When I first started tatting the only thing I could accomplish was the ring. Yes, I did have picots, but that’s about the only good thing that I could say for the ring. Tatting with a shuttle my stitches weren’t too bad, but my picots were all different sizes. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered the benefit of ‘things’.
As much as a kitchen needs ‘gadgets’ to complete it, so the tatter also needs ‘things’ to complete various picots while tatting. Patterns call for a variety of picot sizes; from very tiny, delicate picots to the extra long, fat or skinny picots. While make the tiny, delicate picots may be fairly easy enough to accomplish, I find that it’s far more difficult to achieve this goal when it comes to the longer or fatter picots. But, there’s a secret to this that will soon have you looking like a professional tatter if you aren’t already. And, this process can also be used for the smaller picots when you have an extra large ring with several picots around it.
We’ll start with the latter example first. Let’s say you’re doing a very large post card and you want to make a huge sunflower on it. This can easily be accomplished by a chain of any given number, RW, then do the ring. But, since this is a sunflower (which has relatively short petals on it) you want to use small picots-for the petals. You might represent the flower head with this pattern: R, 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1, cl. You’re going to want each of your picots to be of equal size. The best way to accomplish this is to find an object that is small. I’d use a small knitting needle. When it’s time to do the picot, I hold the knitting needle perpendicular to my tatting needle and do a complete ds on the other side of my knitting needle. Next, I slide my stitching flush against the other stitches and repeat the process by placing my knitting needle perpendicular to my tatting needle at the point of my last ds and do another ds on the other side of my knitting needle. Continuing with this process, I complete my ring and all of my picots are of equal size.
For larger projects or longer picots I simply change the type of ‘thing’ that I hold perpendicular to my tatting needle. This can be a larger knitting needle or I might even take a piece of cardboard or poster board and cut it the width that I want so that I’ll have long picots. These work great for long pedaled flowers, grass, Willow tree branches, etc. As you tat more and more specialty items you’ll find yourself scourging around the house to see what will set the precedence for your picots. Don’t overlook anything that will be easy to handle, light weight and of a manageable size. You might find yourself collecting some strange items, such as toothpicks, to be part of your tatting craft box.