Friday, October 10, 2014

Post 100, Book Review #1: "Tatting Patterns"

Hooray! My 100th post!

Yes, I know there are some of you amazing people who post 100 times over the course of weeks, rather than years, but, I will take my small victories when I can get them. :)

I really wanted to come up with something "spectacular" for my 100th post, which is why I haven't posted in the past 4 weeks--I just couldn't think of anything spectacular to talk about!

So, in lieu of something spectacular, I've decided to substitute something practical...a book review!

There are so many amazing tatting books floating around out there (and so many of them represented on my bookshelves!), but so few 1) easily found and 2) substantial book reviews about them (especially for the older books) available online.** 

In honor of my 100th post (and in an attempt to post more often) I have decided, in my own small way, to try to remedy that situation with a series of in-depth and hopefully helpful book reviews. :)

I'm going to start the series with the very first tatting book I ever owned, Lyn Morton's "Tatting Patterns"

I was given my copy of this book by my parents for my birthday in the early or mid-2000s. I was initially attracted by the beautiful colors and variety of patterns, but quickly found it was beyond my abilities at that point in time...but I'm getting ahead of myself. :)

One of two covers available (image via
Title: "Tatting Patterns"
Author: Lyn Morton
ISBN: 978-1-86108-261-9
Number of pages: 106
Number of patterns: 44
Type of pattern notation: Long notation with abbreviations (ie: Ring of 5DS, P, 5DS close. RW chain of 6 DS.) and labeled diagrams
Types of patterns: The book is broken into three sections:
     1) Patterns/Motifs: flower edging, motifs (mostly flowers, crosses and a butterfly)
     2) Jewelry and Accessories: earrings, necklaces, collar, 3D flower corsage, wedding ring bearer pillow
     3) Greeting cards: a variety of 2 and 3-round motifs are displayed mounted on greeting cards
Illustrations: Full color photographs and black and white diagrams.
Notions: The patterns are shown tatted in both beautifully-colored Turkish cotton and shiny metallic threads. Some patterns call for beads, or are shown with beads added. At least one pattern makes use of a center doodad, a few others are displayed as ornaments within a metal ring, and of course the greeting card section includes other practical applications for the motifs
Other inclusions: The book starts with a one-page history of tatting and short list of abbreviations used in the book. There are no "How to Tat" directions given in this book.
Shuttle or needle? The patterns are written for the shuttle (most patterns start with a suggestion of how much thread to wind or how many turns of the shuttle to make) and were quite trying for me when I tried to tat them with the needle...but with perseverance (and more practice than I'd had when I started working with this book) most of the patterns can be executed with either needle or shuttle

Pattern "Peggy" needle tatted in Perle 8
Skill level: Intermediate As a beginning needle tatter I struggled with this book. The author points out several patterns she considers to be easier than the others, but it took me a while before I could execute some of the trickier joins. As a progressing shuttle tatter, I find the motifs slightly easier to make, and using split rings and chains to climb from row to row will greatly limit the cutting, tying and hiding that originally turned me off to this book.
Skills needed: Addition of beads, split rings, lock joins
Availability: This is one of the more available tatting books. I have seen it in craft stores (my mom bought this for me at a big-box store in Des Moines, Iowa!) and is readily online at Handy Hands, Amazon, Be-Stitched, Tatting and Design (UK), etc. I even have a copy of this book in Russian!

I wonder in Lyn Morton knows this book has been published in Russian?
Price range: This book is available used from around $7-$14 new, depending on where you get it. It is also a compilation of her first four books (conveniently called "Tatting Patterns Book 1, 2, 3 or 4"
Personal Notes: Full disclosure, I have a large amount of nostalgia for this book due to it's status as my "First Tatting Book," but it took me a while to actually like it, mostly due to many early failures to execute even those patterns suggested to be "easy" buy the author. After a few years of practice, I have it another chance, and this book is now my go-to motif book. I would recommend this book for an intermediate or above tatter interested in playing with small motifs, especially if you are looking for a chance to practice "climbing out" from round to round, or repeating motifs to make larger doilies, mats or other items. These patterns are quick and cute, and the book does a great job of promoting practical uses for tatting, something which I know I struggle with!
Pattern: "Five-Point Snowflake Motif" shuttle tatted in DMC size 80
So there you go, my first book review. :)

Was this helpful? Did I leave something important out? Is there something I should add on my next review?

**Note: Here are some notable exceptions to the lack of substantive (and easily-found) online reviews:
•Georgia Seitz's page of reviews, including lists of non-English books, artist spotlights and one-off book reviews
•Davina-Marie from Shuttlebird's review of Jon Yusoff's "Elegant Tatting Gems"
•Fiona (OneMadTatter) T's review of "New Tatting"
•Krystledawne's review of Teiko Fujito's works "Tatted Fashion" and "The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito"
•Hugs are Fun's review of "New Tatting"


  1. Yes I have this book, I do like the book and there are some lovely pictures of the motifs and diagrams.
    Nice to know Russia likes the book so much to print it in Russian

    1. Yes, I was pleased to see the book on the Russian website I order from. There are parts of this book also copied into another Russian book...their copyright laws are less formalized here... :)

  2. Congratulations on your 100th blog post, we are all different when it comes to regularly posting on a blog. I discipline myself to five times a month, no more no less and it seems to work, otherwise I probably would not bother! Thanks for the review I don't have any of the books you have mentioned. Like you I believe as your tatting skills progress you grow into some of the books that really were hard to understand at the beginning.

    1. Thanks, Sally! I do wish I was more goal is to get to 200 in less time than it took me to get to 100! :)

  3. Congratulations on completing a century :-)
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book review! It is very informative and will definitely prove very helpful when considering a purchase ( I am building my tatting book collection ;-) ) . Looking forward to more such reviews ...

    1. Thanks! I am so glad it was helpful! The next review will be coming up soon! Happy book collection building! :)

  4. Congratulations on your 100th post! It takes dedication to get that far, even if it took longer than you wanted it to. I liked your review. It was very informative. I like how you have given your history of using this book as it could help those that might already have it but tried it "too early" , maybe they'll try it again, now. Good job!

    1. Thank you very much! I am glad I gave this book a second chance, so I will be happy to help others, too! :)

  5. Yea 100 this is great! I agree with you some times I just look at it to get creative ideas when I am stuck :)

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you very much! Some are old, some are new, but all are loved (or used as a learning example!)

  7. Congratulations on your 100th post! A special thanks for your books' reviews, they're really useful.

    1. Thank you so much! I am so glad to know you find them to be useful, I really enjoy doing them! :)

  8. Thanks for this review! You've done a really good job with it.

    1. Thank you Grace! I have done my best, I'm glad you like it!