Tatting abbreviations and tips

Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years as well as an explanation of some tatting abbreviations.

Lock Join (LJ)
Add beads to a Half-closed Ring
How to make a Half-closed Ring (HCR)
How to make a Josephine Knot (JK)
How to hide ends when starting
Continuously Wound Thread (CWT)
Shoelace trick (SL)
Add a bead at a picot
Add a bead at a join
How to avoid a twisted picot
How to make a simple blocking board

 

 

Lock Join (LJ)

A lock join is simply a join done with the shuttle thread instead of the working thread. It’s used for the same reason as a regular join–to connect your tatting together at some point. The biggest difference is that the thread does not slide at this join; hence the name “lock” join.

 

Add beads to a Half-closed Ring

Before beginning your tatting, add the number of beads you will need for your project onto the shuttle thread. You may want to add a few extra just to be sure you have enough. Until you’re ready to make the HCR, keep the beads far enough down the shuttle thread that you can wind them on the shuttle as well as having more thread wound on the shuttle on top of them. That way they stay out of your way while you work.

Before you pass the working thread around your hand to make a HCR, pull the beads down that you need. Wrap the thread around your hand as usual, making sure that the beads are behind your hand. Leave them there until all the stitches on the HCR are done, then close it. The beads will stay on the single thread portion of the HCR.

You can see an example of this on my Cello star pattern.

 

 

How to make a Half-closed Ring (HCR)

A half-closed ring is simply that–a ring that has only been closed halfway.

Begin the HCR the same as you begin a ring. Tat all the stitches according to your pattern’s directions. When you close the ring, stop when the ring is halfway closed. It will look something like this:

HCR

If you have HCRs in a pattern that parallel each other, be sure to measure the one you’re closing against another that is already closed. That way you will get them all closed the same amount.

 

 

 

How to make a Josephine Knot (JK)

suncatcherJosephine Knots are delightful little frills you can add to any chain. They remind me of a fat, round picot, and I really like the effect. You can see them on the design below on the chains in the center.

To make a Josephine Knot, wrap the working thread around your hand as if you’re making a ring. Then simply work the first half of the double-stitch the number of times indicated in your pattern. Close the ring, and continue your chain.

It’s important to remember with the Josephine Knot that it can easily twist as you work it. Simply be sure to keep a snug hold on it, especially when closing it.

 

 

 

How to hide ends when starting

When you start your tatting, you will have a thread end that needs to be hidden. The easiest and cleanest way to hide it is to hide it as you tat instead of waiting until your tatting is done.

After you tat your first double-stitch, snip the thread end to about 1/2″ to 1″ long. Fold it back behind the double-stitch and parallel to the shuttle thread. Then tat over it another 3-5 stitches and snip it close to your tatting. This provides a smooth, strong connection. I’ve never had any of my tatting come apart when I use this method of hiding the starting thread ends.

 

 

Continuously Wound Thread (CWT)

Would you like to avoid tying a knot or adding on the secondary thread for chains when you start a new piece of tatting? It’s easy! Simply wind the thread on your shuttle, but don’t cut it. When you start your new project, the working thread for the chain is already in place.

The only precaution I suggest is that you either have more than one ball of your thread available or that you fill a spare shuttle with thread before continuously winding your shuttle. That way, if you run out of shuttle thread before you are finished, you won’t need to cut off the ball thread in order to fill a shuttle.

 

 

Shoelace trick (SL)

Many tatting patterns require two shuttles because they require that you make rings facing the same direction as the chains face. Personally, I like to avoid using two shuttles if I can because they have a tendency to get tangled together. Besides, I’m lazy and I’ll do what I can to avoid winding a shuttle.

For many of these patterns, it’s possible to eliminate using the second shuttle when you use the shoelace trick. This trick effectively swaps the shuttle and working threads, so instead of picking up the second shuttle, you simply “move” the shuttle thread to face the correct direction.

Here’s how to do the shoelace trick.

Cross the shuttle thread over top of the working thread. Pass the shuttle behind the working thread and through the loop you created when you crossed the threads. Pull snugly against your tatting.

This is called the shoelace trick because it’s the first step you use when tying your shoes.

 

 

Add a bead at a picot

I’ve seen this technique used extensively on items like Christmas ornaments. Put them on little Christmas trees and snowflakes for added interest.

Before beginning your tatting, add the number of beads you will need for your project onto the ball thread. You may want to add a few extra just to be sure. These beads will only be available for picots on chains.

When you reach the picot in your tatting that takes the bead, simply pull one of the beads up the working thread until it rests against your tatting. Continue tatting with the next double-stitch.

To add beads to picots on rings, thread the beads onto the shuttle thread. Until you’re ready to make the ring with the beads on it, keep the beads far enough down the shuttle thread that you can wind them on the shuttle as well as having more thread wound on the shuttle on top of them. That way they stay out of your way while you work.

Before you pass the working thread around your hand to make a ring, pull the beads down that you need. Wrap the thread around your hand as usual, making sure that the beads are behind your hand. Then when it’s time to add the bead to a picot on your ring, just pull it into place as a substitute for the picot.  Then continue tatting.

 

 

Add a bead at a join

You can easily add beads to your tatting when you make a join. This works wonderfully on anything you want to glitter, from Christmas ornaments to shawls, window wheels, and edgings like my <a href=”http://www.be-stitched.com/heather.php”>”Heather” edging</a>.

You will need a very small crochet hook, something small enough to go through the hole in the bead. I use a size 16 (0.4mm) hook.

First, make your picot for joining large enough to take the bead. It should be a little longer than the diameter of the bead when finished. Continue tatting until you’re ready to make the join.

Thread a bead onto the crochet hook. Using the hook, pull the picot through the bead. Grab the working thread, then pull it through the picot and complete your join as usual.

 

 

How to avoid a twisted picot

With some motifs, the last picot to be joined ends up in just the right place and it’s easy to complete the round. For right-handed people, that’s when the picot is on the left side of your working thread. Just grab the picot and make the join.

However, on some motifs, the last picot is on the right side of the working thread when you’re ready to make the join. The first time I came across this, I merely folded my tatting over so that the picot was in the right place and made the join. Oh, I was unhappy when I found what it did! When I flattened the piece, the picot twisted!

Here’s how to avoid this mishap.

You will need a small crochet hook to do this. When you’re ready to make the join, fold your tatting over so that the picot is in the right place to make the join. Put your crochet hook through the picot from the back, grab the working thread, and pull it through. Finish your join, then turn your tatting flat so you can double-check that the picot doesn’t twist.

 

 

How to make a simple blocking board

You will need:
Foam core or cork about 24″ (60 cm) square
Ruler
Compass with pencil or pen

Find the point halfway across one side of the foam core. Using the ruler, mark a straight line at the halfway point all the way across the board. Do the same in the other direction. This will mark the halfway point in each direction, and will give you the exact center of the board.

Draw concentric circles on the board about 1″ (3 cm) apart, centered on the center of the board. When you’re finished, your board should look like this:

blockingboard

That’s all there is to it! When you use the board, place the center of your tatted piece at the center of the board. Use the concentric circles as a guide to keep your piece perfectly round.

You can find foam core at any place where they do framing.

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