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Cloth footside

cloth footsides
Cloth footside next to Bucks Point net. See pattern 13.

A cloth footside is a Bucks Point footside, although it is also used elsewhere. This type of footside will look like a thin solid strip of woven cloth running along one edge of the lace. It is straight, and strong, and good for sewing the lace to fabric. This footside has at least two passive pairs next to the edge of the lace. These pairs are not part of the grid, and have no pins associated with them. They lie straight downwards (as you work the lace), and their purpose is to provide strength to the edge of the lace. The worker threads work across these passives in cloth stitch, hence the name of the footside.

Cloth footside is a conventional footside, sometimes called a sewn footside or Bohemian edge. It swaps the edge pair and the worker pair at each stitch.

Pattern for cloth footside
Footside pattern

Traditionally, the pattern for a footside is a simple line of pinholes down the edge of the lace. This may be shifted slightly away from the rest of the lace, to give room for the passives. The passives themselves are not marked. I find this rather confusing, so in my patterns, I mark the edge line and the passives as well.

This diagram shows each thread as a line. The stitches used in this footside are cloth stitch, cloth stitch and twist and twist single pair. The details of each stitch are not shown in detail below - follow the links in the previous sentence if you are not familiar with them.

Cloth footside

Repeat Step Back

Working: For two passives, you start with four pairs. The right pair is the edge pair, the middle two pairs are the passive, and the left pair, coming in from the lace, is the worker pair.

You work the left pair from the lace across the passive pairs in cloth stitch. Twist the worker pair. Work it across the edge pair, in cloth stitch and twist. The worker pair is now on the edge. You give an extra twist to this pair (I'll explain why, later). Now you place the footside pin. It is important to place the pin inside both pairs (not between them). The worker pair and the edge pair, having swapped positions, also swap names. The old worker pair becomes the new edge pair, and stays at the edge (for now!) The old edge pair becomes the new worker pair. It works through both passive pairs, again in cloth stitch. Twist the worker pair before it returns to the rest of the lace.

Since the passives are always worked in cloth stitch, they never get twisted at all. The worker pair does get twisted as it leave the cloth stitch, and when it swaps with the edge pair.

This has the effect that throughout the footside, pairs come in from the lace, stay at the edge for a bit, then return to the lace.

The extra twist to the edge pair mentioned above is not done by all lacemakers. I prefer to do this twist, because twists add strength to a pair of threads, and the edge of lace needs strength, especially if it is going to be sewn to fabric, where the sewing will pull against the threads of the lace.

When you sew a footside, it is better to poke the needle inside the pinhole of the footside, where you pick up two pairs of threads rather than just the edge pair.

Since the passive pairs stay close to the edge, and never travel towards or away from, the rest of the lace, you can always provide some colour to a piece of lace by making these passives a different colour.

You can have a more complicated form of cloth footside by having three pairs of passives. You can easily extend it to as many passives as you want, although you will have to start allowing more room in the pattern for them, and you will have to cope with the extra bobbins that they involve.

Cloth footside with three passive pairs

Working: The footside is worked the same way as above, except that you work across three passive pairs in cloth stitch, rather than just across two pairs.