Hello Torchon my old friend

Lace made by me.  Pattern designed by Lidy Verheyen

I started my bobbin lace journey by making Torchon.  Lots of it.  It gave me a very solid foundation of all the basic lacemaking techniques.  And it made me happy.   I enjoyed the mathematical logic inherent in Torchon.  And the beautiful symmetry of the designs fascinated me.  It also gave me the confidence to start exploring other lace types. Baby steps at first.  Some Flanders initially.  Returning to the familiarity of Torchon every now and then if the Flanders became too complicated.  But over time,  my return to Torchon became less and less frequent. Until I eventually abandoned it altogether.  I immersed myself in Flanders, Binche and point ground lace.  For a long time.

Last weekend I wanted to start a new piece of Tonder lace.  Only, I had run out of lace pillows.  One was occupied by Bucks, another by Idrija.  Two others by Binche.  You get the picture.  And so I had my hopes pinned on a 22-inch cookie pillow at the bottom of my craft cupboard (the first lace pillow I ever bought).  The last glimmer of hope in a sea of occupied lace pillows.  But when I pulled back  the cover cloth on that lace pillow, I was perplexed to find an unfinished piece of Torchon.  Mildly annoyed that the pillow was occupied, I did some mental arithmetic and figured that of all my works in progress, this piece of Torchon would take the least amount of time to finish to clear a lace pillow.

And so I set out to finish the Torchon piece.  Aiming to do it as fast as possible.  Until I wasn’t.  Because it brought me such an unexpected and profound joy from the minute I picked up the bobbins that I didn’t want it to end.  It is hard to describe the deep nostalgia that I felt.  A bit like meeting up with an old friend from your childhood that you haven’t seen for many years.  You feel so comfortable with each other, and things just carry on where you’ve left off – as though time stood still.  Like a comfy pair of  slippers that you’ve worn for a long time or your favourite sweater that is well past its prime – the familiarity and the comfort of it so incredibly soothing.

But all good things must come to an end.  I finally finished it yesterday.  I took my time, savouring it (okay, maybe cursing a bit while sewing in the threads).  This morning when I woke up I had an epiphany.  Why not make some more Torchon instead of the Tonder that I was planning to do.  I picked out a beautiful handkerchief edging and finished the pricking this afternoon.  Hope to get it started this week.

Here are some photos of the journey to complete the piece of Torchon.








And after all was said and done, the linen thread produced some beautiful ‘angel hair’.


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