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 ! 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

the bugle calls again

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updated on May 13, 2017

Sally’s Bugle Snowflake
Jane Eborall
Jane has been truly prolific with this lovely pattern, displaying such a range of colour combinations on her blog. When she uploaded the pattern, I had to give it a go.

The highlights of this pattern, to me, are the beads radiating in the centre and the lock chains forming a lovely petal shape. Jane’s tutorial on how to add beads that face outwards helped a great deal.

My Notes & thoughts

  • 12 seed beads (size 11) are needed for the long beaded picot (LBPbug) in center. Since my bugle beads are shorter (4mm instead of ¼ inch), I used size 8 or 9 beads in gold, thinking that these would make up for the length.
  • When loading LBPbug, make sure the loop for ring still slides.
  • Also, managing the 5 LBPbug with dangling paperclips can be a bit tough. I had to make certain each time before joining to them in next round, that they were in the correct sequence and not twisted around. I did use different colored clips for each, to keep track of sequence.
  • This technique for loading beads on a long central picot such that they radiate out, was first described by Frivole and also demonstrated here.
  • These kind of reminded me of LTRORs (loop tatted ring on rings)!
  • The central picot should’ve been more tightly snugged.
  • As in my previous forays, I again used picot gauges for the LBPbug on chains (as seen in pic above). 2 sizes were required for the beads I chose – ⅜ inch and ⅝ inch. And this time I used thread to load the beads later (one of the many ways of adding beads in Jane's tutorial).
How does one gauge the length of picot ?
Well, load beads as instructed and hold with paperclip. Tat the next couple of stitches. Then remove the clip and beads and measure. Voila . No hanging clips getting in the way and slowing one down. Once the length is known, use the gauge for future beaded picots, adding beads only at time of joining. 
And the added benefit is that one can usually use beads from one's stash rather than order new ones if the pattern calls for a size one may not have.

  • The lock chains could’ve been a tad longer for a more graceful curve as in Jane's snowflakes. One additional stitch would accomplish that for my tatting tension.
  • The split rings are another spot of genius ! They look like thrown rings, but being split rings, they become well-anchored with an ever so slight broad base.
In order to hide the space in center where some bare thread is visible, I placed a large crystal bead in center. Doesn’t it perk up the flake even more ?!

Measures 4” from tip to tip. Inner round is 2”.
Techniques used : 2 shuttles, lock chain, beads on central picot, lock join, picot gauge, beads on picots, split ring.

Many many thanks to Jane for all her lovely patterns and tutorials

happy tatting always J

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

edging out a snowflake

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Patterns in this book start with edgings, and I was interested in the way the chains seemed to be curving around like a continuous scroll in this one. Annette was my very first tat from this book, even though I shared the star medallion first.

Annette Snowflake
Adapted from Annette (p28, Dover)
“Tatting Patterns and Designs”
Blomqvist and Persson

Techniques : 2 shuttles, fs/bs tatting, thrown rings.
Overall direction of tatting - clockwise
Worked in Anchor size 40 (closer to 50), it measures 3½” point to point 

All the blue elements are tatted backside, so the majority pink elements can be frontside.
Using 2 colours shows clearly which shuttle is in use – SH1 has pink & SH2 has blue.
This attempt was discarded because I joined the 2nd repeat incorrectly - to the left of first (going counterclockwise!). Wouldn't have been a problem in traditional tatting, but in fs/bs, it shows ;-(

TIP : colour blip : On the return, when joining 2nd chain to base of blue ring, here’s how I avoided the colour blip from showing above :
pull down a pink loop ;
pass blue shuttle through loop ;
snug and tension, but do not pull the loop up – keep it on the backside.
This is kind of like the slope and roll join. 

I intended to tat a bookmark by returning back along it’s length. But the first repeat was larger than expected.
How about a square instead ?! Pink chains were supposed to be joined at a picot along the chains, which I did not, thus allowing room to turn an angle.
Turned out it needed more repeats to lie flat. Yes, 6 !

The interconnecting chains were left to overlap for a layered effect. Remember to interlace the last chain correctly before joining and tying off.

A central ring was added later for stability, following the same stitchcount. This can be tatted as a thrown ring on the first blue chain for continuous working.

There are a lot of mistakes in this work, including the interlaced chains, which I am not proud of. And modern tatting techniques, along with 2 colours took their toll on the scroll! But I can't see myself tatting it again just coz. Live with it, sweep it under the carpet, or hide my head in the sand ;-P

TIP : Pattern Notation

This book threw up yet another notation, which had me crosschecking again and again and yet again to verify correct number of picots, even though the longish form is shown at beginning of each pattern.
The authors do not tell you the exact umber of picots. Since the stitches between picots is the same, say 4 ds between each picot, here’s how they write the notation :
4 x 10
So how many picots is that ? No, not 10. It is 9 picots total, because 4 stitches are made 10 times, like so :
4 – 4 – 4 – 4 – 4 – 4 – 4 – 4 – 4 – 4

This pattern does not tell you when to reverse work or when to switch shuttles. This can be a bit of a bother for newbies.

Since the pattern or stitchcount hasn’t been changed, except for very minor tweaks, I will not share any diagram or pattern for this snowflake.

Which snowflake do like better – with or without the central ring ?

happy tatting always, with or without oopsies :-)

Sunday, 7 May 2017

pattern updates

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Good news  I have finally updated all the patterns and links on my pattern & design page
(phew ! But this does not guarantee that all patterns are in pdf, teehee !!!)
Bad news – I still have to work the archives to update my tutorials page 
(shudder !)
Worse news – this is an admin post - dry, brut, sec! 
(sorry Y , but if you enjoy your wine that way, Cheers åå 

Pattern page overview

All patterns are first linked to the respective blog post in blue, even if a pdf (link in pink) is available. There is always so much more in a post than a pdf and I encourage users to check the post first.

It is over 2 years now that I have been associated with the inspiring, talented and helpful Online Tatting Class group (or “gang”, as Mel puts it) of creative tatters. I continue to learn a lot, and real time interaction is very exhilarating. Many of my patterns, projects, and tutorials have been shared with the class. If a pattern has been shared or published elsewhere, there is a link to the class index /publication in red letters. One can access logs for the class through the index.

I have shifted the Designing section from my tutorials to my patterns page. This includes design ideas, deconstructions, and some of diverse paths I have used in my design process. One never knows when a budding designer might find some path or design useful.

Pattern update
Many weeks this year were dedicated to the spring garland - mainly the presentation; actual tatting was quick and fun. And I recently wound it around my little bun which I wrap on a bit above the nape, and the tatted veni & hair looked gorgeous! 
I had hoped to add tassels at the ends, but didn't get around to it. 
I tried tatting 3D jasmine buds - the buds look fine, but the green needs working.

All pdfs for the Spring Garland pattern are now complete and uploaded to My Patterns page with the respective links. Each post is also updated. As I stated, I request tatters to visit the respective post for more tips, pictures, and explanation.
Here are the final pattern pdf links :
mustard fields pictorial in post (and as part of complete garland pdf)

Each part and complete pattern was shared with Online Tatting Class throughout April and lots of fun and wonderful ideas emerged (some quite ambitious as per moi ;-P ) - enough to keep one busy for a lifetime !

Judy kindly shared tips about working some parts of the pattern in needle tatting. I hope to get around to it some day. Many many thanks, Judy :-)

I also keep forgetting to mention that at the end of each post there is now an option (actually 3 options ‘coz I haven’t bothered to find out how to delete the extras ;-P) to print or save the entire post as a pdf. Click on that Print / PDF button to save the post as desired. 

Hope you enjoy your weekend with lots of lace being created :-)
Always have a muskaan on your face :-D

Friday, 5 May 2017

thumb-nailed it !

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what you ask ?  the dot picot !!

It was my pleasure to test tat a couple more medallions with dot picots.
And I finally nailed it ;-P
Thumb nail – my key to a good dot picot .

Dot Picot flower
Usha Shah 

It is always a good idea to study the sample or diagram. When I see chains with a lot of thrown rings, I prefer tatting these frontside. Hence the inner rings were worked backside. 
It is a 2-round medallion worked continuously. I climbed out with reverse join instead of SLT.

If you look closely, a couple of the dot picots have some thread showing – the ring did not close completely. I struggled a bit, just like I did before, with closing this tiny ring.

Till I stumbled on, for me, the perfect solution : Start closing the ring as you normally would. Towards the very last part, hold the stitch in the little crevice between the thumb nail and the flesh. Then pull the remaining thread taut and close ring fully. Worked every time as is evident in the much better tatted next medallion ….
Measures 2 inches in size 20 Anchor

Wonder Lilac
Usha Shah
This delightful medallion was a pleasure to tat (despite the beads, yes !), now that I had the dot picot under my thumb :-D
Instead of a regular ring, I started with a SCMR.
And instead of all those paperclips hanging from the long beaded picots (LBP), I measured the length required using a picot gauge. ½ inch was sufficient for these 3 beads. Continued tatting without beads to complete circle....
I left the first 3 LBPs with beads and paperclips for purpose of comparison.

The 2nd round was easy-going, loading beads with a crochet hook immediately before joining.
I believe thread also plays a role in the making. This medallion is worked in Red Heart size 20, which is a bit smoother and less tightly wound that Anchor crochet cotton in same size.

Take a pleasant walk through her creative journey dotted with picots here (pun intended)
UPDATE (May 7): pdf for both patterns now shared on OTC

Many many thanks to Usha for sharing her patterns :-)

and happy tatting always J