Jo Edkins website has a huge number of beginner patterns, much explanation and animated stitches.  Any student using her material is welcome to post questions here, and either Jo herself or another of our members will try to help.  But you must join laceioli before you can post questions.  Joining is free.

       Jo's website.

Bobbin lace lessons       Bobbin lace tutorial       torchon ground tutorial      how to do cloth stitch

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Well, it took several months, but my version of Jo's Sampler Mat is done and off the pillow.  Please see the discussion under the Tape Lace forum, question about making lace on bolster pillow topic, for details.

Nancy -  It looks terrific!  Your attachment of end to beginning is done very well.  I just see a few spots where you forgot a twist.  That pattern is actually well beyond beginner level.  Some of those grounds are difficult to follow, especially the one in the lower left corner.  I still have trouble with that one.

What will you do next?

I still often refer to Jo's lace site, it has been a life saver for many years being self taught has left me with many questions, but these questions have been answered by Jo's lace site and it has given me many more ideas. What i have found a real help is being able to print out grids for many different grounds , also the pattern design has given me many hours of fun, I have about 3 inches of print outs from playing around and comming up with some rather interesting patterns and ideas, the only problem i am left with is am i going to live long enough to do them all.

I understand about too many patterns and not enough time!  I'm working on a 2-yard length of one the Nue Modelbuoch pieces for a friend (the small edging), but until I'm done I can't get back to working on the myriad of other prickings I've already made up (many from Jo's site), all the Idria lace pieces I want to try, and more Le Pompe lace!  I also have a ton of lace grounds that I'm itching to play with, and then there is the silk thread I was given and I want to see how it works up...  Yay, lace!

I am feeling a bit stupid at this point (I can usually figure this sort of thing out). Instead of bugging Jo by emailing her, I thought I would post here and perhaps sever two purposes: get answers to my questions and also perhaps those same answers will help others who might be wondering the same thing. 

Pattern 6 from Jo's book "How to Make Bobbin Lace", is the scallop headside and rose ground (I have included a picture of the pattern and a link for clarity). In it, Jo says to do torchon ground stitches for the first row of the scallop headside, then to "Work rows backwards and forwards in cloth stitch and twist" (the point circled in red on the pattern below). At this point, should one cover the last torchon ground pin before doing the first cloth stitch and twist for the first return row (that is, do a CT, pin, CT and then a CTCT) or should one do a CT, pin and then just cover with the CTCT ?

When finished with the top half of the scallop on one side of the lace, one works to the middle point and then works back (the green circle). How is one to deal with this shared middle stitch when approaching it after doing the top half of the other side of the lace. At that point, I should be working a CTCT at that middle pin, but there is already a CTCT from the previous side at the pin and the pin is already in place. 
I am sorry if these questions have a obvious answer that I am missing. I did try to find answers on my own, but just have not been able to figure it out. 

From my looking at the pattern and sample, - work the CTpinCT down the last row, and the last one seems to be just CTCT, and then the left hand pr become the workers for the fan.

Only work half the fan, and then work the other side up to the same point, - then the 2 prs of workers meet to work the centre pin, - Then each worker goes back to its own side, and completes the fan.

I am working a wedding garter with a similar arrangement - I work one side, mostly, then the other side, mostly, then the triangle of ground near the centre each side at the same time so the prs can  meet in the centre every other row, to form the slot for the ribbon or elastic.  It is slow, but that is the only way!  

Hope this helps.

Another way to describe what to do:

Do the entire red area first. Each pin is worked ct pin ct.

The work the 2 green areas, it doesn't matter which one you do first. Work each pin ctct pin ctct.

Then work the center pin, circled in black. Work it ctct pin ctct.

Then work the bottom half of each scallop, it doesn't matter which one you do first.

Then work the area surrounded in brown. Work each intersection ctct, and work each pin ct pin ct.

Thank you Elizabeth and Lorelei. I think I now have it. That last preparatory torch on ground stitch (the top row of the green section in your illustration Lorelei) had me confused and the instructions for the design say to do the lower half of the scallop right after the top half. It never occurred to me to do it the way you both describe. I am sure it will become second nature to look at these designs and immediately know how to approach them after I have gained experience, but I am just not here yet.

The other problem that I encountered is that my pricking was far to small.I was very careful to ensure that the size was correct in the program I used, but there was clearly a disconnect between the file and the print out as my grid turned out to be about 60% smaller than it should have been. I have resized, reprinted and repricked the design and have just started on it again. 

Thank you both for your help!

The basic working method in torchon is to work by groups or sections.  Select the section you want to work, then identify the bobbins you will need to finish that section. Go as far as you can with that group of bobbins. When you need bobbins from some other section, work that 2nd section as far as you can, until you need bobbins from another section. etc.

As for pattern sizes, that is a common problem with patterns from the internet. Brenda Paternoster has worked out a system for estimating what size thread to use for what size pattern.    She also has a book, which many rely on. She publishes revisions every few years to account for changing availability of threads. Her method measures the distance between pins in millimeters and then advises you about thread size.  

I don't have her book but have worked out my own system. It is a little hard to explain, so I won't try.

Lorelei, thank you again. I knew to follow the pattern in groups but that little comment about going until you need bobbins from another section, though obvious once said, is what stymied me. Partly that was because this beginner pattern said to continue working the scallop with no mention of making it connect to the other scallop. 

I love this chart on thread size that Brenda has published. I also love the little rule of thumb that she has that for Torchon you who'd be able to fit 12 wraps between two footsie pins. 

My problem with this pricking size was a printer/program problem. I spent quite a bit of time adjusting the pattern to the right size in the program I used, but when I printed from the same program, the print came out a completely different size (and I didn't double check it or notice the rather significant discrepancy, my bad). When I saved the file and printed it from my preview program, the size was preserved (and I checked the size after printing) and it is all working out beautifully now. The pricking is so much easier to do now that I a) am following the right working order and b) that everything is the correct size. 

Thank you so much, Jo!  I have wanted to learn bobbin lace for a very long time:  I bought a traditional pillow in Holland while stationed in Germany with the US Air Force in 1985!  I have managed to work out three samples of simple grounds from the books I have purchased, but there is nothing to beat a live demonstration.  Your website with the "show working" and "steps" buttons is the next best thing to a live teacher - and it won't get tired of having the same question asked over and over!

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