Thursday, 10 March 2016

No bull(ion)ying over tatting

Pin It now!

Being Knotty !
Last night, after 2-3 days sans tatting, my fingers itched. And I went back to my comfort zone of free-form 3D. It is an original practice piece to study a few techniques which were being discussed in the Design Class last morning. 
While trying out the bullion knot, the bunched-up knots reminded me of Hibiscus pistils, which led to this 3D flower. Yet another path to pattern designing !
I wanted to take full pleasure in tatting, hence did not jot down exact stitch-count. What I share below is as close an approximation as I remember.
It does, however, follow my design objective of off-center, in the petals.
This is a good shuttle-emptier doodle.

Tatted Hibiscus Doodad 
2 Shuttles, scrap threads (size 20).
3 strands of Anchor variegated embroidery cotton (1315 - peachy) ; Anchor size 20 Art 4054 (0293 lemony yellow , 0256 Mehandi Green) .
Measurement  4 cms long
Resources & techniques used
2-shuttle tatting (floating/thrown rings), Bullion Knot & Dots, Roll tatting,  
Josephine Knot, Josephine Chain, join last ring to 1st ring, graduated decorative picots, encapsulated Josephine Chain, Frayed ends, Ninetta’s Curled Rings 

Join the peach & yellow threads. It is not essential to hide ends. With Peach, make 3 rings-only petals of different sizes & joined irregularly.
Flower :
R1 : 3ds, vsp, 5 graduated picots sep by 1ds, vsp, 5ds.
R2 : 5ds, join to R1, 2ds, 7 graduated picots sep by 1ds, 2ds, vsp, 7ds.
R3 : 7ds, join to R2, 2ds, 8 graduated picots sep by 1ds, 2ds, join to R1, 3ds.
Before closing last ring, make sure both shuttles are on the top side of the petals, in order to make the pistil.
Pistil :
JCh to desired length. At random points, make Bullion knots of 10 wraps with SH2 (yellow). Do not close the knot completely. After 5 or 6 knots, & desired length reached, tie both threads together, leave a short length & cut. Then fray the tails.
Join green thread (wound CTM) to base of flower.
Calyx :
Ring : [1ds, p]x10, curl through any middle picot. 
(( Ninetta used a curled ring calyx in her lovely strawberry bookmark. That's what I tried  ))
Stem :
Continue with Josephine Chain, encapsulating any tail threads from the beginning of the flower & pistil, randomly placing leaves along the length.
Leaves :
Leaf 1 & 2 are ‘Dots’ & floating (made with 2nd shuttle) :
R : 4ds, close.
Leaf 3 & 4 are Josephine Knots/Rings
JR : 8 half stitch, close.
Continue with stem for a bit. Tie ends & cut & hide.

My Thoughts on Bullion Knots, Dots & Josephine Rings/Knots 
Please refer to this article.
Bullion knots are basically small rings of Roll tatting, in formation. 
In hand embroidery, what French Knot is to Bullion Stitch ; in tatting, Bullion Knot is to Roll Tatted ring (which is usually larger). A tatted bullion knot looks very similar to an embroidered bullion stitch,  where instead of a needle, the thread is wrapped around the core/shuttle thread.
To compare within tatting, Bullion Knot is similar to Half-closed ring or Scallop to look at, but with wrapped thread rather than stitches.
Segment H in I Love Tatting doodle was a long line of bullion knots which twisted on itself.
I used the latter in my NeoVintage Heart.

TIP : Following a tip shared by Patty Dowden in Craftree, I no longer add a DS at the start or end of a roll tatted element. I believe a DS is not a definitive part of roll tatting ; it is merely a means to ease the closing of a ring or perhaps to add a picot. I have used DS-free roll tatting chains in my Tiny Heart Poppy petals.

Dots are regular rings with complete stitches, but small in size. The DS is limited to 4 or 5, & when closed, the rings appear as ‘dots’.

When the dots are made of only half stitches, not complete DS, then it becomes a Josephine knot/ring.

Dots of 4DS turned out to be smaller than a JR of 8hs !
Bullion knots can be closed tightly or one can leave some bare thread space (as in scallops). This will alter the visual effect. If closed completely, these are the smallest in size.

happy tatting :-) 

Related Posts/Patterns : bullion knot string in doodle


  1. Your flowers are beautiful!!! :)

  2. I love hibiscus flowers, and this tiny delicate thing such a cute miniature of the real one. I haven't looks at your other things yet but love this flower!

  3. I just love it when you are being knotty. Such a great post.

  4. Thank you so very much Sue, Carollyn, and Bernice :-)
    Carollyn, I remembered your tatted flower series when I made this !

  5. There was a lot of confusion in the early session about how to make a Bullion knot. Granted, I never took out my shuttles to give it a try, and simply tried to visualize it in my head.

    By the way, I'm really excited to take a closer look at your breakdown of chains (which was shared in the design group but not yet to your blog). I was really impressed with the file when it was shared in the chat group!

    1. Hi Robin, were you able to get the bullion knot later ? Karen will be uploading a video in the near future.

      I had shared that chains sheet in a bit of a hurry without realising that many would be excited to share it in public. So there are a few things missing such as resources, categorization, etc. etc. I am working to rectify it & will share here & in class in 1 or 2 days.
      Also, when I took a printout, the font was too small for a single page; I will divide the chains in 2 pages now.
      If you come across any mistakes, or find anything missing, please let me know & I will do the needful :-)

    2. No, I haven't tried the Bullion knot yet. If Karen loads a video I'm sure it will be much more understandable than the text. I didn't see anything wrong with your file (was looking at it on the computer and could zoom in as necessary). I think the different chain styles will be perfect for my binder of tatted samples.

    3. Robin, I have just uploaded the files & posted to my blog including a short write-up about the bullion knot to get you started ;-)
      One might have to start separate binders for each element, considering the number of techniques & variations there are ! But it will be worth the investment in time & effort & space.

  6. Love the flower will have to come back another time to read the rest

    1. Thanks Margaret :-) Seems like another lifetime !