21 February 2012


First of all - we're nearly there.  98 goats in the field!!!!

Something that is impossible but would be WONDERFUL is a standardisation of the way we all write down patterns.  

When I started out on my adventure of 'writing stuff down' I did it the way I was reading it in pattern books 50+ years ago - as a kid I didn't question the way things were written.  Actually I found the old notebook with my orignal patterns in the other day (written, I guess, about 30 years ago) and here's one of the originals below.

Then when I started sort of seriously wanting to get rid of my ideas and inflict them on others I really looked at the various ways of writing down patterns.  I did a lot of research into how they were written down over the years too - must look it out sometime!!  I found that our 'modern way' isn't so modern after all.  Anyway, again I digress.

A few years ago when the Palmetto Tatters kindly allowed me to run rampant at Tat Days they decided to ask us teachers to use the standardisation that they'd come up with.  Mainly I think this was (I'm guessing here!!) to save on printing out everybody's notation - one sheet now covers all patterns taught.  GR8 idea - save our planet.  So I've taken to following their very welcome lead - here's a link should you wish to see it.

I am always tickled with the vsp (very small picot) being written in BIG CAPITAL letters (VSP) as it makes me smile.  I like my vsp to be written in very small letters because it is just a very small picot!!!


Margarets designer cards said...

It would nice to think that everyone worldwide write patterns the same way, but unfortunately we are all different which is good the world would be a sad place if we were all the same, With the same ideas. Years ago like you say patterns if written done were not questioned or played with, so it's nice to feel today modern tatters play with patterns and are free to express themselves. Even if they do write them down slightly different, I really don't feel it matters how the patterns are written as long as they work out in the long run.

Jane McLellan said...

It would be good if pattern-writing was more standardised.Sometimes one spends tatting time trying to decipher a pattern!

Maureen said...

I remember the elephant! - one of the first patterns I tried, and I still have him. He was in a magazine - can't remember which one, but it was regularly available in the newsagents here- and it seemed as though I was waiting for ages for him - he was on a very slow boat!

Jane Eborall said...

Margaret - most crafts DO have a standard that has been adopted by most. Slight differences in meaning (I'm thinking crochet terms between UK and USA) but once that is learnt the rest is 'standard'. The problem I've found with tatting is that the same 'term' can be used to mean vastly different things between people who write down their own patterns - wouldn't it be SO much easier if we didn't have to re-learn each time (see Jane's comment)? 'Playing' with patterns that are already out and under copyright is NOT what I'm looking at in this post as they cannot be used and re-published unless out of copyright! I'm not trying to say here that my way is better than anybody else's but I do discuss with other well known and published designers the way forward on annotation. Another thing to consider is that designers don't always remember to add abbreviations to their patterns and if the terms were more standardised then that wouldn't matter. Now back to knit one, purl one!!!!

Fox said...

The elephant pattern is wonderful to look at - not just for the tatting but for the creativity shown by the younger you who wrote it up! Thanks for showing us this example of an earlier Jane!
Fox : )

Val said...

Isn't it nostalgic to read something you'd written down such a long time ago? I find this "vintage" notation similar to what I'd mumble to myself when I try to visualise the pattern instructions written in any form. Nothing wrong with that!

Margarets designer cards said...

Hi Jane I think we got a bit of wires crossed here, there are standard abbreviations in knitting and crochet, although I don't crochet, I do knit. At the moment I have been knitting a few patterns from a new book and she has made up her own abbreviations which is driving me up the wall, it seems that knitting and tatting have the same problems now, modern designers are making up their own abbreviations , I am from the old school so I fin it hard to blend in with these modern funny written patterns, give me a diagram I can follow that far easier,
I learnt years ago to follow the German knitting patterns on graph, they don't write a knitting pattern in words. Perhaps a bit more standard abbreviations would be more helpful for this old lady.

Heather of Tatted Treasures said...

Jane, I agree with you completely that much more standardization would be extremely helpful. Not everyone would follow that, of course, but it would reduce a lot of confusion. I think that often beginning tatting designers sort of make up their pattern writing as they go, and that doesn't always come across clearly to the readers.

Any ideas on how to implement this idea?

tattrldy said...

I agree with you, Jane. As I write patterns I try(!) to put them down in a way that is consistent and follows the way I like to see other patterns done. I bookmarked the link to the Palmetto tatter's standardization to look over. I think I've come across another set of standardizations somewhere but I can't think of where. Many were the same or very close. As you have so very many patterns, and so many people come and check them out, maybe you will start the revolution! (you have to start somewhere) Maybe I should add the link to the Palmetto standarizations to the bottom of my patterns (if I can remember to start following them, of course:-) )

Jane Eborall said...

Heather - I've no idea how to implement the idea except by 'example'. I've always kept a close eye on 'fashions' of writing patterns and listened in to numerous discussions on it over the years. I think a lot of the problem is that people love to be 'different'. Nothing wrong with that but we do have to think of the people who are reading and using patterns.
Tattrldy - great idea putting the link on the page. I don't want to push myself forward as the person who does the writing 'best' as SO many would disagree with me. Over the years I've found that using simple notation with a line for each part (ring, chain, SCMR etc) makes life easier for people to read. It's all about making life easier for tatters to pick up a pattern and be able to read it without having to jump through hoops of fire.

Cynthia said...

Jane I love the idea of everyone using the same "hieroglyph" to mean the same thing...like SCMR-Self Closing Mock Ring...LOL sometimes the abbreviations get really obscure. One does SLT and another does ST and they both mean Shoe Lace Trick. When I read about using very tiny letters for the vsp I had to laugh. I'm guilty as I have used caps for abbreviations for a long time so VSP or vsp would both mean very small picot sheesh vsp is tiny so why use big letters to mean something very small... Oh well life goes on. Peace

Sharon said...

As a relative newbie to tatting, it would be wonderful to have standardization of terms and the abbreviations for them. I'm self-taught using internet and some books as well and trying to decipher instructions has been one of the most frustrating parts of the process. Since we are trying to keep the art alive, I think anything that can be done to make it easier would be awesome!

How would it work if those designers who would be interested, came up with a standard list of abbreviations instructions and then when a pattern or book is published, it could note that instructions are written in (whatever name you choose); similar to English teachers who want papers written in the MLA style. As a novice, it would help me decide whether I wanted to put the time into learning a new "tatting language" before I even pick up my shuttle. If you ever do this and put it in the form of an e-book or even a real book, I will definitely buy one.

Just thinking out loud here. I wouldn't be the one to help with the technical parts but I'd be happy to help in any way that I could if the need arises.

I love Tatting!!!

Pat Greninger said...

Standardization is nice when you can get it but we don't all speak the same language. Give me pictures any day and I can usually figure out the pattern. Yes, it is nice to have the notations on just what stitch was used.

There is a wonderful rose pattern I am trying to work out in a Japanese book that I have the basic look to but I have yet to figure out just what they did in order to get it to look a particular way in an accompanying picture. So sometimes it would help to have a translation of the pattern available as well.

Anyway, I have enjoyed your projects for many years now. Thank you!

Creative Commons Licence

Happy Beaks

Happy Beaks
I beg your pardon? I didn't quite catch what you said.