tatting Newsletter


October 2 2012 Tatting Newsletter

Dr. Cantwell's pg 437 Edging in Tatting. -- No. 1

Recently I shared a vintage publication (brought to my attention by Barbara Grainger of the Online Tatting Class.) This publication by Dr. George H. Cantwell, M.D. appeared in 1914 published by Crawford and Company Philadelphia, PA. It has an incredibly long title: "Dr. Cantwell's...Practical.. Receipt Book, Medical, Household, Mechanical Manufacturers and Farmer's Receipts of all things of Every-Day-Life, "You ask and I'll Tell," embracing Every one his Own Doctor--Every [sic] on his Own Surgeon--Every one his Own Druggist--Every one his Own Lawyer--Every one his Own Cook--Household Management--The Art of Carving--The Art of Dress-making--The Art of Fancy Needle and Wax Flower Work--Etiquette--Toilet--Home Amusements--Parlor and Out-Door Games--Diseases and Remedies of the Horse, Cattle, Sheep, Swine and Poultry--Foundry and Machine Shop Receipts--Valuable Mechanical Receipts for the Work Shop--Tanners and Curriers' Department and Manufacturers Recipes." The tatting section begins on page 436.

This old-fashioned presentation of the basic instruction on how to tat contained many intriguing points. It used the terms French Stitch and English stitch to refer to the different half stitches which comprise the tatted double stitch. (See http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art39203.asp for more info.)

A typical "purling pin" set, hooks on a chain with thumb ring for making joins and picots.

The following is the first pattern given in the tatting section and it is full of intriguing statements. Not only a tatting shuttle is used but also a needle with thread is employed to accomplish the pattern. Double stitches, picots and joins are followed by buttonhole stitches on the "bar." This bar may indicate an attempt at making a chain. Faux chains, split chains and split rings may possibly be intended. This and the other patterns given are primitive compared to the other tatting being produced at the same time. (See the many tatting books published prior to 1914 on this list of free downloads for comparison. http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/3137.asp)

I hope you enjoy puzzling out this unusual pattern. I would welcome a rewrite of this pattern in modern tatting notation.

"Materials. -- Tatting cotton, steel shuttle, and a purling pin. The size of the cotton must depend upon the nature of the article which the edging is designed to trim. As a general rule, No. 1 is suitable for ladies' jupes (Ed's note: form fitting sleeveless tunic, jumper or jacket; also refers to skirts.), children's drawers, and other articles made in calico. No. 2 is a medium size, and will do for finer drawers, and generally for things made in jaconet (light weight cotton fabric), or cambric muslin. No. 3 is very fine, and fit for infants' robes, caps, ladies' collar, etc.

1st Pattern. -- Begin by threading the end of the cotton with a sewing needle. Double the cotton, allowing a long needleful on the needle; and holding the doubled end between the finger and thumb, do 14 buttonhole stitches with the needle. The thread can then be drawn up tight, so as not to leave a loop. Now begin with the shuttle.

1st Loop. -- 12 double stitches, 1 picot, 4 double, draw up the loop, but not tightly, and work with the needle on the bar of thread 10 buttonhole stitches.

2d Loop. -- With the needle, do 2 buttonhole stitches on the thread before beginning this loop. 4 double, join to the picot of the lst; 8 double, 1 picot, 4 double. Draw this up like the first, and work on the bar 10 buttonhole stitches. 2 more on the thread before the

3d Loop. -- 4 double; join to the picot; 9 double, 1 picot, 3 double. Draw up this loop rather tight; work on it 7 buttonhole stitches, and 2 on the thread afterward.

4th Loop. -- (At the point.) 2 double, join to the picot, 12 double, 1 picot, 2 double. Draw this loop quite tightly. Work 2 buttonhole stitches on the thread afterward.

5th Loop.-- 3 double, join, 9 double, 1 picot, 4 double , draw up this like the third. Work on it 7 buttonhole stitches, and 1 on the thread afterward. Slip the needle through between the two buttonhole stitches after the second loop, and draw the thread through, allowing for a bar on which 6 buttonhole stitches can be worked. By doing these the thread is brought back to the fifth loop; do one more buttonhole stitch on the thread, and proceed to the

6th Loop. -- 4 double, join; + 4 double, 1 picot, + twice, 4 double. Draw it up, and work it with 10 stitches. Then join across to between the first and second loops, as after the fifth.

7th Loop. -- 4 double, join, + 4 double, 1 picot, + twice, 4 double. Take the needle across to the commencement of the first loop, and on the bar do 10 buttonhole stitches, 9 more buttonhole on the thread, join to the last picot, 9 buttonhole on the thread, make a picot, 9 more buttonhole. The completes one pattern.

(Ed.'s note: This begins the repeat.)
1st Loop of the 2d Pattern. -- 4 double, join to the picot on the thread, 4 double, join to the picot of the 7th loop, 4 double, 1 picot, 4 double. Draw it up and work on the bar 10 buttonhole stitches, and 2 after.

2d Loop. -- 4 double, join to the picot, 4 double, join to the picot of the 6th loop, 4 double, 1 picot, 4 double. Draw it up, and work it like the last.
The remaining 5 loops are to be worked exactly like those of the first pattern. All subsequent ones are done like the second.

It may, perhaps, be permitted to us to observe that tatting (or frivolité), beside being very pretty, has the merit of wearing extremely well. It requires far less eyesight than crochet, and is much stronger than knitting, and is also (as we trust we prove) susceptible of great and elegant variations of designs."

Free download: http://www.georgiaseitz.com/public/drcantwelpracticalreceiptbook.pdf

Here's the latest article from the Tatting site at BellaOnline.com.

Lark's Head Picot Join (LHPJ) The LHPJ looks just like the familiar luggage tag loop.


Please visit tatting.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Tatting. To participate in free, fun online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Tatting located here -


I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I thrive on your feedback! Have fun passing this message along to family and friends, because we all love free knowledge!

Georgia Seitz, Tatting Editor
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