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Introduction to Torchon lace

Click here for free Torchon lace patterns.

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Torchon means "cloth, duster or tea towel" in French. Another name for Torchon lace is Beggar's lace, so you can see that originally people didn't have much of an opinion of it! It used to be made of coarse thread, and had a geometric design, rather than flowers or leaves. It is not a traditional English lace. However, it is popular among modern lacemakers, and many experiment with colour and different types of thread. Torchon lace has striking patterns, and can be very attractive.

It is a good lace to start with, since there are few curves, and the effect depends on different stitches and textures, rather than graceful working or elegance (not properties of beginner's lace!)

Torchon lace is always worked on a Torchon grid, with lines of holes at 45° to the vertical. So lines cross at right angles. This tends to make squares and rectangles - one reason why it is not good at flower designs!

Torchon grid

Designs used in Torchon lace:

Torchon headsides

pic of lace Fan
pic of lace Scallop
pic of lace Twisted fan
pic of lace Zigzag headside

Torchon footside

pic of lace Twisted footside

Torchon grounds

pic of lace Torchon ground
pic of lace Double Torchon ground
pic of lace Rose ground
pic of lace Triangular ground
pic of lace Star ground

Torchon solid shapes

pic of lace Diamond
pic of lace Strip
pic of lace Zigzag
pic of lace Heart
pic of lace Triangle (straight vertical edge)
pic of lace Chevron pointing upwards (one worker pair, then two)
pic of lace Chevron pointing downwards (two worker pairs, then one)


pic of lace Spider with 8 legs
pic of lace Spider with 12 legs
pic of lace Spider with 16 legs
pic of lace Half spider

Here are some examples of traditional Torchon lace.

Picture of lace

Picture of lace

Picture of lace

Picture of lace