Lily Morales' Larks Head Picot Join

Instructions by Lily Morales 2003
Images by Sabina Carden-Madden

Joining Picots

If you read a dozen books on tatting instruction you will probably find a dozen different explanations on how to handle picot joins. Up-joins, down-joins, count them as the first half of the next stitch, don't count it as anything, start the next stitch with the last half. It can make your head spin! What it really comes down to is that you must decide for yourself what works best for you. What do you think looks best?

In my case I just did up-joins, for a long time, and did not count it as anything. I began the next stitch with the first half and continued onward.

Then, in a tatting class, I was introduced to the concept of making a down-join, then making only the last half of a ds as the next stitch. This counted as the first stitch after the join (plus sign) in the pattern. I liked this method better, so I adopted it as my "regular" picot join. My picot joins were nearly invisible.

So try all the methods you can and see what works best for you, but please keep an open mind. Do not be afraid to try new methods as well. There will be times when another method is more effective.

The same is true for shuttle-lock joins (SLJ's). I found it better to do a down-join from the front side of a project. Then I would start the next stitch with the first half and continue from there.

When making the first half of a split ring, treat the joins the same as you would a regular ring. On the second half, the S2 must make the join to the picot, with an SLJ, and then continue making the rest of the second half of the split ring.

The Lark's Head Picot Join.

Have you ever been tatting with a variegated thread and wished your picot joins would not show? Or maybe you have tatted your rings one color and your chains another color and when you join your rings to your chains, there is that annoying extra thread of one color where you do not want it? This is the solution I have figured out for this problem. I call it the Lark's Head Picot Join (LHPJ).

For a front-side Lark's Head Picot Join, insert the crochet hook from the top down and pull a loop up, as you would for any other picot join. Being careful not to twist the loop, insert your thumb and forefinger of your shuttle hand up through the loop. Reaching through the loop, bring your thumb and forefinger down and around the two threads of the loop just below. Allowing loop on your shuttle-hand thumb and forefinger to fall forward, bring those two threads up, thus forming a double loop - a Lark's Head loop. Pass shuttle through this Lark's Head loop, in the. DO NOT TIGHTEN YET.


You must tighten the threads in proper order, in order to avoid a stubborn knot where you do not want it. Find the loop that had been on your thumb and forefinger, (the loop going across the top of the other two threads of the Lark's Head). Pull that loop up, tightening the first half of the LHPJ (the thread closest to the last stitch). Then, holding that one tightened stitch in your pinch, pull the other stitch tight. You must be certain that the first half of the Lark's Head is as tight as you want it before you tighten the second half.

To make a Lark's Head Picot Join from the back side, simply reverse the above directions. Insert the hook from the bottom up, pull the loop down, and make the Lark's Head loop from the bottom. Then pass the shuttle through and tighten as above.

When making the second half of a split ring, you can avoid that "extra bit" from the SLJ, by using the S2 Lark's Head Picot Join (S2LHPJ) technique:

Make the first half of the next stitch, then insert crochet hook into picot from the top down and bring a loop of the S2 thread up through the picot. Being careful not to twist the loop, pass S2 through.


Now insert crochet hook through the same picot from the bottom up. Pull S2 thread back down through the picot and "flip" the loop back through the picot. Make the loop a little larger and pass the S2 through the loop and down through the ring, then back through loop again.


Again, pull up the horizontal bar, tightening the first half of the stitch. Then pull up the loop that goes inside the ring, tightening the horizontal bar. Now pull on the shuttle to finish tightening the stitch. Continue making the rest of the second half of the split ring (the part after the"/").

Because the Lark's Head Picot Join looks exactly like a ds, I like to subtract that one ds from the number BEFORE the LHPJ. In other words, if the pattern says R:3+4-4-3, I would make 2 ds, LHPJ, then 4-4-3 and close the ring. The same is true for an S2LHPJ on the second half of a split ring. Because this method is so new, and because all patterns, vintage as well as modern, are written without the Lark's Head Picot Join in mind, I chose to write all my patterns in the traditional way. Just remember to subtract one from the number of ds before each join. That way, people who choose not to use the LHPJ and/or S2LHPJ can still use my patterns.

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Graphics watermarked with Digimarc & edited by Charles D. Madden

Created May 26, 2009