Tag Archives: flat edging

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):

Quick pattern: Braid edging


Simple, narrow edging that looks a bit like it’s braided

Today’s pattern is a quick and easy one; it’s quite similar to the first edging I ever attempted in tatting, although I think the added shoelace trick and second point of attachment improves it.

I also added a ruffle chain section, which I think improves it a tiny bit, but is totally optional.


  1. Ring 15ds, picot A, 3ds. small picot B; 12ds or (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches) x6 to make a ruffle section.
  2. Chain 3ds, join A of previous motif, 18ds.
  3. Pass needle through small picot B (or make whatever wrong-side join you like) and shoelace trick.
  4. Repeat from step 1.

I think the smaller you can make picot B while still being able to make the join (which for needle tatting just means you need to get the needle through it), the better, but it’s not tremendously important.


Pattern: Garden path edging


Garden path edging; note that the right-hand side of this image is me still drafting the pattern, so pay more attention to the left.

Today’s pattern is something I’ve been playing with with clover-leaf motifs, turned on their sides and sort of meandering along. There’s a wrong-side join and a short spiral chain, but other than that it uses completely standard techniques.


Detail of edging


  1. Ring 6ds, join E of previous motif, 9ds, picot A, 3ds
  2. Optional: chain 2ds; otherwise just leave a short space in the thread before the next ring
  3. Ring 3ds, join A, 6ds, picot B, 6ds, picot C, 3ds
  4. Optional: chain 2ds or leave a short space
  5. Ring 3ds, join C, 6ds, picot D, 9ds
  6. Chain 3ds, join B of previous motif (two joins in one picot), 12ds
  7. Pass needle through picot D to make a wrong-side join
  8. Chain 9ds, picot E, 2ds, 4 single stitches of the same type to spiral halfway around the needle, 2ds, join B of current motif, 3ds
  9. Repeat from step 1

If you don’t like or don’t feel like looking up spiral chains, feel free to replace step 8 with chain 9ds, picot A, 3ds; shoelace trick, chain 3ds, join B, 3ds.

Steps 2 and 4 are optional; it is traditional to make cloverleafs without intervening chains, and this is basically a cloverleaf, but I find they lay flatter if I leave a little bit of space between the rings. Given that, adding a short chain helps me regulate that length. Your mileage may vary.

Garden path edging scrap with decorative picots

Garden path edging scrap with decorative picots

Variant with sew-down or decorative picots: this pattern doesn’t really lend itself to simple addition of picots along the top edge for sewing down. I think the best way to do this is to add picots at regular intervals along the long chains on both sides of the edging. So, replace steps 6-8 with: Chain 3ds, join B, 3ds, picot, 3ds, picot, 3ds, picot, 3ds; wrong-side join D; chain starting with a picot over the join, 3ds, picot, 3ds, picot, 3ds, picot E, 2ds, 4ss, 2ds, join B, 3ds. It’s the exact same stitch count, of course, but with more picots. See photo at right for a very short scrap following this pattern.

Pattern: Cascade edgings


Two simple tatted edgings

Today’s pattern is a very simple tatted edging: ordinary rings, in a few sizes, and ordinary chains. Call it a lazy sort of a day. On the other hand, there’s two of them; I fully worked out the bottom one in the photo above, then decided it would be better with more difference in sizes between the rings and worked out the top one. I like the top one better, but I may as well offer you your choice of both of them.

cascade_strongPurple pattern:

  1. Ring 6ds, join C of previous iteration, 3ds, picot A, 3ds
  2. Chain 3ds, optional picot for sewing, 3ds
  3. Ring 6ds, join A, 12ds, picot B, 6ds
  4. Chain 6ds, optional picot for sewing, 6ds
  5. Ring 9ds, join B, 21ds, picot C, 6ds
  6. Chain 3ds, optional picot, 3ds
  7. Repeat from step 1

cascade_weakMulticolor pattern:

  1. Ring 6ds, join C of previous iteration, 6ds, picot A, 4ds
  2. Chain 4ds, optional picot, 4ds
  3. Ring 6ds, join A, 12ds, picot B, 6ds
  4. Chain 6ds, optional picot, 6ds
  5. Ring 8ds, join B, 18ds, picot C, 6ds
  6. Chain 5ds, optional picot, 5ds
  7. Repeat from step 1

Pattern: Floral edging


Five-petal flowers connected by a ruffled chain

Today’s pattern is one I’ve been trying to get right for a while; I’m still not confident I’m there, but I’m happy enough to share it. It comes with not one but two new techniques, which I may be re-inventing but I’ve not seen on the tatting internet before. If such things scare you, be assured that they are pretty optional; I’ll include instructions to sub in more tried-and-true techniques.

New technique number one I am calling a reversed join, because that’s what it is. It is a picot-less joining technique, meaning you can join the ring (rings only, and only the way I make rings, unless you have spare needles) you’re currently making to any point on the established piece, without needing to plan ahead and put a picot there. I came up with it when doing a lot of design, when I wanted that flexibility, but another advantage is you can make much tighter joins than I know how to make with ordinary picot/joins, which is why I use it in this pattern.

Steps for the reversed join:

  1. Omit the picot that the pattern wants you to join to, but keep track of where it would be. Use safety pins as markers if you like.
  2. Just before starting the ring with the join in it, poke the needle through the knot where the picot would be and pull the thread partway through. This is similar to setting up for beaded picots, but instead of a bead you’re using the tatting you’ve done so far.
  3. Make the first part of the ring, up to where it says to join, in the needle thread between the threaded-on join and the rest of the work.
  4. Slide the join up to the knots on the needle.
  5. Make a picot of whatever size you like with the join on it; for this pattern, just pull the thread tight.
  6. Finish the ring as normal.

New technique number two I am calling a ruffle chain, and it is a successor of the spiral chains I’ve been talking about lately. It’s not essential to this pattern—replace with a spiral chain if the idea frightens you. I think they look neat, though, and will probably be using them more in future. The idea is that, if a normal chain has a fairly severe natural curve to it, and a spiral chain is straight, what if you make a chain that’s somewhere in between ds and spirals? Specifically, what if you spiraled part-way around and then came back? The ruffle chain is just that: make two or three or four single stitches of the same type in a row, then make the same number of single stitches of the other type to come back. Two-stitch ruffle chains (that’s two first-half single stitches, two second-half single stitches, two first-half, etc) and three-stitch ruffle chains have intermediate curvatures, and four-stitch ruffle chains are very nearly straight by nature. And, instead of a straight row of knot tops or a spiral staircase, the knot side of ruffle chains zigzags in what I find a pleasing way. Your mileage, of course, may vary. To put the curvature and knots in the right place, it helps to start and finish with fewer single stitches than your main repeat, so a four-stitch ruffle starts with two single stitches, etc.

flower_edging_2Without further ado, the pattern:

  1. Ring 4ds; if you don’t like the idea of reversed joins, ring 2ds, small picot, 2ds instead
  2. Chain 4ds
  3. Ring 3ds, large picot A (1/2″ or so; large enough to make four joins into), 3ds
  4. Chain 6ds, join B of previous flower, 6ds
  5. Ring 3ds, join A, 3ds
  6. Chain 12ds
  7. Ring 3ds, join A, 3ds
  8. Chain 12ds
  9. Ring 3ds, join A, 3ds
  10. Chain 6ds, picot B, 6ds
  11. Ring 3ds, join A, 3ds
  12. Chain 4ds
  13. Ring with reverse join: insert needle into the ring you made in step 1 between the second and third ds, pull through some thread; 2ds, slide join up to knots, pull working thread fairly tight and make 2ds with no picot. If you don’t like reverse joins, instead just ring 2ds, join to the ring made in step 1, 2ds.
  14. Ruffle chain: 2 first-half single stitches; (4 second-half single stitches, 4 first-half single stitches) three times, 2 second-half single stitches. If you don’t like ruffle chains, feel free to either: spiral chain 32 or so single stitches, or shoelace trick, chain about 30ds, shoelace trick.



Pattern: Crowns edging


Today’s pattern:

  1. Ring 6ds, join to another motif, 2ds, picot A, 4ds
  2. Chain 4ds
  3. Ring 4ds, join A, 10ds, picot B, 4ds
  4. Chain 4ds
  5. Ring 4ds, join B, 16ds, picot C, 4ds
  6. Chain 4ds
  7. Ring 4ds, join C, 10ds, picot D, 4ds
  8. Chain 4ds
  9. Ring 4ds, join D, 2ds, picot for another motif, 6ds
  10. Spiral chain: 5 single stitches of the same type, moving the thread 180 degrees around the needle
  11. Repeat from step 1

The motifs, as shown in the picture, join each to the one made not immediately beforehand, but the one before that, and the work weaves from side to side. For the spiral chain, if you make all first-half single stitches in one chain, then all second-half single stitches in the next, and alternate that way, it will look more symmetrical.

If you’d prefer not to do spiral chains for whatever reason, replace step 10 with a chain 2ds and a shoelace trick, and it should work fine.

I think the pattern makes the most sense in the order given, but I always actually start from step 9, effectively—making one ring to anchor the second full motif as I work on it. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

100_0950This is one I’ve been thinking about for a while—one of my favorite patterns, which I shan’t post because I don’t own the intellectual property, looks like the pieces in the photo at right. I’ve made lots and lots of it over the last year, and I usually make a repeat or two just to relax and get in the zone when sitting down to design something. While I love it, though, it has some drawbacks—floating threads between the rings make the pattern difficult to make consistent, and the progression of ring sizes isn’t quite an arithmetic progression, which sets off my perfectionist neuroses. So, in designing my piece, I replaced the loose threads with chains and changed the sizes of the rings a bit, making the rings more different from each other while I was at it.

Pattern: Atlantis edging


Atlantis edging

Today I have a simple pattern for you that I worked out yesterday. I have some bright blue thread (size 10 cotton) and wanted to make an edging that was mostly chains and did the kind of waving back-and-forth you see in Greek tile mosaics. Not sure how well I did on the imitation front, but I rather like the result, shown above, regardless. It also worked out to have a heart-like motif, which was not intentional but may be useful.


  1. Ring 6ds, join C of previous motif, 3ds, picot A, 6ds
  2. Chain 12ds, picot B, 3ds, picot C, 3ds
  3. Shoelace trick or change shuttles
  4. Chain 3ds, join A, 3ds, join B of previous motif, 12ds
  5. Repeat from step 1

If you want decorative picots or picots along the top and bottom for sewing through, replace all 12ds’s with 6ds-picot-6ds or 4ds-picot-4ds-picot-4ds, or whatever density of picots pleases you best. Since this edging is flat, it would also raster well—make one strip, with 6ds-picot-6ds instead of 12ds, and then make another strip with 6ds-join-6ds to connect the two; I suspect going from a ring to shoelace, chain 8ds, shoelace, back to a ring and starting the pattern fresh would work to raster without cutting the thread.

This pattern was worked out on size 10 thread with a #5 needle, and I pull all my tatting rather tight, so if you are using significantly different materials or technique you may need to modify the pattern.

atlantis_draftingLastly, because I think it’s interesting, here’s a picture of the full piece, which shows my drafting process. I started on the left-hand side, where it’s all lumpy and distorted, and gradually improved over the first half-dozen motifs, then the rest is in the finished pattern. This one came together really quickly, because it’s so simple.

Pattern: Paired hearts choker

Paired hearts choker

Paired hearts choker

Today’s pattern is a tatted choker in the form of a row of tiny hearts, leaning back and forth in pairs. The hearts use a spiral chain (or Chinese staircase, or Josephine chain, or whatever else you want to call it) to achieve the dimple at the top, and are super easy to make. I normally dislike chokers (if you’re wondering why, read the name again), but tatting has enough give to it that it’s actually quite comfortable, without being loose.

For the choker you will need:

  • Fittings, such as a lobster clasp and jump ring
  • Embroidery floss: one full skein and part of another for the hearts, and part of a skein for the chains
  • Tatting needle, size 5, or shuttles (you’re on your own for converting the pattern to shuttles, I’m afraid)

If you want to make a bracelet, you’ll need less floss, and for a loose necklace more; if you want to make an edging or trim this pattern still works, just don’t bother with the fittings and start with the first ring in the pattern. I drafted the pattern on size 20 crochet thread with a size 7 needle, so can verify that it works at that size.

Note: the pattern decidedly has a right and a wrong side, at least in my opinion; the ridge created by the spiral chain wants to face outward. If you follow the directions below, the clasp will be operated by the right hand, closing behind you; if you are left-handed or if you prefer to close necklaces in front of you and then spin them around, you may wish to begin with the jump ring and end with attaching the clasp. If you are left-handed and prefer to close necklaces in front, proceed as written. If the fittings you have are symmetric, ignore this.


  1. hearts_knotclaspThread one end of both the hearts-color thread (variegated pink in my example) and the chains-color thread (white in my example) through your clasp, pulling out a tail of about 3″. Holding all four threads together—both tail ends and both long pieces—tie a single overhand knot and cinch it down snug against the clasp. As always, click for larger photos.
  2. Thread the hearts-color floss onto the needle; the chain-color thread is your ball thread.
  3. hearts_hidethreadUsing a small clip or a bit of tape or a small elastic, hold the ends of the tails of floss against the needle (see photo). Chain 6ds onto the needle, over the tails of floss, close to the knot you made in step 1. Pull off the needle as usual, and pull on the tails as well as the needle thread to make sure they aren’t bunched up in the stitches. See the mini-tutorial below for tips.
  4. hearts_joinclasp2Put your needle through your clasp and draw through most of the floss, leaving a foot or so between the work and the clasp (see photo). This will let you slide the clasp onto a picot in the ring you are about to make.
  5. Start a ring: make 4ds on the needle with the needle thread that’s between the work and the clasp. If you are confused about using the needle thread to make knots, peruse my tutorial here. Some needle tatters use the ball thread for all knots, making an overhand knot to switch threads every time they turn the work; that is not how I tat and you should not be making any overhand knots in this pattern except to attach fittings.
  6. hearts_joinclaspContinue the ring: slide the clasp down against the stitches you just made, make a tiny picot with the clasp on it, and make 6ds. See photo at right.
  7. Continue the ring: make 4 single stitches that are “first-half” stitches, that is, as if you were starting a double stitch. As you do, let the thread come forward around your needle until you are working on the opposite side of the needle. hearts_picotOn that side of the needle, make 2ds. Make 4 single stitches in the opposite direction—“second-half” stitches—to come back around the needle. Finish the ring with 2ds, picot, 8ds.
  8. Slide the knots off the needle as usual and pull the needle thread through to form up the ring (again, I invite anyone who doesn’t usually make rings this way to peruse my tutorial). hearts_firstPull the ring good and tight; I am one of those tatters who pulls everything neurotically tight, and I’m not sure this pattern will work if you don’t. You may need to manipulate the ring a bit with your fingertips to make it nice and heart-shaped, and use your needle or fingertips to position the 2ds at the top of the heart in the inside of the ring. It won’t be terribly sharp, but it should be recognizably heart-like at least.
  9. Chain 20ds.
  10. Ring 8ds, join to previous heart, 2ds, 4 first-half single stitches, 2ds, 4 second-half single stitches, 6ds, picot, 4ds.
  11. Chain 4ds.
  12. Ring 4ds, join to previous heart, 6ds, 4 first-half single stitches, 2ds, 4 second-half single stitches, 2ds, picot, 8ds.
  13. hearts_fullRepeat steps 9-12 until you have a length you are happy with (see mini-tutorial below if you run out of thread before you are happy with the length). That is, hold it up against your neck; make sure to account for the jump ring/other half of your fittings that must still be attached. Finishing will add the length of the fitting plus about a quarter inch from the edge of the last ring. My choker is 24 rings long and about 13″, for reference. End on a ring, but it doesn’t matter which one.
  14. If you ended on a step 10 ring, chain 6ds. If you ended on a step 12 ring, chain 15 ds. Slide the chain off the needle and pull snug.
  15. Put the needle through the last dangling picot and pull the needle thread through. Make a square knot between the needle and ball threads (or whatever kind of non-slip knot pleases you).
  16. hearts_jumpringAttach the fitting: if you are attaching a jump ring at this point, I recommend using the needle (or a tapestry needle if you have one handy, as it’s shorter) to tie two or three double stitches around the jump ring with the needle thread, then switch the needle to the ball thread (cutting to about 6″ length if necessary) and tie two or three double stitches in the opposite direction with it. Pass both threads through the space between the square knot and the jump ring (or any other convenient space, just to get them back away from the business end of the jump ring) and, holding them together, tie a single overhand knot in both. Trim 1/8″ from the knot. You are finished! Go try it on.

Me trying on my pretty new choker

hearts_draftingIf you are curious, the photo at right shows my drafting process for this piece. First, there’s the mangledy thing in the bottom of the picture, a row of unconnected rings joined only by short chains, while I worked out how to make the least ugly heart ring I could. I actually quite like the tiny ones, too—they are 4ds, 4 first-half single stitches, 4 second-half single stitches, and 4ds in a ring—but they didn’t fit what I needed for the choker, so maybe I will use them in something in the future. Once I had settled on a heart ring I liked, I needed to work out the chains and joins, and that’s what the top piece is. I already had a pretty good idea of how I wanted them to join, rocking back and forth with a low join and then a high join, and just needed to find the chain lengths that would make the piece straight and flat.

Mini-tutorial: adding new thread in the middle of a piece:

I don’t know if there’s a better way to do this out there, but I am pretty happy with the method that I came up with while stranded on an internet-less family vacation. It involves no knots (other than the tatting stitches themselves) and tucks the ends of the thread away securely. You will need a small clip that grips the ends of the threads, or a small elastic, or a bit of scotch tape, or really anything that a) you can use to secure two thread ends to the tip of your needle and b) you can easily pass knots over (so your fingers won’t do as well). I use small hairclips—the same ones I’ve mentioned using to regulate my picot size—which have a nub of plastic close to the hinge that is pretty grippy. Alligator clips, bobby pins or little tiny binder clips should also work.

100_1372 (1024x768)First, as you are working along in your pattern, stop when you a) have made at least one ds since the last picot/join/other funny business, b) have at least one ds to go before the next picot/join/other funny business, preferably at least two or three, and c) have about 3″ of working thread left. Drop this tail end for now, and call it the dead thread. In the photo at right, I have done a 6ds chain and 4ds, picot, 4ds, picot, 1ds of a ring on my pink thread.

100_1383 (1024x768)Cut your new length of thread and pick up one end. Hold this end together with your dead thread end and run the thread up in front of the needle, over it, down, and around to the right of and then in front of the two ends that you are holding together, making the first half of a double stitch. With the new thread, finish the double stitch as normal, ignoring the two ends. In the photos at right and below, I am splicing in a blue thread so you can see the splice clearly; in reality you would use a thread of the same color.

100_1388 (1024x768)100_1393 (1024x768)

100_1396 (1024x768)Clip (or tie, or tape, or whatever) the two thread ends to the tip of your needle, moving the stitches you’ve made forward or back along the needle until the ends lie flat against it. For the rest of your ring or chain, treat these thread ends as if they were part of the needle. Finish your ring or chain, wrapping the thread ends in the new knots you’re making. In the photos, you may be able to tell that the blue (post-splice) stitches are a little bit bigger than the pre-splice (pink) stitches; this is visible in the finished work but is less glaring than a big ol’ knot and less likely to come untied and unravel your whole project.

100_1398 (1024x768)

100_1403 (1024x768)If you are replacing the needle thread, thread the needle with the other end now. Slide the ring or chain off the needle and finish it as normal, tugging gently on the protruding thread ends to make sure they haven’t gotten bunched up inside the knots. Make your next few rings/chains, and either now or when you are finishing up the piece, cut the thread ends off close to where they emerge. I recommend waiting until you have done at least one chain (or progressive/split ring, or anything that gets you away from that point) after the splice before cutting the loose ends; you can weave them back through the work to keep them out of the way in the meantime.

100_1406 (1024x768)100_1407 (1024x768)


Now I am contemplating ways to use dramatic mid-ring color changes as a design element in a pattern…