How to Read Tatting Abbreviations. Here's the key to reading the abbreviations used in a tatting pattern.
Recognize the basics: r(s) = ring(s); ch(s) = chain(s); p(s) = picot(s). Picots can be: sm p = small picot; lg p = large picot; or designated by just a - (dash) = picot.
Learn the verbs: j = join; cl = close; lp = loop; rw = reverse work; sp = leave a space; and sep = separated.
Move on: jk = Josephine Knot; sr = split ring; and ds = double stitch. A number before ds will tell you how many double stitches to make.
Use shuttle one with s1; shuttle two with s2.
Identify individual rings or chains by the alphabetical letters, A, B, C and so on.
Know that beg = beginning; prev = previous; * = repeat instructions after an asterisk for a specified number of times; ( ) = repeat instructions between parentheses for a specified number of times; and . (a period) = close the ring or the end of the chain.
Use the continuous thread method when you see ctm.
"Reverse work" is to turn the work upside down. "Turn work" is to turn the work side to side, like turning a page in a book. In most old patterns, you'll see "Turn," and they meant rw.