This file is far from finished.  +++ marks particularly unfinished portions.

Suggestions for books that ought to be included are welcome.
(I dare not include a "mailto" link because I don't get much spam at my current address and want to keep it that way, but Comcast uses one's address to create one's URL, so all you need to know is that it's dot net, not dot com.)

Shuttle Solitaire Bibliography

The Complete Book of Tatting by Rebecca Jones,
Dryad Press Limited, London, ©1985

Though it contains only 112 medium-size pages, The Complete Book of Tatting lives up to its name.  This is the only place where I've seen instructions for using fingers and shuttle to weave the leaf-shaped tallies used in cluny tatting.  Like the foreign bodies mentioned in the sixteenth exercise, cluny tatting opens up whole new realms of possibility.

Jones gives you six distinct ways to tie a cow hitch over a running line. 

Method one is attributed to Riego herself, and looks as though time might wear it into the method I use.  (I wouldn't put it past my grandfather to have invented the method out of whole cloth and rumor, but everyone who knew how he learned to tat is dead, so the source of my method will remain a mystery.)

Method two is a good, clear explanation of one of the oscillating methods.

Method three is an oscillating method derived from the Reverse Riego method.

The remaining methods of tying double stitches aren't tatting at all, because the knot remains in the thread that it is tied in.  However, each can make lace that looks like tatting, and each has its uses.

Method four is called the direct method:  you form the knots in the air and slide the shuttle through them.  It is suggested for people who have arthritis or for some other reason cannot learn to tat.

Method five is a way to make false chains, and false rings as well. These are not mock rings, but are made over a loop of thread like real rings.  Jones suggests it for people who can't persuade the knot to turn; I'd suggest taking up crochet instead; crochet is nearly as portable as tatting if you confine yourself to #10 thread, and crochet goes much faster than false chains.  False chains do have their uses, some of which I mention in the seventeenth exercise.

In method six you tie the stitches onto a sewing needle, or a long, blunt-pointed "tatting needle," then you pull the running thread through them.  The method reminds me of my favorite way of casting on for knitting, which would make a josephine chain if done on a tatting needle -- I'll have to try the effect of knitting a row of double stitches.  Needle "tatting" has become popular because it is easy to learn it by looking at an illustration, and because it is more suitable than tatting for yarn and coarse thread.  So far, it seems to be used only to imitate tatting, but if it becomes popular enough, and if enough of the practitioners realize that it's legitimate to make up your own designs, patterns unique to the method must appear.  It might even acquire a name.

What else is in the book?  The frontispiece alone is an education:  it's a picture of a chatelaine:  a small medallion that appears to be fine yarn worked over a "bone" ring; from the medallion hang four strips of tatting very like the second sinuous chain that I discussed in the fourteenth exercise.  The tatted ribbons tether a tatting pin, a pair of folding scissors, a tatted shuttle bag, and a seam ripper.  It appears that Australians call that last a "stitch unpicker," which is more apt than the American term.  I haven't mentioned seam rippers, not because I don't think you make mistakes, but because I reserve "stitch unpickers" for cutting stitches.  To untie knots, I use a pick, a crochet hook, a tapestry needle, a lace-knitting needle -- anything fine, smooth, and blunt- pointed. 

In only a page and a half there is a complete explanation of a set of symbols more sophisticated than, yet as simple as, the ones I've used.  There's a discussion of what tatting is and where it came from, including a historical detail or two that Nichols missed.  A page on how to recognize a good tatting thread.  A list of equipment -- which includes a notebook and pencil among the essentials.  (I've really got to get around to following that suggestion about putting all of it into one box.)

Next are the methods already discussed in this review, followed by chains, picots, and four pages on joining threads and getting rid of ends.  (She recommends working over all beginnings, and drawing in ends by means of a loop of fine thread which you have worked the last few stitches over.  I think she tats more loosely than I do, as it would be very difficult to draw a thread inside one of my chains.)

The Simple Starter Patterns include eight edgings for shuttle alone, beginning with the row of rings and proceeding through railroad and hen-and-chicks to more complex patterns.  There are eight more edgings for shuttle and ball — the third shuttle-and-ball edging is a delightful collision among Railroad, the scroll, and the edging I've dubbed "Caterpillar."  Only five edgings are offered for practicing two-shuttle work with josephine knots; perhaps she figures you're getting the hang of it now.

Three pages cover motifs (medallions), one page for Ric-rac tatting (node stitch), two pages for the "lock stitch" (making one half-stitch in the wrong thread on purpose, when you want the knots to jam).

Other sections are "Re-opening a Closed Ring," "Pearl Tatting and Tatting with Three Threads," Cluny Tatting, "Roll Tatting" (wind the thread instead of knotting it), "Tatting with Beads," "Tatting [A]round Hankies."

Then she moves on to "Tatted Notepaper" (fifteen sketches and an alphabet to decorate with tats), "Tatted Bookmarks," "Tatted Butterflies," "Tatted Doodles" (draw with your shuttle, ranging from tats to two-shuttle work), "Tatted Baskets," "Tatted 3-D Flowers," "Tatted Jewelry," "Christmas Tatting," (I particularly like the snowman), "The Tatting Bug" (with plastic eyes), "Tatted Alphabet and Numbers" (script drawn with chains), "Tatting for Babies," two "Tatted Cats," "General Hints to Make Tatting Easier," Mlle. Riego and Tatting in Victorian times," "Tatting from European Patterns" (with French, German, Italian, and Spanish tatting words), "A Final Word," and a bibliography.

All that in a book no thicker than a grade-school speller!  I'm green.


Beginning Bobbin Lace by Gillian Dye, Dover Publications, ©1986, ISBN 0-486-25416-X

This book was mentioned in passing in the entry under "bookmarks" in the Encyclopedic Index.

Practical Skills in Bobbin Lace by Bridget M. Cook, Dover Publications, ©1987, ISBN 0-486--25561-1(pbk.)

This book was mentioned in passing in the entry under "bookmarks" in the Encyclopedic Index.

Tatting Hearts by Terri Dusenberg

+++ review needed, proper citation

+++ Elgiva Nicholls

(tatter's guru; everyone should read her "Tatting: Technique & History")

+++ Bullock's Lace and Lacemaking (I don't recall what this book is doing here.)

Tatting With Visual Patterns by Mary Konior, Lacis, ©1992, ISBN 0-916896-42-0

+++ a splendid introduction to diagrams.

«»«»«»«»«» «»«»«»«»«» «»«»«»«»«»

Appendix 1:  How to Plain and Purl  »
Appendix 2:  Encyclopedic Index  »
Appendix 3:  Illustrations of Knots  »
Appendix 4:  Glossary  »
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