Saturday, 19 May 2018

I love butterflies

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Garden soil had been split open to sow seeds and now those seeds have split into plants with lovely blooms, attracting butterflies to split open the pollen sacs and carry on the circle of life.
Hey, don’t split!!! Promise, I’ll behave … Just trying to clue you in :-D

You have already enjoyed & appreciated the lovelies made by friendly tatters. These are my versions of make me pretty butterfly fun. And the ‘split’ comes from this month’s I Love Tatting task set by Justyna – split chains, curlicues, etc. She has compiled an incredible list of tutorials and free patterns for inspiration!
I actually have something more in mind for the task, but till I find time to tat it, this will have to do. 

Tutorials for most of the prettifying techniques mentioned here are listed on these pages -

In chronological order … I have literally used scrap threads for most.
Venetian Picots for antennae, dot picots and graduated picots
Here, I made the same mistake Lavi made, but didn’t bother to rectify it. 
These were my very first venetian picots!!!
3¼ x 2½ cms in Anchor 20 cotton

Graduated picots and twisted picots (floating)
2 x 1½ cms in 2 strands of Anchor embroidery thread

Venetian picots for antennae & 4 picots
2 x 1½ cms in Anchor size 40 cotton
The Venetian picots worked out much better in this finer thread.

Right after posting the pattern, I tatted the above 3 versions. Some of the following versions were inspired by the butterflies flying in (Anita, Denise, Ninetta).

Twisted (floating) picots and seed beads
3 x 2 cms in 3 strands of Anchor embroidery thread.
This was inspired by Denise’s 3 beads in the lower half.

Dot picots and decorative picots
This is based on Anita’s stitchcount. I like the broader span of top wings.
2¼ x 1¾ cms in Lizbeth & Anchor size 40 cottons

Since this project was a spin-off from the Common Mormon caterpillar, there just Had to be a couple of butterflies in black and yellow ...
Beads and floating beads in different arrangements
I tried something different – beaded string wrapped around the lower rings. 
These are longer than I had visualized, but let them be.
The antennae uses floating beads (FB) or fringe on chain method.
2½ x 1¾ (or 2 with bead string) cms in Anchor size 40 cotton

The wooden black bead was too large and unseemly. So I decide to remove it. 
Wasn’t as easy as I’d thought. The FB method really does hold the beads in check ;-P
Then I remembered a tip on Jane McLellan’s blog about breaking unwanted beads. 
Yes, that worked! Once broken, I inserted a scrap thread for better grip, and knotted the tips.

Onion rings (Josephine rings inside the upper & graduated picot rings inside the lower halves), twisted (floating) picots, and Curlicues (dead end chains or SSSCh) for antennae.
3 x 2¼ cms in Anchor size 20 cotton
I started with a knot for each curlicue, serving to hold in pinch, 
and worked back with unflipped stitches.

Inward picots, decorative picots, long picots, a head ring, and Venetian picot for body. 
I followed Ninetta’s directions
2 x 2¾ cms in 3 strands of Anchor embroidery thread.
A couple of side views to show the 3D effect.
When making the Venetian picot, I left the scrap thread in it and 
this served well when joining the next ring to it.

I include the Venetian picot in this month’s kocham frywolitkę task because both the curlicue and this picot are standalone or floating chains. Although in the former the stitches are unflipped and wrapped manually, in the latter each half stitch is flipped but moved in place manually over the previous stitches.

I couldn’t resist a couple more pics.
The background is Monet’s White Clematis an oil he painted in 1887. 
The image is in this amazing book The Life and Works of Monet by Susie Hodge.

Do stop by to welcome this batch of butterflies :-)

Monday, 14 May 2018

I killed it !

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Stabbing. Right through the heart. Multiple times. No regrets.

Can you hear the silence? No groans, no swearing, no eye-strain either. 
That’s me at work happily stringing beads – lots of seed beads. 
Yes, that’s correct “happily” & eagerly.

Besides my recent bead-heavy bangle, I have been working up a lot of little patterns that have seed beads or to which I added some using the same method. I am finally free from the fear of stringing beads! The reason is a simple way to load them.

Grace Tan has always been encouraging me to try it – for years. She uses a needle to load beads out of packed vials. Try as I might, it never worked. Either the thread wouldn’t pass through the beading needle or the beads wouldn’t pass through the doubled up thread or ….

… till I recently tried it with this easily available threader! Voilà – magic happened.
This stabbing may not be ‘new’ but it works for me. And I love to share that excitement. 

I store my beads in little plastic lidded containers.

Stab at the beads in the container with the needle threader.

Inevitably it will pierce at least one bead (sometimes more).

Push this bead(s) behind and stab again. 

The wire eye is broad in the center, holding back the beads easily.
Repeat till you have many beads on the threader.

Then insert the tatting thread through the tip of the wire eye ....

...and transfer the beads.


My previous methods included
  • this threader (the blue one in the pic);
  • dipping a diagonally sliced thread tip in clear nail enamel to stiffen and use as needle ;
  • using sewing thread and slim needle to load beads and transfer to thread.

All required the use of my eyes. Until now …
Stabbing worked on the flat bead box too (in the pic above).

Now I can't wait to show you my new beaded projects, including the butterflies.

What is your go-to method to string/load beads? 

Saturday, 12 May 2018

not The One but

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…. oh so many pretties from the friendly tatting neighbourhood.

That one butterfly we were hoping would emerge from the pot, did not. But several tatters accepted my invitation to make a butterfly pretty. I received some pics while others have blogged. I’m so excited to display their talents and uniqueness!!!

The different colours, beads, techniques, effects - 
I am quite overwhelmed with the beautification process and creativeness.
Read on for more versions (click on respective name for the blog link to their post)

In chronological order of flying in….

We frequently exchange pics of our work or chat about our current project. When I showed Anita Barry my DIP (design-in-progress) pic of cream butterflies, she was inspired to tat a single butterfly before I even shared the pattern. She used dot picot antennae and her own stitch count (which she even diagrammed and sent me).
I like how the span of the top wings spreads wider & the little extra chain in center creates a kind of torso. Overall a much better shape than mine.

Denise Wessman sent in 3 almost as soon as the pattern was posted! Well, she is Mme Butterfly/Papillon – flitting enthusiastically from one project to another inspiring everyone around her! Wish I could keep pace with her activities.
Don’t the 3 beads look cute; and what a pleasant colourway.

It came as a pleasant surprise when Wally Sosa shared her version during the online class. Excellent placement of beads especially inside the wings – something I would like to imitate. Forgot to ask, but this looks like needle tatting? 

Ninetta Caruso blogged her ethereal version here. Such lovely colours and she also added a very realistic looking venetian picot body making it 3D! The downward facing picots are an excellent touch. You must read the specifics on her blog, along with her other butterflies. 

Right on the tail of Nin’s butterfly, flew in Usha Shah’s interpretation with her trademark dot picots. Converting the chains into dot picot strings added a nice texture. Peachy!!!

Pretty soon I was viewing Jane McLellan’s sunshine version and graduated picots! And she rightly interpreted the double entendre of my post title - make me pretty please. Very happy – she always comes through for me.

And I can’t thank Lavi Damian-Boja enough. She struggled with the pattern, threw away many attempts, yet persevered. I'm so glad she did. A lovely blue beaded butterfly took wing! Read her post for a tip on how not to throw away a mistake.

A reminder - For a list of techniques, inspiration, and tutorials/resources, please check out Eliz Davis' incredible compilation - An Element-al Approach to Tatting Techniques.

My heartiest thanks to all who have participated and shared their versions. 
I hope more tatters join in the fun and show us their prettifications, 
whichever way it is read -

make me, pretty please !
make me pretty, please !