Monday 29 February 2016

"17 years in the making"

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I sat down to tat a snowflake. Little did I know that hidden in a cocoon in the central flower, there was a butterfly waiting to spring out ! The snowflake was Georgia Seitz’ SuperBowl Sunday Snowflake 1999. 
When I shared my first pic in the Tatting Design Class, it was received enthusiastically & the pattern was cleverly dissected (no harm came to the butterfly :-) !). At the time I had named it after the snowflake (one of my ways of giving credit to the original) - quite a mouthful, though.

However, after talking to Georgia, it became Super 17 Butterfly for two reasons – it had taken 17 years for the snowflake to become a butterfly, & my date of birth is 17.
Recently I remembered two more important reasons ! This is the 17th year of her Online Tatting Class, And she celebrates her 17th birthday today – yes, forever young our GS !!!

This little butterfly is dedicated to Georgia Seitz 
& her immense contribution to the tatting art & community.
Happy Birthday, shuttle sister :-)
I am sharing 3 main versions of the butterfly – a simple 2D basic pattern & two 3D versions, with a few little options thrown in. All the butterflies can be tatted in one continuous pass.

Yellow Butterflies : Anchor size 20 Art 4054 (0293 lemony yellow  & 0302 dark yellow)
Black Butterflies : 2 strands of Anchor variegated embroidery thread (1325), & Anchor Mercer size 40 black.
3D Peach Butterfly : 3 strands of Anchor variegated embroidery thread (1315) & Red Heart 0328)
In size 20, they measure 1¼”x1” & in size 40 1”x ¾”.

Super 17 Butterfly  
Basic Pattern
There are times when one is looking for a simple or beginner pattern. This 2-page pdf contains only the basic pattern in the form of written notations & diagram. It can be worked with single shuttle & ball & thread size of choice.

showing folded chain & inward picots
Options for antennae/feelers
in size 40 threads

Super 17 Butterflies 

                                      2D & 3D patterns 
This 5 page pdf contains both the basic pattern with diagram, as well as two 3D versions with some process pictures.

If, while tatting, one decides to convert the basic 2D butterfly into a 3D version, simply follow along without cutting & tying! The 2nd wing is winged after completion of body with one minor change. And one can still work with single shuttle & ball.
In this version, the basic 2D pattern is followed till the end where instead of 1ds, a Mock Ring (or SCMR or chain joined back on itself) of 2ds is made. Continue without reversing work. The 2nd wing is worked from behind/back side of the previous wing and is a mirror image of the 1st wing. The wing is joined back at the base of the head to complete a 3D butterfly.

I got the feeling while photographing, that the head got hidden in the 1st version. My very first visualization had been to make the body 3D by coiling a chain around, as I had once done back in 2014 for a freeform pond reed (see pic). But that will have to wait for another butterfly.

Instead I added texture & bulk to the body by using a combination of variable padded ds & Josephine chain. To make the head more prominent I applied my perpendicular arrangement of concentric/onion JosephineRings.

So here’s version 2 of the 3D butterfly for those who like a bit of a challenge.
This version requires 2 shuttles. 

The antennae/feelers were kept simple with a long picot snipped in half later.
The peach thread is perle cotton which was a mistake! It appears bulky but loose & the stitches are never as neat as one wants them. Nevertheless, in order to show the head & torso, I had chosen a lighter shade .

I hope nothing has been left out. In case of any questions, mistakes, etc. feel free to talk to me. You know where to reach me :-))) 
happy tatting :-)

Related Posts/Tutorials : twisted picots (floating)

Motif #24 of III for 25 Motif Challenge

Sunday 28 February 2016

Spicy Pin Chicks

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It’s that time of the month again – a little earlier than usual.
As declared in my previous posts, I want my choice to be practical around the house & justify my blog url since tatting has taken over the diversity I had set out with.
My project for the pinterest challenge is very simple, but thoroughly yummy, adding a sweet spiciness to my dishes ! And an apt coincidence – we are now 5 Pin Chicks & like the 5 Spice Girls, adding flavour to our blogging lives :-)

Pickled Vegetables

Jane McLellan first tried it late last year, leading me to the original recipe here by Recipe Girl
I have it pinned on my Recipes board here. The recipe was followed down to the letter – well almost....
Make it Your Own
I wanted shallots instead of onion pieces, but didn’t get a hold of them. I reduced the amount of sugar, salt & vinegar just a tad, since it was going to be kept in the fridge anyways. And I added more pieces of ginger than specified in the original – love the flavour & taste. That's the joy of cooking - customized to suit one's tastes.
A Multi-cuisine Accompaniment 
It is a great accompaniment to rice, breads, salads, etc. Not spicy-hot At All, as Indian pickles go. Loved the sweetness it imparted & the delicate crunch of the vegetables. Whether it was our staple north Indian meal of roti & rice, or Mughlai/Tandoori cuisine, or Continental - the pickle was a hit.
Like Karaoke ! 
Rustle up a simple instant salad by adding a few lettuce level & jalapeños !
I really like the Instantaneous vegetable mix for salad ; no washing, peeling, cutting, seasoning, …. simply scoop out of the jars! No wonder it got over so soon.
Encore !
With hardly any pickle pieces left, I added a fresh batch of veggies, including turnips & onions this time, to the pickle solution. This worked great, too !
And then a 3rd & a 4th batch were added as the earlier ones dwindled. I did increase some sugar & salt & vinegar after the 2nd batch. All ready for a 5th batch soon !

Song of Happiness
The pickle is just Meant for egg salad ! I pick out some red pepper, onion & carrot pieces, dice them finely & mix with diced boiled eggs along with jalapeno peppers & very little seasoning.
Perfect egg salad sandwich !!! Sorry no pics for this, because I usually make this for dinner & the night is not suitable for photographs. You’ll just have to take my word for it, or why not make a batch yourself ?!

For more creative surprises, please don’t forget to check out what these lovely Pin Chicks have been up to : (click on names to reach their blog) the leader chicks - Suzanne Margaret,  ; & we, the follower chicks - Carollyn & Alma (our newest chick has added a separate page dedicated to this challenge!).

Till next month, then, happy pinning :-) 

Pinterest Challenge 2016 #2

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Spiral Snowflake Pattern

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Spiral Snowflake / Medallion 

This snowflake is my serious foray into 2D designing. I am more comfortable with freeform & 3D designing and my challenge is to try & create flat pieces with repeating motifs/rounds. Starting small with this 2-round medallion. Can it go further to create a mosaic or a multi-round doily ? Time will tell.

The Design Process 

The pattern came to me one night when I was on the brink of sleep (as often happens!). In the dark, a tablet is a handy device to jot down ideas immediately, without waking/distrubing others. But Kaleidoscope app is a bit limiting, since I cannot jot down notes alongside.
Installed the Sketch Guru app & this is the first sketch I drew on it, along with my thoughts. A no-frills skeleton.
Next step was to determine where each element will be joined, which led to inclusion of picots at those points (#2 in pic below). And a possible option to use folded rings instead of chains.
Sketch & skeleton is fine, but what about the stitchcount ?!     
From position of picots, I guesstimated the stitches for central round. My thumb rule was to use a certain number & its multiples to keep things simple & easy to remember. I think this idea came from all the tatting one has done & from reading Sharon Briggs’ design tutorials. Sharon’s tutorials provide a very practical & visual understanding of design in tatting. 
And it worked the very first time round !!! So much so that in Round 2, on the 3rd repeat itself, I felt comfortable & confident of it's flatness and embellished it with Josephine Knots.
The only change I made in final version was to reduce 1ds from the chains in Round 1.
Lucked out or more appropriately collective wisdom at work again :-)

Since this had started out as a free pattern for beginner to intermediate level, the pdf contains detailed notes, including links for tutorials, & pattern instructions that will hopefully be of aid. There is also a table for the thread lengths required in each version, size 20 thread. For this post, I am uploading only the diagrammed pattern & the pictorial. And of course some more pictures !

The Pattern 

If any help is required, you know where to reach me :-)

The Models
1. Basic Pattern
In the prototype, rings & chains in Rnd 1 were in different colours. (see #4 prototype in above pic)

2. Beaded Version
This is what I originally made.... 
...then added a central bead (below). Now it looks good to be converted into a jewellery piece

3. One Pass Version in single colour
To tat the medallion in one pass, start with a blind chain (or dead end start to chain) in Round 1. 
To climb out from round 1 to 2, make the last ring a split ring. For all the rest, follow pattern instructions.

4. Layered Flower/Medallion Idea
Playing with the models for a layered effect....

I hope to carry this off-center theme in future designs as well – that is my overarching Design Concept for this year, for Susan Fuller’s Tatting Design Class. Whatever I design, I hope to have some off-center element(s). Here it is the outer chain joins & Josephine Knot that gives a spinning, spiraling effect. But it could well be a ring, or …. I have a few ideas sketched/jotted down … can I tat them is the question ;-D

Motif #23 of III for 25 Motif Challenge

happy tatting :-)

Sunday 21 February 2016

Identity Crisis

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IdEnTiTy  CrIsIs

Identity crisis – that’s what this snowflake has ! It wants to be a sun – a “sunflake”. We’ll let you decide – is it a snowflake or a sunflake :-)
Right off, I don’t like to tat patterns that have too much bare thread. I admire their dainty laciness; I admire the person who tats them up & shares their beauty; but I am not one who chooses to do it. So this particular snowflake was an under-protest, under-groaning & mumbling undertaking :-D

The First Day of December Snowflake
Lene Bjorn

I was looking for a “painted tatting” effect, hence the choice of transitional shades. I’d started off with a copper metallic thread center, but the threads in that trial were all slightly different in size & after a few rings, had to abandon it.
I opted for size 20 thread this time, thinking it might make a good coaster.
Abbreviations used in text below :
ds – double stitch
BTS – bare thread space
fs/bs tatting – frontside/backside or directional tatting
RODS – reverse order ds used in fs/bs tatting
fhs – 1st half stitch
shs – 2nd half stitch
hs – half stitch
JR – Josephine Ring

Round 1 : Red Heart 00328
Started with 1ds & finished with 2ds. This helps in keeping the picot well inside & safe, especially in rings that need to be cut & tied.

Round 2 : Anchor Mercer 0307 & 0289
Techniques used : 2 shuttles , with twisted thread between rings instead of bare thread, picot joins (both up & down), fs/bs tatting.

Remember my post on “new effects” earlier this year, & wrapped rings or rings enraptin particular ? I used the same concept with bare threads, wrapping/twisting them, thus overcoming the use of 2 colours on a rings-only-with-BTS problem.

Advantages :
  • I could use 2 colours. One can, in fact, alternate the colours as one pleases! ( Ninetta has used 2 colours in a very beautiful way here & here )  
  • It had the added advantage of acting as a built-in picot gauge if one counted the number of twists (I used 5 twists) !!!
  • It also brings in some stability which is an asset for a coaster.

TIP : I inserted the 2nd colour shuttle into the first & the last half stitches of each ring.
Close ring before adjusting length of BTS of 2nd colour.

Problems : It is not easy to keep the length, twist, & curves intact since the 2nd colour is not really anchored. May be with practice & patience…or a little knot of some kind.
This picture, taken in the sun on my raw silk sari, is simply to show that the threads have a lovely sheen, which gets lost in all the photos I take inside.

 Round 3 : Anchor Mercer 0300
Techniques used : Down Join, Josephine Ring, graduated picots, fs/bs tatting
I was so tired by this time, I gave up the idea of adding 2 shades here. Also, a little airiness was necessary.
All I did was add a Josephine Ring of 10 fhs. Always felt that space was too flat between the high peaks. I think the JRs work pretty well, right ?!
TIP : Now here’s a Great tip I recently learned from Georgia Seitz here, about using the down join as 1st half stitch ! So far, I was using it to keep colour blips on the back side of work. But this worked perfectly when the same colour elements were to be joined ! Conversely, when applying RODS (for fs/bs tatting), make an up join followed by 1st HS.
When there are 2 colours, as in inner rings of previous round, I used the down join functionally to hide blips as before. 

Technically I have completed 2 snowflakes for this month, except that these were supposed to be for January … still behind by 2 ;-P 
I’m including this in the 25 Motif Challenge because of the little experimentation & my first real (but failed) attempt to make wheels with BTS .

My next post will be a free pattern for a snowflake/medallion (& the next for a butterfly). It was all done, but then I decided to make a few additions … my work is never done ;-P

I have decided to standardize all links in my posts. They will be in bold font & blue colour throughout.

Happy tatting :-)

Motif #22 of III for 25 Motif Challenge

Related Posts : Lene's Day 2 Snowflake

Monday 15 February 2016

Gapsosis can be good !

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Common Threads IV - Gapsosis can be good

Did anyone think I’d repeat it so soon ? Well, I didn't, but ... call me high maintenance ;-)

In the earlier working, I followed the tatted model. After all was done, on the desktop large screen, I noticed the stitchcount for the inner rings at the base, in the diagram. Thought I’d give it try & this time use a lighter colour for the rings with picots so that I could see them ! 
1½” x 1½” in Anchor size 40 Art 4054 (0131 blue & 0300 cream)
I like how this turned out. But take a look at the process (this might be just me ?) ; the spiraling route that it takes & how the coils need to be coaxed & literally pulled into shape. The same thing happened in earlier model, but to a slightly lesser degree. 
Why did this coiling occur ?! 
The bare thread spaces seen between upper rings in final pieces emerged due to the pulling . Hence, for this pattern, I think the rings need a bit of space between them. Yes, Gapsosis can be Good !!!

Gapsosis can be good 
… sometimes !
We struggle to keep gaps away. But following are a few scenarios/patterns where a bit of gap/bare thread space is welcome & desired.

A few scenarios : 
1. When making a rings-only central ‘flower’ (as in pic below). Leave tiniest bit of space between 1st & 2nd ring – just enough to Span the double stitch distance !!! 
I was always wondering why my adjacent rings sometimes ‘turned’ a bit at the base even though I made sure there was no gap before starting next ring. That’s when it dawned on my slow brain that thread & stitch occupy space. If one closes the gap completely, there is no space for the next ring stitches to abut neatly & get squished. Leaving a space equal to the ‘height’ of a ds will ensure a close & ‘gap-free’ arrangement of rings.

3. In this 2-coloured edging using floating/thrown off rings. This is a pattern commonly tatted in single colour or by simply following the shuttle, such that the colour shows up respectively. This gives a split of colour along the length. But I wanted the floating Josephine Rings to have one colour & the chains to have another. Another consideration was to keep colour blips from showing and to stabilize the floating rings.
After a lot of experimentation & heartburn, this is the best I could come up with (it is still on my to continue-with-experiment list! At the time I tatted this, I was working against a deadline).
Leave a tiny space of thread before starting the JR. Make the ring & close. Then …
TIP : Bring the ring thread around the ring like a little knot & tighten at the base of ring. This generally hides colour switches, stabilizes the rings And makes them lie flat & even as can be clearly seen in the 2 strands. Compare the Before & After rings.
All this was possible firstly because of gapsosis, & then a kind of slip knot noose at the base.
This edging was made about 2 years back when I used to snug the chain stitches closely. Since then I have realized that the chains should not have been tensioned so much; one should allow them to curve naturally. I am getting a bit better at handling chains ;-)

4. And last but not least, the layered rings in above pattern.
Rings have a curvature that is broad at the top & narrow at base. One should account for this width, such that adjacent rings lie neatly side-by-side rather than overlapping or loosing shape. Clearly some gapsosis is called for.

In conclusion, factoring for individual differences, one can use gapsosis judiciously when certain patterns or design elements call for it.

What has been your experience ?

happy tatting :-)

Saturday 13 February 2016

Heart to heart ....

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Hearts reach out 
across ages and generations , 
across borders and boundaries , 
across arts and crafts, 
across blogs and sites,
from cold snowflakes to warm hearts ....
hearts reach out !

These are some of the most elegant tatted heart patterns I’ve come across. These are hearts I have admired & wanted to tat since first I set eyes on each. And they were just as pleasant to tat as to ogle.

A few common points :
  • Click on title of each for link to the pattern source & on name of designer for their blog wherever applicable (all red words are active links). All are free patterns.
  • I use fs/bs (RODS) tatting . I’ve listed it in the techniques, but it is optional.
  • Since I knew that these patterns worked great in single colour, I decided to continue with my study in colours (very very limited colours to choose from – Madura Coats (Anchor), are you listening?).
  • All these hearts are definitely going to be repeated over the years !

In no particular order ….

Techniques : 2 shuttles, ANKARS (basic) or layered rings, graduated picots, floating ring.
Measurement : 1½” x 1½” in Anchor size 40 Art 4054 (052 pink & 022 maroon)

"Officially” this is my first ANKARS project, even though it is pretty basic. It Finally lay to rest a niggling doubt I had harboured, not having studied the technique properly. Yes, I had tatted it, without knowing that it could well be ANKARS ! ANKARS is an elaborate & dense working of simple layered rings . It is also the technique I used in my Curled Rings earrings. And all it takes a simple picot join !
Georgia Seitz will be walking us through this pattern in the Online Tatting Class on Monday the 15th … Join in :-)
I added a tiny ring with SH2 after joining back to the first ring. There was a bare, flattish space in my working that I thought needed filling up. The tatting is all done from the frontside, not reverse work, except for this additional ring.
Also 3 graduated picots in the centre of the chain to make the tip a bit more prominent.
I used a picot gauge, as recommended, but found that it causes my picots to twist & become unseemly, and the stitches to become uneven ! It was back to eye-balling … this works better for me. 
It ruffled a bit. Lay flat easily after dunking & rolling. I didn't block each picot. Now, looking at the diagram, I realize that rings 21 & 23 are the same size ! Didn’t appear so in the tatted model … good excuse to tat again :-)

Nicola Bowersox
Techniques : 2 shuttles, CTM, dead end/blind start to chain, floating ring, RODS.
Msts : 1½” x <1¼” in Red Heart size 20 (0289 bright/dark yellow)

I fell in love with this heart that moment britinpa shared it on InTatters over a year ago. Simple, elegant outlining, & I love floating curled chains !!!  
I was a bit unsure how much to tension the chains, so left them without snugging closely. But I definitely need to re-tat & experiment a bit more. For one, I need to start the chain in RODS, for it to lie on the left side as in original pattern. Also, Frivole had suggested using a SCMR instead of floating ring, which I want to apply as well. And check out Jane McLellan’s gorgeously colourful hearts she did a while back, inspiring me to use a yellow.

Techniques : 2 shuttles, thrown/floating rings, RODS.
Msts. 3”x 2¼” Anchor Size 40 Art 4054 (0131 blue & 0896 copper)

Arguably the most elegant heart pattern I’ve come across & it works with all kinds of threads & colours/colourways ! I have yet to come across a working that did not work :-) It is a Perfect Design !
Great diagram by Frivole – equally elegant with colour coding ! 

Techniques : 2 shuttles, CTM, CWJ, thrown/floating ring, twisted picot, SLT, RODS.
Msts : ¾”x ¾” in Anchor size 20 Art 4054 (020 red) 

Love the simplicity of this pattern. 2 shuttles. To maintain continuity of the chain outline, she uses the CWJ. Very quick to tat up & a great way to empty the shuttles, (and to learn the CWJ if one is dithering).
The twisted picot in the little ring looks frayed & forked - probably the picot should've been just a tad longer keeping thickness of thread in mind. 

Hearty Thanks to all designers for sharing these wonderful heart patterns,
to all who have made it possible through diagrams, classes, etc.

Have a hearty tatting weekend !

Motif #21 of III for 25 Motif Challenge

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Freshly Tatted

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The Second Day of December Snowflake
Lene Bjorn

I joined a Year Long Snowflake Tat-Along on Craftree. We are using Lene Bjorn’s book , 24 Snowflakes in Tatting, to tat two each month. Remember how last year I had made a similar resolution, but didn’t stick to it. Well, this year I’m hoping that the tatting together will provide me the required motivation or guilt !

After a hiatus from tatting, having picked up hook & knitting needles, I decided to start with Day 2 first. I was not up to the challenge of tackling all that bare thread; wanted something simple & quick.

My objectives to join along are :
  1. to study colour combinations & placement in these small motifs.
  2. to practice split chains & make them part of my repertoire.
  3. to tat patterns from the books I own rather than merely collect them.
Trying to keep it simple here, & carrying on with The Flower Within series.
Anchor size 40 thread in white & variegated red/black (4054-1206)

The snowflake measures just under 3” & round 1 was just under 1.5”

I made a couple of early mistakes in round 2, but continued nevertheless. I used single shuttle & ball for 2nd round – back to basics :-) A fully loaded bobbin was required.
This snowflake ruffled a bit , as seen in pic. Simply wet it nicely, rolled the rolling pin over it to remove extra water, patted it with a towel & it was ready for a photo shoot !
At the end of the year, I may convert some of these into bookmark charms, or join a few to make bookmarks.


Wally Sosa  
* click for pattern source
This is my 5 Point Charm for a future bookmark 

This is the SuperBowl Sunday ‘protest’ tatting that Georgia & her group has going for the last 17 years !!! All previous patterns are listed here (scroll down through 2nd column). Again, I am using this simple motif to play with colours.  
This is how I started, but abandoned. 

Tatted in Anchor size 40
Variegated red/white : 4504-1203 ; Variegated red/black : 4504-1206 ; Black
Measurements : Rnd 1 : ~ 1" ; Rnd 2 : < 1" ; final : 2.75"

I have been doing fs/bs tatting now for quite a while & usually do rings as normal DS & chains in RODS (reverse order ds). However, in order to keep the direction of large ring same as in the original pattern picture, I had to do the rings in RODS, & chains, & floating ring in normal DS. This enabled me to work in clockwise direction.


What did the Leaning Tower of Pisa say to Big Ben? 
" If you have the Time I have the Inclination !!!"

(Okay, I switched the two, but it still works, doesn't it ;-P)

I have done a little cleaning up of the Resources Page (see tab above). Took hours & still needs more work - some formatting is just too stubborn to clear :-(  Check it out when you have the Time. Feel free to suggest any good resources that have helped you & I have an Inclination to use & add them :-)

And if anyone has the Inclination & Time,  Georgia Seitz taught the following in her Online Tatting Class on Monday  & the lesson logs are uploaded (& I attempted to teach one session) :
Padded Double Stitch , &
Snowflake Sparkle pattern alongside the Twisted Picot (floating) Tutorial.  Incidentally,  Karen Cabrera has uploaded a video for these freestanding twisted picots - Lesson #153. Very clear demo ( thanks & hugs Karen ). Keep your pinch on the thread at all times while twisting,  and it will give nicely coiled & stiff picot.

happy tatting :-)

Related Posts : Lene's Day 1 Sunflake