tatting Newsletter


December 22 2016 Tatting Newsletter

Maltese Insertion 1867
Recently I mentioned that I had received a gift from M L Martin. It was "The Ladies Book of the Month" by Madame Elise 1987. It has been added to BellaOnline.com's extensive list of free tatting books posted online. You can find the entire list here:


I have studied the tatting pages and found the Maltese Insertion to be interesting. The first look at the illustration shows clearly that it is tatted as two separate motifs alternating and joining across the center. The edges, however, have crocheted headers/footers attached to them. For the purposes of a tatted insertion you may ignore both and attach the tatting when finished directly by the picots.

illustration of maltese insertion Madame Elise 1867 pg. 20-21

A close reading of the directions found on pages 20-21 show some terms and directions used in 1867 but not today.

Terms used for the large motif:

tatting pin - similar to a half crochet hook or other pin around which the thread is wrapped to create picots of different sizes, i.e., 1 wrap = tiny picot, 3 wraps = large picot; a picot gauge

fine netting needle - this type of needle was used in the early days but with the hand movements of shuttle tatting not modern needle tatting

square = four-ring motif

oval = ring

form a loop = wrap hand to tat a ring

double = double stitches

purl or pin stitch = create a picot by wrapping the thread once around the pin, small picot

pass the "needle" through a picot to join = join to picot previously made

oeillet = ring, an additional term used for the small motif, plus

bts = bare thread space

- or p = picot

+ = join

The directions advise that each motif be finished off and ends hidden and only encourage the tatter to join the large and small squares as they are tatted. Can you imagine just how many cut and tie steps would be required for even a pillowcase edging? Horrors! So let's not do that. Instead let us use the split ring method to tat the strip in one pass.

Two shuttles or one modern tatting needle and ball thread are needed to begin.

Large four-ring motif

SH1 R 7 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 7 clr dnrw leave no bts

SH1 R 7 + (join to last picot of ring 1) 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 7 clr dnrw leave no bts

SH2 R 7 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 + (join to first picot of ring 1) 7 clr dnrw leave no bts

SR SH1 R 7 + (join to last picot of ring 2) 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 / SH2 7 + (join to last picot of ring 3), 3 climb out with mock picot into the small four-ring motif.

SH1 SR 4 / SH2 3 + (join to next to last p of ring 3), 4 clr dnrw leave no bts

SH1 11 clr dnrw leave no bts (option place picot in the middle of the 6th ds )

SH2 11 clr dnrw leave no bts (option place picot in the middle of the 6th ds )

SR SH1 4 - 3 / SH2 4, climb out with mock picot into the next large motif.

I hope you will enjoy this insertion and please let me know about any errors. And, if you find an easier way to tat the pattern, please share it with us.
Here's the latest article from the Tatting site at BellaOnline.com.

3-D Tatted Fairies - Carolyn Craig 3-D Tatted Angel & 3-D Fairies by Carolyn Craig 2016; 3-dimensional pieces with tatted wings and dresses and additional crafting, including some painting or tinting of colors.


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Georgia Seitz, Tatting Editor http://tatting.bellaonline.com One of hundreds of sites at BellaOnline.com

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