tatting Newsletter


June 14 2018 Tatting Newsletter

Mike Lyon’s Laws of Tatting
Lyon shuttle

1. All tatting is based on patience. You rush, you lose.
2. In transitioning between rings and chains, the position of the first half stitch is most critical.
3. Make your rings tight. Make your chains even tighter.
4. There are two kinds of picots: structural (join) and decorative. They are different sizes. Know when to make which.
5. It takes 20 times as long to undo a mistake as it took to make it.
6. Block your piece after each round for the best symmetry in the finished product. Use only water for blocking and save any starching for the final round.
7. Plan your pieces overall color scheme before you ever make the first stitch. Which pattern elements do you want to emphasize?
8. The drop of spaghetti sauce that you thought had fallen onto your napkin at lunch will magically appear on your tatting that afternoon.
9. Before you begin the next round, look closely two rounds ahead to determine where your new join picots need to be.
10. Before sitting down to tat, always wash your hands – especially if you are using white thread.
11. Keep the number of colors to a minimum in any piece. Simplicity yields elegance.
12. When you close a ring and before you begin the next element, give an extra tug or two to the ring. You’ll be surprised at how many rings are not as closed as you think they are.
13. A wine corks makes an excellent support surface when doing the final sewing in of thread ends. Push the needle through the tatting into the cork, not your finger!
14. If working on a delicate or detailed piece, avoid multi-color threads, as the splash of colors can mask the design.
15. Avoid thinking to yourself “this picot or this set of stitches is not up to par with the rest of my piece, but is ‘good enough’”. You’ll regret your laxness later.
16. Never tat with wet or even damp hands.
17. When tatting with light-colored threads, wear light-colored clothing. Stray fibers from dark clothing can get embedded in your work, giving it a soiled look.
18. On each round – before blocking/starching – press down all the “puckers” at the joins.
19. Many picots look alike. When making a join, take care to use the correct one.
20. The larger the piece you are working on, the more care must be taken to keep everything clean. More handling = more opportunity for dirt to accumulate.
21. There are more tatting designs in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
22. Just as you begin round 5 of your 17-round magnum opus piece, you’ll see a pattern that you’d really, really, REALLY like to be working on instead.
23. Your next project cannot be made to your satisfaction with the threads you currently have. You will need to order additional colors.
24. If possible, avoid designing patterns with rings larger than about 35-40 ds. The appearance of large rings can be ungainly due to uneven tightening.
25. For medium and large doilies that will stand the test of time and be valued heirlooms, stay with tried-and-tested muted or antique colored threads.
26. On large doilies with many rounds, often the temptation is to ask, “Do I really need to start the next round? This piece looks fine if I just stop here.” With the decision to keep working, that first join and double stitch becomes a commitment of another large block of time.
27. On large pieces with many rounds, the final double stitch in the final round is a bittersweet farewell to an old friend.

Watch for more sage advice from Mike Lyon coming soon.

Mike Lyon 2009

Watch for the full Laws of Tatting from Mike Lyon on Sunday, June 17, 2018, in the new articles section.

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