Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review #5: "Tatting: Patterns and Designs"

I have for you today another book review. Hope you're not too tired of these yet...I'll try to space them more evenly with other "just tatting" posts... :) Try being the operative word there! :)

Title: "Tatting: Patterns and Designs)
This is another Dover publication, and a "slightly abridged republication" of a Swedish book called Frivoliteter, so if you happen to read Swedish and have that book, you don't need this one, too...unless you want it, of course!! :)
Authors: Gun Blomqvist and Elwy Persson 
Year of Publication: 1988 
ISBN: 0-486-25813-0
Number of pages: 95

Number of patterns: 85 
"Chrysanthemum" Shuttle Tatted, Lizbeth 40
Type of pattern notation: Short notation with some abbreviations (ie: R 5-5-5-5. C7. R 5-5-5+5. Reverse work.) The patterns do give some written instruction when necessary, ie: "Repeat until the lace is the length required"

Types of patterns: This book has five sections of patterns, including Edgings and Insertions, Stars, Simple Patterns, Advanced Patterns, and Crowns. In the first section there are 8 edgings, 3 insertions, and 2 patterns that can be used for either purpose. One of the edging patterns is also labeled as a possible collar. The Stars section includes 45 patterns, only maybe two of which I would actually consider to be a "star," and the rest either snowflakes, flowers, or other small motifs. These patterns are organized in groups of 5 and are shown tied together to make a mobile, for which some basic directions are also given.
"Stars Mobile" Needle Tatted, Perle 8
The Simple Patterns section has 15 patterns, including a candlestick frill, mats (including one that is suggested to be a window screen, a collar and cross bookmarks. 
The 9 Advanced Patterns are all doilies
"The Miracle" Needle Tat
There are three patterns in the Crowns section, and all are 3D.
"Charity" Needle tatted, Perle 8 (The model is my beautiful mom!)

Illustrations: All patterns are illustrated with clear black and white photos of finished products
Notions: Each pattern suggests a yarn size, usually DMC 20 or 30. Beyond the materials needed for the mobile, no other notions are suggested. However, I did just add beads to the collar pattern and I think it added a little bit of something, if I do say so myself. :)
"Tendril" Shuttle Tatted, Cebelia 30 with 11/0 Czech Beads
Shuttle or needle? The book gives the ubiquitous shuttle tatting description in the front, but I have made many of the patterns (including all those in the mobile above) with a needle, so this book is appropriate for either method. I did find some of the patterns to be more challenging with the needle than the shuttle, however, especially those that need two shuttles to complete.
"Star No. 4" (pg 35) Needle Tatted, Perle 8
Other inclusions: The book begins with an Introduction which is actually a nice 5-page illustrated (with portraits of famous people with shuttles) short history of tatting. It then has a one-page suggestion for Tools and Materials needed, including a plug for DMC thread and authors experiences working with other materials and the shuttle. The 6-page Techniques section is well-illustrated with black and white line drawings of hands and shuttles, and includes information on Joining Rings, Joining Threads, Second Thread from Ball and [tatting with] Two Shuttles, as well as a section of Definition of Terms and Nature as a Model, which encourages the tatter to see nature as a design inspiration. There are photos of seeds and leaves scattered throughout the book to continue this theme.
"The Big Cross" Needle Tatted, Perle 8
Skill level: Beginner-Intermediate Some of the patterns in the book are quite, quite simple, but others are more tricky, including the 3 crowns at the end. However, every pattern can be achieved through simple rings and chains (no split anythings here) so this book is appropriate for someone new to tatting.
Skills needed: As far as I can see, the most "tricky" skills needed here are the Josephine knot, two shuttle tatting and, for needle tatters especially, leaving bare thread between rings (shuttle only tatters, I'm not sure you understand how much needle tatters tend to loathe "shuttle only" patterns...they are such a pain!!) 
"Star No 2" (pg 49) Needle Tatted, Perle 8
Availability: Although this is an older book, it is still available in the US from the publisher, Dover, as well as Amazon and Be-Stitched (although not through Handy Hands). The UK's Amazon and Tatting and Design also have the book. It is available in ebook, paperback and hardcover formats, depending on where you buy it.
Price range: $6-18 (USD), depending on the format and whether you buy new or used.
Personal Notes: This is definitely a book I would recommend to a newer tatter, as it is one of those books you can "grow with"...patterns that seem impossible early on become a happy challenge later in the game, and something to strive for as you improve your tatting skills. The patterns are clearly marked with Name, Purpose, Yarn (thread suggestion), Size (when tatted with suggested thread), Abbreviations and number of Shuttles, all very helpful in my mind!
"Star No 2" (pg 35) Needle Tatted, Perle 8
I especially love that it is available as an e-book for those who like that format, because it makes it accessible for all (even those of us who move all over the place al the time!) The physical book's size is also smaller than many tatting books (9" tall x 6" wide) so it is portable, even if you don't have it electronically. 
"Star No. 3" (pg 43) Needle Tatted, Perle 8
I just finished this collar over the weekend and I really like it!! I added a jump ring and a lobster clasp to make it a necklace.
So there you have it.

Anybody have a book they are considering procuring/would like to read a review on? If I have it, I will be happy to write something to give you more information before you buy! :)


  1. Kristen, this is one of the books I'd ordered through back in October (10th Oct to be precise) & I Still haven't received it. A botched up order, then had to reorder. And now the earliest delivery will be end Nov/early Dec. !!!! No way to lodge a complaint ... v disappointed with Amazon this time.
    Oops, sorry for the sob-story.

    I am so happy that you reviewed this book . You have done some superb tatting ! And Star No.2 is a simple derivative of the Magic Square (lol, that's all I'm seeing nowadays, what with the deconstruction series).
    The collar is Gorgeous - so beautifully tatted :-)

    1. Oh no!!! Those books still haven't arrived?! :( Amazon's customer service is also usually so good, I am disappointed for you. :( I hope it comes sooooooooon!!!

      Your "Magic Square" deconstructions are quite fascinating. It is amazing how often it pops up!

    2. Yippee ! Books finally arrived y'day ! (this, & another by Rita Weiss). I had bought this one Especially for the Lucky Clover Doily. Flipping through the books, I was so inspired by some of the various patterns - want to make all at once ;-P However, tatting season is over for me at present & will have to wait for later, or slip in some if I can't help myself.

      While Amazon did not respond to our communication, we did notice that the 'store/supplier' that was initially supposed to deliver it to us, has been taken off the list completely, & I got this re-delivered from another of their suppliers. So, yes, though inordinately delayed, Amazon did stand up to their reputation. Only wish there had been some sort of communication - but all is forgotten & forgiven. Lesson learned : go for COD , no pre-payments !

  2. Looks an interesting book, I have just brought mastering tatting patterns which I think you reviewed some weeks ago, I really have enjoyed it and have a couple of bits to show when I get around to putting them in my blog.
    Lovely crown and collar, two really beautiful pieces as well as the rest.

    1. Thanks Margaret!! And I did review the other book, I'm glad you're enjoying it!! :)

  3. Love your book reviews,both your personal opinion and seeing examples so I can decide if the book is for me. You really put a lot of thought and effort into it, and I appreciate that. Do you have any Japanese books you can review? Like "The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito" or "Tatting Lace" by Tomoko Morimoto. My fear with some of these foreign language books is having questions about the patterns and no supporting written instructions.

    1. Thank you! I only just obtained "The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito," thanks for the inspiration, I will review it soon!! (If you can't wait for mine, here is another option:

      I have four or five Japanese books (two of which are actually translated to Thai) and at least two are called "Tatting Lace" but I don't think either are by Tomoko Morimoto... go figure :)

    2. mb duke, Just wanted to let you know that the Blumqvist book intimidated me for 5 years! Then I got into it, but I still find it confusing, though I have tatted a lot of things recently - in the past two years - from it. I find the Japanese books WAY easier to follow, as their diagrams in any of the books I have - including the one you mention - are superb. They are very, very clear. To me anyway! : ))

    3. Fox, after a week with Teiko Fujito (whose book has been translated into English but still) I am loving Japanese diagramed patterns!! I have the great luck of having had a Japanese woman move right next door to me last weekend, and I have already introduced her into tatting and secured the promise of help in obtaining more Japanese books....I am so hooked, thanks to mb duke for the suggestion to review this book! :)

  4. Love your review and I so wanted to make a color like this for a sweater and realized I don't have a sweater ha ha. You really did a great job showing all the things and opinions Thank You!

    1. Thank you. :) I bought that sweater specifically because I wanted to make a tatted collar, so I understand where you are coming from!! :)

  5. This is my favourite little book of all times! My husband gave it to me as a present in Dutch in 1980, when we were just married. So many years later, I am still tatting from it. Simple relaxing tatting! No sr, no scmr, no sssrrp, no,.M&M's ,crrrrrr......

    1. As you can tell from the well-worn cover of my copy, I too love this book. As you say, it's relaxing, but not mindless, some of the patterns are challenging, but all are straightforward. :) And you have it in Dutch, how fun!! I love seeing these books in different languages!!

  6. I do like this book, but have never made anything from it. It is a good one for inspiration. I love how you make so many of the patterns in the books - very thorough reviewing :) I prefer shortened notation, or just a clear diagram. I do like when they tell you how many shuttle to use- I found it very helpful as a beginning tatter.

    1. Thank you very much! I like being thorough. :) I also prefer the shortened notation, and am warming to diagrams. If I were clever enough to write patterns I think my notations would be short and each pattern would have lots of extra information. :)

  7. Wow!

    Great review and pretty tatting! Thee posts are amazing. And helpful! I love that book as well. Mine is very dog-eared - sorry Pip!

    1. Thank you, friend! I am so glad these are helpful, they are fun to write but would be silly if nobody thought them useful. :)

      Pip is proud of his ears, and is always pleased to be compared to a good book--being a "Literary Dog" he is used to such things. :)