Bobbin Lace Diagrams : threads from pairs

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Help Intro

Experiment with Bobbin Lace Grounds

Varying stitches and playing with downloadable diagrams renders a myriad of variations for a single pattern. No affiliation, but Jane Atkinson’s philosophy as written down in “Pattern Design for Torchon Lace” applies also to using GroundForge as a tool, a short version of her citation of the Bauhaus school of art: experiment, play, think. Some experiments may result in innovations, but even when reinventing wheels it is your own discovery.


Each type of diagram plays its own role while designing bobbin lace grounds. The creative process involves several decisions, each playing a role in an iterative process. The diagram generator can relief much tedious work that would go into these steps in ink and paper times and reduce (but not eliminate) the trial and error of experimental patches. In short:

  • Start with selecting a pattern from the catalogue pages such as the thumbnails in figure a.
  • Specify stitches for figure b and get c as a bonus.
  • Apply colors to individual threads in figure c to plan contrasting threads (thickness or color) in your work.
  • Download figure d and customize it with a third party editor into e-h or whatever your fancy.

The diagrams in figure b and c just provide instructions to create a patch of lace but don’t inform you about the positions of the pins, like the London Tube maps inform you about destinations and connections but not about geographic locations or travel time.

The blue lines in figure e and h show the lines of nudging pins of figure d.

Figure f is a virgin ground as in c, a traditional pricking would only show the dots for the pins and something like a Z connecting the pins to indicate the netted sections within the barred sections.

Figure g presents small Binche snowflakes which are traditionally worked in cloth stitch with twisted connections, a traditional pricking would only show the dots for the pins and perhaps a circle to annotate indicate the type of snowflake. For your own grounds you might have to invent your own annotations that make the pricking less cluttered yet keep you on track while making the lace.