Old patterns. For some people, images of delicate and intricate lace appear in their heads, for others, not so much. They seem like a mess of odd and not-so-nice doilies. In the past, lace was lace.and it was easy for something to be beautiful, but now we have these IMAGES. Images of what is beautiful and what is not, its like we can't think for ourselves.
In tatting, you must be able to view the older patterns as they once were, if you are going to be designing patterns sooner or later in your tatting career, these older patterns have a lot of great, well, patterns! Patterns of rings, chains, and picots that can be adapted, and reoccur very often.
In thrift stores and antique shops, sometimes you'll find tatted doilies, and it's very rewarding to try to recreate one that you'll find. Not only will it turn out to be something wonderful, but it will improve your understanding of tatting structure and as well as your ability to create your own pieces.
Now here's the part where I explain pattern making:
Seems simple enough, right? But the thing is, you CANNOT just draw it once!!
You must draw it, and draw it again, taking account of how far you want your picots to be from one another, as a rule, the sets of double stitches closest to the base of the ring, or end or beginning of a chain are bigger. So a ring will be 5-3-3-3-3-5 instead of 3-3-3-3-3-3. Also, take into account the tension you want with the chain, or how stretched you want the rings to seem.
It takes less picots to make a chain long than a ring, because a ring is more compact. Draw the pattern out (in pencil) perfectly at the size you want for the size thread you're using, once you get it perfect in size 10 per say, it'll look nice in any size!.
Okay, so you have that all drawn out. Now were going to start trying things out. If you have the picots perfectly drawn on your pattern, you should be able to start practicing make the rings. just double stitch until you think you have it the right size, then picot (or whatever), and do it again. When the ring is perfect, do it again! Just to test it out. Now you can do the same with the chain. This will be a little trickier, so you must heavily rely on your sketch, make sure its not too loose, but of perfect tension. When you finish your first round (assuming it's a doily), if it's perfect, congratulations! Make sure to write it down. Even if it isn't as lovely as you'd have liked, it's still your first real pattern and somebody will find it absolutely exquisite.
To record a ring, I prefer the form R x-x-x-x-x-x (x being the number of double stitches and - being a picot)
If you have a ton of picots and the same number of picots it'd be R x times x (of course the "times in the middle would be a multiplication sign, so lets say R 5 x 8 instead) When using that method The first number is the number of double stitches around the picots, so for R5 x 8, you have 8 sets of 5, separated by 7 picots. Get it? A chain is the same thing, but with a C. For complicated directions, you should just write it out. Reverse work is RW. Josephine Knot is JK. Half stitch is HS. Double stitch is DS, but most stitches are double stitches, so with no details, we always assume a pattern is talking about double stitches.
If you don't like that method you can also write "4DS P 5times DS" which means "4-4-4-4-4-4" I find this method confusing. But a lot of patterns are written this way, so maybe you'll prefer it. It's up to you.
A lot of people find writing tatting patterns bewildering being that it seems SO mathematical! So if you're a little scared, just take bits out of other patterns and when you're tatting from other patterns, take note of why it is like it is, what creates the lovely effect at the end, and what your preference for the end appearance is.
Hope I helped! (: