I am working on my first square of the sampler and have a couple of questions.Are my rows too close together? The row with double brussels is close and it is hard to see the stitch. Perhaps when the square is finished the stitches will show up better? Or should I have more room between rows? I am using Gutterman Silk S303
Thank you in advance! Dee

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Dee, is this really your first attempt?  Your stitches are very even.  

To answer your question about the double brussels, I see that you have used a corded double brussels.  Is the cord bothering you when trying to work the stitches , or is it that you do not like the look when it is finished?  I prefer to use a whipped return, at least whipping over the larger spaces, so the return thread does not fill the spaces between the rows.  Yes, you can also open up the spaces with another stitch over the outline threads.  No return, straight return and whipped returns are all used in traditional laces.

One thing that I was taught to do differently is to use a single hole for each couching stitch.  It keeps the outline threads from shifting and distorting your pattern.  If you can see the holes where the couching thread has gone in and out on either side of the outline stitches, there is a chance the threads will move.  I have also read that it is easier to remove the lace from the pattern using this method.  I cannot say as I do not use two holes.  Some will argue that the outline threads should lay flat, but I do not find that to be necessary.  I do work with a fine needle to be able to pass the working threads under the couching stitches.

Keep up the beautiful work.


Yes, first attempt. I've never done any kind of needlelace. This Jan I challenged myself with whitework embroidery which requires very neat stitches. Needlelace is included in whitework, so here I am at your mercy since I haven't received any books or the proper threads yet.

I actually thought I had to cord the double brussels for the stitch to be accurate. I will begin a new square and whip back instead. Not sure which ones are the outline stitches, sorry. I will look online and see if I can figure that out.

Now that I've completed a few stitches I can see how the couching stitches help with the spacing. Duh! I like how close the rows are in the single brussels since I'd like to use it to fill in tightly, but I will try to space out rows for more open stitches. All part of learning.

Oh, my goodness, I haven't even considered how to remove the lace from the pattern. I guess that part will make sense once I've tried it.

As far as outline threads laying flat, I'm visually not seeing it. Are mine not flat? Could the outline thread be the ones on the periphery, touching the couching stitches? I did notice that the first stitches of every new row tried to curl. Is that to which you're referring?

I need for my reference books to arrive so that I don't have to plead ignorance!

Thank you for replying Paula. I will begin a new square with your suggestions.

As Paula said, your stitches are very even, and it sure does not look like a first try.  For the double brussels  spacing the rows further apart would give you a more open, airy look.  This is probably what you would want for that stitch.  Couching by coming up and down in the same hole or different holes is a personal choice.  Although using the same hole might prevent slippage, it does run the risk of creating slack in the couched double cord if the couching thread is pulled too tight.  It has happened to me, and I tend to couch using different holes for coming up and going down.  

Thank you for replying, Loretta. I will try again

I would say to work a section of the corded or whipped double Brussels more spaced out than the few rows in your photo. With needle lace, you decide what effects you like the look of. Experiment and choose densities that please you. Of course, if you decide to work pieces purely in one of the historic styles, it would make sense to adopt the spacing characteristic of the historic examples. If you look at our PHOTOS, you will see that most of us make more "modern" needle lace than copies of antique designs. Do what pleases you.

One thing I can say which fits both antique copies and purely modern lace:  the beauty of any form of lace, whether bobbin lace or needle lace, lies in juxtaposing areas with markedly different densities and textures, in a way that is beautiful and pleasing.  Too much variety overwhelms the eye and the piece would look chaotic and confused. Too little variety and the piece looks boring. Finding the balance is the important thing.  In whitework embroidery texture plays a very important part of the impact of any piece of work. In that, both whitework embroidery and lace design are similar.

Thank you,Lorelei. I've learned several things in just one square! Cordonnets are new to me. Now I see how they and the couching stiches play a role in spacing and therefore texture. I had thought the first row of stitches was the most important, but now see that the spacing of couching stitches is equally as important. I will use the second square to play with density. I am really enjoying needlelace. Thank you all for the guidance.

I use 2 holes for my couching stitches, -  either way is correct!

Perhaps, with the Double Brussels, your space between the blocks of stitches is a tiny bit too wide,. - and therefore the lace looks more elongated across the width, rather than more square - more even in size between the width of the 2 stitches, and the width of the gap before the next 2 stitch block may even it up, and you may not feel the depth of the rows is so different.

You are doing Very well, and your first block of stitches - the single Brussels is very nice and even. Well done.

Thank you Elizabeth. I have to ponder a bit on your suggestion. I think I understand, but will have to stitch it out to see if I really do. I appreciate your guidance. Thank you. Dee

I tend to have the blocks of 2 (or 3) stitches a bit closer together, I think, - therefore the finished look of the lace is more 'square' rather than wide and narrower, - as yours appears to be.   it is all trial and error, - so don't get disheartened!  Anyway - much of the look of the lace is your own perception of how it would look. Don't worry about what others think - do what You think looks nice!  

You are off to a very good start - with nice even stitching - and that is the main thing - getting your work to look even and regular. that, really, is what gives a piece the "Wow" factor - nice even stitching.

I am working on a new section in which I think I made improvements. My rows are still too close together. However, I did see the role the return on the sigle brussels plays. I also figured the role of whipping stitches back. I am very much still in the "cause and effect" stage.

Not sure if you can see at the top where the return stich is visible before I began the row of my attempt at twisted, whipped buttonhole. Further down I reduced the size of the twisted whipped buttonhole and learned to whip those areas on the return row. I am still having dificulties taming the twist into submission and therefore laying correctly. I'm hoping practice will show imporovement.

Don't be afraid to whip twice down the side at the end/beginning of a row to bring your thread down further - especially for the longer twisted stitches. You can wrap more times if you need to drop down further, to start the next row of stitching.

When whipping back, or laying a straight return, I just go over the outline thread, but when dropping down to do a row of stitches, I wrap around the outline threads once or twice - depending on the length of the next row of stitches.  

I hope this makes sense...!  I am good at showing, (and showing with hand waving) but not so good at explaining by text!!! 

(Not too good a typist, either, - thank goodness for Spell check!!)

Elizabeth, that makes sense. I will try that for the rest of it. Thank you.


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