Anne Orr published the original r st (split-ring technique) in Miscellaneous Needlework Book No 24 in 1923. Unbelievable as it seems there was a forty-two year gap before any other designers took notice of this ingenious technique. Can you imagine that?
Anne Orr's published tatting patterns (even though protected by copyrights), were used time and time again in other publications from that era. So why did this technique and designs not catch on? It seems incredibly bazaar that no designers saw the same opportunities brought to tatting's designs by using this new technique. Could it be that the other designers did not understand the directions?
Thank heavens, Mary Sue Kuhn perceived the wonders of this technique and published her own innovative designs in The Joy of Split Ring Tatting in 1984. Orr described the technique as the r st, but it was Kuhn who coined the term split-rings. I was living in Belgium in 1984, and I was unable to teach myself to tat! By the time I had learned to tat (1988), The Joy of Split-Ring Tatting was out-of-print.
My first modern split ring pattern.
Secret Split Rings AKA Knotted Picots.It was not until 1997, when I was experimenting with different ways to tat split rings, that I came across a couple of (what I thought were new) techniques. I was so thrilled with myself that I did the cha-cha around the house for hours. That is when I heard an inner voice say, not yours! That sure put a kink in the cha-cha line, and I spent a few hours searching through The Archives vast collection of tatting books, magazines, etc. looking for this technique and the real author. Of course, my inner voice did not speak up again until I had already searched through a massive amount of material. Anne Orr said the raven in my brain. (I swear it was very POEtic.) Of course, who else could it be, but Anne Orr.... I should have started there first!
On an old TATtle TALES web page from 1998, I wrote the following: Patterns and the original split-ring method are published again in 1935 in Tatting Book No 35 (Large Round Doily, Edgings No. 52, No. 53 and Linen Set Edging.) NOTE: The Linen Luncheon Set Edging is not a split-ring design. The directions given for this edging are inaccurate and may have prompted the revision five years later. This design was also omitted from the 1940 version.The Linen Luncheon Set Edging IS a split-ring design. NO ONE UNDERSTOOD THE DIRECTIONS!!! If you thought a forty-two year gap was long, how does fifty-two years sound? Egads, that is practically a lifetime! Did the fact that no one tatted the design prompt Orr to omit the design from the revised version five years later?
Tatting Book No. 35 - 1935The edging for this set is very effective and quickly made as crochet cotton No. 2 is used, and two shuttles. The doilies may be made any size that one wishes, but a six-inch circle (which may be cut by a saucer) is a nice size for the number; and 12x15 in. for the plate doily. The large center one, if made, may be about 15x17 in.*Begin r, shuttle No. 1, 2 ds, r st on same r with shuttle No. 2, 2 ds, p, 2 ds, shuttle No. 1, 3 ds. Repeat 6 times, with only 2 ds at end, cl. Ch 7 ds, p, 2 ds, p, 7 ds, j second p of next r to second p of last r. Repeat from *. After the edging is made, turn a narrow hem around the doilies, and finish with buttonhole stitches close together and then sew the edging to this....Anne Orr
If you have ever tried to tat/knot this pattern you might have found yourself dazed, confused and wondering why you could not figure out how to tat such a seemingly simple pattern. Let me save you from a state of total frustration by explaining the secret behind this pattern.
On close inspection of the photograph and the above scan of the edging, I can see the bars of the knots between picots instead of split hitches. If the designer had reversed their work to manipulate those knots, then there would have been split hitches between those picots. These complete knots lead me to believe that the designer never reversed the work to knot that portion of the ring.
OSSR = Orr's Secret Split-Ring which means that the second portion of the split-ring is knotted with shuttle two, clockwise using the reverse lark's head knot.. (period) = close ring.
* (asterisk) = indicates where pattern repeat starts and ends.
S1 = shuttle one.
S2 = shuttle two.
SP = small picot.
<1>---CTM---<2> = two shuttles wound using the continuous thread method. CH = lark's head knot chain or the reverse double knot chain.
Note: It is a lot easier if you number your shuttles to tat this example. S1 remains as S1 even though it is used to make the lark's head knot chain knot. S2 only takes over the appearance of being S1 by its position; however, it functions only as S2.
Modern Script for Linen Luncheon Set by Anne Orr.
*OSSR S1: 2,
**S2: 2, SP, 2,
S1: 3, ** 6xs,
S2: 2, SP, 2,
S1: 2. Close split-ring. (Total of seven shuttle two rings.)
CH: 7, SP, 2, SP, 7, * Repeat for desired length remembering to join with a lock knot the second SP of current ossr to the sixth SP of prior ossr.
It is important that your are able to understand the message that I am trying to convey. Printing the article and being able to see the schematic drawings, up close and personal, could be a key factor in understanding the technique.
While doing research for another article, I ran across a couple of Orr's publications that had been misfiled. Lo and behold; what do I find, but two more edgings that incorporate Orr's Secret Split Ring Technique.
(1942 -- page 5)
No. 19 (2 shuttles)
* R 3 ds, 3 p sep by 3 ds, cl, ch 5 ds, fasten in last p of r, ch 5 ds, p, ch 3 ds, (r with shuttle No. 2, 3 ds, p, 3 ds, cl, ch 3 ds) seven times, j in p at end of last ch 5 ds, ch 6 ds, j in last p of first r, ch 5, j in second p of first r, r 4 ds, p, 4 ds, r st 8 ds, repeat from *. J in second sr (of flower) to the sixth sr of last flower.
No. 20 (2 shuttles)Repeat edging above making 3 ds instead of 5 ds for the stem of flower. Make second side as follows:
* r 3 ds, 3 p sep by 3 ds, 3 ds, cl, ch 5, j in last p of r and also in center petal of flower, ch 5, j in second p of r, r 4 ds, p, 4 ds, r st 8 ds, repeat from *.
I did try tatting Edging No. 19 exactly the way the directions are written. However, what I tatted does not look anything like the pictured example above. The only actual split-ring (in the script) is the sr between the flowers at the top and just below. These directions are consistently incorrect when it comes to tatting the flower portion of the edgings. This leads me to believe that whomever wrote the script, did not design the edgings, or they were purposely written incorrectly. So many questions, with few answers.
In a biographical introduction written for Dover Publications reprint of Crochet Designs of Anne Orr, Rachel Maines writes, Like many designers, Orr did not work all of the designs herself. A conceptualizer rather than a technician, she employed a staff of needleworkers at her studio to test and make up her patterns before they were marketed to domestic artisans.That was a very broad statement. Yes, I can see Orr conceptualizing the cross-stitch, filet crochet and the quilting patterns, but tatting... no.
If you are developing new tatting techniques you have to know how to tat.
I spent many years chasing (my idea of) Anne Orr. I had Orr so high up on that idol pedestal that her fall was quite a steep one.
One day, I received an article written for a quilting magazine that burst my whole bubble where Anne Orr and the split ring was concerned. Anne Orr did not tat, quilt, or even crochet. I doubt I will ever find out who the true geniuses were behind these techniques and tatting patterns published through Anne Orr. Credit where credit is due; otherwise, tatting's history is lost.
a needle threader,
One bead is an add-on bead.
Wind approximately 2 yards of thread onto shuttle one.
Pull approximately ½ yard from ball. Cut thread.
Using a needle threader thread beads onto thread (23 beads).
Wind shuttle two with remaining ½ yard of thread.
Slide 22 beads onto shuttle one's thread and 1 bead onto shuttle two's thread.
S1: R 3, long picot, 3.
Place S1 bead into ring prior to tatting first knot.
S1: R 6, slide bead into place, 6.
CH DK: 3,
Place S2 bead into ring prior to tatting first knot.
RW DR: S2 6, slide bead into place, 6. RW
CH DK: 10
*Knotted Picot: S1 3,
S2: 3, slide three beads into place, 3,* Repeat till you have seven S2 rings.
S1: 3. End off. Tie a square knot on wrong side of motif. Rethread ends back through finished knots.Place add-on bead on long picot and attach earring wire.
All Rights Reserved ©1998 by Teri Dusenbury.