Sunday, 3 February 2013

Victorian Trellis Doily - First Round Explained

Some people have expressed interest in this doily but are finding it difficult to decipher the pattern (written in the old-fashioned way).  As this pattern (the whole book in fact) is available on the internet, I  feel it is fine to re-write parts of it here, in modern tatting pattern terminology.

Start on a chain, leaving a small picot.  I use the method without paperclip (see in the techniques section, tab above).  Using these methods, the work is never reversed and you always tat with the front of the work facing you.

Chain with small starting picot

The Victorian sets are made as a chain and have four first halves of the double stitch followed by 4 second halves of the double stitch and are marked as vs4^4 (seems appropriate as the sets form little Vs).  I will be putting a C in front the vs4^4 as Victorian sets could also be worked in ring form so I'm trying to keep things as clear as possible.

Updated on 28.01.21 (there were some mistakes in this pattern which I have now corrected)

This is one whole repeat written out and there are plenty of photos below to illustrate each step.
Don't forget:  you never reverse work!

C: starting picot (as explained above) 4-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3 (11 picots)
Join back into your starting picot.

*C:vs4^4(x2), place paperclip on the core thread, vs4^4(x2), vsp, vs4^4(x2).
SCMR2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2 (8 picots), close the SCMR.
Continue with sets:
C:vs4^4(x2), vsp, vs4^4(x2), remove paperclip and join to that space, vs4^4(x2)
Continue with the same chain:
C4-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3 (11 picots)
Curl the last part of the chain onto itself with the working thread under the work and the core thread over the work, crossing between the 1st and 2nd double stitch (see photos below).
Repeat from *

When you have completed 36 large rings and are about to make the 36th small ring, then complete the round thus:
SCMR2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2 (8 picots), close the SCMR.
Continue with sets:
C:vs4^4(x2), join to vsp of first chain at the beginning of round, vs4^4(x2), remove paperclip and join to that space, vs4^4(x2), join back at base of very first large ring.

Cvsp4-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3 (11picots)

Join the chain back into the starting vsp

vs4^4(x2) are made and I used a bobby pin on my thread
which works well as it has a nice width and is easy
to put on and take off the thread.  A satefy pin
or a paperclip is fine too of course.

The first long chain of victorian sets is completed and I have made the SCMR.
I just need to pass my shuttle through the loop to close it.

vs4^4(x2), vsp, vs4^4(x2) are made after the SCMR
and I have removed the bobby pin and joined in that small space.

After the join, continue with 2 more vs4^4 and then
4-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3, curl this chain back on itself,
making sure the ball thread is under and the shuttle thread (core thread) is over.

Carry on making the Victorian sets, making sure the first stitch is tight
and made so that the join is
between the 1st and 2nd ds of the chain that
makes the large ring.

After the large ring, vs4^4(x2), place paperclip (or whatever else you are using)
vs4^4(x2), join to vsp of previous chain
then continue with the SCMR of the small flower

And so on, and so forth...

The original pattern does the join all around the Victorian sets chains but I wasn't finding that easy to do so that's why I used the paperclip and the vsp instead.  I find it give a precise joining point whereas when trying to do the join all around the chain, it was hard to get an accurate spot every time.

I hope this is useful to those who were interested in tackling this doily.  I have just finished the tatting of mine tonight and am now on the search for some nice fabric for the middle.  Hopefully I can show you the finished doily very soon.

Best wishes,


  1. I confess, I'm one of those people whose eyes go crazy at all the numbers and hyphens. It's much easier for me to picture the finished project or sections when I read the old fashioned directions. I still can't figure out why anyone thought a long series of numbers and hyphens would seem more explicit.
    In any case, I do enjoy your blog and appreciate your posts.

    1. Hi Dora, perhaps what I find difficult is the layout, rather than the wording. The old patterns often consist of one big block of text with no gaps for the eye to rest and to find where one element ends and the next starts. But we're all different and we all have our preferences! And it's fine like that.

  2. After your illustration with pictures and simple annotations, the pattern looks a lot more accessible. Tks for sharing your experience.

  3. Thank you so much! I have a few projects to finish first, but I do want to try this pattern.

  4. I have officially bookmarked your explanation for further reference (Agh, I'm so tired that I almost said "until further notice" hahaha) =) Thanks!!!

  5. Ack, I meant for "future reference" ... I don't know where my head is XD

  6. Thank you very much. I have used the original patterns in the book, but they're not easy to follow, so any modernisation welcome!

  7. Thank you! Your explanations make it so much easier to understand. I WILL tackle this one soon! Ü

  8. Thank you so much. I've been struggling with the joins, and this looks so much better.

  9. Your explanations are wonderful and so clear, I have too much on at the moment to try this but will come back to it when I have more time
    Thank you for showing how its done.

  10. How wonderful! understandable! I thought that everywhere will be alligator join.(
    Thank you, admire you
    I'm sorry, I do not speak English, I use translator... :-)

    1. Hi Lenka, the alligator join would not work everywhere here because of the direction of the work. It is an alligator join after the large chain/ring. The pattern did call for a different join on the Victorian sets chains but this is how I did it because I found it easier. I'm glad you found it helpful!

  11. Great pictures and instructions! It is wonderful to see a beautiful vintage pattern given new life. You have not changed the lovely doily, but improved it's workability and precision. How far tatting has come in the last 150 years! Isn't it exciting? (((H)))

  12. I love your tatting and all of your 'how to's" On a non-tatting related post. I love your nails!!! Do you do them yourself? They are always so pretty :)

    1. Thank you very much Debbie - yes, home-made the nails as well! :-)

  13. Beautiful tatting and your thread colour is very lovely.

  14. Aha! Bobby pins! Brilliant. I have already been to the dollar-store and purchased a life supply for a buck! Thanks for the idea.

    I have never been satisfied using pins or paper clips or knitting notions. These little babies just might do the trick!
    Fox : )

  15. TOTALLY amazing Frivole! Thanks for the link to the book too. There is some amazing tatting in that book. I've bookmarked this to come back to as soon as I get done with some other doilies.

    1. It IS a fab book Carolivy, I'm glad I enabled you to find it!

  16. This is a fascinating doily! Thank you for explaining how to get started. And I think I have to go and get some bobby pins... :-)

    1. Hi Grace, you're welcome! Bobby pins are not essential by any means! I just happened to spot one as I was tatting and thought they would make a nice alternative.

    2. I use bobby pins as well. I have the coiless safety pins but trying to own them can be a bit fussy so I just keep hair pins around.

      This is a beautiful doily. What's the name of the book? I'd love to add to my meager collecting.

  17. Adorei sua aulas mas nao entendi muito bem as siglas pq nao falo ingles.obrigada

    1. Oi, eu adicionei um botão traduzir no topo, que não funciona?

  18. I had my shuttle all wound with thread (alot of it) and cut it from the ball so one day I'll be ready to make something big. For this pattern it is tatted from the ball. If I tie the ends together to begin this project, how can I start with a picot? Can it be done or do I need to buy another shuttle to be able to go directly (no knots) from the ball?

  19. Hi Judy, well, it's not impossible but it won't look quite as good as if you start with the thread continuous from the ball. Have you looked at the video on how to start with a picot? I think it would be difficult to hide the ends nicely when starting with a knot and a picot. You don't need to waste your thread though, just wind it back into a tiny ball and use on another project.

    But if you really wanted to start with a knot, I would wind the knot onto the shuttle, start the project without a knot and deal with the knot a bit further into the tatting. I think you said you were a beginner tatter? I don't know if you'll find these suggestions too complicated.

    Anyway, it's "doable" with a knot but it would be much easier without! :-)

  20. Hi Frivole thank you for all your video's and explainations on your blog aswell.
    It looks so elegant how you handle your shutle,and this doilly is absolute fab.
    I was lucky to find the priscilla books,but unfortunatly i (like some others) find
    it difficult to understand.With your explaination and not to forget the pictures it becomes more clear now.So there is hope for all of us.I sure hope to see and learn more from you.


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