Introducing the Half Moon Split Ring
Using the 2 and 3 sided HMSR

Lesson Discussion June 2003, Sabina Carden-Madden
HMSR Demonstration
©Images of Joyces' Angel Pattern Martha Ess, essm at

Joyces' Angel, designed and copyrighted by Martha Ess, is a prime example of the use of chain over chain which is not only a means of creating a layered effect but also supports the line of progression from side to side. Martha created this design in 3 sections employing cut, tie and hide.

The 3 parts are the head and wings, the skirt and the halo added in a second color. She has used split rings {{see also needle-tatted split ring} and split chain as the principle techniques in this pattern. With balance and symmetry she has created a delightful pattern and one that is excellent practice for the use of the split chain as a bridging method.

While looking over Julie Myers' shoulder at a guild meeting, she was evaluating a pattern by Martha Ess of an angel similar to this one and thinking on how to make it one pass. I suggested what I call the half moon split ring that I had used as a bridging method to accomplish this and emulate a chain over chain effect. Of course, I enjoy a good challenge and making a pattern in 1 pass if possible. Sometimes that can be involved and more of a puzzle to figure out the path or road map of the core. To work Martha's pattern I had to completely rethink the line of progression. To truly make this a one pass pattern, I would also include the halo when using one color.

Let's take a look at the line of progression and how the two angels differ...The same stitch count was used to maintain the structure and look of the angel...The first challenge was how to create the halo.

Beginning the pattern, working to Martha's directions, the first SR needed a special mock picot. Of the five rings in the first row only the middle ring is joined to a single picot. The second ring joins to the mock picot of the previous SR's mock picot, taking up room in that picot.

To equalize this effect on the opposite end, a thread length equal to a picot is left with the ring thread. This leaves room for the next ring to be joined. The first lark's head knot (lhk) of the second side of the SR is created flush to the last element. Thus the second ring is joined with the effect of the first ring being pushed to the side as is with the last two rings in the row joined to same picot.

To maneuver to the mock picot between Ring (E)/Chain (e), the Chain (d) is tatted 2 - 2 making one of the 2 picots need to make it equal to the previous chains in the row, A thread of 2 ds length is left at the base of 5th, Ring (F). A split chain of 2 stitches brings both threads into position to make a mock picot to the next row. SR (G) bridges to allow the creation of Chain (e), creating access to the halo section of the pattern.

The halo is made with half moon split rings to bridge to the other side of the head ring. The first and last HMSR are special in that I endeavored to create an illusion of the chains as Martha had placed them in the stitch count she used but with the necessity of having the halo joined to the wing to bridge. These special HMSR's have a quality about them that uses not just the principle of one side tatted and the second side inverted but adds a third property. The second side is tatted both regular and inverted with the join to the picot as the division of that side of the HMSR, creating a 3 sided HMSR. Although the tatted side is 6 ds, the end result is an illusion that it is 8 ds.

Once on the other side of the head ring, the wing point Ring (N) is done and make the HMSR's 3 times to bridge to the middle of the wing and Chain/Ring combination to the end of the row and chains with picots back to the middle. The line of progression is once again brought to the center of the chain with a split chain of 2 - 2.

Now in position to make the center ring SR (Y) to begin the skirt. SR (Z) bridges to gain access to the skirt Chains (a) and (b), eliminating the long 15 ds split chain in the original notation. SR (A) brings the line of progression back up to the previous row and another split chain of 2 ds joins back to SR (Z).

This split chain however proved a challenge because of the direction and position of the threads and I resorted to unwinding the shuttle and threading to make the larks head knots. It should be noted that a span of thread 2 ds plus the length of a picot was needed to create the illusion of a ring joined to a picot in that spot.

The row then continues alternating chain and rings allowing for access to Chains (f) and (g). Making Ring (E), then Chain (h), SR (F) creates another bridge back to the previous row. The use of the special HMSR is once again used to this time to create an illusion of chain over chain joining back to Ring (E)...HMSR's and rings joined to the previous row finish this row joining to the base of Ring (A).

After Chain (I), it is the tatter's choice to use HMSR's for the chain over chains choosing either the inner row or the outer most chain over chain as the HMSR or do them individually in three complete passes.

If you wish to make the halo gold as Martha demonstrated, omit the transition bridging between Ring (E) and (F), work (E) and (F) and then Ring (X) with the HMSR beginning on the right side rather than the left and meet back in the middle and continue as noted for the skirt.

My very special thanks to Martha Ess, Maus for allowing me to share this wonderful pattern variation with you.

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Graphics watermarked with Digimarc & edited by Charles D. Madden

Created June 2003