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Home > Newsletters > February 2006

February 2006


A Common Question:
What is Filet Lace?
Filet Lace is made with a knotted mesh and a darned pattern.  It is collectible not only because it sometimes has interesting patterns, but it is very durable.  It is strong and can be used and washed.  Filet Crochet is similar in look, the mesh is instead a single crochet stitch, and the darned design is instead a double crochet stitch. 

Filet has been around since at least the 1530s.  And was popular through the 1920s.  Pick up an old needlecraft magazine and you will be sure to find a Filet Pattern.  Patterns range from simple geometric shapes to elaborate peacocks and cherubs and Greek and Roman figures.  Often, you can find words worked into pieces.  Filet was used to edging lace and insertion lace on tablecloths, napkins, and dresser scarves.  There are pieces made entirely of Filet like, bedspreads, tablecloths, baby bonnets, purses, doilies and collars. 

Machines have been able to copy Filet lace quite well since the 1920s, the difference being, no knots in the mesh.

Filet is not only beautiful and versatile, it is affordable and readily available.  Don’t be afraid to use your filet pieces.  They can be framed and used in crafts as well. 

When you wash Filet, as durable as it is, you should treat is like any other lace.  Lace gets heavy when wet so keep it supported, and be sure to lay it flat to dry. 
Filet Lace                                                        Filet Crochet

Feature Article: A Book Review
”Redwork Embroidery and Needlework Traditions in Europe and America” by Patricia Lynne Grace Cummings

”Redwork Embroidery and Needlework Traditions in Europe and America
 is Patricia Cummings’ latest book on Redwork Embroidery.   This is not a 
how-to book, but more of a history book. Most of the Redwork pieces in 
the book were beautifully photographed by James Cummings. Just a 
few of the examples of rare Redwork beauties from Pat's personal collection
include Victorian Hairdressing Capes, a Dutch umbrella holder, and a piece
that was possibly used as a Victorian funeral shroud for a child.  
The book gives clear examples of where ladies gained their inspiration for 
their designs. In one case, an actual Victorian Redwork sewing pouch was 
matched to its design source and the pattern is given in full size.  Kate 
Greenaway’s art illustrations are seen in their original form and then in 
Redwork. The origin of SunBonnet Sue, and Kewpies are also discussed. 
Many European pieces with written (embroidered) messages have been 
translated into English. So many of those heartwarming expressions refer 
to a happy and clean home.
Quilt historians Lynne Zacek Bassett and Sandra G. Munsey contributed 
guest articles, and many private collections have been included to give 
readers a broad look at examples. The provenance of many of these 
pieces has been included.  The author makes a point of saying that 
many people contributed photos, information, and ephemera to this 
book and without these kind people, this book would not have been 
Ms. Cummings rounds the book out with examples of how the Redwork 
tradition continues today. She provides photos of her two historically-
related, quilt tributes to presidents, a Greenwork quilt by Sandra Munsey, 
and a quilt currently on exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum that 
was made by Carol Godreau. All of these quilts were made within the 
last five years.  Photos of antique quilts are also shown.
Due to having covered stitch techniques in her first book, Redwork 
Renaissance, Pat does not provide stitch diagrams or instructions in this 
book. However, there are many usable vintage designs for Redwork 
and other Outline Stitch Embroidery  that are included for inspiration and
for use in one's own personal projects. The book is an inspiration and a 
resource for those who love Redwork and its History.
The book is available at http://www.quiltersmuse.com/.
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