Pattern: Cartouche edging

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Shoulder detail of peasant blouse with tatted lace edging

Today’s pattern is a lot less complicated than the last one. It’s a basic, somewhat large edging suitable for fine thread.

Difficulty: I will assume comfort with basic tatting, including rings, chains, picots, joins, etc. This pattern also requires swapping threads/switching shuttles; if you search for “tatting switch shuttles” or “tatting shoelace trick” you can find a tutorial in the medium of your choice, but I’ll describe it in brief. The goal is to exchange the positions of your two threads so that chains will curve in the opposite direction; the easiest way I know to do this is to tie one overhand knot, like the first part of tying shoelaces (thus, “shoelace trick”). There are two ways to tie this knot–which thread goes over the other first–and I recommend trying both to find which one lays more flat.

This edging is a series of cartouche or cocoon shapes, each of which is symmetric and joins to its neighbors in four places. Each cartouche is a series of rings, all of which take the form “Ring: N ds, picot/join, N ds, picot/join, N ds, picot/join, N ds”; I will abbreviate this as an “N-ring”, so a “5-ring” is R5j5p5p5. With the exception of the first 4-ring in every cartouche, the first picot/join of each ring is a join to the last picot of the previous ring; in the first ring it’s a decorative picot. The second picot/join in each ring connects across the cartouche to another ring of the same size.

Cartouche: 4-ring, C4j4, 5-ring, C5j5, 6-ring, C6j6, 7ring, C12, 4-ring, C12, 4-ring, C12, 4-ring, C12, 7-ring, C6p6, 6-ring, C5p5, 5-ring, C4p4, 4-ring, shoelace, C5p5, shoelace, repeat from start (where C=chain, j=join, p=picot). The last four rings connect by their second picot/join to the first four rings in reverse order. The three 4-rings in the middle of the pattern all connect to each other by their second picot/join; make the second picot in the first of these rings a little extra-large, and then join both of the other two rings to it. On the chain side of things, the C4j4 connects to the C4p4 in the previous cartouche, and so on, so for the first cartouche you make, make picots rather than looking for something to join to.


Diagram of joins and such for a single cartouche


Three cartouches in series

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Section of cartouche edging lace

Note that this edging has a substantial curve to it. It is also quite large–using size 40 thread and and #8 needle, the edging is 1.75 inches wide. I used a variegated off-white/natural color thread, and combined it with unbleached muslin to make a peasant blouse. The unjoined picots at the top are used to sew it down; I also sewed down the center of each cartouche to make it more resilient to washing, with the result that it actually machine-washes and -dries without getting badly mangled.

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2 thoughts on “Pattern: Cartouche edging

  1. Paul Zagieboylo

    Ok, I did some reading so now I kind of understand what you are talking about. If you made the cartouches longer (by adding 8-rings, 9-rings, &c), would that make the whole pattern curve more or less?


    1. seesawyer Post author

      I believe the pattern would curve about the same–to change the curvature, I would change the difference in N between successive rings, so instead of 4-ring, 5-ring, 6-ring… I would try 4-ring, 6-ring, 8-ring… for greater curvature or 4-ring, 4.5-ring, 5-ring… for less (you can split double-stitches in half, although it is rarely done). I guess adding more rings would decrease the curvature, but only a little bit, and at risk of making the whole thing not lie flat.



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