Diamonds (simple pattern)

Diamond pattern

If you are a complete beginner, then I suggest that you try the footside pattern first. This pattern (see left) is a simple pattern which will help you develop your skills. It uses 14 pairs (or 28 bobbins).

The edges of this lace are single twisted footsides like the beginner's pattern, so you should know how to do that.

There are two other parts to the pattern, the ground (the open part) and the diamonds. The ground is represented by the green crossing lines. The diamonds are in pale blue.

To make this lace, print out (or copy) the pricking pattern and prick all the holes as usual. The start of this pattern is sloping, and has a line of pins outside the pattern itself, above the slope (these are the starting pins). This looks a little strange but is one way to start lace (I'll tell you about another method for the hearts pattern). Pin the pattern on the pillow, and put in the 14 starting pins. There are one pair to each hole, with two pairs on the righthand end.

You can wind all the bobbins and hang them on pins before starting any lace, but they are rather vulnerable like this, and apt to 'jump' off the pins and get tangled (and I dropped my pillow once at this stage!) A better way is to wind a few, start working them, then wind some more, and so on. Start by winding two pairs of bobbins and hang them all on the top-most pin, on the right. The right-most pair is the worker pair, and it will be used for the first row of lace. Work the two pairs using half stitch, put in the pin below the top pin (which is actually part of the pattern), and cover the pin by working the two pairs again using half stitch. This is Torchon ground (see right), and you will be doing a lot of it in this pattern.

Diamond picture

Torchon ground

Wind the next pair of bobbins, and hang them on the next starter pin. Work that pair and the worker pair (which will be on its right) with Torchon ground, using the pinhole below the starter pin. Carry on winding a pair of bobbins, and working them into the pattern, using Torchon ground in each case. When you've finished, you should have one pair of bobbins on each starter pin, plus a covered pin below this, and the worker pair on the left-hand edge of the pattern. To make things neat, take all the starter pins out (these are the top ones, outside the pattern, not the ones below them!) and carefully tug the bobbins to make all the threads hang from pins in the pattern. You may wonder why we need these starter pins. But if you don't have them, you need to hang a pair of bobbins from a pin, and also use it as the pin in the middle of a stitch. It can be done, but it's fiddly, and not recommended when you're starting! You could leave the starter pins in. This will mean that the finished lace has a line of loops along the top, which is not so neat.

Simple lace pattern

Now you need to work out what's going on. There's a lot of this in lace. If you look at your pattern, you'll see that the left-hand three pairs are right in the middle of the footside. Work the middle pair of the three to your right using cloth stitch and twist. Carefully push all three pairs to the left without disturbing their order. You won't be needing them for a time. I've marked these bobbins in pale and dark grey on the right.

The next four pairs are leading into the diamond. Push them carefully to the left as well, again without disturbing the order. I've left these four pairs of threads as pale green on the right. If you like, you can push a large pin into the pillow between the different groups of pins, so you can find the group you want later without having to work them out again. Some people use old hat pins for this!

The last seven pairs need to be worked down as far as the diamond. I've given each pair a different colour, so you can see how it travels. Start with the third pair from the right. Work it into the footside, pin, and work the previous right-hand pair out again (this is a standard footside). Carry on with that pair, working it across all the four pairs of bobbins left until you get to the diamond. These are all Torchon ground, each one needing a pin, of course. Go back to the right, and do the same; do the footside, then work across three other pairs in Torchon ground. Carry on until you have all the threads needed to work the diamond. There should be eight pairs in all, with three pairs which won't be part of it on either side.

You start a diamond at the top. Carefully push the bobbins aside, so you have 3 pairs to your left, a central 2 pairs, and 3 pairs on your right. (I'm ignoring the other bobbins, just concentrating on the eight pairs used in the diamond). Of the two central pairs, choose one pair to be the worker pair. It doesn't matter which, but this one pair will be doing all work in the diamond. In the diagram, the worker pair are in red. Work the worker pair across the other pair in cloth stitch, twist the worker pair only and put the pin in. Now work the worker pair back again, still in cloth stitch, across the other pair, and one more picked up at the end (on the left, in the diagram). Twist the worker pair, and pin. Work back again, but pick up another at the end, and so on. Each row has one more pair of bobbins. Tighten the threads after every pin, and only twist the worker pair, and then only at the end of a row. Once all threads are in the diamond, you carry on doing more rows, but this time, at the end of a row, drop off a pair at the other end of the row to where the workers are. You carry on doing this until you're only down to two pairs at the bottom. When the whole diamond is finished, twist all pairs that are leaving the diamond. By the way, you may notice that the diagram on the right is tilted slightly. It's quite hard to show the threads distinctly unless you do this! The pinholes should, of course, be on the same level. You may find it help to click here for a fuller explanation of diamonds.

You now carry on below the diamond, working Torchon ground and footside until you have all the threads into position for the next diamond. Repeat this, diamond, then Torchon ground and footside, until you come to the end of the pattern.

Diamond
knot

To finish the lace, work until you have a line of Torchon ground (straight across rather than sloping), then tie off the threads. If you didn't like doing reef knots, another way is to take four threads, loop them, and pull through the ends (see left). This makes a fringe of threads along the bottom. More to the point, the cut off threads run away from the lace, while the cut off ends of reef knots tend to lie along the last row of lace.

Once you have done this pattern, you should begin to understand how lace is worked. Every pattern is split into simple designs which I describe (see index). Some parts have to be worked before others. Some have to be worked in rows, like the cloth stitch diamonds. Others can be worked diagonally or in rows. Sometimes you have to do half a design, then work some other part of the pattern, then complete the other half. You don't in this pattern, which is why it's a simple one. However, unlike the complete beginner's pattern, you do have to do both half stitch (for the footside and ground) and cloth stitch (for the diamonds).

I have suggested that you use Torchon ground and cloth stitch diamonds for this pattern as they are easy to do, and easy to tighten up (which makes all the difference to a good piece of lace). Also, if you have easily identifiable pairs of bobbins then the pairs at the start will still be pairs at the end. However, you could work this pattern with double Torchon ground, which will give a different effect (see below). You could also try half-stitch diamonds, which will muddle up the pairs, but look attractive. In fact, you can have alternate cloth stitch diamonds and half stitch diamonds, which will make a pretty piece of lace.

simple pattern 1
Torchon Ground
Cloth diamond
simple pattern 1
Torchon Ground
Half stitch diamond
simple pattern 1
Double Torchon Ground
Cloth diamond
simple pattern 1
Double Torchon Ground
Half stitch diamond

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© Jo Edkins 2008