Tuesday, 10 July 2018

black blindness no more !

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How often have we ranted and raved;
avoiding black like the plague ?!
Well, avoid no more! Follow this tip to tat with thread of any colour and any thickness.

(click title to download pdf)

Tatting with black thread often means having to rely on motor /muscle memory. It is so difficult to see or distinguish each stitch! And heaven forbid if we lose count!
Well, fear no more.
Here's a simple way of counting stitches in black or dark coloured threads and even very fine thread. So tat on without a care; throw away that magnifier.

this is only an image. click here to d/l pdf
[ It was extremely difficult to take pics of the top view, despite seeking help. Only 6 of the tons made it through. Hence the diagrammatic illustration. ]

Turn the tatting towards you so that it is vertical and you now see the stitches from the TOP. It helps to view it against a contrasting background.
The line of stitches now looks like a serrated edge or a wave.
Slide/spread open the stitches along the core thread - separating them out a bit.
Each individual crest & trough of the ‘wave’ is now individually visible. Even in size 50 black (or thinner threads).
Count either the crests or the troughs to determine the number of stitches.

In traditional tatting, count the number of troughs.
1 trough = 1 double stitch.

In backside tatting where the sequence of half stitches is reversed (rods),
1 crest = 1 double stitch

Once you are satisfied with the number, push back the stitches and continue. 

Here's the same in thick thread - 
 There are 5 ds on either side of the picot on this chain...
Spread out the stitches and view from top. 
One can clearly see 5 troughs on either side of picot.

Simple? Try it and do tell. 
I have not come across any such tip. If you have, please share.


  1. Great tip!! I finished a piece in black size 80 recently. Lots of tatting by feel with it! Your method will keep lighter colors from getting quite so dirty from my "braille" moments. Thank you!

  2. I avoid black, my eyes can’t cope with it, I do spread the stitches out if I am unsure how many I have done, I will be trying this trick too.

  3. Ah! I'd try this with size 80, all tips are good to know with black, and red too. Thank you.

  4. I have same difficulty with black colour thread in tatting. Your tips are really very useful for me. Thanks Muskaan.

  5. What a great tip for counting stitches in hard to see threads. Thank you!

  6. Good idea to have a different way of looking at things!

  7. Thanks for pointing out this stitch counting method! I didn’t really realize I had been doing this occasionally. Now that I am conscious of this method, I can carry a small white cloth for contrast as an aid in my tool kit! Will I be tatting more with black? Maybe not, but at least I won’t be so chained to my chair next to the Ott Lite :-) Thanks Muskaan!

  8. Ah Mel, I sometimes use the ‘braille’ method, but am not so good with it ;-(

    Nin, I was thinking of your fine thread tatting while sharing this tip ;-P Would love your feedback!

    Mimi, my feelings exactly :-) To rephrase Jane – it’s a handy perspective :-D

    Thanks, everybody !!! I appreciate your encouraging comments. Keep them coming ;-D

  9. I have good eyesight (sorry to brag) so seeing stitches is not so hard for me, but I can still use this trick when tatting in low light. I'm sure your method is useful for a lot of people so thank you for sharing!

    1. Lavi, take care of your eyes and don't tat in low light - I say this from experience ;-D Appreciate your thoughts :-)