Join me as I explore tatting history. I may trace the development of the craft, translate old patterns into modern notation, or play detective tracking down the earliest appearance of a technique, design, or term.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oldest English Tatting Instructions, Part 2

Here we continue reading from The Lady's Assistant in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work, 1842, by Mrs. Jane Gaugain. (Last time we got as far as winding the thread around the left hand.)

"As the thumb and forefinger are never moved during the forming of the scollop, bring the tatting needle and thread toward you, straight across from the forefinger and thumb, between the second and third fingers; insert the needle from the back of the finger loop up through the centre between the thread you have on the needle and that round the fingers; always observing to have the thread (on the needle) between you and the needle after it is drawn through."

(This is what today we call the Riego style of tatting; the shuttle is brought to the back of the left hand, and passes through the loop around the fingers to form our second half of the double stitch.)

"Hold the needle and thread tightly extended from the right hand to the left, and the loop round the fingers loose, as the stitch is made with the loop round the fingers, and not with the part of the thread nearest the needle; then withdraw the second finger, so as to allow the loop round the fingers,to form round the thread; insert the fingers again, and with the second finger form the stitch, by drawing it up to its place, which is close to the thumb;"

(Relax the left hand and pull with the shuttle to flip the stitch, then pull the stitch into place.)

"this finishes one stitch, and 20 more like this form the scollop. Draw the thread attached to the needle tight, so as to pull up the scollop when completed; now commence another scollop. If the Tatting has not been properly worked, this scollop will not draw.

(Work 20 more half stitches and (partially) close the ring, then begin another. If you have not flipped the stitches, the ring will not close.)

"All Tatting stitches must be formed with the loop round the fingers. 21 stitches form a pretty scollop with Taylor's Persian cotton No. 3.
I do not think any person who has not seen Tatting done can accomplish it by any description."

Here we have the earliest known pattern in English: an edging formed by making a series of half rings with 21 half stitches each.


Margarets designer cards said...

I think I will leave those instructions and carry on the way I learnt if I had tried to learn for these instructions I would not be tatting today.

Thank you for sharing your interesting finds.

Ladytats said...

Thanks for this site, Martha, it is interesting to read the old patterns. sometimes it is hard to figure out what they are describing.

Heather of Tatted Treasures said...

I don't know how anyone could have followed these instructions. If I didn't already know what to do I wouldn't have made heads or tails of it.