3 × 3 × 3

Jean Leader

Lacemaker and Textile Enthusiast

3 × 3 × 3

I made this piece for a competition with the theme ‘Colour Triad’ which was organized by the Deutsche Spitzengilde (German Lace Guild) in 2003. My title comes from the 3 primary colours (red, blue and yellow) and 3 secondary colours (purple, green and orange) that I used for the 3 strips of lace.

3 x 3 x 3

The strips are worked in one of the many ‘wild’ or ‘chaos’ grounds where a mixture of cloth and half stitches are worked on each row. The one I used has a four-row repeat with a footside edge (pin inside the last two pairs worked):

⇐ c* h c h c h c h c h c h c 
⇒    h c h c h c h c h c h c c*
⇐ c* c h c h c h c h c h c h
⇒    c h c h c h c h c h c h c*

where c = cloth stitch, h = half stitch, c* = cloth stitch & twist, and the arrows show the direction of working.

Yet another connection with three is that for me the movement of the colours looks like the double-helix of DNA which contains the genes with their 3-letter code. Especially as when working this ground one twist too many or too few can mean that the colour sequence no longer repeats exactly, just as in the replication of genes a small change in the DNA can have profound consequences.

Although grounds where cloth and half stitches are mixed together on each row are known as ‘chaos’ grounds most of them are not at all chaotic and have a regular repeat which can produce interesting and striking effects. The three samples below should give you some idea of the possibilities of what I call ‘Organized Chaos’.