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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Challenge Snowflake

This is a free instructional pattern for those who want to practice different tatting techniques. You may use this pattern as a teaching resource (but do not sell the pattern) and may do anything you like with the finished tatting. Please let me know if you find any errors in the pattern.

For a printable version of this pattern click HERE. For tatters who would like more detailed instructions and step by step photos, continue reading the blog post below.

To make this snowflake you will need to know the following techniques:

  • rings, chains, picots, joins
  • lock joins
  • thrown rings (AKA floating rings)
  • split rings, joining to the second side of a split ring
  • self closing mock rings (SCMR)
  • Josephine knots, self closing mock Josephine knots
  • balanced double stitches
  • using a picot gauge

You can go to YouTube and find videos for most of the techniques listed above. If there is a technique that you cannot find, leave a comment below or message me using the contact form on the right sidebar of my blog and I will see if I can locate a good video for you.

The balanced double stitch is a technique pioneered by Ruth Perry (you can visit her website at You can read Ruth's article about the balanced double stitch here:

To see a short video of her making the balanced double stitch go here:

Challenge Snowflake by Robin Perfetti

Begin by winding two shuttles using the continuous thread method. When using size 20 thread and a small clover shuttle, I wind 240 full wraps on shuttle #1 and 75 full wraps on shuttle #2. Most of the work will be done with shuttle #1.

Round 1:

Round 1 is a basic six-ringed flower, made with shuttle #1. Each ring is 2 - 2 - 2 - 2, and all picots are very small. All new rings are joined to previous rings. The final ring is a split ring and is joined to the previous ring as well as to the first ring, 2 + 2 / 2 + 2. Making a split ring enables us to climb from Round 1 to Round 2.

Round 2:

Do not reverse work after Round 1. Begin Round 2 by making a split ring of 4 / 4. You can leave a very small gap between the split ring of Round 1 and the split ring of Round 2 to simulate a very small picot:

Do not reverse work after the split ring. Place shuttle #1 in the chain position and place shuttle #2 in your right hand. Make a chain of of 5 balanced double stitches. Balanced double stitches form a sturdy, straight chain:

The next element is a self closing mock Josephine knot. It is made the same way as a self closing mock ring (SCMR), except that the mock ring is made of 12 half stitches instead of full stitches. Here is a photo of the self closing mock Josephine knot before closing:

This is how it looks after closing:

Making a self closing mock Josephine knot (instead of a thrown Josephine knot) will disrupt the core thread. This disruption enables the next chain to change directions and move back down towards Round 1. After the self closing mock Josephine knot, make a chain of 5 balanced double stitches. Then, tat a ring of 4 + 4 (joining to the ring from Round 1):

Continue in this way around the center, until you reach the place where Round 2 began. Finish by making a lock join near the base of the 4 / 4 split ring. It takes some effort but a small crochet hook can be squeezed through the spot between the base of the ring and the first chain to make this lock join. Our threads are now in position to begin working on Round 3:

Don't worry if Round 2 has slight cupping. This is by design and will flatten out after Round 3 is added.

Round 3:

Do not reverse work after Round 2. Keep shuttle #1 in the chain position and shuttle #2 in your right hand. Make a chain of 6 balanced double stitches:

Next, make a thrown ring of 5 - 1 --- 7. If you are using size 20 thread, make the long picot 7 mm tall. If you are using size 40 thread, make a 5 mm tall picot. For size 80 thread, make a 3 mm tall picot. I used a clover picot gauge to size my picot:

After closing the thrown ring, it will look like this:

Next, make a chain of 5 balanced double stitches:

After this, you will need to pinch a section of core thread to make another SCMR. The SCMR has a few Josephine knots thrown off it, as well as a clover. Written instructions for the SCMR are as follows:

Chain: 3, do not reverse work (DNRW), switch shuttles (SS)
Josephine Knot: make a ring of 12 half stitches. DNRW, SS
Chain: 3 - 2, DNRW, SS
Ring: 2 + (join to previous chain) 2 - 1 -- 1 - 2, DNRW
Ring: 2 + (join to previous ring) 4 - 1 -- 1 - 4 - 2, DNRW
Ring: 2 + (join to previous ring) 1 -- 1 - 2 - 2, DNRW, SS
Chain: 2 + (join to previous ring) 3, DNRW, SS
Josephine Knot: make a ring of 12 half stitches. DNRW, SS
Chain: 3. Close SCMR

This is what the SCMR looks like before closing:

And here is what it looks like after closing:

Do not reverse work after the SCMR. Make a chain of 5 balanced double stitches. Then, make a thrown ring of 7 --- 1 - 5, using a picot gauge to measure the long picot as before. Finally, make a chain of 6 balanced double stitches, and lock join to the gap near the base of the ring from Round 2:

The next chain is made of 6 balanced double stitches. You can count the previous lock join as the first half of the first balanced double stitch if you want. I find that it helps to even out my tatting. (If you do this, you would tat the second half of a balanced double stitch followed by 5 full balanced double stitches):

Now, make a thrown ring of 5 + 1 + 7, joining to the small picot and large picot of the previous thrown ring:

You can use the point of your tatting shuttle to adjust the long picot as desired:

Begin again at Round 3's chain of 5 balanced double stitches, (followed by the self closing mock ring), and continue working the instructions until you reach the final thrown ring.

Joining the final thrown ring back to the first thrown ring can be tricky. You don't need to make a folded join here. Instead, you can rotate the tatting counterclockwise until it is in a comfortable position to make the join. Here is the tatting in the normal position:

And here is the tatting after it is rotated into a more comfortable joining position:

The first join after it is made:

The closed ring after first and second joins are made:

After this, it is just a matter of making another chain of 6 balanced double stitches. Cut, tie to the place where Round 3 began, and hide ends.

Here is the finished snowflake:

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Technique Practice

After tatting some of Joëlle Paulson's snowflakes, I was inspired to try out some new (to me) techniques to create a design of my own. I really like her use of self closing mock rings to extend the points of the snowflake in Le Flocon Frivole, and her use of lock chains to make straight lines in her other designs (click HERE to view the patterns page on her blog).

I don't have much luck with lock chains because they require a lot of support from other elements to keep them straight, but I did remember another technique called balanced double stitches that also creates straight lines when tatting chains. After a lot of trial and error I ended up with a usable snowflake design. Pictured below is all of the tatting that I did to get there:

This snowflake uses a lot of techniques. In addition to regular rings, chains, picots, and joins, there are:

  • split rings
  • joining to the second side of a split ring
  • lock joins
  • thrown rings
  • Josephine knots
  • self closing mock rings
  • self closing mock Josephine knots
  • balanced double stitches
  • use of a picot gauge

All in all, it's much more complicated than I like for an Etsy shop pattern. However, if anyone is interested in this design, I can look into sharing it as a free instructional blog post. Comment below if that's something you'd like to see.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Frivole's Flakes

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win Joëlle Paulson's latest snowflake pattern through a drawing she had on her blog ( I have tatted a few of her other snowflakes in the past and really admire the way she uses lock chains and other techniques to form angles, making the tatting look like real snowflakes.

I decided to tat the pattern I won (Calixa) along with Le Flocon Frivole and Qanik:

These three will be added to my Christmas tree in December.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Free Pattern: Onion Ring Bookmark

I made a few small adjustments to the onion ring edging and came up with an onion ring bookmark. I've created a basic printable pattern which you can find on my free patterns page or go to directly by clicking HERE. If you notice any errors in the pattern, please let me know.

I tatted the bookmark in DMC size 40 white, because I had some left over from my onion ring magic square. Then, I made another version in DMC size 80 variegated violet:

The violet version measures 1 inch across and the white version measures 1.4 inches across. The bookmarks can be made to any length you want.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Onion Ring Magic Square with edging

Here is the Onion Ring Magic Square with a finished edge:

The pattern for the edging and the square can be found on my Free Patterns page. If you want to go directly to the magic square pattern click HERE and the edging instructions are available in a blog post click HERE.

The finished square measures 10.6 inches x 10.6 inches when tatted in size 40 thread. I used Lizbeth size 40 in Ocean Teal Medium and DMC Cordonnet Special size 40 in white. One ball of each was plenty to finish the square.

Here are a few more photos:

This edging can easily be turned into a bookmark as well, which I will share in a future blog post.