up a level


A picot is a decorative loop, at the edge of the lace, or on a plait. It is used in Bucks Point and English Midland lace, such as Bedfordshire. This uses both threads of the pair to make the loop. (Click here for a knotted picot, which only uses one thread of the pair to make the loop.)

Unlike most stitches, this uses a single pair.

How to do a picot

Repeat Step Again

Description: This is not possible to describe using the cross/twist system, since only two bobbins are involved.

Working: I advise tightening the pair making the picot before starting the picot. Make sure that all threads crossing the pair are closed up. It can be hard tightening these threads, or getting rid of little unwanted loops, after the picot has been made.

The pair are twisted several times (how many times depends on the thickness of the thread, and size of the loop of the picot). One thread is then wound round the pin (before the pin is pushed into the pattern) so that the thread from the bobbin goes under the thread to the lace. The pin is pushed into the pattern. Then the other thread is wound round the pin the other way, so that the thread from the bobbin goes over the thread to the lace. Both threads are pulled so that the twisted part of the two threads slides round round the pin. Then there is one final twist.

If you just twist a pair several times and wind it round a pin, it appears to make a loop, but when the pin is removed, the loop comes undone and just becomes a U-shape. The point of a picot is to trap the loop between the two threads - one goes underneath and one on top. This stops it coming undone. The secret is to make the loop of the first thread before even putting the pin into the pattern, and get this first loop going in the right direction! The second thread's loop is more conventional, and happens after the pin is pushed in. At this point, you have two loops of the two threads on the pin, but all the original twists are not yet part of the picot. So you pull both threads, and the twists slide round the pin. Finally, one more twist keeps both threads together, locking the picot in place.

See pattern 15.

If you find picots too hard to do, then you can replace them by twisting the pair several times and just taking it round the pin. This prodices a U-shape rather than a proper closed loop (see below). You will have to decide for yourself whether this is acceptable. I have seen several examples of this in antique lace, which suggests that lacemakers in the past found picots tricky as well!

Some picots at the edge of lace, in a headside.

A picot decorating a plait.

This is not a picot! The twisted pair has just been wound round the pin, which produces this U-shape.

An alternative technique for working a picot: The first thread's loop is the tricky one, because the part of thread nearest the bobbin has to end up underneath the part of the thread nearest the lace, and the obvious way to loop a thread round the pin puts it on top (which is what you want for the second thread's loop). It is possible to use the pin itself, as a tool, for this first loop. First lay it across the thread, then twist the pin towards the part of the thread nearest the lace to pick up the thread, making the loop. If you twist the other way, then the loop is wrong! Also, the thread can slip off the point of the pin in an annoying way. Still, if you can figure out which way to twist the pin, and make it instinctive, this is a quick way to make that irritating first loop.