Heart-pattern insertion or border

16 bobbins; original about 17mm wide; sample worked in 50/2 linen, 13mm wide

A simple, narrow insertion, using 16 bobbins, based on an element in a piece in the Cleveland Museum of Art (accession number 1920.1199). Unfortunately, the museum no longer has an image online.

insertionscanThe original is a very deep band of lace (159mm), comprising several distinct design elements. This little insertion is used on either side of a much more complicated geometric design. It's the footside of the insertion on one side, and the border between the wider insertion and the points on the other.

I felt comfortable in extracting this element to use alone, as so often design elements in renaissance lace were treated more or less independently, and re-combined at will.

My sample is 13mm wide, worked in 50/2 Bockens linen thread.

This pattern works very quickly. I think that after washing the pin-holes in the border will disappear, which will make the structure a little clearer. [Update: nope, the solution to "too many holes" is "fewer pins" - only use the pins the lace goes around, not those that go through the lace.]

Other examples of this pattern in extant pieces:

  • insertion with two sets of this lace side by side (Metropolitan Museum 20.186.44; see metmuseum.org)
  • insertion with this as a border on either side of a wider pattern (Metropolitan Museum 20.146.16a; see metmuseum.org)


Printable prickings (pdf). 17mm wide and 13mm wide.


The colours show the paths of each set of bobbins: there are three plaits (four bobbins each) that weave back and forth from one edge to the other (red, green and blue), and an extra twisted pair on each side (grey) that run always in a straight line.

The plaits have slightly wider lines; where they split into two pairs the lines are a little narrower.

If you've done my lace sampler, this pattern will be familiar and easy to work: it's a combination of the zig-zag plaits in pattern one, and wiggly footsides very like the one pattern five.

When I'm making this lace, I keep the "working edge" as a diagonal line, rather than straight across the pattern (see the way the beginning and end of the diagram above is a bit off-set). I work all that I can on one side, then all that I can on the other, in alternation.

My other lace patterns, and things I've written about lace for this website.