|Needle Lace was particularly
sought after because of its delicacy. It is made from a very fine number
400 cotton thread which is finer than a human hair.
The pattern is transferred on to a dark coloured material using the hot iron transfer process which was patented in 1874. Prior to this ivention the pattern was often drawn directly on to glazed cotton using indelible ink. The material with the pattern on it is then tacked on to several layers of cloth to give it strength.
A foundation cord, usually about number 10 cotton is couched down with a fine sewing cotton outlining the entire pattern. It is couched into position through two rows of tiny holes pricked opposite one another on either side of the cord. Once this outline cord is in position, the spaces can be filled with a variety of stitches to form the lace. They are usually worked in number 150 to 300 thread. The solid areas are worked in detached buttonhole stitch and the remainder of the design is filled with a variety of ornamental stitches, most of which are derived from antique Venetian and French Needlepoint Laces but some are completely original. Then the Venetian edging and tiny knotted border are added, either as the work progresses or is complete.
Once the work is complete the pattern, with the lace attached, has to be removed from the layers of backing cloth by snipping through the tacking stitches. The lace then has to be detached from the pattern by cutting through the couching stitch. The finished lace can then be lifted away.