Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Jan Stawasz Tatting

Here is the second version of the motif by Jan Stawasz from the previous post.  I started it in Lizbeth but abandoned it and then tried again with Anchor Artiste Mercer Crochet thread.  One I haven't used very much but which seems to get good praise from tatters.  I think it looks nice in that thread but I can't say I find it as pleasant to work with as I do Lizbeth or DMC.  To me, it's like there is a certain roughness about this thread which means that it doesn't slide/glide quite as well.

The picots are better defined using this thread and it also makes the design look more "open" I think.  Anchor Artiste size 20 works out a little bigger than DMC Babylo size 20.  I can't say for Lizbeth yet but I think Lizbeth is close in size to Anchor.

Here are the two of them side by side...

I tried to follow more closely how Jan tats.  I finally figured out his method for front-side/back-side tatting which is slightly different from that normally used by tatters.  He doesn't start reversing with the first stitch, so a chain on the reverse side would still start with a 1st, followed by a 2nd half of the double stitch but when you get to a picot or a join, you add an extra 1st half stitch before it.  Also when he makes joins on the front side, he pulls a loop through the picot from above (is that a down joint or an up one, I always get confused!!) and then doesn't count it but starts the next stitch with a 1st half again.

Jan often states size 10 as the thread to use for his patterns but I have to say that I don't really enjoy using larger than 20 though I'm not saying I won't tat one of his patterns exactly as stated one day and use size 10.  Thinking about him and his patterns, I wished I had seen him tat…  and then I found there is actually a Tatting Course Video on his website - did you know that??  I have visited his site a few times in the past, but I'm sure I'd never seen a video there before.  As usual, I'm happy to be proven wrong!  Maybe it was always there but I'd not noticed it.

I love Jan's designs so I was delighted to be able to see him in action:
(only wish I could understand what he says!)

So, should I carry on with the blue or the grey?  Do you have a preference?  Is there enough difference?

Here's the blue again, for comparison's sake:

Best wishes,


  1. Grey for me though whatever comes out of your shuttle is beautiful! I will have a peek at the video - will be able to understand Jan S - so will check if he sends his love to talented tatters like you! :)

    1. Lucky you! I do wish I could watch the whole video and understand what he says.

  2. Está precioso y el color me encanta, es un gran maestro.Besos.

  3. They both look nice to me!! :)

  4. I think he had tough man hands and had pulled the thread tight and the larger size thread he used, could hold up to the force. I noticed that with the men that tat, I feel like I can tell if a man tatted something just by looking at the work. I do love his designs, they are wonderful and a certain style. I too don't like to go larger than 20. And in his book where he compares the two methods I like the look of the regular way, personally.
    I also like comments on the thread and glad you mentioned the size being different, I wondered that many times and you gave a great views on this, thanks for the post!

  5. You are a clever detective, frivole! I can't wait to ask one of my Polish neighbours to translate Jan's video for me! I agree with Madtatter, once I taught a (lady) friend of mine to tat ;she has large strong hands. She preferred using the sturdy wooden shuttles by Banyek that the flimsier Aero-like, and asked for thick thread. I used #10 once and cried out with pain.
    So, I guess men would like stronger shuttles and thicker yarn as well.
    When I taught my nephew Jason (17) to tat, however, he said that LaCossette shuttles are the most beautiful ones in my collection.

  6. I think the grey one does look crisper. Jan was a truly inspirational tatter, his website is amazing. I've sometimes wondered if Polish size 10 was the same as mine because some pieces would be so big. Perhaps the answer is that some tatters pull their tatting very tight, I don't know.

  7. I did not know he had a video on his site, I also never noticed one on his site either. I like the blue rather than the grey, it's a lovely pattern, size ten thread is thicker to tat and shows up better in photographs, but i have use 20 when tatting his couple of designs and I thought it looked just as good. My eyes won't do very thin thread any more.

  8. Your tatting is always so beautiful that any color would look wonderful. However, as always, my preference is blue!

    I've thought of trying one of Jan's designs in 10, but I really dislike working with such "heavy" thread. It's funny to think that before I learned to tat I always used size 10 thread for my crochet work, and I thought I was working with the finest crochet cotton available!

  9. Great video! Thank you for finding it. He seems like such a gentle, unassuming man.

    Though I prefer the size of the Babylo, I like the crispness of the Anchor thread. I think I tried it and did not find it too rough. The Babylo is very, very soft.

    If you want rope, try. #10 - any make! : )

  10. I'm amazed you found that video! Thanks for the link! It is wonderful that there is a 'record' of Jan actually tatting. Looks like he uses the 'Reverse Riego method', and also a crochet hook for joins, which slows things down, although he certainly goes fast otherwise! Too bad there's not an 'audio' translation!

    I'm glad you figured out his 'method' of front-side/back-side. It really is similar to the 'standard' way, but may add a few extra ds's which may or may not change the design. It seems he made it more difficult than it had to be. His excellent designs always did look more 'dense', and I now realize he used size 10 and it may well be that he did tat more tightly

    Looks like he is doing an 'up' join with the crochet hook - at least around 20:06 . It looks the same as the 'normal' join, similar to crochet, and is the way joins were always done until fs/bs came along. However, I don't get too involved with fs/bs and do find it awkward to do the 'down' join.

    I never realized that picots look 'different' when viewed from the 'back' side until it was discussed and shown on the internet. (Teri Dusenbury goes into great detail about it in her 'Hearts' book, but I didn't really comprehend it at the time - back in the mid-'90s. She also doesn't reverse her work and always works from the front!) I think the picots having the 'nubs' on each end is mostly noticeable on enlarged internet photos, and it does look nice. But I have to really strain to see the difference in 'real life'!

    I do prefer the blue motif - I guess it's because it's such a pretty shade! Of course your tatting is always perfect!

    I also found your Google + post most interesting - and scary. I find the internet to be getting more and more complex and also more 'worrisome'. This is all uncharted territory.

  11. Maravilloso video tejo el frivolité muy poco....felicitaciones al señor que bien teje les escribo desde Lima Perú.......muchos saludoooos.

    PD. pongan traductor por favor en español ....muchas gracias.

    1. Holà Amores & Labores!, thank you for mentioning the translation issue, I hadn't really thought about it before (I don't know why since I am a French speaker myself) but I have now added a translation button right at the top, on the right-hand side. Hope it helps! Translation is not perfect but it will give you a good idea of what I say. Thanks for visiting!

  12. For me, no way to understand what he says on the video, but interesting. Thank you!

  13. Perdona que insista pero el traductor no funciona...he estado algo alejada de mi blog pero ya muy pronto lo retomo y deseo publicar su video.....puedo hacerlo?...tengo una amiga que quiere aprender este bello arte.....tengo algunos tejidos de frivolité que estoy trabajando y los subiré a mi blog.....me alegro mucho ver su respuesta muchas gracias.
    Saludooos desde Lima Perú

    1. I'm sorry, I don't know what to say about the translator because it works when I try it so I don't know how to fix it for you. I was able to see my blog in Spanish when I tried it. I think you may also be able to do it going straight to Google Translate and put in the address of the blog you want translated.
      I'm not sure I understand what you mean about "publishing my video"? Do you mean the one in this post featuring Jan Stawasz? This is not my video but I'm sure you can link to it from your blog.
      All the best!

    2. He was my tatting friend. Lást year whe he passed away I felt very sad her daughter and son in law has reissued his book 1 and 2


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