Monday, 24 September 2018

Cluny Tatting Basics

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Last year, Georgia asked me to do coloured Cluny Tatting on a box loom starting with the basics. I used a card loom (for ease of photographing) which is exactly the same as using a box loom, except for the hollow depth of the latter. This space is created on a card loom when the Warps are pulled tight and the card curves slightly. Or by inserting a pencil or cardboard wedge to raise the loom threads (see Fig1). 
Fig1 - Card Loom with raised Warps
Secondly, while a flat card loom has notches/slits, the 3D box loom has knobs around which the thread is wound (see Fig2 - it is Tamie's pic from the Online Tatting Class) .
Fig2 - Box Loom (pic borrowed from Tamie)
All pics were ready in December 2017. But it has taken over 9 months of gestation to see the light of blog! And now when the time came, it seemed better to start with the very very basic steps which I hadn’t done previously, and then progress to colours. This can act as a refresher as well as to showcase my little tips/tweaks for ease of comparison and reference. I am not happy with the picture quality in my 2015 Cluny Tatting series. Hence this post will contain new pics, though some of the steps may have been covered then.
Due to this change, I will shift the overview and notes to next post where we start with 2 colour threads.

Cluny Tatting - the Basics 
This covers winding the loom and making a single coloured tally

Winding the Loom

A cardstock loom has been used throughout. 
The same principle applies to any kind of loom, including one’s hand.

Yellow shuttle is used to wind the loom (Warps) and red shuttle will be used for weaving. Both shuttles have same colour thread.
There are slits cut into the card loom where thread is inserted. In box loom, the winding is around the knobs. 
I started CTM, and made a ring : 3-3-3-3 before winding the loom.

1. Insert thread through A and out through B
2. Insert thread through C and out through D

3. Insert thread through E and perform ‘one small step’ from behind 
(this small step is not possible on a hand loom)
4. Pass shuttle through the back loop of A & B. 
This step ensures that closing of the tally can be done on the loom itself.  

5. Bring the thread from E out through F …
6. … and in through G (which is the same slit as C). 
This is optional, but I find it keep the loom thread taut at all times 
and the loom shuttle out of the way.

To raise the Warps, a folded card wedge (or pencil) is inserted at the top.

7. This side view shows the raised Warps clearly.
The loom is all set and we are now ready to start weaving our first tally.

Weaving the Tally
basic Cluny Tatting – with same thread (colour) in both shuttles.
2 threads ; 1 colour

 1. Since the previous element is on the left, 
we need to bring the weaving shuttle to the right to begin. 
Hold the ring in a pinch and pass shuttle Under and Over.
NOTE: Instead of simply passing the shuttle across, sometimes a half stitch (flipped or unflipped) is made to secure the base. I have not done it, because at times the stitch knots up for me.

2. Shuttle is in position now, and ready to start weaving.
(though not shown here, keep the ring & Warps in a pinch, as seen in Fig5 below)

 3. Move to the left – pass shuttle Under-Over-Under. 

4. 1 pass made

 5. Move to right - pass shuttle Over-Under-Over.

6. 2nd pass made 
These 2 passes form 1 wrap or weave.
Nudge the thread towards the base to keep all passes close together.

 7. Continue weaving and shaping the tally.
One tally made with 6 wraps (12 passes).

We can now begin to close the tally. Keep tally in a pinch to avoid distortion.

 8. Discard the wedge. Remove thread from slits A & B. 
This is the first loop that needs to be closed by pulling B-C from the lower end. 
Notice how that one small step (Fig4 in Winding the loom) 
has kept all other threads in place on the loom.

9. The A-B loop disappears.
Now we need to close the lower loop. 

10. Remove thread from E and start pulling upwards. As the lower loop (C-D) becomes smaller, remove it from the loom and close completely.
In this case the loop is twisting. Inserting a crochet hook through it weighs it down, 
allowing for a smooth knot-free closure.

11. All loops closed. 1 tally or Cluny leaf or petal made.

In the next post in this series, we begin working with a 2nd colour. All updates will be listed in the My Tutorials page. For lots more tips, resources, and potential, check out my 2015 Cluny Tatting series.

…to be continued


  1. I’ve just used my hand, I’ll have to try a loom. Look forward to seeing the next steps.

    1. I use a loom for the convenience of being able to drop the work at a moment's call and resume without any hitch ;-P But then, I hardly ever make tallies ;-D

  2. Wonderful pics and detailed tutorial! I usually do with my hand but I've used a card too (pics in one of my albums in flickr). That 'one small step behind' is very clever. With all the steps in slow motion, I've just noticed that I do that step in pictures 1&2 a bit different, that is I pass the shuttle over and then under the central thread, moving under from right to left, then for the next step in pic 3 I move the shuttle to the right, and so on. (That is not an half stitch, that in case must be unflipped, imo.) I should try your directions with shuttles in hand, to understand what is the difference (if) and eventually I could like your better :)

    1. In all modesty I think it is a clever step, too, Nin ;-P

      I understand what you are saying and I doubt it makes any difference as long as we are consistent. I might've experimented in the earlier series, but not this time - will try it like you do.

      As for the half stitch - whether flipped or unflipped - Judith's article says flipped while I remember seeing others where it is unflipped. So whatever works, I guess. Even what I have/am shown/ing is not the final word - we all have our own ways :-) Your tallies are so beautifully made !

  3. Thank you! I want to learn how to do the clunies, but can never quite get it on my hand, and then my time to practice runs out. Maybe I can learn using this method? Thank you for keeping in the tutorials to allow referring back!

    1. Hope you give it a try, Cindy :-) And send me a critical feedback so that I can improve, too ...

  4. Years ago I just made my own card like and it is a great way to learn what is really going on, and tension. I invented my own way to do it I'm my hand and made a video on it. I feel I is easier on your hands, than the old way.

    1. I've seen your video and really long tallies, Carollyn! As always, it's great to have a range of methods to choose from :-)

  5. Your cluny tut with step by step pics is so useful Muskaan. I have tatted clunies with hand so far. It does need lot of efforts. Loom seems to be easy. Thank you.

    1. Glad you found it useful, Usha :-) card or box loom does free the hand and is easier to correct mistakes (and take pics, of course ;-P)

  6. It's found the wormhole again ! Blogger can be quite annoying at Times ;-D
    My latest post (hitch the loom) is here :