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Jan Stawasz rocks. Enough said? Well, here’s a bit more.

I found his website in 2005 and have been drooling over his patterns ever since. I immediately emailed him requesting a pattern for a lovely sun hat I wanted to make and wear to a special occasion. He was very nice and informed me that his book would be coming out soon. So I waited on pins and needles and bought it the moment it was available–not in time for my event, sadly, but nonetheless well worth the wait.

Since then I have made a few of his smaller patterns, and am now working on the doily on page 75. So far I have four blocks done, and 16 to go. Lookie:

Jan Stawasz Doily

Yes, there are still ends to hide. My least favorite part of tatting.

What I love about Jan’s patterns is that they aren’t what you’d expect. They are elegant and refined, the sort of beauty you might expect to see dressing up a table in a palace, but are simple in their own right. He has a way of making beautiful and unexpected combinations, that when you look closely, turn out to be fairly straightforward. The type of thing that makes me wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Jan Stawasz Doily Closeup

See the pretty rings on the right side, from two different motifs? They will join to two other motifs to make an unexpected flowery ring. Now that's inventive.

When I first look at one of his patterns, I like to sit and look at it for a bit to take in the whole, then I look closely at the diagram and literally trace it around with a finger to help my mind connect the pieces. There is always the “aha” moment where I see “that’s how he did that,” followed by a burning desire to try it myself. I may not do the whole pattern, but it is so much fun to try it out.

Oops, this has turned into a bit of a book review. Sorry. Well, to finish this off like a book review, I highly recommend that if you can find Jan Stawasz’ “Tatting Theory and Patterns” that you snatch it up at any price. I’ve heard rumors on the InTatters forum that it may no longer be in print? Is that so? Does anyone know where to find a copy? Please share for those interested.