The Split Ring in 1901??

I learned the split ring technique from the books of Mary Sue Kuhn, "The Joy of Split Ring Tatting." I had seen the Anne Orr illustrations previously on this technique in her books from the '30s and '40s (https://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art70463.asp) but had not fully understood the concept at that time. Today the split ring is a basic tool of every tatter's tatting kit.

This week Judith Anderson of Australia shared some surprising information with me and several other tatters in the InTatters forum. In studying old Australian newspapers archives she discovered a pattern with unusual directions. This pattern was printed in 1901. Those directions were to make a ring and to "hold open and work with second shuttle 5 d. s. in the same ring." This said "split ring" to her. I wonder if this is the earliest documented use of the split ring technique.

Here is the split ring section of the pattern as printed:
Make a ring of 3 d. c. and 5 p., each separated by 2 d. s., then 3 d. c.; draw tight and tie on the other shuttle.
Make 5 d. s. on the second thread.
With first shuttle make a ring of 6 d. s. and 7 p. each separated by 2 d. s., 6 d. s.; hold open and work with second shuttle 5 d. s. in the same ring;
draw tight and make a chain of 5 d. s. on the other thread.

With first shuttle make a ring of 6 d. s. and 9 p. each separated by 2 d. s., 6 d. s., hold open and work with second shuttle 6 d. s. in the same ring ; draw tight and make a chain of 5 d. c. on the other thread.

Make the 4th ring the same, increasing the picots to 11 separated fry 2 d. s.; 5th ring 13 p.; 6th ring 15 p.; 7th ring, 17 p.; 8th ring 19 p.; 9th ring, 21 p.

Make * 6 d. s. on first thread, 1 p. turn ; make 6 d. s. on second thread, 1 p.; repeat 3 times from last * (making 6 p. on chain),

Make 6 d. s. on last thread. * With the first shuttle make a ring of 6 d. s. and 10 p., each separated by 2 d. s., 6 d. s.; draw tight. Make 6 d. s. on thread and repeat from * 7 times (making 8 rings). Make 6 d. s. on thread join to p. 'before the first ring, making rosette. Make chain of 6 d. s. and picot as before. Then make rings numbers 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, for the opposite side ; tie tight and cut off the thread.

Here is the discussion on InTatters:

Here is the original page in the newspaper archive from The Queenslander Sat. Feb. 23, 1901 :
https://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/21253899

FANCY WORK. TATTED POINT LACE D'OYLEY.(See Illustration.)
This exquisite d'oyley in tatting and point lace stitch is exceedingly novel, and a dainty addition to a highly polished table upon which a piece of bric-a-brac is placed. The association of the lace and tatting stitch is a new and unusual combination, and one that cannot fail to be admired by all needle-workers.

The work is done with two shuttles, and after the tatting is completed it is basted to a piece of glazed muslin—preferably pink— and the lace stitch worked, the spaces being filled as seen in the illustration. The number of thread used for the lace stitches must accord with that employed for the tatting.

Make a ring of 3 d. s. and 5 p., each separated by 2 d. s., then 3 d. s.; draw tight and tie on the other shuttle. Make 5 d. s. on the second thread. With first shuttle make a ring of 6 d. s. and 7 p. each separated by 2 d. s., 6 d. s.; hold open and work with second shuttle 5 d. s. in the same ring; draw tight and make a chain of 5 d. s. on the other thread. With first shuttle make a ring of 6 d. s. and 9 p. each separated by 2 d. s., 6 d. s., hold open and work with second shuttle 5 d. s. in the same ring ; draw tight and make a chain of 5 d. c. on the other thread.

Make the 4th ring the same, increasing the picots to 11 separated fry 2 d. s.; 5th ring 13 p.; 6th ring 15 p.; 7th ring, 17 p.; 8th ring 19 p.; 9th ring, 21 p. Make * 6 d. s. on first thread, 1 p. turn ; make 6 d. s. on second thread, 1 p.; repeat 3 times from last * (making 6 p. on chain), make 6 d. s. on last thread. * With the first shuttle make a ring of 6 d. s. and 10 p., each separated by 2 d. s., 6 d. s.; draw tight. Make 6 d. s. on thread and repeat from * 7 times (making 8 rings). Make 6 d. s. on thread join to p. 'before the first ring, making rosette. Make chain of 6 d. s. and picot as before.

Then make rings numbers 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, for the opposite side ; tie tight and cut off the thread.
For end piece make with 1 shuttle 6 d. s. and 15 p. each separated by 2 d. s.; draw tight ; tie on the other shuttle and make a d. s. on the thread. Make ring with one shuttle of 6 d. s., 5 p. with 2 d. s. between 6 d. s., hold open and make 3 d.s. with the other shuttle in the same loop; draw tight. Repeat three times (making three rings of 5 p. each). Make 8 d.s. on thread, then make ring of 6 d. s., 15 p. with 2 d. s. between 6 d. s., 5 d. s. worked in ring with other shuttle. The second ring : With first shuttle 6 d. s., 21 p. with 2d. s. between 6 d. s.; draw tight. Make the third ring like first. Make three small
rings with large one at the end, the same as the first side.

For Center.—* Make with one shuttle a ring of 6 d. s. and 10 p., each separated by 2 d. s., 6 d. s.; tie on another shuttle and make *7 d.s. on one thread 1 p. Repeat from second * until 3 picots and 4 spaces of 7 d. s. are made. At the end of last 7 repeat from first * until you complete the square ; join thread, tie, and cut off. Tie the threads of both shuttles into the last p.
before ring. Make 8 d. s. with both shuttles, and join to first p. of ring. Make 13 d. s., join the fourth p. of ring; make 15 d. s., join the seventh p. of ring ; make 13 d. b., join to last p. of ring. Make 8 d. s., join to p on chain, then 6 d. s., join to next p. and around the square.

For the Inside Centerpiece. — With two shuttles make a chain of 4 d. s.; with 1 shuttle a ring of 5 p., each separated by 2d. s., draw tight. Repeat until there are 5 rings ; join threads, and cut.

And this is my abbreviated form of the directions:

Ring 1 = R 3 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 3; CH 5
Split Ring 2 = R 6 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 6; using SH2 wrap 5 on the same ring
CH 5
Split Ring 3 = R 6 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 6; using SH2 wrap 6 on the same ring
CH 5
Continue in the same manner increasing the number of picots in each ring.
Split Ring 4 = 11 picots
Split Ring 5 = 13 picots
Split Ring 6 = 15 picots
Split Ring 7 = 17 picots
Split Ring 8 = 19 picots
Split Ring 9 = 21 picots

CH *SH1 6 - rw SH2 6 - rw, repeat from * 3 more times (total of 6 picots on chains)
CH 6

*R SH1 R 6 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 6
CH 6 Repeat from * 7 times for a total of 8 rings ( a rosette )
Nota bene: no direction to make joins is given prior to this next direction.
CH 6 and join to the picot on the chain prior to the first of the 8 rings

CH *SH1 6 - rw SH2 6 - rw, repeat from * 3 more times (total of 6 picots on chains)
CH 6

Then repeat split rings 9 through 1 in descending order of the number of picots.

I will be happy to post any sample made from this pattern in a future Bella Online newsletter.

Building a Tatting Library - Anne Orr
The Tatted Split Ring in Design

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