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Solid half stitch

Solid areas are dense areas of lace, used as a contrast to the ground. Click here for different shapes available.

Half stitch solid area

A solid area is worked in rows. For solid half stitch, the pairs of bobbins get split up after the first stitch. This means that there is not one identifiable pair of bobbins which you can call the workers.

Solid half stitch is also known (in French) as grillé, point de filet and passée de filet. English terms are gauze stitch, half linen and net ground. The German term for all solid areas is Vollwerk.

How to do solid half stitch

Repeat Step

Working: repeated half stitch across the row. Each stitch uses one pair from the previous stitch and a new pair. At the end of the row, pin between the workers and the last passives, and tighten. Then work repeated half stitch back again.

While there is not a worker pair, there is in fact one bobbin which is used in every stitch. This thread gives the horizontal line, with the other threads making the two diagonal lines which are so typical of solid half stitch. The diagram above shows the working of the half stitches for the first row. For the return row, it shows how the threads sit after they have been tightened.

Solid half stitch
A half stitch diamond

Many lacemakers twist the workers before putting in the pin at the end of the row, perhaps more than once. It does not seem to be necessary, but it does give a slightly different effect. If you do it once (or an odd number of times), then the horizontal thread will be the same for the next row. No twist (other than that caused by the last half stitch) means that a different bobbin gives the horizontal thread for the next row. This evens out the use of thread so you do not need to wind on more thread at the start for certain bobbins.

When working solid areas, you are often dealing with a lot of bobbins between pin and pin, so it often looks a bit of a mess before tightening at the pin. As long as you keep the bobbins in the correct order on the pillow, this should not be a problem. But remember to tighten properly at the pin! The workers change direction here, and if you do not tighten, it may be harder to tighten them later. The passives are not so much on a problem, as they hang straight. The numbers of bobbins involves also means that there is a certain amount of rearranging the bobbins on the pillow.

Solid half stitch mistake
Mistake (on the left)

I have found that a mistake in solid half stitch is more obvious than in solid cloth stitch, since a thread suddenly changes direction unexpectedly. In cloth stitch, the passives all go in the same direction, so bobbins getting confused causes less change in direction. Perhaps mistakes are more likely in half stitch as you do not have an identifiable worker pair, so you cannot check that you have finished the previous stitch. You have been warned!

If you get the pattern size or the thread thickness bigger or smaller than you should, then you will find solid half stitch is more forgiving than solid half stitch The pattern is a bit looser or tighter, but does not look much different. Solid cloth stitch which is too loose has holes in, and if it is too tight, then it coggles.

Using colour in solid half stitch is possible, but a bit tricky. One thread travels throughout the row, and if you twist the end pair, then it will travel back again as well. That means that it can colour the shape. However, you do need to control which thread, and get it to the right place! See using colour in Torchon lace.