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 Georgia Seitz BellaOnline's Tatting Editor

Which direction do I tat?

Which direction do I tat?

That was the question this week. It surprised me at first but on second thought, I realized what an important question it was. A new or inexperienced tatter might well not know where to start. And even experienced tatters sometimes can be bewildered. And there is no exact rule to follow as the direction of tatting may change from pattern to pattern and even from row to row. And left-handed and right-handed tatters will see the pattern differently.

When reading a pattern for the first time, try drawing it before you try tatting it. If you can draw it, you can tat it. If you have the old-fashioned instructions where every single word and every single movement is written out for you, you many want to try reducing it to the tatters' shorthand formula.

Thankfully, many of our patterns today are numbered the double stitch count or show the order of progression. Progression the method in which each ring or chain is tatted. In Nina's angel, you tat the rings 1, 2 and 3 which is clockwise; and then you tat the chain 4 from right to left if you reverse the work or left to right if you rotate it.

Nina Libin's Angel earrings pattern may be found here: http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/2585.asp

But there are motif that are irregularly shaped, too

Tina Frauberger Motif: http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/2688.asp

In this vintage motif, the order is marked, A, B, and C and a start mark it given. If no start is marked then these fours sets of rings could be tatted in any order, but still clockwise. And the diagram is ambiguous as to whether B is a chain , or a second ring (making an onion form), C you realize has to be a chain to advance toward the next set. But notice also, rings X, Y and Z. They are tatted separated and attached to the end of the piece.

The second diagram shows the ds count. Those rings which have only one number in them, or a chain that has only one number next to it, indicate that there is that many ds between each picot or join. But those rings/chains with many numbers, indicate the number of double stitches for each section, ring A has 18 ds, but the chain surrounding it has 5 - 3 - 6 - 3 - 5. Compare the notation with the two similar rings at the north and south points, 5 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 5, because they have an extra picot; and are still moving in clockwise position.

So most of the time you move from left to right, clockwise . If there is a rw, you might be going right to left for a particular reason, counterclockwise. But if you are left handed, you can still tat the pattern.

But things change as I said from pattern to pattern. Look at Jane's zipper pull, a funny face.

Pattern found here: http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/7758.asp

The start is on the left marked with S, then you tat ring 1 for an eye, ring 2 for a nose, ring 3 for the second eye. Notice where ring 3 closes there is an arrow pointing up so you tat the top of the head and hair next, ending over at the start of ring 1. Next you tat down for the chin and ring 4 for the mouth, continue to chain up to end at the bottom of ring 3.

In this one little pattern:

You tatted in the middle for two eyes and nose from left to right.

You tatted up and from right to left for the head and hair.

You tatted down and across the chin from left to right.

Any time you are uncertain, just email the tatting editor at BellaOnline.com

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