I ended 2012 with a tatting puzzle and a challenge to tatters. One of the pattern from Mrs. Warren's book had me blinking my eyes in confusion. I promised to publish a solution if any tatter took up the challenge. Here is the pattern:
Martha Ess has taken up the challenge. She writes:
"What a fascinatingly horrible little pattern! I think the key to deciphering this is the line "5 stitches (that is, 2 double 1 single)". Therefore a "stitch" if not specified, is a single stitch. Certainly, working 7 single stitches between the picots of the large rings will yield a shape with the same proportions as the engraving, while 7 double stitches will not. Picots will sprout up sometimes between stitches, and sometimes within a double stitch, very untidy to the modern eye. I wondered if she was saying you could begin the large rings with either 12 half stitches or 6 double stitches, but working with all half stitches of the same type makes such a twisty snarled mess, I doubt this could be done. So, counting single stitches refers to both halves of a ds, not half stitches of all the same type.
As for the elements between the rings, since the text doesn't say anything about working 2 different ways, in my opinion, the repeats where the bare thread of a half ring doesn't show are merely an omission on the part of the engraver. We've seen this technique with partially drawn up josephines in place of a chain before, though usually with fewer stitches. My first repeat with all half stitches was too twisty again, so I switched to making these as regular ds rings as well, since the pattern says you can.
So taking all of this into account, I worked the pattern in double stitches, but counting by halves and -- eventually -- got something that looked like the picture. Oh, the miscounting and retrotatting that went on! Finally I had to give up and think 3 1/2 ds instead of 7 singles."
Here is Martha's version of the pattern:
R: 6 ds, 7 p sep by 3 1/2 ds, 6 ds, close ring, reverse work (RW)
*Half ring (HR): 6 ds, close part way, do not reverse work (DNRW)
R: 2 1/2 ds, 5 p sep by 2 1/2 ds, 2 1/2 ds, close ring, DNRW
HR: 6 ds, close part way, RW
R: 6 ds, join to last p of adjacent R, 3 1/2 ds, 6 p sep by 3 1/2 ds, 6 ds, close ring, RW
Repeat from *
Sample by Martha Ess
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