Category Archives: pattern

Pattern: Flowering vines bracelet

Four pieces in the flowering vines pattern, mostly bracelets

Four pieces in the flowering vines pattern, mostly bracelets

Today’s pattern is a tatted strip that looks best done in different colors (one for the ball and the other for the needle thread). It’s quite a narrow strip, works well as a bracelet, and would work well as a simple edging if you neglect the bracelet clasp bits of the pattern. It’s a simpler descendant of this pattern which I was surprised I hadn’t thought to try sooner.

Wearing the yellow-flowers bracelet, to give you a sense of how narrow it is

Wearing the yellow-flowers bracelet, to give you a sense of how narrow it is

To work in two colors, knot the ends of two threads together when you start the work and bury the ends in the first ring or chain as you would when joining in new thread. Start the first few knots of the pattern right up against the color change knot, in this case on the needle thread side. I like the pattern with green for the “vines” and a variegated thread for the “flowers” (although the yellow also works quite well), but your mileage may vary.

To start the bracelet:

  1. Ring 6ds, picot A, 6ds
  2. Chain 3ds
  3. Working as for a chain, in the ball thread: 6ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 4 second-half single stitches, 2 first-half single stitches)x3, 12ds, (2 second-half single stitches, 4 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches)x3, 6ds. Start pulling the core thread through, but pass the needle through the closing loop to form a self-closing mock ring. I found it works best to pass the needle through the loop two or three times in the same direction to make a longer connection.
  4. Chain 5ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches)x3
  5. Shoelace knot
Close-up of the stitches

Close-up of the stitches

Repeat unit (start after step 5 above, repeat 1-3 as many times as you like or until bracelet is about 1/2″ shorter than you want it:

  1. Ring 6ds, picot A, 6ds
  2. Chain 4ds, join A of previous repeat, 2ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches)x3
  3. Shoelace knot

Finishing the bracelet:

  1. Ring 8ds, small picot, 4ds
  2. Chain 4ds, join A of previous repeat, 2ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches)x3
  3. Pass the needle through the small picot and tie a shoelace knot
  4. Chain 4ds
  5. Tie both threads together and wrap a pony bead in the needle thread as in this tutorial
  6. Tie threads together again, pass both through the center of the wrapped bead, and clip ends

vines_1Obviously, if you just want an edging, ignore the first and most of the last section (steps 1-3 are a decent way to end an edging section, but you don’t need the bead). If you want a tasseled bookmark, ignore the first section and instead of making the wrapped bead make a tassel in step 5-6 of the last section.

The yellow piece shown is my working-out-the-pattern piece and does not have a bracelet clasp. The piece with blue “flowers” is scaled up, replacing every three stitches with four (except in the bracelet clasp, which is the same size).

Pattern: Oak tree filet chart and purse

Crochet purse with a filet design of an oak tree

Crochet purse with a filet design of an oak tree

Welp, it’s officially gotten to the point that I feel so ashamed of how long I’ve let the blog languish that I avoid touching the blog. So, it’s time to re-work my expectations. I’m going to continue to use this space sporadically to post patterns that I’ve created, but I’m not going to try to keep up with journaling in any way. Suffice to say that I’ve still been creating, but the combination of work, new friends, and not-least-important an apartment with less natural light for photography means I’ve let documenting slip.

Another view of the purse

Another view of the purse

Today I intend to share a pattern that I worked up a few months ago. I had a bit of leftover yarn and wanted to make another filet crochet purse; I was looking for charts of trees online and couldn’t find anything I liked. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of gorgeous tree designs out there, but since I was limited to a couple dozen pixels on a side… anyway I ended up making my own. Without further ado, here’s an excel version, where the gray cells should be filled in and the white cells left open:

Chart: tree

For the purse, the general construction scheme I followed was the same as for the heart purse. Start by working a few rows flat of 29 hdc, with the number of rows dictated by how thick you want the purse to be. Then start working in the round, using this flat piece as a base, working 2hdc into each post at the ends of the base’s rows. When you’ve worked about 6 rows/2″ high of a bag, start in on the chart on both faces of the bag, with normal dc on the short sides between the charts. When you’ve finished the chart, add another row or two of open cells, then start working on the handle, by working a strip about 7 dc wide in the flat starting from one short side of the purse. Extend the handle until you like the length, then stitch it down to the far short side of the purse using slip stitches. Add a closure flap to one face of the bag, if you like, by (ch 3, turn, (dc, ch1) across, dc in 2nd-to-last dc of the row, skip a ch1 and tc in last dc of the row) to create a triangular flap that gets narrower each row. I made the very last row, when my flap had two square cells left in it, just a chain of about a dozen stitches to make a button loop. The button I made by wrapping a large stitch marker that I’ve never used in the yarn and stitching it down. Photo:


Detail of button and triangular flap.

Purse with hand for scale

Purse with hand for scale

I made this purse in sport-weight acrylic, and it’s quite long and rather narrow—it fits most hardback novels, but not easily. I made the handle super long, so if I wear it cross-body it falls to my calf, but I can trap the middle of the strap under the button flap and make it into a backpack. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and definitely happy with the chart, which I hereby license you all to use however you see fit, not just in purses.

Pattern: Ornate bracelet

Bracelet worked in today's pattern

Bracelet worked in today’s pattern

Wearing my new bracelet

Wearing my new bracelet

The name is a bit of a cop-out, but I’m pretty proud of today’s pattern. I had a pretty big pattern-design first with this one: it started as a doodle and some speculative stitch counts, as a lot of my patterns do, but this is the first one that, when I sat down with needle and thread, actually worked as intended without any adjustment to the stitch counts I’d guessed. On top of that I think it looks rather pretty.

I’ve been making a bunch of bracelets lately, and it’s occurred to me that in addition to the stuff in the tutorial on making bracelet clasps, plus a suitable pattern, a fair bit of trial-and-error work goes into placing the clasp in the pattern so it doesn’t jut off at a funny angle or leave hanging picots. I may post some notes about how to place the clasp in various of my old patterns at some point in the future, but I’ve been pretty busy lately. At any rate, going forward I’m going to include that information in new pattern posts, starting with this one.

My bracelet clasp has also evolved a little bit, so I’ll give instructions with the new one, but the other one works fine too (and inserts the same way into the pattern). Instead of forming the elongated ring for the clasp using spirals, I’ve been using four-four ruffles, which come out pretty straight. The main reason to prefer this is aesthetic; it also makes thread management a little easier. I’ve also been making the clasp ring a little shorter, which makes it harder to take off/put on but correspondingly easier to not lose.

This pattern is a little bit fiddly, fair warning: lots of ruffles and spirals and similar shenanigans. If you haven’t made others of my patterns before, I recommend reading this one before continuing. Pattern:

  1. Ring: 4ds, picot A, 2ds, picot B, 2ds.
  2. Chain: 1ds, 4 single stitches of the same type, spiraling halfway around the needle, 1ds.
  3. Ring (bracelet clasp): 6ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 4 second-half, 2 first-half) three times, 12ds, (2 second-half single stitches, 4 first-half, 2 second-half) three times, 6ds.
  4. [Starting pattern repeat] Chain: Leave a picot-sized space on the ball thread, making picot C between this chain and the previous chain; 1ds, 4 single stitches of the same type, 1ds, join A of previous motif (omit this the on the first repeat); (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches) 6 times to make a ruffle chain.
  5. Shoelace trick: tie a single knot between the needle and ball threads, reversing their positions.
  6. Ring: 4ds, picot A, 2ds, picot B, 2ds.
  7. Chain: 1ds, 4 single stitches of the same type, spiraling halfway around the needle, 1ds.
  8. Ring: 8ds, join C, 4ds, join B of previous motif, 4ds.
  9. Repeat from step 4 to step 8 until piece has reached the desired length. Omit picot A of the last iteration of step 6, otherwise it’ll dangle. Finish on step 8.
  10. Repeat step 4, but add 4ds to the end and do not shoelace afterwards; go directly into a repeat of the ring in step 8. There should be no hanging picots and both threads should be at the center of the end of the piece, right where you want them.
  11. Shoelace trick and chain 4ds.
  12. Knot the two threads securely together and wrap a bead for the other half of the clasp as described in the tutorial here, starting on step 5.

Test pieces in original scale and scaled up.

This pattern also, somewhat to my amazement, scales up well—in #10 thread and my idiom, it’s about 7/8″ wide as written, but if you scale up by 3/2 it still works, making a more open look and a width of 9/8″ or so. So the repeat unit becomes, in condensed notation, chain 2 spiral 2 join, (2-2 ruffle x9); shoelace; ring 6 picot 3 picot 3; chain 2 spiral 2; ring 12 join 6 join 6. Note that a spiral is 4 single stitches, so it’s (more or less) equivalent to 2ds. The photo at right has the piece I made to test the pattern I’d doodled and a larger-scale version.

Obviously this pattern also works for general edgings and strips and all; just omit the clasps.

Pattern: Two-tone scarf

Scarf in gray and tan

Scarf in gray and tan

Well, this post has been a long time coming. I finished making the scarf in early November, and finished writing up the pattern the next day. I wanted to make just a quick editing pass before posting, but then life intervened in a major way. More than two months later, I am finally getting my life back to normal; one upside of the long delay is that I’ve started in on another scarf in the same pattern, meaning that for once I have actually tested the write-up before posting.

This pattern is based roughly on this crochet feathers-and-fan pattern, but with some modifications to a) use two colors and b) work better with the silky yarn I had, which just doesn’t want to be bunched up into 5 stitches in one. Other yarns will work fine, but the pattern is optimized for silky-look yarns with a heavy drape.

Detail of scarf showing scale

Detail of scarf showing scale

You will need: two colors of DK-weight, silky-look yarn, such as Paton’s silk bamboo, roughly 200 yards each, and a G-size crochet hook; or whatever yarn you want and its recommended size of crochet hook. Designate one of the colors yarn A and the other yarn B; it does not matter which is which.

Difficulty: you only need ch, dc, and slip stitch (US terminology throughout) for this pattern, but it’s a little complicated so you should be really comfortable working flat in crochet before attempting.

There is a repeat unit which I will reference throughout the steps below:

  1. Starting from the middle of the scarf, crochet outwards as follows: dc in the dc that is two before the first ch1 space (this is equivalent to skip 1, dc in next dc, for the most part). Skipping one dc, dc in the next ch1 space. Skipping one dc, (dc, ch1, dc, ch2, dc, ch1, dc) in the next ch2 space. Skipping one dc, dc in the next ch1 space. (Skip 1, dc in next dc) three times. Skipping one dc, dc in next ch1 space. Skipping one dc, (dc, ch1, 2dc) in the top of the turning ch3 at the end of the row.
  2. Ch3, turn, and (dc, ch1, dc) in the very first dc (the one that is usually skipped in working flat). Skipping one dc, dc in next ch1 space. (Skip 1, dc in next dc) three times. Skipping one dc, dc in next ch1 space. Skipping one dc, (dc, ch1, dc, ch2, dc, ch1, dc) in next ch2 space. Skipping one dc, dc in next ch1 space. Skip 1, dc in next dc. See pattern below for how to finish the row, depending on where in the colorwork you are.

Main pattern:

  1. Me wearing the gray&tan scarf

    Me wearing the gray&tan scarf

    In yarn A, chain 23. Turning, dc in the 6th chain from the hook. Skip 1, dc in next chain. Skip 1, (dc, chain 1, dc) in next chain; chain 2; (dc, chain 1, dc) in next chain. (Skip 1, dc in next chain) five times. Skip 1, (dc, chain 1, 2dc) in next chain.

  2. Still in yarn A, chain 3, turn, and come back as in the second half of the repeat unit: (dc, ch1, dc) in first dc; skipping 1 dc, dc in next ch1 space; (skip 1, dc in next dc) 3 times; skipping 1 dc, dc in next ch1 space; skipping 1 dc, (dc, ch1, dc, ch2, dc, ch1, dc) in next ch2 space; skipping 1 dc, dc in next ch1 space. Skip 1, dc in next dc. Finish the row by dc in the top of the turning ch3.
  3. Set aside the first piece for the moment and pick up yarn B.
  4. Chain 19. Taking the first piece, slip stitch into each of the last four starting chains you made in step 1, from the fourth-to-last to the last one made. See photos below for illustration.
  5. Turn. Skipping one chain, dc in next chain. Continue symmetric to the other part: skip 1, dc in next chain. Skip 1, (dc, chain 1, dc) in next chain; chain 2; (dc, chain 1, dc) in next chain. (Skip 1, dc in next chain) five times. Skip 1, (dc, chain 1, 2dc) in next chain.
  6. In yarn B, complete the second half of the repeat unit. Finish the row by a slip stitch in the yarn-A dc at the end of the yarn-A second row, which should be the dc closest to you at this point. You should now have two symmetric, two-row, wavy bars, one in yarn A and one in yarn B, attached by some slip stitches along the short ends of the bar, with both yarns emerging from the middle of the top of the piece. Note: the next steps are easier if, when you make the slip stitch connecting the two parts, the loop of the inactive yarn is on the side of the work facing you and the tail of the inactive yarn is on the far side of the work.
  7. Still in yarn B, chain 3, and without turning, work the repeat unit on top of the yarn-A section you’ve already made. Finish with a dc in the top of the non-turning ch3.
  8. In yarn A, slip stitch in the three chains of yarn B close to you. Turn and complete the repeat unit. Finish by slipping into the last yarn-B dc.
  9. Still in yarn A, chain 3, and without turning, work the repeat unit on top of the last yarn-B section. Finish with a dc in the top of the non-turning ch3. Chain 3, turn, and complete another repeat section, creating a double-wide bar of yarn A. Finish with a dc in the top of the turning ch3.
  10. In yarn B, slip stitch in the three chains of yarn A close to you. Turn and complete the repeat unit.
  11. Slip stitch into each of the three chains in the turning ch3 of yarn A made in the middle of the previous step. Turn and complete the repeat unit. Finish by slipping into the last dc of yarn A. You should now have two short bars and one long bar of each color.
  12. Still in yarn B, ch3 and without turning complete a repeat unit. Finish with a dc in the non-turning ch3.
  13. In yarn A, slip stitch in yarn-B ch3, turn and complete a repeat unit. Finish with a slip stitch.
  14. Still in yarn A, ch3 and without turning complete a repeat unit. Finish with a dc in the non-turning ch3.
  15. Repeat steps 8-14 but with opposite yarns.
  16. Repeat steps 8-15 until you reach the desired length. End with slip 3, turn and make a repeat unit, finish with a slip stitch in whichever yarn is needed to square off the end. It’s most symmetric if you finish on two short bars, but do what pleases you.
  17. Tie off and weave in ends.

I mentioned I’d started in on a second copy of this scarf. I’m using the weird yarn I mentioned in my last post; it’s a good bit heavier than the Paton’s, I am using a J hook, and it’s not what I’d call silky. Still, it’s working just fine, making quite a bulky/lofty fabric that will be nice if I can finish the scarf before the cold weather departs. Too bad I have more WIPs at the moment than I really know what to do with. At any rate, I bring this up because I took a couple photos of the tricky beginning bit that I didn’t think to get the first time around:

Pattern: Honeycomb mitts and hat

Tunisian honeycomb mitts and hat

Tunisian honeycomb mitts and hat

I promised y’all I’d write up a pattern for the Tunisian mitts and hat I’ve been talking about, and now I have.

Ravelry link: link

PDF pattern: Honeycomb mitts and hat

It’s probably an intermediate pattern at least, although I have no sense of these things. Tunisian in the round is a bit of an adventure, although once you get the hang of it it’s not bad at all. You do need a special hook—a double-ended one, which you can get a few basic sizes of at a lot of craft stores, failing which I’m sure you can get one online.

Pattern: Bargello mini-quilt

Bargello mini-quilt, newly finished

Bargello mini-quilt, newly finished

It’s finished! Which means it’s time to share my pattern and design process with all of you. I don’t know how many people will be interested in one or both of these, but I intend on the one hand to share the instructions for making the same quilt, with measurements and all, and on the other to share the code that I wrote as a design tool to design many related quilts, in case the overlap of people who like quilting and speak Matlab is larger than just me. Actually I’ve tried to make the code pretty friendly, and I’m pretty confident that somebody that has done a bit of coding but no Matlab could use it, but I don’t want to try to be your programming 101 tutor today.

I am pretty darn happy with how this turned out, although I am less than perfectly pleased with the quality of my freehand quilting. I did everything for this project on the machine, which means a) it went super fast, b) the machine is officially broken in, and c) I was less comfortable with the method, so my freehand curves were worse than if I’d done it by hand. Photos:

Instructions for the identical (except color choices) quilt:

You will need:

  • A half jelly roll, or 20 strips of different, coordinating fabrics, each 2.5″ by 44″; mine was 2 strips each of 10 different colors
  • Backing fabric, 42″ by 38″
  • Batting, “craft” size or crib cut down to size, 41″ by 37″ (I used 36″ craft-size and stretched it a bit)


  1. Order your strips however you want—gradients tend to look nice—and number them 1-20. Color 1 will be in both bottom corners or your quilt, and color 20 in both top corners. In my quilt, colors 1 and 20 are the two lightest ones.
  2. Sew all your strips together along their length, with a quarter-inch seam allowance, lining up the edges on one end and letting the other end be jagged according to the different lengths of the strips. Press all seams open and flat. Strip 1 should be sewn to strip 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, etc., and finally strip 20 should be sewn to strip 1, making the whole bunch into a tube. It’s a good idea to backstitch occasionally to reinforce the seams, but it’s kinda a lost cause anyway, and you need to unpick some of the seams, so don’t stress about it.
  3. Cutting as straight and even as you can, cut the tube crosswise into strips, each of which will have a chunk of each fabric, according to the chart below. Unpick the indicated seam, opening the tubes into flat strips.
  4. Lining up all seams as best you can, sew strip A to B, B to C, etc until the quilt top is assembled, again with a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press all seams open. Note: I actually recommend starting at the center and working outwards—the center strips are the narrowest, so they are most susceptible to coming apart at the seams, which attaching to neighboring strips helps prevent.
  5. Leaving an inch of the backing overhanging on each end, sew the two long sides of the quilt top to the backing with a quarter-inch allowance, right-side to right-side. Press seams open or against the backing.
  6. Turn the quilt right side out and insert the batting.
  7. Turn the short ends of the backing over onto the front, making a 1/2″ edging, and top-stitch all the way around.
  8. Quilt: I chose every third color, and followed it across the quilt, curving as best I could to follow the curve implied by the pattern.


  • A: cut 3.5″ wide; unpick between fabrics 1&20
  • B: cut 3″ wide; unpick between fabrics 1&2
  • C: cut 2.75″ wide; unpick between 2&3
  • D: cut 3.25″ wide, unpick 3&4
  • E: cut 4″ wide, unpick 4&5
  • F: cut 2″ wide, unpick 3&4
  • G: cut 1.75″ wide, unpick 2&3
  • H: cut 1.25″ wide, unpick 1&2
  • I: cut 1″ wide, unpick 1&20
  • J: cut 1.25″ wide, unpick 19&20
  • K: cut 1.75″ wide, unpick 18&19
  • L: cut 2″ wide, unpick 17&18
  • M: cut 4″ wide, unpick 16&17
  • N: cut 3.25″ wide, unpick 17&18
  • O: cut 2.75″ wide, unpick 18&19
  • P: cut 3″ wide, unpick 19&20
  • Q: cut 3.5″ wide, unpick 1&20

Note: the final piece is only a little longer than a square yard, so definitely a lap quilt or display piece, not a bed quilt.

Code and some notes on use:

This code was written in Octave, the free clone of Matlab; it should also work in Matlab if you have access to it. Octave is, as mentioned, free; if you are a windows user you will probably need cygwin or similar to run it. To run, open Octave (or Matlab), cd to the folder containing the file, and run “bargello”; wait a minute or so and you should get a figure and some output to the terminal. The list “lscuts” that gets output is the cutting widths, which you can substitute in order into the chart above. Where to unpick the seams you will have to work out from the figure. The number “totalwidth” is the total width of fabric you will need; the program throws an error if you try to exceed the fabric width it thinks you have (which is set in the first few lines of code).

Code: dropbox link; make sure that you save the file as “bargello.m”.


Program output for my quilt

Presumably if you are interested in the code, you want to do more than just reproduce the same quilt; unfortunately you will need to do a bit of spelunking into the code to do so because I haven’t got a nice interface built. I’ve done my best to comment, though, and it should be fairly straightforward. The main places you want to modify are the lines that define “switchpts” and “ls”, about in the middle of the file. Fiddle around with the numbers here until you have a design worth building in fabric.

I’ve included a couple of designs that I was playing with today; what’s currently in the code is the S-shaped quilt I made (albeit mirrored because I was not paying attention when unpicking my seams), and there are two other designs that are simply commented out: a design with a single central peak and a design with wavy diagonals:

The code is general enough to make larger or smaller quilts: the first block of definitions tells the code how much fabric, and of how many colors, you have. The third chunk (the second chunk is devoted to choosing colors) is also related to the size; it tells the code how many vertical bars to use in the pattern. The fourth chunk starts to define the shape of the pattern, telling the code where to put high points and low points in the pattern, and the fifth sets the strip widths. The remainder is the work-horse part of the code, but you shouldn’t need to mess with it unless you are doing something really complicated.

I have to admit I’m really curious if anyone will even touch the code (or, for that matter, put in all the work to make a quilt designed by an internet stranger) so I’d love to hear from you if you find any of this useful.

Tutorial: Tatted bracelet clasp

Two tatted bracelets with a wrapped pony bead clasp

Two tatted bracelets with a wrapped pony bead clasp

I put up a lot of lace edging patterns here, but I know not a lot of y’all have the interest in garment sewing that I do, so making edgings is less appealing.  However, strips of lace have other uses: you can make a headband, a necklace, or a bracelet, to name three. For my choker pattern, I used ordinary brass findings from the beading section of my local craft store, but it’s always nice to have other options, and in the interim I thought of a way to do integrated clasps without having to worry about matching colors or styles between the findings and the thread. Today I’m going to show you how, as well as show off a couple bracelets I made recently.

In addition to your normal tatting supplies, you will need a single large, large-bore bead. Anything labeled a pony bead should do, and most things labeled barrel beads should do as well. If you somehow don’t have any of these on hand—I was a craftsy kid in the 90s so I have a whole box of them, sorted by color, cluttering up my craft space—you can get them by the hundreds for a couple bucks. It’s a good idea to choose one roughly the same color as your thread, if possible, but you’re going to be wrapping it completely so it doesn’t matter too much. Note: this tutorial, along with all my tatting stuff, comes from a place of needle tatting, but if you’re a shuttle tatter you can play along too—you’ll need a tapestry needle, doll needle, or similar for covering the bead, anything you can get your tatting thread through the eye of, and which isn’t much larger in diameter than the thread—no yarn needles.

First, choose a tatting pattern. Anything I’ve posted tagged “flat edging” will do well, although be aware of how wide it’ll be when you choose. So far I’ve used my crowns edging and my garden path edging. You’ll need to decide where in the pattern you want to break to insert the clasp. For the crowns edging, I started at step 7 and finished at step 3, and for the garden path, started at step 1 and ended at 8. You want the insertion point to be somewhere that a ring or chain made from that point will extend along the length of the piece, rather than off to the side, and ideally be somewhat centered.

Note: This clasp pattern is worked out for #10 thread and your standard plastic pony bead; if you are using different materials, I recommend practicing wrapping a bead first, then making sure the ring in step 1 below will go around it before putting in all the work on the bracelet. For smaller threads, add groups of 8 single stitches (one full spiral) to both sides of the first ring. See also my dragonfly pattern for another use of this ring shape.


  1. Ring 6ds, 32 first-half single stitches spiraling four times around the needle, 12ds, 32 second-half single stitches spiraling four times around the needle the other way, 6ds. Depending on the pattern, you may want to add picots to either or both 6ds section to secure it to the rest of the pattern. Both of my bracelets start this ring with 3ds, picot, 3ds.
  2. Make lace according to your pattern, starting at your start point, until you have roughly 8″ (or desired length) from tip to tip and you are at an end point in your pattern.
  3. If necessary, add a short length of chain or spiral chain to separate the bead from the last ring of the pattern by at least an eighth-inch or so.
  4. prepTie a square knot between your needle and ball thread.
  5. You will need roughly a yard of thread on your needle. If your current needle thread is shorter than that, cut the ball thread a yard from the piece and thread that. Shuttle folks: cut a yard of thread, attached to the piece, from either your ball or shuttle, and thread that onto a tapestry or doll needle.
  6. Thread the bead onto the thread.
  7. secure_beadTie a single overhand knot between the needle thread and the thread under the bead, then pass the needle through the bead, from bottom to top (in the same direction as before) to put the knot inside the bead. There should be one loop of thread wrapping over the outside of the bead. See photo.
  8. Slide the bead down to the end of the tatting piece and pull the knot tight to secure it into place.
  9. three_wrapsBegin wrapping the thread around the bead: always pass the needle through the bead from bottom to top, and make sure each wrap lies straight next to its neighbors, not crossing or tangling. Keep the thread pulled tight as you work. The inside of the bore is smaller than the outside you have to cover, so the thread will bunch up on the inside and try to form gaps on the outside; just cover the gaps as necessary.
  10. When you’ve gotten about halfway around the bead, wrap the thread down around the outside, then pass the needle straight across the bottom of the bead, passing through the square knot if you can, wrap the thread around the outside from bottom to top, and start wrapping from the opposite side, passing the needle through the bead from top to bottom. This just makes the final tie-off easier.
  11. fully_wrappedFinish up by wrapping over any gaps you see, pulling the thread tight as you do. When you can’t see the bead any more, not even by wiggling the thread around with your fingertips, you’re done. It should be getting a little full in the center of the bead, but still easy to get the needle through.
  12. Tie a knot between the thread you’ve been working with and the other one coming off the tatted piece. I like holding both ends together and tyingfinished a single overhand knot in both.
  13. Cut both threads to a few inches length, if necessary, and thread them both onto the needle together. Pass them through the bead, from bottom to top, and tug to get the knot up inside the bead. Trim close to the top of the bead.
  14. The clasp works by pushing the wrapped bead through the elongated ring made in step 1; the elongated shape helps prevent the bead from coming out on its own, much like a slit buttonhole.


Pattern: Fans edging

Fans edging

Fans edging; ignore the sad ring on the far right, as I was still working on it

In my last post I mentioned I’d made two new patterns, but then didn’t mention what the second (actually the first I made) one was. There’s a very simple explanation for that: I am terrible at naming things, and I like this pattern enough that I really wanted to find it a good name before posting. After dithering for a few days, I gave up. The upshot is, I am quite proud of this pattern and hope you like it.

When I was working on the water drop edgings, it occurred to me that the cartoony “water droplet” shape is also the basic element in paisley designs, of which I am rather fond. So, this was my first attempt at making a paisley tatting pattern. I think I rather failed in that regard—paisleys are generally not so linear or so dense—but I like the result anyway.


  1. Ring 20ds, join to B of previous motif, 2ds, 4 second-half single stitches, 6ds.
  2. Ring 10ds, join to B of previous motif (2 joins in same picot), 10ds, picot A, 2ds, 4 second-half single stitches, 6ds.
  3. Ring 10ds, join A, 10ds, picot B, 2ds, 4 second-half single stitches, 6ds.
  4. Ruffle chain: (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches) 15 times.



Notes on the water droplet rings: the second-half single stitches should cause the thread to spiral halfway around the needle (or base thread or whatever it’s called in shuttle tatting), not be held to one side like in a Josephine knot. If you make your rings like I do, that is with the needle thread, this spiral actually makes the rings close more neatly than ordinary rings, which is why I specify you need second-half single stitches rather than first half. If you have no idea what I’m on about, go read my original water droplet edgings post too.

Notes on ruffle chains: this isn’t strictly necessary for this pattern if you keep your chains fairly loose; I use ruffle chains to reduce the natural curvature of my chains, which I pull quite tight. I also rather like the effect. See also here.

Pattern: Cactus edging

Cactus edging

Cactus edging

So I mentioned a while ago that I haven’t really been feeling like tatting lately, and that hasn’t actually changed. However, I recently flew cross-country (for a job interview, wish me luck!) and to my mind there are very few better things to do on a plane than tatting. I brought my little kit and some odds and ends of thread and ended up designing two patterns and having a nice conversation about historical crafts with my seatmates.

I’m not sure this one quite works as an edging, which I think of as being used horizontal, but I rather like it vertically. I’m also not sure it would remind me of a cactus at all if I hadn’t happened to make it in green thread.

Fair warning: this pattern is a giant pain to make more than a short piece of. You have to unthread and rethread the needle once per motif. Consider yourself warned.

The reason that this pattern is a giant pain is I was experimenting more with chains to nowhere—chains made on the needle thread, working towards the eye of the needle. For this pattern I figured out how to attach the loose end to the next object one makes, which I’ll describe in detail in the instructions.

One final caveat: this pattern, like all my patterns, is designed for needle tatting; unlike most of my patterns, I don’t know how to easily translate it to shuttle tatting or if it’s even possible.

Same edging, but horizontal. Not as good, right?

Same edging, but horizontal. Not as good, right?

The chains to nowhere, in addition to being annoying to make, make it a little tricky to figure out where all the threads go, so after the instructions I’ve posted a set of photos of making a motif on a short piece of rainbow-colored thread. Refer to those if you get lost (or like rainbows). Without further ado:

  1. Without threading the needle, hold the needle flipped opposite of how you usually hold it—the point should be down by your palm and the eye out in space. Work your knots from the center towards the eye of the needle.
  2. Using the needle thread, chain 16ds. Thread the needle with the end of the needle thread. Start to pull it through (pull the stitches off the needle onto the needle thread). Pass the needle through the loop you are making in the needle thread (as if to make a SCMR; see tutorial here). Finish tightening up the chain, but don’t tighten up the loop—leave a couple feet of thread running from one end of this chain to the other.
  3. Working in this reserved couple feet of thread, make 8ds on the needle, with the needle still threaded and pointing in the usual direction. This is the beginning of a ring.
  4. Grip the loose end of the chain-to-nowhere and pull on the needle thread (as gently as you can), taking up the slack in the reserved thread and bringing the loose end of the chain-to-nowhere up to the needle. I’ve talked about my “reverse joins” before; this is basically that.
  5. Finish the ring: make 5ds, picot A, 3ds, small picot B, 8ds, and close the ring.
  6. Chain 3ds, join to picot A of the previous motif, 13ds.
  7. Pass the needle through picot B of the current motif and tie a shoelace knot (AKA half of a square knot, etc).
  8. Pull the thread off the needle and repeat from step 1.

Photos (as usual, click for larger images):

Pattern: Filet heart purse


Purse with a heart motif in filet crochet

Today I want to share a crochet pattern that I worked up recently for a birthday present. For a while now I’ve been interested in large-scale, chunky kinds of filet crochet pieces, using sport or worsted yarns to make blankets and bags; this is not quite on that scale, but arose out of that effort. A while ago, I had odds and ends left over from making a filet crochet tote bag, and used them to make a matching purse, but didn’t bother to write up a pattern. I’ve been using that purse so much—taking books on the train, or my tatting kit on walks to the waterfront park, or my water bottle out dancing—that I thought another like it would make a good gift. I had some lovely blue cotton on hand and built the purse that I want to talk about today, and while I was at it wrote up a pattern. I’ve been sitting on the pattern and this post for most of a month since then, but the recipient has received it now, so I get to share with all of you.

Without further ado, here’s the pdf of the pattern: heart purse

For ravelers, here’s a ravelry link.

You’ll need about 120 yards of worsted-weight yarn and a G hook; an H hook helps for the initial chain if you, like me, tend to chain tighter than you half-double-crochet. Customizing the purse should be really easy, too: if you want a larger or smaller purse, just add or remove cells (symmetrically!) to the filet block, and add or remove twice as many stitches as cells; if you have a different filet pattern you like, just swap it in; etc.

I’m a bit worried about the way I constructed the base, as the pattern is otherwise really novice-friendly; maybe it’s more obvious than I think, but just in case, I re-constructed the first few steps on a small scale in scrap yarn and took a bunch of pictures for a phototutorial here. The thing I want to stress is that the purse is constructed to be three-dimensional, rectangular (in theory) with a base and sides, rather than flat like an envelope; the sides come along naturally but the base may confuse folks who’ve made a lot of envelope-shaped bags and such.


Demo base with 6 hdc

First, chain some number of stitches, twice as many as you want cells in the filet pattern; for the pattern I used 26 and for the phototutorial I used 6. Next, chain 2, turn and half-double crochet in the third chain from the hook and half-double crochet the rest of the way back, creating 6 (26) hdc plus the turning chain, which counts as the seventh (27th). This thing you’ve just made is the bottom of the bag. Note that it’s more-or-less rectangular with two long sides and two quite short ones.


Demo piece with base and one side made

I wanted to put the unsightly seam where each row turns on the narrow side of the bag, rather than somewhere in my nice filet work, so the first row wants to start from the middle of the short side of the base: slip stitch once in the post of the hdc you just made to get there. Don’t turn yet, though: chain two, and then half-double crochet along the unused sides of the chains you made in the first step, making 7 (27) hdc plus the chain 2 (which, as always, counts as another hdc).

The work should naturally fold towards you a little bit around the center line of chain, or at least be flexible there; this line is the corner between the front panel and the base of the bag.

To make the far, narrow side of the purse, hdc twice in the ch2 at the end. It doesn’t really matter how or exactly where, so long as the stitch count is right.

Next you want to start the back panel of the purse. Like the two rows we’ve already made bending at the chain line, we want the back panel and base to meet at an angle—but ordinary crochet, passing through both of the two top loops of the stitch it is made in, is really good at making things flat. So, for this part and this part only, crochet only in the front loop. If this makes no sense to you, unfortunately my camera is not good enough to help, so either google around a bit or ignore this and crochet however you normally do; it’s nice but won’t be the end of the world to skip.

At any rate, hdc along the remaining side of the base. Finish the round by making one hdc in the slip stitch you made at the beginning, then slip stitch into the chain 2 that started this round. Before you move on, count your stitches, and if you are off by one, just fudge it! Crochet can be really forgiving, and in this project the stitch count is a lot more important than the details of where the stitches are made. If you are off by more than one, or if your piece looks weird, rip it out now and try again. The purse should be 58 stitches around, counting the chain or the slip stitch that holds the row together, or four times the number of cells in your filet pattern plus 6; my demo piece is 18 stitches around. To qualify “looks weird”, the piece should be a long narrow trough; see photos below (and imagine them 4x longer along the long dimension):

I hope that is helpful to at least somebody; if you’re still confused, please comment and I will try to improve my teaching. For the rest of the pattern I will refer you to the pdf (heart purse), which should be straightforward once you get the base right.