Friday, 21 August 2015

Cluny Tatting : Shapes & Effects

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“…where no man has gone before”

Okay, I may be exaggerating here, true to ‘form’ ;-P  But I have yet to come across tallies other than oval/spindle & long tallies. Safe to say that few tatters have gone this route.
Generally one comes across tallies that have 3 raised & 2 indented lengths (2 veins), made on a 3-Warp loom. It is also Oval or spindle-shaped. However, this is merely the beginning & the loom is our means “…to explore new worlds…”. Let the Shuttleship cruise over the Strings at Warp speed “…to seek out new…” shapes , forms, & effects … “…to boldly go where no man has gone before!”
 As you are well aware, my execution is never up to the mark. But I do hope the ideas shared here can be a launching pad for your countdown to new horizons .

Playing with Shapes, Forms, & Effects
in Cluny Tatting
The tally is no longer a statistical mark, it is now a ‘Cluny’ing glory !

Multiple (4/5/or more) Warp tallies are better suited for the angular effects, as well as to create many other shapes & effects. They offer more scope to play around with shapes. For Warp 4 & Warp 5 tallies, please refer my previous post &/or download the tutorials.

I started a tally-only bracelet with the sole intention of playing with different shapes & forms. And since I wanted to try out geometric shapes, I named it the GeomeTATic bracelet/rakhi. As I made them, I became a bit better at managing the shape by using little tricks, etc.

I. Flat  Base/Tip Tallies  
Eg. rectangle, square, triangle, hourglass, bowtie, hexagon, ‘inverted’ triangle, right angled triangles, .. 
The base & tip of a tally can be made flat with relative ease.
1. For flat base, keep the end Warps separated during the 1st few weaves. Pack down & the shape will stay. Similarly, for a wide ‘tip’, keep the end Warps at a distance when finishing off the weaving. The distance between the end Warps will depend on the width one desires.
2. Most importantly, when closing – keep the tally in a firm pinch/‘clench’ & DO NOT over-pull the closing loops. Tally edges have a natural tendency to curve when closing. Pulling too tight will change a rectangle or square into a barrel. Hence pull just enough to close all loops yet keep the ends flat & corners neat & angular.

II. Angular Tallies 
Eg. pentagon, hexagon, octagon, kite, diamond, Christmas tree,
Geometric shapes include angles ‘along the sides’. Some, such as a diamond, kite, or even a triangle are fairly easy to make by adjusting the Warp distance during weaving.
It is the pentagon, hexagon, octagon that I found troublesome; the angles tend to curve.
Problem solved by use of Slip Knots in smaller sized thread. I used size 40 white thread slip knots.
To make it easier, after the frame is ready (Warps are laid), make the slip knots & attach them to the required Warps, usually the extreme ones. When the need arises for an angle, simply bring the slip knot down to that point & continue weaving. After tally is finished , hold the knot threads on either side & give a tug outwards in order to pull out the angle slightly. Then cut off the knots.
I was successful in getting a good angular pentagon & hexagon, but failed with octagon, although another attempt/practice might have proved successful.

NOTE : Penta- & hexagons require 1 slip knot at each of the end Warps; Octagon requires 2 at each end Warp.


III. 3D tally with bead  .
As used in Star Anise Studs here .
This is a fairly easy, very basic application of both bead & Cluny tatting.  Load beads on any shuttle. Make a tally. Bring bead forward before starting the next tally. When 2nd tally is closed, Lock Join at base of 1st tally to get a 3D effect.

IV. Tally with Tatted Beads
This is still in a very nascent stage – just an idea I played with. It could perhaps work for a cactus, or tiny buds on a grass lawn !
Inspired by Ninetta’s tiny tatted beads. I didn’t quite get the effect I had visualized, but then I was using size 20 thread. However, sharing the potential & possibilities …
Tat the beads on Weaver thread, spaced out, before weaving the tally (I made them after I’d already started the tally!). Each ‘bead’ is a ring of 3ds. Try Josephine knots for a better effect. Continue normal weaving & close as usual

V. Curled Cluny Leaves  Warp 3. 
Remember Ninetta’s Curled Rings ? If rings can be curled, why not tallies ? Here’s the process & result …

VI. Curled Cluny Leaf with Bead within    

A) Hold bead on long loop of Weaver shuttle in center of tally (notice half tally has been woven already);
B) hold with paper clip (safety pin used in pic) ;
C) when closing, position the bead, pass SH1 through loop over bead And through the base loop & pull close as for curled tally.


VII. Freestyle Leaf 
In a normal Warp 3 loom, by merely adjusting the space between end Warps, one can create an uneven edge. A classic spindle/oval tally is made with an inverted triangle for base, a square or rectangle for centre/body, topped by another triangle. Play with the weave counts or the Warp distance, add more weaves to taper the tip, & one can get a more natural leaf-like form. The ‘3D’ tallies in the Star Anise studs above, are also made in similar fashion, hence no 2 tallies are identical.
The collage includes images from my 2-in-1 Wiosna Doily & Frauberger Bookmark tail (in size 40) . The central purple one is 3-veined (made on a Warp 4 loom).
All these images are from my very first attempts at Cluny tatting & need a lot of refining.
The same technique can be used to make a matka (earthenware pot) or a fish !!! (matka in lead photocollage. If the base is tapered, it can become a Fish !)

VIII. Split-end / Uneven tip Petal  
(Same technique repeated for Arrow …)
I wanted a split-end petal for a particular flower I had in mind to tat later. Would it be possible with a multi-Warp tally ?
A while back, Teri Dusenbury had advised me to make copious notes. I try. I start off with gusto, then get so involved in the tatting (or circumstantial interferences) that I forget to jot down the latter portions, relying on my Excellent memory ! Yeah, it Always fails me ;-P Happened yet again. I had very quick  sketchy thoughts mingled with notes of the trials, hence had to rework in order to confirm before posting.
The images show all my efforts on this front. Please refer here for Warp 5 loom & weaving (download free tutorial pdf)
Trial A. Warp 5 loom. Stop 1st  pass (right to left direction) at Warp 3 & continue weaving between Warps 5, 4, & 3. Close as usual.
Failed – the long tip on right curled inwards.
Trial B. Not quite sure what I did here, except perhaps to close the tally less tightly than before.  
Failed – I did get a stepped effect (another experiment ?!) but not a good ‘split’.
Trial C. Make a reverse stitch on the middle Warp where the split begins.
Failed – Still did not address the length of Warp threads across. Au contraire, made them more prominent.
Trial D. Finally wondered whether ‘splitting the closing’ of loops would be possible. So, at the split point, I pulled down loop 1 (at ‘C’) to close ‘AB’. Left it at that & continued weaving on the remaining 3 Warps (3, 4, 5). It worked !
Trial E. Confirmation of Trial D because I hadn’t jotted this final trial down.  Shown from front as well as back – no thread spaces visible & a clear uneven/split tip seen !!!

IX. “Rolling Lattice Leaf” 
Combining Cluny tatting with Roll tatting can give a lattice effect !
A Warp 5 frame was used since I was working with size 20 thread & needed space for the lattice to show. Between each roll tatted segment, I made 3 passes with weaver thread to bring shuttle to opposite side. (2 passes make 1 weave. Refer table here

TIP After each rolling segment, suspend the weaver shuttle to untwist.
(Another idea to try : Make only 2 passes/1 weave between roll tatting segments, thus bringing weaver shuttle back to same side each time. It should create an open fan or peacock feather shape! But closing this uneven tally would probably pose a problem)
 In latest trial, on a Warp 5 loom, Only 1 pass was made after each roll tatting segment, bringing the SH1/weaver shuttle to opposite end. I got a 3D open lattice leaf when closed!

X. Rolling Cluny Braid/Vine  
But is roll tatting possible on the central Warp(s) too? 
This time, on a Warp 3 frame, after every 3 passes, roll tatting was done consecutively on each Warp. I was trying for a 3D braid/vine effect .

XI. Hanging & Split Tallies on Warp 4. 
Bead within a Heart - 3D effect
When I tried my very 1st Warp 4 tally, the threads came out at opposite ends ! (see inset) I thought it was a mistake, but as later research showed, it was actually a Split Cluny, but 3-veined !
Along the lines of the normal Warp 3 frame, one can figure out how to make Split & Hanging Cluny leafs in multi-Warp looms, too.
In image, I have used a Warp 4 Hanging tally on left side, placed a bead in the SH1 shuttle thread in center & made another Warp 4 tally on the right side, thus encapsulating the pearl between the 2 leaves. (HCL was required to bring both threads to base; normal tally brought the threads back up; auxiliary weaving thread for HCL was hidden within the right tally). And both tallies are shaped like a Snake Charmer’s flute : long narrow ends & broad circular centre.
TIP : When making narrow ends, as in the flute (been/pungi) above, keep them short. Otherwise closing the tally, especially if made on a 4 or 5 Warp loom, becomes quite difficult.

XII. Padded  Tally 
This was just a thought – using multiple threads for each Warp of the loom – would it affect the look, thickness of the tally? It didn’t alter the look by much.
But it has potential in another application : 3-SHUTTLE TATTING & encapsulation !
If working with 3 colours/shuttles, one can hide the nonworking thread within the tally just as one did for hiding the tail within tally here) but All 3 threads will emerge at the same/desired point, And keep the veins balanced ! 

Thumb Rule : When using the same thread, the number of ds in a ring = number of weaves in a tally , to achieve same size.
Therefore a 16ds ring (8-8, or 4-4-4-4, …) can be substituted with a 16 weave tally leaf !

FACTORS that may affect shape, form, appearance
·         distance between Warps (slim/narrow or broad)
·         number of weaves/wraps (short or long)
·         tautness of weaves/wraps (loose or tight) – can affect appearance, width, & shape, as well as closing the loom.
·         density of weaves/wraps (closely or loosely packed down) – can affect appearance, especially margins when loom is closed.
·         number of Warps (width)
·         thickness/size of thread for loom in HCT (width or central vein, if thicker thread used)
·         moving the outer Warp threads while weaving can alter the shape, width, etc. giving unconventional, freeform leaves.
·         Position of tally on artificial loom : low down (pointy tips & slimmer tally) / midways (ideal for classic tally shape) / high up (broad base & body)
·         I discovered that thread plays a really important role here. A smooth sliding thread makes it easier to close tallies, especially with multiple Warps.

My experimentation , though incomplete, halts here for the present. I still have to try out 2-coloured tallies.    
Dagmar Pezzuto has some intriguing patterns & techniques that I will try out at some future time.
I thank you, my readers, for your patience in reading through (if you have ;-P) … hope you found the ideas interesting ….

A few more resources :

Patty Dowden’s Tips on Shaping Cluny Leaves 
Cinzia Gabrielli's  Coloured Hanging Clunies  … diagrams & instructions
Dagmar Pezzuto's Cluny Petal Tatting in Two Colours.  
Pattern using 2-coloured Cluny tatting … downloaded. Uses 3 shuttles – 2 with same colour, one with different colour.

Related Posts : Cluny Tatting Tips
Free patterns : Braids ; Studs


  1. Wow, muskaan, the sky's the limit!! I especially like the lattice effect. Certainly are a lot of possibilities here.

    1. New horizons, new worlds, Jane ;-) Hope you are inspired to carry forward the exploration some time in future ?
      Thank you for your unstinting support always :-)

  2. I too like the lattice effect it lacy!

    1. Yes, Carollyn, the lattice is kinda nice with loads of possibilities & applications . This is just a glimpse, isn’t it :-)

  3. Dear muskaan...Wow! you have a great imagination, and I find it inspiring. This is a lot of work and I thank you for sharing with us what you've been learning.
    Just as you mentioned to me in a prior comment: "it is addictive, isn't it?" I totally agree, as I've been practicing with cluny a bunch, but I've been trying to make them as even in length and width as possible, getting upset at times when they don't turn out the way I want them too :(
    After seeing your pics of free form I realized that they look just as great, and they can be used in many ways.
    I am still using my little method posted on craftree. Now that my little girl will start school, I am hoping I could find sometime to put in practice your tips :)
    Thank you so much again.

    1. Your work is always so perfect, Laura ! I can no longer see fine working (the errors show up under a magnifier or in the photo!) so have made my peace with the imperfections.
      My focus is more on freeform & 3D tatting – I love the freedom it offers !

      I made a brief reference to the other method of framing a Warp 4 loom in my previous post (I will add your name now, with your permission) … there are So many paths one can choose from or ‘invent’ oneself so there is no One correct path ! It is exciting to discover these different paths to same destination :-)

    2. muskaan: Thank you for your kind words and encouragement :)
      I can't wait in the near future to be able to sit down for a couple of hours and practice more.
      I've been reading your posts, but for the tips "to click" I really need to sit down and practice every step.
      Yes, thank you for mentioning my little technique in prior post. I was so happy to be able to figure out some of the steps, but I was wondering if someone else tried the exact same thing, and never posted anything. I just feel I don't want to take credit for something it might not be originally mine, but I do hope someone can find it useful :)
      Your blog looks great, and I feel I should spend sometime and use my blog (still in construction) to provide a few tips about needle and Japanese hook tatting.

    3. Laura, a lot of the techniques, methods, tweaks in the tatting world may well have already been done. But as long as we have figured something out all on our own, I don't see why we can't post it. And as I mention time & again, the one I am posting may not be the Only one ... it's just what I am comfortable with, or I have worked out, .... (the 'T' in 'T*I*P*S stands for 'This Works for Me') so I don't want to step on anybody's toes, yet would like to share what I feel is my own work. And where I have been inspired or have resourced, then I definitely give credit & add a link.

      I do hope you start your own blog :-) There is still a dearth of needle tatting resources & tutorials. You can make a excellent contribution. I'm sure the same holds true for hook tatting.

      Thanks again, for browsing the blog :-)))

  4. Muskaan, these cluny ideas are fantastic! Bookmarking this page for future reference. I have never been much interested in clunies, but your inspiring ideas might make me change my mind about this technique, who knows?!

    1. Marilee, You are an inspiration to me !! I’m so glad you found these interesting & am sure you will come up with some spectacular pieces if you use/experiment/explore further. Thank you for your kind words :-)

  5. Wow! Another amazing post on clunies :). The possibilities are endless! I look forward to reading more about your cluny adventures :). Still trying to find time to give clunies another go :). Thanks for sharing muskaan :).

    1. Thanks Jenn :-) So true - the possibilities are indeed endless .... and these are just the prototypes that I've shared. Imagine if one really explore deeply & diversely !

  6. You've written another fascinating post! I'm not ready to take the plunge with Clunies yet, but you are getting me more interested in them!

    1. "so near yet so far" .... Oh well, we can't always be successful Cluny proselytisers ;-P
      Thanks Diane, I'm glad you at least enjoyed the journey & didn't turn back merely because it was a technique you don't prefer :-)

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, Janina :-) Glad you enjoyed it & hope you try them out :-)

  8. All lovely cluny ideas muskaan. Wish I try out all. So far I tried only simple cluny. Thanks for this article.

    1. I'm so glad you liked them, Usha :-))) Hope to see your workings ... Your comment reminded me that I still haven't blogged about the purple bracelet - it was going to be a rakhi with it's geometric shapes - and now we are at the doorsteps of another raksha bandhan ;-)
      Have fun, Usha :-)

  9. All lovely cluny ideas muskaan. Wish I try out all. So far I tried only simple cluny. Thanks for this article.

    1. Oops, seeing this comment a year later! Glad you liked the ideas, Usha, and hopefully you've tried a few during this year :-D Enjoy - I'm sure you'll come up with more ideas!

  10. Wow! When you posted this I was totally engrossed in finishing a quilt. I now have time to think again, and I just got a plastic cluny loom, so I'll be experimenting along the lines you suggested. Need to read the posts on 5 and 4 warps first. Thanks so much!

    1. Good for you, Just4tatts ! A loom does help greatly when working broader clunies. Enjoy your experimentation & don't forget the 'one small step' :-)))