Tatters to the Rescue!

Tatting has always had it’s challenges. For many of us, the first challenge was accomplishing the FLIP. Once a new tatter “gets” that, things begin to improve greatly. But there are always little technicalities in any avocation that someone experienced in the field or craft does not have to be told. These “directions understood” can create complications for newbies to the field.

Some months ago, one of our newer tatters who is progressing quite well, wanted to create a bookmark for several members of her personal circle. After doing some searching, she had selected Julie Patterson’s Spring Flowers Bookmark which she found on the Ring of Tatters website. She seemed to understand that the pattern was to be worked using the Continuous Thread Method (CTM) even though that was not specifically noted in the pattern. When she began having problems, she brought the print-out of the pattern to me. After looking it over, I explained that at the point the work was to be reversed, she should change the shuttle used to make the first three rings and make the 4th ring using shuttle 2. Consequently, she would do that same shuttle switch when the work was again reversed before creating the chain. She took notes on her pattern print-out and set off to follow the pattern again. This shuttle switch is second nature to us “Oldie, but Goodie” tatters, but something that must be thought through more carefully by newer shuttle users.

As the holiday season grew closer, she had apparently set the work aside and by the time she picked it up again, had lost sight of the subtleties of switching shuttles at the points of reversing the lace. When she returned to ask for additional help, my time to devote to the situation was limited by the fact that I am a small business owner, had just returned from an extended trip and as a group we were getting ready for a craft demonstration and our annual Deck the Trees event. At that point, I felt it wise to make the suggestion that she turn to others in the group for additional guidance. Understanding that we all learn differently and teaching methods also vary from teacher to teacher, allowing a variety of eyes and approaches to tatting problems has worked well for our group through the years. So it was everyone to the rescue!

Individually, each of us tried a number of approaches to creating a piece that would lie flat enough to be a suitable bookmark. My own attempts looked like this:

Following the pattern as written by Julie Patterson
What happened when I took a suggestion to add a Shoelace trick (SLT) before the 4th ring – Oh how curled is that?
Better, but still not quite right. . .

As we sometimes do, one member of the group turned to highly skilled tatters around the world looking for assistance. Muskaan took up the challenge quickly. Her solution to the dilemma can be found on her blog. It’s a lovely explanation of not only how to work out the pattern as written by Ms. Patterson, but also includes additional ways to improve the end product by making it more firm as well as to create a “vine” effect by using 2 colors. NB: the double-double stitch referred to in Muskaan’s blog post is created by wrapping the shuttle a second time around the core thread before making the flip and securing each half of the stitch. See Jane Eborall’s description here.

With a little additional understanding of the “unspoken directions” that may exist in almost any tatting pattern, Thread Bear Anne was able to complete the single color bookmark and subsequently one that shows off the vine in a very satisfactory manner! Many thanks to Julie for creating the lovely bookmark and to all those in the group and around the world who put time and effort into helping her get there!


6 Responses to "Tatters to the Rescue!"

  • Queensland Tatters (Australia) tried Julie Patterson’s braid in 2014. You may be interested in their slight variation of it. The following is an excerpt from their newsletter, ‘Talking Tatting’.

    “Julie Patterson of Nowra, NSW, has designed several braids. She has given permission for her ‘Spring Flowers’ to be shared with readers of Talking Tatting. You will also find it on the Ring of Tatters’ website (2005). The braid here is a variation with two changes – the addition of picots, and slightly larger isolated rings.

    Spring Flowers uses two shuttles. The sample illustrated was tatted in No. 40 cotton. With 2.5m on each shuttle wound CTM, 8 pattern repeats were tatted, making the braid 7.5cm x 2cm. If you want a definite front side to the lace, you will have to adjust the alternating flowers using reverse order double stitch (RODS) and upward/downward picot joins.

    First Flower, working L to R
    Shuttle 1: R.10-5. Cl.
    R. 5+3-3-5. Cl.
    R. 5+10. Cl. RW.
    Shuttle 2: R. 7-7 (in RODS). Cl. RW.
    Ch. 15. RW.

    Second/Alternating Flower
    The same as above (swapping shuttles) except for the first ring: 5+5-5, which links to the previous motif. For a definite front side transpose the First Flower to RODS where applicable.”

    Contact Judith Connors (editor)

    1 Judith Connors said this (May 7, 2020 at 12:38 am) Reply


    • Thank you for sharing this pattern variation!

      2 admin said this (May 14, 2020 at 10:09 am) Reply


  • I was happy to help when Jill McLean contacted me. And thank you for posting Anne’s bookmarks – it is very satisfying to see everybody’s hard work come to fruit 🙂

    3 muskaan said this (May 9, 2020 at 8:57 am) Reply


    • Thank you for your generous contribution to this effort! It is much appreciated.

      4 admin said this (May 14, 2020 at 10:08 am) Reply


  • Hey everyone. I’m so sorry the abbreviated version of the pattern was confusing to some! I do everything CTM and I guess I don’t really think about that too hard any more. I think that was one of the first patterns I put to paper, and after starting my tenure editing the guild newsletter, I had a steep learning curve when it came to writing the patterns into a comprehensible format. I think I got it under control by the time I published the books.
    I’ve had lots of emails and pictures from tatters asking for permission to post about this pattern, and have made a few friends along the way :0) It’s also lovely to see Judith’s name up there above, a wonderful lady I met through my guild when she visited to hold workshops on her excellent techniques. I’ve been so far removed from the tatting community for years now. It’s nice to read some familiar names and make new friends. I hope you all enjoy the pattern. It has got me thinking about putting together a book of my newsletter patterns….oh no, another WIP….. 😀

    5 Julie Patterson said this (May 20, 2020 at 2:23 am) Reply


    • Putting a pattern to paper is often a challenge. Some writers are better at it than others. The bookmark is lovely, Julie! We are happy to know you are still out there, even if somewhat distant from other tatters. The internet has closed some of the distance gaps and is what has helped grow the tatting community!

      6 admin said this (May 20, 2020 at 8:09 am) Reply


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