tatting Newsletter


December 27 2011 Tatting Newsletter

"28 Needlework Designs in Tatting, Crochet, Knitting, Tape-work, Braidwork, Spanish Stitch, Netted Lace, Cluny Lace, Mignardise Lace by Mrs. Warren," 1869? page 45.
I am ending the year 2011 and starting 2012 with a tatting puzzle. I have recently received as a holiday gift the vintage book above by Mrs. Warren. Mrs. Warren is a tatting designer about whom I know very little as yet. I have begun to study her designs and one of them had me blinking my eyes in confusion. Here is the pattern:
The pattern is described as Maltese Tatting but there is no indication of maltese tatted rings nor chains as tatters today understand it from Mlle. Riego. The larger rings have 7 picots, two used for joins and 5 freestanding picots. The lower rings have 5 freestanding rings (unjoined.) The tatted element which connects the two rings looks like a chain in the first three on the left but looks like half-closed rings on the right. A crocheted header/footer is included which could easily have been a tatted chain instead. And the illustrations do not even try to approximate the correct number of stitches in the work.
Picots are called "loops." Directions give the option of making "single stitches" or "doubles." If singles, does she mean using only one half stitch in repetition (as for a Josephine ring) or is it to be "understood" that the tatter will alternate first half, second half as normal? The ring is closed by "draw(ing) up tight" but so is the chain which we know will force a pronounced curve into the work. And a ring is called a "tat!" But, a description of the join is given which is remarkably clear.
As written, I interpret the pattern to read two ways.
First, using two shuttles:
R 6 - (7 - ) x6, 12 clr. RW
R (5 half stitches -) x5, 5 clr. DNRW
R 6 + (7 - ) x6, 12 clr. RW
Repeat from *

Second, using one shuttle:
R 6 - (7 - ) x6, 12 clr. RW
*R 6 close half way.
R (5 half stitches -) x5, 5 clr. DNRW
R 6 close half way. RW
R 6 + (7 - ) x6, 12 clr. RW
Repeat from *
So, when you are hiding from the heat outside over the new year, or watching the snow pile up in your driveway, why not take a moment and see if you can figure this out. I will be happy to post any samples you may make from this. I look forward to a different interpretation too. Happy New Year and Happy Tatting to all!

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