June 18, 2013

Potatted plants

Quite a while ago I placed some pictures of my "potatted plants" on intatters.com. I got some request for a pattern, but I never got round to actually making it. Until now, that is. It is actually more a set of instructions, since the tatting pattern itself is very simple. I made a chart so both needle and shuttle tatters can easily follow the pattern (I can only needle tat myself).


  • Small pot for your plant. I got mine at a the "Action", a dollar store type shop. They came with strawberry seeds. Mine are about 5 cm high.
  • Thread, of course. Any green thread will do. Thicker thread will simply mean a larger plant. I used two strands of embroidery floss in different greens, some variegated. 
  • Needle or shuttle(s). I needle tat so I don't know if you would need one or two shuttles for this. It is a very simple ring and chain pattern, see chart below. I used a size 7 needle. 
  • Small pins
  • Something to put in your pot as a base, you need to be able to securely stick the above pins inside it. So a small styrofoam ball would work. I used light air dry clay ("l'artista original clay") and modeled it into a ball.
  • Some dark brown/black paint to paint your "soil", or take this wonderful idea from the notewords blog and use a piece of dark brown/black felt to cover the ball.

Tatting pattern

The pattern is simple and basically consists out of repeats of rings with 10 knots and chains with 5 knots.

You start with one ring, after that, make clusters of two or three rings between the chains, sometimes just make one. End with a single ring. I mostly make clusters of two rings. You are creating something organic, so random is good. Also, mistakes don't matter, just let them be.

Make strings that are somewhere between 10 and 20 cm in length. They should look something like this:

It is hard to estimate how many of these strings you'll need. I just make 15 or so, continue with the steps below, and make more if I need them. 

Assembling the plant

You should have a small container to put the plant in, some medium to pin the pieces to, and lots of pins. I use light air dry clay called l'artista and make a ball out of it. Once dry I paint the top brown/gray. You could also use a piece of styrofoam. EDIT: On the notewords blog you can find an example of a potatted plant using a styrofoam ball covered in felt. It looks very realistic, better than my painted ball actually. So you might want to steal that idea :-)

Now we're ready to pin the tatted strings to the "soil". Start somewhere in the center:

Make a little loop with the string, and pin right next to the first pin. The size of the loops will determine how "fluffy" or "flat" your plant will be:

Keep making loops and pinning. Making sure that you hide the pinheads under the leaves of your plant:

When you run out of string, just add a new one. I actually like it when the ends of the string are sticking out, or you can even make a hanging plant like mine on the right. You can also tat some simple flowers with rings (and if you want fancy, picots) and pin them too.

There are unlimited ways to get creative with this pattern!


  1. This is the cutest thing. Perfect for teacher gifts, an elderly person in a nursing home. I love it. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely idea.

  2. That is the most cutest thing I have seen, brilliant idea.

  3. Thanks for the great idea! My "green thumb" tends to fail me on living plants. These are perfect for my house!

  4. This is so sweet. Thank you for sharing.

  5. These would be nice in my office which doesn't have an outside window. ☺ Love the idea

  6. Absolutely brilliant and stunning! Thank you for sharing how you made these!

  7. this is such a great idea. I am a newbie and I am going to use this idea to use all my cock-ups. I will just mix them in to your pattern. Thank You Thank You.