Color in Torchon

Jean Leader

Lacemaker and Textile Enthusiast

Color in Torchon

My interest in using colour in Torchon lace started with one of the projects I had to do for Part 1 of the City & Guilds Lacemaking course. This was to produce a set of pieces depicting the seasons using appropriate colours but the same pattern for each one. I made a series of bookmarks, and was fascinated by the way that using the same colours but altering their positions and/or making small changes in stitches could give different effects.

Autumn and winter pieces from my City & Guilds work — the colours used were the same for each season but changing the position and stitches gave different effects.

At the 2004 IOLI Convention I taught a class on Color in Torchon Lace, where the students used the same bookmark pattern but chose their own colours. It was after seeing this class advertised that Kathy and John Hensel asked me if I would be willing to make a video with them on that subject. I’d never done anything like that before but I decided that it would be interesting and might even be fun. So plans were made, samples were worked, e-mails went back and forth, and eventually it all came together with the video being made in March 2006. It was hard work, but it was interesting and I enjoyed doing it.

Two colourways for the same pattern — the one on the left was used in the video.

What I have tried to do in the video is to show how using colors can transform a simple Torchon pattern and provide endless possibilities for experimentation. The first two patterns are designed to show how pairs move through the lace when using different stitches and techniques. This knowledge is then used to control where the colors move in the following three patterns for an edging, a square mat and a bookmark (similar to the one shown above). An additional pattern for a square mat is also included. The instructions assume some basic knowledge (how to wind bobbins, make a pricking and work the basic stitches) but starting and finishing, working ground stitches, spiders, cloth-stitch diamonds, roseground, foootside edge and two different fans are all explained step by step.

DVD details

Color in Torchon with Jean Leader
DVD or USB drive: Running time 3 hours 30 minutes, with 4 pages of notes and prickings

UK: £30.00 plus postage
Directly from

US: Available through the Hensel Productions website