Slowly, but surely...
Here you can see three attempts, with growing degrees of success going from left to right. I'm still getting the hang of the counting, picots and joins and the beginning was something completely foreign until I had an AHA! moment on the trick with the paper clip (which was necessary since I haven't found written instructions for what I needed to do yet - but see below).
All of these are an attempt to make a Celtic Snowflake from the book Celtic Tatting by Rozella F Linden. It really just involves chains, joins and picots with no reverse work or making rings.
Here if you follow where I started on the bottom right, I got the first 2 loops (roughly) okay, but then failed to read the instructions properly and missed putting in another 5 double stitches to move the 3rd loop to the proper place.
Here I actually got all the way around and only messed up on the last loop! Here you can clearly see where I didn't join those top two picots in the middle early on in the loop when I should have. Again, another case of not really reading the instructions properly.
My last attempt (so far) doesn't quite have consistently-sized loops or picots and that left loop got a bit twisted, but I'm fairly satisfied in that I can say the following:
- I DID make it all the way around
- I'm getting more consistent in my picot sizings, especially those involved in joins
- Joining still needs a bunch of practice
- To get started I was supposed to make a first loop onto a paper clip (that would hold that 'picot' until the final join). I figured out that I need my shuttle thread to be still attached to my ball thread (so that it's really just one continuous thread and not 2 separate one, as I think the instructions implied), hence my AHA! moment.
Here you can see that these babies are pretty tiny: the snowflake using size 10 thread is only about an inch (2.5 cm as you see here) in diameter!
Not bad for starters and now I'm confident to try a few other things. I'll probably plunge into another Rozella Linden's book 'Easy Tatting' published by Dover; that seems to have more instructions on the various tatting moves than the Celtic Tatting book does.
Apropos 'instructions': I've looked at a few of these now and I must say the instructions are not mathematically logical to my mind. You'll find an instruction that has 5-5-2-2-5 where the number represents the number of double stitches and the '-' represents a picot, so I would read this 5 double stitches, 1 picot, 5 more ds, 1 picot, etc. BUT the understanding seems to be that a picot is counted towards the number following it, so the instructions are meant to mean 5 double stitches, 1 picot, FOUR ds, 1 picot, ONE ds, 1 picot, ONE ds, 1 picot, FOUR ds!!! That's just silly if you ask me, but I suppose I'll get used to it.
Have a great day!