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Linda in NM asked: “How do I tell which half of the stitch I just did? I’m tatting and get distracted, and then when I look back I don’t know if I just did the first half or second half. Help!”

This is a very common question. With practice you will become more confident in spotting what each half stitch looks like, and here’s a primer to help speed that up. Ready? Set. GO:

Here’s a whole double stitch, in giant cording so you can see it clearly:

DS_Parts_wholeHere is the first half stitch, as it would look on your hand if that was the first stitch you made. Notice how the working thread crosses around the core, or base thread, from left to right.

DS_Parts_pt1This is what the first half stitch looks at the end of other stitches. It doesn’t look exactly the same, because the thread to make the stitch is attached to the previous stitch, but there are similarities. The thread crosses over the core thread and comes up in front on the left half of the stitch. Right now it is coming up vertically, but in a moment that will be pulled to the right to make the second half stitch.
DS_Parts_pt1_on_chainHere is the second half stitch, again as it would look on your hand if that was the first stitch you made. The working thread comes in front from the left and wraps around the core thread, closing the stitch on the right side.

DS_Parts_pt2Here is the second half at the end of a chain of stitches. Again, notice how the thread from the previous stitch wraps around the core thread on the right side of the stitch.

DS_Parts_pt2_on_chainLook at the two individual pics closely to get a sense of which direction the thread is going. Then compare how they both look in a chain. Can you tell the difference?

Test your stitch spotting skills. Are you ready for a challenge? In this picture there are five whole double stitches, and several random half stitches. See if you can find them all, and identify which half is which. ONLY SCROLL DOWN WHEN YOU ARE READY FOR THE ANSWER KEY.

DS_Parts_quizHow was that? Easy? Difficult? Did you find and identify all the stitches?

Need a hint? There are six randomly placed half stitches.

Need another hint? There are three of each half stitch.

Are you ready for the answer key? Scroll down a bit more.

Answer key: