Pictorial Pattern Charts

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.

Sample 1 | Sample 2 | Sample 3 | Sample 4 | General Comments

Sample 1

Sample 1

Version One:
R 7p sep by 5ds, cl, rw

Version Two:
R 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5, rw

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Sample 2

Sample 2

Version One:
R 7p sep by 4ds, cl, rw, CH 3p sep by 3ds

Version Two:
R 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 -, rw, CH 3 - 3 - 3 - 3

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Sample 3

Sample 3

Version One:
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.

Version Two:
R 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 -, rw, CH 3 - 3, JK10, 3 - 3, rw, 2 - 2 + 2 - 2 - 2 - 2

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Sample 4

Sample 4

Version One:
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

Version Two:
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

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General Comments:
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.

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