Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Deconstructing Patterns

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The Magic in A Magic Square !
Statutory Warning : This is a seriously addictive exercise! 
Venture into the magic maze at your own peril.

In an earlier post , I had used a small motif to build up larger patterns. This time I take the reverse path ; using a larger pattern to deconstruct & tease out some patterns from within the ‘Magic Square’ pattern, and to have fun trying to see patterns within patterns !!!
Fig 1. The Magic Square
The magic square really is magical ! This one-pass square holds within it many patterns that can be derived for various uses. From one square, we can actually get motifs, edgings, insertions, different shapes, & so on. You may have already come across many of the patterns I’ve coloured over & can now recognize as part of this larger block.

This was conceptualized back in Sept 2013 when I made my 1st square with 4 colours (in the next post). I used this free pattern (version 1). Since then, I joined InTatters & came across the term Magic Square. Eventually, when I began writing out this post, I came across even more examples of the pattern. I have tried to list them all out wherever relevant (click on each name for links). I have tatted & scanned a neutral monochrome square specifically for his post, so that I could paint over it to bring out the patterns within. 

Please Note :
  • When drawing over, I have not focused on or shown picots. The background provides the context for picots & joins.
  • Also, wherever any element has been changed in the drawing, in any way, I have tried to make a mention of it.
  • ‘Embellishments’ such as Josephine Rings, beads, etc. have been used very sparingly, in an attempt to focus on deconstruction rather than reconstruction ;-)
  • Maybe in future, when I become proficient in Inkscape (with valuable help from Robin ), I can revisit these diagrams for better visual appeal. Meanwhile, I hope you overlook (& forgive) the untidiness & enjoy the idea.

 Abbreviations used :
SR : Split Ring ;   SSSR : Single Shuttle Split Ring ;   SLT : Shoelace trick

abracadabra … it’s aaaaaa   MOTIF !!!

Square Motifs
Fig 2. Square Motifs from Magic Square
One of the basic elements is the square. Different sizes of squares can be formed (Fig.2-A & 2-B)
Check out the actual tatted version of 2-B in black : Tatted Motif #2
In fact, Sonja , using a pattern “Frivolite 14” from “Design Burda Frivolite”, has demonstrated a real-time comparison between square elements when done singly, & when repeated multiple times … going from tiny to large, in 4 sizes!
If we consider 2-A as tiny, then 2-B is small, the complete square in fig1 is medium, & when four such fig1 squares are joined, you get a large sized square doily !
TIP : These square motifs can be joined to create longer laces, or they can be joined adjacent to each other to create coasters, mats, runners, table-cloths, & so on.
Motif 2-C is also a one pass pattern made with simple rings & chains.
Motif 2-D requires SRs or SSSRs (the ones indicated by black slashes within). If desired, the two outermost rings in each arm can be left out.

Fig 3. Square Motif from Magic Square

Fig3 shows another repeatable square motif. This one is simply the very heart/centre of the main square.
I used it as the center of a coaster, with 2 rows of outer edging in black (not shown here).

Irregular Square/Round Medallions
Fig 4. Motifs from Magic Square

Fig 4 has drawings of 2 different motifs/medallions, which also require SRs or SSSRs.

4-A is a slightly irregular square & the SRs can be seen along the periphery. Solid black dots represent possible beads.

4-B is almost a circle. The solid red dots represent possible beads. Again, the peripheral rings are SRs.

Hearts & Hexagon

Fig 5. Hearts & Hexagon from Magic Square

Hearts emerge in Fig 5 !
The pink heart (5-A) is simple, but with addition of 2 small chains at the base, to complete the outline.

The red heart (5-B) is a bit abstract. Again, a SR or SSSR is needed for the bottom ring.

And then there’s a Hexagon !
Fig 5-C. It can be done in one pass with the help of a SR or SSSR, or it can be done in 2 parts (as indicated by the black axis) joining as you go.

Octagonal Motifs

Fig 6. Octagon from Magic Square

Fig 6 has multiple possibilities. 
Instead of making rings in one color & chains in another, 2 colours can be used as shown. The inner orange colour becomes a square with curvature, while the outer blue forms an edging or border in octagonal shape !!!
Beware, though of colour blips & the Huge reliance on SLTs if one is using 2 shuttles & wants to make it all in one pass ;-))

Cross Pattern !
Fig 7. Cross from Magic Square

To end this post, in Fig 7, is a possible cross pattern where some liberty has been taken by introducing split rings along the edges of each arm, in order to stabilize the otherwise long chains. The lower arm can be lengthened for a proper cross.

This was not meant to be a long post, just some basic ideas. But I had such great fun teasing out patterns, & then drawing over them, figuring out whether they can be done in one-pass, etc. - it was like doing puzzles - that now the content & pictures will have to be spread across many posts.
In the next post, I will talk about triangles as well my own feelings & experience with this square. After that, it will be edgings & another cross pattern ! Hope you travel with me :-)


  1. This is a very creative use of the magic square. And a huge, huge don't have to calculate any stitch counts. You can churn out all of those patterns very quickly.

  2. Amazing post. Your brain and eyes see so much more than mine. In the original square I did not see all those possibilities, but I do now. Can't wait for the triangles!

  3. Very clever!! You have found 10 different motifs!

  4. I saw 2 maybe 3 possibilities. You saw so many more designs! The octagon was the icing on the cake. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Awesome post :). Very clever :). Thanks for sharing muskaan :).

  6. It truly is fascinating the combinations found when combining the same motif!

  7. Fabulous!!! :)
    I have seen designs in other patterns and wondered if they would work too. :)

  8. Wonderful post! That's all clever!

  9. A Big Thanks to all you wonderful people :-) I appreciate your inspiring comments very much !

    Jane, I’ve always loved puzzles – word & picture ;-))

    Robin, you are absolutely right – this is what I call my “cheater’s” or lazy person’s approach to designing ;-)

    mb, if you get down to it, it becomes very addictive ! What started out as a single post, is turning into a mini-series ;-P

    Tallytatty, I’m still not sure I have All the possible motifs. You may find many more, especially if you include other techniques such as floating rings, SCMRs, & so on.

    StringyDogs, that octagon is my favorite of the lot, too. Might try it out sometime.

    Jenn, there’s going to be a link to your working in my next post ;-)

    Carollyn, the possibilities are almost mind-boggling.

    Sue, I’ve tried to include only those that can work easily enough, in one pass.

    Ninetta, I will be including a link to one of your posts, too :-)

    Thank you all for your kind words. Hope to put up the next post as soon as the electronic gods settle down .

  10. Amazing number of patterns from a single Magic Square! You allow your mind expand to endless possibilities. You teach us to look within. It's exciting!

    1. Thanks, Anita 💗💖💗 That pink heart sketch in the 5th image was used later in Bonds of Love rakhi/bracelet 😉