Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chain Study Continued

I wanted to explore tatted chains a little bit further, and re-look at that lock-stitch chain after Gina's comment on my last post.  I found the biggest threads I could so I could really see the stitches - unfortunately they weren't the same size . . .  Oh well.  I could still see what I needed to :)

Lock Stitch and Lock Stitch Chain

Since the lock stitch is composed of one unflipped half of a ds, and the second half of the stitch flipped, it only makes sense that the lock stitch chain continues in this way.  First half ds unflipped and second half ds flipped.  Here's my testing:

I think it looks sort of braid-like.

What I was doing in my last post is really considered an "S" chain, according to THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

"S" Chain

Another practice with the larger threads produced this, using both halves of a ds unflipped, followed by both halves of a ds flipped.  This is the "S" chain:

The "S" chain shows a bit wider color band as Gina mentioned, with a bit more texture and forming a sort of "S" shape, yet remaining in a straight line.  Here's the difference:

"Z" Chain

Taking that flipped/unflipped ds a step further with more stitches, you get the "Z" chain.  I tried 3 complete ds flipped, then 3 complete ds unflipped to get a small "Z".

(Remember, the threads aren't the same size - but you get the idea.)

Then I tried 6 ds flipped, and 6 ds unflipped to produce a wider "Z". 

If I am understanding these chains/stitches correctly, this one is also called a "Zig-Zag" chain.  Which makes more sense since the Z is so visible - unlike the chain made up of a "Node" stitch being called a zig-zag chain.  No wonder I get confused.  (Am I missing a larger piece of that zig-zag chain description?)  Here are both sizes:

Which brings me to another new discovery.  Duh.  I never really knew what a "Lark's Head Knot" was.  So, a Lark's Head Knot is just a complete, both halves unflipped ds.  Why didn't that ever click before?  Maybe I just didn't memorize it. 

So my tatting accomplishments this weekend consist of practicing and testing and studying.  Hopefully I will remember my findings!


  1. Thanks for these posts Cindy. I have found this information to be very helpful. I never memeorized that stuff either and had forgotten most of it so I pulled out some thread - of course TOO small, but anyway... and tatted what you instructed on the last post.

    I could not figure out why the braided one did not look braided and here you explain it! Whew! Mystery solved. Thanks again. Really helpful.
    Fox : ))

  2. Excellent study on chains and the lockstitch! I forgot to go back and try it in two colors but your photos and explanations are so clear. I never made the connection about the larkshead knot either. I just tat. LOL!

  3. Your chain posts are very interesting! Now I think I'll have to do some research on my own. : )

  4. More helpful information! Thank you for doing this research and posting your findings.

  5. These two posts are amazing, and your in-depth research is appreciated!

    I first became aware of 'artistic' chains with Elizabeth Zipay's exquisite tatted jewelry. Then Vicki Clarke's ruffled heart pattern (which she generously shared on her blog in July 2009) caught my interest. And recently so many tatters are using various chain techniques on bookmarks or 'stems' on leaves. We really do need a way of 'defining' them, and you've done a good job here! Great photos!

    You mentioned the 'lark's head' knot, and I've often wondered how it got that name in the world of rope and knots. Our 'normal' tatted knot is simply the same thing facing the other way, yet photos usually show the lark's head knot in what we consider the upside down position! So many mysteries!

  6. Thanks for sharing this. You've inspired me to play around with different kinds of chains myself, and not just do the regular double stitch every time. It's been fun! :)


Thanks for your thoughts - I read and appreciate every one!