Wednesday 28 May 2014


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My thoughts
Love Celtic tatting ?
Need to make Interlocking Rings ?
Can only shuttle-tat ?

I consider myself fortunate that tatters before me have openly shared all their experiences, trials & techniques on the net, so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we can simply read/watch/learn & then pick & adopt whichever technique suits us best !

This is exactly what happened with Interlocking Rings (IRs)
Ever since I laid eyes on Celtic/Irish tatting, I was enamoured by the interweaves & overlaps ! Took me a while to realize that tools & techniques, other than my normal shuttle, were required . Since I am a shuttler, I needed to find tuts/techs that taught how to make IRs using a shuttle, & not needle.

First stop : 
An initial search led me to a step-by-step pictorial by Sue for InterlockingSCMRs using shuttle. I tried very hard but failed – my SCMRs kept “opening up” as soon as I looked away ! Hence, shelved for later, & on with more searching …   

Second stop :
Karen’s video tut on Single Shuttle Interlocking Rings . Finally got the hang of making overlapping rings. However, try as I might, I could still not get that last ring to overlap correctly ! Notice the last ring in adjoining image - Both sides are going under the adjacent rings !

After many trials, some ending in the dustbin, I renewed my internet search.

Third stop : 
Wow ! I found Jon’s write-up & diagram explaining how to get that “pesky” little final ring to overlap correctly. Without Jon’s diagram, I had almost given up.

Armed with these trials, I attempted Frivole’s Rose & Crown motif. This motif was the immediate motivation to advance my learning in the first place!

Attempt 1:
( Anchor size 20 Cadmium Orange 4054-0307 shade )
The IRs overlapped correctly, but there seemed to be a tightness in the center. That called for another attempt.

Attempt 2 :

( Anchor size 20 Purple 4054-0101 ) 
Yay ! I was happy with this trial. Although all tutorials pointed out that each subsequent ring needs to be started without leaving any space, I found that if I left a tiny length (just about 1 mm only) before starting the next ring, it helped to keep the structure even & lie ‘flat’.

Fourth stop :
The above motifs were done a few weeks back & I went on to other things. Suddenly I chanced upon Another tutorial – this one by Kathy. I quickly scanned through the 2-part detailed pictorial &  pinned it for future reference, if necessary.
Then, while working on a free-form bracelet, I made an “error” which caused the ring to twist a bit & also caused the next ring to overlap !!! That reminded me of Kathy’s pictorial & off I went to check it out in depth & put it to practice. Interlocking Rings made with Shuttle part 1  & Interlocking Rings made with Shuttle part 2  

Attempts 3 & 4 :
( Anchor size 20. #3 : Maroon 022 ; #4 : Royal Blue 4054-0133)
I started on the 3rd motif ( Anchor size 20 Maroon 022 ) directly. Kathy’s technique was so very simple & easy to remember !!! And the IRs came out perfectly. I did have to leave the 1mm thread space though.
I was so excited that I started a 4th motif in Royal Blue 4054-0133. Successful again.

Some notes based on my experiences :
Leave a 1 mm, or less, thread space before starting subsequent rings. This works for me.

Karen’s technique:

  • This video opened the door to my shuttle-made IRs.
  • One has to remember to make the loose half stitch before closing each ring. There were numerous occasions when I forgot & had to open up the ring & accommodate that posting of shuttle with half stitch.
  • For the life of me I could Not get that last ring to overlap in same direction. 

Jon's diagram:

  • An extended explanation to Karen's video. Hence, one follows Karen's method but works the last ring based on Jon's diagram & clarification. That diagram is a life-saver if I can be dramatic ;-))

Kathy’s technique:

  • Easiest to follow & apply.
  • One does not have to remember to make half-st & post shuttle before closing each ring - major advantage!
  • One is basically tatting on the ‘wrong side’ & the rings are then kind of ‘flipped’ or rotated to get them in position. But it all comes together beautifully.
  • I agree with her about keeping the starting tail intact. It helps in identifying the 1st ring And its position & overlap of subsequent rings. I had done this through All my attempts.

There is just one drawback to Kathy's method, if I can call it that. One has to unwind the shuttle before starting last ring, & then rewind it again. This can get a bit tiring if one has to make a large number of motifs with IRs.
This can be easily taken care of as follows :.
TIP : Get an idea of the length of thread required to make that one last ring. Unwind this length + a bit extra, & cut the thread. Tat the last ring with this length. (It is up to the tatter if s/he wishes to rewind this length or simply forge ahead without rewinding.) Once the last ring is closed, tie, cut & hide ends.
You still have plenty of thread in the shuttle to start the next set of IRs ! So, basically, one can start with a fully loaded bobbin/shuttle & make many IR motifs before the thread runs out, instead of winding only for each motif.

Motif #3 for 25 Motif Challenge

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Tatting Pattern : Rustic Leaf Pendant

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Rustic Leaf Pendant
An Original pattern

Same old flat patterns ?!
Wish to convert 2D to 3D ?
Wish to add gradation to tatting ?

I have been tinkering with threads, trying to convert flat tatting into freeform 3D shapes. Here is one such attempt inspired by a wire jewelry image on pinterest.
It is a simple, quick, one-pass pattern. Although I have used padded ds in places, to get some width & stiffness, it is entirely optional. One can make this using normal ds throughout. 


For a part realistic, part abstract look, I chose this variegated brown to get a rustic & rustly feel. 
Doesn't it feel like a browning, dried leaf found on the ground, 
about to be trampled underfoot, 
with rustling & crunching yelps emanating from it ?!!

Size 20 thread. I used Anchor Mercerized Crochet Cotton - Shade White w/ Tan 4054-1218
2-shuttle pattern.
Size2 inches long ; 1 inch wide ; ½ inch high

Techniques used :
ds – double stitch
pds – padded double stitch. pds(2) denotes padded ds with 2 wraps. [click on link for tutorials & alternate terminology; My previous 2 posts are also experiments in pds tatting ]
Folded Chain
Josephine chain
Lock Join
Encapsulation (only if CTM not used) . Optional
Twisted Picot (only for Rustic Leaf with veins Pendant) . Optional

I started with a simple sketch & tried to convert it into 3D with folded & pds tatting. The only thing to keep in mind is to pull the core thread tighter than usual in order to get & keep the curves & bends of the 3D form.
I must admit that I was so taken in with the tatting, that I did not write down the exact stitch-count. I just eye-balled it, going from segment to segment, whatever took my fancy.
But here is the flow of the pattern which is clearly visible in the close-ups.

Both leaves are long chains involving folds at various sections. Leaf margin is made with the following segments in varied order :
pds(2) segment,
ds segment,
folds in these segments wherever required (sometimes 3 1st half-sts & other times 3 2nd half-sts are used to create the fold/bend),
tiny picot at tips of leaf & notches,
Josephine ‘chain’ segment (ie. a chain made with only 1 half stitch repeated about 5-7 times). This is mainly used for the notches in the leaf margin.
TIP : Josephine chains give an immediate & pronounced curve to any chain, hence I used here.

Start with the smaller 1st leaf.
Remember to intermittently pull the core thread tight in order to get the 3D curves & bends.
Once you are satisfied with the size & shape, join at the beginning with a lock join & a short chain of 1 or 2 ds.

In similar fashion, make the larger 2nd leaf. Again lock join to the starting end of leaf.


In order to give a clearer picture, I photographed the 2 leaves one on either side. [It also shows the encapsulation or beginning of the ring that will lead to the midrib.] 
One can simply 'rotate' them into desired overlap. The stiffness of the leaves will hold them in place.

TIP : One can make as many leaves as one wants, in various sizes.

To  Finish
If using CTM method,
Continue with a pds(2) chain, starting with a very small picot at the beginning; & pull tightly to form a ring-shape. Join to picot at the beginning. This circle is where the pendant will be suspended from.

If one has tied the 2 shuttle threads in the beginning, as I have, then leave the ends/tails for a short length. Encapsulate these tails to get a thick chain that is folded back & joined to form a ring. (see pic above). 
Snip off extra lengths of tails & continue with midrib.

Leaf Midrib  
Continue with chain, folding at intervals. Short Josephine chain segments can also be added wherever you feel the fold is not enough. Midway through the rib, switch to normal ds to give a graded, narrowing effect but continue with folds after every 4-6 ds.
Once the rib chain reaches the tip, tie a knot & cut. I deliberately left a bit of the thread ends after knot to add to the rustic look.
Voila ! The Rustic Leaf Pendant is complete !!!


Leaf Midrib with veins

Here is a variation to the leaf midrib. I added long twisted picots to resemble the veins in a leaf.


Start with a pds chain as for the midrib. However, once the midrib ‘enters’ a short distance into the leaf blade, start making twisted picots of variable lengths. Keep folding the midrib at intervals, making sure the twisted picots face in different/opposite directions.

TIP : How to make a Twisted Picot : At the point where a picot is required, hold taut a short length of thread from the working shuttle & twist it around till it twists back on itself. This becomes the twisted picot. Immediately make the pds/ds as normal & continue. The picot will not untwist.

I would love to answer any queries/questions regarding the pattern ... and welcome any & all feedback.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Tatting Pattern : Wreath Ornament

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An original pattern

Looking for small motif for decoration/jewelry?
Dislike blocking & stiffening ?
Tired of the same old double stitch ?
Looking for texture, variation, & 3-dimension?

As mentioned in my previous post , we, at InTattters, are in the midst of learning & experimenting with the padded double stitch. (pds). I had tackled chains in the previous trials. This time I went for rings. My pds ring trials did not start with this particular motif (I made use of pds in concentric rings). That motif, despite the neat rings, lies incomplete – I need more time & thought to continue with the design. However, I was happy to have come up with And complete this small motif all in one evening. Read on for the pattern .

This pattern has been tweaked and reworked with beads 
Thorny Wreath Ornament  pdf link


This is a 2-round tiny motif where the 1st round is made of split rings but the 2nd round is freeform, interweaving a chain through the circular motif. The freeform weaving lends a 3D form to the flat wreath. It is a beginner’s way to get around the slightly more complex 3D tatting ;-)

It can be used as a tree ornament, a decoration/adornment for gifts, sewn on to a headband, or be used as a pendant, a brooch, or earrings … embellishments can be added as required.

Materials used :
Anchor Mercerized Crochet Cotton Size 20. Series 4054.
Red W/Black – 1206
Lemon Yellow – 0293
Green – 0229
Khaki Brown - 0359

Techniques applied ( 2-Shuttle Tatting ) :
pds – padded double stitch.
Note : The number within brackets after pds denotes the number of wraps to pad each half of the stitch. eg. pds(3) means 3 wraps in each half st of ds; pds(2,3) means 2 wraps in 1st half st & 3 wraps in 2nd half st of the ds.
SR – Split Ring
ds – double stitch
Folded Chain
Folded Ring
Josephine Chain
Picots : vsp – very small picot ; sp – small picot ; lp – long picot
Lock Chain (optional)

Size :
Round 1 – 4 cm diameter
Round 2 – 4 ½ cms diameter

So this is just under 2 inches ! And due to padded ds, it is also fairly stiff !
One can choose any color. I chose these in order to convey a semi-realistic feel to an otherwise abstract wreath-like form. And of course, it does lend itself to a festive Christmas look if one wants to use it as a tree ornament or for decorations.

Round 1 :
Shuttle 1 – red
Shuttle 2 – yellow
All rings are started with the red thread/shuttle.

SR1 : (red) 2ds, 6pds(2), sp, 4pds(3) / (yellow) vsp, [1ds, p]x2 , [1pds(2), p]x3, 1ds, p, 1ds. Cl.

Note : (i) sp in red half does not have to be in same position (refer to pic below). I have shifted its position in subsequent rings. The reason is that when I join the vine in 2nd round, it will join free-form in different places going asymmetrically around.
(ii) vsp in yellow is Only for the 1st SR. This is the tiny picot where the last SR will join to the 1st one.

Make 7 more SRs & join back to the 1st SR to form a circle of 8 SRs.

TIP : If one wants to make a flower, make only 6 rings & join. It creates a beautiful flower motif with a flurry yellow in centre & red petals around.

Round 2 :
Shuttle 1 – green
Shuttle 2 – brown
This round can be started with a chain (as I did) or with a leaf.

Since this is a free-form vine, I did not jot down the specific stitch-count. I just eye-balled it, choosing stitches & elements as I went along. This is the free-form round that makes it truly Unique – no 2 wreaths will be the exact same ! One can add more leaves, reduce them, or eliminate them altogether. One can change the flow & twist of the chain (vine) as desired – wind it more closely around the rings or widen the interweaving. Play around !


Here is the general flow of the pattern …

Vine To make the vine (brown) I used segments of Folded Chain as well as Josephine Chain, each made of variable stitches ranging from ds, pds(2), pds (2,3), pds (3,2) & pds (3) … interspersed with long picots which were later cut & tied to create the thorny effect.
In order to fold the chains periodically, 2 half stitches preceded or succeeded by a vsp was used.

Leaves Leaves are Folded Rings also with variable sts – ds, pds(2), & pds(3) including a few variable pds (1,2), (2,3), (3,2), etc. and 1 small picot at the tip. I started & ended all the leafs with at least 1 ds.
Again, each leaf was folded twice – once on each side.
For folding the ring, on either side of the leaf, 2 half stitches preceded or succeeded by a vsp was used.

As one tats the vine, keep joining it to the small picot on the red edge outside, & to any of the yellow picots on the inside. In order to weave the vine over & under the rings, I had to insert my shuttles through the center of Round 1.
Hence, it is important that the central negative space be large enough for normal-sized shuttles to pass through. However, if one has Irish or narrow shuttles, Round 1 can  be made more compact.

Remember to cut the long picots in the vine, & tie the 2 ends together. I did not wait till the end, however, since the long loops were interfering with tatting. Hence, after every couple of picots, I snipped & tied. You can adjust the length of the cut threads later.

To End :
At end, tie the 2 ends of the chain together or continue with Lock Chain to create a cord to tie or hang the ornament or to attach it to any jewelry.

That’s it. Hope you are inspired to make your own wreaths & would love it if you shared your projects. If any part of the pattern is unclear, please feel free to ask & I will try to explain further. I hope to convert the pattern into a pdf file which I will upload to the Free Patterns page in near future.

Happy Tatting

Motif #1 for 25 Motif Challenge

Monday 5 May 2014

Tatting : Experimenting with a Stitch

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Self-Padded Double Stitch

Is it an s-p ds ?
Is it a DDS ?
Is it a BDS ?
Is it a dds ?

No, I’m not high, but I Was all confused as many of us are when we encounter new &  multiple tatting terms, try to look for tutorials/definitions/explanations & find out (if we are lucky) that they All apply to the Same Technique !!!
This is the message Judith Connors tried to put across when she recently started an InTatters thread about the history & multiplicity of the Balanced Double Stitch.
UPDATE : InTatters has shifted to Craftree & click here for the new link to thread

Before proceeding further, let me give the full forms & sources of the above abbreviations :
s-p ds : self-padded double stitch by Rhoda Auld in her book 'Tatting: the contemporary art of knotting with a shuttle' (1974)
DDS : double double stitch or padded double stitch by Jane Eborall  (2009)
BDS : Balanced double stitch by Ruth Perry   (2008)
All 3 terms refer to the Same technique.
Okay, dds is the odd one out here. Jane Eborall uses it to refer to the Daisy double stitch.
(click on links for the respective tutorials)

During the discussion, there were many queries, explanations, suggestions, etc. This brought on some experimentation too. Here is my exploration into this stitch domain.
I first learned it from Ruth Perry & hence called it BDS. I loved the effect of this ‘basic’ stitch & had already used this stitch in my designs. A BDS/s-p chain does not curl as much as a normal ds chain would. It has more texture, bulk, & stiffness.

But then Judy, in the same thread, spoke about varying the number of half stitches!!! That was exciting stuff to try out. But this also created a problem about how to notate the count. Judith’s historical knowledge came to the rescue again. Rhoda Auld used the term "wrap" to indicate the number of times thread is wrapped around the core for padding !

UPDATE : Judith Connors added a summary at the end of the discussion thread here (post#74)

·                       'Padding' tatting has been done for over a century. The earliest practices were padded pearl tatting, and the use of uneven thicknesses of threads. These padded the core thread, mostly.
·                       Rhoda L. Auld experimented with wrapping the double stitch itself, and in 1974 published her 'self-padded double stitch' and 'self-padded ring'. This could be applied to equal and unequal numbers of wraps, on either half-stitch.
·                       In 2008 Ruth Perry applied one extra wrap to each half-stitch, calling this a 'balanced double stitch'. It is only one of the possibilities of self-padding double stitches.
·                       This thread has investigated Rhoda Auld's approach to equal and unequal numbers of wraps, and chosen to call the result the 'padded double stitch' - pds(1,3), 1 and 3 indicating the number of wraps on the half-stitches, or pds(2,2).
·                       Padded double stitches may be applied, for effect, to known elements in tatting. However, the adage 'Less is more' is advised, as over-padding could alter the integrity of the known elements. “

Accordingly, I am updating the notations in this post & using 'pds' instead of 's-pds'.

Here are my trials, with pictures , stitch counts, & comments/observations …I have used size 20 thread.

Self-padded Chains

# 1 : In this 1st picture, all stitches are 5 in number & Both 1st & 2nd halves of a ds, whether padded or not, are the same.
  • As is clearly visible, while count remains same, length & width of each subsequent segment increases with each increase of wrap !
  • I found it easier to do the 2nd half stitch wraps than the 1st half.
  • This time I managed both 4 wraps And 5 wraps too. Altho’ neatness is lacking.
  • When I loosened the 5-wrap ds, it seems to have had a better effect than when the tension was tighter.
  • Unknotting/unraveling a pds becomes a tad cumbersome as wrap count goes up.

# 2 : In this trial, all 1st half stitches are normal FHS of a ds (i.e., no padding); padding is applied Only to the 2nd half stitches. Hence “Variable” pds. Each segment is 7 stitches.
  • If stitches are snugged a little loosely, then a subtle ric-rac effect is visible. However, it is a very delicate balance between ‘loose’ & ‘tight’. If too tight, then individuality is lost ; if too loose, then the chain tends to twirl & flop a bit.

# 3 : Josephine Chains & Ring made using pds (2nd half stitches) . My love of Josephines got the better of me & curiosity made me try out how the Josephines would turn out with padded stitches !
I used only 2 wraps & the 2nd half st (SHS) since I find it quicker & easier to handle than the FHS of pds.
  • In the 1st segment of J. chain, the stitches were tatted ‘normally’ tension-wise (i.e. a bit tight) & snugged close together too.
  • In the 2nd segment, I deliberately loosened the stitch, thus getting a broader wave !
  • Josephine Ring made with 2-wrap SHS is almost twice the size of a normal J. Ring as can be seen in the pic.

I added a 4th picture showing 5 wraps of the 2nd half stitch, just before closing it.

The texture is superb. And these padded chains can be used by designers in various ways to enhance their tatting project. 

TIP : As the wrap count increases, the stitches acquire a beaded effect in the variable s-p trial.  Especially, I think, if one makes the FHS tight & the s-p SHS a little loose. Then one could get a ‘spiral’ or wavy cap.

This was just a 'dry-run' to see effects of this stitch. And I tried this only on chains. These stitches can be used to make rings, too (self-padded rings as Rhoda called them).
It will be even more exciting to Apply this stitch in newer & different ways !

TIP : Try this stitch with finer threads, including silk & floss. It will be interesting to see the results !

Would love to get your feedback, inputs, & criticism, as well as view any trials/projects made with this stitch.
I will update if any further information , etc. comes my way.

Thanks for reading through, if you have ;-))


I should’ve mentioned that these chains, due to the increased thickness & texture, can be used in bracelets, cords, bookmarks, free-form tatting, & all sorts of other applications, including edgings, etc. ! 
It is up to the designers  ! 

Here’s another possibility – a beaded chain/cord with no beads !!!

In 1st half segment of cord (towards the left) I have alternated 1ds with 1pds(5). { 5 within brackets represents 5 wraps} I kept the ds 'tight' & the pds 'normal' in tension. In reality, it looks & feels pretty nice - like tiny beads !
It would work so wonderfully in various applications.

In 2nd (right) half of the cord, I used Only pds(5), separated by a SLT {SLT - shoe lace trick}. I used 2 different colors in the 2 shuttles & switched them with the SLT, so that one can see white 'beads' alternating with blue ones.
Not very nicely done ;
the SLTs seem to make the cord flip around a bit - it does not stay even. Or maybe I was SLT-ing wrongly..
Altho' both threads are from the same brand, same size (20), same purchase, the white appears thicker & stiffer as compared to the variegated blue !!! Hence the difference in the sts even tho' both were made with the exact same number of wraps.
This segment needs to be tried again for clearer results & inferences.

So, here is my contribution - a beaded cord with no beads (but bds ! )