Circle of Stitches
How to Make Bobbin Lace
Bobbin Lace Lesson
Bobbin Lace Tutorial
© Lorelei Halley 2012
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Learning Bobbin Lace Free Bobbin Lace Patterns Bobbinlace-Basics Cloth Stitch-Half Stitch Lesson
Plaited Lace Lesson I Plaited Lace Lesson 2 Plaited Lace Lesson 3 Plaited Lace Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Tallies
Plaited Lace Lesson 6 Plaited Lace Lesson 7 Square3
Both these photos show the lace from the front side, so they are
reversed relative to the pattern. Bobbin lace is usually worked
with the wrong side facing you, so that endings and thread tails will be
hidden on the back.
Left DMC Brilliant Crochet Cotton (comparable to pearl 5).
Right 20/2 linen (comparable to cordonnet #20).
This lesson would be a good way to practice what you have learned. It combines all the basic stitches of bobbin lace:
cloth stitch, half stitch, double stitch
knotted picots or double thread picots
sewing out at the end.
You don't have to put cloth stitch, half stitch, and double stitch in the same blocks where I did. Just so long as you practice all 3 stitches, you can put the blocks in whatever order you like. Except that blocks 7 and 8 should be either cloth stitch or doublestitch (to prevent damage to the tallies). Also you should make at least one section cloth stitch with a doublestitch edge, and at least one section half stitch with a double stitch edge.
|As you work the lace, the wrong side is facing you. In the photo above left you can see the knotty lump where I ended the lace. That is also where I began the lace. Look for the red line on the pattern.||
On that size pattern I used DMC Brilliant Crochet Cotton, article 981. I don't think they make it any more. It is comparable in size to pearl 5 cotton. This is the purple one.
I also worked it in 20/2 linen, comparable to Cordonnet #20. I
liked this version better. The other was too dense.
Reduce to 63% if you want to use # 40 Cordonnet or Pearl 12.
BASICS to remind
yourself about winding, the hitch, etc.
See the cloth stitch lesson for the 3 basic stitches.
Hang 2 pairs on each of the 3 starter pins, like this. Then twist the pair on the right side of each pin 3 or 4 times. Then move the bundle so the twists are directly above the pin. This will make a fairly large hole, easy to see, so that sewing out at the end won't be so difficult. When you get all the way around the circle, you will have to insert a crochet hook into this hole and pull 2 threads up into a loop. It is easier to do if the hole is fairly large. More about this later.
The little black hatch marks on the diagram represent twists. This is a commonly used diagramming convention in bobbin lace.
Sections 1 and 7 in the white photo are pure cloth stitch Sections 1, 7, and 8 in the purple photo plain cloth stitch.
Cloth stitch = ctc Each intersection is cross twist cross = ctc.
In the diagram at left each line is one pair.
In this piece I put 2 extra twists on the weaver as it went around the pin. Doing that makes the loops on the edge slightly more prominent. How many twists you put on the weaver as it goes around the pin is your choice. None are necessary. It is a matter of how you want it to look, and whether you will have to make sewings.
Start at the right hand side, as in the diagram from the box above left. Cloth stitch the two rightmost pairs, and then continue across the row towards the left.
Refer to the cloth-stitch-half-stitch-lesson for details of how to work cloth stitch.
A video of cloth stitch being worked on a bolster pillow.
braids, also called plaits, with knotted picots.
Braids (plaits) are usually made of 4 threads or 2 pairs. They are
a succession of half stitches. I find that I make better braids if
I start and end with a cross. Try to make them as flat and smooth
as you can.
See LESSON 1 for braids (plaits) and knotted picots. Explains how to achieve good tension for braids.
If you want to use double thread picots, you can. They are explained in LESSON 4.
Section 2 is double stitch.
Double stitch, also called whole stitch, cloth stitch with a twist, or whole throw.
In this diagram 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:
twist cross twist cross.
Sections 3 and 6 on the white circle are in half stitch, worked as at left.
In this diagram, each line is one pair.
Work each intersection as twist cross. tc
Doublestitch and half stitch are explained in detail, with sequential diagrams, in the cloth stitch lesson.
||Section 4 is cloth stitch for the central 3 pairs,
but doublestitch the weaver and the edge pair on both sides. In the
white photo you can easily see the twist on the weaver as it approaches
and leaves the pin.
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.
Red intersections are tctc, purple intersections are ctc.
||Section 5 on the white one, and section 6 on the
purple, are also half stitch, but I did
doublestitch -- TCTC -- with the weaver and the edge pair. It
makes a firmer edge.
Doublestitch is the edge stitch, but half stitch for the central passives.
Do TCTC with the edge pair and the weaver, but do TC with the weaver and the 3 central passives.
In sections 6, 7 and 8 you can work whatever variation you want to. But I recommend cloth stitch or doublestitch variants to follow the tallies. Tallies can be easily damaged after they are made if there isn't sufficient friction to prevent that. Half stitch doesn't provide enough friction.
|twisted vein||Section 6 on the purple circle is cloth stitch, except that 2 twists were put on the weaver in the middle of the section. In the diagram at left, the black hatch marks represent twists. Such hatch marks are commonly used in bobbin lace diagrams to represent twists.|
LESSON 5 for how to make tallies.
After the tally is completed, set each pin so that the outer shaping thread on each side goes around the outside of the pin. Twist each pair twice or 4 times. That will provide some friction to prevent damage, and you will still have the shaping threads on the outside. The important thing to remember is: don't pull on the weaver at the bottom of the tally. That is what distorts and ruins it.
When you get to the end, sew each braid into one of the beginning loops, where you hung on. Double sewings, where you pull up 2 threads from the braid at the same time, are more secure. You then put the other 2 bobbins from the same braid into the loop.
After all 6 pairs are sewn, knot each pair 2 times. Secure the tails by making a bundle on the back. Take one of the weaver bobbins and lengthen it to at least 2 feet. Use it to buttonhole stitch around all the other threads for the entire width of the lace. Knot the buttonhole thread with another from the bundle 2 x. Cut off.
If you have any questions or difficulties with this, contact me by joining http://laceioli.ning.com and posting your questions here:
For full list of free bobbin lace patterns, see
First posted June 16, 2012. Last edited: 10/04/16