"How do I create my own tatted lace designs?"
This is one of the most common questions I get, and I have always struggled to answer it. Describing my design process in a way that will help others create their own designs is kind of like trying to describe how water is wet. Sometimes I sketch designs out first, sometimes I don't. Sometimes designs come easily, and sometimes I spend weeks trying to make them work.
When I got this question again on a tiktok video recently, I decided to spend some time really breaking down my design process and trying to quantify all of the steps that help me design a pattern. And I realized that designing tatted lace is a lot like playing with Legos.
Designing tatted lace is a lot like playing with Legos.
Like Legos, tatting is the perfect intersection of math and creativity. (Don't panic, though, it's not the kind of math you're thinking!) Also like Legos, tatting can be broken down into basic "blocks" of design. These blocks will always have the same properties, no matter how many times you make them. A cluster of three rings will always create a "corner" or "point." Similarly, a cluster of two rings back to back will always create a "flat" edge. The angle where a ring and a chain join will always want to be the same angle. Introducing a new element at that point will change the angle. These are things that are quantifiable and they don't change. The creativity comes in how we combine these blocks, and again, just like Legos, they can be combined an infinite number of ways!
I think the best advice I can give someone wanting to begin creating their own tatted lace designs is, stay curious. Begin deconstructing the patterns you already love, and start learning to see these blocks and how they fit together. That's how you'll learn to start putting them back together in new and interesting ways that are all your own.
The photo shown in this article is of a snowflake I designed recently, which is available as a free PDF download. I encourage you to play with this design, and see how you can make it your own!