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52,000 Knots

One Man’s Journey Into the Craft of Tatted Lace

At six miles up

Here I am, on the plane. (All work shown was created by me, unless otherwise stated.)
This pattern is called Spring Doily. Throughout the text, I will be showing the progress of this piece. Here is Round 3 (the dark blue and light green parts). I’m about half-way around the circle here. Pattern design: Renulek [Link]. (4,246 knots.)

From surgical instruments to YouTube

Tatted snowflakes. These patterns, designed by by Joëlle Paulson, are available for sale at a very minimal cost. [Link]

Tatting motifs (that’s what the overall design is typically called) are described in tatting patterns, which are easy to follow once you get over the fractal infinities of how they first appear.

Patent #US 4961741 A: Suture Knotting Instrument. Inventor: John O. Hayhurst. Date issued: 1990. [Link]

Given my fondness for medical device design, you’d think I would have chosen needle tatting, but I became mesmerized by the motion of shuttle tatting in the video tutorials.

Breaking down the elements

Spring Doily, Round 4. (15,460 knots)
In this heart motif you can see the series of chains, rings, and picots throughout. Pattern design: Susan Fuller. [Link]
And here’s the pattern for the heart.
Here’s me tatting (close enough to actual speed).
This is from a good starter booklet called Easy Tatting. by Rozella F. Linden. The pattern is called — over-humbly — Eight-Inch Doily. I’ve tatted this pattern a lot. Here, you can see the same pattern with the same two colors, only swapping the ring colors for the chain colors. The positive/negative differences in how they read can be significant.
These bookmarks use variegated thread, which changes colors along its length. (Many people have very strong feelings about variegated thread. And by very strong feelings, I mean very violent feelings.) Pattern design: (Left: practice ring; Right: Mary Konior, from Tatting with Visual Patterns. Found on Pinterest here.

Piecing together a patchwork of other video tutorials, I was able to begin my pursuit with what I considered a purer execution of the form. It’s pretty aesthetic.

My first tatted earrings. Tough to glue the tatting to the post with the rhinestone on top. But all-in-all a remarkably quick project. Pattern design: unknown — (bookmarked page has been taken down).

Method over madness

Karen Cabrera’s Lession #138: 2-color rings.

A bit of history

Me standing in front of Renoir’s “Girl Tatting” 1906–08, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Stumbled upon completely by accident, and coincidentally I had a piece of work in my pocket with which to pose!
Watch it from the start, then don’t forget to view the results at the 1- minute mark.
It was a relief to move off of round motifs and try something more rectilinear. In order to figure out this pattern, I took a screenshot off the designer’s site, printed it out large, and counted up the stitches. Pattern design: TattingJohn [Link]
Here’s another, also from Easy Tatting by Rozella F. Linden. [Link]

You can’t think about anything else while tatting — daydreaming almost guarantees that you’ll make a mistake — and that’s why I committed to doing it.

They are real knots

Spring Doily, Round 6. (22,332 knots)

Reason more people don’t take up tatting #1:

Reason more people don’t take up tatting #2:

If you watch one video here, make it this one.

Reason more people don’t take up tatting #3:

A “bad” mistake — one where I curse out loud —will typically take me 40 minutes to recover from.

Spring Doily, Round 8. (33,712 knots)

Stress, anxiety, mindfulness

There are only so many horizontal surfaces in any one home — and frankly, one or two doilies in any house is probably quite enough doily—so there’s not much I can do with them.

There’s no way around it: I make doilies

A few small motifs. Left: See above; Middle: Practice ring; Right: Button Flower by Lisa C. Trumble [Link]
Spring Doily, nearing the finish of Round 8. As the piece gets larger, it’s a very long way around the circumference! (41,960 knots)

But then there’s this.

This is likely true for most of us, but ALL I DO is read during the entire workday…tatting at least gives me a break from all that daily reading. It occupies my hands, it clears my head.

Opportunity cost

Tatted necklaces. Pattern design: Left: Rose Necklace, from Japanese Craft Book Tatting Lace Accessory Recipes #3576, by by Peikko [Link]; Right: Various sources.
From The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito. [Link] One of my favorite patterns, and, as mentioned, makes a very lousy coaster but does look good under a drink.

By the numbers

Spring Doily, Round 9, the finished piece. (The pattern actually goes a few more rounds beyond 9, but the work was starting to outgrow any reasonable table I could place it in the middle of. So I chose to stop at 9! The finished diameter is 16 inches. (50,680 knots).
And here it is actual size (on a monitor, anyway).



A field guide to the designed world

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