Needle Lace Tutorial -- Plain Bookmark Sampler 2 -- more filling stitches, bars, buttonholing the cordonnette

Needlelace Tutorial Part 2 - In some of the other spaces work a few more stitches. Double Brussels and the simpler pea stitch variants are probably the most useful and the easiest. I'm not showing plain simple buttonhole because that is actually one of the most difficult stitches. It is easy to understand and easy to do one row, but getting the tension and spacing right is very difficult, as it tends to curl up (especially after you have several rows done). Save it for later. Needle lace is about juxtaposing dense areas and open, transparent areas, so that there is a constant varation between the two. These stitches are all relatively open. The important thing is to learn the best way to space each kind of stitch, and to achieve even tension.  All the words in large type are links to diagrams and photos.

Double Brussels -- Diagram -- Photo 1 -- Photo 2 Also look here, figure #721. As you work double Brussels it is really important to stick your left thumb on the thread coming from the 2nd st of each pair. Otherwise the thread will slip and the stitches you just made will change size. Figure out some way to nail each pair of stitches down while you are making the next pair.

Pea stitch, variants 1 and 2. Diagram -- Photo Variant 1 -- Photo Variant 1a -- Photo 2 -- Photo 2a -- DMC figure #726 You don't need to work both variants. Choose just one and do it twice. The purpose of doing any of these pea stitch variants is to get used to the idea of working different sequences of stitches in different rows. There is another variant of pea stitch which looks much more striking and is actually used more often than these (and in several traditional styles as well), but I found it difficult to make it look good until I got fairly good control of my tension and spacing. So I'll save that one for later.

Making the Bars. -- When I drew the outline for this simple bookmark I left some narrow spaces between the segments because i wanted to try out several kinds of bars. These bars are not used in all laces, but they are very useful if you are designing your own work (where you can do whatever you like). The narrow spaces are bounded by 2 parallel horizontal outlines. Anchor your thread to the cordonnet as you normally would and throw a bar across and come back. Whip the thread around the cordonnet until you are in position to make the next bar. The illustrations in the DMC Encyclopedia pertaining to the bars are very clear.  ---- Bar Diagrams ---- Figures #694, #695, #696 are the most basic. The Guild of Needlelace book 1 also has these bars on pages 32 and 33. 

The 1st bar on their diagram 27 correspondes to DMC # 694. See -- here  and  this 
The 2nd one in diagram 27 corresponds to #695. GoNL calls these Alencon bars. See here  and this one  
In the Venetian bars diagram 26 the 2nd one corresponds to DMC #696. See here  and  that.

Attached to my photos of these bars are descriptions of which diagram I followed in making them. You don't need to work the bars if you don't want to. Instead you could work 2 or 3 rows of double buttonhole in those narrow segments.

Buttonholing the Cordonnet. -- This is the last step in the actual lace making process. It has 2 purposes: to lock all the beginning and ending tails of lace threads onto the cordonnet so they cannot pull loose, and to make a smooth outline. However, achieving a smooth outline needs help. Our experts recommend laying two padding threads on top of the cordonnet and buttonholing them onto the outline. I have found in practice that this really does make a difference and is worth the effort.

When deciding where to start the buttonholing, what sections to do first, you have to think about layers. In many pieces which represent real objects, you will want some parts to appear to lie on top of others. And that part should be done last so that the bottom loops of the bh stitches are above other outlines. In this piece layers are not important. So the horizontal internal outllines should be done first, and the outer perimeter done in one movement, and last.

I am writing these instructions assuming right handedness. Take a thread twice as long as outline segment you are going to work and hook it to the right end of the outline bar. Use a crochet hook or thread it onto a tapestry needle to manipulate it. You can use the same thread you used for the lace stitches or you can use something else. Some styles of lace use a great number of padding threads -- another -- one more -- (as many as 16) and this produces a raised and sculpted look. I often use 4-6 padding threads because I like the look of a prominent cordonnette. There is no rule. But use at least 2 or it will be very difficult to get a smooth outline. You should use the same thread for buttonholing the cordonnet as you used for the lace stitches. Usually the padding threads, outline threads and lace thread are all the same color. If they are different colors, the underneath layers will be too visible and this may ruin the effect. In my sample I am using different colors so you can easily see what I am doing. If you are right handed work the buttonholing on the cordonnette from right to left. The reason for this is that you can then use your left hand to keep those 2 padding threads in position. On one of my first pieces I thought it would be clever to whip the padding threads into place so I could work from left to right. But the diagonal whipping thread defeated the purpose of laying padding threads down, and I ended up with a lumpy cordonnette. So keep the padding threads loose, but guide them with your left hand. By the end of this piece you will find working buttonhole stitch from right to left very easy, I promise.

Hook your buttonholing thread to the right hand end of the outline segment you are planning to work. I usually let a tail as long as the segment lie along with the padding threads and then I work the buttonholing over the outline threads, the padding threads, and the tail of the buttonholing thread. After 2 stitches it is locked quite well.  This diagram shows Brona's method for adding a new thread while you are buttonholing the outline.



© 2010 Lorelei Halley

Views: 11291

Replies to This Discussion

I would like our experts to read what I've written here and tell me about mistakes or inappropriate advice. I'm still confused about the word cordonnette. At what point does the outline change from cordonnet to cordonnette, when you start buttonholing it?
When I first started and was trying to "pin down" the rows, I literally used applique pins (bead pins would also work), which are very small and it helped a lot. I moved them as I added rows/stitches until I could get the tension consistent. I also used a small hoop so those pins stayed flat and didn't stick me too much.

Thank you for this tutorial. I'd been looking for a freeform type of lace that I could have a go at.

So I thought I'd start with the bookmark and see if it was something I could do.

It was tricky for me as I'm not someone who sews, but it's definately do-able, with a LOT of time and patience.

Here's my bookmark... I used Milford Mercer 10 for the outline, 60 for the lace stitching, and 30 to finish (60 was taking too long).

Tension! I didn't understand when I first read through the tutorial but now I do!
Very frustrating!

In one part I threaded a tapestry needle through the loops of a previous row to help.

Is this how they do netting? It's something else I want to try but I can't find a netting needle anywhere.



I'm so glad you tried out the tutorial.  Good work.  You will just need to practice to get your stitches even and the tension consistent.


When you decide to try netting, look at the opening page of our FILET LACIS group.  Among all the resources listed is a knotsindeed website, which has  extensive information on how to make the netting, as well as other resources.


My advice would be to focus on one thing for a while, either the needlelace or the netting.  The netting materials will still be there 4 or 5 months from now.

I, too, Lorelei, find these 2 terms confusing, - which is why I do Not use 'cordonet'. I prefer the French - Trace, or better still - Outline.

Cordonette is the finishijng of the outline with 2 or more threads laid straight along it, and then buttonhole stitch over the laid threads and the outline threads as one bundle. You can do rings and other embellishments as you go if you wish.

Debbie D'A - No, don't pin down the stitches. you will find the rows hoop up a bit in the middle, but ignore that, as it can be pulled down at the bottom when you whip the last row to the outline threads.

Debbie S. - that is a good first try.  Your stitches should be a lot closer together, though, - and don't use anthing to lay in the stitches. That will make them loose, - and tension will come automatically with practice - yes, a lot of practice, sometimes, - but that is what will give you immense satisfaction one day, when you look at your work, and see how Good it looks!!!

Lorelei's advice is Really good - stick with one new form of lace, and get it right before you move to something else.  Filet/Netting is very different - I have not made my own net - yet! - but I do filet lace on machine made net. It is darning, really , into the open squares - very different from needlelace, even though it is worked with a needle!


OK, I have finally found the stitch sequence and an starting with Pea stitch no 1' even though I have already done pea stitch no 4.

That's good.  Each pea stitch variant looks different.  I have no idea why they don't have their own names.  But i searched through all my books and made sketches of all the stitches labeled "pea stitch".  I was surprised when I discovered that they all weren't the same.

The ones I'm called variants 1 & 2 just show different ways of integrating rows of 1 or 2 stitches.  Variants 3 & 4 involve rows of 1,2 or 3 stitches, with different integration of the rows.

Just completed variants 1 and 2 of the pea stitch and yes can see now how it is a variant of the original pea stitch, makes the stitches so easy to remember, can also see how this hands on exercize teaches so much understanding of how the stitches are similar.


© 2021   Created by Lorelei Halley.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service