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.