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Pattern 233 - Maltese-style mat

Picture of lace

This is based on a Maltese lace mat (see bottom of page). This mat also inspired pattern 232.

This mat is worked in two stages. First there is the mat edge, which is worked by itself, using 20 pairs of bobbins. Then there is the mat centre, taking 14 pairs of bobbins, which is worked afterwards. When you have worked both of them, then you can sew them together. It is very important that both parts are printed out to the same scale. So you may prefer printing both patterns together, which is given towards the bottom of the page. But only work one piece at a time!

Pattern for mat edge:
   Pattern of lace

Bobbins: 20 pairs (12 black, 8 yellow)

Style: Torchon

Stitches:
   half stitch
   cloth stitch
   cloth stitch and twist
   plait
   twist pair

Details:
   simple plaited headside (cyan)
   cloth diamond (red)
   ground diamond (blue)
   Torchon ground (grey)
   rose ground (green)
   16 legged spider (yellow)
   corners
   how to start and finish

Description:

Follow the links above for explanation of how to work the different parts of the lace.

This is similar to pattern 232, so read that description is you are not sure how to work this. There were several things wrong with pattern 232 which I thought could be improved. The headside did not fit! So I have replaced it with a simple plaited headside, which I made the same colour as the pseudo-gimps (the pink diamonds which are made up of two pairs, not a simple pair, to give a stronger line - even more effective if it is a different colour!) Also, the original mat (see below) had diamonds in the corners. That was messy in the original as the diamonds have to be worked in two bits. However, if we have a ground diamond then it can be worked OK. The threads go in the same direction as Torchon ground (which can straddle a corner), but they cross each other using cloth stitch. It is a little odd to work, as while the four pairs going one way have no problems, the other way takes two pairs across, which then travel all the way up to the corner, turn round, and come back again to make the second two pairs of the ground diamond. It does work! Just not all at once...

Pattern of lace

The start is also strange, as it is best to start in the middle of a side rather than along the corner line. You will need to add some false starting pins.

Pattern for mat centre:
   Pattern of lace

Bobbins: 14 pairs (2 black, 12 yellow)

Style: Torchon

Stitches:
   half stitch
   cloth stitch
   cloth stitch and twist
   plait
   twist pair

Details:
   cloth diamond (red)
   Torchon ground (grey)
   rose ground (green)
   mats
   how to start and finish

Description:

Follow the links above for explanation of how to work the different parts of the lace. There is rose ground where possible, but not in the corners. You can have rose ground either side of the corner line, but not straddling it. You could either do all in Torchon ground, or move the rose ground along so it doesn't straddle it. (I suspect this was the pattern where I discovered this irritating fact about rose ground!)

The diamonds in the middle are normal cloth diamond, except when all bobbins are in the diamond, twist all passive threads once. I didn't want to do a Maltese cross, since after all, that belongs to real Maltese lace, and this isn't! However, I did want a cross effect, and the twisted passives half way through the diamond gives that effect (I hope!)

Pattern of lace

This start is more conventional, without the corner problem. I have marked the false starting pins.

Pattern for both:
   Pattern of lace

The dark grey square shows the boundary between the edge and the mat. These must be worked separately (it doesn't really matter in which order). You can sew them together, using a needle and thread, and this is what seems to happen in many antique lace mats. However, if you prefer, you can work the first piece using the combined pattern (say, the edge), finish it off, then rewind the bobbins to start the second piece while the first piece is still pinned in place. The pins between the two pieces of lace must be left in and not removed, but they will need to be pushed in up to their heads, so they don't snag on working threads. Join the second piece (say, the centre) to the first using sewings, with a crochet hook. This is done as you work the second piece of lace.

Picture of lace

The mat in this photo came from my grandmother, who was born in the 19th century. The lace is made of cream silk and you can see the Maltese cross in the middle, so it is almost certainly Maltese lace. She stayed in Malta for a short time. It was made in several pieces and then sewn together - the edge, the four petalled flowers, and the cross with the flowers in the centre.

Picture of lace
Their attempt to work a diamond in the corner! I think my ground diamonds are better.