Monday, 14 March 2016

Lining up the Chains

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Bored with the same old chains ?
Looking for some new chain effects ?
Stumped or can't remember which chain is which?
Fall in line but don't yank my chain !

I fell. I fell hook, line & sinker.  
Elgiva threw me the hook, Sharon followed a persuasive line, & Susan got the concept to sink in !
Looking back I have already used many chain effects in my various patterns (some without knowing the names), yet I keep getting confused when a term crops up & I have to hunt down the tutorial. Hence a sampler reference , along with stitch notations of how it is worked seemed like a good starting point.

I share it here, as a pdf for anyone who is interested. In case of any omissions of errors, please let me know so that it can be rectified post haste.
Design Element : Line
Tatting Element : Chain
Chains in Shuttle Tatting (click to download pdf)

All tatting is done using Anchor Mercer Crochet Cotton in size 20. Thread size, brand, & tatter’s own tension can bring in individual differences. Hence the sampler is indicative only.

Bullion Knot
There has been some confusion regarding the working of a Bullion knot. For starters, please refer to any Roll Tatting tutorial.
A bullion knot is a small roll-tatted ring, without any stitches, and a limited number of wraps/rolls.
It is started like a ring, with thread around the hand; but instead of making DS, one simply starts to wrap the shuttle thread around the thread on hand, & transferring these to the core/shuttle thread. 
I do this simultaneously : wrap by taking shuttle through loop front to back & in same fluid motion tensioning the thread around left hand so that the wrap gets transferred to core thread. I don’t wait to wrap a few times then transfer or snug. But this is an individual choice (I don’t even add DS in my roll-tatted rings & chains).
After about 10 wraps maximum (depending on requirements & thread size), close the ring carefully. Depending on the extent of closure, the bullion knot can look like #15 or #16 above.
I used #15 style in my Hibiscus Doodad here. 
This knot takes some practice; if pulled too tight, it will distort or create bare thread spaces; if wrapped too tight, the ring won't close easily.

Karen Cabrera sent me these 2 links for Bullion knots earlier this week :
MaryM's Original Daisy Bullion Edging. This is how a bullion knot looks. It is a cro-tatted edging & she has crocheted the bullion segment.  
Ruth Perry’s Bullion Stitch Cross. This is an excellent effect with many possibilities. However, it is not a ‘true’ bullion knot (going by even embroidery & crochet terminology). Along the length of the taut thread(s), a half stitch is being wrapped in the manner of an encapsulated Josephine chain (refer to #24 but instead of complete stitches, only unflipped half stitch is wrapped). It is a form of Dora Young’s knotless bridging/split chain.

Omissions/Errors in document (page 2 above)
i)  #29 & 30 - Include the term ‘Floating Chains’ for Curlicues – please add it if you download/print.
ii) Sampler #24 has been glued incorrectly, The caps of stitches in the encapsulated chain should be facing downward.
iii) #27 & 28. Please note that the core threads are different.

There are limitations to this sampler – coils & rosettes are not included ; braids with complete rings are not included ; no decorative picots or elements are added ; mainly straight-line chains have been lined up.

Chains in Shuttle Tatting : This pdf contains 4 pages - p1 & p2 with 30 samplers & stitch-count; p3 with glossary, notes & resource links; p4 with images of chains applied to tatting - both in 2D & 3D patterns.

The list is a compilation but by no means exhaustive. It is a point in time & the line will continue to evolve.
Each chain has it’s unique characteristics & applicability. It is a journey of discovery. It is also a good exercise down the line from beginners to designers.

Happy tatting & discovering :-)

Related Posts : Bullion Knot in 3D pattern


  1. I love the way you research and try things out. I learn so much from your comparisons and explorations. I've downloaded this document for further study tomorrow. It's past my bedtime and I can't begin to give it the proper attention tonight. Thank you!

    1. Eliz, your own documentation is so impressive & helpful ! I know where to look now :-) I have added the links to my Resources Page & will be sending links as promised - just haven't had much time lately.

  2. Thank you very much, a great list! I downloaded the file, too, for quick reference. (I loved learning a new idiom, too! ...of fishing origin? Lol!)

    1. That was a misappropriated idiom, Ninetta, but if you fish some more, you will find many more idioms strewn about ... I couldn't resist - there are so many idioms with 'line'! ;-)

  3. This is awesome and very comprehensive! Thanks muskaan for sharing with us.

    1. Jenn, this list is a reminder to me, too. I kept forgetting what S & Z chains are, etc.... Now the notations will be a good memory-jogger :-)

  4. Thank you for sharing list.

    1. You are most welcome, Marja. My pleasure :-)

  5. Very interesting post I have download your list for future reference, it's great compendium of chains

    1. And yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg, Margaret ! Haven't included lines made with rings, etc.
      Now to work on lists with other elements ;-)

  6. I feel like such an outsider, like I'm trying to read a different language. One day I hope to look back on this post and understand it totally.

    Suzanne ( the non-tatter ) xx

    1. We'll make a tatter of you yet, Suzanne :-) And you will far outshine me !