Mats are worked in a different way to an ordinary strip of lace. Read about corners and mats if you haven't worked one before.

SquareInspired by
Maltese design
Zigzag mat edging
Interleave small mat
Spiders and roses mat edging
Small mat with twisted fans
Small mat with cloth fans
Sampler mat
Mat edging
Complete mat
Cow Parsley mat
3D cubes mat
Flower mat
Simple Flower mat
Squaring the circle
Spiral mat
Wild rose pentagon mat

Zigzag mat pattern

Zigzag mat edging

This is a simple Torchon design. It has cloth stitch and half stitch fans and zigzags, with spiders and a single element of rose ground in between. There is a twisted footside and Torchon ground next to it.

12 pairs of bobbins.

See corners and mats if you haven't worked a corner before.

Zigzag mat photo

Interleave small mat mat photo

Interleave small mat mat

This is a simple Torchon design. It has twisted fan headsides and cloth stitch and half stitch strips. The strips are supposed to be interleaved, going under and over each other!

11 pairs of bobbins.

See corners and mats if you haven't worked a mat before.

Interleave small mat pattern

Roses and spiders mat pattern

Roses and spiders mat edging

This is a conventional Torchon design. The triangles are half stitch. The strips at the corners are cloth stitch. You could make them both half stitch or cloth stitch if you prefer, of course. The triangles are joined to the single twisted footside with double Torchon ground.

There is rose ground in some of the diamond areas, and in the corners (where you need to work one row of rose ground towards the corner before working the other row back). The other diamonds are filled with large spiders framed with a single diagonal row of single Torchon ground.

I think this uses 20 pairs of bobbins.

Instead of sewing the cotton within the edging, I sewed the lace on top of a bigger piece of cotton. This shows off the pattern well. It only works because the colour of the lace contrasts with the cotton colour, of course.

Roses and spiders mat photo

Small mat with twisted fans photo

Small mat with twisted fans

The headside of this mat is twisted fan headside. Two of these make the corners, although the pinhole between them is moved slightly. There is double Torchon ground, with cloth diamonds and and half stitch diamonds in the centre.

You work it in quarters, the same way as above. I have drawn in the dividing lines in red. These are not part of the pattern. They just tell you where to work down to, and where you should turn the pillow to start the next section.

It uses about 17 pairs of bobbins.

Small mat with twisted fans pattern

Small mat with cloth fans pattern

Small mat with cloth fans

The headside of this mat is cloth fan headside, with all passives twisted just before the edge. The centre fans also twist the worker threads in the centre of each row. There is Torchon ground, with spiders in the centre.

You work it in quarters, the same way as above. I have drawn in the dividing lines in pink. These are not part of the pattern. They just tell you where to work down to, and where you should turn the pillow to start the next section.

It uses about 14 pairs of bobbins.

Small mat with cloth fans photo

Sampler mat pattern

Sampler mat

This mat is a sampler, because it uses 8 different types of stitch, so you can see the effects compared with each other. If you don't like any of these, you can chose other ones, or possibly repeat a stitch more than once. There is a twisted footside round the edge. The patterns are outlined with strips of cloth stitch.

Round the edge, there are triangles of Torchon ground (top left), rose ground (top right), armour net or armure-Binche (bottom right) and bias ground (bottom left). These are all worked up to the diagonal, marked by the pale blue line, before the second half of the triangle is staarted. The stitches were chosen as they are 4-way symmetrical, which means that they look the same if they are turned through a right angle. That means that you can't see where the diagonal comes. You could chose a non-symmetrical stitch, but the diagonal will become more obvious.

In the centre, there is dot ground (top), star ground (left), honeycomb net (right) and triangular ground (bottom).

It uses 21 pairs of bobbins.

Sampler mat photo

Original Lace

This mat came from my grandmother, who was born in the 19th century. The lace is made of cream silk and you can see the Maltese cross in the middle, so it is almost certainly Maltese lace. She stayed in Malta for a short time. It was made in several pieces and then sewn together - the edge, the four petalled flowers, and the cross with the flowers in the centre. I was interested in the edge. It is a simple yet striking design. The problem was the corner. Some stitches, like Torchon ground or rose ground will go round corners, but other designs have to be interrupted at the diagonal, then turned and started up again. This has happened here with the corner diamonds. They have tried to disguise it, which hasn't really worked. But I did like the way that several threads are run together, rather like a gimp, around the diamonds, high-lighting them. I thought I would design something with better corners but using the same idea.

Original Lace
Narrow wavy lace pattern

Mat edging inspired by a Maltese design

Normally a gimp is a single thicker thread which is used to surround a pattern to high-light it. Here the single thread is replaced by four threads (two pairs) in pale blue thread, which are worked through the dark green threads in cloth stitch. When they change direction, they are worked in cloth stitch, pin, cloth stitch. There are two groups of these gimp threads. When they cross, they are worked in cloth stitch.

Inside, there are cloth diamonds round the edges, and rose ground in the corners. You have to work two of the rose ground first, then work two pairs of threads out to the headside corner and back, and turn the cushion through a quarter turn before you can do the other two rose ground. All gaps are filled in with Torchon ground.

First mat photo

The Maltese headside is the same as the original mat above. There has to be a little cheat at some of the corners, as the headside doesn't fit the rest of the pattern. In the original pattern there are some dummy stitches for the same reason.

There is a twisted single twisted footside attached with double Torchon ground. I didn't make a note of how many bobbins it used, but I estimate that it's about 22 pairs of bobbins in all, which includes 4 pairs of pale blue for the gimp.

Since this is an edging rather than a complete mat, I cut out a square of cotton to sew into the middle. The footside edge is very easy to sew onto, since it is straight and strong. Being lace, it naturally has lots of holes, so the needle doesn't have to do much work!

First mat photo detail

Second mat photo

Complete mat edging inspired by a Maltese design

This mat is worked in two separate pieces, which are sewn together afterwards. The outer piece has a black plaited headside on both the outer and inner edge. You work it the same way as the previous mat.

The inner part is nearly all yellow, part from the black gimp threads which look like a diamond. You work a quarter of it, as in the pattern, then turn the cushion a quarter turn to work the next quarter. After four turns, you should be back where you started. It's best to leave the initial pins in to make sure that you're aligned, but push them down up to their heads, so they don't interfere with the rest of the lace. Tie the end edge threads to the start of the pattern to finish.

Then sewn the outside of this inner part onto the inner black side of the outer edging, using yellow thread.

Second mat edge pattern

Outer edging

The edge piece has a gimp in black, similar to the pale blue in the previous mat, but worked as a plait with lazy joins.

Inside the gimp, there are cloth diamonds and spiders. The design in the corner is not a cloth diamond, since this won't go round corners. Instead all the threads from the outer edge, and the two pairs of threads available from the inner edge are first twisted a couple of times, then worked in cloth stitch across each other. The original inner two pairs (now on the outside) are worked into the corner and back again, and then worked in cross stitch again back across the others. All threads are twisted again, and worked through their gimps.

Outside the gimp, there are rose ground wherever I could fit them in, otherwise Torchon ground. You could make it all Torchon ground if you prefer.

There is a black plaited headside on both the outer and inner edge.

Second mat edge photo pattern
Second mat edge pattern

Inner piece

There is rose ground where possible, but not in the corners. You can have rose ground either side of the corner line, but not straddling it. You could either do all in Torchon ground, or move the rose ground along so it doesn't straddle it. (I suspect this was the pattern where I discovered this irritating fact about rose ground!)

The diamonds in the middle are normal cloth diamonds, except when all bobbins are in the diamond, twist all passive threads once. While I didn't want to do a Maltese cross, I did want a cross effect.

Second mat edge photo pattern

You can see these two mats are similar, and you can combine different effects from both to make yet more designs. You can also make it in a single colour, or try different colours.

Cow Parsley mat photo

Cow Parsley mat

This mat uses a hexagonal grid. This means that you work a sixth of it, turn the pillow, then work the next sixth, and so on. The grey lines are not part of the lace, they show where you need to work up to before turning the pillow to work the next part.

The pattern is based on Cow Parsley, which is also called Queen Anne's lace (see my other Cow Parsley design). The flowers round the edge are worked in honeycomb net and the leaves in the centre are zigzags and there is a standard Bucks Point headside. The zigzags have an extra pinhole at the point. If you work the zigzags always to have maximum width then this extra hole will keep both sides of the leaves the same width. You can ignore the extra hole if you prefer. The passives in the headside are a darker green to the rest.

19 pairs of bobbins.

Cowslip Parsley mat pattern

Mat with Kat stitch pattern

3D cubes Mat

I designed this while looking at designs that looked a bit like 3D cubes. This is worked a sixth at a time, then rotate the pillow for the next sixth.

There is a star made of six diamonds, three of them half stitch diamonds and half of them Kat stitch. The background high-lights the star, with triangles of cloth stitch and half stitch ground. The footside by the half stitch ground means that there is an extra pair of bobbins which are taken into the cloth stitch triangle.

20 pairs

Mat with Kat stitch

Flower Bucks point mat

Flower Mat

There were two ideas for this mat. First, an extention of the flower in the corner. Second, I was looking at the lace for study website and saw a Bucks point design which used honeycomb rather than Bucks point net as ground, which I liked. This mat is worked a sixth at a time, then rotate the pillow for the next sixth, as usual.

The flower is simpler than the one in the corner. It starts working like a diamond (although the hexagonal grid makes it narrower than usual). This ends at a line with several pairs still in it. Put pins in between 2 pairs. Then twist both pairs, and work them with half stitch, pin, half stitch. Then start the next petal. The ground is honeycomb net and there is a cloth footside round the edge.

It's not too hard to keep the yellow pair as worker throughout the petals, giving the different coloured colour in the middle. Of course, you can use any other combination of colours, or make it all one colour. You could even make the passives in the cloth footside the same as the petals, for a frame.

21 pairs (20 pairs green and 1 pair yellow)

Flower Bucks point mat

Small Flower Bucks point mat

Small Flower Mat

Here, the flower is defined by a gimp, with honeycomb net inside. There is a normal Bucks Point headside with passives and picots. The ground is Bucks point ground.

In the photo, the passives are red, and the gimp is a thick red thread. There is only one gimp surrounding the petals. Work all the honeycomb of one petal, then make the gimp finish off the petal, twist the pairs, and work the gimp back again for the start of the next petal.

11 pairs of bobbins + 1 gimp

Small Flower Bucks point mat

Mandala mat


This was an attempt to produce a mandala-type pattern.

There are cloth stitch diamonds (pink) and half stitch diamonds (green) with rose ground between. The threads between the diamonds, where the different sections of the hexagon begin and end, are crossed over similar to the cross-over before and after the rose ground.

In my example, I made the edge pair to be gold thread. This means that other pairs reaching the edge must be worked across the gold edge pair with a cloth stitch and twist, pin, and back again, whether they are supposed to be part of rose ground, or the workers of a cloth diamond or half stitch diamond.

20 pairs of bobbins

Mandala mat

Sunburst mat

Sunburst mat

This mat pattern uses this grid pattern, the curved edge with the hole in the centre. It has an edging of large cloth fans and Torchon ground, with a footside. But it has been twisted round in a circle. This means that the fans are stretched out so they can reach right round the edge of the mat, while the footside is heavily compressed in the middle. The red triangles are caused by red worker threads. You can, of course, use other colours, or you could do the whole design in the same colour. There are extra holes between the triangles to make sure that the worker threads don't get swapped over. If you keep the same worker threads throughout (as you will need to in order to produce the two colour effect) you will need a LOT of thread wound onto the worker bobbins.

About 14 pairs of bobbins.

Sunburst mat

Squaring the circle mat

Squaring the circle mat

This type of circular mat is worked in a different way to the previous one. It is more like the square mats, but the grid is distorted to make the finished mat circular rather than square (hence the name, although it's more a case of circling the square!) The blank grid is here. The yellow lines show the four triangles that the mat is divided into. Work one triangle until you reach the yellow line, then turn the pillow so the bobbins hang down over the next side, and continue working. The following description is for one quarter only.

The middle is a cloth stitch diamond. The surround is Torchon ground and then half stitch zigzag. The edge is cloth fan headsides of various sizes, with the rest being rose ground.

This method spaces out the pins better and doesn't have a hole in the middle, but it is a less exciting pattern, I think.

17 pairs of bobbins.

Squaring the circle mat



This uses the mat-style grid, so is worked in triangles, shown by the pink lines. The butterfly is made of two hearts, in different triangles. This means that they cannot be joined together in the usual way. Instead, the second wing must be joined to the first using a crochet hook. Also, I have made the wings of the butterfly in sparkly blue thread, yet this appears nowhere else in the pattern. The sparkly blue threads are the worker threads, of course, but when they leave the butterfly wing, I tied the threads together (round a pin) then linked in a new pale blue pair of threads to make part of the blackground. When starting the second sparkly blue wing, the relevant pale blue threads were tied off in the same way,and a new sparkly blue pair introduced, and so on.

The edge is twisted footside with a line of rose ground inside. These are both worked in green thread, so there has to be double Torchon ground to join it to the rest of the Torchon ground in pale blue. The rose ground is rather distorted by the grid, especially near the pink lines, so the cross-overs are drawn in as well, to help. There are two rose ground in plae blue to make the butterfly's body (I'm not sure if this works!)

18 pairs of bobbins.


Mat with hearts Mat with hearts Mat with hearts


Again, you work this a quarter at a time, from one yellow line to the next, then turning the pillow for the next quarter.

The edge is a rose border, and there are also lines of rose ground to start and finish each section. There are cloth stich and half stitch hearts and diamonds, with Torchon ground in between.

You can work all this in one colour if you want. I have used two colours, with the second pattern showing where the different coloured threads go. You will need some double Torchon ground to join the rose border to the rest still keeping the gold threads at the edge.

27 pairs of bobbins.

Spiral mat photo

Spiral mat

This mat is made in a completely different way. It starts in the centre, and worked as a strip, which turns a corner every now and then, making a spiral. The blue line shows the edge. This can be sewn up when finished, or joined while working to the previous edge by hooking a crochet hook through, catching one of the edge pair of threads, making a loop, then pushing the bobbin through the loop and pulling tight.

This uses cloth zigzags and double Torchon ground. You could obviously carry on making the mat as large as you want, if you had a big enough pillow.

About 17 pairs of bobbins.

Spiral mat pattern

Wild rose pentagon mat

Wild rose pentagon mat

This is a bit of an oddity, as it uses the pentagon mat grid, so is worked in triangles, shown by the pink blue. The centre of the rose, with yellow workers, are cloth stitch diamonds. The petals are worked similarly, with pink workers, and a vertical edge in some places. A little care must be taken to make sure that the coloured workers stay as workers when moving from one petal to the next.

There is Bucks Point ground and a Bucks Point headside with passives and picots. There is a green gimp outlining the petals. I have made this a pair of green ordinary threads rather than a single thicker one - you could use a single gimp if you prefer.

28 pairs of bobbins.

Wild rose pentagon mat

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© Jo Edkins 2002