The tools that are used in creating filet lace include:
- thread (most often cotton crochet thread)
- netting needle
- mesh sticks or gauges
- long embroidery needle
- frame to hold the embroidery taut
Sometimes the tools are sold separately, sometimes as a kit.
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Cotton Crochet Thread
Both DMC Pearl Cotton size 12 and Handy Hands Lizbeth size 80 are very fine cotton threads. They come in a variety of colors and other thicker sizes.
Netting Needles (length 5.5″, 6″, 6.7″, and 7.5″)
The metal netting needles are the same size at the ends; the difference is in the length. If the same amount of thread were placed on short and long netting needles, the long needle would be narrower which would enable the filled needle to go through smaller meshes. A longer netting needle also allows for more thread to be placed on the needle.
These needles are used to weave (or place the embroidery stitches) on the net background. The steel needle is an inch shorter than the more flexible plastic needles.
Small Knitting Needle Sizes to Use as Mesh Sticks or Gauges
Using a double-pointed knitting needle as a mesh stick can allow the creation of smaller mesh than wooden or plastic netting gauges do. As a size comparison, using a US size 8 knitting needle will produce a 1/4 inch mesh, and a US size 3 knitting needle will produce a 1/8 inch mesh.
Netting Kit: Mesh Sticks (1/4″, 5/16″, and 3/8″), Netting Needles, and 6″ Weaving Needle
This kit contains the basic tools needed to learn to net; however, the mesh sticks are wider than may be desired for a net background for fine filet lace. The smallest mesh (1/4″) included in this kit produces the same size mesh as a US size 8 knitting needle. If a smaller mesh is wanted, consider using smaller double-pointed knitting needles.
Embroidery frames or stretchers
The background netting needs to be held taut as the embroidery is placed on the netting. The wooden stretchers allow thumbtacks to hold the netting firmly to the frame. It is also possible to wind a string around the frame and through a square of netting, and then repeating the process around the edge of the netting, to hold the netting in place.