If you’ve ever done any Hardanger embroidery, you’re familiar with the idea that cutwork areas need to be “hemmed” with little blocks of satin stitches called kloster blocks. The preparation of a cutwork area for Ruskin lace or reticello is a bit similar, except that it is padded first and that buttonhole stitch is used as the hem.
The first step is to lay down a few long satin stitches along each side of the area that will be cut out. As in this block, there is often a row of four-sided stitches just outside of the square.
On top of those stitches, add a round of buttonhole (or, if you’re being a stickler, closed blanket stitch), with the loop side of the stitches on the inside of the cutwork area.
Then you can fill in the corners with a few straight stitches just to pretty it up a bit.
That’s all there is to getting an area ready for cutting in Ruskin lace and reticello. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got another 11 little boxes to stitch!