Thursday, 19 October 2017

and another

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Medallions are complete in themselves, yet lend themselves to various uses. Most commonly we see them as centers in snowflakes, doilies, etc. At other times they act as motifs joined or tiled to create larger mats, etc.
For example this …
Rosette center
by Carla

It works well as a stand-alone piece (medallion) but also great when more are joined around (as motifs) – see Carla’s model and pattern

This is one of those designs that always appeals to me. Elegant arches and offset rings. 
And the negative space in center (enclosed space) takes on a different shape depending on the number of rings - 
A triangle with 3 large rings ; a square with 4 large rings, and here a cute little flower is formed!

Tatted with 3 strands of Anchor embroidery thread for a choice of colours, although colour fidelity is missing in the photographs.

As often happens we name a  pattern 'rosette' for the visual effect, but technically this one is a medallion with an enclosed space formed by inward facing rings.

Rosette is often used in tatting literature. It represents 3 forms (each a medallion in itself) – 
  • a single ring with picots ; 
  • close outward facing rings in a circle ; 
  • a central ring with close chains lock joined to the picots (as in the famous Sitka Rose by Georgia Seitz).

A medallion is made of pattern repeats called motifs. Yet a medallion itself can become a motif in a larger pattern/design when it is repeated and joined.

I had loaded my shuttles to work Carla's larger pattern, but I discovered my Clover Wreath works well as a motif, too. So I switched to the latter and will share in next post, along with a Christmasy version.

Also relieved at finally finishing the medallion document - there is a short note on rosettes, too. It took a long time with lots and lots of tweaks, but I am finally happy with it. And in the process I have learned a great deal myself. Have sent it to Susan Fuller and will share it here after she discusses it in design class.

Many many thanks to Carla for sharing this lovely pattern  :-) 

happy tatting :-)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

meddling with medallions

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Going over the medallions document, I realized that it needed more samples – visuals are so much better than words. Excited, I got down to it. Here are a few of them.

Most of the samples in the document seemed to have single rings around the center. But trefoils, clovers, layered rings (ANKAR style), etc. can also form an enclosed space. So I created this pattern using inward facing clovers. There are thrown rings on the chains.
‘Tis the season, hence I’m calling it the Clover Wreath. Wouldn’t it work well as the center of another doily ?! The large rings need to be joined, though.

Now here’s something I don’t remember ever doing – a Central/common Picot on a Chain.

I tried to create my own pattern with 1 horizontal and 1 vertical ring on each ‘spoke’, but it wasn’t working (do you have any idea why?). Finally I took the design idea from the model #69 in Elgiva Nicholl’s ‘Tatting: Technique and History’ but used my own stitch-count and single decorative picots.

TIP: For straight chains, avoid snugging the chain too tight – we don’t want it to curve/arch. 

A central ring with picots (also called rosette by Mlle Riego) is a common feature of many patterns. Traditionally it was tatted separately. Now we have multiple options to incorporate it without cutting off thread : climb out with a mock picot ; work it as a mock ring ; and so on.

In this square, the central ring is thrown off the first chain -
When I was first learning split rings during Jane's TIAS 2014, I attempted the Fandango coaster to practice on the side. So not happy with the working ! Time to try it again. Much better.

This is a Classic Tatted Daisy. It starts with a central ring with picots. Then we add a round of outward facing rings – lock joined to the picots and separated by bare thread. Traditionally it was worked as separate rounds and with a single shuttle, hence bare thread separates adjoining rings.

Now we make it in one pass and the bare thread is sometimes substituted with chains.

Incidentally, my Aspiration Doily (trial 2) now has a Daisy center ! It is a modern construction using 2 shuttles (or a long tail for shuttle 1) with the outward rings/petals thrown off the central mock ring (SCMR).
It lies flat and the center is more solid than bare threads between rings in previous trial. 

And here’s another interesting variation :
a central ring with picots, surrounded by concentric chains, lock joined to picots on previous rounds, and a final round tatted like the traditional daisy petals with bare thread and lock joins !
So, the rosette turns into a daisy !
(a central ring with closely packed chains around it is Also called a rosette!)

These were tatted over 15 years ago when I had no notion of a lot of tatting techniques nor how to hide ends. You can clearly see spiraling rounds rather than discreet ones. Although I did get better over time and in one of the size 40 yellow ones (made a few years after the size 20 red), the inner circle is almost round with equal-size picots.

Pattern is part of a lace from ‘Tatting Favourites’ by Anchor Design Center. Each medallion is worked in 2 parts but I now realise that the outermost rings can be worked as thrown rings. 
It has been one of my favourite go-to patterns when travelling. The medallions were later joined with a wavy scroll with opposing medallions, thus functioning as motifs. 

Medallions – never too meddlesome when tatted !


Friday, 13 October 2017

enclosed space medallions

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Enclosed Space Medallions
I have no idea where I got this lovely pattern or when. Years back I had made several (in blue and white) and have since given them away to my MIL, except for a couple. This was shared as part of the flower within” series of snowflakes.

Last couple of days I tatted these afresh, for a document on medallion classification I was preparing (for Design Class). It will be shared soon – with explanation and respective samples.

Based on Elgiva Nicholl’s book (Tatting: Technique & History), these medallions come under the category of enclosed space.  
Notice that there is a central negative space surrounded by rings.

Traditionally this medallion is tatted in 2 separate rounds – the inner rings-only round and then the outer one with clovers and chains. When done in this fashion, the rings face outwards and we also have a choice of using 2 different colours for each round.
(We can climb out with a split ring,  though. Even with single shuttle and ball, pull a length of tail to be used for the last split ring).

20th century tatters like to tat in one pass. The easiest way in this case is to work the inner round as thrown rings off the chains, using 2 shuttles.
Notice anything?
Yes, the rings are now facing inwards ! We thus have an enclosed space with inward facing rings. And the inner rings will take the chain colour, being tatted with 2nd shuttle.

I like the flower within medallions, but the one-pass medallion is quicker and easier to tat. The 8 rings of the ‘flower’ tend to overlap until joined (one can add tiny joining picot at base of each ring to stabilize).

Notice the difference in the size of each medallion ? These are all worked with Anchor Mercer Crochet Cotton. But –
The white-only is in the new size 20 (probably close to size 10 or thicker in Lizbeth);
The blue center one is in vintage size 20 (equivalent to size 20 in Lizbeth);
The variegated (embroidery, 3 strands) center one is in size 40 (equivalent to size 40 Lizbeth).

How can one combine threads (same brand, same ‘size’) for a pattern ??? Anchor (Madura Coats, India) has really gone down the dumps – not just in size ; even the smoothness and silky sheen are missing!

‘Picots’ is the topic for I Love Tatting’ series, posted this time by Renata. It actually translates to “picnic” !!! Either way, it was an enjoyable picnic tatting these and the picots do perk up the medallions :-)
I was hoping to create something new - I have something in mind, but in case I don’t get the time, this is my entry for now. Do check in the other entries – lovely tatting as always !

tatting is always a picnic to be enjoyed thoroughly !

Monday, 2 October 2017

why, this far

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Aspiration Doily – Trial 1 completed !
So a few days back I completed my first doily trials! Decided to end it with a 9th round. One has to stop at some point ;-P

Despite all my gyan about designing a doily, I had to snip off rounds !
Why is it that mistakes show up at a late stage ?
Why is it that the camera catches that one mistake/tweak in the entire round that you missed unintentionally or intentionally ?
Why does it take an entire round to zero in on the right stitchcount ?
Evil forces at play, for sure ;-D

After posting the pics last time, I started on the 7th round and only at the final repeat did I notice that some of the long ring-like chains in Rnd 6 were distorted. Now I had been experimenting in Rnd 5 as well but had let the mistakes remain. What's one round more to snip ?Hence decided to snip off all 3 rounds and re-tat. Yes, much better.

But hey, look, is that a possible edging pattern ?!

Here are the 3 rounds tatted again - Rounds 5, 6, 7 - 

Round 8 went smoothly with only the first chain shorter than the rest (barely visible) -

Since this was a first trial, tweaking on the go was okay by me. For example in above pic, in the same round 9 there are 3 segments with slight alterations. As you can see, the last segment finally lies flat. Then snipped off the round and tatted the acceptable version. ....

So far I had fun doing it. Shouldn’t make it a habit now!

In size 40 thread, it measures just over 5 inches ! I could continue (had sketched a different round 9 & 10), but ending for now. 

I’m happy with the last round. Some enthusiastic Craftreans confirmed that I did not really need decorative picots in the inner rounds. We all like how the picots in last round give the final emphatic finish, though. 

Usha has volunteered & started to test tat it for me. Problem is that I still haven’t made a no-snip model myself ! Got to get down to it right away! Creative and enthusiastic as ever, her shuttles took on a life of their own & I urged her to continue and we'd share it as her version. But she insists on testing my pattern first. We'll just have to wait to see what she comes up with :-)

All 9 rounds can be tatted in one pass using split rings or split chains to climb out. However, I am writing the pattern for each round separately. Only the composite diagram will indicate the continuous path in a different colour - easy for an advanced tatter to work out. Without split rings & split chains, it becomes a doily for all levels.

So what's your verdict, dear readers ? A good first attempt at designing a doily ? 
How far can I go ? 9 rounds far ;-D

We don’t have to go far to enjoy every bit of tatting !

Saturday, 30 September 2017

charming in pink

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Encircled Charm
Usha Shah
Another beautiful medallion pattern from Usha ! Well, it would’ve been, if I hadn’t been in such a hurry. Using some leftover threads, I managed only 6 rings to her 8.

A very clever pattern and 2-colour effect ! The dot picot cluster is overlaid midways through tatting a ring. It is a variant of Alternate Thread Tatting (ATT) and Ikuta’s Picots (method 2).

I deliberately tried to increase the bare thread space (from 6mm to 7mm), intending for it to look more like a flower. But it didn’t work out properly. This was tatted in a hurry before class, using some leftover threads – wanted to be prepared before attending.
Notice the pink thread beneath the cluster on the topmost ring? That is the core thread which lies across the cluster at the back. In this first petal I tried to decrease the space, tugging the ring hard. Wrong ! Close the ring normally and let the bare thread lie behind.

Future Idea - Can you see this around a Gem or Penny or a Button – a new Ice Drop pattern?

Many many thanks, Usha, for sharing this adorable pattern !

Charming view ! 
Jack’s Beanstalk ?!


These are a few pics of the Rangoon Creeper just outside my window. I love the flowers and the rapid and luxuriant growth of these climbers (there is  a 4-day gap between the 2 pics). We have these on every building in our complex – climbing up a rope right up to the terrace. Every year for one reason or other a climber may fall down. But like Jack’s Beanstalk they grow back in no time !!!
DH kept prodding me to cut and put a bunch in a vase and I kept telling him this is one inflorescence that shouldn't be vased - there are always ‘ants’ inside them. Would he listen – Nooooo! 
So anyways, here’s a bunch on the table. True to modern times, this was a quick photo-op set-up. I was working quickly to avoid any critters showing up – didn’t even wait to properly arrange or for the flowers to straighten out. 
Even as I was clicking, the Hubster noticed a couple of the bugs crawling out on to the leaves. Rushed them outside! I can triumphantly say – told ya - but am saddened to see such a beautiful bunch thrown away :-(
This was taken only 4 days later. The climber had climbed up out of range !
Now another 4-5 days later, some of the flowers have started to wilt. But they've spread their joy and fragrance :-) Waiting for the next flourish, while still enjoying their fading beauty ...

Have a great weekend J

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

eternal circles and arches

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free tatting patterns

Renata and Justyna take turns coordinating craft series - posting project and tutorial links ranging from tatting, decoupage, sewing, crochet,  etc. They’ve already done many such series, and this time it’s back to “I Love Tatting” by Justyna. Every month there is a new sub-topic – plenty of time to learn new techniques or brush up on old ones. And people join in by posting their project and link during that month. It’s a great way to showcase the immense creativity and skills and be inspired by each other. Check out the details here.

This month (the first in “kocham frywolitkę”) the topic is Circles and Arches. Well, these are universal and ubiquitous ! I chose this simple necklace set with prominent arches and rings....

Noorjahan’s Rubies – a parure

Georgia is continually throwing challenges my way ;-P And I Love it. Makes me crawl out of my comfort zone. This time it was a necklace for Palmettos goody bag. I wanted a set with earrings, too, and at the last moment a ring was thrown in as a bonus pattern. 

This project took me over a month to present. The tatting is very quick, I assure you. But the designing, diagramming, writing, ooooof (am I That inefficient?) - the countless hours ! So I hope at least a few tatters will be willing to give it a go, if only to cheer me on ;-P
The one great thing that came off it all – a new beading method (Floating Beads).

Stephaine Wilson graciously and willingly accepted to test-tat the earring pattern. Her detailed notes, feedback, and input helped tremendously !
I ran out of the large teardrops, and had to snip them off my trial pieces. The earring on the left has longer chain arches. Wanted to show this version as well, though we rejected it (DH had a say in many of the decisions - he was thrilled and quite enamored by the whole tatted jewelry scenario!)

Do you recognize this necklace pattern? Yes, it’s the vintage edging (#7 from Needleart) converted into a necklace. Barely any changes were required!
All the other pieces are based off it to make a set – a parure (a term Georgia introduced me to!).

When it came to naming the piece, Georgia suggested something ethnic. I immediately recalled wanting to design a ruby pendant after reading “The Feast of Roses” by Indu Sundaresan. There is not much literature on this 16th century empress, but the author has brought her to life. Nothing to it but Noorjahan’s Rubies !

My intention was to use this single large oval bead in the center of the necklace, making the centre large, with more tatted chains around. But it looked too dull there, hence tatsmithed around a ring ! It can also be wrapped around a pin for brooch.
And my first time with wire bending ! The ring was a long wire with a loop at one end. I put the straight end through this loop, and then bent it into a similar loop. The ring can now fit any finger. 
The ring and earrings patterns are shared and explained in this Bellaonline article.

The bracelet was tatted while the Tat Days conference was on, hence not a part of the goody bag. This piece has 2 extra 'flowers' - I didn't realise that the tatting would stretch once it was completed and blocked. In fact it Needs to be stretched before blocking. With the extra repeats, it can be worn as a choker !

I’d like to share the design process (what’ll I do with all the pics I took, all the trials I did?!), but in a future post. There’s always a back story with many by-lanes with learning at each step.

I tried to keep beads at a minimum wanting the circles and arches in tatting to show. But I certainly would like to make this in gold thread – it would be truly Indian then. Everyone has heard of the Taj Mahal with it's elegant domes and arches. But it was Noorjahan who first had a tomb built for her father, which later inspired the Taj.

Symbolism –
Black thread - veil/shadows behind which a woman was expected to remain.
(however,  I wish I could tat it in gold -- it would really bring out the ruby reds. )
Rubies – for the ruby gifted to her by her husband when he named Mehrunissa “Light of the Universe - Noorjahan” !
Teardrops – for the blood and tears, the resistance and intrigue, yet dignity under pressure.
Filigree bead cap – reminds me of the intricately beautiful carvings & inlay work by craftsmen at the time.
Diamond spacers & Gold beads – besides prosperity, these sparkling jewels reveal Noorjahan’s brilliance and strength shining through.

Many many thanks, Georgia and Stephanie ! ((((hugs))))

Download Pattern PDFs here - 
1. Noorjahan's Rubies - EARRINGSdiagrams only pdf,
2. Noorjahan's Rubies - NECKLACE diagrams only pdf ,
3. Noorjhan's Rubies - RING/Broochdiagrams only pdf
4. Noorjahan's Rubies - a parureComplete 4-PIECE PATTERN written instructions and notations, along with diagrams, and BRACELET download this pdf.

hope you enjoy tatting a piece of this jewelry …

Sunday, 24 September 2017

grace marks

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Continuing with the doily DIP (design in progress) … the next 2 rounds are tatted !

So Rounds 5 (the 2 lower pics) and 6 completed. Started on Round 7, with Round 8 on the app.
I might end soon thereafter. 
I heartily welcome your thoughts, reactions, and suggestions. Would you be interested in tatting it if I wrote the pattern ? It looks better in person than in the pics.

But let me rewind back to last year. It all started on Craftree when a small group informally came together to do a Round Robin. I remained interested throughout, never gathering the courage or confidence to actually attempt anything. And Wow, those doilies are a designer’s dream (and a few of the ladies were first-timers) !

Grace Tan coordinated and updated the thread there and kept encouraging me to take part. She even proposed a RR starting Jan 2017 where we wouldn’t need to send the doily across physically. We could each design a round and share the pattern around.

Even though it did not come about, this remained at the back of my mind.
Only now something seemed to click and the rounds are coming together… I owe this project to Grace’s faith in me.  

I’m still a novice, finding my way around. But I can't stop myself from sharing what I learn from self-discovery and from the tips and advice left by my friendly tatters :-)
Here are a few (in no particular order) for beginners like myself –

Doily Designing for Dummies
Want to design your very first doily ? These few pointers might come in handy.

  1. Keep it simple.
In terms of technique, elements, process. There will be plenty of opportunities later to apply advanced techniques or designs.

  1. Keep it focused.
A theme can help maintain focus and reduce our tendency to be too adventurous. My doily has a radiating theme. And I have tried to avoid Reverse Work, tatting clockwise from the front. It makes my work very easy and limits my rambling off.

  1. Motif - Zone in on 1 or 2 design elements.
Repeating this element with tweaks in placement, number, and size is sufficient to create later rounds. In my doily it is mainly the outward facing ‘rings’ and some wavy chains. (Echoing - see #10)

  1. How to avoid or tackle ruffling or cupping 

  1. Use tools to design.
eg. Grids. A polar grid for circular projects also helps us see & compare the proportions between old and new rounds, thus reducing trial and error in stitchcount.
Apps. I used Sketch Guru app on my tablet to doodle ideas. Upload actual picture and work off it.
These are only 2 examples of the many available tools, apps & programs.

  1. Design ahead.
It helps to think of TWO future rounds so that one has an idea of where joining picots are needed.
One can use a fine crochet hook to make the joins, but remember that a picot brings some height to the round/row. Hence estimating whether the entire round will lie flat or the number of stitches required can be flawed.

  1. Lots of picots !
If one cannot think 2 rounds ahead, then have lots of picots in the new round. We can then choose which to join to in new round. What to do with the remaining picots can be decided later in the final version.

  1. Prioritize
This is part of staying focused. Once the ‘skeleton’ is ready in the trial model(s), decorative elements such as picots, beads, colours,  can be added in later or final version.

  1. Functional highlights & end goals
If a doily is to be placed under an object, that object will hide the central portion of the doily. Hence make sure that the design highlights are where they will always be visible. Also thinking ahead to how you want to end the doily can assist in designing the earlier rounds. (Tablescaping - see #10)

  1. Design Features
Spacing ; Filling v/s Featuring ; Echoing ; Avoid over-thinking (muddying the waters) ; Tablescaping ; Spanning. 
See the strength of collective wisdom ? Go seek advice :-)

In the 10 points listed, some are direct inputs from Grace & Ninetta, but it is also a synergy of several cumulative factors and forces over time.

These are first thoughts and not a sacrosanct list. Creative minds and hands come up with their own paths and no one path is universal. So pick up your shuttles, don your designer’s hat and get going. See you ‘around’ J

A very special thanks to Grace & Ninetta
salute to the tatting community

Friday, 22 September 2017

so far

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How far can I go with designing my first ‘doily’, I’d asked last time?
Here's how far I've come, so far ...

a snowflake ….
The first 3 rounds with picots and only 6 rings in the central rosette could masquerade as a snowflake, right? But the rosette needs some decorative picots I think.
The 3rd round here completely flattens out even without any blocking ! The initial ruffling is a design characteristic - I won't call it a flaw.

a possible motif ….
These 3 round medallions can probably be joined as motifs for a larger fabric.

After tweaking, ruffling was tamed, and with light blocking it stays flat.
One of the tweaks was to add some bare thread space between central rings. Unfortunately the compactness and slimmer teardrop shape of rings (as in the bronze one) got lost. Should I give it another go ?

To maintain the radiating look I nixed any thought of inward facing rings in later rounds.

Also realised that for a larger project, it is not enough to design the immediate next round. One has to think ahead to the round after that as well, in order to determine the placement of joining picots in next round. Doesn't mean I can transfer the “think ahead” to real life ;-P

and 5 (4 tatted) rounds….
I used Sketcher Guru app on my tablet to draw rounds 4 & 5, and a rough 6.
Have I ever crossed 3 rounds/rows in any of my designs ? Doubt it.
So I’ve decided to christen this ‘Aspiration’. It kind of suits the ever-widening radiating look, too – like widening my horizons, moving beyond my comfort zone, yada yada yada …
My intention is for rounds 4 & 5 to reflect rounds2 & 3. Let’s see.

Does the design resemble any snowflake or doily? I haven't copied any pattern, but who knows what's stored in the recesses of my cluttered brain! It’s such a simple pattern after all.
I used to dissuade myself from creating a simple pattern especially for a larger piece. But baby steps are important. I’m really excited about this now that it is laying flat.

Almost forgot – the tiny little leaf is Simple Shamrock earrings pattern is by Stephanie Wilson from the 52 Earrings Project (does this count, Mel ;-D). I made it in size 40 'coz she loves tiny thread (hey, I’m Not going beyond 40, Steph !). We’ve decided to sit side by side and tat ‘n’ chat, pretending we’re at the Fringe Elements ;-P Vicki’s posted another charade with simple rules … Join us ? I didn’t get to see what others had made last time, but as long as one is tatting, game on J
And this is my answer to the question in the Shamrocks pattern.  
#fringetatdays  #Tatting 

here’s to another round, ahem, of tatting !å