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Where to start the pattern?


Where to start a new pattern?

I arrange the pattern or the diagram in what seems to be the most efficient place to start and the direction that is the easiest to work. And go from there. You do not have to start where the directions say. Remember that older patterns also told us to cut and tie so often and it was completely unnecessary. Now we avoid that whenever possible by starting with a starter picot, using a mock picot to climb out and a split ring or split chain to advance to the next row or round.


When looking at a pattern, you see a line that shows which way the tatting is headed, usually left to right. We call this the line of progression. When referring to the construction of a piece, we most often assume that the rings are ABOVE the line of progression and the CHAINS are below the line of progression. Most patterns begin with a ring.


 a strip of tatted lace with the direction in which it is tatted noted as the ine of progression


What if your pattern has a straight edge but it also has a variation at the corner. By starting there you can see where you are in the directions and which way you are headed. Also check to see if the rings were above the line and the chains were below.

Of course, not all patterns are straight lines or round circles. Consider this pattern from the Priscilla Yoke Book Crochet & Tatting 1916. It looks a bit complicated at first glance. Just where would we start this one? Although tatted in one straight pass, the joins form the lace into a point, or triangle, also a very traditional way of giving width or depth to an edging.


Row 1
Beginning with the smaller cloverleaf marked on diagram as ROW 1
R 6 - 6 close ring leave no space. dnrw
R 7 - 7 close ring leave no space. dnrw
R 6 - 6 close ring leave no space. rw
CH 7 picots with 3 ds between them.

R 10 - (long enough to allow 5 joins to it) 10 close ring RW
*CH 3 picots separated by 6 ds rw
R 10 + (join to long picot) 10 close ring rw
*Repeat chain and ring once.
CH 10 rw

Larger cloverleaf at the point.
R 6 - 6 - 6 - 6 close ring leave no space. dnrw
R 6 + 6 - 6 - 6 close ring leave no space. dnrw
R 6 + 6 - 6 - 6 close ring leave no space. rw
CH 10 rw

*R 10 + (join to long picot) 10 close ring rw
CH 3 picots separated by 6 ds rw
Repeat ring and chain
R 10 + (join to long picot) 10 close ring rw
CH 7 picots with 6 ds between them.

Cloverleaf R 6 - 6 - 6; R 6 + (join to previous ring)6 - 6; repeat last ring RW
And repeat for length needed.

photo of vintage edging



Row 2 is a traditional pattern of one shuttle work (meaning all rings.) The inner row had 5 ds between picots or joins, note that every other ring has two joins to row one. After leaving a measured space of bare thread, the outer ring has 8 picots separated by 3 ds. On each side the rings join by the side picots as well.

You may want to tat this edging in the all front side up manner. Use RODS to do this. The method of working the ds in reverse double stitch order (RODS) has been around at least 30+ years. I became aware of it when I was first exhibiting and judges who were less familiar with tatting sometimes pointed out the difference as if it were a flaw. So I adopted the all front side up look way back then. There is nothing WRONG with the rings being front side up and the chains being back side up. That is the traditional method. But you compare the effect and see which you prefer.

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