Saturday, 20 May 2017

DROPping into space !

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I had the pleasure of test tatting a snowflake which had square rings.
Jumped at the opportunity to practice square rings. The only time I tried a couple of these was 3 years back & at the time I was still groping my way through the plethora of techniques. Nothing to write home about.

Diamond Snowflake
Phyllis Schmidt

The highlight of this flake is obviously the square ring oriented like a diamond. 
A square ring is simply a combination of padded tatting and regular tatting

I experimented a lot with the square rings, starting with Christiane Eichler’s method. It is very effective. But you have to work with 2 taped shuttles throughout the entire pattern, which slows down the speed of tatting (unless you have those double bobbin shuttles).

Hence I really liked Phyllis’ practical tweak where she uses only bits of spare thread limited to the square ring. Rest of pattern is worked normally. 
Even with spare thread, I tried a lot of variations and all seem to work just as effectively – same size, smaller size, embroidery floss, different colour, etc. – once we get a hang of the technique, and close the ring tight.

But I will still recommend 3 strands of embroidery thread for size 20 whether in same or different colour – the colour does not show up; being less tightly twisted, it grips the stitches within; it is finer than size 20; and it is easy to find the right shade.
Don't be afraid to pull the spare threads tightly and finally close the ring tightly at the very end, after you are satisfied with the angular shape.

My thoughts on square / angular rings :
I tried to make squares - rings or mock rings - using single bead on core thread, 1ds SCMR, dot picot, padded stitches, to name a few.
End result - padding is absolutely necessary to get really straight lines, whatever way we use to make angle (unless one tats loosely and blocks & stiffens profusely)
The padding can be along core thread as in the 2 methods above, or padding can be on the stitch.

See Phyllis' own working here, including a beaded version.
Pattern is shared here and will be discussed in OTC this Monday 
(along with my twisted picots in the Snowflake Sparkle, I think).

The top left is my first test tat ; the lilac is the final version. One of the spare threads in the latter is yellow coloured, but not visible even from up close.

TIP : And no, the spare thread does Not unravel. 
Yet to ease my paranoia, after closing the ring, I made 1 unflipped second half stitch, encapsulating the spare thread tails, then continued with chain normally. And further, I snipped them close, only after blocking, thus ensuring that the fibres caught on and held their place.

Techniques : 2 shuttle tatting, lock join, square ring, thrown rings, mock picot.
It is worked all from the front, in clockwise direction.
I did not do the unflipped half stitch before starting the square ring.
Blocking (for shape only) and stiffening is recommended.

Besides practicing square rings, I learned a lot from this test tat. Phyllis is so organized and precise in her response and resolution to all feedback. I have already applied this learning to some extent with good results, while testing/corresponding with Usha. Midways, I also became comfortable with Google Docs with it’s comment boxes, et al. Saves so much time !

Off to Space it goes

I magnified & mirrored my ice drops,
am now sending it into outer space.

That colourful bead box is one of my new acquisitions & I love the turning slotted lid !!! It opens only the desired bead segment, and keeps the rest in their place.

Warning : Continue reading at own peril - this is graphic material for precision tatters. ;-P

Yes, I snipped off the picot between rings in the green flake!!! But first I put a spot of fabric glue on each picot, let it dry, then clipped.
Sewed in the blue seed beads with single strand embroidery floss, going through both flakes.
Inserted the clear marble towards the end. A slightly larger marble would be ideal, but I had only these or much larger marbles in my stash.

Stiffened on the back with very slightly diluted liquid fabric starch/stiffener. It dried invisible.

Many many thanks to Phyllis for this splendid opportunity and lovely pattern

whether a flake, a double flake, an ice drop or a spaceship, 
hope you enjoy tatting this as much as I did.

happy tatting in whatever space you find yourself :-)

Friday, 19 May 2017

ring as a fish

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you don't take the bite ?
Is she daft, you ask ?! A tatted ring is tear drop shaped and everybody knows that !!!

Tatted Ring as a Fish
Ah, but when we tat a ring, what do we call the 2 threads dangling beneath - the ones we dread coz they need to be hidden ?
Tails (thread tails, tail ends) , correct.
And what does the opposite end look like - the one that is broad ? Add an eye Picasso-style, and what have you ?
Head - of a fish :-D
And this broad head determines how the rings are facing in a medallion or in a motif.

Inward and Outward facing rings

Being able to identify whether rings are facing inwards or outwards, can be of help in knowing 
  • which joins to use (do we need to know the folded or twisted picot join, for instance),
  • which shuttles to use and how 2 colours will be positioned, 
  • how to orient our diagrams, 
  • how to read tatting diagrams, etc. 
  • It also makes it easier to explain to others – see images below.
  • This is applicable to medallions which enclose a space, and also to rows and rounds in larger patterns - how are the rings joined - inwards or outwards. This also determines the overall Direction in which we work that row, round, or medallion - left/right; clockwise/counterclockwise. This in turn can help us decide what to tat backside in case of directional or fs/bs tatting.

The pdf shows how to identify inward and outward facing rings in a medallion or pattern, using fish as an analogy for a tatted ring.

The pdf is largely graphic. While it is important to know and understand tatting terms, the future of tatting is going visual. Be it books in languages we do not understand and rely only on the diagrams they present, or videos, it becomes important to understand, at a glance, what skills and tools we require.

So, head in the right direction -  follow the head of the fish ring !

If the heads are facing outwards in a motif or medallion, it is outward facing medallion -
are the fish trying to get away from each other or from a fisherman's bait ?!

If the heads are facing inwards, it is an inward facing medallion -
the fish are in a huddle, with their heads knocking each other !

With a fish analogy, it becomes Quick and Simple to tell at a glance and in a couple of words!

While I was working on the pdf, unknown to me, Sandra Figg was working on this video to show us the difference (we both saw the need, generated out of the same discussion thread!). 
Like I said - the future of learning to tat lies in graphics :-)  

The pdf has a few basic terms such as motif, trefoil, clover, medallion, scroll, etc. Hopefully beginners will have no problem in understanding them, and others in identifying which is which.

In case help is needed, I will explain them briefly, with comparative images/collages in next post. Your feedback is awaited. Please leave a comment or email.

whether you like to be in a tatters' huddle or running away from life's bait, 
keep tatting happily always :-)

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

workings of a dreamy tatter

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Usha Shah

Tatted throughout with 3 strands of Anchor embroidery threads. Probably a size 30.
TIP : How to separate embroidery floss. This video link and handy tip shared by Martha Ess in the comments here, really really helped ! This time the hubster watched amused, from afar ;-P Life is easy :-D
Techniques : 2 shuttle tatting, split ring, mock picot, dot picots, dots, thrown rings, decorative joinlock join, long or decorative picot join, rosette, bare thread space, fs/bs tatting.

Workings of a dreamy tatter ...
I wanted a floral look, with emphasis on the black, hence the choice and placement of colours.

Rounds 1 & 2, worked continuously, form the foundation of this medallion.
After climbing out with split rings (remember to leave BTS on both sides of the SR while climbing out, and a very small mock picot before SR of rnd 2), I switched shuttles. Thus I could work the chains and dot picots and thrown dots frontside, using SH1. 8m thread in SH1 was completed depleted , and barely 2m in SH2. That worked out well – no short scraps left!
Both rounds were worked clockwise because of switching shuttles.
Check out her video on how to work dot picots 
I blocked only at the very end, hence the tatting is not as flat as should be.

Round 3 is the highlight of this pattern, worked Over the previous round, creating a layered effect. The decorative lock joins form a lovely ‘V’ at either end of the ring.
It is made in the same way as in these cute flowers here.   
This is how I did it : Make sure the chain stitches are snugged properly. Place the core thread over/across* a ring, and pull out a loop through the ring and above it. Pass shuttle through loop as in any lock/shuttle join. Tension just enough that it does not distort the ring.
Now this is lock join that is easy to undo !!!
* I didn’t like the end look of the join when loop was pulled up instead of down.  

Rounds 4 & 5, worked separately, are rosettes or flower medallions, attached ‘above’ !
Worked with single shuttle, the rings are separated by bare thread, and joined cleverly to the rounds before, through the ring ! These are simple picot joins, but with visible lengths of the loop that go round the ring base. These are worked in the same was as the long or decorative picot joins shown in these flowers.
All 5 rounds were worked in clockwise direction. Although if shuttles are not switched after round 1, then round 2 will be worked counterclockwise.

There’s a lot going on in this cleverly constructed and enchanting pattern, yet it is all pretty simple to work. I got to play with some of my favorite effects of layering and intertwining.
And this dreamcatcher is woven around the talents of so many designers and their techniques – a tatting dream J

Many many thanks to all the designers who clear the path for future creativity 
a special thanks to Usha for sharing her pattern

always dream tatting !