Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Note of Comparison

In my last post about "Ruffled Hearts" I shared a comparison of a same sized thread, size 20. There was a photo that showed the two same sized hearts next to a US dime to give an idea of their size. So many of you commented on how tiny you thought they were.

Yes, the hearts are small, it's true. What is interesting to me is that size 20 is actually a larger gauge in the crochet cotton thread sizes. Authentic "Tatting thread" is actually much smaller at sizes 70, 80, and 100.

I thought I'd give you some more size comparisons to see the differences in some crochet cotton and tatting thread sizes.


Here is the heart in the same size 20 DMC thread

Next, we have size 40 DMC thread.

Here's is size 20 on the left next to size 40 on the right.
As you can see, size 40 is a bit smaller.

Smaller still is size 80 DMC tatting thread!

Size 20 is on the left,
Size 40 is in the middle,
Size 80 is on the right!

Here's that same dime to show the size comparison.
As mentioned in the previous post the heart pattern
is called "Ruffled Heart" by Vicki Clarke.
The thread is "Summer Trail" by Yarnplayer (in all 3 sizes).

Just to reiterate the whole
"look how tiny size 80 thread is"
here's another photo of the heart
made of size 80 thread on the same dime.

Now, what does size 20, 40, and 80 all mean?
Why does the larger number correspond
with the smaller thread?

Click on over to
Jen's Tatra-Sutra
for her thoughts on this.
(Scroll down to the paragraph entitled "size")

I've actually heard something similar to this
from others, but this was the only page online
that I could find that explained it.


Thanks again for stopping by to visit! As always, your visits and comments are a pleasure! I enjoy them very much!
I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend so far! I am!


46 absolutely fabulous things were said:

Nunt said...

Hmm, interesting notion on the thickness.

I have never heard of a gauge being measured over 1 cm though. Over 1 inch, in the knitting yarn world is called WPI, wraps per inch, and is one way of noting how thick a yarn is. Another way is to note how many single threads you have and how many meters will go into 1 g of yarn, for example 2/100 would mean 2 threads wound together, with 100m of each for 1g, thus making it equal to 1/50.

But then again, this is tatting / crochet cotton, which I know nothing about ^_*^

Bumpkin Bears said...

isn't that funny that the higher number is smaller! I love the delicacy of the smallest heart, really sweet.
Have a lovely weekend, Catherine x

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

I love seeing tatted pieces in different sizes. I think it gives me a better understanding of how a piece could be used in a variety of ways. Thanks for sharing!

Clyde said...

Thanks for the size comparison reminder TattingChic it always reminds me that the large doilies that I make that are 26 inches across in size 80 would be about 40inches across in size 20.

Lori said...

those are so sweet...i guess the piece from your last post wasn't so tiny after all...compared to her tinier sisters!!!

Thimbleanna said...

Holy Cow Woman! I'm thinking I'd have to have much younger eyes to do such fine work!

Judy said...

How delicate they are. Seeing the different sizes and comparisons really make me realize what a delicate intricate work of are tatting is. I found a hanky with a tatted edge at an estate sale last weekend. I think I appreciate our monthly snowflakes even more now.

Annie said...

Fascinating to read and see. Thanks for the detail.

TattingChic said...

Hello Nunt. Well, yes, it makes sense that yarn gauges would be measured over an inch. There's a great deal of difference in the thickness of yarns vs. crochet and tatting cotton threads, LOL! If threads were measured the same we'd have a much different number system going on, now wouldn't we?

Hi Catherine, thanks for stopping by! Yes, I've always thought that was kind of funny that the higher number went with the smaller thread. This makes sense, though.

Thank you, Diane! I am glad to see that you liked the comparison.

Thanks, CLyde! You know, I did this mostly for my blog friends who do not tat or are new to tatting so it is nice to hear from more experienced tatters that you liked this, too. I thought it would be a total "yawner" for my more experienced tatting friends.

Hi Lori! Well, the size 20 heart was small, but I thought you and others might like to see the same pattern done in tinier threads. There are tinier threads, still! I have some 120 and 160 coming from Japan!

Hi Thimbleanna! Well, younger eyes or stronger glasses, LOL! Many women use one of those magnifying glasses on a stand used for other types of needlework. I may have to resort to that one day if I intend to keep tatting with tiny threads.

Hi Judy, yes, that is nice that you appreciate Fairiebee's snowflakes even more! She mostly uses size 30, I've noticed. Size 30 is, of course, smaller than size 20 and just larger than size 40.

Thank you, Annie! I'm glad you found it interesting. Thanks for telling me so!

Steph's (tat) Stuff said...

Nice heart pattern. It's definitely on my 'to-do' list! I, too, like to do a thread comparison when I can't decide which size thread would look best for a project. I prefer using white or ecru instead of variegated or shaded, otherwise the dimensions are harder to compare due to the color ways not being in the same place on each piece. But that's just me. Have a good Sunday!

Draffin Bears said...

Beautiful hearts TattingChic.
So delicate and pretty and I loved seeing the different sizes.
Have a great Sunday.


Krystle said...

I just can't seem to get the sets to look right on that pattern! I've been pretty stressed out lately though, maybe I should wait to try new techniques when I'm settled down lol!

Ruth Welter said...

That is pretty neat that they higher number means "smaller" size. These are very pretty and elegant.


TattingChic said...

Hi Steph, thanks for visiting. Isn't that an awesome ♥ pattern? I think Vicki created a winner with that one.
You may not have noticed, but this blog post was a continuation from the previous post in which I was actually ASKED to compare two HDT's of the same size in two different brands (same HDT colorway). That's actually what started the whole comparison thing. This was just a continuum from that since so many people said the size 20 was tiny I thought I'd show 'em size 80 for fun! Since I had both size 40 and 80 in the same colorway I just went with that for consistency's sake. Thanks for your opinION, though! Ya gotta do what works for YOU, so stick with that! Good to see ya out and about in blogland again! Hope your wrist is feeling better soon!

Thank you, Carolyn! I am glad you stopped by so I could "show" them to you!

Hi Krystle! Thanks for visiting! Ya know, I noticed that if I wasn't completely focused on tatting the ruffled stitch sets I had problems, too. I found that holding the actual stitch set in formation between the pinch (instead of what's already been tatted between the pinch and what you're forming out in the open) that the stitch sets stayed uniform and even. Kinda wierd, but least for me.

Thank you, Ruth. I used to find it kind of confusing when I was younger, but I've been tatting for so long now that it doesn't confuse me. I think it's always good for people to understand the rationale for why something is done the way it is. It makes it easier to remember. :)

sewmuchfun4 said...

Hi Tatting Chic!
That is so neat to see the hearts tatted in different sizes. It is fascinating to me that the same intricate details are preserved even tatted with the smallest thread. Have you ever used #100? I didn't even know there WAS such a thing! Thank you for showing us!
:) Ann

Deborah@ The Painted Nest said...

Thanks so much Tatting Chic for your sweet visit!!! Do stop by again sometime next week as my blog will be changing! I'm going to start doing interviews with other artists like yourself and do feature stories on each one! I'm really excited about what God is doing in my life right now!! I've got alot to share in the comming weeks! I'll be in touch!!! Blessings Sweet Friend!!~~~Deborah

Rosemary said...

I don't know much about the thread, but I know those hearts are cute and adorable.
Hope you are having a nice weekend,
Rosemary said...

I don't understand all the lingo - but I will say this.

I am always afraid to visit you, because I am always enticed to tat like it's nobody's business...

And the thing is, once I start, I am afraid, tatting might take over my life because I will LOVE it so much!!! I get obsessed about things like that...

Clay, crochet, you know... Soooo, once I start tatting, if I ever do, you will have to be my therapist ;) tee heeee

LOVE the hearts!!

xoxo, V

TattingChic said...

Hi Ann,
Thanks so much for visiting! I am so glad you visited. I have actually tatted with size 100. I have recently acquired some 120 and have some of that and size 160 on the way.

Hi Deborah! I'm glad you came by to visit! I am looking forward to all the fun things you plan on doing with your blog!

Thank you Rosemary! I am glad you like the ♥s!

Hi Vanessa! LOL, you make me laugh! I so know what you mean! I tend to get obsessed with whatever art I am involved with, too! Tatting is remarkably inexpensive! Also you could tat little motifs and bits to go with your beautiful work somehow I just know you could incorporate it beautifully with your work and probably be fine addition to the online tatting community with your beautiful work and unique and creative talents! I think it would be a wonderful tradeoff! Hey, if you ever decide to take up tatting I would be GLAD to be your "therapist"...I don't know how good I'd be at it though, I'm afraid I'd be more of an "enabler", though! LOL!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Well hello out there! You made it to my little theatre out here in Minneapolis! You looked gorgeous in your theatre attire! Thanks soooo much for coming. I am so happy to write these silly little things...I am amusing myself, but it is good to know that I can make someone else feel special! Your lace work as always, is stunning. Come back again next week for act 2!! Fondly, Anita

Anonymous said...

That color-way is so pretty in all the sizes.

Andrea said...

You make those look so easy! I can't crochet or anything and I have tried! I love that tatting!

TattingChic said...

Hi Yarnjourney! Thanks!

Hi Andrea! It's okay if you haven't been able to learn to crochet. That actually can work to your advantange. Some people who are great at crocheting actually find the mannerisms used in crochet to get in the way of their learning to tat. They want to hold the thread in tatting the way they do in crochet and it doesn't work that way. I was not a great crocheter and learned to tat just fine. If you love tatting I would encourage you to learn's the DESIRE to learn that counts not the ability at all the other thread arts...believe me on that one!

Tattycat said...

Nice post. It is good of you to show people who don't know the sizes of thread. The hearts are very pretty!

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Tatt Chic,
It is amazing how the different size threads make the sizes vary.
I enjoy learning these bits and pieces from you. Even though I do not tatt I find it so interesting and maybe someday I will have the time to attempt this beautiful artform.
The hearts are gorgeous, no matter what the size. So much detail.
Love it.
Have a good week.
Hugs, Celestina Marie

Bunny Rose Cottage said...

That is weird that the higher number is smaller! I think they are all gorgeous. I have always loved tiny things :)

Vicki said...

Hmmm, I think the hearts would look great on earring wires. Very cute. I don't think I'm up to such small thread yet. Love the pattern!

craftydiane said...

Your hearts are absolutely gorgeous! I have never really learned to tat. I have tried but just can't seem to get the hang of it. Maybe it is because I need someone to actually show me even though I learned to knit from a book and most of the crochet I know from a book. These hearts make me want to get out my tatting shuttle and book and try again!
Have a Blessed Day and please check out my ETSY Store:
Thanks, Diane

rochambeau said...

You have fairy fingers Tatting Chic!!

TattingChic said...

Thank you, Tattycat. I'm glad you appreciate that I'd show that for our blog friends who either don't tat or are new to tatting and haven't yet learned about thread sizes. Thanks on the hearts, too!

Hi Cel Mar! I think it is wonderful that you appreciate tatting. That would be so cool if you did decide to learn to tat someday! There are so many fabulous resources out there that I think it is possible for tatting to be more widespread these days!

Thank you, Amy! I used to think it was really wierd, too (the higher number for the smaller thread). It makes sense to me now, though!

Hi Vickie! You know, you are the third person to say (within the last two posts) that the hearts would look good with earrings.

Hi Diane, thanks for stopping by! There is a book out now with a DVD that shows you how to tat. It's only 10-14 US dollars on Amazon at or Good luck! I hope you do learn to tat. You have some cute baby booties at your Etsy shop.

Thank you, Constance!

Farm Chick Paula said...

My goodness- they are all gorgeous no matter the size!! You do such amazing work, Sweetie!!

Rue said...

Those little hearts are so beautiful! I don't think my eyes would be able to handle them though ;)


Natasha Burns said...

Well I know nothing of tatting other than what you create is so beautiful and amazing, and I love all three hearts! The rest about the guages when way over my little head!hehehe

TattingChic said...

Thank you, Farm Chick Paula. Glad you like 'em!

Hi Rue! Thanks for stopping by. Lot's of people say that. I guess if you have eyes that are having trouble with little things and you REALLY want to tat you get a magnifying least that what some tell me!

Thank you, Natasha! Sorry if the gauges talk went over your head, LOL! Glad you like the ♥s, though!

Maggie Ann said...

What an interesting post! You know what? I have a lot of vintage threads and when I started edgings with them they invariably break on me...size 80...and even with buying 'new' pull my rings shut and all...sooner or later they snap off. Any advice I wonder? glad you liked the grocery cart made me laugh long &

TattingChic said...

Thank you, Maggie Ann!
To answer your query, I have noticed when tatting with "vintage" threads that they do tend to break easily. The problem is that they're just so old they are too dry and brittle. Treat yourself to some new threads and tat some vintage patterns...the only thing chic about "vintage" in tatting are the old tatted up pieces and shuttles and patterns...the vintage threads themselves, might make for a nice display, but they're terrible to tat with! :)

Maggie Ann said...

Thank you for responding to my question so quickly! (big smile here)...hmmm, I have LOTS of vintage threads...varigateds that are so pretty. I will try an edging with new thread and see how it goes. #80 is so dainty when tatted...I had a lovely piece of green and lavender going when broke while I was standing in line at the Verizon store tatting happily away in my own little world. Thanks for your help!

TattingChic said...

I know, what you mean about the thread's horrible. New threads can break, too, but certainly not as often as with the old threads. I had a bunch of vintage threads that I bought at an antique store...after tatting with a ball or two of it I decided it was best to just leave threads like that at the antique store, they're really not a "bargain" after all! I hope you do get some new size 80 threads and I look forward to seeing your pieces you tat up with them...oh, here's some (unsolicited) advice...I recommend DMC brand size 80. Majestic brand has some beautiful colors, but they tend to knot up easily (and not in a good way) and break easily, too!

Paulette said...

OMG!!! Such a teeny tiny little thing to have so much detail. I'm so impressed at what you do! You must have really good eyes! They are all beautiful little hearts indeed! Hugs, Paulette :o)

TattingChic said...

Hi Paulette! Thank you. Funny thing is...I have terrible eyes! I am very near sighted...but it's a blessing because I have to hold things close up to see, LOL! That helps when tatting with tiny thread...I can only see it close up.

Carrie Mae said...

Wow, these are amazing. I have so much left to learn with the tatting!

Also: thank you so much for the comment on my blog today. :)

Kathy Niklewicz said...

Hi TattingChic -

Again, another very educational tutorial - and adorable hearts! I love that ruffled chain! I'm also delighted to know that Lizbeth comes in size 40 now. Marilee's colorways simply amaze me. Thanks for the info!

It's great how many non-tatters you are reaching and inspiring!
I wish to assure crocheters, though, that they can easily do the tatted chain holding the thread exactly as they do when crocheting. (I'm assuming they hold their forefinger up, with the thread coming over the finger from back to front.) In fact, I do all my tatting, knitting (continental style) and crocheting with my left forefinger up. I'll be touching on this subject in one of my future posts.

However, I'm not skilled at crocheting with the finer threads -sizes 30, 40 and 50, not to mention 80 - because the hook has to match the thread, which is why I was so thrilled to learn to tat. It's definitely easier on the hands and eyes (for me) to tat with the finer threads.

Always enjoy your posts!

EGunn said...

How pretty! And small!

Do tatters swatch like knitters to get the right gauge?

TattingChic said...

Hi there, Carrie May! I'm glad you stopped by. Yes, your mask you tatted is beautiful! I have been ogling Totus Mel's masks for some time and here you go and just tat one up for yourself! Good for you. You're doing well for someone who "has a lot to learn" when it comes to tatting. I'd say you're doing just fine!

Hi Kathy,
Thank you for your very sweet comment. You are always so generous with the compliments and I appreciate that!
That is so nice of you to want to reassure crocheter's of that, however, if you are in my class and you try to "crochet" your tatting I WILL correct the hand positioning (in the kindest way possible) in order to have uniformity. If someone wants to change to their own hand positioning when they're done with my class that is certainly up to them. I've just noticed that when someone keeps dropping the shuttle and tangling their threads and they look at me and say "what am I doing wrong?" 9 times out of 10 they're holding their tatting like a crocheter (forefinger up). So, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, Kathy, I stand firm on the positioning of the hands; don't crochet your tatting!
Now, that said, I have seen ONE person be successful at this and she was in my lace guild, she isn't a student of mine so I don't tell her what to do because she's not asking me what to do, LOL!
I always enjoy your comments so keep them coming, Kathy! I'm so glad you started blogging. Your visits are always welcome here ♥ dear!

Thanks and "Hi!" EGunn, good question. I have to say, to answer your question, the short answer is "no".
However, (there's always a "however" isn't there?) I know a LOT of tatters who tat up samples (much like you've seen in this post) to see how the thread sizes compare. Since we don't really tat up a lot of garments the gauging really isn't an issue. Sometimes people want a motif to be bigger so they'll simply tat it in larger thread, but there's no stitch per inch "standard". Some people have made one up for themselves, but it's not a universal standard like it is more in knitting. I think tatters mostly tat embellishments. I hope I have answered your question rather than just confused you more. Feel free to let me know, LOL!

Barb said...

Hi TC (just kidding),

My goodness, your work is just so lovely.

Thank you for entering my giveaway.
I appreciate it. Maybe they will be traveling to CA.

happy Thursday.


Plays with Needles said...

Well, IMHO, this is one case where smaller actually IS better....