Sunday, August 08, 2010

Knowing when to do a technique

A reader asked me if there was a rule of thumb about when to use the join that avoids a twisted picot. I have to admit that I've always just instinctively known and didn't really think about the technical description. So I looked up what Georgia Seitz had to say in one of the tatting publications I've gotten from her and she said, "joining the last ring to the first ring in an outward facing motif". what is an outward facing motif? Is that a projection of some kind? A circle motif bridging off of another circle motif? I found another description, also by Georgia, after googling with a few choice search terms. In this one, she mentioned rings facing outward. Ah, that's a bit more explicit.

We often forget that new tatters are often barraged with a plethora of terms and techniques but we get a bit skimpy in explaining when to use them. I probably knew how to tat split chains for well over a year before I began to figure out where I could use them effectively if it wasn't already in the pattern.

So I thought I would illustrate the difference the between inward and outward facing rings and why the folded join is needed to avoid the twisted picot. There are lots of resources online that tell you HOW to make the join but this is how to recognize when you need it.

We'll start off with the inward facing rings. The rings are all pointing towards the center in this simple motif. We're getting ready to make the last join of the last ring to the first one. See where the picots (and the motif for that matter) are in relation to your hands? If you are left-handed, you might want to copy and save the pics to your computer and use your editing program to flip them horizontally.

The motif and first ring are to the left and in line for the join. In this case it's a simple matter of pulling the core thread up through the picot on the first ring and then finish tatting the ring. Nothing moves significantly from that position.

You'll close the ring and reverse work for the last chain and that's it.

But here's one with outward facing rings. The rings are pointing away from the center of the motif. See where your last ring and first ring are now in relation to your hands and in comparison to the inward facing rings? The first ring is on the right side now so you'll have to twist the core thread to the right - which is pretty much an impossible angle for your wrist. OR

You can fold the motif up and bring the picot close to the core thread. (I had to move my ball thread which was in front of the motif in the last pic.)

Now I did have a photo where I had pulled the loop through the picot but in my labeling session, I think I accidently saved this one over it. I would have had to have a third hand to show how it's done and you can find it online if you google "avoiding twisted join in tatting". At this point, you bring your crochet hook up through the picot (toes to nose) and then turn or twist it so that you can pick up the core thread. When you pull the shuttle through the loop of core thread and it goes back to normal, the picot will appear twisted but keep in mind that your piece is twisted too.

So then you continue tatting the ring and close it.

When you flatten the piece back out, the picot also smooths out and you can see here that it looks like a normal join.

So...when do you use a "folded join" to avoid a twisted picot?

When the piece you're working on has rings facing away from the center and the last ring is being joined to the first one.

What if it's not a circle? The reader who asked me the question was working on Konior's Large Cross, page 86 in Visual Tatting. I traced the diagram around from starting ring A to the end, which ended with a ring and chain joining to ring A. The rings are all facing away from the center so that means it needs a folded join.

Is this helpful? Frankly, I never thought about it before but now I know what to look for in details when I write a pattern. If I know something needs a folded join, I can add the additional information and resources. Thanks for asking K!!!


  1. It helps a TON! Thank you. I never could figure out why that last join seemed to be so easy one time and so confusing the next. It makes much more sense knowing "when" to use the technique. Thanks a heap.

  2. Very helpful! I kind of figured it out on my own, but it took me a long time of moving everything around and figuring out what would work. Since I really didn't know quite what I did right, this post is great for explaining it all.

  3. Great explanation Gina.
    Another way of looking at this is by asking the question, 'Where is the picot that I am joining to?'
    If the picot is on the left side of the core thread, as in your 2nd pic from the top, then it is the normal join,
    If the picot is on the right side of the core thread, as in pic #5 from the top, then I need to fold before I join.

  4. EUREKA!!! Finally, finally I see what you fold when you fold the darn thing!!!! I've never ever understood this before. 53+ years of tatting and I've finally 'got it'. I always just hold the last ring in the position I want it in so that the picot doesn't twist but this makes sense AT LAST. Thank you, Gina.

  5. Jon has a good tutorial on the folded join in her how-to section:
    She turns the motif over and folds it down instead of folding it up as I showed here, but it's the same thing.

  6. Brilliant explanation! Thanks, Gina!
    Fox : )

  7. Thanks Gina! That DOES help me make sense of it all. For a while I thought that the twisted picot join ALWAYS came up at the end of a motif, but found out the hard way that it did not. Since then I've been a little paranoid as I go into the final join, hoping I will get it right. I appreciate the explanation!

    :) Ann

  8. huh... i always just fold the thing twice, so that the ring-to-be-joined-to (A) is right-side up. then i can do a normal join.

    but this would work for something too small to fold more than once.


  9. This is the most confusing thing for me - I used Ann's (sew much fun) tutorial to figure it out the first time. I still need to 'pause' before making the final join. I'm a slow learner!

  10. Yeahh.... :) Thank you Gina, I have never understood why twisting the last picot. I created the last joins with different techniques, for example this one, but WHY want to twist, was secret. Now I got it, thank you very much :)


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