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Half spider

Half spider
Half spider next to solid cloth stitch and twisted footside. See pattern 56.

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 half a spider. So there are 3 pairs on one side, and only one pair on the other, making half a 12 legged spider. It is, of course, possible to have half an 8 legged spider (2 pairs coming in one one side and one pair on the other), or half a 16 legged spider (4 pairs coming in one one side and one pair on the other). I suggest that you are familiar with spiders before trying half a spider.

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
Half spider pattern

Half of the pattern of a half spider looks (surprisingly enough!) like half the pattern of a complete spider. The other half is just a single pair, and it comes in from much closer to the pin.

The diagram below avoids the complexities of the individual stitches by showing each pair of threads as a single line. The stitches used are twist single pair and cloth stitch. 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.


Repeat Step Back

Working: First work all lace above the half spider, down to and including, the framing pins.

Work out the pairs that will form the spider. This is half a 12 legged spider, so there will be 3 pairs on one side and one on the other. Twist each of the 3 pairs coming in from the left several times - I do at least 6 each. You do not need to do any extra twists for the single pair coming in from the right.

Take the pair from the right. Work it in cloth stitch across all the pairs on the left. Put in the pin. Now work the single pair back across all the other pairs (again in cloth stitch), so everything ends back in the order that they started in.

Twist all the 'leg' pairs (the 3 pairs on the left), the same number of times that you did at the start. The shape of this half spider, like all spiders, will not happen until you work the framing stitches, although it helps to tighten all pairs just after the pin.

Technically speaking, the actual work at the pin is very similar to join - 2 pairs + 1 pair (or rather, join - 3 pairs + 1 pair in this case).