Maze Lace

I am also interested in mazes so I thought I'd experiment with trying to make them in lace. Here are the results. These are not conventional Torchon lace patterns (or indeed any other style), so I suggest that if you're a beginner, you don't start here!

These are unicursal mazes, with no branches or choice, just a single path to the centre. Some people call them labyrinths.

Chartres Maze (gimp)
Roman Maze (gimp)
Cretan Maze (zigzag)
Cretan Maze (gimp)
Cretan Maze (gimp 2)
Roman Maze (trail)

Chartres Maze pattern

Chartres Maze pattern (gimp)

This is a Chartres maze. See my maze website for more details.

This pattern is worked as a mat. It is round, but this does not really affect round you work it. You start at one of the pale blue lines, from the edge to the centre. It might be best to start where the maze does, otherwise you end up by trying to overlap the gimps (as I have - see photo).

Start working at the edge, then carry on until you get down to the next pale blue line. Then do the next quarter. Keep the first two rows of pins, pushing them as far in as you can, so they don't get in the way. When you get to the end, use a needle to thread half of each pair through the relevant starting loop before tying off.

The background is Torchon ground. There is a cloth footside round the outside. There is four rose ground in the middle, one in each quarter. They are a bit distorted because of the circular grid.

The path of the maze is formed by gimps. The gimps are single yellow thick thread, with the normal pairs being green.

19 pairs of bobbins + 11 gimps!

Chartres Maze photo

Chartres Maze photo

Roman Maze pattern (gimp)

This is a Roman maze. See my maze website for more details.

This pattern is worked as a mat. Start where the maze does. Work to one of the pink lines, thrn turn the pillow. Start working at the edge, then carry on until you get down to the next pink line. Then do the next quarter. Keep the first two rows of pins, pushing them as far in as you can, so they don't get in the way. When you get to the end, use a needle to thread half of each pair through the relevant starting loop before tying off.

The background is Torchon ground. There is a twisted footside round the outside.

As in the last pattern, the path of the maze is formed by gimps. The gimps are shiny thin thread, with the normal pairs being black. A better choice of colours or a thicker gimp might make the maze show more clearly. In some places, the gimps need to make sharp right-angled turns. Work the gimp across the pair of background threads, then immediately work it back again. Tighten well to make the right angle, and prevent a loop.

14 pairs of bobbins + 9 gimps!

Chartres Maze pattern

Cretan Maze pattern Cretan Maze photo

Cretan Maze pattern (zigzag)

This is a Cretan maze. See my maze website for more details.

This pattern is a strip bent round into a circle. This means that the pins are closer in the centre than the edge.

The path of the maze is made with cloth stitch zigzags. They are very thin, and even so, this pattern needs a lot of bobbins. The gaps near the edge and the centre are Torchon ground. There is a twisted footside round the outside.

This pattern would startle anyone familiar with the Cretan maze, since it seems completely different. However, the direction of the paths, and the doubling back are correct. In Torchon lace, solid areas tend to be diagonal, which leads to the zigzags.

34 pairs of bobbins


Cretan Maze pattern

Cretan Maze pattern (gimp)

This is another Cretan maze. See my maze website for more details.

This pattern uses gimps to outline the walls. It looks far more familar than the previous pattern.

It is a mat, worked one quarter at a time. However, a Cretan maze is not a simple circle. Rather it is one half circle, two quarter circles, and a piece between. So It needs to be worked in a particularly way. You must start at the blue lines. Work the lace in the direction shown. Then finish by tying off at the pink lines.

The background is Torchon ground. There is a cloth footside round the outside. The walls of the maze are formed by gimps.

14 pairs of bobbins + 8 gimps

Cretan Maze photo

Cretan Maze photo

Cretan Maze pattern (gimp 2)

If I seem to be doing a lot of Cretan mazes, it is because I wasn't happy with the first ones! This pattern uses gimps again, but this time for the paths rather than the walls. The whole piece is worked as a strip, rather than a mat, which does, at least, making finishing off easier! It needs more bobbins, though. The other difference is that the thread I was using for gimps is rather stiff, so rather hard to finish a gimp. This design (if started from the top) has all the finishes along long straight edges.

The background is Torchon ground. There is a twisted footside round the outside. The paths of the maze are formed by gimps. There is a false footside along the top and bottom, formed by working cloth stitch and twist with two pairs at the edge through all pairs.

25 pairs of bobbins + 15 gimps

Cretan Maze pattern

Roman Maze pattern (trail)

Roman Maze pattern Roman Maze photo

This is a Roman maze, but done as a trail. There are only a few bobbins because the lace is worked as a trail, using a crochet hook to link what you are doing to what you have already done. The pattern is tilted to make it easier for me to design!

The trail is cloth stitch. On each side of the trail, a pair of bobbins is included in the trail, then leaves it, twisted several times round a pin. If it meets a previous worked bit of lace, then it is linked with a crochet hook instead.

Click here for a neat way to make a right angle corner for the trail.

10 pairs of bobbins


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© Jo Edkins 2008