The uses to which netting can be put are numerous, as not only can they be used for centre-cloths and doilies, but they give a specially piquant look to soft white linen curtains so charming in Colonial bedrooms. Insertion can also be made for the trimming of these curtains, and can be used for shirt waists. In coarser mesh netting is worked as a finish to bedroom towels, not for everyday use, however, but when we wish to give the best of our hospitality.
As a trimming for the edges of a bureau scarf it is ideal, and will outlast the material which it trims. If the work were laborious it would seem superfluous to make this handmade edging, when so much that is good can be obtained made by machinery, but the advantages of a pleasant form of fancy work combined with a useful one make it a particularly delightful pastime.
The materials needed are a mesh and a netting - needle. These are made of steel, bone, wood, or ivory. Steel is used for silk, cotton, etc., but the other kind are intended for wool. As the moth is such a lover of wool, silk or cotton only need be considered. The needles come in sizes from 12 to 24; the last are very fine, and are only used for the finest kind of netting. The meshes correspond to the size of the needle, and are made of the same material, but steel or wood are best for ordinary purposes.
The needle is filled by passing the end of the thread through the small hole at the left-hand point, and firmly tying it. Then the thread is wound on the needle just in the same way that a tatting-shuttle is filled. If a large stitch is decided on, the mesh must be a thicker cotton. Most workers prefer to attach the foundation to a ribbon terminating in a loop through which the foot is slipped. Others prefer to use a heavily weighted netting-cushion, which they place on the table, and to which the foundation is fastened.
The start can first be made with a long loop of thread which should be fixed to a support,one end of the thread on the needle being attached by a knot to this loop. The mesh is then taken in the left hand, between the thumb and two first fingers, and held close up to the knot above mentioned, and under the thread. The needle being held in the right hand, between the thumb and forefingers, as shown in the illustration, is to be passed under and round the left hand, so that the thread may form a loose loop over all the fingers except the little one. The thread must be held in this position between the thumb of the left hand and front of the mesh. The needle is then passed back again round the mesh, but allow the thread from it to form a larger loop to circle the little finger also. By this action the needle will be brought around in front of the mesh, and must then be passed under the first loop between the mesh and the fingers holding it; also through the foundation loop; and lastly, over the part of the thread which extends backwards from the thumb to form the second loop. The needle is to be held in its position by means of the mesh and the fingers, until the right hand can be brought round to pull it through the passage in which it is engaged. The needle being drawn out, and once more in the right hand, all the fingers of the left hand are disengaged from the loops of the thread, except the little one, which must still retain the second loop which was formed round it. By-means of this hold of the little finger, the thread must be drawn up to the mesh, and the knot formed by so doing made tight on the foundation.
A succession of loops can be made by a repetition of this process, until as many have been formed on the foundation as may be necessary for the width of the net. As the mesh is filled, or covered by these loops, it is to be pushed on to the right, and some loops allowed to drop off at the left hand end. The whole row being done, and the mesh drawn out, a row of equal loops will be found hanging from the foundation attached by knots, and sliding freely along it.
Having thus formed one row of meshes, the work is turned over, so as to reverse the ends of the row, in order that in netting a second row back again it may be done in the same direction as that in which the first was made, namely, from left to right. To commence this second and all subsequent rows, place the mesh again close up to the bottom of the last row of loops, and repeat the action with the needle as before, only that instead of having to pass the needle through the loop of the foundation, pass it in succession, for every new knot through each loop of the row already done, each knot being thus formed at the bottom of the loop above it.
Simple netting forms diamonds and ovals. Take care that every stitch be drawn up evenly quite close to the mesh. To increase in netting, do two or more stitches in one hole.
Square netting is a simple stitch done so as to have the shape of a square instead of diamond. Begin on one stitch, working backwards and forwards, always doing two in the last stitch of every row until you have one hole less, counting from the point up one side, than a design requires. Do one row without increasing, and then net two together at the end of every row until the two last stitches are taken as one.
Double netting. Pass the thread twice around the mesh instead of once, thus making a long stitch.
Long stitch. This stitch is used when some of the stitches in the preceding row have been double stitches; to ensure the loops of this row being even, the knot must not be drawn too close to the mesh in working the single stitches of the previous row.
To make a shell edging two meshes are required, a flat mesh half an inch wide and a round mesh known as No. 12. Do twelve stitches in one with the flat mesh; turn and do two in each one with the small mesh; then two rows of one stitch in each one. The mesh shell should either begin so that the edges will sit lightly over the former. The shells will need eighteen stitches for the first row.
It will be seen that the use of different widths of mesh gives a great variety in netting. A knitting - needle or lead pencil can be used as a mesh.
To net the fringe for a doily, surround the plain linen with stitches and then net six rounds of plain netting. When the seventh round is reached, instead of putting the thread round the needle before working, pass it twice round. By this means it forms a row of long loops. Then do one round of plain netting. Then net the long loops into every loop. The next round is a little different, as two loops are taken up together and firmly netted. Two long loops are then netted for the next row. Then come two more rows of plain netting, after which the points are netted. Skip four, and begin to net one of the points, going backwards and forwards, putting two stitches into one until it is reduced to a sharp point. Fasten it off securely and make the second point, beginning each point at every fifth hole. This will form a pretty little fringe for the doily.
When making doilies or tablecloths the stitches need not be counted, as it is only necessary to surround the centres with the holes; the nearer the loops are together the finer the edging will be.
In looking at the illustration of a curtain, this can be edged in the same way as the doily, and it consists of two rows of plain netting with long loops, followed by eight rows of plain netting. Then more long loops, and finished by two rows of plain netting. It will be best to sew the rest of the edging on to the outer edge of the curtain. The scollop in the illustration has been sewn on to the curtain after it has been made. One scollop is very much like another, except the difference in long loops.