Sunday, 2 February 2014

Tatting Tutorial : Closing the Gaps -I-

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Closing the Gaps in Shuttle Tatting : 

"OTM" : Overlap, Tug & Manoeuvre Technique 

Annoyed at 'gaps' between tatting elements ?
Can't get the elements lined up closely ?
Suffer from gapsosis ?

We have All faced this problem, especially when learning to tat with a shuttle ! With practice, conscious effort, & individual inventiveness, this can be overcome for the most part. But it can still sneak up on us if we let our guard down for those brief moments !!! 

I have been tatting solo ever since I learned how to tat - about 3 decades ago! Consequently, I had to develop my own ways & means to improve & keep pace with the pattern. Over the years, I successfully conquered this nagging gap issue by my "OTM" method (I've coined the term especially for this post!). 

I never thought much of it, until I came across a query on InTatters about inadvertent space left between elements when tatting with a shuttle. Experienced tatters have chipped in with tips, advice, & tutorials. I thought I'd add my 2-bits as well, captured in photographs. Verbal explanation is not always enough! I'd have preferred to upload a video, but working alone, I could manage only snapshots. Hope it will be of some help at least to beginners. 

Now, for my well-entrenched & personally successful technique - I think I'll call it 
"The Overlap, Tug & Manoeuvre " or "OTM" !

I have tried to show how to close the gaps in 3 situations :
1. when making a chain after a ring
2. when making a ring after a chain
3. when making a ring after a ring.
(please excuse the quality of pics & the horribly intrusive thumbnail!):

I . From Ring to Chain :

Image I-A : After making the ring (in blue #20), the work is reversed (RW) & one is ready to make a chain using a contrast color thread (peach #20).

I-A. Starting a Chain after Ring

Images I-B & C : Make the first half of ds (FHS), extremely close to base of ring, almost overlapping the thread to the ring. ( Unable to show in still photograph, but the chain thread of FHS can be held in an overlap position in a pinch & the threads pulled - tugged & manoeuvred till the FHS is in place )
Then carefully, & slowly, pull the thread tight to close the FHS. If required, fidget with the shuttle (blue) thread to bring the half ds Flush against the ring - as close as possible!
When you are satisfied, pinch this half stitch & ring base tightly between your thumb & finger before you continue, so that the position is stabilized & maintained.

I-B. Manoeuvre FHS to base of ring
I-C. Tug, position, pinch/hold


Images I - D & E :
Now make the second half of the ds (SHS) & bring it close to the first half without messing with the position. ie. keep a tight pinch till the second half is extremely close to the first half, the 'close' & tighten it. Remember, tighten Only After you feel it is in the right position & the earlier half has not moved at all.
This explanation may seem more complex than the actual working; and with a little practice, it becomes second nature !

I-D. Complete the ds
I-E. Chain after ring with no gap!

II. From Chain to Ring :

II-A. Overlap Ring thread to Chain End
I think this is much much easier.
Once the chain is made & tightened, one can start the loop of the ring from the very tip, overlapping the
chain slightly. Then start with the first half of the ds over this 'overlapping' loop.
Make it loosely, position it Flush against the chain (keep tugging & manoeuvring till you feel that the ds has reached the end of chain & has no more place to move). Only then, tighten the FHS; keep a firm grip over this
half ds between thumb & finger, & make the SHS, thus completing 1 ds of  ring. Remember, tighten Only when in position.

II-B. Start ring with overlapping the chain
II-C. Flush FHS against chain & hold tight


II-D. Make SHS, position & tighten.
II-E. No gap between Ch & R

TIP : Whenever one tats, it is extremely important to keep the yarn from twisting. If yarn twists, it becomes difficult to close a ring properly or to make the stitches correctly/neatly. The simplest way to untwist the yarn is to suspend the shuttle by the thread till it stops twirling around.

III. From Ring to Ring 

In the next post, since this is way too long already ! 
(Tatting Tutorial : Closing the Gaps -II - )  .... I will add the link later.

Now, a few more tips & links to what some other truly Experienced tatters have already done / shown / said in the same InTatters' Closing-the-gaps thread or elsewhere 
[Please note that there may be many more tips on other sites, but these are what I've come across so far. Feel free to add more links & tips in Comments] :
  • One superb tutorial is from Jon who coined the adorable & very apt term 'gapsosis'. I have been using this technique very successfully, for clovers, & larger rings or between continuous rings. It is truly ideal for clovers, etc.  (However, when working with a smaller & single ring & switching to a chain, I find this a bit difficult to apply. eg in my Waves edging. Instead, I fall back on my own method detailed below)
  • Through pinterest, I stumbled upon another great pictorial comparison of frontside/backside tatting . If one is just beginning, this, too, will prove a valuable experience.
  • Making an 'extra' half ds before continuing with the pattern. (I like this tip & will definitely try it out next time)
  • Closing the ring very tight can cause a gap to appear in the next element. Hence avoid a tight close. ( I am sometimes guilty of this tight close. Must watch out !)
How do You tackle this issue ?