Braided Lace

Most of this website is Torchon lace, with some Bucks Point. These tend to have the elements of the lace connected with grounds or net, made with pairs of threads. There are other styles of lace with the elements are connected with thicker lines made with 2 pairs plaited together, which are called legs, brides, plairs or braids. These are called guipure lace. Sometimes this is varied with even thicker tallies, also made with 2 pairs. English Midland lace, such as from Bedfordshire tend to use these. Here are some of my designs. The simple pieces are on the Beginner's section
Simple pieces on other pagesStraight pieces
Le Pompe pattern
Six petalled flower
Four petalled flower

Plaits photo


This pattern is an English Midland style lace using legs or brides, which are made with plaits. They cross with lazy joins.

In the middle, there are patterns called buds, which are worked the same way as diamonds. These are alternately cloth stitch and half stitch.

This pattern carries the headside (which is a nine pin headside) round the top and bottom of the lace. This is done by starting the pairs in the middle at the top, then working the lace outwards to both left and right.

Uses 14 pairs.

The pattern below gives an alternate way to make this, using simple twisted pairs within the pattern rather than plaits. This reduces the number of pairs to 12 pairs.

Plaits pattern
Plaits pattern Plaits photo

Tallies pattern


This pattern is an English Midland style lace using tallies. Tallies are thicker bars within the pattern, often in the shape of leaves or petals, made of two pairs of threads. These are not easy to do. However, they are common in English Midland lace, as well as other styles, and this is a simple pattern to practise on before you try something harder. It is also described on the Beginner's section.

There is a double twisted footside and a trail headside. Follow the links to see how to do them. The trail headside looks (roughly) the same width throughout, but there are different numbers of pairs in it at different times. Pairs are added to it, or dropped off, as required by the rest of the pattern.

A tally is made with two pairs of bobbins. Click here for a discussion on how to make it, including where you can go wrong!. Essentially, you use a single thread (not a pair) to weave back and forth between the other three threads. There are no pins to support this weaving, so it is easy to pull out of shape by mistake, and the number of rows of weaving is enough to make the tally long enough, so it is easy to do too many or too few. Practice is the key, and not worrying about getting it wrong to start with. So use this simple pattern to practise on!

The first tally, which is petal shaped, starts at the headside and works towrds the footside. When you have done enough, put a pin in between the two pairs to anchor it. Then work some more headside, then do the second tally, again from headside to footside. Then, using cloth stitch work the pair from the footside through all four pairs from the two tallies, pin, and work it back again. Now you can do the two tallies going from the footside back to the headside.

Uses 11 pairs.

Tallies photo

Tally flowers lace pattern

Tally flowers with six petals

This pattern is based on English Maltese lace. It is my first attempt at tallies, and while I did better than I expected, I made several mistakes. It also uses a trail headside, and half stitch hexagons (called buds), joined to the trail by plaited brides.

You start this pattern in the middle of the trail, at the top, where the pricking shows a line of holes across the trail. You will need to hang all the bobbins across these holes (arrange them as you please), but to stop the lace falling apart at the top, make sure that the bobbins going leftwards are twisted round the bobbins going rightwards. Two pairs are going to leave the trail right away to make the first tally, and make sure these are twisted round other threads as well, or the top of the tally will not be attached to the rest of the lace.

There will be six pairs of bobbins being worked in cloth stitch; this being five passives pairs and a worker pair, of course. You start by working the trail sideways which can be awkward; try turning the pillow! Don't work the trails too far though. The tally is going to be a bit tricky, especially if it's your first one, and it does not help to have pins too far down the pattern to catch the tally worker thread!

I suggest that you read the description of how to work a tally if you haven't worked one before.

Work the top tally down to the pinhole. Then work the trails down to the point that the next two tallies leave the trail (left and right). Drop two pairs from each trail. Work those tallies as well. Now join these three tallies in a three-way join. Carry on with the three tallies below the join.

Work the trails down to where the tallies rejoin the trail. Pick up the ends of the tallies, and carry on with the trail until the bud pattern. Drop off two pairs from the trail, and work as them as a bride to the bud. This bud is worked with half stitch. The end of the bride is split into two where it joins the bud, as only one pair is picked up in each row. Similarly, the pairs leave the bud individually, and then get worked as brides to rejoin the trail.

Continue working the pattern until you get to the bottom. All the bobbins end up practically at the same point! I worked the bobbins from the vertical pair through one of the trails, and tied it off the other side. Then I took a pair from one trail and tied it to the equivalent pair on the other trail.

This pattern takes 14 pairs of bobbins.

Tally flowers lace pattern

Tallies and picots

Tallies and picots - line of flowers

This is a simple pattern, designed to try out techniques in tallies and knotted picots.

There are two Crown headsides on each edge, joined by tallies. The yellow dots are knotted picots. The tallies are quite short. All junctions are lazy joins, even those between the plaits and the tallies. All these stitches use two pairs of bobbins at a time, and the lazy join swops them over, which keeps the pattern taut.

I used this technique of working tallies, which was easy to do. I haven't quite got the kack of constant width tallies yet!

16 pairs of bobbins, with 2 pairs at each pinhole to start with.

Tallies and picots

Cartwheels photo


This pattern comes from "Encyclopedia of Needlework by TH de Dillmont", a 19C book. The original photo and the pattern are given below.

There is a double twisted footside. I did an extra twist between each thread to make it more emphatic. Most of the rest is plaits or just a single twisted pair. The red, pink and yellow threads are plaits, and the green and blue are twisted pairs. The red and pink plaits are held in place with picots.

The plaits are crossed over with lazy joins. Other crossovers are done with cloth stitch, including the middle of the cartwheel, the top edge of the cartwheel, and the filled in bit between the cartwheels. The middle of the cartwheel has first the green pair crossing the yellow plait (in cloth stitch), then one of the blue worker pairs from the footside, then the footside workers returning from the opposite direction, then the green pair returning.

The edge is plaited to start with. When the green pair arrives from the centre, it works across the edge in cloth stitch to make a picot, then it works back across the edge, back for another picot, and back again, all in cloth stitch. Now the blue pair works across the edge, makes a picot, and works back again to leave the edge. Now the green pair works across for another picot, back again, then back again for another picot, then back again to leave the edge. One oddity, perhaps, is that there are no pins on the inside of the edge, so you need to tighten carefully, but not overtighten. It seems to work OK though. The cartwheel is described in more detail on the headside page.

The other oddity is that the inner passives from the footside join other pairs in the cloth stitch block in one part before becoming part of the usual double twisted footside again.

11 pairs of bobbins.

Cartwheels pattern
Cartwheels original Cartwheels original

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© Jo Edkins 2002