How to Read Tatting Abbreviations

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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Here's the key to reading the abbreviations used in a tatting pattern.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Embroidery Scissors
  • Tatting Needles
  • Tatting Shuttles
  • Tatting Thread
  • Beeswax
  • Bobbins
  • Crochet Hooks
  • Fabric Stiffeners
  • Sewing Needles
  • Tapestry Needles
  • Threads
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Recognize the basics: r(s) = ring(s); ch(s) = chain(s); p(s) = picot(s). Picots can be: sm p = small picot; lg p = large picot; or designated by just a - (dash) = picot.

  2. 2

    Learn the verbs: j = join; cl = close; lp = loop; rw = reverse work; sp = leave a space; and sep = separated.

  3. 3

    Move on: jk = Josephine Knot; sr = split ring; and ds = double stitch. A number before ds will tell you how many double stitches to make.

  4. 4

    Use shuttle one with s1; shuttle two with s2.

  5. 5

    Identify individual rings or chains by the alphabetical letters, A, B, C and so on.

  6. 6

    Know that beg = beginning; prev = previous; * = repeat instructions after an asterisk for a specified number of times; ( ) = repeat instructions between parentheses for a specified number of times; and . (a period) = close the ring or the end of the chain.

  7. 7

    Use the continuous thread method when you see ctm.

Tips and warnings

  • "Reverse work" is to turn the work upside down. "Turn work" is to turn the work side to side, like turning a page in a book. In most old patterns, you'll see "Turn," and they meant rw.

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