Jenny Brandis' Handcrafts

Reading the dots and lines

Which of the following are easier to 'read' ?

The pattern as first seen

The pattern with lines drawn in

The Dots

These mark where you will place the pins as you work the pattern. The dots will need to be pierced prior to making the lace.This is called prepricking the pattern (which is then called the pricking).

This pre pricking time is a wonderful time to consider the stitches, thread paths, colours etc as you prick the pattern.

The pattern preparation

Traditionally a pattern was made with parchment (thin, stiff skin of a goat or sheep). Over time gasket paper, thick card, graph paper and finally photocopy/printer paper have been used.

Using paper has meant that we needed to add stiffness to the pattern so that the pins would not wobble and widen the pinholes as that would mean that the lace would be less precise.

As I began learning bobbin lace in 2005 and was at that time in an admistration job it seemed natural to use a more modern method of preparing my patterns.

  1. I print on coloured paper (the colour depends on what colour thread I plan on using)
  2. trim the excess paper from around the pattern
  3. note on the back of the pattern the name of the pattern, the designers details and the thread size recommended
  4. heat laminate the pattern
  5. trim any excess laminate to within 2mm of the pattern, curving the corners
  6. prick the pattern using a needle in a pinvise on a cork board

But what do the lines mean?

First off I have to say that although the lines are not essential to making the lace, they sure make it easier to read the pattern. LOL

The lines represent the path of the main worker or weaver pairs of each element. Except for the footside where it represents the passives in the above pattern.

The most basic reading of the sample pattern is using a whole lot of cloth stitch (CTC) in the fans, blocks, chevrons, lozenges and trail with a torchon ground and winkie pin footside. (see the photo)

The most basic interpretation

Reading the pattern above the most basic interpretation would be that the lines represented cloth stitch (CTC) which is what I have done in this first sample. Can you see the 3 roseground? They were added on impulse as I worked the sample LOL.

click for closeup

Decision time

Now, lets go back and look at the lined pattern a bit more - is that too much cloth stitch? Is the pattern balanced? Where would you add colour? Would you have added the roseground?

Individual elements

Referring back to the Anatomy of a Pattern each pattern can be broken down into elements such as fan, spider, trail etc. This makes it easier to consider the individual stitches that can be used in a particular pattern.

Anatomy | Reading | Changing | Different ways of drawing a torchon lace pattern
Reading colour coded torchon lace patterns

1997-2019 Jenny Brandis

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