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Spider ground

Torchon spider ground

Spider ground is a Torchon ground or open part of lace. One unit of spider ground is a spider. If this is an 8 legged spider, then it needs four pairs on bobbins, two on each side. See pattern 50.

spider ground pattern
Pattern representation of spider ground

Spider ground is a number of spiders next to each other. It produces a distinct effect (see photo). The legs coming from the spider do not splay out as usual, but end up next to each other as there is nothing to keep them apart. The traditional pattern does not show this, and so may give the wrong effect of what the finished lace will look like. I prefer showing exactly where the threads go. Round the edge, the legs do splay out because pins are there to keep them apart.

The diagram below shows several units of spider ground. The diagram below avoids the complexities of the individual stitches by showing each pair of threads as a single line. Work a spider at each pin. The details of of the spider are not shown in detail below - follow the link in the previous sentence if you are not familiar with them.

Bobbin lace spider

Repeat Step Back

Working: As you start spider ground, the tops of the spiders look normal. The bottoms of spiders never look right until the legs go into the next pin. But here, the 'next pin' is the next spider. As both legs go from the same pin in the centre of one spider to the same pin in the centre of another, there is nothing keeping the two legs apart, and so they lie together. Once you reach the end of the spider ground, there are different pins for each leg and the legs act normally again.

Remember that the leg of a spider is a twisted pair. It is not a plait. We are doing Torchon lace, not English Midland.

This page shows 8 legged spiders. You could, of course, have 12 legged spiders or even 16 legged spiders instead. It depends on the pattern. Count the legs!

This is definitely a strange ground. The doubled up legs tend to blur together visually, so you end up with something which looks rather like giant Torchon ground. Perhaps it might be better with 12 or 16 legged spiders, as they would be bigger, and there would be three or four legs going from one pin to the next, rather than two, and so be more obvious. Anyway, it is a known ground, and produces an odd effect that you might find interesting!