Simple Lace Grounds

A ground is an open bit of lace, which is used to fill in between other, usually denser patterns such as diamonds. These are simple grounds, sometimes called nets. Another word for this open part of the lace is réseau.

Every stitch has a pin. For more complex patterns, see other grounds.


Torchon ground
Double Torchon ground
Bucks Point ground
Half stitch ground
Diamond ground


Torchon ground

Torchon Ground

The Torchon ground starts off with all pairs of bobbins being twisted. Then you find two pairs of bobbins coming into one particular point, which will have a hole. I've made these pairs different colours so you can see what's going on, but they would usually be the same colour. You work the pairs of bobbins with a half stitch, and then you put the pin in. Then work the same two pairs in another half stitch. This is called covering the pin. The diagram shows six pins' worth of net. It is easier to work simple ground diagonally rather than in rows, as in the diagram. This means that you work one pair of bobbins down the pattern.

You may not need to tighten the threads after every pin. A gentle tug of the bobbins at the edge, or before starting any more complicated part of the design, may be enough. Don't pull the pins out, though!

Torchon ground
Torchon ground pattern

The pricking pattern for a Torchon ground is just the ordinary Torchon grid, with the holes in a square diamond pattern. It's the same for the double Torchon ground as well. You just have to know what your ground is for a particular pattern! In my patterns, I tend to draw in the diagonal lines of the net as it helps me see where the threads go (see right).

See the first Hearts design for an example of Torchon ground.

Torchon ground pattern

Torchon ground

Normally simple Torchon ground has a pin in the middle of the stitch. This creates a little hole, caused by the pin, in the finished lace. You may like this, but if you wanted to reduce the holey efect, it is possible to work the same stitch, and put the pin in afterwards, between the two pairs. This means that the stitch rests on top of the pin, and the pin is uncovered (there is only threads above the pin, not underneath). This is similar to the Bucks Point ground (see below). The hole doesn't disappear altogether, but it is smaller (see right). It's also quicker to work, as you do the stitch, then pin, rather than stitch, pin, stitch, and if you put the pin in the wrong palce, it's easier to take it out and put it right! But it is not traditional.

Some lacemakers work ground without using any pins at all! They tighten the work before starting the ground, and after finishing. This means that you need a pattern where you can do this. It's obviously a lot quicker to work as putting in pins takes time, but I prefer having my pins to tighten against while working ground!

Torchon ground

Double Torchon ground

Double Torchon Ground

Double Torchon ground is worked with a cloth stitch and twist before the pin, and another cloth stitch and pin after. This means that there are twice as many stitches. You can see that the threads work down the lace is a zig-zag fashion, rather than moving diagonally like the simple Torchon ground.

The Simple lace uses a stitch of double Torchon ground in the centre.

Double Torchon ground

Bucks Point ground

Bucks Point net pattern

Bucks Point Ground

A Bucks Point ground has one half stitch per pair of bobbins, and then pin. This leaves the pin uncovered. Each new pair of bobbins is then twisted one or more times. The diagram on the right shows each original pairs of bobbins a different colour. You can see how the pairs change for each pin! There are also additional threads which come in from each side to complete the stitches. The diagram shows two additional twists, which means that the threads move diagonally, which can give a tauter net. When you do a half stitch, it ends with a twist anyway, so you could also describe the stitch as crossing the middle pair, then twisting both pairs three times.

A Bucks Point pricking has lines of pins closer to the horizontal than Torchon, which makes shorter, fatter diamonds. The Bucks Point ground gives an attractive hexagonal design, rather than the Torchon diagonal squares.

These flower patterns use Bucks Point ground.

Bucks Point ground


Bucks Point ground

Bucks Point net pattern

Half Stitch Ground

This is also known as lattice stitch. It is similar to Bucks Point ground but without the twists. There is a half stitch per pair of bobbins, and then pin, which is left uncovered. The diagram on the right shows each original pairs of bobbins a different colour. You can see how the pairs change for each pin! There are also additional threads which come in from each side to complete the stitches.

If you work this on a Bucks Point grid (which has lines of pins closer to the horizontal than Torchon), it will give a star-like pattern. You may be able to work this without pins at all, except at the edges to position the threads. After all, when you work half-stitch diamonds, you don't need internal pins!

Bucks Point ground


Diamond ground

Diamond pattern

Diamond Ground

This is a different way to work Torchon ground (see above). Torchon ground has a visible hole where the threads cross, where the pin went. This avoids it by putting in the pin under the stitch rather than in the middle. This means that the pin is uncovered, similar to Bucks Point ground. I have also twisted each pair twice after working, to make a taut net.

So the stitch is worked: cross stich and twist, pin, twist each pair twice.

If the proportions of the photograph look slightly odd, that example was worked on a hexagonal grid (Bucks Point) rather than the normal square grid (Torchon). You can use either.

Diamond ground

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© Jo Edkins 2002