MACHINE-MADE LACE Methods of Manufacture.—Lace was first made by machinery in the latter half of the 18th century, and there rapidly formed an extensive industry. The term "lace" is employed in connection with knitted fabric when the plain stitch is altered by the ad dition of a series of points which are selected according to pat tern. These points descend on to the needles of the machine and, lifting the selected stitches off, move them either to the left or to the right on to neighbouring needles. In the hosiery trade this is spoken of as lace fabric, but it would be more cor rectly described as openwork. These patterns can be made of full width repeats by the use of the Jacquard selective mechanism and for plain patterns the stitches are transferred either towards the right or the left, but always in the same direction. In what are known as double-dip patterns, each lacing course has two selections ; the first is transferred towards the neighbouring needle on the right, and the lace points dip again and transfer their second selec tion towards the left. This gives a larger diversity to the fabric and increases the elegance and style of the pattern. This type of texture is used largely for under wear because it can be worked in the same material as the ground and is homb geneous to it.
In the hosiery trade there has been a great increase of lace-like edgings on gar ments, which have the advantage that they can be made in the same type of material and can match in colour; what is known as the shell-stitch is largely added to the edges of gar ments which were formerly trimmed with lace.
made to employ idle lace machines in the making of fabrics in tended for suitings and overcoatings ; but on the whole the lace machine has been found too expensive a means of producing goods of this class in competition with the weaving loom. Many types of lace have their yarns prepared on a beam of the ordinary kind where the threads are first warped from the yarns arranged on a creel or jack. The threads are correctly tensioned and drawn on to the cylinder of the warping machine which is of large circum ference and set to revolve the number of times required to give the length of warp. When one warp section is complete the opera tor cuts the threads and completes the section by securing it to the cylinder. He moves to the next space and places the second section of yarn on the new part, and repeats the operation until the warp is complete. These threads are next beamed in the usual manner by winding them on to the loom beam, adding flanges at the sides to prevent the edge threads falling over the side and becoming slack in tension. The beam is hung horizontally, with the threads coming up vertically through sleys of brass or woven wire, to guides or perforated steel bars from which they pass between the well of the comb bar, over the facing bar and round the work roller.
The work roller is hung parallel to the warp beam and parallel to it. If all the threads are arranged on one beam as is done for the simplest types of laces, it follows that all the constituents of the warp must have the same take-up of thread in the fabric ; but in the great majority of laces there are many different lengths of take-up required by the various sets of threads which go to the composition of a pattern, consequently a number of small beams are employed, about i 2in. in diameter, on which the threads of varying take-up are wound. There are often ioo or more such beams in a machine. Certain lace looms such as the bobbin net type are used to produce grounds of lace texture which are destined to form the bases of further operations in embroidery and other ornamenting agencies.