Sunday, 15 June 2014

Free-form Tatting Adornments

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Original Free-form Patterns

Applying free-form tatting to classic patterns

With online tatting resources at one’s "command", there is no dearth of learning that can go on. 

But what does one do with this new knowledge & skill ?
Does one blindly follow existing patterns ?
Why not have some creative fun by applying new ideas to old patterns?

This is what I tried to do is some small measure, by simultaneously learning And applying.
I also realized that I am much more comfortable creating freeform tatting patterns than designing the lie-flat-without-any-ruffles patterns. A free-form v/s classic tatting dilemma, perhaps ? One has to, therefore, work within one’s limitations till one can surmount them …

Anastasia’s “Crowning Glory”

I enjoyed tatting Kersti’s Anastasia Tatted Bookmark for its own sake. But after it was completed, I did not much care for the large negative spaces left by the long chains on top. Fact was that without blocking or stiffening, the long-chained arches were bound to alter their shape. 

Now how could I fill in the gaps, while staying true to the original elements ?

My first thought was little rings. But that would mean snipping out & retatting the purple part with well-placed picots where I could attach the rings. Or if I joined through the chains, it would perhaps not come out neat since I snug my ds pretty close. More importantly, the rings would need to lie flat, yet not detract from the beautiful arches. My skills were found wanting.

I turned to free-form tatting : Creating a narrow strip of tatting that could be inserted & interweaved through the arches. With the added attraction that it could lend a 3D effect !!!
For this, I chose a single strand of very fine gold rayon/metallic thread. Gold is an indispensable part of royalty & all its finery, after all, and what better color than gold for its crowning glory ?!

Thread is wound on to 2 shuttles, CTM. 
The twine is made of simple rings (as leaves), onion/concentric rings (as roses), chains with normal ds & Reverse stitch (for vines). Stitch-counts are entirely up to the tatter.
(I will be doing a separate post on this shortly, along with an accidental technique used here, as well as more detailed stitch-counts &/or process) 

To bring it all together, I covered the tassel knot with gold thread too. 
The image on right is a scanned close-up of the adornment.

TIP : This is a dainty, elegant, feminine design for bracelets, & other jewelry too ! 

Motif #7 for 25 Motif Challenge

Coiled Comfort

Now here was an edging sampler I’d tatted a while back & converted it into a bookmark, adding a braid & tassel (variegated silk/rayon thread) at one end. I have been using this bookmark ever since. AMC size 20 in Brown - 4054-0355.

However, I was not too happy with the tatting & decided to have another go recently,  after having learned SLT, Reverse Stitch, & other similar techniques.
This time I chose Aqua Blue (4054-0185) in AMC size 20. It was still meh !

Along came a photo on InTatters (by Patty Dowden) where her project had the most perfect circular coiled chains ! She willingly told me that they were all just Long normal chains!

What was the fun in simply trying out a chain with no application ?! So I jumped directly into the bookmark, to adorn it as well as to stabilize the fairly ‘open’ edge.

First I made some tiny flowers, all from leftover threads in size 20.
Each flower has 4, 5, or 6 petals & each petal is a Ring : 3-1-3pds(2)-1-3. Cl.  Picots of adjoining rings/petals are joined.
Now I loaded my shuttles with white thread & began to tat long chains. It was Such a pleasure to watch the chain coil !!!

If you notice, there are gaps in the adornment. Reason is that I just did not know how to proceed & had to cut off the thread. But I gradually got the hang of it & as you can see, the pieces kept getting longer, with more chains & coils, as one descends down the edging.
I kept joining flowers to the white chain at intervals and also joined the chain to any picot I could find on the edging. In addition, since there were large negative spaces on the edging, I could slip in the shuttle to intertwine the adornment – under & over. I've included photos of the wrong side to show attachments & intertwining, as well an one close-up.

This is still not aesthetically appealing, but it was part of my learning process.

TIP : And it is a swell adornment idea for head bands, bracelets, belts, collars, tiara, etc.

Motif #8 for 25 Motif Challenge

Abbreviations used :
ds : double stitch
CTM : continuous thread method
SLT : shoe-lace trick
pds : padded double stitch
Cl : close
AMC : Anchor Mercerized Crochet Cotton


  1. Ooh, I like that idea! In addition to adorning the negative spaces, it gives the tatting a 3 dimensional look. The second pattern is beginning to resemble a bracelet. I imagine you could start with any number of basic edgings, then add flowers to it to make an accessory. So many ideas to think about...

  2. And the best part is that one does not need to keep track of stitch-counts ... just wing it & swing it ;-)
    Moreover, Each piece will be unique & exclusive; no 2 will ever be alike !
    Good to have your creative juices flowing, with myriad possibilities, huh ;-))

    So you see, Robin, I've taken the easy way out by going for free-form designs. Dunno when I will be able to create designs like you do ...

    1. Lol, muskaan! I don't know if one method is easier than the other. My brain cannot put things together spontaneously...I need to plan everything! I think tatting the way you do would actually be harder for me :)

  3. I love to tat free-form! In fact, after a basic one-evening lesson in needle tatting, I was on my own with just a basic book to guide me. So I played with my tatting, and learned bits along the way as I lived in a rural area, and didn't know any other tatters until I discovered the online tatting class in 2010!
    What I like about needle tatting is that I can make joins anywhere on a tatted piece without having to plan ahead and leave picots for joining. Spontaneous tatting indeed.
    I like your willingness to try something different and not be confined by existing patterns. I think it's what led me to design a few of my own patterns and to wing it often, doing my own thing in my own style. I sometimes find it challenging to tat others' patterns, as a result, but I do from time to time.
    I really like the delicate look of shuttle tatting, but it aggravates my carpel tunnel, so I'm sticking with the needle.

    1. Thank you so much :-))
      I tried needle tatting for the first time yesterday ! Made Totus Mel's motif, & then Interlocking Rings. It is really so Easy & Convenient to tat with a needle ! And considering that I do not even have a proper needle - this one is a long, pointed tip, mattress needle !
      And if, as you point out, that one can join anywhere, anytime, in free-form without predetermining picots, then this is simply Great !!! That is my one problem in shuttle tatting a free-form -- I keep going & later realize I have nowhere to join to neatly LOL .

      Thanks for stopping by & leaving valuable comment :-)

  4. Fabulous bookmarks!!! :) Love the Coiled Comfort!! :)

    1. Oops, this comment skipped my attention. Thanks a heap Sue, for your continued support :-)

  5. Interesting post, I like your coiled bookmark,

    1. Thank you so much, Margaret :-) I really enjoyed making those long chain curlicues ;-))