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Twisted footside

Twisted footsides
Twisted footside next to Torchon ground and double Torchon ground

A twisted footside is a common footside used in Torchon lace, although it is used elsewhere, such as in English Midland lace. It is straight, and strong, and good for sewing the lace to fabric. This footside has one (or more) passive pairs next to the edge of the lace. These passives are not part of the Torchon 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 and twist, hence the name of the footside. See pattern 3.

Twisted 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 footsides
Footside pattern

Traditionally, the pattern for a footside is a simple line of pinholes down the edge of the lace. This may be on the grid, or if there is more than one passive pair, it may be shifted slightly away from the rest of the lace, to give room for them. The passives 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 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.

Twisted footside

Repeat Step Back

Working: For a single passive, you start with three pairs. The right pair is the edge pair, the middle pair is 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 pair, and 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, and works through the passive pair, again in cloth stitch and twist, and then returns to the rest of the lace.

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 do 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 pair 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.

Twisted footside
Twisted footside next to Torchon ground and double Torchon ground

The type of ground used next to a twisted footside can affect how the threads travel. The diagrams above show that for Torchon ground, various pairs come in from the ground to the footside. However, for double Torchon ground, there are only two pairs which leave the footside, "bounce" off the ground, and return to the footside. This can be used to colour the edge of the lace if you chose.

Twisted footside
Multiple passives (three)

It is also possible to have more than one passive pair. This photo shows three pairs of passives. This makes the footside into a pattern in itself, a border running alongside the normal lace. Remember that each extra passive means one more pair of bobbins to add to your collection on your pillow. If you have several passives, the pattern is likely to allow extra room for them, off grid, and this will slightly add to the width of your lace, of course. English Midland lace likes these extra passives, and that is a more fluid lace than Torchon, which tends to expect every pinhole to be in its expected place!

Twisted footside

Working: The footside is worked the same way as above, except that you work across each of the passive pairs in cloth stitch and twist, rather than just across the single passive pair.