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Samples

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These are not true pieces of lace since they have floppy edges. Proper lace needs footsides and headsides. However, these samples give you practise in lace stitches, and setting out your pillow, winding bobbins, putting in pins, which are all necessary for lacemaking. The photos of the finished lace are very enlarged so you can see the details.

Cloth stitch sample
Net sample

Cloth stitch sample

On the right is a simple pattern (the rectangle of dots). Either print it out (right-click on the pattern, then click on Print Picture) or copy it. It is quite important that it's the correct size. The dots down the edge should be about 4mm apart. They can be closer together or further apart, but too far apart and the lace will be much too straggley, and too close together means that you won't be able to put the pins in.

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

Wind 6 pairs of bobbins. Click here to see how. Hang a pair of bobbins from each pin along the top, which will leave one pair left over. Hang this on the left top corner pin (which means that it will share the pin with another pair of bobbins). I have wound a different colour of thread (white) on this last pair from the rest (blue). You can do the same if you wish, or leave them all the same colour. The white pair is called the worker pair. The others are called passives, because they don't do so much work. All your bobbins should be laid out on the pillow in pairs, in the same order that you hung them. The two that share a pin should be arranged so they are in pairs, with the worker pair (hung last) on the left edge. See right for a diagram, although your bobbins will probably be spread out more, since the width of the bobbins is more than the distance between the pin holes.

You are now ready to start. Take the worker pair and the next pair and make a cloth stitch with them. Click here to see how. When you've finished, the worker pair will no longer be at the edge. Leave the other pair (perhaps tidy it away a little to one side so it doesn't get in the way). Take the worker pair, and the next pair on the right. Work a cloth stitch with them. Carry on working cloth stitches with the worker pair, and the pair on the right, until the worker pair ends up on the right-hand edge. Put a pin in the hole provided, between the worker pair and the last passive pair. You have finished your first row of lace.

Now take the same worker pair, and the pair to the left, and work a cloth stitch. Although you've just worked a stitch with all these bobbins in the previous row, the pin that you put in stops a muddle happening. Pins are VERY important in lace! The worker pair are now working their way back to the left-hand edge, with a cloth stitch with each passive pair in turn. Every stitch (all cloth stitch) means that the worker pair moves across another pair of bobbins. All cloth stitches are identical. You don't change anything about the stitch because the workers are moving to the left rather than to the right. The only way that you move in a particular direction is which pair you discard at the end of a stitch, and which pair gets used again for the next stitch (which is always the worker pair).

When you have worked enough rows (or run out of pattern!) then you can finish. You can just cut the bobbins off, and unpin the lace, but that might mean your lace unravelling a bit, which would be a shame. So I put pins in the pinholes at the bottom. I then unwound four bobbins (two pairs) for a bit, cut them off, then tied a knot in them. When done for all threads, you get a fringe effect. The pins are to stop the lace getting pulled out of shape when I tied the knots, as the knots get tied round and up to the knots.

You can now admire the finished lace. You can see that all threads hang straight down, except the worker threads, which go from side to side.

Simple lace pattern

Starting

Sample of cloth stitch

Net sample

On the right is the pattern for a net (the dots). Either print it out (right-click on the pattern, then click on Print Picture) or copy it. It is quite important that it's the correct size. The dots down the edge should be about 4mm apart. They can be closer together or further apart, but too far apart and the lace will be much too straggley, and too close together means that you won't be able to put the pins in.

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

Wind 6 pairs of bobbins. Click here to see how. Hang two pairs of bobbins from each pin along the top. I have wound a different colour of thread for each pair. You can do the same if you wish, or leave them all the same colour. There is no worker pair when working a net. All bobbins are treated the same way. All your bobbins should be laid out on the pillow in pairs, in the same order that you hung them.

You are now ready to start. Leave the pair on the left. Take the next two pairs and make a Torchon ground stitch with them. This is a half stitch, then a pin (in the hole in the second row, between the two pins on the left in the top row), then another half stitch. Click here to see how to do a half stitch. When you've finished, the two pairs will have swapped positions.

You can work net in more than one way (unlike solid cloth stitch, above). For each stitch, you need two pairs. One pair will be going diagonally from left to right, and the other pair will be going from right to left. But you don't work a row with the same pair of bobbins. If you want to work a row, then you do a stitch, discard both pairs of bobbins, and move onto the next two pairs. You work out which hole you're going to stick the pin in, and the two pairs should be coming from the pins immediately above, and to the left and right.

I find it easier not to work a row of net, but to work on the diagonal. Unfortunately, here we start from a horizontal line. But if you can gradually work stitches until you have all stitches done above a diagonal line (it doesn't matter sloping which way) it means that you can work the same pair of bobbins right down the diagonal. Be a bit careful at the edges, though, to make sure that you pick up the right two pairs. You must never put a pin in a hole when either of the two holes above don't have pins in yet.

When you have done enough, finish the lace off as before. You can now admire the finished lace. You can see that all threads go diagonally to the edge, then change direction and slope the other way.

Simple lace pattern

Sample of cloth stitch

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© Jo Edkins 2008