Sunday, 26 March 2017

a Sunday tatting puzzle

Pin It now!

How to notate ?

I’d like a bit of help, please.
I checked and rechecked, counted and recounted, compared with original tatted model, … and was very confident that what I wrote and tatted was correct.
Then I Googled and found many tatters have made and blogged about the same project over the years, but there was no mention of anything amiss.
Now my confidence is undermined and I need you to take a few seconds and choose the correct one, before I make a complete fool of myself ;-P 

One ring and chain are diagrammed above, along with stitchcount.

When there are many picots separated by the same number of stitches, we like to shorten the notation by putting a single repeat within brackets followed by the number of times the bracketed segment needs to be repeated. 

Going by this ‘shorthand’ method, which of the following notations is correct for each element - A or B ; C or D ?  (refer to diagram)

  A]   R:  3 (– 3) x6, 7 – 7  RW
  B]   R: (3 –) x6, 7 – 7  RW

  C]  CH: 7 (– 3) x5, 7
  D]  CH: 7 (– 3) x4, – 7

With experienced tatters, our brains autocorrect ; but for new/beginners incorrect notations can cause unnecessary frustration. It is this latter scenario that makes me more vigilant now.

Waiting for your response, tatters J
A or B  for ring ? and 
C or D for chain ?


Just to complete and justify the title, here are a few other ways we come across for the diagram above.

Without any brackets ...
     R: 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 7 – 7 . RW
  CH: 7 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 7

Some include the total number of picots in that element as end of line …
     R: 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 7 – 7 . RW (7p total)
  CH: 7 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 7.   (5p in all)

“sep” or “sep by” is shortened from “separated by”. It gives us only the number of stitches between the end picots in that segment  ….
     R: 3ds, 6p sep 3ds, 7ds, p, 7ds. RW
  CH: 7ds, 5p sep 3ds, 7ds

These are a few that are most often used when converting descriptive antique patterns to shorter modern format.


  1. Hmm. I think the most important thing is consistency, whatever method you choose. I don't think I've seen brackets used like that. For me A is probably best, but I don't think it makes much odds as long as there's a logic that is explained and adhered to. I quite like the one where the number of picots is put at the end of the line in brackets as a double check.

  2. B and D are right but with A you are told to make too many 3's on the ring and the same with D on the chain.

  3. Granted that you give a legend, I think B and D are good, at least for me. I prefer the short notation without brackets, also I like it with the total number of picots.

  4. B and D are the ones that make sense to me!

  5. A and C won't have a picot between the last set and the end count and will have an extra set. I started out reading patterns, but prefer diagrams

  6. Definitely B and D the others won't have the same stitch count. But why write it at all when the diagram is so clear?

  7. Thank you all so very much for your prompt response :-)
    My version is B & D, too. You are all correct, as is your explanation.
    And I agree that the total picot at end of line really helps.
    Brackets tend to confuse me, too, Ninetta & I have to extra vigilant.
    This is only part of a transcribed pattern that I found errors in and was trying to rectify.
    Thanks again everybody :-)))

  8. B & D are the ones I'd choose as 'correct.' I'm not fond of patterns that use brackets, but I guess they can be useful sometimes. Your diagram is very good, that's all I'd need. In a written-out pattern, the total number of picots is often helpful, too, at the end of the line.

  9. I also like B & D... But, in addition to the diagram, I like the stitches totally written out with the number of picots at the end in parentheses:
    The last example is probably best, so each little dash in a long sequence (3-) doesn't have to be counted separately when tatting... The total number of picots is a good double-check to see if it's right...

  10. B and D but I do like diagrams too to check my picots.

  11. B and D for me. I like shortened versions when available. A diagram is also good so one can recheck their work as well. Main thing is to be consistent when writing out the pattern.

  12. Thank you Stephanie, Anne, Bernice & Phyllis !

    All comments to this post have been very insightful and will certainly aid in future pattern-writing !
    But like you say, Phyllis, consistency is the key.

  13. I avoid brackets as much as possible. Just me. But I get too confused! I'll use the #ds, #p, sep#ds, #ds notation first. Or, a good diagram with stitch count and begining point marked.

    1. sans-bracket writing seems to be unanimous ! Yes, a good diagram can do more than 3/4ths of the job. Thanks Mel :-)

  14. B] R: (3 –) x6, 7 – 7 RW is correct. Choice "A" has an additional 3ds.

    D] CH: 7 (– 3) x4, – 7 is correct. Choice "C" has an additional 3ds

    from Anita Barry

    1. So happy to see you here, Anita ! Thanks for your input - always value it :-)