There are several
different ways to describe tatting patterns. Many use a type of "shorthand"
to designate the number of double stitches (ds) for rings and chains,
half-stitched (hs) for Josephine Knots, and other pattern elements such
as picots (p) and joins (j).
However, such shorthand
patterns assume, usually, that the tatter is English-speaking; or at least
English-reading. With the wide international audience in lace-making,
tatting, and on the Internet, I decided years ago to use the more international
form of pattern charting. This form uses pictures rather than words to
show the design.
These are pictorial
pattern charts. They show how to construct the pattern using ovals for
rings, arches for chains, lines for picots, numbers for the quantity of
double stitches, filled circles with "JK" for Josephine knots,
plain filled circles for beads, and red X's
for shuttle joins. While fairly easy to read for tatters with some experience,
they can be a little difficult for beginning tatters since the picture
pattern assumes you know when to reverse your work and other such changes
in direction or in shuttle usage.
Following are some
examples of pictorial charts with some shorthand equivalent forms used
in other pattern books. By comparing the pattern types and instructions,
and with some tatting experience, you should be able to begin to translate
additional pattern charts in this site to any other type of pattern instruction
style you prefer to use.
1 | Sample 2 | Sample
3 | Sample 4 | General
R 7p sep by 5ds, cl, rw
R 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5, rw
R 7p sep by 4ds, cl, rw, CH 3p sep by 3ds
R 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 -, rw, CH 3 - 3 - 3 - 3
LR 7p sep by 4ds, cl, rw, CH 3ds, p, 3ds, JK 10hs, 3ds, p, 3ds,
rw, SR 2ds, p, 2ds, j to 5th p on previous LR, 3p sep by 2ds, cl.
R 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 -, rw, CH 3 - 3, JK10, 3 - 3, rw, 2
- 2 + 2 - 2 - 2 - 2
LR 7p sep by 5ds, cl, rw, CH 3 p sep by 4 ds, rw,
SR 8ds, j to 6th p on LR, 8ds, cl, rw, CH 3ds, p, 3ds, rw, SR 6p
sep by 1ds, cl, rw, CH 3ds, j to p on previous CH, 3ds, rw, SR 8ds,
p, 8ds, cl, rw, CH 3 p sep by 4 ds
R 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5, rw, CH 4 - 4 - 4 - 4, rw,
R 8 + 8, rw, CH 3 - 3, rw, R 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1,
CH 3 + 3, rw, R 8 - 8, rw, CH 4 - 4 - 4 - 4
As you can see, as patterns get larger and more complicated, the written
directions become long and more complex. And, in certain areas, written
patterns can be a little ambiguous. For example, in Version Two in Sample
4 above, the R 8 + 8 indicates a join on the picot, but it doesn't indicate
which picot to which you should join on the previous ring. This style
of written pattern is notorious for this lack of clarity. The pictorial
pattern, however, makes it clear to which picot you need to join. The
first version of the directions for Sample 4 is clear about which picot
you would need to join in this same example, however, the number of shorthand
terms makes this type of direction long and one can often find themselves
lost in the pattern directions during a design. Tatters often find they
need to mark their place with a pencil to keep from getting lost.