be put evenly into an embroidery-hoop or basted smoothly upon firm pasteboard, since the crossing-threads must be held perfectly straight and true, neither drawn so tightly as to pucker the work, nor yet allowed to sag in the least. Fasten in at the edge of the space to be filled, taking the close knot just into or over the stitched line so that it will be later covered by the buttonholing carry the thread straight across the space to the opposite side, fasten in with a short stitch, and backstitch along the line to the point where the next parallel thread crosses; then carry the thread back to the other side, and repeat until the space is filled with the threads, crossing at regular intervals in the same direction. The distance apart is, of course, governed by the article itself – the quality of material, and the design For example, the filet used in a fine handkerchief or collar would naturally be less open – that is, of smaller mesh – that that in a centerpiece or sideboard-scarf.
Having covered the space as indicated, the next step is to carry threads across it in the opposite direction, or at right angles to the first lines, making a knot at every intersection or crossing. The most particular part of the entire work lies in making this knot, yet it is not difficult. Carry the working or second thread across the first line, hold the loop down with the left thumb, bring the needle back and pass it diagonally under both threads, at the intersection, and out through the loop; draw up tightly and carefully, so that the knot will come exactly at the point indicated, or where the threads cross. If the work is to be effective the tiny squares must be as perfectly even as possible to make them, and this will require extreme painstaking on the part of the worker, especially before practise has given expertness.
To get best results the net should be made with a firm linen thread, this possessing a crispness which makes the work especially pleasing. The buttonholing and solid embroidery are, of course, done with the usual soft floss, and all this work must be completed before the linen beneath the net is cut away. Pad the forms well, both for buttonholing and for satin-stitch.
The cutting-away, needless to say, must be most carefully done. Make an incision in the linen beneath the net, and cut to the edge, so that you can fold the linen back and away from the net; then, with wrong side toward you, clip slowly along the buttonholing. To cut one of the crossing-threads would necessitate replacing it, even though the entire space did not have to be refilled. “Make hast slowly.” is an excellent axiom to apply right here; with care and precision there is little liability of such an accident.
Two collars, introducing this simple stitch, are illustrated, with both of which every girl providing her summer outfit – and this, as you all know, needs constant replenishing – is sure to be delighted. In the second collar it will be noted that the filet or openwork adjoins the scallops at the edge in places, and it is sometimes advised that a second row of buttonholing be made, so that the purled edge will come next to the inner edge which is to be cut away, as well as the outer one. This extra work will not be necessary, however, if both lines of the scallops are first carefully run, padded, and the buttonholing done very closely in the ordinary fashion... Of course, where the open spaces form a part of the design, as in the attractive centerpiece with bowknot and daisy motifs, the purled edge of the buttonholing comes inside, next to where the linen is to be cut away. The centerpiece in question, completed, is twenty-one inches in diameter, and a pleasing addition or innovation would be the darning of some simple figure in the center of each filet-filled space. An initial might be so applies, which would render the piece especially desirable as a gift. This darning, as is will know, consist in passing the needle under and over the mesh-threads until the space is filled – or as many spaces as required for the design.
Color is frequently introduced in filet-embroidery with charming effect, and a centerpiece of the size noted is of gray crash or heavy gray linen embroidered with two shades of golden-brown, the lighter shade being used for the net. Any color may be chosen that is preferred, or in accordance with the tone of the room in which the piece is to be used; terra-cotta or apple-green, in two shades, would be pleasing. Brown, however, rarely “fights” with any other furnishing, and may be safely chosen as a rule. The center of each flower-form is filled with the filet, and buttonholed narrowly with the darker shade of floss, and the petals of the smaller forms, with background of net, are simply buttonholes around, while those of the larger ones are also net-filled. A feature of the edge is the picot at the center of each scallop. Buttonhole the scallop to the point indicated – halfway across – then in making the next stitch leave a generous loop of the thread; twist back over this loop to the last stitch taken, fasten in, the fill the loop with close buttonhole-stitches and continue with the scallop. Or, especially if using rather heavy floss, buttonhole a little past the center of scallop – one or two stitches, turn, loop into third stitch back, turn, and fill the loop with the floss, twisting it around and around closely.
This centerpiece is a beautiful and useful addition to the living-room table, protecting the polished wood the while it is in itself extremely decorative. One can scarcely imagine a gift more certain to delight the artistic soul of the recipient.