Sunday 29 November 2015

Knit Afghan 1

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The  Ugly  Duckling

This has quite a story behind it … a case of the unloved,  unwanted  Ugly   Duckling.......

Before the turn of the millennium,
At store … bought blue wool coz I wanted to use my #0 needles.
At home, … didn’t like it – too thick ! Unloved.
Left it with MIL to give it away (for free) to anybody who wanted it – nobody wanted the unknit yarn even for free ! On returning after 2 years, it came back to me. Unwanted.

Square to Diamond  Sampler  Afghan 

.... and it's evolution &  transformation into a graceful swan !

I decided to knit a rug or mat to give away. Because of the thickness of the wool (& no circular needles at the time), I went for small squares with just enough stitches to fit on the needle, to be joined later.
All motifs begin with a normal knit row.
BLUE Square : 7¼” sides ; total 20 ; approx 550 gms wool ;
Pattern #24 from “The New Knitting Stitch Library” by Lesley Stanfield 
UK#6 needles ; Cast on 35+2 stitches
Enjoyed the process & idea, so made squares in red & white leftover yarn, each with a different pattern.
WHITE Square : 7” sides ; total 10 ; ~200 gms
Pattern #291 from “The New Knitting Stitch Library” by Lesley Stanfield
UK#6 needles ; Cast on 33+2 stitches
RED Square : 7” sides ; total 9 ; ~200 gms
Pattern #200 from “The New Knitting Stitch Library” by Lesley Stanfield
UK#6 needles ; Cast on 30+2+2 stitches
As the numbers increased, I sketched out a possible arrangement to form a design, but preferred a diamond arrangement.
Boring Squares !!!! This is how it would've looked if I'd arranged as squares ...

TIP : Easy way to change squares into diamonds! It is easier to knit squares rather than start & end at a point in case of diamonds. But simply lay the square as a diamond &  join/sew as diamonds !


Another dilemma emerged : what to do about the huge triangular spaces along the sides?!
Chose yet another pattern & adapted it for triangles. Not quite happy with the result. If I were to do it today, I would be better able to handle it with this or some other pattern. 
BROWN & BEIGE Triangles : 10” base, 7” sides ; 8 each (total 16) ; ~100 gms
Pattern #137 from “The New Knitting Stitch Library” by Lesley Stanfield
UK#6 needles ; Cast on 51 stitches
Since the background in all purl, the central pattern gets raised - nice texture. But it was not visible in black wool; hence chose these leftover colours.
All squares & triangles ready. But how to join ?!

I was looking for a lacy, open effect, and crochet interlinked chains seemed to be the way to go.
Notice how insipid it looks without the black outline in the white & red Boring Squares pic above !
Done in black wool, all around the squares. I crocheted around one entire square. Then started on the adjoining square, joining to previous motif chain as I went. 
BLACK Crochet Chains : I think it is a ch6 (3, slip st, 3).
There were still gaps at the meeting points of 4 squares. Took me a while for the idea to emerge … created the blue & red baby wool stars joining as I crocheted. These stars really brightened up & ‘completed’ the project.

RED & BLUE Crochet Stars : Wendy’s Baby wool 
20 red, 18 blue stars.
Each arm is (ch3,  sl st to black chain, ch3, sl st to center) x8, around a central ring of ch6-8. 
One can use the magic ring/circle, too.

Finished off with a crocheted black chain scallop edging along the borders. I had an idea to sew some satin fabric as a border around the afghan – like a quilt. But that wasn’t necessary – the all-wool piece looked fine.
This is not a regular rectangle. I did knit 4 corner triangles, but preferred the diagonal corners. Hence, this is strictly an octagonal afghan.
FINAL measurement : 49”x71” ; weighs over 1 kg

Okay, all this may seem very simple … but it was a watershed project for me. I had never ever seen anything like this before – no knit/crochet woolen blankets/afghans/quilts. To me, each step required a lot of thinking, evolving, & figuring out. The triangles were done the next year. And the little stars were added the year after that!

What may be a natural in some cultures, was a brainwave for me. It was my very own idea from scratch. Hence, I may be excused for ultimately not giving away the finished piece ;-P 
Yup, I kept My ugly duckling !!! Evolution &  transformation was complete ! And it is so soft & warm (especially the blue wool !!!) & works well as a lap-rug too, while I work at the desktop in winters.
All pics were taken after more than 10 years of use & wash . It is finally on it’s way to being discarded :-(

happy  knitting :-)

Tuesday 24 November 2015

pds – padded double stitch

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Padding the Double Stitch - any which way !

We’ve heard of padded tatting. We’ve also heard of/used Double Double stitch & Balanced Double Stitch to straighten out long chains. Some may even remember self-padded double stitch from an earlier time. Are all these the same or different ?
Here is my attempt (delayed by over a year, sorry) to make some sense of it all. I apologize for the length of this post ... 

Some sentences/paras are direct quotes from the original thread here. To distinguish these, I’ve used a different font in blue. Anything in italics here is my personal comment. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are by Judith Connors. Needle tatting quotes are by Judy Anderson.


I.  The  Terms
Existent :
s-p ds : self-padded double stitch or self-padded ring (Rhoda Auld, 1974),
BDS : Balanced double stitch (Ruth Perry, 2008), 
DDS : Double Double stitch (Jane Eborall, 2009), 

Proposed :  Padded  Double  Stitch  (pds)
pds : padded double stitch (emerged/evolved through a discussion in Craftree, 2014)


II.  Why  call  it  pds ?

  1. Historical credit. Padded double stitch is simply shortened from Rhoda’s first known use of ‘self-padding a ds’. “Her experimentations are recorded on page 84 of her book, 'Tatting: the contemporary art of knotting with a shuttle'”.  This was arrived at after some detailed discussion, investigation, & experimentation by participants in the thread "Balanced Double Stitch (?)" started by Judith.
  2. BDS & DDS are only two of the possible motions (& applications) that can create padding in a stitch, making them a subset of the pds formation. Refer to ensuing points & Table in Sec.IV 
  3. Variable/unequal wraps on the half stitches or between ds can create graduated, transitional, or unique effects on any ring or chain. (I shared some possibilities here). But then the stitch will not remain ‘Balanced’, nor only a ‘Double’. Hence a generic term like padded ds seems more appropriate.
  4. And pds, with it’s proposed Notation System captures this variability in written form, too. See examples of notation in next segment.
  5. Padded double stitches may be applied, for effect, to known elements in tatting.” Besides large rings & long chains, they can be used in Split rings, Onion/concentric rings, Josephines, etcas showcased in pictures below.    
  6. Standardization to reduce confusion – both with multiple terms as well as notation. pds could be considered a generic term .


III.  Notation for padded double stitch

A double stitch is made of 2 half stitches, called 1st HS/fhs & 2nd HS/shs.
Hence in order to show padding wraps, we include the half stitches in brackets, with number of wraps indicated on each.

1. ‘Balanced’/Equal Padding :
pds(1,1) means 1 wrap on fhs & 1 wrap on shs.
So, if you’ve been reading carefully, what would pds(1,1) represent ??
Yes! pds(1,1) = BDS or DDS !!!  And by same logic, pds(0,0) = DS!
pds(2,2) = 2 wraps each on each half stitch.

2. Variable/Unequal Padding :
pds(1,3) = 1 wrap on fhs & 3 wraps on shs.
pds(4,2) = 4 wraps on fhs & 2 wraps on shs.
pds(0,2) = no wrap on fhs & 2 wraps on shs.
pds(3,0) = 3 wraps on fhs & no wrap on shs.
pds(0,1) = no wrap on fhs, 1 wrap on shs. (Half DDS by Jane Eborall, 2014)
In these 3 examples , 0 or no wrap means that half stitch is tatted like a normal half stitch, without any padding , as seen in above pic, where Chain is pds(0,5) 

3. Number of Stitches :
Just as one puts a numeral before ds to indicate how many stitches are to be tatted, one puts a numeral before ‘pds’ to indicate the number of stitches required.
3pds(1,1) = 3 padded ds with 1 wrap in each half stitch.
6pds(3,2) = 6 stitches with 3 wraps in fhs & 2 wraps in shs
5pds(0,3) = 5 pds with no wrap in fhs & 3 wraps in shs.

4. Special Elements :
Josephines are worked with only one of the half stitches - either 1st or 2nd only. This can be represented with a “” for the missing half st.
Eg. JR 10pds(,2) = a J Ring of 10 sts padded with 2 wraps on the shs ;
JC 6pds(3,
) = J chain of 6 sts padded with 3 wraps on fhs.     


IV.  Tabulated  Comparison  of  Stitches

For pdf download of table : "Padding" the Stitch Table (revised) 


V.  How to Wrap the half stitches ?

Refer to Table above. Click on names below for direct link to resource.
Resources/Tutorials referred to by :  Ruth Perry , Jane Eborall , Karen Cabrera .

This post is more about unifying the seemingly different movements applied to attain the same result. I would love for you to take up your shuttle(s) & some scrap thread & try out the 3 versions for yourself & have fun discovering the Wow moment ! And also find your own comfort movement :-) Humour me ?

And one can’t really go wrong . WHY ?
If you make a mistake in the wrap, it will do only 1 of 2 things :
either unwrap immediately so that you have no padding (it is easily visible)
it will create a knotty situation (pun intended) when you try to snug it close. So in either case, one will realise one's mistake & can rectify it immediately.

My Submission : The extra wrap(s) can be made anywhere !

It does not matter Where the extra ‘wrap’ is made – on the core thread, or on the loop of the half stitch that is being formed, on the ‘leg’, or on the ‘auxiliary’ thread (chain/ball/shuttle 2 thread), or How it is made – whether before flipping or after! Once the half stitch is Flipped, &/or the threads tensioned, the result is the Same ! After flipping the half stitch, whichever it is, the wraps will coil around the core thread in the same way seen in 3rd pic from top , or pics #4 & #8 below. And tensioning or snugging, the stitch will also produce the exact same padded effect.

There are 3 ‘ways’ to wrap around a half stitch (before or after flipping)
  1. core thread (as Jane does)
  2. 'leg' loop of stitch (as Karen does)
  3. working 'cap'/upper thread of stitch loop (in pictorial below)
and it will make no difference to the end result ! The 3rd way is photographed below 


VI.  3rd Way of Padding the Double Stitch
A Quick Pictorial
… making the wrap on the top auxiliary thread part of flipped half stitch – the ‘cap’ part

Since the formation of the wrap is of no consequence, one is free to choose what one finds most comfortable & easy. In fact, I have used all 3 wrapping movements interchangeably in my Wreath Ornament ! I usually wrap around ‘cap’; but for reverse stitch or 2nd half of SR, I find it easier to wrap around the taut core thread.


VII.  Are these the same ?

1. Padded Tatting and ‘Padding’ Tatting !

'padded tatting' is a concept which would embrace a number of effects:
* using multiple core threads or a cord, as in pearl tatting (aka parallel and Maltese tatting);
* the use of wool, in needle tatting;
* using threads of two different thicknesses, the thicker one as the core;
* Rhoda Auld's and our recent padded (wrapped) double stitch --> padded chain and padded ring.
[This includes the BDS & DDS].
There are probably others, depending on the experimentation of various tatters.

Thus pds is a ‘subset’ of padded tatting where we are ‘padding’ the stitch, without use of any auxiliary thread. Can be done with both a regular double stitch (flipped) or the unflipped reverse stitch formations, and any element using them. So, while we keep saying padded DS, it could well be padded RS

2. Roll Tatting & Padded DS

The movement is similar, one is making wraps ! But in Roll tatting, one wraps around the Core thread Only, with no stitches.
In Padded DS, one is wrapping within the stitch.


VIII.  Can it be done in Needle Tatting ?

YES, and it is so much easier ! 
This technique is not limited to shuttle tatting. For needle-tatters, Judy points out how easy it is : “just circle that finger twice before putting on the needle.” So, the wraps are made on the finger !
Judy goes on to say “This needle tatter has used both padding and variable tension.. and both at the same time ... to make a reasonable script J for a monogram. Tight curves, rounder ones and straight sections…”


IX.  Final  Observations

It provides thickness, texture, interest, stiffness, bulk, highlight. 
It is very easy to do & very practical for long lengths of chains, large rings, and many decorative elements. 
It makes the stitch wider/broader, too.
 “It works well for a bracelet because the chain is not curved as a normal chain would be.” (Jane McLellan)
It is perfect for 3D &/or freeform tatting to add stiffness & effect. I have used the pds in a lot of my freeform 3D patterns, listed at end.  

Size of thread is inversely related. Fewer wraps possible with thicker thread, because it is unwieldy to tension.

But quantity of thread used is directly proportional to the number of wraps.
Soft silky threads make better wraps.
Tension plays a role in the final visual effect of each stitch as well as the overall appearance.
For noticeable visible difference in effect when making unequal/variable wraps in half stitches of same DS – the difference in wraps should be more than One.

As the number of wraps increase, the thread may start to twist. Suspend shuttle to normalize.
For same reason, padding a Josephine ring or chain, may become slightly more difficult.
TIP (Judith Connors)  “… the adage 'Less is more' is advised, as over-padding could alter the integrity of the known elements.
Some tatters never use this type of double stitch, preferring to tension the double stitches less so that the chains do not curve much at all. [When I tension less in some sections of inverted tatting, I can produce chains which are straight.]”

I invite your inputs, opinion, feedback, & suggestions .

Thanks to All Designers & Participants 
who have contributed so much to tatting & it's evolution

Related Posts : My experiments and trials
My patterns using pds : Wreath , Rustic Leaf , Poppy


2 of my projects & 2 tutorials had been nominated, of which this one won. 
I think it is very much in keeping with my 2 passions - TATeaching :-)))

A BIG Thanks to all you wonderful voters for such a lovely gift :-)

and a very special Thanks to Ninetta for sharing your creative originality, 
to Fiona for altering my perspective, 
& Kersti for her wonderful forum  ...

((( HUGS )))

CONGRATULATIONS to all nominees & winners – your work is always an inspiration


okay, okay, I'm going ..... ;-)

Sunday 22 November 2015

Brought by a Robin

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When I shut the door on distractions,  they drop in through the window ! And such a pretty distraction at that !

For the last few days, I had been working diligently, in isolation and with single-minded focus, on a post. Barely browsed the net or replied to emails, but did get some sewing done.
Anyways, I finished writing the post last night & only work on the pics remained. Slept peacefully.
Imagine my Immense surprise & pleasure when I woke up to a test tatting opportunity from sweet & talented Robin ! So, without skipping a beat, and happy with the perfect timing, here's the result of the tat ....

Winter Frost Snowflake

Designer : Robin Perfetti

The pattern is very elegantly presented, clear to follow, & perfectly diagrammed (so what's new, you ask ?! That is Robin's signature style, right ) :-)

Anchor size 40 . White.

I tatted this 2 round pattern in One Pass,  using a Split Chain & a Split Ring to climb out of Round 1, and a 2nd Split Ring to start Round 2.
The split chain is not very neat.....still need practice. ..

Done in FS/BS tatting.

I wondered how it would look with more pronounced points, especially on the inner chain curves. So, added a Twisted Picot. {keeping stitch count the same, the picot was added Within a ds - ie., between 2 half stitches].

And to complement the picot on the inner arch, I added a Twisted Picot on the end rings as well.

I did not use a picot gauge - eyeballing throughout.

Finished piece measures 4.5" point to point with twisted picot ; and only 3.5" if I don't include the picots.

I haven’t blocked the snowflake yet. It lays nice and flat. It will require some stiffening if it is to be suspended,  though.

The pattern will be in Robin's etsy shop very soon. Check out her perfectly tatted snowflake & write-up here

I will be tatting this again, in 2 colours, as part of a set of snowflakes I have going on this season ... all will be revealed soon ;-)

                                       Thank you , Robin :-)

Motif #12 /III for 25 Motif Challenge

happy tatting :-)

Sunday 15 November 2015

Sewing lace

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The Forgotten Lace
I simply Cannot rely on my memory ! 
So many items that I’ve made & gifted down the years have just vanished from my memory box :-(

Last week, when my MIL sent in some sewing/refitting of petticoats, I asked her to send along a fit sample to refer to. She loves crochet laces along the hemline, and has always had hand-crocheted laces sewn on – mostly her own !

Turned out one of the laces was made by her DIL ! Moi? Quand?
It does have my preference of working the lace from side to side (width-wise) till the required length. Imagine having to crochet an almost 2 meter long chain & then working each row lengthwise ! Messy. (I’ve done it for a couple of my Grandma’s petticoat laces, though, when I did not have too many books/patterns to choose from).
I need to rummage through my books to find the pattern … will update when I do. If I can rely on my memory to remind me later ;-P
I like the fact that this pattern can be made as broad or narrow as desired/required !!!
Above are a few very quick pics I took, before sending it back to her. Didn’t have time to iron ….

But time to crochet a New broad lace for her !!!


What this post is really about is the way my MIL sewed on the lace to the fabric edge.
Note : These are not new edgings – many have been in use for decades, switching to new fabric …. 

Sewing Lace
in 2 easy steps

I like the way the edging is machine-sewn, in 2 simple steps. Here are a couple of process pics …
Place right sides touching & sew along the edge.

STEP 1  
Place lace along hemline : Right side of lace touching the Right side of fabric/hem.
Sew over, along the edges. 

STEP 2  
Turn the lace over (‘open’ towards the right), 
so that both lace & fabric are right side up. 
Top-stitch as close to edge of fabric, as possible. 

TIP : There is only one thing I would do differently. In the above pics, the fabric hem is completely sewn, before the lace is being attached ; thus it has 3 layers already. Add to that the lace, & then the turned down lace & fabric … and you have many layers to sew over.
To reduce the bulk, fold of fabric just once (simply tacked in place), then follow the 2 steps above. This would eliminate a couple of fabric layers, as well as the sewing lines.

But I do like the result ! Quick, too, and very durable !
Of course, if one does not want any part of sewing to be seen, then this process will not work, especially the 2nd top-stitch step. In the end, one needs to consider where & for what purpose the edging/lace is to be attached & how it is to be used.

I’m certain most of you already know & do this. But you can understand why I have to post, right ? This is my memory deposit for a future ‘cloudy’ day ;-P

My Mom-in-Law’s Crochet Laces

My MIL has done tons of crochetwork – making multiple sets for gifting, or personal use, etc. – ranging from doilies (in all shapes & sizes), edgings, laces, to entire patchwork bedsheets !!! I will share some of her work over time …
Here are a couple of her other petticoat laces (the ones she sent me to sew on) : 

As you can see, I’ve completed only step 1 in this case.

Both steps completed in this case.

The one pictured in the 'tutorial' above


In Conversation

A bit of ‘news’ … I’ve added a new page to the blog, titled ‘My Tutorials’. It is still under collation, though.

I added some explanation to my previous post ‘Kitty with an Auxiliary Tale’ 
I realized that for many who haven’t seen the pattern, my working of the face may seem confusing. And I had not explained my rationale, anyways !

So please click on links to check out both :-)

Sunday 8 November 2015

Kitty with an Auxiliary Tale

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A blue-eyed Tortoiseshell Kitty !

“Kitty Face”

This kitty face was designed & shared by Lavenderbard, here, as a Halloween piece. She shares the pattern on her site, and is in the process of preparing a pdf too.

I got a bit muddled up on my first test trial. Sometimes I focus too little, sometimes too much :-( Or was my long-term Eleonore’s Angels Project messing up my neurons ? Whatever it was, the 1st trial was left unfinished because of a mistake that needed untatting or snipping, I decided to start afresh. This first attempt, though, did help me get a clearer picture ; and the experience was applied to tat it my way (I always have to challenge myself, why?!). 

Fur colour choice was inspired by Ginny's working of this adorable cat, here , and without realizing, mine turned out to be a  blue-eyed Tortoiseshell cat ! Thanks Grace & Lavenderbard - didn't know it was a "tortie" :-)

Techniques (including those I used) : starting chain with vsp, Split Ring, very small joining picots, Lock Join, CTM, Turn Work (I used Fold/Turn Chain instead), auxiliary thread tatting, Single Shuttle Split Ring, Catherine Wheel Join,.

Thread : Anchor Mercer Crochet Cotton, size 20.
Variegated fur -1218 ; Blue eyes – 0131 ; black ears & nostrils. 

I loaded 2 shuttles, CTM, with variegated thread. Since both shuttles had same thread, I did not have to worry about colour blips, etc.

A study of the pattern showed that the 2 other colours were required in Rings, & each ring was anchored. So, auxiliary threads should work well, I reasoned. Here’s how I did the rings using short lengths of auxiliary thread ...AND  NO  KNOTS !

I was given to understand that the following is a bit technical.  That made me realise that I hadn't set it down logically or rationally. So let me try to explain .....
When we use auxiliary thread,  ie., a 3rd thread, one of the 3 threads is usually Encapsulated or hidden within, and carried along to the point where it is made visible again; and at that time, one of the other threads/colour may become encapsulated.  Encapsulation requires Unflipped or Reverse Stitches.

What I attempted was simply to add a 3rd thread of desired colour at a given point, tat 'normally' (without encapsulation) , and then continue along with original 2 threads. No need to carry a 3rd colour for any distance, hidden.  Simply bring in where necessary....

Moreover,  I didn’t have to use knots anywhere. Also, the resin why the blue/auxiliary thread was not joined at base of ring right at beginning,  was so I could get the final SSSR loop to become anchored, since the ring is not a 'free' ring - it is joined to the chain picot .

I hope this brings some more clarity ? Thank you so so much for the feedback !

I have not shared stitch counts & other details ... For that please refer to the pattern at L Shelby's site (direct link given above).
For Eyes & Ears  
1. 1st eye made. One can see the cut blue tail ends. 
I’ve now reached the point where 2nd eye needs to be made.  
2. Start the ring ‘separately’, hiding the tail within first few stitches; 
and join to the picot on left.
 3. Continue & complete the ring as an SSSR. Close ring. But before pulling the lower loop, pass SH2 through the loop, to anchor/lock the SSSR.
4. Then pull the loop tight, having encapsulated SH2 thread.

5. The ring is now anchored at base (as if it had started right there). Cut the blue tail end (or if you prefer to sew it in …) and continue tatting with the 2 main shuttles.

[ After completing this right eye (Ring C),  I made a CWJ to join to the central nose ring (Ring B). That is the only place it was used.]

Similarly, add black auxiliary thread twice for ears (again SSSRs).

There was one hitch, though. The tip of the ear has a 1ds, picot, 1ds join, which became tricky with the SSSR. So, I had to skip that part & continue, thus making the ears more pointy. But I’m still happy with the result.

For Nostrils 
The lower nostrils are Split Rings, and include a chain in black. Hence, for this, one can cut off SH2 thread before starting with the SR (or leave the SH2 thread dangling, & cut it off right at the end & hide).

Make SR in 2 colours, using black auxiliary thread, continue with chain above, in black (with SH1 core thread), climb down through the right 2-coloured SR, and then continue with black as core thread & beige stitches showing in the chin. Join to starting picot & tie & cut & hide.

L Shelby has done a tremendous job of diagramming & writing out the pattern in detail. Love her quirky kitty-ear-shaped picot notations in the text :-)

One can use this face as a little mask on a stuffed toy/ornament, by blocking over a curved surface ! Finished face measures 2”x 2¼” in size 20

I haven’t blocked the piece – my laziness got to me again :-(

happy tatting :-)

Motif #11/III for 25 Motif Challenge