"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Thursday, September 6, 2012

For Me!

That's right, I tatted something for me!

The pattern is Jon Yusoff's "Rose Window", and the beautiful hand-dyed thread is "Laila" from Tatilicious, in size 80. I really like Jess's threads and was just thinking I should get some more of them, but I guess I'll have to wait till she gets home from Tat Days, the lucky girl.

I was able to tat this without any cuts and ties by substituting one split chain at the end of round 1.

So remember a couple of weeks ago, when I was all excited about having been able to borrow Elgiva Nicholls' book Tatting Techniques from a local yarn store? I returned it yesterday, having made photocopies of a few pages I really liked. Yes, I am normally the first one to talk about copyright, but I do feel that when the book is out of print and the author deceased, no harm is done.

It was interesting to note that some of the older techniques that Nicholls wanted to revive have in fact now been revived, because tatters have recognized the usefulness of them. These include front side/ back side tatting; mock rings, which we now take for granted; and "false chains", which we now call encapsulation. The latter is still not used as commonly, but advanced tatters who enjoy tatting images from nature should certainly be familiar with it. It was nice to see how our art has evolved since Nicholls' time, and largely from her influence.

The book also contains some of the best written instructions for making the double stitch I've ever seen. In many tatting instruction books I've read, I feel like you probably wouldn't understand what the author was trying to say if you didn't already know how to do it, but with this book I'm pretty sure an absolute beginner could grasp it (although of course it's always better with video instructions or someone there to show you).

One thing in the book that hasn't caught on yet, but which I think is a really good idea, is Nicholls' terminology for the two halves of the DS. She borrowed from knitting and called the first half of the stitch "plain" and the second half "purl". With the increasing popularity of front side/ back side tatting, talking about "first half" and "second half" makes less sense. Saying things like, "Make the second half of the stitch first and the first half second" is just confusing, especially to beginners. Likewise with Victorian sets, where you might say, "Make five of the first half stitch, followed by five of the second half"; how much simpler to say, "Make five plain and five purl." I'm going to adopt this usage from now on, although I will probably have to always preface it with a brief explanation, since it's not in common use yet and people won't know what I'm talking about. I hope it will be picked up by more people, though.

When I went to return the book, I got to meet the store owner, who wasn't there the last time I was in (at least I think she was the owner). She told me that she is also a tatter, although she hasn't done it in a long time; we chatted a bit, and she said she would be inspired to pick up her shuttles when she got home that night. Yay!

I also mentioned that I would like to learn to knit and crochet, so she helped me out.

The needles and yarn came from a stash of supplies that knitters in the community have donated to the shop when they're not using them anymore, for new knitters to use. How cool is that? The crochet hook was from the store's stock, but she wouldn't hear of letting me pay for it! Her theory, probably correct, is that once I become addicted, she will get plenty of my money, so giving me a free crochet hook is just an investment.

There's a pattern I've promised to test tat, which also happens to be something I really want to make, and then I'll be heading to YouTube for knitting and crocheting instructions. The woman also told me that on certain days of the week, expert knitters and crocheters come hang out in the store to help out beginners. Why, why, why did I never know about this place before????

Of course, in this household, there may be additional challenges...


  1. Hello Miranda,
    interesting things You said about Nigolls book.
    It seems, she wrote two books. One with green picture and one with read/brown. Wich book do You referred about? I have her Tatting Technique and History-book. Or is it just the same with different covers?
    Yes You are right to name the knots plain and purl. I heard also "over-knot" and "under-knot". This is quite the best name to me, how to do the knot.
    many greetings

    1. They are two different books. The Technique and History one is still in print, thank goodness, and I own it too. The one I borrowed from the store is out of print. The two books do have some of the same information, but each also has something different, so if you are able to read both, you definitely should.

  2. Thanks to you , I now have this book : 0 It is very good! I was very lucky! I think I got there before anyone twigged to the fact that it is out of print and valuable to tatters! Paid a song for it. tee hee!

  3. I hope you check out the Continental method of knitting, Then you would be able to crochet, knit and tat using the same left-hand hold! I know you'll learn to knit and crochet in no time!

    I admire your skill in using size 80 thread. Jon's patterns are so attractive, and this thread color is beautiful. Wish I could be with the group at Tat Days.

  4. Rose window is on/in my current "short list" - which is a 1" binder filled with the patterns for things that I currently most want to tat...the thing might, however, explode at any moment :-) I love your rendition, the thread and your tatting are lovely!!!

  5. When you Sid you had this book I told you you would like it, and well done on coping some of the pages, I know what is said about copyright and I am all for it but there are times when you can't help yourself. I have always enjoyed her book.

    Lovely pattern and you have used a gorgeous colour to make a beautiful piece of tatting