link to my tatting photos in Flickr
Dear Reader,
I share here what I like and what works for me. If you've been following me, you know that I can change my mind from time to time, and feel free to comment that I'm completely wrong, you may be right. I'm not running a business. I'm not paid and have never received any compensation or facilitation for any review/brand/site here mentioned. In case one day we'll ever meet, I'll be the one offering you a cup of Italian coffee, too.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

repetita iuvant - at least, to myself!

Sorry for the Latin, that's only to introduce something that I've already posted somewhere else around...
(Post modified to add this translation: "repetita iuvant" means that there's a benefit from doing or saying something again)

**** My Personal gauge for tatting ****

Sometimes in a pattern a thread is recommended, different from what we have (and we have a lot! But not that! Urgh!). Instead, there's that very old ball, without a label, that seems likely to be perfect for the project... We'd be very happy to know the size of our thread. In these cases it's useful to have already prepared our "gauge for tatting "!

I tested my tatting to know how many ds there are in a chain that is 1 cm long. I repeated the process for each size of thread I had, and I obtained a table. That it is what I did:

I took a card and cut a rectangle of 10cm x 1cm. (I wrapped it with adhesive tape to reinforce it.) The size of 1 cm is my choice, but you can use 1 inch, or whatever it is your standard base to measure.
I tatted like for a normal ring, but before closing, I entered the card into the ring and tatted enough ds to reach the length of the gauge. Then I closed the half ring (the second half in the back had no ds).
I marked the thread number and how many ds in it.
Eventually I had my own table:
To double check (and because I use the table to design, too) with the help of a drawing tool, I’ve supposed that if 1cm has 7 ds, then 2cm should have had 14 ds. Tested it and discovered that’s not true with me, because I tend to be tighter as more as the length increase. But, in general my patterns hardly have long chains, more than 30 ds. So, the mathematical ratio works well for most of the time.

About rings, that's only a bit different, because I’m usually tighter. That means that the circumference of a ring made with 14 ds and thread n. 80, will be a little smaller than 1cm. I’ve obtained 0,90 cm (instead of 1cm).  But in order to design, and in order to have only an idea of the number of ds a pattern could require (it’s an empirical fact), I’ve always supposed the same size and ds numbers both for chains and rings. Anyway, designing is a matter of trials and errors!

Do you like a cupcake now? But you'd need a magnifier for this!



  1. That is a really good idea especially for when you are designing tatting too.

    1. It works for me, and also I'd like knowing in advance the designer's tension when I start tatting but it's never written

  2. I Love the idea & thanks for sharing the details :-)))
    I once tried making a ring & chain gauge (with size 20 thread), but did not like the result. I like the way you have worked around it !!!

    One thing that perplexes me a bit, though --- chains tend to arch/curve. They don't lie flat while tatting. Hence a 14ds chain will probably span less than 1 inch space between elements. So that has to be factored in too, right ?

    Thanks, also, for the Italian terms :-) I enjoy figuring out or reading about the etymology of words in general & since most English words have a Greek or Italian origin, it brings in a lot of 'similarity'. I used to learn the biological names of flora & fauna by breaking them into their constituent (mostly Italian) words - easy to remember & very logical !!!

    1. Ty :) sorry if you understood "element" it's only for my bad use of English. I mean the lenght of one bite of tatting. the shape/dimension is a very personal stuff, it depends on tension. I know myself, I work tight and pull rings and chains about the same, about regular along the pattern. I tat same patterns with different size of thread without changing one ds.

  3. Very interesting, thanks Ninetta. I can see the table is a personal comparison one, so we should each make our own. I think perhaps there's not enough attention paid to tension in tatting, as there is in knitting.


Thank you very much for all your nice comments.