Monday, April 28, 2008

Hector 2008 Slide Show

I couldn't name all the people. Have fun finding yourself.

And here's my class:

The Mystical, Magical Biscornu

The word "biscornu" is a French word and is officially, an adjective and not a noun. According to the Dictionary of the French Academy the adjective "biscornu" originates in XVI century, composed by the prefix bis- which gives idea of plural, and "cornu" = "with horns" (literally it would be, "several horns") and means: having an irregular shape, bizarre, unnecessarily complicated. It has become the popular term for this 8-sided pincushion.

(2) 4" squares of fabric - will make a 3” pincushion
fiberfill or wool for stuffing
1 small decorative button for flower center, shank buttons look nice but you could use a button with holes or a large bead.
1 small flat base button for bottom
Sewing Needle large enough for tatting thread
Size 20/30 tatting thread color of choice to coordinate with fabric (Size 10 can also be used)
12”-13” simple tatted edging of choice*

To prepare the fabric for class:

Classically, backstitching is done by hand ½” in from the edge with strong thread. You CAN machine stitch, but make sure the thread is strong enough for the stitches to be “woven” into a seam later with a 3rd thread.

For the edging, tat 12-13”” of edging. You can use your favorite design or you can simply tat this one which works up quickly:
R 4-4-4-4, clr, rw.
Ch 4-4, rw
Repeat sequence joining the first p of ring to last p of previous ring. DO NOT END OFF! Keep shuttle and ball attached or leave enough thread to complete another sequence or two if you need them. You will not really know until the pincushion has been sewn together if you have enough edging. The seam should equal 12” but may vary from person to person. Stop at 12” until the pincushion is complete.
(Please note - original biscornu was 4" so the edging equaled 16" and I just realized I did not change that in the subsequent version of the instructions!)

In class:

Finger press the outer ½” of the square to the inside of the square. Take the point of one square and match it to the center point of one side of the second square. Use a needle and thread to weave the two rows of backstitching together. The point of one square should always touch the mid-point of the 2nd square. Stuff before completing the last half of the final side of stitching.

At this point, you should be able to see the zig-zag 8-sided shape of the biscornu. Now you can embellish it as you wish.

Center blossom: Leave a 10-12” tail before beginning the first ring
R: 6 – 6 – 6 – 6, clr
R 6 + to last p of prev r, 6 – 6 – 6, clr (repeat 4 times)
Last R: 6 + to last p of prev r, 6 – 6 + to first p of first ring, 6, clr

Do not cut thread

Outer blossom: Start close to where last blossom ended.
R: 10 – 4* – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – *4 – 10,clr The picots between 4* and *4 should graduate in size from small, medium, large, medium, small. You can also tat them all the same size if preferred.
R: 10 + to last p of prev r, 4* – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – *4 – 10,clr (repeat 4 times)
R: 10 + to last p of prev r, 4* – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – *4 + to 1st p of 1st ring, 10,clr

Cut from shuttle leaving 12- 15 inches which you will thread through a sewing needle.

Take a few stitches to secure both layers of blossoms snugly. Center blossom on top of biscornu and run threads down through bottom. At bottom, catch the small flat button and bring the needle back up through the pincushion.
When you come up, catch the button or bead you have chosen for the blossom center and go back down through the center and through the bottom button. Come up again, catching the button, and then down again. Secure thread, hide and cut. Thread tail left at beginning and hide in seam, cut.

Attach tatted edging to the seam. You can pin it to the seam and tell if you are going to need to tat another ring/chain sequence. Sometimes going over the corners takes up more than a straight edge. Allow a little extra at those points.

You may add tassels at the top 4 corners if you choose or beads or buttons or leave plain.

So there’s your biscornu which looks complicated but really isn’t!


  1. The slide show is wonderful, Gina! I wish I could have been there. I love the biscornu. Some day...

  2. That slide show is great! Looks like everyone had a lot of fun. So many talented people.

  3. your website is lovely... i have always wanted to learn tatting, but had no time. but maybe very very soon!!!

  4. i love the works on your blog... a lovely thing to see... greetings from Argentina....!!!


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