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Jan asked, “I learned tatting basics years ago, but have always wondered how you know how long to make the picot if the pattern doesn’t tell you something specific. Is there a “default” length? Thanks!”

Let me preface this by saying that my response here is purely my personal opinion. There is no hard and fast rule to this in tatting. That said, from what I have seen in examples of others’ tatting and in vintage pattern pictures, most tatters tend to default to somewhere around what I do.

Here is an example of the same chain made in size 20 (top), 50 (middle) and 80 (bottom) thread. The picots are made in increasing size, with the first at the same height as the height of the double stitch, the second is the height of 1.5 ds, and the third is the height of 2 ds.

picot sizes

Obviously, the height of the picots will vary if made in relation to the height of the double stitches, and this seems right to me. It would look odd to have a 1/4″ picot in size 80 thread with no good design reason, just because you are used to making 1/4″ picots in size 20 thread.

To make a picot the same height as the double stitch, simply make the width of the picot—before you snug it up to the last stitch—be the width of two double stitches. If you want the height to be 1.5 ds, make the picot width 3 ds, and so on. Since double stitches are roughly square, the height easily translates to the width and this formula (1 picot height = 2 ds width) works out. It also automatically scales the picots for your size of thread. Nice.

picot stretched out

My personal preference is to make picots about 1.5 ds. I think this gives them a nice lacy look without looking too big and unwieldy. What size picot do you default to?


What are your questions? Email them to me or leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them as well as I can.