Here is my first attempt at an Alencon sampler. It consists of 9 half-inch squares and uses gassed cotton thread - size 160 for the reseau in the centre and 120 for the rest. I see that this thread does become a bit fluffy, but I couldn't find anything else fine enough. The trace and cordonnet are in size 100 crochet cotton - this worked well for the trace, but the cordonnet made the edges too stiff. What do others use for cordonnet? Would using a different colour for the thread that fixes the trace help with tidying up at the end, or would that just create more problems? Learning to do the picots certainly emphasised the importance of holding the needle with the point away from me!

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Nice job!  I see what you mean about the thread being fuzzy.  I've used Kantklosgaren Egyptisch Katoen and NeC Egyptisch katoen and they have both held up very well.   

For my finest work, I used 100/2 doubled for the trace, 240/2 for the Reseau, 140/2 for the other parts, and #30 crochet cotton for the cordennet.  I have not had a problem with the crochet cotton making the edges too stiff, but maybe I was wanted it rather stiff. 

When using heavier threads, I used 50/2 machine embroidery thread for the trace, 140/2 for the reseau,  80/2 for the other stitching, and #20 crochet cotton for the Brode or cordonnet.

Wow!

Very nice! It does look fuzzy, although given that it is so magnified it is hard to tell if it looks that fuzzy in real life. When I took needle lace lessons from Irma Osterman, I was surprised at how frequently she would start a new thread to prevent fuzziness. I am not sure that this is your problem, since it seems like the piece is universally fuzzy, but I thought I would throw it out for what it is worth. My natural inclination is to try to start new threads as infrequently as possible, but Irma's was to do no more than two rows with a single thread.

Well done.

I can't imagine working only 2 rows then starting a new thread! I always tend to use too long a thread!!

Keep to the same colour for the couching thread, as if you accidentally stitch into it, and can't tweek it out at the end, then it won't show when you just trim it away. If you use a different colour, you could get into strife!

I also tend to cut very long threads when I work in lace.  It causes tangling problems for the first few stitches, but the length gets used up quickly. 

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