Saturday, 28 February 2015

Tatting Techniques : Inverted Tatting - 1

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Warning : This post is Not for the weak-hearted, eye-candy-loving, perfectionists :-)
I am posting this as my process-documentation ….

Inverted Tatting – Inverted Learning !

In early 2014, I was so impressed by Judith Connors’ exquisite 3-D flowers & compositions with inverted tatting, that I plunged right in. And plunged in the deep end ! Went straight for 3-D tatting. I would start a piece, reach midways, then wouldn’t know how to proceed because the thread had a mind of it’s own ! Drowning, & obviously frustrated, I discontinued the exercise, promising myself to get more techniques, skills & practice under my belt, before taking it up again.
I had shared these on InTatters at the time, but the pic quality was bad; hence have re-photographed them ….
So first off, here’s what I made then, sometime in March 2014.

Revisiting  after  One  year !

Inverted Tatting was still not on my horizon this early . But, well, Judith recently posted a picture of beginner level Beaded Damselfly on Craftree & I felt that I could probably tackle that. Now this piece is more 2-D, & it struck me that hey, This is the end I should’ve dipped my toe in first ;-P
So here are my latest ( I did not attempt the Damselfly, simply played around). Again, not good, but I can see my own slight improvement with a few do’s & don’ts for future practice (that are shared below, some of which were instructions by Judith herself) & definitely something I can go back to repeatedly, trying new shapes, etc. till I really improve. 

Lessons  learned  so  far :

  • Use fine thread, preferably perle cotton. The variegated green, and the brown were in Anchor size 20 (last year), & latest white are in size 40. Unfortunately, no perle cotton.
  • Start with simple, equidistant , equi-length picots. It is easier to come back & join as in a mirror-image.
  • Lock join should be Tight ! Gives a neater, even, more pleasing look.
  • Gradually increase the number of LJs in a single picot. I have made a few with 2 joins in the white paisley.
  • Tension is Crucial. Lots of practice required there.
  • Do not tug/snug the stitches too much ! My mistake in initial attempts, in order to convert to 3-D, was to really tug at the chain. It just ends up distorting the whole piece !!!
  • Do not take extreme close-ups Until you have good pieces to show, lol !
Tutorials  referred  to  so  far include (click on each for direct link) :
I will add these & more resources to my Tatting Resources page, as I come across them in future.

What is Your favorite tutorial & tip for Inverted Tatting ?

A  Little  about  Inverted  Tatting
And here is what Judith Connors said about her 3-D projects :
“These samples use an inversion technique, an idea of Elgiva Nicholls and developed by To De Haan-Van Beek in 'New Dimensions in Tatting' (English translation from Dutch). It uses two shuttles and sometimes a tapestry needle. It's like sculpting with threads.”

That’s it for the present. As you can well see, I need tons of practice here ! 
And this technique might well take quite a few posts in future :-)


  1. I admire your tenacity in learning a challenging technique. I can definitely see an improvement from last year to this year. You'll have a good close up to show sooner than you think.

    1. Thanks, mb, and I hope your words come true :-)

  2. After finishing a section of inverted tatting, I like to hold the edges and tug outwards. This seems to help set the lock joins in the center.

    Are Judith's inverted tatting designs in a book? Which one?

    1. That is a great tip, Martha ! Thank you so much :-)

      There are several patterns based on inverted tatting in her book, 'Contemporary Tatting: new designs from an old art', just reprinted by Lacis Publications.

      The Beaded Damselfly was created for an introductory class (I believe at IOLI).
      I don't have either the book or the IOLI notes. I was more interested in getting the technique to some passable level at this stage :-)

    2. No, Martha and muskaan. I haven't published any further designs and patterns in books. Most of my designs have been shared in tutorials at workshops - IOLI and Fringe Tatters.

  3. I really like inverted tatting. There's a pretty simple pattern for a dragonfly on my blog, try that. My favourite project was the flame lilies I tatted in inverted tatting and I'd long tried to tat a flame lily and was defeated until I learnt inverted tatting.

    1. Wow, Jane, I have just spent the last hour browsing through your inverted tatting experience & Love all you made ! The 2-coloured flame lily is spectacular !
      I have downloaded the dragonfly pattern & will hopefully try it out soon.
      What size thread have you used in general, for inverted tatting ?
      Thanks so much for sharing the links .... led to some inspiring finds :-)

  4. Love this post and I too need to work on this, I do love Janes dragonflies they are a wonderful practice and love the little orange one super cute. This post reminds me I have a question that I may email mail you some time cause you need a picture to see it and then explain or tell me what you think. It is about some daisy flowers and they are connected and the loops seem to not have a knot in them any where it is as if someone drew them with a pencil I will try to find them so you can see unless you know what I am talking about :)

    1. I would love to see the pic, Carollyn ... email anytime. I did send you a few pins, but reading again, I know those are not what you are talking about. Is it possible that the loops are simply long picots & they are joined at the very tip (as in normal tatting) while 'returning' such that the join becomes part of/hidden within the stitch ? Terribly intrigued & curious to see what you send ;-)