Look around your world pretty baby
Is it everything you hoped itd be
The wrong guy, the wrong situation
The right time to roll to me                – Roll to Me by Del Amitri

Just can’t seem to  get this tune out of my head as I struggle to overcome my latest tatting hurdle.

A couple of months ago, the Shuttlebirds Tatting Guild’s newsletter included a fun  little questionnaire entitled:  “What about your tatting bedevils you the most?” (sorry, Patti, I didn’t return it).  Examples given included: misreading the pattern, miscounting double stitches, forgetting a picot, putting a picot in the wrong place, finding a mistake after closing the ring, etc.  Nowhere in the list did I find my personal bête noire: the rolling double stitch.  Now I do not know if this the proper term for the phenomenon because I have never seen it discussed  in a book or on the internet.  However, it is not possible to produce impeccable tatting without addressing this issue; whether it be consciously or not.

All of you gentle readers who consistently produce impeccable tatting can stop reading right here and move on.  You already know the answer to the problem.  There are other, more interesting, blog posts awaiting you.

Those of you who are still reading: bear in mind that I have been tatting for just eighteen months, and most of what I have learned I have gleaned from books, the internet, and the apprentice phase of T.A.T.  In short, I am no master tatter – just an aspiring artisan.

Once the new tatter has mastered basic rings and chains and is able to produce fairly even stitches, the next thing to address is leaving a minimal thread space between elements.  It is in closing up these gaps, that one can inadvertently cause the last stitch of the ring just completed to scrunch and roll forward; sometimes to the point where the stitch almost disappears.  This is not impeccable tatting!  I knew what was happening but, since the roll forward occurred after I had left the ring and was not very apparent until I was quite a bit further along, I was powerless to remedy the problem.rim-view-crop

That is until one day a few months ago when I was waiting for a surveyor on the east rim of the canyon. Taking in the lovely panorama of the coast and islands kept me entertained for a little while.  But then I started rifling through the pockets of my jean jacket in pursuit of some diversion.  Ah!  A nice long length of pretty blue baling twine.  I wrapped it around my hand and began finger tatting a 10 ds ring.  Closed the ring and began a chain. Aha! I actually saw the last double stitch of the ring roll forward as I pulled a little too hard on the core thread starting the chain.  By the time the surveyor arrived, I had a tatted fob made of baling twine and a deeper understanding of the rolling ds.

The remedy to the problem, as is so often the case, lies in the pinch itself.  Enough pressure must be maintained on the ring just completed to prevent the core thread from shifting as one snugs the first stitch of the next element against it.  Care must be taken to use the working thread to snug the new stitch against the base of the ring, while keeping the core thread taut; then keep those threads exactly where they are while forming the second half of the stitch.  There is probably also an optimum angle at which to hold the work to accomplish this, but I am still exploring that theory.

What is torturing me this week is that there is another layer to this.  I can produce a pretty circle of rings and chains without allowing stitches to roll but, adding more  horizontal pressure to the ring by attaching a subsequent round by means of a lock join will also cause the last double stitch to roll!

The lock join at the start of the next round has caused the ds to roll

The lock join has caused the ds to roll

So, I must figure out just how much slack to leave in the ring in order to prevent this.  In the meantime, what started as an exercise in direct method block tatting (pdf) of a single motif in two shades of pink  (Lizbeth 20 in 626 and 627) appears to be growing into a doily.  Just one more motif… Surely, I’ll get it right this time!


Marguerite by Judith Connors

What bedevils you about tatting?