Bucks Point

Bucks point ground instructions, starting off and picots, corners and floral bucks.

Bucks Point
In Bucks Point – you work a stitch (cross and 3 twists), put up the pin, – and move on to the next stitch – NO stitch after the pin.  Your left bobbin, when gently tweaked, should tension up all the way to the foot. Bucks Pt Ground looks more like Mosquito netting.  (And, please, all you Bucks Pt lacemakers, don’t Jump on me with Hob-nailed boots!!  – It does look like the net!!)

For those of you who haven’t tried bucks it is really very much easier than you can imagine, the grid is based on a 30degree or 60degree grid and is a bit harder to design but there are stacks of really easy patterns to get yourself started. All you really need to know is whole and half stitch and be able to manipulate a gimp. I like having one of each type of lace on the go; torchon, beds, bucks and honiton.

I have often added extra pairs there as it hold the shape so much better, especially if you are using half stitch.

Rhododendron piece from pg 103 of 100 Traditional Bobbin Lace Patterns by Stott and Cook.  In book it shows that you bring 1 new pair in at each picot down the top 2 diagonal sides, but how should this actually be done?  I’ve thought of 2 possible ways of starting as follows: 1. Bring all pairs in as passives right from the start (apart from the pins marked on the pattern as having 2 pairs on each for false picots anyway) and then just do picots as normal.  Problem with this is how to get a neat finish when there will be 40+ pairs of passives all ending together. 2.  Bring in 2 pairs (instead of 1) at the first pins down each size as false picots, then as the picots are formed on the closing sides at the bottom throw out pairs from the passives so as to only end up with a few pairs to finish. Are there 3rd or 4th options for how to start?

There are two ways of working a circle, square, or hexagon – whether in Bucks or Torchon….One way is to hang on the pairs along a diagonal line and work in sections….like a slice of pie – six slices of pie make up a complete circle.  When you get back to the starting line, you join the circle up, darn in all the ends (Yuk!) and there’s the circle finished.  This method of working requires fewer bobbins.  The other method is, like the Rhododendron, hang on all the pairs needed and work from top to bottom.  This method requires more pairs of bobbins, because at some stage (and probably only briefly) you need enough pairs to cover the widest part of the circle or hexagon.  So many people get hung up (or should I say tangled up!!) on the number of bobbins needed…but the basic working techniques are still the same – ground, picots, tallies, honeycomb, gimp….they’re no different just because you’ve got a bigger number of bobbins on the pillow.  Try something one day (OK, perhaps not this one!), but something just a little more demanding than what you’ve already done….go at it carefully and ignore all the extra bobbins until you need them….you’ll find that you’ve let yourself be freaked by the thought of the numbers, and that you can actually work the piece when you concentrate on the techniques you already know, rather than being overwhelmed by the number of bobbins.  As for Little Heart – I found that much slower and fiddlier to work than some patterns….somehow all that passing the gimp backwards and forwards seemed to be very slow!!

When you start some thing like bucks or beds that you want to join up, start in the part of the design that has the densest part of the pattern or some whole stitch or at least half stitch.  Never start in the middle of the ‘lacy ground’ because you will never be able to hide the join.  This of course means that you are not starting on a diagonal but may be weaving in and out a bit around the pattern.  This also means that you will have to hang your bobbins slightly differently.  Doing a Bucks corner is no mean feat in fact is can be quite difficult.  If the grid is 90 degrees you are certainly in luck, it is the 60 degree grid corners that can really be a nightmare and that is why so many of them are more elaborate than a simple turn.

See if this description of the footside helps: Start with the 4th pair from the right.  Whole stitch to the right through 2 passive pairs.  Twist the outside pair and the second from outside pair 3 times.  (I think in Geraldine’s book she, recommends 4 twists here instead of 3).  Whole stitch these pairs together and twist each one 3 times.  Put a pin to the left of the 2 outside pairs (not between them).  With the second from outside pair, whole stitch back to the left through the 2 passive pairs.  Twist the worker pair 3 times and work a ground stitch (C, T, T, T) with the pair to the left.  Put a pin to the right of these 2 pairs – this is a catchpin stitch.  Do not cover the pin.  I hope this helps!   ~

All the extra twists and the strange catchpin take a bit of getting used to after Torchon.  The three sketches on page 3 (Pattern 1, Little Fan) are: –
1.  An illustration of a ground stitch showing three twists in each pair;
2.  an illustration of the second half of a footside stitch, showing one pair going back through the passives and the other pair going straight down, with three twists in each pair;
3.  An illustration of a catchpin stitch, done immediately after a footside stitch, when the workers re-enter the ground.
When I started, I wrote that beside each sketch in my book in pencil. And remember, the blue lines indicate a half stitch, which is cross twist, so ground in Bucks is: cross and three twists and pin between the pairs. (Red lines indicate a whole stitch, in this book this is cross twist cross, so if you’re going from the whole stitch through the passives of the footside, you have to twist the workers three times)

I don’t think Bucks is really any more difficult than other laces, but might need a bit more concentration – at the beginning, anyway! There are some good beginners books around – I learned from the Pam. Nottingham book – first her Mixed lace book (Torchon, Beds, abd Bucks in it), and I also have her Bucks Pt book.  Cook and Stott have brought out 100 patterns book. The Elwin Kenn books are Not for beginners in this lace. Get copies if you ever trip over them!, but save them for later. I usually have a bit of Bucks on my travel pillow – with a working diagram – so that when I go back to it after many months I can soon remember what I was doing.  they do some things a bit differently, but if you have a sound working knowledge of lacemaking you should be OK.

I felt that, without adding the extra pairs in the petals, the flowers look a bit “scrawny”.

And with floral bucks you should never take out the pair you have just added in – i.e. if you add a pair at the top of a petal and need to remove at the bottom it is much better to remove a different pair (or carry it with the gimp till needed again)

What bothered me with Elwyn’s floral was that the addition was for a very short piece of the design, not like the traditional floral bucks where you added and took out for a ‘largish’ flower.

One of the things that Sandra Straughair teaches is that an unwanted pair of bobbins can be carried to the next place where it is needed by simply wrapping it around the gimp thread. You can actually take as many as 3 pairs that way, with the one gimp thread. And no, it does NOT show in the finished piece of lace, but it keeps all the work very tidy without having to leave threads out all the time, or hanging new ones in for that matter, not to mention rewinding bobbins constantly!! It is well worth trying.

I’m reluctant to say anything negative, but unless you are very comfortable with Point ground steer clear of Elwyn’s book. The pattern is Grampians Bauera on page 35. The problem with the pattern was simply that she added a pair which she took out on every petal of every flower, this was unnecessary and would have resulted in lots of loose ends! I thought that with “true” floral Bucks, you were always adding extra pairs for flowers, then throwing them out again and simply cutting them off.  Which is why I’ve only had one little go at it, as I found it I didn’t like doing  it much. And I was advised by a Bucks worker not to try it again until I was much more comfortable with non-floral Bucks. Then the gimp going around the little bubbles, had to be redrawn, specifically the ‘leaf parts’. On the pricking on page 37 where you move from the second to the third flower, you cannot work the gimp around these flowers without breaking it and rejoining it.

I’d qualify that , by saying steer clear of her advanced designs, like the Grampians Bauera.   But I’ve found her simpler stuff very easy,  very pretty, and ideal for beginners at Bucks.  I remember being so pleased with the way Waratah from Point Grand Patterns from Australia turned out, I made a great length of it. This is typical of Elwyn’s unorthodox way of treating gimp loops – she says to leave the gimp in a large loop which is eased into correct position after the inner stitches are done. Definitely not for beginners! I can see what you mean. After the corner, it’s the other way round – the first and second flowers abut, instead of the 2nd and 3rd, but there it looks like you can continue the gimp. Incidentally, if anyone’s interested – there are three Kenn books. Point Ground Patterns from Australia, Point Ground Lace from Australian Wildflowers and Australian Wildflowers in Point Ground (which contains the Grampians Bauera)

Visual Introduction to Bucks Point Lace by Stott – Serpentine bookmark.
When removing pins (to use further down) on my bookmark, I was very disappointed in what looks like a gap half way down the cloth stitch clover base, where one pair goes out to a catch pin and comes back in next row.  I thought I’d made a mistake, but studying the book again, I’m doing exactly what is required, and the illustration also shows a gap. Do Bucks Point gumnuts agree with me that I’d like to avoid this gap?  Anyone know how to do it?    I can’t change what I’m doing now (more than half done), but if it’s possible to avoid this in future, I’d like to make a note in the book for the next time I attempt it.

The first thing I’d try is to work that stitch (the one between the two gimps) as an ordinary ground stitch…In my copy of the book, the pinholes in both the coloured working diagram and the black and white one are shown *under* the two pairs as in a point ground stitch, rather than under one pair only, which would indicate a catchpin.   I can see the big gap you refer to in the finished piece – and without getting my magnifying lamp on it I think the photograph looks as if no stitch was worked there at all, although if that was the case, I can’t see how!!!

Anyway, the other thing you could try is to get a large pin, such as a glass headed pin, and put it in the middle of your catchpin stitch and ease the threads outwards to help minimise the gap.

If you’re getting the sort of “no stitch” effect as shown in the photograph, another idea which might help is to move the pinhole ever so slightly – I think towards the cloth stitch clover – so that more of the threads coming from the honeycomb stem were visible, and that’d help fill up the gap too.

I have been working the stitch outside the gimp as an ordinary ground stitch, and not a catchpin – and in my work, once the pin is removed, it looks like the sample in the book – as if there is no stitch there at all, just a bar of thread between the two gimps. I’ll try your idea of moving that pin just a bit on the next repeat (the last). Maybe it’s lateral thinking, but this morning I did come up with one idea – if you can’t fix it, then make it a feature!   Put a series of twists between the gap and the point of the middle clover, so it looks as if it is supposed to be there!

If you’re already working a ground stitch, what about trying a catchpin stitch instead….I think anything that helps fill up the gap is worth a try!!

Another solution would be to add 2 extra pin holes on the opposite side of the clover then you would be able to use the workers to work through the gimp to the ground leaving the passive pair that come into the clover to work straight across.  Think it is a design “fault”? – trying to create floral without adding pairs – but then it is an example to learn how to work nook pins.  Personally I am not comfortable with the appearance of the area at the base of the clover inside the gimp lines either.

When Sandra Straughair was here in W.A doing a point ground workshop for us, some of the things she told us were, “if you feel you would like another pair somewhere, simply put one in!” “If things look too dense for your liking, toss one out!” “If you don’t like the stitch they used, use what you like” To throw a pair out here and there is easy , especially when you are close to a gimp thread. Just carry the extra pair around the gimp. You can even carry it that way till you get to the next section where you will need it again. This saves so much sewing in and throwing out. You can carry as many as 3 or 4 pairs that way as it does not show. She made point ground so much simpler for us, and you get it just the way YOU want it. In other words, just do what you like to get it the way you want it.

When I did the Bucks workshop with Heather at the AGM last year, she actually gave us some enlarged patterns to start with, so we could see what we were doing!!

Has anyone – Noelene has I think – enlarged the Bucks patterns while learning so that DMC Broder Machine 30 or 50 can be used?  If so, what was the enlargement?  Any suggestions gratefully received.

I enlarged the Myrtle and the Admiral Butterfly 133% and it worked OK – not traditional Bucks,  but I could see what I was doing!

I’ve found Geraldine Stott’s two books – The Bobbin Lace Manual (for Torchon) and A Visual Introduction to Bucks Point Lace two of the best books available for beginners.  Both books extremely well structured, easy to follow, and very comprehensive.

I will back you up Noelene . Some years ago now one of our girls bought a copy of the Introduction to Bucks Point Lace  and taught herself to make the lace from it. We do not and did not then, have the luxury of teachers in our group. Another very good book for teaching Bucks Point is the new but pricey book by Alexandra Stillwell, cant think of its title

I attended a class with a well known English lacemaker and she talked about the variations in point ground. She suggested that there were 3 versions:

Nottingham, Cook & Stott and Elwyn Kenn. When you know the differences you can then work the pattern with their method of thinking. Nottingham is very traditional, Cook and Stott use one pair in the headside and if they need a pair they take it from where it is and use it where it is needed, sometimes going up hill. Elwynn Kenn makes the lace do what the design needs e.g. loops. All very interesting in their own way. The English Lace Guild has put out a beginner book called “An Introduction to Bucks Point Lace by Jean Leader.” This is a small book with clear diagrams, easy to follow and a good variety of patterns for its size. Most other books seem to leap into more advanced patterns almost before you are ready.

Stotts Visual Introduction to Bucks Point Lace is available in paperback, and I’m pretty sure Kiparra, Lace Inspirations and Torchon House would have a copy for sale. It is THE book, IMHO, to learn Bucks Point from.   Well worth having to just look at until you feel ready to tackle Bucks Point,