Friday, 27 March 2015

Experimenting with Colours

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Do colours go round & round when tatting a doily ?
Do they Have to?
How about adding colour-stylishness to traditional rounds ?

Renulek’s  Wiosna  Doily 2015
Rounds 6 & 7 (pattern here)

I used a lot of collective wisdom in the earlier rounds of the Wiosna doily here. But wanted to do something more as the rounds progressed. And then I remembered Ninetta’s experiment with colour on her Anne Orr Doily here , & here ! Quelle inspiration.

Now, I liked the twirling effect of round 6 & did not want to use 2 colours within (ie. for chains & rings) since that would break up the ‘continuity’. But how about using 2 colours in segments ?! Why not play around with colour placement ?!
I also find Celtic interweaving very inspiring. Some superb effects have been created using normal shuttles, merely by placing colours appropriately. A recent excellent example is Sue’s working of Jane Eborall’s Roundabout Motif here !
So there I had it ; Collecting Inspiration !!! 
Round 6 would be broken into 2-colour repetitive segments & Round 7 would be the same 2 colours, but in alternating placement to previous round, creating a kind of undulating wave.

Sharing some of the techniques I used/worked out to put the visualization to practice.

  • “SLT Picot” (Round 6) 

Switching shuttles midways through a chain, And a picot required there ! So, Shoe Lace Trick to the rescue, but with a tiny space that became the picot.
The one shown in photo looks pretty good. But not all were good. This was very tricky to do since the natural tendency of this technique was to close the gap.
Why did I not use a Lock Stitch instead ? Because the colour blip of one unflipped stitch would show.

·        Large Rings (Round 7)
A little way into round 7, I came across Patty Dowden’s excellent tip on how to work large rings. Immediately tried it out with the 24ds ring & it worked Beautifully & smoothly !

In Patty’s own words & diagrams, which she has kindly permitted me to share here ( Thanks, Patty :-) ) :

Working with Large Rings
© Patty Dowden 2013

(This pattern) calls for large rings that require more than the normal amount of thread to be wrapped around the left hand that holds the working thread.
To avoid moving the working thread back and forth and produce a better double ring, or causing the thread to fray:
1. Enlarge the thread wrapped around your hand for each ring by doubling (or more) the amount of thread you normally use.
Wrap the excess around your pinkie, as for a chain, except hold the thread above your pinkie and wrap toward yourself instead of away from yourself. This allows the extra thread to be easily released one wrap at a time from the outside in.
2. Also, after making the picot or join at the halfway mark of a ring, leave a loop of core thread to allow for more easily closing the large ring in two steps. Close the first half by tensioning the core loop and then finish closing the ring by tensioning the shuttle thread.


It has many advantages – one does not have to keep pulling thread from shuttle at intervals ; it keeps the large ring from distorting ; it keeps the thread from twisting ; keeps the stitches neat & even ; closes the ring much smoother ! What’s not to like ;-P
But since habits are not easy to change, I felt more comfortable starting a ring normally, make 2 ds, Then pull the extra length of thread to wrap around my pinkie. Also, I totally forgot about the 2nd step, but pulling the thread all the way through, worked fine for this size ring.

  • Switching colours (Round 7) :

Lock Join for 1st ring of new segment
Each segment in this round is made of 6 repeats in one colour, before changing to next colour. At this point of change, a simple LJ using the core thread shuttle works because it is the same colour that will be continued for next 6 repeats.

Slope & Roll join for subsequent rings within segment …
However, while working these repeats within a segment, each shuttle has a different colour. Hence, when starting the 2nd to 6th repeats in a segment, I used the Slope & Roll Join as described/illustrated here.

…. accompanied by Shoe Lace Trick
Also, make an SLT Before & After the S & R join :
Before, in order to switch from chain to ring ; and
After, in order to move from ring to chain.
The S & R join does create a slight mismatch of surface. But it is a necessary evil in order to avoid the colour blip. The SLT helps flatten it to some degree. Tiny picot joins work better as noted next.

·        Tiny  Picot  Join  between  Chains  (Round 7) :

As mentioned above, there is a slight distortion/level-mismatch caused by the S&R join, mitigated only partially by the SLT. A tiny picot join between chains in round 7 , however, might have brought the chains more at the same level. This occurred to me halfway through the round, & didn’t want to ‘change’ at that stage. After all the next round & some ironing would bring it all together. Yet, caved in towards the last couple of segments & you can see the difference in the pic.

·        Wait  Before  Cutting  Out  Errors

When in doubt, wait ! Keep scissors at bay.
After 2 segments of round 7, I was dissatisfied with the ‘weaving’ effect because of the ring colour that connected to form a ‘wave’.
But I wasn’t certain a change would work better. So, kept off the scissors – after all 1/6th round was already complete - & started tatting a little distance away. I now had the option to either continue with the 2nd version & snip off the 1st, or vice versa.
Eventually, I stayed with the 2nd version & snipped off the earlier portion.

My  Dissatisfaction :
  • The thread colours in themselves were not inspiring enough. Too similar to bring the experiment to light. Will have to use black for next round.
  • “Interweaving” effect not prominent enough, again because the colours were pretty similar.
  • Secondly, I should’ve used Karen Cabrera’s 2-coloured Ring technique for the “interwoven”/crossover ring! As indicated in the picture above. 
  • A mistake exactly halfway through Round 7 which I discovered only at the very very end ! No patience to cut & redo half the round again.

Despite my dissatisfaction, I think it is worth trying out such an experimentation with colours even if one is working on traditional-type doilies. It probably lends some interest, some character, some modern stylishness.
Now on to the next rounds ...


  1. Interesting experiments! Sure, the effect is quite subtle in those colours, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I've used the first tip for making a large ring by wrapping extra round your pinkie, but not heard of the second tip of making a loop with the core thread half way. I'll have to try that.

    1. Kind words, Jane :-) Well, there Was an unintended advantage to the use of these similar subtle shades - the error in round 7 is not easily or immediately visible ;-P

  2. It's all interesting, even those two colours are similar the effect is clear. I like it. Nowadays we have techniques to never cut till the end, it's a fun recreating "mocking" cuts!

    1. Oh, I am so glad you like it, Ninetta ! I was thinking I'd botched up the inspiration from your experimentation.
      However, I don't understand about not cutting till the end .... do you mean tat over the error segment & snip later ?

    2. SR or SC may be used to climb up to the outer round, for ex.

    3. Oh, sorry my instructions were not clear, Ninetta. I intended to another photo, showing Both the new ( accepted ), & the old (unaccepted, in pic above, which was cut away) tatting but that pic came out hazy.
      I was actually talking about cutting away some part of tatting that one is not confident about. I was not happy with this segment, but was not sure whether the new working would work any better. So, instead of snipping it away, I started the 2nd trial along the edge but at some distance away. Reason : I could compare, & decide which to keep & continue with. If you notice, I have left the shuttles attached, just in case I found that this was what I wanted to keep & continue with.
      My apologies for the confusion :-)

  3. I really like the two color effect of the wave in these two rows. Thanks for sharing Patty's tips on large rings. I think these techniques may also help with dimpled rings. I'll have to try them and see. This post is exactly why I am purposely lagging behind. I am currently on round 7, and although I'm not having too much trouble with the large ring, these techniques may help.

    1. That is a good idea, mb ! Ankars tatting came to mind when I saw Patty's tip.
      The rings were not troublesome in this doily. But the technique did help a Lot & tatting was more fluid & continuous. It also helped me get out of my comfort zone without any discomfort ;-P
      Round 8 is almost over now. I added a tiny picot join to anchor chains. And I might have to think of blocking this round (if I get over my lethargy for that), if ironing doesn't help.

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  4. Thank you for these interesting sharing. You give me new ideas!

    1. Would love to see your ideas in practical form in your elegant tatting, Lilas :-)

  5. That was fun with colors and gives the illusion of jumping up and out of a round and down to another.

    1. Yeah, why should one go round & round in a circle just because it is a round doily ;-P
      Just wish the colours were a bit more in contrast for the experiment to show. Won't be the last time, for sure ;-)))