Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A Loom for All "Clunies"

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A loom is your oyster. With the right choice, one can belt out beautiful pearls
in the form of tally leaves & petals !

After some initial tallies made on my finger loom I switched to Judith Connors’ Cluny Tatting Loom for all the rest of my practice, trials, & experiments. I sincerely thank her for sharing her loom , without which I’d have faced many limitations.

The copyright for this loom belongs to Judith Connors. Hence I will not share the dimensions, etc. of the card loom, although all looms are basically the same functionally & one can follow their instructions too (listed at end of post). In 2 posts, I will share only my own way of using it to make various kinds of tallies, which, so far, I haven’t come across. I can’t thank Judith enough for sharing her expertise ! 
I made the loom from a good sized piece of cardstock. It is sturdy yet pliable : place it on any horizontal surface & while weaving, I allow the card to curve a bit (from the top edge). This gives the shuttle plenty of space to make the passage to & fro ! A smaller loom (see Judith's tips below) becomes much more portable. But since I can no longer tat on-the-go, my ‘larger’ loom works splendidly. Moreover, I cut more slits along both edges, top & bottom, of the card This allows a great deal of flexibility in use --- the SAME loom can be used to make hanging tallies, tallies with more than 2 veins , and so on ! Truly a loom for All "clunies" :-)

TIPS from Judith Connors : 
Use a pencil to raise all the threads above the surface of the cardboard, like the bridge of a violin”. (post #5 here
“The measurements of the loom may be enlarged or reduced, even to using an old credit/loyalty card. … once you have the gist of the technique, one can reduce bulk in one’s tatting bag/box by creating the smaller loom” (here)


My main attraction towards Cluny tatting has been in their potential & beauty in freeform & dimensional tatting. They can take such wonderfully natural leafy or petal-like shapes ! And of course, as I later realized, many polygonal shapes as well.

A hanging cluny is like a tatted ring in the sense that after the tally is made, the threads all emerge back at the same point from they started viz., at the base. Besides their appearance, they are functional too, & can bridge a gap (as in my 2-in-1 Wiosna) .

In the tuts that I consulted, either a floss threader was used (which I could not acquire, despite getting my DH on the hunt), or the centre loop/Warp made with thread or dental floss, was left ‘unsecured’, making it a bit floppy to handle & pack down.

Additionally, in case one is using auxiliary thread to weave, too many threads hang down in a finger loom . 
So here’s my easy solution :

Easy Hanging Cluny Leaf on a Card Loom
Following is a pictorial of how I applied the card loom for HCL . I used a size 20 AMC thread, doubled up to form a loop & knotted at the tail end. One can insert the loop into the slits & then place the knot so that it gets anchored behind as in Tip#2 in previous post. ( Many more tips are covered in the same post).


Since the weaving thread needs to be pulled out through the base when the tally is complete, one can use another length of auxiliary thread. Or, one can unwind the shuttle & allow the entire length to pull through. It is obviously advisable to use shorter lengths of weaving thread for hanging clunies.
All closing is done by gentle pulling .
The tiny space of weaving thread loop is left so as to avoid ‘locking in’ as well as to keep leaf shape from getting distorted while closing. This is also the loop that can form a picot (see below) .
This was my very first HCL. Hence, while closing it, I did not take pics of individual steps. I have tried to indicate with help of colours, numbers & arrows. But for a clearer understanding, there are Excellent tutorials by Karen Cabrera & Ruth Perry from which I learned . 

I often tend to leave the loops on the loom till it becomes absolutely essential to remove & close. The loop(s) that are not being closed can stay on the loom, instead of coming in one’s way. Also, then I don’t need to pull & check which thread needs to be pulled next, because the loops are already in their sequence on the loom. This is Really handy when making tallies with more than 3 Warps.
It is easier to weave HCLs with a darning or tatting needle, since short length of auxiliary thread is required !

Potential of Hanging Cluny Tatting :
Great stash buster – use up short lengths of scrap thread as auxiliary thread to weave leaves.
Colour Spectrum – the same motif/piece can have tallies in different colours !
Picots & Beads – One can add a picot at the tip of the hanging cluny leaf if one needs to join to it later. Beads at the tip or within the leaf ….
In order to demonstrate how I made a picot, I started a tally. But then decided to carry on to make a complete piece. Although the colours are not right, it is a Cluny tatting variation on my Rustic Leaf pattern here. But I did jot down the stitch count, etc. & will share it soon. Again, this is only a practice piece, but I won’t have time in near future to do it properly …

All Hanging Cluny leaves as veins, joined at base by Josephine Chains 
& at tips by padded ds tatting for 3D effect

UPDATE : Ninetta Caruso has shared another way here, of making picots along the edge of the Cluny leaf ... by making a reverse stitch (unflipped ds) with picot space between the 2 hitches, on the loom thread !

Why do I pin, if I don’t go back to refer to them ?! A few months back, I had pinned an image of a tally being made. Back then I had no concept of the various forms/techniques involved; it just seemed like a great stepwise pictorial for the future reference. Now, as I scrolled through my Pinterest Board , & went back to the site, it turned out to be a ‘3rd kind’ of tally viz., the Split Cluny !

Split Cluny method was developed by Melanie Blowers, a student of Mimi Dillman. Mimi has a neat pictorial with instructions on how to make them , and also various tips & functions related to them .  

It just so happened that I Needed to use this technique to correct/rectify an error almost immediately ! I was playing with a Cluny tatting bracelet (tentatively called “Geometatic” Bracelet/Rakhi). All tallies were regular tallies. But while closing one of them, the middle loop refused to budge. It wasn’t yet ‘knotted up’ but I was scared the thread would break if I pulled too hard ; so I emptied the loom shuttle and pulled this last thread ‘tail’ through the other end. Finally, with gentle persuasion & perseverance, the open loop yawned to a close, but too late : I now had the loom thread & weaving thread at Opposite ends of the tally !
After some thought, I added an auxiliary thread with weaver’s knot, made the loom with this auxiliary thread, & started the tally weaving with the ‘original loom thread’. One of the tails was hidden in the back while weaving the tally. Never hurts to learn a new technique ;-P


And one can hide the tail within a tally, as I mentioned in Tip #12 in previous post. Since there wasn't a pic then, I've added one here :
Keep the tail parallel to the left or central Warp while weaving, treating both tail & Warp thread as one. 


Now for la pièce de résistance .....  
A  Lego  Loom for Cluny Tatting !!! 

My DH hasn’t been able to suppress a wry/amused smile, watching me weaving on the card loom (I keep him abreast of a few terms ;-P); even teasing me at times. Yet, watching my ‘focus’ & movements, his engineering brain kicked in & he asserted that other materials could be used. Here’s what he immediately came up with : an electrical connector ! 

Great idea but it needed to be steadied because the Warps need to be taut. So this would have to be glued down or nailed down to some board.
But don’t you see something else here ? Yesssssss ! A Lego block !

  • Make a loom with blocks stacked up higher on one end of the board & lower at the bottom end (this will provide the height/lift for easy passage of weaver shuttle), 
  • wrap the loops for the Warp around the little knobs on both ends of the loom blocks, 
  • place blocks over these to 'lock in' the Warps, 
  • and weave away. 

It is so versatile, can be assembled/dissembled at will. Distance between Warps And the number of Warps can be easily changed …. Game anyone ?!


My final post will cover Shapes & multiple veins , and the factors that can affect tally shapes.

Tally Ho  &  Happy Tallying :-D


More Links to Cluny Tatting
Various Types of Looms & tuts 
Hanging Cluny Leaf

Split Cluny


Related Posts : Cluny Tatting Tips


  1. This is awesome! I really can't wait until I have more time to read this properly and have a play with cluny tatting :). Thanks for sharing muskaan :).

    1. You are most welcome, Jenn , and thanks :-)
      Take your time, this is here to stay !
      In fact I always feel there should be awards to all my readers who even attempt to read through my looooong long posts ;-P

  2. Great post, as your usual, I'll come back here to study ;-) I haven't seen the loom by Judith, ty for the link, and thought independently about a card loom, there are pics in one of my sets in fkickr. But my favourite loom is the hand. I also needed a join point in the middle of the leaf for a little pattern and so added a ds with the weaving thread. I'd search the link and send you.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Ninetta, and sending me the links. I have added both links to the post :-)
      I like your loom, too ! Will o through the posts on my desktop, where I can see enlarged images ...

  3. Well at some time I hope you will print all of your studies out in a book, I would buy it :) You really cover so many tatting skills and it would be great reference book!

    1. You are so sweet :-D
      But why buy, when you can print out directly from the blog or save to your files/folders ?
      Funnily enough, I haven't printed a single page of my own blog yet ; neither any of the pattern pdfs (although everything is backed up digitally) ! Hmmmmm, must try it some day to see how they look ;-P

  4. Very interesting post! I think my grandson would build a Lego Cluny loom for me. However, despite all your wonderful information, I still have no desire to incorporate Clunies in my tatting. ;-)

    1. You made me smile :-D
      May be you can do me a favour - why don't Grandma & grandson have some fun together building the Lego Cluny loom & post it on your blog ? (I'd have to buy a Lego set specially) ... And I promise, you won't have to weave a tally , only photograph the loom with the Warp threads :-D

    2. I'll ask Aidan if he'll do that for me. I bet he can do it in just a few minutes!

    3. Thanks a heap, Diane :-)
      If it works, I'll add the link to your post, when you upload pics. No hurry :-)

  5. I second Madtatter80.. Muskaan you are really good at the tuts. I wish I have the patience to even write a few lines..
    I'm glad and personally very happy about the loom concept and your trials on HCL and other tallies.. I still prefer them calling tallies.. I hope you too... this is because, the lessons from Patty.D and Judith.C are like hammered into the brain via Intatters lessons. My deep respects to Patty and Judith.
    I love those plump tallies that Patty.D's Hawaaii garland has. I somehow could do a few and then the brain starts to experiment..I see these experiments from you and all of them are very amusing. Very nice.. wait let me take the time to read.. Normally.. I get very impatient reading a tut and I jump to start bending threads.. Very inspiring and interesting..
    Best Regards

    1. Usha, I love the way you suddenly 'loom' up, and then 'wrap' it all up just as suddenly & vanish at 'Warp' speed ;-P
      Patty's Victorian Heart is my goal in freeform tatting, & Judith's inverted tatting & precision !
      And I do seem to have caught the 'bending threads' bug from you. I can't seem to complete one project before 5 new ideas/variations/experiments/techniques present themselves .... almost a Catch-22 . I really missed you on the Cluny tatting thread than Judith had started ... would've Really challenged me !
      But after the next post, Cluny tatting will be on hold - other commitments to fulfil before I can take it up again ... it is quite addictive :-)
      Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts . Hope to see you around more often ?

  6. This is a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to explore clunies or tallies. I love the lego idea!

    1. Thanks, Jane :-D
      I hope the Lego idea catches on ... it's kind of fun to be back in kid land :-) Need to ask if my niece still has her set, or has been given away....

  7. Fabulous post! Thank you very much. The Lego loom is really amazing, I must try it soon!

    1. Thanks Lilas :-D
      I would love for you to try the Lego Loom and give feedback ; if it works, great. But if it doesn't, it might be interesting to see why not, and whether tweaks can be made.
      One thing did strike me -- the block(s) used to 'lock' or 'cap' the loops should not be too tight, in order to allow free movement.