Lace peas and open spiders

An ordinary spider has a number of 'legs' (twisted pairs of threads) which are joined at a single point in the middle, anchored by a pin. There are similar shapes with legs, but with holes in the middle. They are called peas or open spiders. I'm not sure which style of lace uses them. There are various ways to construct the central hole. In these diagrams, the pairs of threads are represented by a single line (as it's quite complicated enough without making it anymore difficult!)

Simple pea or open spider
Pea or open spider - wider hole
Pea with leaving/joining pair
German spider

There is also the Bedfordshire spider.


Simple pea or open spider

Simple pea or open spider

Simple pea or open spider pricking

This is the simplest design, which can be used for six pairs or more. This description describes eight pairs. The pricking (left) is just two pins, although this pricking shows the framing - how pairs enter the pea. The holes may be positioned in slightly different places, although they will be on the same level. Remember, this description shows a pair as a single line.

The middle six pairs are worked as half a spider. Then the left outermost pair works across three pairs, round a pin, then back again. Similarly for the right outermost pair. (This pulls the threads apart to make the central hole). Finally, the middle six pairs are worked as the bottom half of the spider. Twist all pairs. All stitches are cloth stitch. There is a more detailed explanation below.

There is a pattern with an open spider here.

How to do an open spider

How to work a pea - 1
1. Start with eight pairs, four on each side.
How to work a pea - 1
2. Work the middle three pairs on each side across each other, like an ordinary spider.
How to work a pea - 1
3. Work one outer pair across the three pairs which came from the other side.
How to work a pea - 1
4. Pin.
How to work a pea - 1
5. Work it back again.
How to work a pea - 1
6. Do the same on the other side.
How to work a pea - 1
7.Work the middle three pairs on each side across each other again.
How to work a pea - 1
8. Twist all pairs, and carry on with the rest of the lace.



Pea or open spider - wider hole

Simple pea or open spider

Pea or open spider - wider hole pricking

Here is a similar, but slightly more complicated version. Again, it can be used for six or more pairs - this uses eight.On the left, you can see the pricking, with the pins framing the spider, and the inner pins for the central hole.

How to do an open spider

How to work an pea - 2
1. Start with eight pairs, four on each side.
How to work an pea - 2
2. Work the middle three pairs on each side across each other, as before.
How to work an open spider
3. Work one outer pair across the three pairs as before, and pin.
How to work an pea - 2
4. Work back across three pairs and pin.
How to work an pea - 2
5. Work it towards the middle again and pin.
How to work an pea - 2
6. Work it back again.
How to work an pea - 2
7.Do the same on the other side.
How to work an pea - 2
8. Work the middle three pairs on each side across each other, and finish off as before.


Pea with leaving/joining pair

Pea

Pea with leaving/joining pair pricking

The pricking pattern shows a different pattern of dots. The pins frame the outside of the pea rather than directly creating its inside hole.

This pea is quite complicated to work. Essentially, you work half a spider, then take the middle two pairs, work them outwards to a pin, then back to the middle (without a pin). A pair on either side leave the pea, and another pair join the pea. Then reverse that for the second half of the pea. See right for a moving image, and below for a more detailed explanation of the different steps. All stitches are in cloth stitch.

See here for an example.

How to do a Pea
How to work a pea - 3
1. Start with six pairs, three on each side. Work middle two pairs and pin.
How to work a pea
2. Work half a spider with the six pairs as they now stand - i.e. work each pair on one side across all the other pairs.
How to work a pea - 3
3. Take one of the middle pairs (as they now stand) and carry on working it in the same direction until it has crossed two pairs to the outside. Pin.
How to work a pea - 3
4. Work it back across the same two pairs.
How to work a pea - 3
5. Do the same with the other middle pair on the other side.
How to work a pea - 3
6. The outermost pair leaves the pea. It does a cloth stitch and twist with an outside pair, which now joins the pea.
How to work a pea - 3
7. The new pair works across two pairs to the centre.
How to work a pea - 3
8. Do the same on the other side.
How to work a pea - 3
9. Work the pale blue thread out to the edge, pin and work it back to the centre.
How to work a pea - 3
10. Do the same to the pink thread on the other side.
How to work a pea - 3
11. Work half a spider with the six pairs as they now stand - i.e. work each pair on one side across all the other pairs.
How to work a pea - 3
12. Pin between the middle and work the middle two pairs.


German spider

Simple pea or open spider

Simple pea or open spider pricking

Here, the hole is vertical rather than horizontal or square so the pricking shows that the two pins are one above the other, rather than on a level. I have heard it described as a german spider, but I don't know if this is its official name. The description is for six pairs (three on either side), although there could be more.

The six pairs are worked as half a spider. The top pin is put in. then the outer pairs are twisted, leave the spider, round a pin, and return. (They will be worked with some other pair to preserve the structure of the lace. It might be possible to swap pairs at the pin, as well.) The bottom pin is put in, and the bottom half of the spider is worked, using all pairs. Twist all pairs. All stitches are cloth stitch. There is a more detailed explanation below.

How to do a German spider

How to work a German spider - 4
1. Start with six pairs, three on each side.
How to work a German spider - 4
2. Work the three pairs on each side across each other, like an ordinary spider.
How to work a German spider - 4
3. Continue working the middle two pairs through the outer pairs in the same direction.
How to work a German spider - 4
4. Put in top and bottom pin.
How to work a German spider - 4
5. Twist the outer pairs, take them out of the spider into the rest of the lace, round a pin, and back again, with more twists.
How to work a German spider - 4
6. Work the outer pairs back to the centre.
How to work a German spider - 4
7. Work the bottom half of the spider
How to work a German spider - 4
8. Twist all pairs, and carry on with the rest of the lace.

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© Jo Edkins 2014