Georgia Seitz Ribbonwinners
Tatting Patterns & Shuttles
1227 CR 1760 E
Greenup Illinois USA

Pattern for Classic Rosette
Reading, Writing, and Diagramming Tatting Patterns

We begin the study of tatting notation by examining the manner in which tatting patterns are written and how to interpret the directions. Which of these instructions is correct?

1. Make a ring of 12 double stitches evenly divided by three picots.

2. Make a ring of 3 double stitches, picot, 3 double stitches, picot, 3 double stitches, picot, 3 double stitches.

3. Make ring: 3 double stitches, picot (3x), 3 double stitches.

4. Make ring 3 DS p 3 DS p 3 DS p 3 DS.

5. R 3 - 3 - 3 - 3.

All of the above instructions are correct and all ask you to tat the same ring.

Frustrating, isn't it? Unfortunately, over the decades tatting has not been standardized with one set of abbreviations, nor one style of writing instructions. As time passes, however, more and more of the patterns are relying on a diagram with numbers or on the simplified style of directions shown in example 5 above (also known as tatters' shorthand formula).

When reading a pattern for the first time, try drawing it before you try tatting it. If you can draw it, you can tat it. If you have the old-fashioned instructions where every single word and every single movement is written out for you, you many want to try reducing it to the tatters' shorthand formula.

Here are some commonly accepted abbreviations:

R = Ring
CH = Chain
P, or p, or - = picot
J, or + = to join
+ with a v below it = shuttle join
RW = reverse work; meaning to turn the work over from top to bottom in the vertical plane
TW = turn work; meaning to turn the work from right to left in the horizontal plane as if turning the page of a book
DS = double stitch
HS = half stitch
1HS = first half stitch
2HS = second half stitch
Numbers before DS, i.e., 3 DS = indicates the number of repetitions to be worked
CTM = continuous thread method; meaning to wind two shuttles with out a knot between them; i.e., wind first shuttle then roll enough thread off the ball to wind second shuttle from opposite direction
CL, or cl, close = close the ring
JR, or JK = Josephine Knot or ring; meaning a small ring made of either half stitch repeated to form a twist in the ring.
SH1 = shuttle one; SH2 = shuttle two etc.
ss = switch shuttles
Split ring= 5 / 5 with the "/" mark indicating the two parts of a split ring
set stitch = 4 . 4 with the "." indicating the number of repetitions of each half stitch

Every tatter who creates original designs will develop their own abbreviations to use peculiar to their work as well. For a partial list of tatting terms in French, German, Italian and Spanish, see Rebecca Jones' "The Complete Book of Tatting".

Subj: Diagramming tatting pattern

Diagramming Tatting Patterns

Hand drawn diagrams leave much to be desired. Using a drafter's template for circles is an improvement over that but with computer aided drawing programs available so easily and so cheaply these days there is no real excuse for not using them.

The only disadvantage to a computer drawing program is that the circles and ovals available for use do not accurately represent the tatted ring. A tatted ring, with the exception of center rings deliberately made round for construction purposes, are OVOID in shape, i.e., egg-shaped. Not round, not oval. But that does occasionally lead to a variation int the pattern. Bear this in mind.

There are three styles basically representing diagramming.

The ring/chain is drawn with a dotted line or interrupted by the placement of the number over it. A number is placed between each picot or other segment.

The numbers are placed close to the ring/chain but do not break the line of the diagram. Again a number is placed between each picot or other segment.

Please see:
An example from the onion ring lesson.

Only one number per ring or chain is placed next to the element to indicate stitch count. This works well for regular spacing.

Please see:
This example
shows small rings with just the number inside and larger rings with the ds count between picots and joins.

Unusual motifs with uneven sides would not be able to use this method.

Please see:
An example of free form tatting.

All these methods work. I like the last one for clarity in the diagram but tend to use the second one for my own illustrations.
Questions? Email anytime :)