FILET LACE MAKING is a CURE for NERVOUS PROSTRATION
Many Women of Fashion Learn the Art on Physicians' Advice
Filet Lace making as a cure for nervous prostration? It is very calming in deed.
(An News article from 1914)
A famous maker of 'real lace', who supplies wedding veils and bridal caps to many of the country's prominent brides, and whose corps of assistants give lessons in all the latest stitches to women just as enthusiastic to learn them as they are to learn the latest steps of the newest dances, says that the curing of nerves is one of her regular occupations. Many women come to her to take up Filet Lace making on the recommendation of their physicians; and if they stick conscientiously to this diversion they almost always find relief.
It is the steady, monotonous work, both for the mind and the fingers, coupled with the fact that the attention is concentrated pleasantly on the working out of a given pattern, that makes Filet Lace making valuable as a nerve cure.
So much for the therapeutic value of Filet Lace making. It has another value that appeals to womankind. For this beautiful lace, used so lavishly on the wonderful pieces of household linen that the best shops show, can be made at comparatively small expense. And the work is neither very difficult nor very tedious.
The kind of Filet Lace that is crocheted is not the real Filet Lace. Beautiful as that is when it is made, it does not compare with the darned1 lace.
Like the crocheted lace, the real filet2 always has a square-meshed groundwork3. The making of the groundwork4 is tedious and takes a long time; but fortunately, squares of this mesh, hand made5, can be bought without trouble. The big squares--say ten or twelve inches in measurement, cost perhaps $3 each, which seems a big price to pay--until you have tried making one of them of fine linen thread. The little squares, those measuring abut three inches, can be bought for 25 to 30 cents each. Of course, those made of coarse thread cost less than the finer ones.
The pattern is worked into the background with a darning needle6 threaded with linen thread. The square of plain-meshed background must be held taut in some sort of frame7. Frames of various sizes to fit the squares are sold-- little square frames like the one shown in the hands of the figure in the accompanying drawing8. To such a frame a square is basted securely. But it is quite possible to make a frame at home.
The frame of a square slate can be used. Little holes can be made with a gimlet about its edges, and through these holes the lace square can be basted in place. Or the wooden frame can be wound with strips of cloth, to which the lace can be fastened. Small squares of lace can be basted securely to a large square of cotton, which can then be cut away under the square and held taut in an embroidery ring or frame.
The patterns in Filet Lace vary from the simplest little scroll-like designs to elaborate figures. if you can copy any old filet patterns, try doing that9. Cross-stitch patterns can be followed for darned Filet Lace1, and if you are patient you can work out patterns for yourself.
To do this, rule off a sheet of paper the size of a square you are going to work in, with lines to represent the threads. Then decide on the thing you wish to represent and find a picture of it. Then work the pattern out on the ruled-off paper until you have got it the way you want it. Then copy it.10
The best way for a beginner to do is to buy a square of machine-made Filet Lace11 for a pattern. This will give her a pattern, and will also serve as a model to show her how to weave the threads10.
The patterns for the crocheted Filet Lace can also be utilized in the other kind of filet.
The most beautiful pieces of household linen show filet squares and oblongs made up with Cluny Lace and English eyelet embroidery, worked on strips and squares and oblongs of linen. For a tablecloth the linen naturally is fine and almost sheer. For a bedspread the linen is heavy. The Cluny Lace used varies from the finest sort for the smaller pieces to very heavy lace for such articles as bedspreads.
The newest way to finish table runners and couch pillows is to fasten heavy linen tassels at the corners. We are wearing tassels on our clothes nowadays, so why not have them on our household linens?