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Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 6 – Squares and Bars

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

It’s taken an unconscionable length of time to write this post. I had to figure out how to do squares and bars again. I also decided that it would be useful to devise a way to diagram the stitches because it’s very hard to see stitches in a photograph.

This tutorial is about the squares and bars (both vertical and horizontal) that form the foundation of Puncetto lace. I will cover diamonds and webs (spiders) in a later tutorial! The diagram below is a fairly typical simple Puncetto design. I used it as the basis of my tiny motif a couple years ago.

Puncetto Pattern

Puncetto needle lace

Puncetto Valsesiano designs are based on a grid of squares that can vary in size from 2 knots to 4 knots (for the sake of clarity, I am going to use the word “knots” instead of “stitches”). A grid of 3 knots is the most common variation and that is the size that I am using throughout these tutorials.

My sample is based on a ladder foundation of 12 knots. Count very carefully! If you make a mistake in the number of knots, you will have to start over.

Squares and Bars

The photos of this tutorial are followed by drawings. Please excuse the messiness. My main computer is getting repaired and upgraded, so I don’t have access to fancy drawing tools on this loaner laptop.

1. Starting from the left end of your ladder foundation, work 3 knots in the first three loops. You will be working from left to right. Without turning your work, work 3 knots in the 3 spaces you have just made, working from right to left. Repeat these two rows. Work another left-to-right row, so that your thread is at the right side of the block you have just made.

Puncetto 5.1

2. To form an empty space, skip 3 knots (= 2 loops) and work a knot in the third loop, leaving enough thread for the top and side of the empty space.

Puncetto 5.2

3. To make a vertical bar, work 3 knots on the thread loop you have just made. Remember: If you are working on a 3×3 knot grid, vertical and horizontal bars will have 3 knots on them.

Puncetto 5.3

4. Skip 3 knots (= 2 loops) and work a knot in the third loop, again leaving enough thread for the top and side of the empty square. This photo also shows how to join a new thread, which is described below. Work 2 knots in the next two loops.

Puncetto 5.4

5. This part is a little tricky because it seems counter-intuitive, but this is how you make a square after an empty space. Working from right to left, make a knot in each of the 2 loops and a knot on the thread forming the left side of the square (= 3 knots, working right to left).

Puncetto 5.4a

6. Working from left to right, make 2 knots in the 2 loops. This seems odd to be working 3 knots/2 knots/3 knots/2 knots, but trust me. Squares surrounded by empty spaces are worked this way.

7. Now you’re ready to work the final right-to-left row over the entire sample. Make a knot in the 2 loops of the square, make 3 knots in the first horizontal bar, make 3 knots in the second horizontal bar, and make 3 knots in the last 3 loops. Including the starting point of your thread (= knot) and the 11 knots you just worked, you will have 12 knots total in this row.

Puncetto 5.5


The drawings below show the working of the same sample. There is one mistake: I actually drew 11 knots and didn’t realise it until I had to draw the final square. That shows you how important it is to count your knots!

1. Start with a ladder foundation of 12 knots.

Puncetto 6.1

2. The arrow indicates where you start the first square. Work 3 knots in 3 spaces. Repeat 5 times. Skip 3 knots (2 loops) and work a knot.

Puncetto 6.2

3. The vertical bar has 3 knots. Skip another 3 knots and work a knot.

Puncetto 6.3

4. Work 2 knots in the next 2 loops to form the first row of the square. Working from right to left, work 2 knots in 2 loops and the third knot on the vertical thread that forms the left side of the square. Working from left to right, work 2 knots in the 2 loops (remember — only 2 knots!).

Puncetto 6.4

5. When the square is complete, work the final right-to-left row (“2” in the drawing): 2 knots in 2 spaces, 3 knots on horizontal bar, 3 knots on horizontal bar, and 3 knots on 3 loops.

Puncetto 6.5

This diagram shows that upright bars have 3 knots on them, whether they are vertical bars or sides of squares. Horizontal bars also have 3 knots.

Puncetto 6.6

Square over Empty Space

This diagram shows how to place a square over an empty space. Your instincts will tell you to start in the loop spanning the square and space in the row below, but if you do that, the square will not be aligned properly over the space! The arrow marked “HERE” points to the correct loop for beginning a square over a space.

Puncetto 6.7

Square over Square

A square over a square is more straightforward. There should be 3 loops over the square. Work 3 knots in the 3 loops.

Puncetto 6.8

Joining a New Thread

1. When joining a new thread, work a couple knots over the new thread with the old thread.

2. Drop the old thread.

3. Work a couple knots over the old thread with the new thread. You will have some doubled thread loops. Treat these as ordinary loops, working knots in the loops.

4. Cut the thread ends close to the loop.

18 Responses to “Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 6 – Squares and Bars”

  1. Laura said

    Very clear instructions! Thanks for posting these. I’ll definitely be referring newbies to this.

  2. Elizabeth said

    I have been following your lessons and just love the stright forward, plain language method you have. Now, my question is – if we atart the ladder foundation with three knots =two loops- how does one work two knots on ‘one’ loop – with the following rows? Help!Liz in WV

  3. Annette Meldrum said

    Great job. It was worth the time you took to build as it is very clear and easy to follow. Well done.

  4. Mary Salsman said

    I Love your tutorial. It is so detailed and clear. I seen your first couple of lessons and have been hoping to come across these latest ones. I look forward to the lessons on diamonds and webs (spiders).

    When I came across instruction for puncetto triangle edging I started looking for more patterns and instructions. I was disappointed to find they were in Italian. My daughter really wants to learn how to make this lace so I have, with minimal results, been struggling to translate from Italian with online translators.

  5. Stephanie said

    Excellent tutorial! I bought the puncetto book from Italy, and translating it into English can make the instructions a bit confusing.. your instructions definately helped where I was getting stuck!

    Thanks so much for posting these!

  6. Myriam said

    I was looking for this instruction during days. God bless you.

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thanks! I really should finish this series of tutorials. Maybe while I’m doing Thing-a-Day in February I can work on some more pieces and post the instructions.

  7. Adelaide Lobo said

    I am very pleased with this series of tutorials about Puncetto. They are very compreensible for any one, specially persons without any knowledge about the process. Thank you. Adelaide Lobo

  8. HERMINDA said


  9. […] puncetto-valsesiano-part-4 Circular Foundation Thread puncetto-valsesiano-part-5 Ladder Foundation puncetto-valsesiano-part-6 Squares and Bars puncetto-valsesiano-part-7 Open Squares puncetto-valsesiano-part-8 Web […]

  10. ninshark said

    Finally! I’ve been trying to find instructions on this, and most of what I’ve found are pictures of out-of-print books 🙂

    When tying knots on the bars (that will make the empty squares), from which direction do you insert the needle? And which direction do you wrap the thread around the needle? I’ve noticed that inserting the needle from the bottom(left) and wrapping clockwise won’t leave a proper knot, but inserting the needle from the top(right) and wrapping counter-clockwise does. Just wondering if there’s a “proper” way, and what you do?

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Ninshark, you should check out the books on They’re excellent (but move quickly, because they’re a limited publication and sometimes they’re unavailable).

      Are you referring to the horizontal bars on the return (right to left) direction? You insert the needle from below and wrap clockwise. There’s no difference. Your method would make the same knot, but on the underside of the bar. You could slip it to the top, but that’s an extra step. Practice the regular knots on closed squares. it’s the same knot, only worked on a bar instead of a loop from the row below.

  11. Hen perry said

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I’m always excited to learn new techniques…. recently I came across a beautiful oya flower and I was wondering if you know about a tutorial for that…. Thank you.

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Hi, Hen, Oya is a different knot. It’s much easier to find tutorials on oya (Turkish or Mediterranean knotted lace) than Puncetto. You want something like this site, which has instructions in both English and German. Here is another site with resources for Armenian and Turkish lace, which use the same knot. Armenians tend to make flat objects like doilies, collars, tablecloths. The oya flowers that you describe are used by Turkish women to decorate headscarves. Here’s a video that shows a woman making Armenian lace: The flowers use the same knot but the stems are worked in the round to form a tube. The petals are usually triangles or diamonds, worked flat with the same knot stitch.

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