For those who love hand made lace.
Learn to make bobbin lace stitches.
(whole stitch with a twist)
Choose a pattern size that fits your thread from the image below. You will need 12 bobbins or 6 pairs. They do not need to be wound in pairs.
The stitches used in this basic strip are common throughout bobbin lace. Cloth stitch frequently occurs in the dense motifs or winding trails of many different styles of bobbin lace. The strip may also occur very narrow as the footside or footing of a lace. The foot usually (but not always) has a straight edge. It is the edge which is attached to the fabric when a lace is made into an edging. Sometimes it has a winkiepin or "pin after 2" edgestich, and sometimes it has a "sewing edge" or "pin after 4" edgestitch. This pattern is for practicing these variations.
To get the pattern, right click on the image above. You can then either print it directly, or save it to your computer.
Winding the Bobbins and Making the hitch.
To begin work, wind your bobbins very tight. Lay the thread end along the neck, then roll the thread onto the bobbin, do not wrap the thread around it. Rolling the bobbin will keep the proper twist on the thread. Friction is all that will hold the thread on the bobbins. Don’t try to knot the thread on the bobbin: it never works because it is impossible to tie a knot tightly enough. It needs to be tight enough that the thread cannot slip on the bobbin. Everyone tries it but it never works. Friction and tight winding work.
It is very important to wind all the bobbins in the same direction. The reason is that, if they are different, every time you try to lengthen the bobbin thread you will have to figure out which way to move the thread. And you will make mistakes in how the hitch works. The hitch must be the same for each bobbin. Otherwise you will drive yourself crazy.
For samples or a bookmark wind about two yards onto each of the bobbins. Once wound, secure the thread onto the bobbin with a hitch.
The correct hitch appears at left.
Hanging On for Samples or Bookmarks
For samples or a bookmark, tie 2 or more bobbin threads into a loose knot and hang the knot on a pin. The numbers across the top of the pattern show how many pairs to hang on each pin.
If you prefer, you can set this up to use it as a bookmark. Go to lesson 1, which explains how to do that.
Shorten the bobbin thread.
As you work if you need to shorten the thread, turn the bobbin horizontal and insert a pin into the loop of the hitch where indicated by * and roll the bobbin up the thread. To release more thread, just roll the bobbin down the thread. Keep all the bobbin threads the same length as you work. This will help your speed and quality.
Basic movements: cross and twist.
At left, each line represents one thread. All bobbin lace is made of two basic movements, the cross and the twist. We always work with 2 pairs of bobbins.
Take 2 pairs of bobbins. Think of the bobbins as occupying 4 positions from left to right: 1-2-3-4. Think of the numbers as applying to the positions, not the bobbins. As you work the bobbins will constantly change position.
Lift bobbin in position 2 over the one in position 3. This is a cross. Then renumber the bobbins in your head.
Then simultaneously lift 2 over 1 and 4 over 3. This is a twist. Then renumber the bobbins in your head.
All bobbin lace consists of these two movements worked with varying pairs of bobbins, in varying sequences, in varying pinning patterns.
To make your pricking lay the pattern onto a piece of pricking card. Find a needle the same diameter as the pins you will be using. Set the needle into a pin vise so that only about ½ inch (1 cm) of the needle extends past the jaws. Prick holes through the paper pattern straight down into the card, as accurately as you can. Now set up your pillow with the pricking a little above the center on a flat pillow. Prick a strip about 8 inches long.
There is an international color coding system for representing different stitches on diagrams. Below are diagrams of the three major stitches: cloth stitch, half stitch, and double stitch. Some lacemakers in the world do half stitch as twist cross, and some do it cross twist. There is some controversy about this, but I believe it is pointless. The lace will look the same whichever way you do it. But you must be consistent all the time, in the same piece, or your lace will be ruined. I do it twist cross. (Doris Southard also uses twist cross, and I learned from her.)
Study the following diagram: Cloth stitch is represented by purple. Cloth stitch is done the same way by everyone in the world, although different names may be used.
The stitch worked TCTC has various names, there isn't general agreement on what to call it. This is a fact of life in bobbin lace.
The western European way of handling the bobbins:
Cloth stitch - CTC
Each intersection is cross twist cross = ctc. In the diagram below, each line is one pair.
Each intersection is CTC cross twist cross.
In the diagrams below each line is one thread.
Double stitch, = twist cross twist cross TCTC
Also called whole stitch, whole throw, whole stitch with a twist. In the diagram below each line is one pair.
Work the pairs in the same order as for cloth stitch, but add a twist before each stitch.
The sequence for each intersection is:
Half Stitch = TC twist cross
Work each intersection as twist cross. In this stitch, all the pairs split up.
In the diagram at left, each line is one pair.
Each intersection is TC
In the diagrams below, each line is one thread.
Cloth stitch the central passives, but doublestich the weaver and the edge pair.
Do twist cross twist cross with the weaver and the edge pair on both the left and right edges. But do cloth stitch with the weaver and central passives. The travelling direction and sequence remain the same. This version is common in tape laces.
Half stitch the weaver and central passives, doublestitch the weaver and the edge pair, both left and right.
Notice that the last half of the piece at right has a red thread going horizontally. That is the weaver. If you twist the weaver pair only one extra time as it goes around the pin, you keep the same weaver in half stitch from row to row.
Each line is one pair.
All the stitches presented so far have what is called a winkiepin edge. It is also called "pin after 2" edge, meaning that you set the pin after 2 threads. Only 2 threads go around the outside of the pin. In the following sample 4 threads go around the outside of the pin. This is called "pin after 4" or "sewing edge". The latter name is used because this edge is easier to attach to cloth. Below is another way of diagramming that.
This version of the edge is probably most common in the footside of many laces.