One way to make your tatting stand out is to create great regularity in the size of picots. A picot gauge is the perfect tool for the job. The picot gauge is a measuring device used while tatting to insure picots of an exact size, graduated in size as an additional design element, or of a certain length for the purposes of construction, i.e., joining. The picot gauge is held in either of two ways; vertically, at a right angle to the line of progession, or horizontally, parallel to the line of progression while the tatting is accomplished.
A picot which is purely decorative can be altered in number, in placement in the line of tatting, and in size to create many beautiful variations. Those picots which form the outer edge of a piece of lace should be regular in size to enhance the overall lacy effect of the tatting. It is advisable to use a picot gauge or other measuring device to insure regularity of size in such design-important areas.
Additionally, the use of a picot gauge allows the creation of picots of graduated sizes which can greatly enhance the design of a ring or chain. It can create flowers or leaf-like motifs as well. Long picots can be crossed to form "X" patterns when joined on opposite sides or any number of patterns. Long picots can also be twisted to fill space or create interest in the design.
Vertical use of picot gauge. Holding the gauge at a right angle to the work creates a picot of one width (the width of the gauge itself.) For this size picot, the gauge would be removed after each picot is closed.
Horizontal use of picot gauge. Holding the gauge parallel to the work creates a picot of two widths. For this size picot, the gauge may be left in place until the ring/chain is completed and then removed.
Or, the gauge may be left in place until the next round and removed only as the picots are used for joins.
Vintage patterns with long picots may be found in the public domain booklet.
"Neue Schiffchenspitzen". http://www.georgiaseitz.com/public/neueschiffchenspitzen.pdf