Torchon Bobbin Lace Instructions

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Torchon Bobbin Lace Instructions
Torchon lace makes a sturdy edging for handkerchiefs, home decor projects or as trimming for garments. (handkerchifs with blue crocheted lace image by Maria Brzostowska from

Torchon lace is a bobbin lace, which is made by twisting threads around one another and around pins placed to provide proper tension. The bobbins serve to aid the lace maker in managing the lengths of thread. Torchon lace is a sturdy lace traditionally made of coarse thread. It features a relatively large amount of background work, and is often recommended for beginners. Torchon lace patterns feature geometric designs, and the pattern and background are worked with the same thread. Torchon lace was traditionally used for home decor, but is now also used as a dress lace.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Torchon lace pattern
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Lace bobbins
  • Lace pillow
  • Pins

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  1. 1

    Read your pattern to determine how many bobbins are required and how much thread you will have to wind onto them. Select a sturdy cotton or linen thread for a traditional Torchon lace feel. Measure enough thread for each pair of bobbins and add at least 12 additional inches for slack. Cut the thread. Wind half the thread around one bobbin, then wind the remainder around another. Unwind 6 inches of thread from each bobbin. Repeat until you have prepared the number of bobbins your pattern requires.

  2. 2

    Lay your pattern out on the lace pillow. Pierce the paper at each spot where your pattern requires a pin to be placed. Work diagonally from the top to the bottom, as Torchon lace is often worked in that order. Pin the pattern at each corner to the centre of the pillow. Push the pin heads downward until they are flush with the pillow.

  3. 3

    Insert the pins at the beginning of the lace pattern. These pins should protrude from the pillow at least 1 inch. Drape the thread between the bobbins over the pins. Align the bobbins so that they are parallel.

  4. 4

    Work the lace pattern by lifting the bobbins and placing them so that their threads cross in the manner specified by the pattern. In many Torchon lace patterns, this will begin with twisting the bobbins, crossing the right-most bobbin over the leftmost bobbin.

  5. 5

    Finish the lace by tying the threads in a reef, granny or overhand knot, and cutting as close to the knot as possible.

Tips and warnings

  • Lace bobbins are often spangled or adorned with colourful beads. Get pairs in several styles to help you keep track of the design.
  • Crochet cotton works well for Torchon lace.

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