up a level


A diamond is a solid shape common in Torchon lace. It can be worked in either cloth stitch or half stitch. The effect of the two are different, but they are worked the same except for the stitches. The Dutch for this shape is Ruiten (Rechthoekig).

Cloth stitch and half stitch diamonds
Cloth stitch and half stitch diamonds, surrounded by Torchon ground. See pattern 4.

Diamond pattern
Pattern representation of a diamond

This pattern shows a 4 x 4 diamond (4 pairs coming in from each side). It is possible to have 3 x 3 diamonds (but not smaller) or 5 x 5 or greater diamonds. I hope you can see how to adapt the following explanation for those.

The following diagram avoids the complexities of the individual stitches by showing each pair of threads as a single line. Where one line crosses another, you should work it in cloth stitch or half stitch.

The number below shows the number of pairs actually part of the diamond at each row. This number is different for each row, and getting too many or too few pairs in a row is a common mistake.

Bobbin lace diamond

Repeat Step Back

Working: Work the lace above the diamond (such as ground). Do not work the edge pins of the diamond yet. In a diamond, you work rows of stitches. The first row, at the top of the diamond, is just a stitch between two pairs of bobbins. Chose one pair (it doesn't matter which) to be the worker pair. Work it across the other pair and a new pair, and pin at the end of the row, between the workers and the other bobbins. Work back again, picking up another pair at the end of the row, and pin again. Carry on picking up an extra pair at the end of each row, from one side then the other, until you are working across all the bobbins in the diamond, which will be the widest part. Now drop a pair off at the end of each row. (The widest row picks up a pair at one side, and drops a pair on the other side.) At the bottom of the diamond, you should be left with two pairs at the last pin, which are worked across each other to cover the pin.

If you get to the bottom row, and have less or more than two pairs, then you have made a mistake. You will have to undo the lace to see where you have dropped off or picked up more than one pair, or where you forgot. I have done this several times! That is why I have given the number of pairs in each row, so hopefully, when starting, you can notice the error immediately and correct it. Undoing lace is always annoying.

Diamonds are common in Torchon lace.

If you have a 4 x 4 solid diamond, it has 49 stitches, but an equivalent size of ground only has 16 stitches. This explains why the solid areas look denser than ground - there are about three times as many stitches!

Diamond cloth stitch threads
Direction of cloth stitch diamond threads

The passives hang straight downwards - a typical passive pair is shown in red. This picture shows the workers twisted at the pin, but you get a similar effect whether you do or not. You can see, from above, that in a cloth stitch diamond, the worker pair (blue) are used in every stitch. This means that they can colour the diamond.

Coloured cloth diamonds

Diamond half stitch threads
Direction of half stitch diamond threads (not twist at pin)

Half stitch diamonds, on the other hand, can travel in a more chaotic way. Here there is no additional twist of the end pair at the pin.

Diamond half stitch threads
Direction of half stitch diamond threads (twist at pin)

However, if you do twist the end pair (once) at the pin, perhaps surprisingly the pattern becomes more regular. One thread from the two pairs at the top travels throughout the whole diamond. It might be possible to use this thread to colour the diamond, if you can manage to get it in the right place, and deal with it as it leaves. Its companion thread in the pair should not have the same colour, unless you want to colour one edge of the diamond. And it will be split from its original pair. So this is a bit tricky, and I suggest that you do not try it unless you understand what is going on! Click here to find out more about using colour in Torchon lace.

I have mentioned that the minimum size of a diamond should be 3x3. If you want to know what a 2x2 diamond looks like, then see pattern 40.