The inventiveness of tatting

Today was a bit of a wash out  – I couldn’t face reading a pattern (aforementioned pain in shoulder) and so thought I’d just make some stuff up. I’ve wanted to try tatting around a ring for a while, found a tutorial on Jane Eborall’s site picked up some spare thread, and gave it a go. (The plastic rings are 16mm, and I got them from John Lewis).


I’m not a fan of this thread – It’s DMC Perlé  and it tatts up really lumpy . I thought was just me and couldn’t quite work it why I seem to be so much better with thinner thread, but I recently read a post where someone else said they had the same problem. I feel a bit better about it now.

Because its a first go, I finished each row when the thread ran out on the shuttle. When I got to the end of the second row (top of the photo) I thought I’d be clever and tatt a split ring, so I could go straight on to mucking about with the third round. That was when I remembered I was only using one shuttle. I closed the ring and that was that. You can see how this pattern is going. It’s about to get really boring so I’ll stop it there I think. I always forget you can tatt upwards as well as downwards – imagine that last row flipped, it might be vaguely more interesting. Anyway. My inability to invent an interesting design aside, I came across this:

The Single Shuttle Split Ring; the SSSR. I’ve read about it before and kind of glossed over it. I like the idea of it though, so it’s not on my list of things to learn, along with the magic thread trick. It amazes me how many tatting stitches have been invented in recent years. Or that’s how it seems.

I’ve been to the V&A, and seen all the early tatted samples. They’re really different to tatting today. I’m sure knitting and crochet must be evolving too, but it feels like tatting is evolving literally as I type.


I finished this wee lady earlier this week. Or at least I finished sewing her together. Today I’ve just been hunting for scarf ribbon in the collection I seem to’ve acquired over the past few years. I was going to make a shawl, but I don’t really have any yarn the right colour – lots of colours gets lost in the grey of the skin or overpowered by the colour of the dress. I went through my ribbon stash, was about to opt for something else and then remembered this. It’s not perfect, but it should be ok. (sorry for the not very well styled photo).

Here she is with her older sister too. Not sure how she ended up with a slightly thicker trunk… You might be able to spot that I did the front loop /back loop stitches this time – as per the pattern. I like it. Makes the arms and legs look more defined.

Not been  the best of weekends. Problems with my neck and shoulder again. I feel bad for not writing up the poor new elephant as nicely as she deserves, but I think it’s better to quite while I’m ahead.

Third time lucky?

We shall see.

While I was tatting the motif in the previous post, I decided I should really finish stuff off properly; block it and tidy up the ends. There’s two reasons really – 1) it would give me a proper sense of achievement when I’d finished and 2) I wouldn’t end up with a pile of tatting sitting on my desk with the threads all waiting to be dealt with:

Tatting pile

There’s all sorts in the pile. Mostly Mary Konior patterns, but also…

  • a nice, basic star, which was an experiment in floating rings
  • a triangle, which I’d seen others do, forgot to write the pattern down, but  successfully guessed while on the train
  • two spare middles for the stars I made at Christmas
  • A doodle I made up on the plane to Savannah, Georgia. (I’m based in the UK, it was a long flight).

Literally all-bar-one (a Mary Konior square design, which might be my favourite pattern of all time) need their ends weaving in. Ah – actually, there’s the one I posted the other day in there too – I take that back!

Anyway. I need to weave my ends in. And so the next challenge will be learning how to hide ends as I go. I’ve been putting it off for ages, but I should really learn. I might be an occasional crafter, but there’s occasional, and there’s just being a bit lazy!

In the mean time, I’m on my third attempt at this:

Third time lucky

Another Mary Konior pattern, I really only started it because I’d learnt onion rings and thought it would be a good place to use them.
It wasn’t really.

I think it’s better the way Mary suggested – a ring in the centre and chains and floating rings on the outside. The  green one I screwed up because I added an extra ring and couldn’t find a nice way to get rid of it. The  white one, you can just about see on the left I screwed up because I should’ve switched shuttles for the middle rings, and if you don’t it looks all pointy and weird. So now, well, third time lucky? We shall see.

I’m trying to ignore the fact the second ring is smaller than the first. The thread is size 100 (or so they say – it doesn’t actually feel that thin to me) and it has a habit of twisting back on itself. This means that to close the second ring I had to give it a bit of a tug, and it shrank a bit. Oh well. I wont tell anyone if you don’t and we’ll see if we can get away with it.

Pub and train tatting

I was hoping to get home in daylight to photograph these, but no such luck! So a speedy shot for now of two versions of a Mary Konior pattern – one blocked of course, and the other not.

The blocked one was started in a pub and finished on a train. The unblocked one was train journeys all the way.
It has to be said this pattern is ideal for a commuter – one shuttle, no ball – it’s just rings on repeat. You can tatt this sitting on a train, or as I ended up doing for a while, standing on a platform waiting for a train. (You have to do a bit of magic with the hook, if you’re not a built-in hooker, so to speak.)
It’s also the ideal ‘end-of-shuttle buster’. I emptied three shuttles making just the first one!*
Amusingly, each motif has a mistake caused by its surroundings. The one tatted in a pub has one ring too small – a friend arrived and I lost count of my stitches. The one on the train has seven rings where there should be six. The train was dividing, and I wasn’t 100% sure I was in the right bit. (You know that feeling?) In the end I decided to make two sections with seven rings and pretend it’s a feature. (I work with web developers, there’s a nice little saying: ‘That’s not a bug, it’s a feature!’ Works for them, it can work for me).
They might not be perfect, but I’m rather pleased with them, really. They were so enjoyable to make.

blocked and unblocked

*why do I have three shuttles of the same thread? Well… it’s the only thread I have of this size, and I’ve decided it’s my favourite. But I’ve refused to buy any more nice thread until I get through some of what I have, and more to the point – finally decide on a bigger project. Also, I’m not sure what size it is… so I thought I should figure that out too. More of that soon.


In a rush! (About to go out), and very tired. I stayed up far too late working on this. It’s for a friend’s daughter – actually, he asked for a Little ‘un but his daughter is very young, and the small ones are a bit fragile – I wasn’t sure she’d last that long. This one is wool and cotton – that Rowan Siena cotton is really vibrant, and I thought the colours might be more interesting than the more muted version for a little girl.