Saturday, 8 November 2014

Deconstructing Patterns 2

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Triangulated Tessellation of a Magic Square !

The earlier post pulled out motifs from the magic square hat. Here, I tackle triangles.
I used the version 1 of the free pattern from here

The bold fonts are all hyperlinks to respective sites/blogs. Click on the word(s).
Abbreviations used : SR - Split Ring ; SSSR - Single Shuttle Split Ring ; SLT - Shoe lace trick

Fig 1. Magic Square in 4 colours !
Although the ultimate shape is a square, the progression of the Magic Square is in triangles, repeated to get a square,as can be seen in the above image! Jenn is currently working on it & you can see the progression on her blog.
Triangular / Corner Motifs
Triangular Motif #1
Fig 2.
Fig 2. This is how it all starts - with a single triangle – one quarter of the final square. I sewed this to the base of the neck on a dress I was sewing at the time. 
This same triangle, when folded on itself along the Y-axis, to form a ‘pocket’, can be used as a bookmark inserted in the corner of a page (from an observation by Judith Connors)!

danie7 shares her Tatted Corner & the page in the background shows how it can be used as a corner on a handkerchief, mat, etc.
Incidentally, Jon Yusoff, following the triangular pattern from “Tatting with Ann Orr”, went on to create a square from the 4 triangles, figuring it all out herself !  

In Fig 1 above, Each of these 4 triangles that go to make the square, are clearly visible due to the 4 colours used. I just went crazy coz it was the first time I’d bought & used variegated thread ! I tatted each triangle with 1 shuttle & ball.
Instead of 4 colours, though, one can only use 2 colours alternately, a single colour, variegated colours, …. 

Small Triangular Motif #2
Fig 3. Pinwheel Square

These triangles can be smaller, too, as can be seen in this ‘pinwheel’ version (drawing only). I hope to make this someday – love the effect ! 
Of course, one will have to take recourse to SLTs !!!

These 4 &/or 8 triangulated square versions remind one of quilting blocks, don't they ?! Well, wouldn’t these tatted ‘blocks’ create lovely large-sized projects !!!

Triangular Corner Motifs # 3 & #4
Fig 4.

Fig 4–A simple triangle done in one pass, using 2 colours. Can be started at any point.

Fig 4–B Also a simple one-pass triangle, but needs to be started at the ring indicated by arrow (since there is no chain to connect the 2 rings in the end).

Triangular Corner Motif #5 & Triangular Pendant 
Fig 5. Corner Motif & Pendant
Fig 5–A . Triangular Motif :Requires 2 shuttles in different colours. If this scheme is followed, then the orange rings with a white line in center are SSSRs.

Fig 5–B . Triangular Pendant. I’ve tried to show a triangle within a triangle here. It can all be done in one pass, with 2 shuttles. However, rings with black lines within, are SRs. 2 short chains have been added on either side, in order to connect to adjoining elements (rings). Beads can be added wherever desired, with the help of long picots, etc.

So, What  is  this Magic Square  ?! 
Very simply, it is a one pass motif made up solely of rings &chains, that can keep repeating itself to any desired length, weaving in & out in the form of triangles (a tessellation of triangles! It is all geometry & symmetry) to create larger square. It is very versatile, as already glimpsed through these 2 posts. It’s character can change with slight changes in the factors involved. For instance :

  • Use 2 colours – one for chains & one for rings to get a totally different look ( Halibut04 & laceladie , in InTatters*, have used this very effectively !)
  • Change the stitchcount just a tad. eg. Jenn is using Halibut’s stitchcount, which gives a slightly angular look because the chains are straighter.
  • laceladie's frivolite 14 version from “Design Burda Frivolite”, is slightly denser due to fewer chains & larger rings.  
  • Liv Strind  has created a very stylized kind of motif that is essentially the magic square with SRs. She has also adapted parts of the magic square very elegantly & stylishly to make many different projects including runner, mat, clutch purse, coaster, etc. You can also see her pins here & have fun identifying the derivatives !!!
  • Check out these two exquisitely beautiful versions called the ‘Tatting Square Doily’. She has added an equally exquisite edging in the 2nd one ! 
  • Beautiful Shawls have been made using this pattern (or a slight variation in terms of stitch count). eg. Wedding Shawl by Jean Younkin et al using extended repeats and one made by SnapDragonLace
  • Carollyn has a fantastic 3-colour version with small rings & lovely long arching chains. Would make a nice bookmark too !   
  • Kristen has needle-tatted “Star No.2” from “Tatting: Patterns & Designs” by Blomqvist & Persson. This is again the small square motif deconstructed in this earlier post.
  • Scroll down to 3rd last pic in this post. Piece #9 is pic uses small square motif to create a gorgeous pastiche colourwise !
  • Jane uses size 40 in 2 colours, & a slight variant of the pattern (as discussed in these posts, slight variations give interesting results)
UPDATE (Oct 2015) : The earliest example found so far is a triangular corner in Ann Orr, 1935 .
And there is a collated list of links for patterns, projects, discussions in Craftree titles Magic Square- Serpentine Square * I have updated all dysfunctional InTatters links ... Please let me know if you still encounter any broken links.

As to where this pattern first originated, I have not been able to gather any concrete evidence, despite seeking info, except that it has been around ‘forever’ & is in the public domain. Multiple sources have been cited by tatters, all of which I have included in appropriate places in the posts, along with the respective tatter’s name.
However, many people have tried to “decipher” the movement of the pattern through diagrams, etc. There are a few threads in InTatters* where quite some discussion has taken place. Here is all that I’ve been able to find so far.

In addition to all the links scattered in the 2 posts so far, here are some more links where this pattern has been ‘deciphered’, diagrammed, &/or discussed :
  • Alice Wolska shares her diagram here 
  • Jon Yusoff has shared her observations too (links already provided above)
  • Rachel has used the pattern from Helen Chesno’s “Tatting Made Simple”. She shared this in a discussion, along with a notated square in this thread 
  • Yet another forum thread that discusses this 
  • A diagrammed & written explanation to make it easy to tat by seesawyer here  (updated Jan 2016)

My next post, here, deals with many possible edging &/or insertion patterns, along with my thoughts on tatting the Magic Square. And in the last post in this series, I will share a Bookmark pattern derived from this Magic Square.
Hope you remain interested :-))

Related Posts Square Motifs from the Magic square
Edgings from Magic square & My tips/thoughts
Bookmark pattern from Magic Square

Update : Robin Perfetti has spawned a whole new series of brand new Magic Squares. Check out her Tutorials and Patterns pages for all links.
Her initiative inspired Jane McLellan and Ninetta Caruso to create their own magic squares.


  1. Wow you have done your home work on this and love the Asian designs the best but can't log on to in tatters at the moment they are working on there network. I did this a while ago and loved the out come when I was playing with it but I ran out of the colors and placed it in my art/tatting book it is a post of November 20th 2013 check it out if you can find it it is call "something else to do with motifs' let me know I think this is the same pattern?

    1. Carollyn, Love your 3-colour version !
      Yes, it is the magic square but with smaller rings & longer chains. And with 3 colours, it quite alters the character .
      Thank you so much for sharing this. I have added it to the list above. :-))

    2. You are much more organized than me, I sorry I had to make you look through everything to find that, I tried that pattern from an old articular cut out of some news print magazine.Wish I knew I purchase a bunch of clippings :)

    3. It was pretty easy to find - you had given me a lot of clues :-D

  2. Wow that's why I should come many times here! Thank you very much!

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Ninetta, for your kind words :-)
      Here's Another great utilisation of the small square motif (previous post) that I Just came across : . Please check this out .... will add to the list now.

  3. You have a great gift in finding other designs in patterns!!! :)

  4. .... but not enough to create truly original work/patterns, Sue ! Still plodding along the yellow brick road to Tat land :-)
    But I do enjoy this puzzle-type approach , trying to see pics within pics .... tessellation in reverse.

  5. Hi Muskaan,

    I finally had time to take a trip through your amazing blog, as I have a bad cold and cannot sleep!

    Wow! You are such a wonderful, creative tatter and have an incredible aptitude for writing and clarification! I am in awe!
    Fox : )

    1. Oh, Fox, you embarrass me {blushing}

      I hope you are feeling better now? Do hope you get well soon & complete your spectacular monster doily. I am following it’s progress with bated breath …

      Thank you for your very knid words & best wishes on a very speedy recovery – as speedy as your tatting speed :-D
      (( Hugs ))