Ben Fikkert's "Frivolité" ©1984 was his first tatting publication. It is a small paperback with 30 pages. All the basic tatting techniques are presented in tutorials in the first 20 pages of the book. The last part of the book contains 9 patterns of which 5 are very large pieces. Several edgings and small motifs are mixed in with the instructional section.
The front cover gives the tatter a clue that the patterns included are the most traditional styles of tatting patterns, the doily, the collar and edgings. A closer look at the cover collar shows some interesting treatments with long picots. Although this collar pattern is not in the book, it could be tatted with a little study.
Ben's book also contains a couple of instructional sections worth noting. Some tatters specialize in tatting history. Knowing when a technique first came into vogue is hard to document. Old lace pieces when scrutinized yield interesting facts, like it was tatted only with rings, or only with chains, or the rings were made as chains folded back and joined to the previous work. Today this is called a self-closing mock ring. Since Ben's book was published in 1984 it is an early documented example of this technique.
Two joins are illustrated in the techniques section, the traditional up join and the shuttle lock join. Picking out an error with a pin is recommended and in the last resort cutting a ring. (I would bet that Ben does not recommend that now since "retro-tatting" to correct an error is managed with patience.)
Ben also included a terrific set of illustrations concerning mignonette tatting. (At that time Ben might not have been using the split ring as the illustration of the round center ring which starts the mignonette pattern shows a tail hanging out. Today the tatter would tat the round center ring with one picot short, creating a mock picot with the tail and climbing into the mignonette rounds with a split ring. Leaving a long tail allows the tatter to also climb from row to row as the mignonette gets wider.)
The use of the long picots, node stitch, and added needle weaving in some of the centers give Ben's work added elegance. This is a great sample of traditional tatting patterns. Although this book is out of print, it is worth the time to search for it on the secondary market.
Note: This book was a gift to me many years ago and is part of my personal tatting reference library. G. Seitz
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