Sunday 25 January 2015

Tatting Away X

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Aislyn’s Bookmark
Designer : Carrie Neahring

Carrie, on Craftree, created this bookmark pattern as an incentive & reward for her little daughter, Aislyn, if she would finish her reading her book. It worked ! Not only did the 5 year old complete the book, but was thrilled to have her Mom create something special for her.
I offered to test tat the pattern, which Carrie will soon share on Craftree . I will update with links then. It is her very first attempt at designing & writing out a pattern. 

My conceptualization of this, which influenced the choice of colours, was a garland of daisies in the centre, surrounded by green leaves & vines, all abloom on the brown twigs/stems. Not very original, but I tend to stay close to/within the box ;-P

Threads Used :
Anchor Mercer Crochet size 20.
Yellow : 4054-0289 
Variegated Green : 4054-1213
Variegated Brown/Tan : 4054-1218 

On completion : approx. 6½” x 1½” (without tassel)
Each daisy is 1” across.

It is an easy, beginner’s pattern, done in 3 rows, with simple rings & chains for the most part, & tie & cut at each stage. However, it can easily be adapted into an advanced pattern by use of 2-shuttles & techniques to climb out of elements/motifs.

I played with threads & colours in the last row .… The metallic green adds bling but hides the clover in the previous row. The dark brown was my 1st choice, & it shows the clover off well; but it seemed a bit too overbearing & a tad out of place. Snipped them both off & settled on the variegated brown.
Added a little tassel using up some of the leftover threads (variegated green & brown).

My Thoughts :
  • I liked the easy flow of this pattern.
  • It lends itself nicely to both single shuttle & ball, as well as 2-shuttle tatting.
  • Good practice for beginners.
  • One can play around with colours & placement to create abstract or decorative pieces.
  • Since I was testing the written pattern, I did not stray into advanced techniques as far as possible. However, if I were to make this again, I would join the daisies using Split Chain to climb from one daisy to next. I Really need the practice !
  • I would Definitely use 2 shuttles for the 2nd row, since it has thrown rings on chain. It is so much neater. However, SLTs (shoe lace trick) can be used if working with only 1 shuttle.
  • I love the little chain doubling up as a small ring on the last row ! Clever application :-)
Update : Here is Carrie Neahring’s pdf download link for her Aislyn’s Bookmark. Do take a look at her bookmark – adorable colours & gorgeous tassel ! Hope you enjoy making it :-) She has uploaded it on Craftree here, & kindly accepted to share it through my blog as well, for anybody interested.  

Motif #3/II for 25 Motif Challenge


Before I sign out, the progress on Days 7 & 8 of ....

Surely it's a Bunny !
Bunny leap snipped short by a (?) Scissors?!
Since Day 2, I had been predicting that this year's piece is a Crocodile. But by Day 6, I had started my hop across to the rabbit colony, & was officially declaring it with a rhyme before Day 8, when all my guesses were cut to pieces !!! Day 8 looked Nothing like a rabbit :-(  Instead, the only image that leaped out was of a scissors-in-the-making. A good tool to cut off mistakes – be it in tatting or in guessing .

I bit the bait
At the TIAS gate
Tooting a toothless
Crocodile thing !

Come Day Eight
With a clean slate
I have hopped over
To the Bunny ring !

Ends the long wait
For her rabbit mate
Maureen's Easter Bunny
Is here with a spring !!!

My apologies to Fox (Day 6 rhyme) & Maureen , for taking the liberty ....


Happy tatting :-)

Wednesday 21 January 2015


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I can safely call this post WIPs … Works in Progress, TIAS included !

New Learning, New Insights

This is my 2nd year of Jane's Tat It And See . I learned a lot in the 2014 series & shared my musings my learning in 2 posts (click on links for respective pages)
Besides the jump-start to learning modern or more advanced techniques in tatting, it was so much FUN that not joining again was Not an option !

I used Anchor Mercer Cotton size 20, Variegated Pink : 4054-1208 

The Firsts
Tatting with/on a button
Like beads, it was on my to-learn list, but as you know, it is always such a long list with shifting attention & priorities. So, this year's TIAS gave me the boost to cross at least one off my list.
Turned out to be pretty easy ! Why did I take so long ?!
I did snag my thread a bit the 1st time, trying to pull it up through the button hole with a fine crochet hook. Why ?!! I had a shuttle with a hook that could pass through that hole ... did I have a hole in my head ?!
Smooth sailing thereafter :-D
Now to tackle beads ..... like I said, the list never ends ;-P

Lock Chain
Seen so many wonderful bookmark tails & Jane's snowflakes, etc. using this technique. I knew how it was made, too. Never got around to actually doing it. So another first. Easy. Just required a little more focus to prevent premature locking down, & keep the chain neat.
TIP : I think the beauty of a lock chain is revealed more when there are contrasting colours in the shuttles.

My guess since Day 2 has remained Crocodile, although I can see where the other guesses are coming from, too. 
Tat It And See

commanded Jane, so
Sat And I Tatted,
Saw As I Tatted,
it's a crocodile,  no ?!!

With my Day 6 installment, a few lines based on the main guesses/ categories …. Lots of guesses coming in, but each has some hitch or the other. I’ve tried to include these main guesses, along with their glitches in this verse (but some of them raced right out of my mind when I penned this : Starfish, Wheel, Windmill) :

Squids are slippery
Birds follow suit .
Dragonflies flutter away
Plants hafta take root !

Dolphins are playful
Bunnies are cute .
Crocodiles are toothy
Scissors' a brute !

But the Foxiest conjecture
A Cowboy without Boots !
Oh, Whatever we guess,
Jane cares not two hoots ;-(
                                                                                        muskaan, Jan 2015

And the fun continues !!! Do join in if you haven’t yet :-)


Waves In the Sea
(On the Crochet Front)
A couple of pics showing the growing sea of flowers in the MemoryAfghan
Last 10 motifs left to crochet ! Didn’t get around to trying out the border/edging. Waiting to finish motifs & then focus on that.

The afghan looks much much better in reality than in the snaps, brightening up the room & livening up the cold wintry greys. DH loves this one the best so far ;-)


Daisies in Winter
(Back to Tatting)
I took a day off from crocheting, to test tat Aislyn’s Bookmark, a pattern by Carrie Neahring
It is a fairly easy, beginner’s pattern. Will write about it soon.


Related Posts : Learning is Fun with TIAS

Thursday 15 January 2015

Tatting Away IX

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"When You Wish Upon a Star", 
you get a snowflake too !
Pattern by : Jenny L Seymour & Georgia Seitz (click for direct link)

It just so happened that this pattern was added to Craftree here, but without any image. When I tried to locate a version on Google & pinterest, I was unsuccessful. So I plunged right in to ‘solve the mystery’ of what & how it looks.

It is composed of 2 parts – the center that was designed by Georgia & the outer star spokes designed by Jenny.

I used a very old ball of Anchor Mercer Crochet in size 40. It has yellowed in some areas, so the star will need washing …

Round 1 measures 5cm from point to point. It contains a split ring & mock picot to climb out, & the outer chains have thrown rings. Hence 2 shuttles are required, wound CTM.
Update : This centre is beginning for Georgia Seitz's Round Robin for Beginners, here . The pattern is given, along with clear, detailed instructions and diagrams , for working it with traditional method, or with a couple of advanced techniques such as a split ring, .... 

This center can easily work as a Snowflake !

Round 2 measures 10cm/4” from point to point. It can be done with single shuttle & ball, too.
There is slight ruffling on this round, but nothing that a little stretching, ironing, or blocking will not take care of. For the lead picture I only stretched it a bit with my fingers - nothing else.

The instructions are pretty clear & after a rough initial sketch of Round 1, to get a sense of what lay in store, it was easy going.

I applied FS/BS tatting for this piece. I did not need to post the shuttle at any time ! Thoroughly enjoyed the process, especially since it started out as a ‘blind date’ ;-P
So, make a wish upon the new rising star of 2015 :-)

Meanwhile, I am punctuating my crochet with Jane’s TIAS 2015, about which I will blog after a few more ‘Days’ have been revealed .

Motif #2/II of 25 Motif Challenge

Saturday 10 January 2015

Crochet II

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Memory Afghan (part 2)
Pattern : Floral Fiesta Afghan designed by Maggie Weldon (click on link for pattern)  

Thought it was time to update my Memory Afghan with a few pictures & musings. It is still in progress; about 60% complete when these pics were taken (now it is 75-80% done). Have visualized the border; still need to put it to hook to see if it will work. It can wait .....

Some Thoughts / Update :
Small motifs crocheted & joined in this pattern uses up even small scraps of wool.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I have used all kinds of yarn, of varied thickness.  While the size of each motif remains more or less the same, the density may vary, as well as the amount of yarn used. Thicker yarn is used up more & has a denser, fuller appearance.

Pony crochet hook #13 (2.25 mm) used for joining at corners ...

At 190 motifs, the afghan weighed 500 gms and was one diagonal short of the halfway mark. 250 motifs made so far. 12 motifs across (42') & 18 or 19 motifs long to get around 72'. The 35+ colours have kept me motivated, & I am still trying out new combinations.  (Since writing & photographing this, I am now less than 90 motifs short of completing the afghan! Then on to the border)

After the initial random joining of motifs, I systematized & settled to joining from left to right, diagonally, resulting in a growing triangle (till width of 12 motifs is complete). And these are some possible alternate uses of this pattern ….

Some Alternate Applications :

Triangular Wrap
If one works in a triangle, starting from one corner & joining diagonally as one goes, one can create a beautiful Wrap !!! In the pic, the ‘last’ row is still incomplete, but it gives an idea, doesn’t it ?!

Throw Cover or Handbag, with flap
This same triangle can be folded from the corners in the manner indicated by the arrows & numbers; sew on the bottom edge. Voila! We now have a square throw/cushion cover with a flap ! To make the flap stay in place, simply sew on a beautiful button & loop.
If you sew on some strings on either side, you have yourself a handbag or shoulder bag or a jhola bag!!!


 Incidental Advantages
Back to Future Memories :

Colour Palette
An incidental advantage of using so many colours : it acts like a colour palette !!! Trying out various combinations, some in 'unconventional' and unorthodox combos gives rise to some really unexpectedly lovely 'mergers'. Such a project can act as a guide to future colour selections and combinations !

In this pattern, not only does one get to use up small scraps of wool, but Just in case some part gets frayed in the future, one can Easily Replace it with another motif !
And if one is using colours in no regular arrangement, then one can replace the motif with whatever colour & yarn is at hand !

Create Memories
One can Deliberately cut off a motif & substitute with scrap yarn from new projects !

Back to School Memories :
Another incidence of why this has turned out to be truly a Memory Afghan. 
It sent me back in time, to school lessons in Maths & Science !

Pythagoras theorem 
Size of each motif, as mentioned in the pattern : 2½” sides & 5¼” diagonal
I got the sides correct & carried on. Eventually when I measured the diagonal, it turned out to be only 3¼” !!!
How it That possible ?! If Both sides are equal, making it a Square, & I got the tension right, why was the diagonal not conforming ?
Pythagoras Theorem to the rescue. Applied it, and turned out the dimensions of my motif were right …. Phew !

Static electricity 
There are so many ends to cut in each motif. (I cut them as soon as one motif is complete). I keep collecting these yarn bits in a little glass jam jar (that has a lid), & throw them out when it fills up.
I also needed a needle frequently, to weave in the ends after each round. To keep the thread lengths short, I used the shortest needle I had. This needle fit in easily in the jar ; easy to pick & put back, whether there were yarn bits in the jar or not. Basically, the jar acted both as a temporary litter-container & a pin cushion ;-))
And look what happened : Static Electricity, resulting in magnetism !!!
Took me way back to my 5th or 6th grade ;-P

TIP : So, how about using yarn bits to stuff in a pin cushion ?! Yes, next time I make a pin cushion. Good recycling, too.

One minor drawback :
Cannot crochet on the go, especially if one is using many colours.
This can be minimized by –
* using very few colours,
* letting the thread ends of each round hang, and
* hiding all the thread ends together at a later stage.  (Not something I relish - too many loose dangling threads, plus such a chore to tackle it all together.)

Related Posts : Memory Afghan 

Tuesday 6 January 2015


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Continuous Thread Method of Loading Shuttles

Think you have it all figured out . Then comes the knock . Hey that particular figuring out doesn't work every time or in every situation or without changes ! So back to tweaking - probably the favourite byword of us tatters …. Should we be called The Tweaking Tatters ;-P

I shared a tip here, on how to wind the 2nd shuttle CTM (continuous thread method) using any calibrated holder/winder. The 1st shuttle was fully loaded & only 2nd shuttle needed to be loaded, for which we used the holder/winder of known circumference.
But what if Both shuttles require a measured amount of thread, neither of which is fully loaded ?
Case in point : Jane's TIAS 2015  
Many of us are getting ready for the TIAS, and some might be facing a similar problem. If so, the following might be of some help to you ..... Read on :-)

Winding shuttles CTM when

neither shuttle needs to be full, 
when precise lengths need to be loaded on each shuttle

Converted yards to inches, and then calculated the number of winds required on my 'winder' (my spectacle case, where 1 wind equals 6.6 in) for each shuttle (Sh).
I needed 25 winds for Sh1 & 17 winds for Sh 2.

On the winder, I started winding thread from the ball for Sh2 first (indicated with solid white circle & Arrow #1). 17 winds.
When done, Without changing anything, I continued winding for Sh1, But at a slight distance away (Arrow #2). 25 winds. (Arrow #3).
Then snip off thread from ball (shown by solid red oval).
Now start winding Sh1 from this cut end till all (25) wounds are loaded onto the bobbin. (Arrow #4).

The remaining 17 wounds are for Sh2. Take the starting thread end (the solid white circle end in pic) & start winding Sh2, till all remaining thread is loaded.

You will notice, when you start winding Sh2, that the thread end is Beneath the 17 rounds, unlike for Sh1. Hence, when winding, there is a tendency to play footsie / entangle with Sh1 thread.  To avoid this, turn the winder as seen in pic, so that Sh1 is 'out of the way' And winding can continue in original clockwise direction. I found it even easier when I moved Sh1 also to the other side (left hand side in pic).

Both shuttles now have the required lengths of thread, wound CTM !
The best part, to me, is that I did not have to measure the lengths Beforehand ! All I needed was to count the number of winds and then load ....

And I am ready for Jan 7th 2015 . Bring it on :-) 

Disclaimer : I may have a couple more winds than strictly necessary - better safe than sorry ;-)

How have You loaded your shuttles CTM for the TIAS  :-)
How did You do it ?

Related Post : Winding Thread, CTM

Saturday 3 January 2015

OMG ! It’s 2015

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Oh  Mighty Google gods …. They were too busy to respond to my simple pre-programmed ‘Publish’ setting for the 1st of this new year !
So, I start my 2015 blogging with a delay, in sync with the delayed snowflake tatting of 2014 ;-P

To all my followers & visitors – accidental or intentional – Thank you !
And here’s wishing you a very fulfilling 2015.

To all in Tatland, 
may it be an extremely cre(T)ative & Tat-isfying year ahead.

My pathetic attempt to dress up (part of) my tree so that I could display my snowflakes and a few forgotten motifs that popped out of the box (I don’t even remember why I tatted them in the first place, & why they weren’t used subsequently)! I hope to start early this year & decorate the tree in a more aesthetic & organized manner.

For the pieces that do have a pattern &/or source, starting from top (click on respective names for free pattern) :
Neemiss Snowflake prototype trial 

Few of my 2015 objectives :

  • Complete the crochet Memory Afghan (it is almost 70% complete, without the border)
  • Participate in Jane’s TIAS
  • Complete my Pink Chrysanthemum version of  Renulek’s 2014 Spring Napkin (the Right threads are Finally on their way)
  • Tat at least a couple of Snowflakes every month.
  • Try to design more & better patterns.
  • Learn & practice Inkscape & convert pics to diagrams.
  • Following from diagramming, convert my patterns to pdf.
  • Learn more tatting techniques such as clunies/tallies, Ankars, using beads, etc. etc.

In short ....
Learn Learn Learn Learn Learn
Practice Practice Practice
Apply Apply Apply
Improve Improve
Complete !