Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book Reviews #8 & #9: "Tatting for Pleasure" and "Tatting"

Hello! I've been extremely remiss both in updating my blog and posting book reviews in general, so I decided I would make it up to you, my faithful readers, by giving you TWO BOOK REVIEWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! Enjoy :)

Title: "Tatting for Pleasure" and "Tatting: Basic Patterns"
Author: Rosemarie Peel

Year of Publication: 1998 and 2009
ISBN: 1 874688 08 7 and 978-1-874688-11-2
Number of Pages: Both books have 32 pages--however, the patterns start on page 1 and end on page 32, so every page in these books counts!
Heart pattern from the title page of Tatting for Pleasure
Number of Patterns: 14 in "Tatting for Pleasure" and 18 in "Tatting: Basic Patterns"
Types of Patterns: Throughout the books you will find various Edgings, 2D Flowers, a 3D Flower, Small circular motifs, a Bracelet, Earrings, a Bookmark, Horseshoes, a Fan, Celtic Motifs and Edging, and a Butterfly.
Type of Pattern Notation: Both books have short notations with abbreviations (Ch 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3, RW), as well as numbered diagrams AND, for many patterns, additional diagrams which look like hand-drawn pieces of tatting (black and white only in "Tatting for Pleasure", two-colored in "Tatting") which you can use to count the individual double-stitches.
"Alexandra" from Tatting: Basic Patterns
Illustrations: Both books have full-color front and back covers with images of many of the patterns held within. "Tatting: Basic Patterns" also has full-color images on the front and back inside covers, and very cleverly has a picture of a tatted bookmark that looks like it could be pulled out and used as a real bookmark. It makes me smile every time I see it. "Tatting for Pleasure" also has black and white pictures of some of the patterns. While, as far as I can tell, all the patterns inside are shown in photo-form, not all of the photos are next to the patterns. However, Ms. Peel has very helpfully pointed out where the pictures can be found on the page with the pattern.
"Rose" from Tatting: Basic Patterns
Notions: "Tatting: Basic Patterns" includes just two patterns that use beads, and just one other pattern calls for anything besides a shuttle and ball of thread (a fan base with 3 in. sticks). "Tatting for Pleasure" also has patterns with beads, and one with a fabric covered button. Most of the patterns call for two shuttles.
"Button Cover" from Tatting for Pleasure
Shuttle or Needle? I feel comfortable saying that any pattern in either of these books could easily be achieved with the needle, even though all the patterns call for a shuttle.
Other Inclusions: Both books begin with a page of well-described abbreviations used in the books. "Tatting for Pleasure" also includes a page about Shuttle Preparation, detailing one and two color tatting and illustrated directions on how to achieve the Reef Knot to attach two thread ends, an insert about the Reverse Stitch, and another page about Bead Work.
"Tatting: Basic Patterns" has diagrams and directions for Lock Joins, Rings, Reverse Work, The Join, and Getting Rid of Ends, as well as excellent explanations for adding beads and an ingenious way to climb out from the middle of a chain without having to implement a split chain (thus avoiding a two-colored chain if your shuttle thread is a different color than your ball thread.) Page 27 if you happen to have a copy of the book.
Skill Level: "Tatting: Basic Patterns" Beginner / "Tatting for Pleasure" Beginner-Intermediate All the patterns in "Tatting: Basic Patterns" are one shuttle and ball, and are simply a series of rings and chains. "Tatting for Pleasure" has some simple patterns, but also has some more challenging Celtic patterns which will be fun for beginners to grow into.
"Applique Flower" from Tatting for Pleasure 
Skills Needed: Most of the patterns in these books can be achieved with just one shuttle and a ball of thread, or two shuttles with two colors of thread. The Celtic patterns in "Tatting for Pleasure" are definitely daunting for anyone who does not have experience with Celtic or entwined patterns. A couple patterns call for thrown off rings or Josephine knots, but these and pretty much every other skill needed are shown or explained in the book.
Price Range: These are small booklet-sized publications. Prices range from UK Pound 4.50 (US$ 7) to over $20, depending on where you can find it.
Small Celtic motif from "Tatting for Pleasure" 
Availability: The easiest (and cheapest, that I can find) place to get these books would be the author's own website, LACET Publications, but one or the other can also be found at or Handy Hands.
Personal Notes: I bought "Tatting for Pleasure" a long time ago, when I was just starting out in needle tatting, drawn in but also quickly overwhelmed by the amazing Celtic border shown on the front of the book. Having now become fairly well versed with the shuttle, that pattern, and the other Celtic patterns in the book no longer present such a challenge.
Size 40 thread still makes a teeny-tiny motif (this is an Australia 50 cent piece)
As a self-proclaimed Olympics fanatic, Tatting: Basic Patterns' Olympic rings drew me in, but I didn't really do much with the book once I got it. It's funny what appeals to us in the books we purchase.
"Circular Motif" from Tatting, Basic Patterns
Now, after having spent some time with these books, I'm interested in looking more into Ms. Peel's other books, some of which are already out of print and/or selling at ridiculous prices. I'm specifically interested in "Tatting with Beads"...anybody have a copy they'd like to swap or sell? :)


  1. I just LOVE Rosemarie's books and have all of them. She's a delightful lady too and lives not far from me. Tatting with Beads is a lovely little book like all the rest. I'm going to make her 'Pretty Maids all in a Row' one day from that book. Rosemarie is the original 'inventor' of celtic tatting (two pieces intertwined and 'anchored' by a third element and sadly one of her designs has been repeatedly stolen. I personally would recommend anybody to collect her books and consider them a step further along the development of modern tatting and on a parr with Mary Konior. Just my two pennorth!

    1. I'd love to get my hands on "Pretty Maids all in a Row"'s so beautiful!

      I've got two in my collection, will work on more...ugh this tatting book obsession is hurting my pocketbook! :)

  2. I love your book reviews and tatting many items form them all it is always nice to see what you are up too! like the woven one I did a book mark once with the woven one it was very fun!

    1. Oh thank you! I don't publish things nearly often enough (life is just too busy for blogging sometimes, unfortunately!) but I'm so glad you enjoy them when they come. :)

  3. Lovely book review, I don't have either of these books, tatting for Pleasure sounds very interesting.

    1. Thank you Margaret! I definitely recommend both of these books, but Tatting for Pleasure is really a treat. :)

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