Bobbin Lace Square 3 - Basic Stitches
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  © Lorelei Halley 2012 

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All the photos and diagrams are thumbnails.  Click wherever you see a hand to view the full size image.

   This shows 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.
I used 40/2 linen, comparable in size to Fresia 40/2 or Bockens 35/2 linen.  Cordonnet crochet cotton #40 would also work (DMC, Anchor or Lizbeth)

This lesson would be a good way to practice what you have learned.  It combines the basic stitches of bobbin lace, and gives you space to practice different ways to work the edge:
  hanging on
  cloth stitch, half stitch, double stitch
  braids    (plaits)
  knotted picots or double thread picots
  sewing out at the end.
  winkiepin edge, sewing edge

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. 

First review Bobbin Lace-Basics for how to wind bobbins, make the hitch, shorten the bobbin thread, etc.

The full size pattern should print out at 98 mm. 
Reduce to 66% if you want to use # 80 Cordonnet or tatting cotton.

You will need 10 pairs, wound in pairs.

As you work the lace, the wrong side is facing you.  In the photo above you can see the knotty lump where I ended the lace.  That is also where I began the lace.  I worked the sections in the order of the numbers.

      open method

Everything in this lesson has already been explained in one of the other lessons.  See 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 5 red 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 square, 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.


Section 1 is worked as pure 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.

Where the gap between pins is large, as at the white arrow, you can add an extra twist or 2 onto the edge pair to strengthen it.  This is a matter of the lacemaker's discretion.

A video of cloth stitch being worked on a bolster pillow.
braids, also called plaits, with knotted picots.

In this pattern braids are worked at the corners, and in the middle of each side, between the sections.

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.

In the diagram at left, the blue bar represents a 4 strand braid, worked
  ctc snug
  tc snug
  tc snug

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.

Make some left handed, some right handed, some double picots.

         double stitch

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.    
         half stitch
Half stitch

Section 3 is 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.

For the next several sections you will work a different stitch on the edges.

Section 4 is cloth stitch for the central  pairs, but doublestitch the weaver and the edge pair on both sides. 

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 is 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  central passives.
In section 6 I worked cloth stitch, but used the sewing edge.  (Also called pin after 4 -- meaning pin after 4 threads.)  The diagram at left has fewer passives than I actually used.  The real difference is that the pins is set after 4 threads, not after 2 threads, and only one stitch is made.
Section 7 is half stitch, but I worked the sewing edge (pin after 4) as the edge stitch.

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 10 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  and posting your questions here:

For full list of free bobbin lace patterns, see     free patterns  

First posted June 16, 2012.           Last edited:   01/19/20