Bucks Point Lace

Example of Torchon grid

Most of the patterns on this website are based on Torchon designs. These use a grid with the pattern of pinholes laid out in rows set at 45° (see left). This means that the lines of ground cross at right angles, which can give a square look to the design. Bucks Point lace has the pinholes in lines set at 60° (see right). These different angles don't affect the way that the lace is worked, and you could use the 'wrong' grid for a particular styled pattern, although it will end up looking different. But the Bucks Point grid does mean that certain stitches produce interesting effects, such as hexagons. So I tend to call a Torchon grid square, and a Bucks Point grid hexagonal.

The following descriptions tends to assume that you know a little Torchon lace already.

Example of Bucks Point grid
Bucks Point ground
Half stitch ground
Honeycomb net
Kat stitch
Bucks Point footside
Fan headside
Picots and passives headside
Gimp
Beads
Honeycomb shapes
Garland
Flower

Bucks Point ground

Bucks Point ground

Bucks Point ground makes an interesting hexagonal pattern. At every pin, there is a half stitch and two twists, then pin between the two final pairs. There are two important differences between Bucks Point ground and Torchon ground. First, in Bucks Point, the pin is not covered; that is, you don't do any stitch after putting the pin in. So the stitch rests on the pin rather than holding it firmly. This can mean that Bucks Point is hard to tightn firmly, and it is quite usual to see slight irregularities in the sizes of the hexagons. Some people might say that adds to its charm. The second point is that since you are only doing half stitch per pin, the pairs of bobbins will get mixed up. There are some Torchon patterns where the pairs of bobbins remain together throughout the lace, which can be useful to the beginner to see if you've made a mistake. This doesn't happen in Bucks Point, alas!

You can have a Bucks Point ground of half stitch and one twist. This produces a looser result. I prefer the half stitch and two twists, as this makes certain threads travel diagonally across the ground, which makes a more regular result when you tighten the threads.

Click here for how to work Bucks Point ground.


Half stitch ground

If you read the description of Bucks Point ground above, you may wonder what happens if you do half stitch without any twist? The answer is a half stitch ground. This ground is not just hexagons, but little six pointed stars. Like Bucks Point ground, the stitches have uncovered pins, with the stitch just resting on the pin. It is a loose ground, since it doesn't have the extra twists to strengthen it.

Click here for how to work half stitch ground.

Half stitch ground

Honeycomb net

Honeycomb net

Honeycomb net is a most attractive design. It can be used as a ground (that is - the open area of a piece of lace, near the footside). It is also used as part of more complex patterns. There are two things to learn about this stitch. First is the actual honeycomb stitch itself, which is half stitch and twist, pin, half stitch and twist. The second thing is the arangement of these stitches. Normal ground is worked in diagonal rows, where you work a pair of bobbins down the diagonal of other pairs. Honeycomb net can be worked either in horizontal rows or diagonal rows, but not all rows are the same. First you work one pair across every other pair. Then you work the two pairs of bobbins together, then the thrid and fourth pair together, then the fifth and sixth pair together, and so on. The next row goes back to working one pair across every other pair, and then you work the pairs of pairs of bobbins again, and so on. So you think of two rows at a time.

Unlike the other Bucks Point ground stitches, surprisingly enough, honeycomb net preserves the order of the bobbins, so if they start in their pairs, they end that way. Since Bucks Point tends to muddle up pairs anyway, this doesn't help you much!

The point of the extra twist in the honeycomb net stitch is to give you a little hole where the pin goes, slightly bigger than an ordinary pin will give you. This helps to produce the 'collection of bubbles' look of honeycomb net.

Click here for how to work Honeycomb net.


Kat stitch

I mention above that honeycomb stitch is half stitch and twist, pin, half stitch and twist, and that the extra twists leave little holes where the pins are. If you work the same design as honeycomb net, but leave out the twist, you get half stitch, pin, half stitch. This is Kat stitch (which is supposed to be named after Catharine of Arragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, who may have introduced bobbin lace to England). You work it like honeycomb net, with alternate rows working one pairs across all other pairs, or working pairs of pairs. The result looks like six pointed stars (but more complicated than half stitch ground) rather than clusters of bubbles. I am not sure how much Kat stitch is used in Bucks Point, but it suits the hexagonal grid very well. The stars end up flatter in Torchon grid.

Click here for how to work kat stitch.

Kat stitch

Cloth footsides

Cloth footside

Bucks Point seems to have cloth footsides. Footsides are the straight edge which is usually sewn onto something else. The passives of a footside are the pairs of threads parallel to the edge of the lace which stay next to the edge. In cloth footside, there are two or more pairs of passives, and the workers are worked across them in cloth stitch. There seems no reason why other footsides shouldn't be used, if you prefer.

Click here for how to work cloth footside.


Fan headside

Bucks point does use simple cloth fans, exactly the same as Torchon lace, but the different angle of the grid means that the fans look different - taller and narrower.

Click here for how to work a cloth fan.

Fan headside

Picots and passives headside

Picots and passives headside

A common Bucks Point headside is picots and passives headside. There are two and more pairs of passives (similar to the cloth footside). The worker pair is worked across the passives in cloth stitch. At the edge, the worker pair make a picot. Then they work back across the passives in cloth stitch again. This gives a firm edge, and a line of little loops (the picots). This headside can be a straight edge, or it can be designed as more or less curved. Then it becomes rather like a trail headside. When the headside curves inwards, pairs of bobbins are added to the trail from the body of the lace, so the headside becomes slightly thicker. As the headside curves outwards, these pairs are removed from the headside and return to the body of the lace, making the headside narrower again. Since the headside is closely worked, this difference of width shouldn't be too obvious in the finished lace.

Some types of lace use picots a lot, but Bucks Point only seems to use them along the edge of the headside. It does give a slightly frilly look to the headside. If you really dislike picots, though, you could try just twisting the work pair several times and looping them round the pin without actually trying to contruct the picot.

Click here for how to work picots and passives headside.
Click here for how to work trail headside.


Gimp

One distinctive element of Bucks Point is the use of gimps. These are single threads (rather than pairs) which are thicker than the other threads in the lace. The gimp thread does not lie on any line in the pattern. Rather it lies between two other lines. Also, it is not held in place with pins (except possibly to start a gimp off). Instead, the other threads in the pattern work across the gimp, and their twists before and after hold the gimp in place.

There may be several gimps in a pattern, and sometimes the gimps are run together and treated as one, before they separate again. Some gimps run the length of a pattern. Some get started at a point in the design, then finished off and removed an inch or so later. This will happen regularly in the pattern.

The point of a gimp is to outline a particular part of the pattern. They are very useful. In Torchon lace,it is necessary to put closely worked areas and more sparsely worked areas next to each other to show the contrast. In Bucks Point, the gimp can divide two sparsed worked areas, so you can see both distinctly.

Bucks Point was always in white, and the gimp was a thicker thread, also white. But if you wish you can use a coloured thread instead. You can even use a pair of threads as a single gimp - that is, running them between the rest of the pattern, rather than making them part of it.

Click here for how to work a gimp.

Fan headside

Beads

Beads

This is a common motif in Bucks Point. I think it looks like a string of beads in a necklace. It is often used as part of the edge (see left), almost like a headside, but it can be used in the body of the lace as well. On the left, the gimp is in red, and the other threads green. In proper Bucks Point, both should be white, of course. It uses 2 gimps. In the explanation below, the grey liness are pairs of ordinary threads, while the red line is a single gimp.


Beads
Work stitches above
Beads
Hang gimp threads
Beads
Work gimps through top of bead
Beads
Work top stitch
Beads
Work top side stitches
Beads
Work side threads through gimps
Beads
Work stitches outside bead
Beads
Work side threads back through gimps
Beads
Work bottom side stitches
Beads
Work bottom stitch
Beads
Work gimps along bottom
Beads
Cross gimps
Beads
Work stitches ready for next bead
Beads
Work next bead

Beads animation

One bead is really a hexagon of honeycomb net surrounded by a gimp. This motif is quite easy to work. The main thing to remember is that after working the top of the bead, the side threads need to go outside the gimps to do one stitch before returning inside the gimps to work the second half of the bead. The stitches outside the gimp are likely to be different to the honeycomb stitches inside, so don't get confused! When you have finished a bead, then you will need to work a few stitches outside the gimps to have all threads ready for the next bead.



Honeycomb shapes

Honeycomb shapes

Various shapes can be worked with honeycomb net. On the left are triangles. The principle is the same as the beads above. Work the stitches above the shape, work the threads you need through the gimps, then work the shape. Work the threads out of the gimpsagan. This pattern only has one gimp, as the headside provides the other edge of the shape. If there is a gimp either side, then don't forget to cross the gimps to highlight the bottom of the shape.

If a shape has sloping edges (such as the two sloping sides of the triangle), then you can work all stitches in the shape at once. If there is a vertical edge (such as next to the headside), then threads will have to leave the shape and do some sort of stitches in the lace outside before either they, or some other pair, return to the shape. This happened in the beads above on each vertical side of the bead. Here it happens along the edge next to the headside. There is no gimp there, but in each row, you will have to work threads out to the headside edge and back again to return to the shape.


Garland

Garland

A garland is a more complicated version of beads (see above). There are two rows of them which cross over. The individual beads are worked as above, but you need to keep an eye on where the threads go as they leave the beads, and which threads go into the next beads. The threads are marked out on the right, with green showing the pairs of threads doing honeycomb, grey showing pairs of threads doing Bucks Point net, and red showing individual gimp threads. You could, of course, do similar garlands using other stitches.

The gimps are quite complicated. There are four of them, two on each garland. However, where the garlands cross over, there appear to be only two gimps. You do this by doubling up the gimp threads, that is, you work the threads across one gimp, but don't twist them afterwards. Then you work the other gimp across the same threads, finally twisting the threads to hold both gimps together. This doubling up process is shown as dark red. At the start, the gimps are going in different directions, which doesn't matter. Cross the gimps if necessary. Once they are together, at the sides of the middle beads, you can treat the two gimps as one, lifting the other threads over or under both together.

The centre of the garland is a flower, described below.

Click here for how to work a gimp.

Garland

Flower

Flower

This flower is attractive and easy to work. Here it is enclosed in a gimp by itself. You could have a string of flowers, similar to the beads above. Or you could have the flower without the gimp.

You work a honeycomb shape of a hexagon. Since a hexagon has vertical sides, here the threads will need to leave the flower (passing through the gimp, if there is one), do a stitch, then return. The honeycomb stitches are marked in green and the Bucks Point ground in grey; this is to remind you to change stitch when you leave the flower!

The centre part of the hexagon shape is not honeycomb stitch, but a cloth stitch diamond. The Bucks Point grid makes this flattened, but it is worked exactly as a Torchon diamond would be. This forms the centre of the flower.

Here the gimp is thick white thread. Since the gimp just surrounds the flower, then disappears, it needs to be finished. You can see how the gimp threads have been doubled up at the bottom. This holds them in place, and you trim the gimp ends close to the lace afterwards. Click here for how to work a gimp.

Flower

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© Jo Edkins 2011