Bobbin Lace Diagrams : threads from pairs

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Help Intro

Experiment with Bobbin Lace Grounds

GroundForge is a supplement to publications with bobbin lace grounds. The tool makes varying stitches and following the paths of contrasting threads a breeze compared to tedious but fruitless experimental patches of real lace. Experiment and play around with the hundredths of provided patterns or add others. Even when reinventing wheels, your own discoveries can bring great joy.

The tiles page generates thread diagrams from pair diagrams. A few lines of text guide you through most important first steps. Help pages in the side bar explain more in-depth subjects. The following section discusses a versatile traditional pattern.

Playing with stitches in a braid is also possible. Just add foot sides to a small strip of a pattern.


One screencast (123 MB, 2:32 min) looks for the same base pattern in various catalogues. The grounds are presented in various ways or use different stitches. Use the pause button and slider to repeat, try for yourself get side tracked and have fun.

Another screencast (with script) walks through some important functions to make variation on these patterns, but first an explanation of the objective of some of the shown actions.

A versatile pattern — Change/drop stitches

On the right a color coded diagram for an old Binche ground. Small changes allow thousands of variations of this pattern, below only four. Each variation is shown with a prototype diagram and a thread diagram. The prototype diagram squeezes the pattern onto a square grid, the numbers and letters define how to connect the dots of this grid. The software turns these numbers via pair diagrams (as on the right) into the thread diagrams.

We have two interactive definitions for the base pattern: with or without foot sides, see also the notes on patch sizes for the latter. Changing stitches requires the same procedure as dropping stitches the simple way. To hit two birds with one stone we show the last.

Note the one (center) or two (top and bottom) grey symbols in three of the four upper diagrams. These grey symbols represent stitches dropped the easy way: by replacing ctc with - in the yellow pop-ups. This easy way can have unexpected results such as more stitches disappearing and/or the algorithm switching pairs before making another stitch. The latter effect causes weird thread diagrams.

Drop stitches II (with the advanced section)

Another method to drop stitches uses the advanced section. Apply the blue changes below for the second and last variant above. Apply the red changes for the third variant.

2nd Screen cast

A screencast (35 MB) follows the script below, applying what is explained above.

A lot happens in a short time, use the pause button and slider to repeat. Newbies may skip the bold steps when trying to understand/repeat the scenario.

  • 0:00 start with this help page (a slightly older version is recorded)
  • 0:00 follow “with
  • 0:05 drop center stitch: ctc -> -
  • 0:10 wand generate new diagrams
  • 0:18 reload web page : restores original diagrams
  • 0:19 scroll down to advanced section
  • 0:22 drop center stitch: 353,153 -> -5-,5-5-
  • 0:35 wand : different prototype, same pair/thread diagram
  • 0:41 follow (i)
  • 0:44 follow “stitches
  • 0:45 copy edge stitch
  • 0:49 previous browser tab
  • 0:52 paste the copied stitch and edit into turning stitch. Note that ctc, twist one pair, ctc is a single stitch for GroundForge. It makes the runner changing direction, therefore: turning stitch.
  • 1:19 link
  • 1:23 reload web page
  • 1:26 current pattern is reloaded
  • 1:27 create favourite
  • 1:33 “animate” pair diagram
  • 1:36 increase thread diagram container (alternative: )
  • 1:38 scroll down to get thread container back into view
  • 1:42 toggle thread color when tooltip displays thread number
  • 1:47

Acknowledgement / Number of variations

Feature 31 in the DKV pattern “Binche Kompakt” was previously published in “Kant” issue 2000/2. Anne-Marie Verbeke-Billiet puts four variations (others than the variants discussed above) of sometimes lost Binche grounds in historical context.

Nowhere a strong close up for the challenging ground. That asked to define the generated thread diagrams discussed above.

The hard copy catalogue “Viele gute Gründe” by Ulricke Voelcker Löhr has 28 combinations of stitches for the second variant (5,6,17-23,26-36,93,103,132,139,140 in the B3 series), 3 each for the two last variants (12-14, 106-108) and 7 for the first (25,71-76). That adds up to 41. Multiplied with the first 22 of B4.2 (that surrounds the six-pair element) gives 902 documented thread diagrams for this base pattern.

The stitch combinations for the second variant might be pretty complete for symmetrical options and traditional stitches. The first variant has more stitches than the second so it must also allow more stitch combinations. The third and last variant also must allow for more than three stitch combinations each. Only sample 33 and 106 of B3 have unorthodox stitches that twist just one pair or none. Making more use of these stitches or drop more stitches allows even more combinations. All in all the number of possibilities may well run into the thousands.