Footsides (simple pattern)

Simple lace pattern

This is a very simple pattern, suitable for a complete beginner. It only uses 6 pairs (or 12 bobbins).

Print the pattern on the left. (Right-click on the pattern, then click on Print Picture.)

Prick the pattern. Click here to see how. Pin it on the pillow. Put two pins in the top two holes of the pattern.

Wind 6 pairs of bobbins. Click here to see how. Hang three pairs of bobbins from each pin. You are now ready to start.

Simple lace photo

The diagram on the right below shows where the individual threads go. If you like, you could wind different colours onto each pair of bobbins, just to see what is happening! It does look complicated, but just take it one pin at a time.

You should have six pairs of bobbins lying flat on the pillow. Carefully move two pairs to the left, and two pairs to the right, leaving the two middle pairs in the middle. Take these four bobbins and work then in a cloth stitch (click here to find out how). Then twist each pair (click here to find out how). This makes a composite stitch called cloth stitch and twist. Don't worry if the threads are all rather floppy. It won't look neat yet.

Now put the pin in. This has to go between the threads, with one pair on one side and one pair on the other. You can now see why you need to prick the pattern first! Tighten up the threads by very gently pulling on the bobbins. Click here for more information about the working of the lace, putting pins in and tightening threads. Now you need to do another cloth stitch and twist using the same two pairs of bobbins. This is called 'covering the pin'; you can probably see why! This completes the first pin.

Simple lace threads

Take the left pair of the central bobbins that you've just been using, and work cloth stitch and twist with both pairs on their left, one after another. At this point, what used to be one of the central pairs of bobbins is now at the edge. Put a pin in so there are two pairs to the left of the pin, and one pair to the right. Now leave the new edge pair alone, and take the second and third pair of bobbins. Work them with (as usual) cloth stitch and twist. Now tighten all the threads that you've been using.

You may see in the picture on the right that the grey threads just go straight downwards. These are called the passives, and the other bobbins work through them from each side. When a pair of bobbins work across other bobbins, so they change their position, they are called workers. You don't need to know these names, but it helps you to realise what is happening.

You've done the three pairs of bobbins on the left. Now do exactly the same to the right, but as mirror-image. All the stitches are cloth stitch and twist. Work the 4th pair across the 5th and 6th. Put a pin so there are two pairs to the right and one to the left. Leave the new edge pair alone, and work the other two. Tighten everything.

You now repeat the whole, starting with the two new central pairs of bobbins.

All the stitches are cloth stitch and twist, so you don't have to worry about changing the stitch. A likely mistake is to keep the same pair as workers all the time, having worked them through two pairs to the edge, then working the same pair back through two pairs to the centre. You must remember to leave the edge pair, and work the other pair back only through one pair to the centre. I hope you can understand this by looking at the diagram.

It may help you to read the page about footsides. This pattern uses single twisted footsides on both sides. There is a double Torchon ground stitch in between.

When you have worked as much lace as you want, or run out of pattern, then you need to finish off. You can just cut through the threads if you want, but this might mean that a little bit of lace will get unravelled. So it's better, perhaps, to knot the threads. The easiest way is to undo the thread from one pair of bobbins a bit, then cut the threads several inches away from the lace. Then tie the two threads together, in a reef knot if you know how to do that, but any way of joining two threads together will do. Do this while the pins are still in the pattern, and make sure that the knot is fairly close to the lace. You can trim off the excess thread afterwards, but not too close to the knot in case that makes the knot come undone. Once all threads have been tied off, then remove all the pins, and you have your first piece of lace!

It is possible to use the same pattern with different stitches. You could do cloth footsides, still with a double Torchon ground stitch in between, or you could have a single Torchon ground in between. The threads will go in different directions so the threads diagram on the right won't apply.

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© Jo Edkins 2008