Introduction to Bucks Point

Bucks Point is named after the county of Buckinghamshire, in the East Midlands of England. It is one of the family of bobbin laces that have a net like ground, called point ground or tulle, made by working cross, twist, twist, twist, pin at each ground stitch. The pin is left open, that is it is not enclosed by a stitch underneath it. There are other laces which use this net such as Tonder from Denmark, Chantilly, Blonde and Lille from France. Most lace styles are named after one of the places where they were traditionally made. The net laces differ in how they work filled in areas known as cloth, and how the thick outlining threads, called gimps, are worked into the lace.

Bucks is an old lace style. It is a fine lace with small scale patterns, which falls in soft drapes. In the eighteenth century dresses had tight bodices with low necks; bodices finished just under the bust and skirts were draped from this point to the floor, like those in the recent films of books by Jane Austen. Delicately draped lace was used to fill in necklines, as shawls, or over skirts; Bucks was used for this decoration.

If you would like to learn how to make Buck's Point lace read comments on beginner's books about Bucks Point.

These are some of the samples of traditional designs I worked when learning Bucks Point. The image is around life size, the pieces vary from 1.2 - 3.4 cm wide (0.5 - 1.25 inches approx).

Bucks Point Samples

Photograph copyright Stephanie Peters, patterns traditional

The three on the right are all net ground; the left one is in Kat stitch, a ground also used in Paris lace. The areas outlined by the gimp thread are worked in honeycomb, or filled with cloth stitch. The sample on the right has small tallies in the footside, known as cucumbers. In these simple pieces all the threads needed to work the patterns are attached to the pillow at the beginning of the work. The lace is produced by crossing (left over right) and twisting (right over left) the threads to form a fabric; pins are inserted between the stitches to keep them in place during work. When more lace has been made underneath the pins from higher up can be removed, as the weaving of the threads in the later parts of the pattern will keep them in place.

Traditionally Bucks was made in fine cotton or silk threads; the pieces above are in cotton. Other laces use linen. Most Bucks was white on white, ecru on ecru, or black on black, but colour for the gimp threads is seen occasionally in old pieces. Bucks is a yard lace, that is the whole width of the lace is worked at once, requiring many bobbins but permitting long continuous lengths to be worked. Other styles of lace, such as Honiton, are made in separate sections joined together later.

Most traditional Bucks patterns are for straight edgings. If the lace was attached to fabric with a corner, such as a handkerchief, the lace would be gathered to fit. Bucks is worked on a grid set at angles usually between 50 - 72 degrees; 60 degrees is the most common. Other laces worked on 45 degree grids, such as Torchon or Flanders, can easily have a corner added, by working down to the required inner corner, and simpy rotating the pillow 90 degrees. With a grid at any other angle this is not possible, a wedge shaped extra piece has to be added. Usually extra threads have to be added to the lace to work the corner, and then removed afterwards, as done in the Orange Blossom Orchid edging shown below. Modern designers use corners in some patterns, and have provided corner designs for some traditional edges too.

These Bucks Point motifs were made by David Collyer of Ballarat, Australia.

"Jean" by Karen Blum of South Australia.

Diameter 2 inches, 5cm.

Edge: "Orange Blossom Orchid" by Elwyn Kenn

Centre: "Christine" by Karen Blum

3 inches 7.5 cm diameter

Egyptian Cotton 100/2; gimp Pearsall's Wood pulp yarn.

Photographs copyright David Collyer.

The edge on the lower motif shows a corner, but as this is a hexagon the corner is at 60 degrees, so the pattern can be continuous, without any added wedge to fill in the gap that would appear on a 90 degree corner. It is very difficult for the worker to keep the net ground even when working a corner, so the design has a gimp thread which goes almost all across the lace at the corner. For a 90 degree corner there has to be a discontinuity in the net, so the gimp across the corner is essential.

More advanced patterns like the one below, especially floral ones, require extra threads to be added for working the cloth areas. The extra threads have to be removed when the work returns to net, although it is sometimes possible to carry some of the extra threads through the work with the gimp thread to the next cloth filled area.

Oval Motif

Design copyright Sandra Straughair

Photo copyright Stephanie Peters

All designs, text and photographs on this site are copyright Stephanie Peters, except where stated. The designs by Stephanie Peters may be reproduced for personal use but not sold, nor used in any publication without permission. Permission to publish in newsletters etc. will be willingly given to any not for profit organisation that cares to ask.