Sunday, June 05, 2011

In Which I Contemplate Tatting Heresy

In general, people seem to think that the old fashioned written out pattern style is a bad thing, and the newer short hand patterns are a good thing. Usually I agree, but there are times, though, when the old style is much easier to write, and perhaps easier to read as well. My book in progress is about picot techniques, and I am really tempted to backslide a bit in notation style.

Given these three choices:
3 VLP [2 VLP] 4 times, 3 or
3 {5 VLP sep by 2 ds} 3 or
3 ds {5 VLP sep by 2 ds} 3 ds,
I am tempted by the latter versions.

For a set of graduated picots:
3 - 2 -- 2 --- 2 -- 2 - 2
wouldn't be too bad for a set of 5 picots, but a set of 7 or more would be unreadable. Instead, what about:
3 {5 graduated p sep by 2 ds} 3.

I am a little hesitant to move away from the trend to standardize pattern notation, but I would like to make this set of patterns as easy to follow as possible. What do you think?


  1. Personally when i re-write patterns i use the top notation (personally) but with the picots getting larger, i agree with the written out, because it explains it.

  2. Difficult choices. I like the KIS approach 'keep it simple' but that's easier said than done with graduated picots!!! If you gave the 'graduation' in the abbreviations (length of each picot from 2mm to 5mm largest) then the last one is best but with a normal bracket or square bracket. You could shorten the 'graduated' to grad or summat too. Difficult as I now tend to try and do my stuff the 'Palmetto' way!!! Whatever you do I want the new book please. Jane an avid collector of your books.

  3. My first thought is if it's a book of patterns dealing with graduated picots, you should not have to explain over and over again. I have often wonder just how big is that vsp - What did the person use to get the standard picot? Is it a sixteenth or an eighth or three sixteenth of an inch? Or is it just a bump in the road? I like graduated picots - usually just eyeball them. It would be hard to understand 3 - 3gp - 3 or however it's written. Thanks for allowing my input. Robert, in northern Iowa.

  4. the last set works for me. it's clear and i'm ok with reading that. is that an edging you are working on? looks gorgeous!

  5. I like visual patterns, with written instructions as support. Sometimes I need to both see and read. In this case I prefer the last notation you made. It just makes more sense to me, and as long as there is a picture there to help me get the idea straight in my mind, I'm happy!

  6. I absolutely agree here. The last lies of both are much more clear to me.

    I think I am a very suitable person to ask about what is clear, as I am very dyslexic. Feel free to use this disability to test some of your questions like this!
    Fox ; )

  7. Hi Martha, normally I like the 3 {5 VLP sep by 2 ds} 3 style, but that wouldn't reflect the graduated picot length.
    in looking at your actually item, and the need for graduated picot length, 3 - 2 -- 2 --- 2 -- 2 - 2 would work, but # of -'s can be hard to read and figure out in some types of print.
    I think the 3 {5 graduated p sep by 2 ds} 3 would actually work better,

  8. All of the different styles of pattern writing lead to frustration with tatting in general sometimes. As I've learned to tat, I find deciphering patterns is definitely more difficult and frustrating than actually doing the tatting. The clearer the pattern, the better!

    While I agree with getting pattern writing standardized, the patterns need to be easy to read for beginners as well as experienced tatters. I prefer these two of your choices, and I still think the 2nd choice could include "ds" following the 3s to be the clearest - especially for those newer tatters.

    3 ds {5 VLP sep by 2 ds} 3 ds

    3 {5 graduated p sep by 2 ds} 3.

    Just my two cents :)


  9. In this particular case, I agree and would prefer this:

    3ds {5 graduated p sep by 2 ds} 3ds

    Hope that helps.

  10. I'm not sure how much this would affect the page count and production cost of the book, but you could try doing both notations -- that way people can follow the more helpful ones if they need to, but there are also the standard ones to tie the book into the current methods.
    That teaser photo is really lovely!

  11. I like the 5 graduated picots rather than the hyphens.

    Beautiful design!

  12. I'm a visual pattern person but have lots of patterns in various notations and can manage them as well. I agree with most of the people here "3 {5 graduated p sep by 2 ds} 3" seems to make the most sense to me. This also sounds like book I want to have!

  13. My two cents worth :-)
    I agree that the "shortened" version gets too cumbersome when picot counts get above 5 or so. I agree with adding the "ds" after the 3's. Perhaps in the abbreviations you could put "grad = graduated" or notes explaining that grad/graduated means short to long then back to short, to eliminate any confusion over, i.e. grad up or grad down. Thus: 3ds {5 grad p sep by 2 ds} 3ds. WOW! TEASING us is RIGHT!! What a stunning, COMPELLING pattern!!! I think I'm drooling! When is this book coming out??!! ~Tatikan/Sher

  14. 3 {5 graduated p sep by 2 ds} 3.

    Definitely an easy way to express the directions especially if there are a lot of picots involved.

    It would be good to establish the concept in the abbreviations list but this notation eliminates any question.

  15. I like the 3rd version on your list (the one more written out). It seems easier to understand.

  16. I prefer the last one, also. I avoid patterns that are written and look like algebraic equations! Gives me a headache! My vision isn’t as good as it should be and different sized hyphens for picot length are indiscernible to me.

    A new book? Woo hoo...put me down for one as, like Jane, “I’m an avid collector of your books.”

    Thanks for sharing.. xxxx bev

  17. I'm really new to tatting. I do think this would be okay for me to read "3 {5 graduated p sep by 2 ds} 3". However, I didn't realize the full implication of what you meant by graduated (I'm new!) until I saw the "3 - 2 -- 2 --- 2 -- 2 - 3."

    I have to sit down and watch the video on how to do the split ring. I'm still on rings & chains, and working with beads.

  18. I agree some of the new patterns written out are different to how they were years ago when I learnt.
    It nice to have a picture to go by when the pattern is not easy to read the written part.

  19. I'm a visual person and the more explanation, the better.

    Love the undulating motif!

  20. I like what you're doing with the picots so far. As far as notation, I think the one using the words "graduated picots" is clearest. As someone mentioned, the dashes don't always print out right. While diagrams are nice and preferred by most, I think some text explaining some of the finer points is usually needed.

  21. This is a favorite subject! I was delighted when the number/dash method was becoming more accepted. I also prefer drawings. You are certainly among the top echelon of designers and pattern writers! You're already doing it 'right'! Each pattern has to be written in its own way. And there has to be room for variation, even in 'standard' notation rules.

    The most important issue for me with any written system is that the rings and chains be printed on SEPARATE lines! You also were doing that early on! ( I easily followed your amazing Hairpin Lace Angel pattern 'way back when' and featured it in my 11/23/10 post about special photo-insert snowglobes! The angel looks great in there, and can be removed easily!)

    I must write out an old pattern line by line (with the number/dash system, and usually add a sketch), but the advantage is, by the time I'm finished I sometimes have the pattern memorized !

    However, I'll write the 'multiple picot' lines WITHOUT the dashes, and as briefly as possible (in my own personal shorthand). Example: 3 [7p/2] 3. So I'm with the group that likes the 'written' versus 'dash style' in the case of the multiple and/or graduated picots.

  22. I just got to say you tatted up a wonderful example there. WOW!

  23. I totally agree. For the majority of patterns, less is more, but sometimes more is more. There are times when the pattern is very complex, or you need to explain something very specifically, that it is better to write things out more fully. Sometimes having too many abbreviations can also make a pattern harder to follow. The trick is knowing where to draw the line!

  24. Beautiful pattern either way you explain it.