Instructions for Tatting a Cluny Leaf

Different names are used for fingers around the world. These instructions use the English style names.

Starting adjacent to the thumb the fingers are:

Hold the existing tatting between thumb and first finger, with the thread coming out between them away from the palm of the hand. Do not try to start in mid-air with the first leaf (I still can't make them without some existing tatting to hold on to).

The pictures do not show the shuttle thread.

Hand 1
Use 2 shuttles, but think of one as the 'ball' thread. Take the 'ball' thread up over the forefinger, middle and ring fingers, over the top of the hand. The ball thread comes back towards the thumb under the ring and middle finger, then over the front of the forefinger (which is holding the tatting), and between the forefinger and thumb towards the palm. (First loop made.)

Threads already positioned are shown in blue, new threads in brown.

Hand 2
Now loop the 'ball' thread around the little finger, then back between the thumb and forefinger away from the palm of the hand. (Second loop made.) Hand 3
Take this thread up to the inside of your middle and ring fingers, slip it between them and wedge the 'ball' shuttle against the outside of the middle and ring fingers. This last thread from the thumb goes between the two threads of the first loop made. (Third loop made.)

If using a ball and shuttle then wind the ball thread tightly a couple of times around the ring or little finger to anchor it securely.

Hand 4

There are now three threads coming up from the thumb and a loop around the little finger. These threads remain static during the weaving of the leaf, all the movement is done with the shuttle thread. The leaf is woven on the three threads coming up from the thumb.

Some instructions suggest starting with the first half of a double stitch, but I do not recommend this. Take the working shuttle under the first thread, over the middle, under the third and tension. Take it back in the other direction under the middle thread and tension again. (Note to bobbin lacers, don't try to get away with one tighten per back and forward, it just doesn't work. Also, don't stack the weaving as tightly as a bobbin made leaf.)

Each out and back counts as one wrap. Try say a twelve wrap leaf to start with. For the first 6 wraps make each one larger than the last. For wraps 7-9 try to keep them the same size, and for wraps 10 -12 make the wraps smaller. Do not make the last wrap too tight or the next stage will not be possible.

Shaping is achieved by tension in the first loop around the forefinger and ring fingers. If the middle thread is loose it will not affect the leaf, but it is easier to work with this thread under tension.

There is now a leaf with a thread attached to the ball shuttle coming out of the top, a loop out of the top and another loop out of the bottom of the leaf. It should be possible to remove the leaf from your fingers at this point, without disturbing the weaving.. When trying to make a leaf for the first time give each thread a little gentle tug to see how they are interconnected. To get rid of the loops it is VITAL to do the next steps in the right order:

  1. Pull the loop at the bottom of the leaf, the loop that was round your little finger. This removes the loop at the top of the leaf. Keep pulling gently till there is no excess thread at the top. The idea is to snug the loop down till it lies flat across the top of the leaf, but not to pull too hard; do not reduce the height of the leaf by pulling the loop too far.
  2. Pull the ball shuttle which will draw up the thread from the bottom loop until there is no excess thread at the bottom.

Now the leaf is finished.

Functionally leaves are the same as chains, two threads go in at the start and two threads come out at the end.

I have designed a simple motif using Cluny leaves suitable for a beginner to try.

A larger design with leaves was made as part of a round robin I was in.

All designs, text and photographs on this site are copyright Stephanie Peters, except where stated. The designs by Stephanie Peters may be reproduced for personal use but not sold, nor used in any publication without permission. Permission to publish in newsletters etc. will be willingly given to any not for profit organisation that cares to ask.