Wednesday, 25 April 2018

butterfly invasion !

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Remember my 2nd round design for the round robin where I discovered butterflies? Well, it got me thinking of edging possibilities which further led to a veritable butterfly invasion - of the happy kind :-) I used that same motif for the "make me pretty" challenge. Sharing some more of that happiness with you.

Butterfly Edging/Insertion
and off-shoots ! 
I will convert this into a composite pdf once I have tatted all models.
This card is not complete. Will share more eventually ...

A versatile pattern. Single butterfly motifs can be tatted separately to empty shuttles. The straight edging with alternating butterfly and flower motifs can also work as an insertion. It can turn the corner on either side with butterflies facing inward or outward. 2 Square motifs can be derived from these.

Techniques : 2 shuttle tatting, split ring, decorative picots.
Dimensions :Tatted model (maroon) is worked in Anchor size 40. Width – 1.5cms; 4 motif repeats are 9cms long. Each corner is 1cm long.


2 shuttles wound CTM.
Butterfly :
A-Ring : 6 vsp 10. rw
B-Chain: 6 - 8 – 3. rw
C-Ring : 4 + (to vsp) 8 – 10 – 2. dnrw
D-Ring : 2 + (to C) 10 – 8 vsp 4. rw
E-Chain: 3 + (to B) 8 – 6. rw
F-Ring : 10 + (to vsp) 6.
Flower :
G- Split ring : 1 – 1 –- 1 – 1 / 1 – 1 -– 1 – 1. (6 picots)

This completes one motif. Repeat from A to G for desired length.

End with a butterfly motif and work the corner with 3 flower motifs as follows -

To turn corner (to the left/upward):
SR1: 1 (– 1 –- 1)x2 - 1 / 1 (– 1 –- 1)x2 - 1. rw, Switch shuttle. (10 picots).
Ring2 : 1 (– 1 -- 1)x4 – 1. (9 picots). rw. SS
SR3 : same as SR1.
Join the next butterfly to the previous one (ie. Join C of new butterfly to D of previous one). This stabilises the corner.

Continue to follow pattern till end, joining back to the beginning.
Tie and cut. Hide ends.
Sew the edging to fabric or glue to cardstock for a framed greeting card.

It is the first time I’ve tried to block in this manner, with a grid paper below 
that thin plastic sheet. It really helped to keep the corners sharp and edges straight.

Notes :
  • All rings are tatted frontside, except for the corner-most ring (R2).
  • All picots are normal or decorative except where vsp (very small picot) is mentioned.
  • Overall, the edging moves from left to right.
  • In order to keep the edging/sides straight (and avoid twisting in case of long edgings), do not leave any space between butterfly and flower. Avoid gapsosis.
Since it was not to scale, I found it very difficult to diagram the corner. 
Hence I tatted a model in light colour and thick thread and notated instructions on it.

Suggested Variations :
Substitutions -
substitute floral picots for flowers for a layered effect ;
add seed beads instead of picots ;
add a pearl bead in center of each flower ring ;
substitute flower with large bead.
I hope to try some of these in my butterfly decorations.

This straight edging can easily be converted into a gently curved necklace by leaving a tiny bit of space between the butterflies and flowers. This will allow the edging to curve slightly.
This pic is of my trial and practice piece and you can see that it can easily be 
arranged in a curve without changing the pattern.
This is definitely on my to-tat list and I've already chosen the colour.


Turn the corner in the other direction – to the right/downward. Instead of 3 rings after the butterfly, we only work 1 single split ring as follows :
SR : 1 – 1 –- 1 – 1 -– 1 – 1 -– 1 – 1 / 1 . (7 picots)
Then continue with next butterfly, joining to the nearest free picot of previous butterfly.

Here’s a collage of more ideas clockwise from top left -
Doesn’t this give a sense of a possible crown? An outer round to bring it together and give proper shape?
Turn it over and is can be a pendant with beads and a teardrop !

2 square motifs (blue is a trial piece) when the corner is turned to the right. These can be joined together either at their tips or along their sides for a larger fabric.

In case you detect any errors or if there is any confusion, do let me know so that I can make the changes in the pdf.

make me pretty butterflies are slowly starting to fly in. What wondrous joy !!! So if you haven't, get right down to it and send me the pics or your posted link. I would love to share them in a future post. 
I still want to keep my own butterfly samples a secret for now so as not to corrupt any ideas ;-P

happy tatting always J

Friday, 20 April 2018

retreading the path

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magic squares, doilies and magic/infinite pathways - common threads VI.

This post is an exploration to satisfy the researcher in me. There is no absolute right or wrong – it is my perspective or thought experiment. Fair warning - walk away while you have the chance; or stay to humour me? ;-P A new thread in Craftree inspired me to retread the path.

So yes, the pathways in this earlier post were all just that – pathways – a sequence of working and joining motifs continuously without having to tie and cut after every motif. And for this we can use bridging elements or tweak the design to allow us access to next motif.
The magic pathways moved straight along column/row or moved in a concentric spiral. Therein lies one of the major difference with the magic square.

Ia.  Magic Square

I explained the magic square concept in my 2014 post hereAll the magic squares till then had been based on the original Ann Orr triangular corner design. Someone found that one could work continuously from one triangle to the next to create an ever-increasing square – hence the term ‘magic square’.

Last year new interest was generated with the incredible series of new magic square patterns that Robin has spawned, including the reverse/inverted squares. She adapted an existing square into a magic square by ‘breaking’ the square into triangles for a workable continuum. 
She shared her deconstruction of the concept and process in detail, inspiring others to join in with their own magic squares (eg., Jane McLellan and Ninetta Caruso). These also followed the original style of working and the original triangular pathway.

Thus the magic square, characteristically, is made of repeatable square motifs that work as “…building blocks…” (Robin) and follow a diagonal path (triangulation) resulting is as large a square as one desires. The square will get “…opened out just by turning the direction of tatting (Grace Tan), not by the application of bridging elements.

Ib.  Open-ended Motif or Transitioning Elements in Magic Square

There is one aspect that needs to be highlighted before I begin the next segment – the slight ‘asymmetry’ of each motif within the fabric. While working, one corner remains ‘open-ended’/different in order to change direction and continue to next segment. 

For instance, in the old magic square motifs, while 3 corners have chains, the 4th corner is made with rings in order to continue to the next section. Only the final fabric will have all 4 corners completed/identical (chains, in this case).  
Similarly the new squares needed some slight adaptation to transition into a continuous working path as in Konior's original square motif, and the Onion Ring magic squares.  

The reason this happens is clarified in Robin’s own words : You start with a formula (triangular pathway for magic square, or up and down columns for the table runner) and make the design work for that path. A one round square can be redesigned into a magic square, and now I’ve found a bookmark can be redesigned into a table runner.
(Notice that the bookmark is essentially a rectangle. It doesn't strictly adhere to the magic square definition since it follows the straight column/row magic pathway, and well, it is not a square to begin with). 

These transitioning elements are not merely functional, but visually appealing and create lovely patterns to break the monotony.

TIP : Incidentally, Jane’s magic square can be worked as a magic pathway, with each motif intact. Robin’s 2nd Onion Ring magic square can also work along a magic pathway with complete & symmetrical motifs because of the single outward ring which can be worked as a split ring. Clearly, a ring in the corner is an asset!

IIa.  Magic or Infinite Pathways 

During my Quatrefoil polygons, I discovered other pathways which would allow the tessellation to continue uninterrupted and create large fabrics in the same shape as the original motif. Thus I could trace paths for a triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon; and recently the Fortuna Square, by climbing out/in using split rings.

With so many shapes, Magic ‘Square’ seemed like a limiting term to me, hence I used the term Magic Pathways - there is magic in figuring out an infinite route :-)
At the end of the day, though, it is just continuous or one-pass tatting which can go on forever (hence Robin uses the term ‘Infinite Pathways’). During the writing/researching of this post and some recent discoveries, perhaps ‘Infinite Pathways’ is a better term than Magic Pathways. Yet I’d like to spell it out …

IIb.  Rationale for the term Magic Pathways : 

When we have shapes other than a square as a building block; use bridging techniques (climbing out/climbing in); and follow paths other than along the diagonal, then I like to call this one-pass or continuous tatting a “Magic” Pathway, because ….

1. it creates an immediate association to the essence of a magic square – that a large fabric can be worked continuously from the same repeatable pattern

2. it is magical that a simple substitution (eg. 2nd shuttle instead of ball, split ring/chain instead of regular ring/chain, perhaps simply switching shuttles, etc.) can allow us to tat infinitely

3. the straight/zigzag and/or spiral pathway is not limited to a square – depending on the pattern of the motif any geometrical shape/polygon can be tessellated into a large lace fabric. eg. the quatrefoil triangle, pentagon, hexagon and Robin’s mat and hexagon from Dillmont’s triangle. 
4. it is magic to puzzle over and trace out a continuous sequence keeping the original motif intact - without changing, tweaking, or redesigning an original motif or creating any transitioning motif.

Future idea : 2 different motifs tessellated alternately/side-by-side through a magic pathway. Note that the transitioning part of the magic Squares tend to automatically create a different motif in the center of 4 motifs.

I hear you ask - If a magic pathway is simply one-pass tatting then wouldn’t a doily worked in one pass also qualify? Hmmm….

IIIa.  Is the magic pathway different from a One-pass doily?

We frequently use climbing out techniques (split rings, split chains) when working on a doily, even if not specifically designed. So if we can complete a multi-round doily in one pass, does it become a magic pathway? After all we are moving in a spiral pathway whether the doily is circular or angular.

I don’t have a clear-cut answer for this. But my guess is ‘not exactly’?

To me, part of the difference lies in tessellation : motif v/s medallion. Each row of a doily comprises of repeatable motifs while the magic pathway is for medallions that we use as motifs. Medallions are standalone complete designs, and the magic pathway allows us to join them continuously and repeatedly to create a large fabric in the same shape as the original medallion and the same pattern as the constituent.

Further, even if we use the same motif in All rounds, we may have to change the stitchcount to prevent cupping or ruffling especially in a round/oval doily. In magic pathways, there is absolutely no change in stitches.

Future idea : It will be interesting to convert a circular medallion into a magic pathway.

IIIb.  What about more elaborate one-pass doilies?

Remember these doilies that are specifically designed to be worked in one pass such as Iris Niebach's TIAS doily and tattingweed's Crinoline Doily?
These take a long serpentine and circuitous route through multiple ‘tiers’ with each repeat, to complete the tatting in one pass. German tatters such as Endrucks designed elaborate one-pass doilies. These do appear magical to even design, let alone tat! 

But these are logistically and practically limiting. Inevitably, there comes a full stop. It cannot go on or be tessellated infinitely. So while magical in itself, it does not conform to the above concept. Or perhaps it is a 'magic' pathway, but not an 'infinite' pathway !!!  

To conclude :

  • Magic Squares and Magic/Infinite Pathways allow us to tessellate infinitely to form larger and larger lace fabric working continuously without snipping off.
  • Almost any square medallion can be modified/redesigned into a magic square, but not all medallions will allow a magic/infinite pathway.
  • In the magic square, one first selects the formulaic diagonal path and ‘fits’ a square medallion to tessellate infinitely; in magic pathway, one selects a polygonal medallion and then figures out a continuous pathway. 

I was amused to read Robin’s comment here. How far she's travelled, now leading the way :-) And only a few days back I rediscovered her Dillmont inspired mat & hexagon where she has already outlined the pathways that I spoke of during the Quatrefoil series and diagrammed in the Fortuna Square!

If you have, thanks for reading. It validates my effort ;-)
I invite you to share your views.

All paths lead to Tatting !

Monday, 16 April 2018

make me pretty please

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Still waiting patiently but the butterfly has not shown up yet. Instead of losing hope, I decided to have some collective fun while we wait.

Ready for a bit of fun to empty your shuttles and use up scrap threads ?

Here's a little pattern - with only 4 rings and a couple of chains. I wasn't going to show a diagram or tatted model, but then succumbed in the fear that you might start throwing your shuttles at me... wouldn't want you to lose or break them now ;-P Hmmm, but I could possibly start my own shuttle collection then - now there's a thought! Bring it on, then ...

The working order and stitchcount is diagrammed on the right (above). 

And below is the written pattern for the ‘skeleton’ -
For directional or fs/bs tatting, rings are worked frontside and chains backside.

“make me pretty” butterfly fun pattern
        One shuttle and ball, CTM.
A-Ring : 6 vsp 10 rw
B-Chain: 14 – 3 rw
C-Ring : 4 + (to vsp) 18 – 2. dnrw
D-Ring : 2 + (to C) 18 vsp 4 rw
E-Chain: 3 + (to B) 14 rw
F-Ring : 10 + (to vsp) 6.
         Tie and cut.

I would love for you to decorate this ‘skeleton’ as your heart desires - with picots, beads, or what have you. Be a designer and choose your style & placement of picots, beads, accessories, and colours.

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

You can post a pic on your blog, social media site, etc., but please do send me a link so that I can share it with everyone.  Or you can email (on my profile page) a pic and I will upload it here.

Do you feel inspired to join? I hope so …
Let’s fly together !