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Cathedral spider (lower)

Cathedral spider

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 cathedral spider, with 6 pairs. You can have cathedral spiders with different numbers of legs. See pattern 48.

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.

Pattern for spider
Spider pattern

The pattern for a cathedral sider may be the same as an ordinary spider (with a note to explain what type of spider it is), or there may be an attempt to indicate the difference on the pattern, as above.

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.


Repeat Step Back

Working: This is worked like the bottom half of a 12 legged spider. It starts at the central pin, and then continues from that point.

I advise that you are confident in working an ordinary spider before you try this.

The legs swap over sides, unlike a normal spider, where the legs end up in the same position that they started.

I assume that this is called a cathedral spider as the shape of the 'body' is similar to a gothic window (upside down). When I tried this, I found it hard to make the shape distinctive enough. Also the top legs go in an almost straight line, rather than being wrapped round the pin, which can make the body a bit open. You could avoid this by twisting the legs more (which would push the cloth stitches closer to the pin). But if you twist the legs too much, they end up floppy. Tricky.

It is also possible to have a cathedral spider worked above the pin - a cathedral spider (upper).