Variable grids

I discovered a wonderful book at a lace fair: Logarithmic Lace, a Lace Guild Resource book, compiled by Deborah Robinson (see Books about lace). This book introduces the idea of a variable grid, where lines of holes are not fixed differences from each other, but vary more or less across the grid. Since lacemakers sometimes use graph paper as a blank to design patterns on, the book used logarithmic graph paper instead. The patterns produced are very exciting. I wanted to extend the idea, partly not to infringe on the book's copyright, and partly because a strict logarithmic grid would not suit the pictures that I use, which are computer pixel-based. So I designed my own grids, where the horizontal or vertical lines of holes start close together, then get one pixel further apart in each line to a maximum, then get closer together again in the same way. This produces a wave effect. Click here for the blank grids. I have tried some very simple designs, to see what happens.

 Horizontal Vertical Both ways 1 Both ways 2

Horizontal variable grid

Here is a pattern above using the horizontal grid. I enlarged it using my printer to get a reasonable size to work.

This grid is the one with horizontal waves (left to right). The pattern is just cloth stitch strips with Torchon ground stitches in between. There is twisted footside on each edge next to the Torchon ground, but for the strips, I worked the cloth stitch right up to the edge.

I aligned the pattern symmetrically on the grid, with the narrowest part in the middle and the widest at each edge. Obviously you woud get a different effect if you did the opposite, or even put the same pattern assymetrically on the grid. However, since there is a natural width to bobbin lace, with the horizontal waves, you don't get much room to display the strangeness of the grid. The vertical grid (see below) would be better for this.

I printed off the pattern (using the zoom effect on my printer) a little too small, which meant that the narrow part of the grid was rather tricky to work, and I kept missing holes. I had to undo the strips several times to get it right! But I think that if I had made it bigger, it would have been a lot easier.

16 pairs

Vertical variable grid

 Here is a pattern above using the vertical variable grid. I enlarged it using my printer to get a reasonable size to work. The shapes are made of V shapes in cloth stitch - a pair which touch at top and bottom. These leave a gap in the centre which are filled with half stitch diamonds. There are more half stitch diamonds either side and a few Torchon ground stitches to fill up the gaps. There is twisted footsides on each side. The pattern shows a lot of variation, but eventually repeats, from first to last diamond (above). Below, the worked piece starts and begins in different places, so see if you can spot where! 20 pairs

Both ways variable grid 1

 Here is a pattern above using the both ways variable grid. I enlarged it using my printer to get a reasonable size to work. The edges are triangles in cloth stitch. Their distorted shape comes from the variable grid. The triangles were laid on the grid to produce this symmetrical effect. If you set them off-centre then you would get other effects - you might like to experiment yourself! If the whole pattern of lace was set off-centre on the grid, then one edge would look different from the other. I chose this because when experimenting with shapes I found that this design produced an interesting ellipsed or even circular shape rather than the expected diamonds. The middle of the ellipse is Torchon ground stitches . I wanted to make it as simple as possible to show off the effects of the grid. The edges of the triangles are unconventional. Rather than working a footside or even a Winkie pin edge, I have worked the triangle right up to the edge of the lace in a very simple way. This means that there needs to be twice as many pins as usual. Since the variable grid sometimes pushed the pin holes closer together, this does make the pinholes extremely close in some places, but it is workable, as long as the scale is large enough to see the holes. 14 pairs

Both ways variable grid 2

 Here is another pattern above using the both ways variable grid. I enlarged it using my printer to get a reasonable size to work. This is simply rose ground with twisted footside on both sides. The distorted shapes comes from the variable grid. I wanted to make it as simple as possible to show off the effects of the grid. Since the variable grid sometimes pushed the pin holes closer together, this does make the pinholes extremely close in some places, but it is workable, as long as the scale is large enough to see the holes. 14 pairs