Junctions and crossovers

Lace often crosses two pairs of threads. This can be done using lace stitches, such as cloth stitch and twist. But what do we do when we want to cross over more than two pairs?

Spiders
Windmill or Lazy Join
Lazy Spider
Surrounding crossover
Surrounding passives
Alternative surrounding passives
Half junction


Spider with 8 legs

Spiders

In Torchon lace (and other styles), spiders are common. These fall within a diamond in the pattern, with a single pin in the middle. Each pair on one side is worked across each pair on the other side in cloth stitch, pin in the middle, then work them all back again. See the webpage on spiders for details and diagrams.

The spider is very useful, since it can be done with any even number of pairs. However, it does take a lot of stitches. This means that for more 'legs', the 'body' of the spider grows larger, and it tends to make an oval shape. The legs are harder to make taut as well. You can see this on the right.

Peas and open spiders have a gap in the centre, so they are not really suitable for a neat cross-over.

Spider with 16 legs

Windmill or Lazy Join

Windmill or Lazy Join

In English Midland lace, or other plaited laces, plaits and tallies are common. Plaits and tallies have two pairs in, so if they cross, you are crossing two pairs over two pairs (making four pairs in all). A special lace stitch called the windmill or lazy join is used for this. It treats each pair as if it was a single thread, and works them in a cloth stitch. See lace stitches page for more details. The diagram on the left shows individual threads (not pairs).

However, this only works for four pairs in the junction. Tallies are often shaped to create leaves or petals, by varying the width of the tally so it starts and ends in a point. Then several of these are joined to make the centre of a flower. If there are more than four pairs, then you can't use a windmill.


Lazy spider

Lazy spider

One possibility for a crossover with more than four pairs is to combine the ideas of a spider and a lazy join. We could call it a lazy spider, perhaps! This does a spider, but treats each pairs of threads as if it was a single thread, as in the lazy join - see left.

This example is showing individual threads. It has six pairs coming into the junction. You can see how this can be extended for a larger number of pairs. In this example, if these are the petals of a flower, then the pale blue and pink would belong to a petal coming in from the left, the red and blue pair to another petal coming in from the right, and the two green pairs to the middle petal.

While this example has 6 pairs, you should be able to see how the idea can be extended for more pairs, as it is based on a spider. The example on the right has 8 pairs (4 each side). This also demonstrates a problem with this technique. Spiders twist the 'legs' a number of times (I tend to do 6 twists), then do the body, then twist the legs the same amount afterwards. But here, the 'body' keeps the pairs together. That means the the twists before the body can slip through the body to after the body. You can see how some of the pairs at the top have started to separate.

Lazy Spider

3 way join

Surrounding crossover

Here is another way to join 6 pairs. The previous example didn't actually cross-over pairs, because a spider has its pairs ending up on the same side of the pin that they started. It is obviously possible to cross over pairs using cloth stitch, but this tends to create a loose patch of stitches where the join should be. This happens whether you do cloth stitch with the individual threads, or as a lazy join.

So this method crosses over most of the stitches with cloth stitch in pairs as a lazy join, but runs the top pairs round the outside of the junction to pull the rest together into a neat join.

While this example has 6 pairs, you should be able to see how the idea can be extended for more pairs. The photo on the right has 4 pairs, with a neat body, although oval. I think this is the neatest of all the techniques for 4 pairs.

Surrounding crossover Spider

10 way cross

Surrounding passives

Here is another way to join pairs. I have drawn it for 10 pairs, but it could be adapted for others.

The diagram on the left is showing pairs, not individual threads. All stitches are cloth stitch. The idea is to take each of the middle two pairs, work them across each other, then round all the others on that side, pin in the middle, then work them back again. The rest of the pairs are just treated as passives, and don't cross each other.

The problem here is the tightening. Most of the pairs stay the same side of the pin, which means if you tug on them, they pull the body apart. I found it hard to tighten the two centre pairs enough to compensate for this.

Surrounding passives Spider

Alternative surrounding passives

Alternative surrounding passives

Here is a variant on the previous idea. If you are doing a spider (with twisted pairs coming into the junction rather than tallies), then the previous method may end up with an oval centre again.

So this method takes the left and right pairs to surround the rest. There are more stitches, since these pairs have to get to the centre before dealing with the pairs on the other side. But this means that they will pull everything together better. The diagram is showing individual threads again, not pairs.

The body is tighter, but rather a weird shape!

Alternative surrounding passives Spider

Some of these techniques are described in more detail in Other ways to work a spider.


Half spider

Half junction

Sometimes, a pattern has half a flower (or spider). These are treated in a different way. There will be one pair of threads coming in from the non-flower side. This is the worker pair. Work that in cloth stitch through all pairs in the flower (or spider), pin between the worker threads and the rest, and work the worker pair back again.

See half spider for further details. It is easy to adapt the idea for half a flower.

Half Spider

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© Jo Edkins 2014