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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!
Designs used in Torchon lace:
Torchon footsideTwisted footside
Torchon groundsTorchon ground
Double Torchon ground
Torchon solid shapesDiamond
Triangle (straight vertical edge)
Chevron pointing upwards (one worker pair, then two)
Chevron pointing downwards (two worker pairs, then one)
Spider with 8 legs
Spider with 12 legs
Spider with 16 legs
Here are some examples of traditional Torchon lace.
© Jo Edkins 2016 - return to lace index