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Olympic Interlocking Rings

Interlocking Rings

The 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia have just ended. And, if Russia does not start a war in the Ukraine this week, the 2014 Paralympics will be held at that same venue. The symbol of the Olympics is a set of five interlocking rings. The method of tatting interlocking rings has recently been of special interest for that reason. Ashley Tanner, a tatter from the Online Tatting Class, was curious to know what was the significance of the five colors of the rings.

After research, Ashley shared with me that the colors are those colors which appear in the flags of the world. The idea was put forth by Pierre de Fredy from France in 1894. The black color represents Africa. Europe is the color blue while yellow is the color for Asia. The Americas (North, Central and South) are represented by red while Australia and Oceania have the color green. This set of five colors do not represent any one nation's flag, but one of these colors is found in every nation's flag.

The design of the interlocking rings may be used by anyone and they are easy to tat up for a decoration, pin or a jewelry pendant. In fact, a pattern was published by the defunct Workbasket magazine in 1964. The tatting design was by Cindy Polfer.

photo of Workbasket 1964 page with Olympic rings tatting pattern by Cindy Polfer

The directions given were intended to place the different colored rings in a particular pattern. Top row left to right, red, black, blue, bottom row green (connecting through the red and black rings on the left) and yellow (connecting through the black and blue rings on the right.) Other usages of the rings seen online over the years have used alternate positions for the colors.

Jane Eborall has prepared a simple diagram for us to use as a guide. The red, black and blue rings may be tatted and finished off first. Bring the thread for the green ring through the red ring and then through the black ring. Tat green ring and finish off. Bring the thread for the yellow ring through the black ring and then through the blue ring. Tat yellow ring and finish off. Note that the green and yellow rings go to the back of each set. Study diagram.

Olympic rings diagram by Jane Eborall

Just a note, Jane Eborall's daughter Lucy had the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch for the London Olympics.

Olympic torch carried by Jane Eborall's daughter Lucy London Olympics

Double stitch count? Depends on the size of your thread and the size of the finished product. Fat thread 20-30 ds. Fine thread 40 - 50.

These are the symbols for the Paralympics which are posted online. Perhaps there is a tatter out there who might give a try at designing a tatting pattern for them!

Paralympics symbol 1988 - 1994 using a Korean symbol the Tae-guk

Paralympics symbol 1988 - 1994 using 5 Korean symbols, the Taeguk.

Paralympics symbol 1994 - 2004 using 3 Korean Symbols, the Taeguk

Paralympics symbol 1994 - 2004 using 3 Korean Symbols, the Taeguk

Paralympics symbol 3 Agitos  2004 - present

Paralympics symbol 3 Agitos 2004 - present

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Interlocking Rings
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Content copyright © 2015 by Georgia Seitz. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Georgia Seitz. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Georgia Seitz for details.


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