1000 Stitches

Recently I posted a short description of the conditions under which I learned to tat on InTatters, where I hang out a lot!  I was pretty solo at the tender age of 11.  It amazes me that I ever learned to tat at all.  But there was something  about the process that just grabbed me.  I had no idea if anyone else in the world even tatted anymore, (but why would Coats & Clark have printed the book  if there were not?).

My limitations as a solo tatter were pretty restrictive:

The Learn How Book by Coats & Clark specified size 80 tatting thread to start with!!!!!  I went along meekly and mildly (a facet of my personality which has changed dramatically since then!).

The instructions described HOW to  tat but not how to solve certain other issues:

1.  How to add more thread when the full shuttle was empty and the pattern wasn’t done.  My solution was to leave it unfinished or discard the piece.  How sad.  This problem also lead me to all sorts of contortions to use the last bit of thread but never tumbling to the idea of finger tatting.

2. How to fix a lock join when it didn’t close right.   My lock joins were wildly erratic and my first, second and third responses were too pull it tighter.  Sigh…. So my ugly lock joins led me to discard a lot of work ( in size 80 thread, remember!)

3.  And the Shuttle!  It was metal with a bobbin and the shuttle was never tight enough to keep the bobbin from spinning.  It had a flat hook that broke almost instantaneously.  The edges of the shuttle itself would cut my thread.  I didn’t know what to do after the thread broke!  (See No. 1).

But I survived and tatted for years in a limited, broken wheel on a bike sort of way.

When I got hooked up with InTatters, the lights went on, the curtain went up, I learned new things every single day.  What an experience.

I am changing my focus in this blog to helping new tatters and wannabe tatters learn the things that will help them start tatting and keep them growing in skill and love for tatting.


When working with a shuttle with a post, the shuttle should be wound with thread so that the thread coming off the shuttle exits the shuttle at the top and from the right.

A shuttle with a pick only has one position where the thread comes off the top on the right.  That position is with the pick side facing up.  With the shuttle in this position, the thread is wound clockwise as shown in the diagram.

A shuttle without a pick can be wound with thread in either direction.  When using a shuttle without a pick, just flip the shuttle over until you get the thread coming out of the top on the right.

I am a member on stitchinfingers on ning and another member posted a gorgeous picture of a tablecloth with vast corners of crocheted lace that her mother had made 80 years ago.  Unfortunately, when she asked her mother how to make the lace, late in her mother’s life, her mom couldn’t remember.  I looked at the picture and thought “I could figure that out.”  And I did.

Here is my sample of the pattern, which very cleverly allows what could be an exercise in making bits with lots of starts and finishes for each scallop into a continuous process where a corner only requires one piece of thread.  My sample only has 3 scallops as a proof of concept, but the table-cloth has about 600!  in 4 large corners and 4 small inserted pieces.

Proof of concept that my reconstruction works!

And here is the pattern I wrote of the reconstruction:  Scallop Lace pattern

Mardi Gras Pattern

The Mardi Gras Snowflake use the Single Shuttle Split Ring technique by Matthew Takeda.  The reason I used it was to preserve the flow of the changing colors in the thread I used.  Normal split rings can have a very splotchy, speckled effect with such abrupt color changes.  It’s possible to control colors by adding threads at the right place in the color progression but that, to my mind is even worse, because of all the ends to hide.  These days, I also use SSSRs simply to hide ends when finishing a piece.

Currently engaged in practicing needle tatting. I can make true rings for days! But I’m still stymied by the chains. Can’t bend my head around how to proceed. I will read up at http://www.georgiaseitz.com/nt/mimi/html/index.html.

7 small needle made rings, no joins

7 small needle made rings, no joins

It will take some practice, but this morning’s session has at least locked the rings in my head.

I love to make lace, which comes down to string and a hole!  Knit lace, crochet lace, tatting, and any odd, wonderful thing I stumble upon (like sprang and naalbinding).

Herewith my most recent:  a tatted Angel created in response to Sharon Briggs’ latest design challenge

Tatted interpretation of a crochet pattern

  • None
  • Sarah: Your angel is pretty good for not expecting to publish it. I like that you used different types of tatting in the project. I think it is still out
  • stringandahole: Hi, You can see the inspiration for my version of the Angel on Sharon's Design Challenge Blog http://tattingdesign.blogspot.com/ Overall the body,
  • CelticDreamWeaver: I love your angel. I love angels period. Can you share how you made her with me. She is pretty and really different from the norm.