Years ago when I told my local tatting club that I was writing my first tatting book, I mentioned that I was going to call it “Fun with Split Ring Tatting”. I was quite dismayed when one of the members mumbled “There’s nothing ‘fun’ about split ring tatting!”. YIKES! That got me thinking. I realized that this tatter had just not found the right way or technique to tat split rings yet. She was uncomfortable while working split rings.
The first portion of the split ring is tatted traditionally (regular, transferred double stitches) and is NOT the problem.
The issue lies in the SECOND PORTION of the split ring—where the untransferred stitches are created. This is the UNIQUE part of the Split Ring that is new and different compared to regular, traditional tatting technique of the first portion of the split ring. It is the part that experienced tatters have to retrain their fingers (& minds) to create the double stitches: both in the order of the half stitches are used to create a double stitch & in the fact that the half stitches are not ‘flipped’/transferred.
So I studied the different ways that to tat split rings and discovered that:
There are 3 different ways to physically hold the ring to more easily create the 2nd portion. This is where many tatters find that tatting split rings is uncomfortable–the ‘nothing fun’ part about Split Ring Tatting according to my tatting club member.
Historically 2 ways have been recognized:
- Take the ring off the hand, turn the work around (basically ‘turn’ it), and then put it back on the hand.
- The ‘Dead Spider’ Method in which the ring hand is turned so that the the fingers are pointing up (from the dead spider joke) to bring the area of thread that the 2nd portion, untransferred stitches are to be made on.
I have introduced a third way/approach to easily work the 2nd portion stitches: Bring the lower area of the ring thread (from the base of the ring where the 1 DS is, then extending down and counterclockwise from the base) UP onto the top of the ring index finger. (I really need an illustration/photo to introduce this approach! KB) This brings the ring thread up into the area that is comfortable to create DS’s and is more recognizable a working approach than the dead spider method and takes less time to set up that the ‘take off the hand, turn work, put back on hand’ method.\
Each individual tatter needs to find the Split Ring Tatting method that works best for them! Just like any other working technique in tatting, it is not so much how you do something….it is just important in getting the technique/task done–and in this case, comfortably.
I have a full chapter on this topic (with pictures and illustrations) in my book Fun with Split Ring Tatting.