Wednesday, February 16, 2011


To all edge tatters, my question goes out to you.  
How do you pick any ole edging you like, just because it is 
THE EDGE you want for a project, 
and know it will fit on your pre-made piece  you are planning
on attaching it to, how do you know that a center motif, if there is one
will end up in the center, the corners will actually FIT in the corners...

Sure it is easy to do if you are making the center to fit from scratch, 
I have done that many times, and I have done a few dozen straight edges,
and a small seam mistake is easy to fix or fudge.

but I want  a particular edge, say a very fancy wedding  piece, with 
lots of steps up and down, and it is going on a square piece, and I want the 
corners to match up with the fabric exactly.  

Do you spend the time making swatch pieces of lace and measuring?
Do you need to be a math wiz and add a into b plus 5 over xmc at the witner games?
Do I need to know how fast my shuttles will fly compared to the speed
of an European swallow if leaving a northbound train when a 
volcano erupts in southern Italy on a Tuesday?

I seem to run into being just a couple hairs off either short or over, and my  
fabrics just don't match up with my tatting, and when it is just
simple rings and chains, I can adjust the chains and either scrunch them 
a little or stretch them a little in the last set, and it works out, but 
any tips, what do you all do, how does everyone work around this dilema
for measuring just right and getting the corners to match perfect?

Please let me know how you all do it, I want all the suggestions I can find, 
I want to try different things, and see  what works best for me
because what I currently do, is only 


  1. Hi,

    I am laughing, sorry not at you but your question, I would love to know the answer to that one. I have no idea how they do it and what the answer is. I think they all do what we do, pray that it will fit and match up. Could someone please tell me too.

  2. Your frustration is exactly why I hesitate to work on edgings! I have done several hankies with very simple edgings, but I've never attempted some of the more beautiful, deep patterns. I love Mary Konior's edgings, but what if I don't have the correct number of repeats?

    I am not a math person, so trying to figure out what to do with numbers would drive me over the edge, so to speak. Another problem I have is that I like to attach the edging as I go. Maybe the answer is to make my own hankies rather than purchasing blanks.

    I'll be interested to see how your readers respond!

  3. What a great question. And timely...

    I am tatting an Iris Niebach pattern for a vintage hankie right now. I have to admit I picked the edging because I love it and thought it matched the style of the hankie

    Then I just started to tat, trusting it would work.

    I did about one corner and two inches and then held it against the hankie to see if the length to the next corner was going to fit, and it looked as if it would.

    So, I continued, and lo and behold I believe that this is going to be okay. I think I can pull or squish the edging a smidgeon if needs be, but I think it will all work out.

    To get back to your question: I leave it to gut instinct and go with the flow! (remnant left over from 'hippie" days!)

    How's that for not too much help!

    Fox : )

  4. The only time I've edged a pre-made piece where it needed to fit exactly was a round doily. I got one of the ones they have at Handy Hands with holes all around the edge that you can join or sew your tatting to. I did make a sample first to see how many holes one repeat would cover. As it happened, each repeat took 6 holes, and there were 120 holes altogether, so I knew that I would have to make 20 repeats. That was just simple division. And I'm sure that the number 120 was chosen intentionally because it's divisible by a lot of different things, so that nearly any edging could easily be made to fit.

    It sounds like your project is a bit more complicated, since you have corners to deal with and no pre-existing holes. The principle is the same, though. Measure the piece exactly. Tat a couple of repeats and a corner. Measure the length of one repeat, and measure how far from the actual corner the corner repeat starts. Now there is a little bit of calculation, but it's not too difficult. If A is the length of one repeat, B is the distance from the start of the corner repeat to the actual corner, and C is the length of the side that you are attaching it too, then the formula is Ax+2B=C. Solve for x, and that will tell you how many repeats to make on that side. For example, if the repeat is 2 inches long and the corner repeat is 1 inch from the start to the corner, and the fabric is 12 inches long, the formula becomes 2x+2(1)=12. Multiply the 2(1) part to get 2, and the equation is simplified to 2x+2=12. Subtract 2 from each side and you get 2x=10. Therefore x=5 repeats on that side.

    If you don't get a nice clean number like 5, there are a couple of things you can do. If it is very close to a whole number, you can make the edging separately and sew it on when you're done. That way you can ease the tatting a bit as you sew so that it is stretched or scrunched to fit. (With corners, I recommend sewing the tatting on later anyway; that way you don't have to worry about starting in exactly the right spot to make the corner line up.) Or you can try it using a different size thread to see if that makes for an easier number of repeats. Or, depending on what it is, it might be possible to change the size of the center by sewing an additional strip of fabric along each side, or by trimming and re-hemming it. If worst comes to worst, you might have to choose either a different edging or a different center; it's best to do the math first so that you will know that before you start instead of getting almost done and realizing it's not going to work.

    BTW, if sewing the tatting on sounds too tedious, another option is to crochet around the edge of the fabric using a hook small enough to poke holes and join the crochet to the fabric, and catch the picots of the tatting as you go.

  5. lol, Fox, your pretty hankie is the reason I thought now was the time to start my project if I could find some help, seems you rounded your second corner nicely, lol, I wanted to see how others do it, thought I was just off my nut and maybe a little dingy for not doing it, other then faking it with squishing.

    Diane, I am sooooooo way not a math person, can you tell from my examples above?

    I think I need to go through hobby lobby's bargain bin and find a few skeins of dollar cotton to practice and make swatches with, they are always putting it up here, small towns always have lots of kids stealing labels and taking the end bits off of the thread, so they discount it , which makes it wonderful for people like me to grab up :D I just hate using up my thread I paid full price for on something I might screw up or throw away!

  6. One thing about making swatches, do it with the same thread you will be using for the real thing. The "same" size thread can vary a bit from brand to brand, especially if you're using the cheap stuff for your swatch. Don't think of it as a waste of thread, think of it as a necessary step to getting a beautiful finished product.

    Oh, and I've always been a math person, so what I said before seems easy to me, but I do understand that it's not for everybody. If you're not sure, you're welcome to e-mail me your measurements.

  7. Miranda's math methode is probably the best. What I do till now is: choose a not too large motif (the larger, the more risk it won't fit exactly..), make a few motifs and the corner motif. Then I know how much space is needed for a corner and can calculate how many motifs will be needed for one side + one corner. Sofar, I made the edgings first, made an extra crochet round around the hanky and stitched the edging by hand to the hanky, which enabled me to do a little bit of stretching, which was not always necessary. Then I ironed everything in shape. But I admit, I am reluctant to start with larger motifs!!


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