Blue and Black Tatting & Antique Patterns

001bAfter my total wipeout with the red oval doily, I am quite happy to show you two successes! They aren’t perfect, but they sit flat and are even the whole way around.


Both of these patterns come from the same book, Tatting Book No13 by Anne Orr. This book is available for free as part of the Antique Pattern Library, an amazing website full of pdf files of old craft and art books. There are lots of tatting books on there and although the designs are no where near as clear as modern books, with enough experience and patience, you can decipher the instructions. As an example, here are the instructions for the blue medallion:

medallion38I ended up writing them out and double-checking the photographs. Written needle-tatting instructions look more like this (this is the centre motif in the medallion as described above):

  • Ring: 2-2-2-2-2-2 RW
  • Chain: 3-2-2-3 RW
  • Ring: 2-2 join to second to last picot of previous R 2-2-2-2 RW
  • Chain: 3-2-2-3 RW
  • Repeat for 5 rings total, joining last ring to both the second to last picot of previous R and second picot of first R.
  • Chain: 3-2-2-3
  • Tie and Cut.

It’s a bit different; needle tatting does a lot of reversing the work (RW) to get the chains and rings to sit in the right directions. Learning how to properly reverse took me most of a weekend and about 30 ugly little flowers.

Here are a few closeups of these two medallions, just for fun:

003b 009b

As always, check out Totusmel’s Instructables to learn the basics of needle tatting. She taught me nearly all I know!




Needle Tatting Ups and Downs

I have been doing a lot of tatting recently because it is super portable and easy to do in cars and coffee shops. I haven’t been finding myself with tons of time recently.

I finished my red oval doily from my last post but…

Red Tatting

It isn’t sitting. Nothing I can do will make is sit. It is super frustrating. The issue is that my picolts are too short.

Here is a quick snapshot from the book it came from, Needle Tatting from the Heart by Tina Neurdof. Can you spot the difference between mine and theirs?


Yep, the picots are all too short. Picots are the little loopy bits that serve as decorations and as links to other parts of the design. So… I started it again. I want to make this for someone in particular, so I really want it to work. If I can’t get it to work after the third time, then maybe I’ll move on to another design.


Still, the red is quite pretty isn’t it?

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WIP Wednesday – Needle Tatted Doily


What a difference a round makes! The mess on the left will look like the tidiness on the left as I progress with this latest round (a round is the term for a layer of tatting on top of a completed motif. I am currently working on the fourth round of five.).

This is the second time I get this far with this particular doily. There are a few mistakes, but none that are motif breaking, unlike the first time I tried to stitch this.

WIP Wednesday – Thread Parking in Needlepoint

WIP Needlepoint OwlI’ve been working on a new needlepoint project recently, using all sorts of different colours at the same time. I’m stitching the feathers randomly, which means having tons of threads on the go at the same time and trying not tot to get them tangled up (too much).

As I stitched, I figured out two tricks to making the quick change of colours work for me:

1. I used a needle with a larger eye. This meant that it was much, much easier to thread the colours. I didn’t even need a silly little piece of paper!

2. At first I was pulling the threads through to the front and leaving them there, but they kept getting in my way. I wanted to be able to pull them as far away as I could from the working area, but since the working area kept moving, I had to keep moving my parked threads.

WIP Needlepoint Owl parked threads

I ended up finding a solution: Clover clips! These little red clips are fabulous. I was able to pull all my threads up and away, but move them as I needed so they wouldn’t get in the way of my stitching.

The feathers were finally done, and I’m super pleased with them! The stitch is called Fern Stitch, but I have done it upside down so they look like feathers. It was much easier to stitch the lower feathers after the higher ones, so I worked from the top down, mostly. It was quite tricky to fill in the top and get the top of the feather tucked under the long stitches of the base.

This is a quick guide to the stitch, upside down (this screenshot is taken from a program called The Plastic Canvas Design Studio, which I will write about later because it rocks!):