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, March 10, 2012

Oldest English Tatting Instructions, Part 4

Mrs. Gaugain continues:

For the Edging of Petticoats, &c. &c. ; as Represented in Engraving at Beginning of Book

This is worked with fine bobbin, such as is used for children’s caps. Seven long loops form a pretty scallop.

The loop round the fingers if formed as before described in foregoing receipt; so is the first stitch; next stitch, throw the thread over the back of the hand, instead of bringing it towards you as in the first stitch, and insert the needle down through the finger loop between the first and second fingers; draw it up through between the two threads over the back of the fingers, and with the second finger form the stitch as before; next stitch as first, only leave it long, so as to form a long loop; then again the stitch over the back of the hand. Repeat the long loop and the one over the hand alternately, until you have the seven loops; then draw up the thread to form the scallop. Plain Tatting may also be done in the same manner as the second stitch here described. "

Here, in this final pattern, we finally get the directions for making the other half stitch to make up the double stitch. Note that the halves of the double stitch do not have names, and that she makes our "second" half first. Picots are called "loops", and are made between the double stitches by leaving a longer bit of thread before making the next stitch. Bobbin was a sort of thread, which was used interchangeably with a coarse loosely twisted cotton thread.


Miranda said...

It's interesting to see how writing style has evolved, as well as tatting. In that era, long convoluted sentences were the norm; they were thought to make the writer sound intelligent and educated, even if they obscured the actual subject matter. Today we generally prefer short, simple sentences for teaching new concepts. Granted that people of the time were used to reading that sort of thing; still, I'm sure it would have been hard to follow. Of course, it also helps that tatting has now been around long enough for the terminology to become standardized!

I wonder when the double stitch became the standard tatting stitch, rather than what we now call half stitches.

Thank you, Martha, for sharing your research on tatting history with us!

Madtatter80 said...

I also wonder if tatting was such common knowledge that a brief look at a picture did the trick. I have a friend from another country that could look at a very nice piece of crochet work and then go home and make it and I feel more woman were like that back then because thread was never made with machines. like cooking if you grew up with a cook you don't need a cookbook, or even measuring instruments.