Monday, 19 December 2011

New Mat on the Block

Continuing from this post, the lace mat from Tatting Design for Busy People by Norma Benporath is on the blocking board.  While it is drying out, I thought I'd share how I block my tatting.

First of all, I haven't had the need to block my tatting much.  When I design, I pay particular attention to the stitch count so that the finished piece will required no blocking, at most just a bit of pressing.  But then, it all goes down to the tension.  If your tension is almost like mine, you would find that my patterns doesn't need blocking much.

The only time when I need to block is when the pattern has long chains in it, or when I tat a large piece such as doilies, like this Norma Benporath's pattern.

First, I print a polar graph with the number of spokes according to the rough shape of the tatting.  For example, 12 spokes for 6-pt motifs like snowflakes, or 8-spokes for squares or octagons which I am using for this mat.

You can print the polar graphs off the internet.  I printed mine from here.

Then, I wrap my blocking board with a piece of clingwrap from the kitchen and slide the polar graph paper under it.

Before I start pinning out the tatting, I give it a soak through with a bit of gentle detergent, rinse it out a few times and squeeze the excess water by rolling it in a towel.  If it needs a bit stiffening, I use spray starch on it a few times.  Then, I pin it out on the board.

I adjust the shape following the lines and concentric circles of the polar graph paper and let it dry for a few hours. And here it is, the finished work.
The finished size has a maximum diameter of 17cm, tatted with Lizbeth #40, 114 - Sea shells.
I think the one from the scanner, below is a better picture.


  1. It's lovely. Thanks for showing your process. It's interesting to see what others do.

  2. thx for sharing - your tatting is beautiful!

  3. Gorgeous doily!!! :)
    What wonderful colors! :)

  4. Very nice Jon, I too prefer not to block. I like designs that end up as they should.

  5. Wow that is beautiful! I do block my tatting because I think it looks better. I like to fuss around getting the curves to look smooth and making sure it's even on all sides. :)

  6. Just wondering where you got the grey and yellow thread? I love greys and yellow.

  7. Jon, that is beautiful! Just gorgeous!
    Fox : )

  8. I am very proud you included my blog in your blog list. Thanks so much. As soon as all the Christmas festivities are over I really must start tatting again.
    I am wondering: do you know a tutorial how to make diagrams of patterns, or what drawing software is the easiest. I draw them by hand and that is not very professional to say the least.

  9. Victats, it is more orange than yellow. The lighting was not so good when I took the picture while it was pinned and it turned out yellow.

    Goudenregen, I use a drawing software SerifDraw to prepare my tatting diagrams. There are many other drawing software available that can be used. I will e-mail you with more details.

  10. It's very pretty!

    With the cling wrap under the thread, how does the backside dry?

    I am envisioning having to flip the doily over after a couple hours (wiping cling wrap, then re-pinning) so both sides can equally dry (maybe in less time?)

  11. It turned out beautifully! Lovely work!

  12. tq so much for sharing the process of blocking the doily... beautiful work

  13. Thank you Gina.

    Lily, The clingwrap is not really wet that you need to wipe the excess water since water from the tatting was absorbed by the towel. I just let it dry at room temperature without turning it over and re-pinning it. You could lightly press it with a hot iron if you think there is a need to.

  14. This is very helpful! Especially the tip about the cling wrap and the graph paper. Thanks.


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