I got a great email recently from Emily,
“I was wondering, with Christmas coming up, if you had any easy patterns for snowflakes? I was hoping to make a few little motifs to give out as Christmas gifts, and one of my friends who has been admiring my very amateur work on facebook has asked if I could make a few as ornaments for her. I looked around online, but couldn’t find any that looked do-able for my skill level (or any whose patterns I could understand). Since I seem to be able to understand your patterns pretty well, I was wondering if you had any easy Christmas-y patterns you’d be willing to share.”
While I don’t currently have any original Christmas or winter patterns written up, I hope this will help. I’ve gone through all my bookmarks, favorite blogs, online directories, and tatting forums to look for a range of good beginner patterns.
So here is my little directory of eight easy snowflake and ornament wintery patterns. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and frankly I’ve been picky about which ones to include.
MY SELECTION CRITERIA:
- The pattern must be doable by a competent beginner. A who? I was looking for patterns that can be done by someone who has finished my Absolute Beginner Tatting Series, with no fancy techniques, tricky joins or complicated methods.
- Any techniques, beads, etc. that are not explicitly covered in my Absolute Beginner Tatting Series must be optional. (I did make one tiny and really easy exception to this.)
- All patterns must be doable by either tatting off the ball or with two shuttles. Most beginners have a distinct preference, but none of these patterns do.
- All patterns must be clearly written. Not a lot of exceptions, extended explanations or non-standard abbreviations. A little variation is to be expected, but I’m trying to keep it simple for beginners.
- All patterns must have a good picture. Pictures can be very helpful when you’re stuck. Plus they’re pretty.
The list is roughly in order of easiest to hardest, and I’ve also tried to include some helpful remarks on how to follow each pattern. Because of this, making all these patterns in order would also be a good exercise in reading patterns for any beginner, even if you’re not particularly interested in snowflakes.
WITHOUT ANY FURTHER ADO, HERE ARE THE PATTERNS:
1. This is a cute little snowflake by Heather’s Designs, featured in the photo above.
Note 1: Ignore the bead at the top of each ring and simply make a picot there instead.
Note 2: Start with any center ring, RW, make the chain, RW, then the outside ring, RW, chain, RW, another center ring, etc. Every center ring will join to the previous one, and the last center ring will join to the previous center ring and the very first ring. To join this last ring, either use a folded join, or you can avoid the folded join.
2. Here’s another one by Heather’s Designs. This one is a similar concept to the first snowflake, but has two rounds.
Note 1: You can make this in two colors if you use two shuttles. Red and green? Blue and white? Go ahead and try this if you like, or you can use a single color and tat off the ball if you are more comfortable with that.
Note 2: Begin with one of the center rings and make the long picot very long (3/4″ to 1″). Then RW and make a chain and another center ring, chain, ring, etc. All 5 additional center rings will join to that first long picot, which is why it needs to be so long.
The second round is made separately, again beginning with a ring, then RW and make a chain joining to one of the first round chains, and continuing around.
3. This snowflake by Sharon’s Tatted Lace introduces the idea of clover leaves, also called trefoils.
Note 1: The “clover leaf,” “trefoil,” or sometimes just “clover,” is three small rings right next to each other making, you guessed it, a three leaf clover shape.
Note 2: Start with the left ring of any one of the trefoils, then make the middle then right ring. At the end of the trefoil, do not reverse work. Make the chain down to the center, RW, and make one of the center rings. Then RW and go up the next chain to the next trefoil, and so on all the way around.
4. This cute snowflake by Edda Schneider nestles two rounds together.
Note 1: This pattern is in Italian, and don’t freak out. One, there is a diagrammed pattern and numbers and lines are the same in English and Italian. Two, you only need to know three words of Italian: “giro” is rounds, “anell(i)” is ring(s), and “catena” is chain.
Note 2: This one is also made in two rounds, similar to snowflake 2. Tat the center part first, alternating between rings and chains, then cut off and hide ends. Make the trefoils and chains in round two the same way as in snowflake 3, reversing work between each chain and trefoil. Make sure you join each chain to two rings from round one.
5. Hearts in a snowflake? I love it. This snowflake by Jon Yusoff is great for showing some winter love.
Note 1: DNR stands for do not reverse work.
Note 2: The chains in round two join to the rings in round one with something called a shuttle join. Okay, I’m breaking my criteria on no new techniques here, but this is easy, and it’s such a pretty snowflake.
How to make a shuttle join: Usually when you join something, you pull the working thread through the picot to make a loop, but this time you’re going to pull the shuttle thread through. Make sure you’ve tightened up your stitches first, as this join will make a knot to lock the chain in place. Hence it is also called a lock join.
In round two, begin with a clover, RW and make the chain down to round one. Join to the middle picot of the ring with a shuttle join, then make the next chain going back up to the next clover.
6. This Christmas tree pattern by Nancy Tracy takes clover leaves and puts them on steroids.
Note 1: Scroll down to the diagrammed pattern to see which clover to start with. Begin with the bottom left ring, then go up the left side of that branch and back down the right side, leaving 1/2″ of thread between each of the rings.
At the bottom of each branch you’ll make a chain which leads to the right to the rings in the next branch. Be sure to join the branches together with the middle picots of the appropriate rings.
Note 2: Each branch has rings that butt up against each other, and those need to be joined together. This is done with a lock join (remember the shuttle join from snowflake 5). Make the first side of the branch, then the clover leaf at the top. Before starting any of the rings on the second side of the branch, lock join your thread to the base of the opposite ring to secure it in place, and make the ring as normal. Leave 1/2″ of thread, lock join to the next ring, make the ring, etc.
7. If you’re ready to make something a little larger, here is a 10-point snowflake doily by Nancy Tracy.
Note 1: Remember that “turn” means reverse work.
Note 2: Ignore the parts about the shoelace trick, leaving all other directions the same. The pattern will work fine without it, even working off the ball (despite the note about needing two shuttles).
Note 3: The second picture is a zoomed-in bottom right corner of the top picture. The picture shows round one at the top and round two on the bottom. This was counter-intuitive for me.
8. If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, try this Trefoil Snowflake by Mike Myers.
Note 1: The pattern says to use two shuttles in CTM, but this can also be tatted off the ball if you prefer.
Note 2: The pattern suggests using a technique called Self-Closing Mock Rings (SCMR) to make the larger rings in the middle. Tat these as regular rings instead.
Note 3: The doily is made in 8 sections. Make the first section, then cut and hide the ends. Then make each additional section, remembering to join each to the previous section in two places. The last section you will join to the previous one and the first one to complete the circle.
There you go, a handy profile of eight tatting patterns designed for beginners. What are some other easy snowflake patterns you’d like to share? Or make?
The little snowflake in the picture is my motif number 7 in the 25 motif challenge.