Fans

A fan is part of a circular pattern. I give the grid for various fan designs here. If you make a working fan, it will need to be large, so the grid needs to be large, and you will probably need thick thread to work it (or a lot of bobbins!). Or you can make a small fan as an ornament. I give the sizes of the fans that I worked, but I tended to adjust the pattern size (using my printer) to get these sizes. You may be able to have smaller or bigger fans using these patterns, but then you will need thinner or thicker thread, and if too big, it may not work at all.

You need to think about fan sticks. You may be able to find fan sticks for sale from a lace supplier. You can buy a cheap fan, remove the material, and replace it with your lace. Or you can even make your own fan sticks.

Large fan - curved edge
Small fan - reflected pattern
Small fan - different curves
Large fan - edge only


Large fan - curved edge

Curved edge fan pattern

This is a large fan, so I used thick woad-dyed thread (click here for more about this). The next problem is to find the rest of the fan. I managed to buy a very cheap, simple fan from a Chinese shop and removed the original piece of material. The original fan gave me the correct dimensions, so I designed the fan to the same shape, and printed the pattern to the same size.

The pattern is large, so I worked it in two parts. You can see a dotted line on the pattern in the middle which is where I started. I worked one half to the end, cut off the bobbins, and tied the threads off. Then I repositioned the pattern on the pillow and threaded more threads through the starting holes. I wound these on new bobbins, and worked the other half.

The pattern is quite elaborate as it is a large piece of lace and needs to be interesting, but it's made from standard designs. The headside is twisted fan headside. Then there is a zigzag which changes from cloth stitch to half stitch with each change of direction. This gives an interesting 3D effect, and is easy to do - the last row in one stitch, the next in the other. There are then diamonds of rose ground, plus a line of Torchon ground to make ready for the next part of the pattern (which has an irregular edge). These are also two zigzags, but this time the cloth stitch and half stitch parts are different shapes which hopefully appear to pass in front of or behind each other (this is described further here.) Spiders fill the large gaps and a single stitch of Torchon ground the small ones. You need to work out which part of which zigzag to do when, as the outer zigzag sometimes join the inner one with a single stitch, and the inner zigzags overlap each other. Still, this is not a pattern for a beginner, so I hope it's obvious what to do when! The inner edge is mostly rose ground, with the odd stitch of Torchon ground to fill in to the very edge, which is a twisted footside. This grid is a normal grid distorted into a curve. This means that the pinholes round the top edge are further apart from those round the inner edge.

The photos below show the fan before fastening to the fan sticks, and after. The different colours are entirely due to the different lighting conditions and backgrounds. The final piece of lace was just stuck onto the sticks with glue - the transparent strong adhesive, but not Superglue. It seems to work well.

30 pairs of bobbins. Fan stick length from hinge to end - 7.5 inches. Width of lace (max) - 4.5 inches.

Fan photo
Fan photo


Small fan - reflected pattern

Reflected fan pattern Reflected fan photo
I have tried to design different types of fan grid. The grid above has the pinholes round the top edge further apart from those round the inner edge, which makes the pattern rather dense at the bottom. This pattern uses a grid which is more even across the fan. It is rather like a corner, in that you work the pattern up to the pink line, and then work the rest. You don't really need to turn the pillow like real corners, but you will find that the pattern changes direction. You need to start working the fan at a top corner.

The positioning of the holes suggested a Bucks Point design rather than a Torchon one. There is a Bucks Point Passives and Picots Headside and a cloth footside, with a Bucks Point ground. Cloth strips make the leaves, and there are two Bucks Point flowers with gimps round. The gimps are actually a pair of contrasting coloured thinner threads rather than one thick thread.

For this fan, I tried making my own fan sticks. I found a plastic folder at a stationery shop. It wasn't floopy plastic; it was quite stiff, but not too thick. I used a craft knife to (carefully!) cut several strips of the right length. Then I stuck one strip to one end of the fan, and another strip to the other end. These strips were stuck on different sides of the lace, and they overlapped at the bottom. Then I stuck some more strips on at equal distances. All strips except one were on the same side of the fan (the 'back' of the fan). I made a hole through all of the sticks at the bottom with a needle, then threaded through some thick thread, doubled up. This thread was then passed a couple of times through beads on either side and knotted off. This makes the hinge of the fan.

This is a miniature fan, not big enough to use. Since I made the fan sticks myself, I could make the fan whatever size I wanted. I aslo used thick thread, as I had in the previous pattern. I think that thinner thread might have been better. I suspect that the pattern isn't quite right for a fan, especially as the front stick covers part of the pattern. Still, the principle works!

18 pairs of bobbins + 2 pairs of gimps. Fan stick length from hinge to end - 2.75 inches. Width of lace (max) - 1.25 inches.



Small fan - different curves

Different curves fan pattern

Different curves fan photo

The previous grid reflects the design around a centre line. This grid is worked as a continuous strip, and it is more evenly spread out than the first grid. I call it different curves. You need to start working the fan at a top corner.

The previous pattern had the sticks behind the holes making the flowers. This one has positioned the flowers between the sticks. There is a cloth fan headside and a twisted footside, with a Bucks Point ground. There are cloth stitch and half stitch diamonds and Bucks Point flowers with gimps round. The gimps are actually a pair of contrasting coloured thinner threads rather than one thick thread. The passive in the fottside and the workers of the fan headsides are the same colour.

This grid doesn't have a constant width of fan so I made the fan sticks again - the same method as the previous fan. It was a little harder, as the fan is not constant width, so a little tricky to work out how long the fan sticks should be, where they should cross and where to glue the fan. The relationship between the pattern and the sticks is definitely better than the previous one. It is a wider fan, too, which helps, and it uses ordinary thickness of thread. But it's still more an ornament than a real fan!

25 pairs of bobbins + 2 pairs of gimps. Fan stick length from hinge to end - 3 inches. Width of lace (max) - 1.75 inches.

Different curves fan photo



Large fan - edge only

Large fan - edge only

I bought this fan in a charity shop (thrift shop). It is a wide fan, with 180° of arc (a semi-circle). Most of the fan is the highly varnished sticks, and they are held together with a thin strip of boring brown cloth at the edge. So I designed this pattern to cover the cloth.

Large fan - edge only

This is a simple strip which is bent into a circle, like the first pattern. However, as it is such a thin strip, there isn't such a problem of distortion of the grid. The basic grid is here, if you want to design your own fan on the same principle.

Since it's a large pattern, I divided it into two (see right for one half) and worked one half from the middle outwards. When that was finished, I cut off the bobbins, tied it off, and removed it from the pillow. I pinned up the other pattern, and laid the lace over so the edges matched, and did some repinning. Then the new threads get threaded through the old starting holes, and wound onto new bobbins. A bit tricky, but it works.

The pattern is very simple, a cloth zigzag with Torchon ground on the inner side, and various other more interesting grounds on the outer edge; star ground in the centre, then (working outwards) triangular ground, rose ground and spider ground. The inner edge is a twisted footside and the outer edge is a straight edge with footside.

The previous fans had the lace stuck directly onto the sticks, which seems to work. But with this fan, I sewed the lace to the brown cloth strip. I sewed the ends, the middle, and half way between the edge and the middle, from inner to out edge. This let me position the lace in the correct place. Then I sewed the outer edge, and the inner edge. I found that the middle of the lace bulged in a couple of places, so the final sewing was a line between the inner and the outer edge, to keep all firm. The sticks got in the way, of course, and had to be avoided. The bit right at one end had to be glued as it overlapped the end stick.

Like all these lace fans, it's easy to snap the fan open quickly. Folding up the fan is a little harder, and needs an eye kept on it to make sure that it's folding properly.

19 pairs of bobbins. Fan stick length from hinge to end - 6.8 inches. Width of lace - 1 inch.

Large fan - edge only

Large fan - edge only


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© Jo Edkins 2012