Friday, 3 August 2018

Italian filet lace curtains

I bought a pair of lovely handmade filet lace curtains in an Italian market recently. The stallholder claimed they were made in Burano 20 years ago. They are certainly beautiful and entirely handmade - even the filet net the pattern is worked on to is handmade. Having made filet lace as part of the City and Guilds qualification I know it is not as easy to make as it seems! The net is worked with a type of buttonhole stitch over a stick of the right width to ensure the squares are all the same size. As I remember the hardest part is starting the net, once the work is established you get into a rhythm and producing the subsequent rows of squares is straightforward, although time consuming. Working the pattern is much more complicated. It looks as if you just darn the squares you want filled, but in fact the thread is woven through the squares in such a way that each square has two horizontal and two vertical threads – no more no less. That means that the sequence the thread is going to take has to be worked out before you start – it’s rather like those children’s puzzles in which you have to find the path from A to B without crossing any square twice. I’m delighted with my new curtains and certainly appreciate the work that’s gone in to them.   

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