Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tatting a wild rose

Roses are a common motif in tatting comprised almost entirely of chains and they are quite simple to make once you understand how they are done. You begin with a central ring and the length of your picot defines how much of an arch there is in your petal and how much space there is between the central ring and the rest of the rose. The last picot space is actually a mock picot. So you make the ring and begin the first chain of the rose with a lock stitch.
A lock stitch is just an unflipped stitch and because it isn't flipped, it won't slide on the core thread. Without the lock stitch the chain might start out with an open space at the beginning, but when you snug up the stitches at the end of the chain, the space will close. So begin the chain by measuring out a short length of thread the same size as all the other picots. Make the first half stitch and if it flips make sure to pull on the chain thread to unflip it again. After all that practice flipping stitches, it's sometimes hard to remember NOT to flip.

The lock stitch may seem to be a little unstable and want to flip. But as soon as the second half of the stitch is completed normally, that is, flipped, it will stay in place. The space that is formed between the ring and the chain will look like any other picot when the rose is finished, but it isn't a picot, it's a picot space formed by the shuttle thread on one side and the ball or chain thread on the other side. The picot space in tatting when it is formed by two threads is called a mock (fake) picot.

Continue tatting the rest of the chain in the normal manner. When you have completed the chain make a shuttle join into the next picot. Joins in tatting typically are made along the tops of the stitches because you are joining one section of tatting to another. In a cloverleaf you join the outer edge of one ring to the outer edge of another ring. When you tat a motif or a doily you join to the top of the preceding work. When tatting a rose you join to the BOTTOM of the work. So instead of a normal join you use a shuttle join. In a normal join, a loop of the thread over the back of the left hand (assuming you are tatting right handed) is pulled through an available picot and the shuttle pushed through the loop. In this type of a join, the stitches slide on the shuttle thread. In a shuttle join a loop of the SHUTTLE thread is pulled up and then the shuttle is pushed through the loop. In this kind of join the stitches no longer slide on the shuttle thread. Make sure that your chain is snug before making the shuttle join.

After you make the shuttle join and continue with the next chain you will notice that while the shuttle thread is attached to the picot below, the chain thread just lays across the top of the join. You will see why this is important later. Continue working chains around the central ring, and making a shuttle join into each picot, until you are back at the mock picot you started the round with.

Make the last shuttle join of the round into the mock picot. There is only one mock picot in a rose and it's at the end of the central ring.

On the first round of the rose you made the shuttle joins into the picots on the central ring. On the next rows there are no picots to join into. Instead you will use your hook to wiggle under the chain thread that lays across the top of the shuttle join. You may find you have to stretch the chains apart a little especially if you are working in finer threads.

Once you have gotten your shuttle under the chain thread make the shuttle join and continue around the rose.

Each successive row is joined into the top of the shuttle join of the previous row.

If you find that the thread space above the shuttle join is very tight, then loosen your tension as you tat the first stitch of each chain. That will give you a little room for the stitches to move when you do the joins on the following row.

If your tatting is so tight or if you are working in thread that is exceptionally fine you may have difficulty making the joins into the thread above the shuttle join. In that case you may choose to begin each chain with a very, very tiny (almost invisible) picot. This will give you something to join into and at the same time it will keep the ends of the chains neatly in place.

Consistent tension is what will make a nice looking rose. Each chain is slightly longer than the chains of the preceding rows and they need to lay neatly each one above the other. If one round has chains looser or tighter than another round, the chains will have gaps between them or they will overlap one another. If the chain is too tight or too loose when you do the shuttle join, undo the join and straighten it out.

Roses can be used in lots of tatting and they are too pretty a technique not to master them.


Unknown said...

Very nice photo tutorial. I made some similar baby booties from an old Workbasket Magazine when I was fifteen with a matching bonnet with all the roses on it. Funny how the old written out instructions had a different way to describe stuff...and all the cutting and tying...YUCK... So glad for all the more modern ways and the internet for making information so accessible. Forgive my novel writing, here. Anyway, I put a link to it from my blog in case any newbies want to know more about a lock stitch...hope you don't mind, do you?

Sharon said...

Of course I don't mind you linking to my blog or my website ( Both are there to help tatters and tatter wannbes to get going.

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

This is a wonderful tutorial Sharon.
You are a treasure in the tatting community!

Gina said...

Great explanation about joins!
:-) Gina

Tattycat said...

Very good lesson and pictures Sharon. Thank you. Roses are a wonderful resource for our tatting and it would be a shame not to use them.

Anonymous said...

Such a basic thing in tatting and very effective as a decoration. Its suprising that this is the first tutorial on how the make the roses (i call them rosettes). I've made them for years but I think you explaination will help me make more consistenly shaped roses.

Ridgewoman said...

Thank you Sharon. Very through and easy to understand.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for demonstrating lock joins. Someone asked me about them today and I refered them to you site.
-Carrie (Shuttle Tatting Instructions Site)

Art by JoyMac said...

This is a great leson many thanks Sharon
Joy in OZ

N. Maria said...

AH, HA!!!!! I am now going to tat the Wild Rose from your site!!!! Thank you for this GREAT tutorial. I finally GET it. What a relief. :)

Unknown said...

Thank You so much. Your directions make sense. I had seen some tatted rosette earrings and wanted to make them. I needed the info on the lock stitch and the increasing lengths of chains for the rows. I will be working with them this weekend. Looking for my yellow roses to wear next week.