Make, learn and talk about needle lace.
I bought some pieces point de gaze, and I am surprised how tiny stitches they have used. I know they used the finest threads, and can't understand how they see so tiny stitches. Did they use some magnifier, or glasses, I have searced at google, but have not found explanation.
All I have found is some kinds lupe/magnifier for light, nothing for eyes.
I can think of four reasons for those exceptionally tiny stitches off of the top of my head:
1. In regions like Belgium, Ireland etc., lace making used to be taught to girls starting at a very young age, which means that their eyesight was still good at that point, and for years to come. If they then took up the craft and practised it for years, they could potentially rely on muscle memory to compensate for worsening eyesight.
2. People during the the eighteen hundreds and before didn't necessarily live long lives (and as mentioned, they were taught lace making very early), so a lot of lace from that time was likely made by young-ish people with good eyesight. Making finely stitched lace pieces fairly common.
3. It could be that people made bigger stitches once their eyes got worse, and you just happened to find a piece with very fine stitches by someone who had good eyesight.
4. Lastly, of course at the time magnifiers/loupes/glasses were available, and it is likely that people used them for lace making as well.
I would presume that evidence of that might be found in antique lace instructions.
But, using loupes might've already been such a common sense practice back then, that (like with many other old tools and techniques in needlework) no one really saw the need to explicitly write down to use them.
Hence why we, today, are missing documentation and are scratching our hands wondering how they did these things.
Myriel - I think you are right about the young lacemakers with good eyesight.