Tuesday, 24 November 2015

pds – padded double stitch

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Padding the Double Stitch - any which way !

We’ve heard of padded tatting. We’ve also heard of/used Double Double stitch & Balanced Double Stitch to straighten out long chains. Some may even remember self-padded double stitch from an earlier time. Are all these the same or different ?
Here is my attempt (delayed by over a year, sorry) to make some sense of it all. I apologize for the length of this post ... 

Some sentences/paras are direct quotes from the original thread here. To distinguish these, I’ve used a different font in blue. Anything in italics here is my personal comment. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are by Judith Connors. Needle tatting quotes are by Judy Anderson.


I.  The  Terms
Existent :
s-p ds : self-padded double stitch or self-padded ring (Rhoda Auld, 1974),
BDS : Balanced double stitch (Ruth Perry, 2008), 
DDS : Double Double stitch (Jane Eborall, 2009), 

Proposed :  Padded  Double  Stitch  (pds)
pds : padded double stitch (emerged/evolved through a discussion in Craftree, 2014)


II.  Why  call  it  pds ?

  1. Historical credit. Padded double stitch is simply shortened from Rhoda’s first known use of ‘self-padding a ds’. “Her experimentations are recorded on page 84 of her book, 'Tatting: the contemporary art of knotting with a shuttle'”.  This was arrived at after some detailed discussion, investigation, & experimentation by participants in the thread "Balanced Double Stitch (?)" started by Judith.
  2. BDS & DDS are only two of the possible motions (& applications) that can create padding in a stitch, making them a subset of the pds formation. Refer to ensuing points & Table in Sec.IV 
  3. Variable/unequal wraps on the half stitches or between ds can create graduated, transitional, or unique effects on any ring or chain. (I shared some possibilities here). But then the stitch will not remain ‘Balanced’, nor only a ‘Double’. Hence a generic term like padded ds seems more appropriate.
  4. And pds, with it’s proposed Notation System captures this variability in written form, too. See examples of notation in next segment.
  5. Padded double stitches may be applied, for effect, to known elements in tatting.” Besides large rings & long chains, they can be used in Split rings, Onion/concentric rings, Josephines, etcas showcased in pictures below.    
  6. Standardization to reduce confusion – both with multiple terms as well as notation. pds could be considered a generic term .


III.  Notation for padded double stitch

A double stitch is made of 2 half stitches, called 1st HS/fhs & 2nd HS/shs.
Hence in order to show padding wraps, we include the half stitches in brackets, with number of wraps indicated on each.

1. ‘Balanced’/Equal Padding :
pds(1,1) means 1 wrap on fhs & 1 wrap on shs.
So, if you’ve been reading carefully, what would pds(1,1) represent ??
Yes! pds(1,1) = BDS or DDS !!!  And by same logic, pds(0,0) = DS!
pds(2,2) = 2 wraps each on each half stitch.

2. Variable/Unequal Padding :
pds(1,3) = 1 wrap on fhs & 3 wraps on shs.
pds(4,2) = 4 wraps on fhs & 2 wraps on shs.
pds(0,2) = no wrap on fhs & 2 wraps on shs.
pds(3,0) = 3 wraps on fhs & no wrap on shs.
pds(0,1) = no wrap on fhs, 1 wrap on shs. (Half DDS by Jane Eborall, 2014)
In these 3 examples , 0 or no wrap means that half stitch is tatted like a normal half stitch, without any padding , as seen in above pic, where Chain is pds(0,5) 

3. Number of Stitches :
Just as one puts a numeral before ds to indicate how many stitches are to be tatted, one puts a numeral before ‘pds’ to indicate the number of stitches required.
3pds(1,1) = 3 padded ds with 1 wrap in each half stitch.
6pds(3,2) = 6 stitches with 3 wraps in fhs & 2 wraps in shs
5pds(0,3) = 5 pds with no wrap in fhs & 3 wraps in shs.

4. Special Elements :
Josephines are worked with only one of the half stitches - either 1st or 2nd only. This can be represented with a “” for the missing half st.
Eg. JR 10pds(,2) = a J Ring of 10 sts padded with 2 wraps on the shs ;
JC 6pds(3,
) = J chain of 6 sts padded with 3 wraps on fhs.     


IV.  Tabulated  Comparison  of  Stitches

For pdf download of table : "Padding" the Stitch Table (revised) 


V.  How to Wrap the half stitches ?

Refer to Table above. Click on names below for direct link to resource.
Resources/Tutorials referred to by :  Ruth Perry , Jane Eborall , Karen Cabrera .

This post is more about unifying the seemingly different movements applied to attain the same result. I would love for you to take up your shuttle(s) & some scrap thread & try out the 3 versions for yourself & have fun discovering the Wow moment ! And also find your own comfort movement :-) Humour me ?

And one can’t really go wrong . WHY ?
If you make a mistake in the wrap, it will do only 1 of 2 things :
either unwrap immediately so that you have no padding (it is easily visible)
it will create a knotty situation (pun intended) when you try to snug it close. So in either case, one will realise one's mistake & can rectify it immediately.

My Submission : The extra wrap(s) can be made anywhere !

It does not matter Where the extra ‘wrap’ is made – on the core thread, or on the loop of the half stitch that is being formed, on the ‘leg’, or on the ‘auxiliary’ thread (chain/ball/shuttle 2 thread), or How it is made – whether before flipping or after! Once the half stitch is Flipped, &/or the threads tensioned, the result is the Same ! After flipping the half stitch, whichever it is, the wraps will coil around the core thread in the same way seen in 3rd pic from top , or pics #4 & #8 below. And tensioning or snugging, the stitch will also produce the exact same padded effect.

There are 3 ‘ways’ to wrap around a half stitch (before or after flipping)
  1. core thread (as Jane does)
  2. 'leg' loop of stitch (as Karen does)
  3. working 'cap'/upper thread of stitch loop (in pictorial below)
and it will make no difference to the end result ! The 3rd way is photographed below 


VI.  3rd Way of Padding the Double Stitch
A Quick Pictorial
… making the wrap on the top auxiliary thread part of flipped half stitch – the ‘cap’ part

Since the formation of the wrap is of no consequence, one is free to choose what one finds most comfortable & easy. In fact, I have used all 3 wrapping movements interchangeably in my Wreath Ornament ! I usually wrap around ‘cap’; but for reverse stitch or 2nd half of SR, I find it easier to wrap around the taut core thread.


VII.  Are these the same ?

1. Padded Tatting and ‘Padding’ Tatting !

'padded tatting' is a concept which would embrace a number of effects:
* using multiple core threads or a cord, as in pearl tatting (aka parallel and Maltese tatting);
* the use of wool, in needle tatting;
* using threads of two different thicknesses, the thicker one as the core;
* Rhoda Auld's and our recent padded (wrapped) double stitch --> padded chain and padded ring.
[This includes the BDS & DDS].
There are probably others, depending on the experimentation of various tatters.

Thus pds is a ‘subset’ of padded tatting where we are ‘padding’ the stitch, without use of any auxiliary thread. Can be done with both a regular double stitch (flipped) or the unflipped reverse stitch formations, and any element using them. So, while we keep saying padded DS, it could well be padded RS

2. Roll Tatting & Padded DS

The movement is similar, one is making wraps ! But in Roll tatting, one wraps around the Core thread Only, with no stitches.
In Padded DS, one is wrapping within the stitch.


VIII.  Can it be done in Needle Tatting ?

YES, and it is so much easier ! 
This technique is not limited to shuttle tatting. For needle-tatters, Judy points out how easy it is : “just circle that finger twice before putting on the needle.” So, the wraps are made on the finger !
Judy goes on to say “This needle tatter has used both padding and variable tension.. and both at the same time ... to make a reasonable script J for a monogram. Tight curves, rounder ones and straight sections…”


IX.  Final  Observations

It provides thickness, texture, interest, stiffness, bulk, highlight. 
It is very easy to do & very practical for long lengths of chains, large rings, and many decorative elements. 
It makes the stitch wider/broader, too.
 “It works well for a bracelet because the chain is not curved as a normal chain would be.” (Jane McLellan)
It is perfect for 3D &/or freeform tatting to add stiffness & effect. I have used the pds in a lot of my freeform 3D patterns, listed at end.  

Size of thread is inversely related. Fewer wraps possible with thicker thread, because it is unwieldy to tension.

But quantity of thread used is directly proportional to the number of wraps.
Soft silky threads make better wraps.
Tension plays a role in the final visual effect of each stitch as well as the overall appearance.
For noticeable visible difference in effect when making unequal/variable wraps in half stitches of same DS – the difference in wraps should be more than One.

As the number of wraps increase, the thread may start to twist. Suspend shuttle to normalize.
For same reason, padding a Josephine ring or chain, may become slightly more difficult.
TIP (Judith Connors)  “… the adage 'Less is more' is advised, as over-padding could alter the integrity of the known elements.
Some tatters never use this type of double stitch, preferring to tension the double stitches less so that the chains do not curve much at all. [When I tension less in some sections of inverted tatting, I can produce chains which are straight.]”

I invite your inputs, opinion, feedback, & suggestions .

Thanks to All Designers & Participants 
who have contributed so much to tatting & it's evolution

Related Posts : My experiments and trials
My patterns using pds : Wreath , Rustic Leaf , Poppy


2 of my projects & 2 tutorials had been nominated, of which this one won. 
I think it is very much in keeping with my 2 passions - TATeaching :-)))

A BIG Thanks to all you wonderful voters for such a lovely gift :-)

and a very special Thanks to Ninetta for sharing your creative originality, 
to Fiona for altering my perspective, 
& Kersti for her wonderful forum  ...

((( HUGS )))

CONGRATULATIONS to all nominees & winners – your work is always an inspiration


okay, okay, I'm going ..... ;-)


  1. In the Julia Sanders book, padded tatting is tatting over a core of a number of threads. Just by the way!

    1. Yes, Jane, that is the difference between "padded tatting" and a padded DS / BDS / DDS .... and I covered it in Section VII :-)

    2. This is a really impressive summary of this whole concept. Thank you.

      Congratulations on your win!

    3. Thanks, Martha :-) Appreciate it....

  2. Congratulations on you Craftree award you deserved it :) I have done the padded core but this seems to me the first I have taken the time to notice the other and I have books with this too but I will return as always to view this and wonder how to apply this padded DS, it has an interesting look to it.

    1. Thanks Carollyn :-)
      If you browse thru the Craftree thread I have linked here, you will see Usha's creative application of this padding the stitch ! I know you will come up with something equally inspiring with your talent :-)

  3. Another very interesting post! Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge... it makes things so much easier for me! ;-)

    1. Thank you, Diane :-) I often use this stitch/formation in my 3D patterns, in order to create bulk & stiffness.

  4. Wow. You take tatting to a whole new plane!
    I have never thought of doing more than 2 wraps (to balance for a chain to be straight). But, I can see many places this would add more interest to a design.
    In that it widens the stitch, it can make shuttle tatting more closely resemble needle tatting.
    I think you deserve awards for almost every post (see first line)!

    1. Oh, StringyDogs, you are too kind !
      You make an interesting observation about the padded st resembling needle tatted st in width !
      I do like the texture, width, stiffness, variability that the pds brings to a design & have used it often. The onion rings above could make a beautiful peacock plume ! [Incidentally, the centre part of collage is from the back side -- noticed too late :-( ]

  5. Impressive study. Need to sit down and analyze it... maybe a new video is coming soon :)
    congratulations on your nominations and prize! well deserved!!

    1. Thanks, Karen :-)
      A new video .... yay ! I learn so much from your videos - the demos are very clear & you seem to have covered almost everything !!!

  6. Congratulations on your Craftree award :). This technique looks interesting! I really can not wait for summer when I should have more time to try your tutorials :).

    1. Thanks, Jenn :-)) You are always so supportive - appreciate it

  7. Congrats for your award, I love the Ninetta curled ring technique <3