Saturday, 13 December 2014


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Encircling :
How to convert a straight edging into a circular one
Some basic tweaks.

I’ve wanted to share my thoughts for over a year, now. However, it just wasn’t ‘taking shape’ – not a cogent one… And since that time, I have added some more tatting to it. Also, I now see SO Many Gorgeous tree ornaments (balls/baubles) with edgings around the circumference. Haven’t tried it myself, but what I am delineating below should logically come in handy if one wants to use a straight edging over a globe! In fact, using these simple tweaks, one can cover the entire ball with repeats of the edging Only !
Still not happy with the post, but have finally decided it’s time to reduce the backlog. 

In my very first blogpost here, I had described a few simple ways to create corners for straight edgingsThose edgings were used on square cushion/throw covers. But for the center, I decided to go ‘round’ & coaxed some more edgings/patterns into circles.
This post describes that ‘encircling’, how to create a circular edging out of a straight one. A few very simple & basic tweaks required ; no grand designing. Just another 101 beginners’ post.

All tatting & crochet is done in Anchor Mercerized Crochet Cotton, Size 20.
Abbreviation used : ds - double stitch

I.  Alter the Length of Chain 

I-A.  ‘Down the Garden Path’ edging (tatting)

By merely adding & subtracting a few stitches at strategic places along the edging, it can be converted into a circle !
This is the method used in Down the Garden Path bookmark pattern (by Pam Palmer) to modify it.
Chains that were on the outer side needed a few extra ds, while the chains that were on the inner side needed a few ds less, thus causing the curve. A mere 1-2 ds can make a difference.
The number of stitches to add or subtract will depend on how large or small the circle needs to be. For a more compact circle, add more ds on outer edge & decrease more ds on inner edge. For a larger circle, with a gradual curve (as the one I made), I had to add/subtract only 2 ds on only a few spaced-out chains.

TIP : Keep the additions/deletions spaced or spread out. Clustering the alterations together may cause then ruffling & crumpling, or may change the essence of the pattern.

UPDATE : Jane McLellan has just used this tweak to great effect here !

I-B. Crochet Flower Garden circular edging (crochet)

When I first saw Jo's Crochet Flower Garden on pinterest, I quite liked the possibilities of this simple freeform crochet. 
For a more compact & "flourishing" look, however, I reduced the length of the stem and increased the number & size of leaves & flowers, to get an even more varied & natural look. The leaves can be modified by changing the number of stitches (length) &/or the size of the stitches (width).
Changing freeform is obviously easier than a regular/symmetrical pattern.


II.  Alter the Length of Joining Picot

II-A. ‘Jessica bookmark edging’     

Sometimes, simply by making the joining picots very small, a straight line can curve. Of course, the position of these picots would be important too.
Here is Kersti’s Jessica bookmark (the initial row only) where I made the joining picots really small. Lo & behold, I had myself a small circlet ideal for a medallion, a sun-catcher, or a coaster! All that is required is to fill in the centre space with some nice tatted motif or fabric; or use as applique sewn on to some fabric.
Now, if the same joining picots are increased in length, the curvature will be in the reverse direction !!! 

(Incidentally, this bookmark is a very clever pattern based on the Magic Square as discussed in my posts on "Deconstructing Patterns" – it follows the Same pathway & process, with the “simple” addition of a 5th ring)

UPDATE : Extreme encircling of the above edging, resulting in this beautiful Jessica Snowflake,  here. 

II-B. ‘Happy-Go-Lucky Frolickers’ edging in different sizes 

These concentric circles are made with the same pattern but joining picot lengths have been altered just a bit. This is a naturally curving edging, so manipulating the circumference with the picot length was easily accomplished.
If the joining picot is very small, the circle will become compact (inner circle).

In case of normal sized joining picots, I got the larger outer circle.

II-C.  One-shuttle edging into ‘U’ or Oval Shape



The Green Kaftan neckline is broadly U-shaped. Hence the edging needs to have both curved & linear segments. I tried to achieve this with the help of variable picot lengths.
There are 2 joining points (picots) in this edging. The joining picots along the peripheral rings are what matter most ! Although, a slight tweaking along the adjacent clover joins might also help to keep the lace lie flat.
For the curved part, I decreased the picot length of the peripheral ring joins.
For the straight segment, I increased the picot length, such that the 2 outer rings spanned the same distance as the clover.

TIP : Joining picot lengths can work both ways (just like the chains above). In all above examples, I wanted a concave curvature, hence the picot lengths were decreased. If, however, one wishes for a convex curvature, increase the picot join lengths . It will invert the position of the 2 edges of any lace !
This can work beautifully with the oval edging, where there are 2 joining picots. One can “invert” the edging to work either way ! So you get 2 edging patterns from the very same pattern, simply by tweaking the joining picot lengths !

III.   Shift the Position of  Joining Picot

I haven’t tried this myself yet, but it is a clear possibility. It may require some reworking to get the required curvature. One also needs to be mindful of the fact that the pattern might change a bit. Hence, this technique is a bit above the beginner level, but very much doable…a 1 or 2 ds shift might not even be obvious.


Would love to hear your perspective, experience & feedback.
I hope some of this will be useful, too, to someone someday ....

Motif #24 for 25 Motif Challenge


  1. Love your pillows with circles in the middle! Very interesting post. I think it shows the way to being mindful of the curve - whether you want something to curve, which direction, how to achieve that... I've been thinking about that lately in terms of necklace design. A necklace does need to curve a bit to sit correctly.

    1. Will be looking forward to your necklace, Jane :-) I'm sure you will have some new & more insights to share.
      I had considered doing a couple of diagrammatic sketches to show the curve functions/variations, but hopefully the actual pics & text are pretty clear ....

  2. How much work! This is very useful, thank you

    1. I'm so glad you found this useful, Lilas :-)

  3. Great ideas. I can imagine making picture frames with these techniques, among other applications. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Ah, yes, an oval or a circular frame would really look lovely ! And you can choose Any of your favorite edgings to convert to desired shape :-)

  4. You've put a lot of work into this blog post. There's a lot of complex methods going on here, I wouldn't call it beginner! I hadn't thought about adjusting picot length to change curvature. Though I have worked with changing join locations.

    What I find is that one small change will often have a domino effect on the rest of the piece. The amount of trial and error can be frustrating at times, but predicting alterations becomes easier with practice.

    1. Well, when I figured these out all by myself, I was thrilled ! But then I kept coming across such fine & intricate & innovative work, that this seemed good only for beginners ;-)

      I so agree about the domino effect - am still struggling with that ... will require a lot more practice & dedication to master it !
      I still can't find the desired elegance in any 2D pattern I try to design :-( Haven't lost hope, though ;-P

  5. Beautiful pillows!!! :) Wonderful tatted edgings!!! :)

    1. Thank you, Sue ! You've made me very happy :-D