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


  1. Wow, that's an awesomely detailed description of how you tackled this pattern! Thanks! I need to read it again... :-)

    1. Thanks, Grace :-) It'll act as a reminder to me in future ;-P
      But, I found it much much easier to tat it this way, with SSSRs, without having to worry about turns & blips & switch shuttles (most of the tatting was accomplished with SH1) for the fur!

  2. Good job! I love Lavenderbard's tiny dragon. Her patterns are very striking.

    1. Yes, her dragon has been quite a hit :-) And I like her star motif/bookmark, too.
      Thanks, Jane :-)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue :-) You should see Lavenderbard's original in black - quite ferocious :-)

  4. Wow, clever use of sssr, great tutorial!

    1. Thanks, Ninetta :-) I'm sure your experiments/tweaks had some subconscious effect on my trial :-)