Spider next to solid half stitch and solid cloth stitch
A spider is a decorative effect in Torchon lace where 4 or more pairs meet. The pairs form the legs before and after the centre, or body. This is a 12 legged spider, with 6 pairs. See pattern 47.
Please note that the leg of a spider is a twisted pair of threads. This should not be confused with a plait, which can be called a leg in English Midland lace.
You can see that the spider fits within a diamond of pins. Unlike solid areas, you do work up to and including these surrounding pinholes before starting on the spider. The threads from the points of the diamond of pins are not actually involved in the spider at all.
A 12 legged spider has its central pin in the normal Torchon grid (unlike 8 legged spider).
The stitches used in this spider are twist single pair and cloth stitch. This diagram shows each pair as a line. Wherever two lines cross, the pairs are worked in cloth stitch. If you find it hard to understand, have a look at the explanation of the 8 legged spider which gives a fuller diagram.
Working: First work all lace above the spider, down to and including, the framing pins. In the diagram this is shown as Torchon ground, but it could be something else. Spiders are often framed by solid areas of lace.
Work out the pairs that will form the spider. This is a 12 legged spider, so there will be 6 pairs, 3 on each side. Twist each pair several times - I do at least 6 each. This twisting is not shown in the diagram, but it is an essential part of the spider.
Take the third pair from the left (just before the middle), and work it across the three pairs on its right in cloth stitch. It will end up on the far right.
Take the second pair from the left pair, and work it across the same three pairs, again in cloth stitch. Do not work it across the previous worker pair! (This is a common error.)
Take the left pair, and work it across the same three pairs, again in cloth stitch. Careful not to work it across either of the previous worker pairs. You will have worked 9 stitches, 3 in each row, and the bobbins on the left are now the bobbins on the right.
Put the pin in the middle of all those bobbins. Spiders can end up a bit of a mess at this stage, so make sure that you have placed the pin correctly. There should be three pairs to the pin's left and three pairs to its right, and rather a mess of stitches above the pin. It is definitely worth tightening the threads at this stage by tugging the bobbins gently.
Take the fourth pair from the left (the most recent worker pair) and work it back across the three pairs to its left, still in cloth stitch. Then take the fifth pair from the left (the second worker pair), and again, work it back across the three pairs (making sure that you do not work more than three pairs instead, again!) Then take the pair on the right (the first worker pair), and again, work it back across the three pairs (making sure that you do not work more than three pairs instead, again!) The bobbins should now all be in their original order, but they have all gone round the pin on the other side to where they started, and finished.
Twist all pairs the same number of times as at the start (e.g. 6 times). That is now the end of the spider. You can try tightening everything again, but it tends to untighten because there is nothing to tighten against. But you can get rid of loops and make it look a bit tidier by tightening, which is a good thing. Do the lace underneath the spider, and retighten once you have a pin to tighten against, and the spider should spring into shape.
© Jo Edkins 2016 - return to lace index