Wednesday, 3 August 2016

hits and misses

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Early last year I had bought variegated thread online, and though the colours were gorgeous & thread good to tat with, it turned out to be thicker than even size 10 – probably a size 7 or 3? Nevertheless, I was impatient to tat with it, having used only one of the 5 variegation thus far. Both coasters were tatted in 2015 & some parts of the post may appear dated due to my subsequent learning. I have given away all my circular coasters (tatted up until July 2016), so I don’t have exact measurements or photos after blocking.

Marilee Rockley 
Started : 15 Feb 2015
Challenges come in many forms, when/where least expected !

I was so happy when Marilee posted & shared her latest Melt Into Spring Snowflake pattern here. Daisy Picot was on my to-learn list. So the snowflake came at just the right time. Also, since it is a 6-point pattern, it could work well with the Chicken Wing Coaster I had recently made. So off I went & printed it out.

Materials : Bliss (India) variegated thread (no colourway, dye details or size mentioned). Probably a size 7 or 3.
South Maid Mercer Cotton (USA). Art. D-54, White. Size 10.
2 shuttles
Techniques : directional tatting, daisy picot, thrown rings (Josephine knots/rings)
Now, one would expect all the challenge & difficulty to lie in the daisy picot round. But that went off quite nicely ! What with her instructions & pics, as well Riet Surtel’s technique posted by Jane Eborall here, it was a very smooth & enjoyable round. No mistakes, no unpicking & retatting. Perhaps working with a large thread helps when doing a new technique.
The 2nd round is simply rings & chains ….beginner level. Yet, I kept making mistakes in stitchcount, joins, horrible thread sensation, you name it ! Finally, very frustrated with all the unknotting & retatting, I snipped it off. Glad Jane had gifted us these scissors ;-)

Started the 2nd round afresh the next morning & it was a breeze. But I learned something else about my own tatting….
The pattern indicates that the 2nd round is worked counterclockwise. Hence the chains are tatted on the front/right side, but the rings after RW, on the reverse/back side.
I found that my shuttle movement is such that the already tatted trefoils interfered with the shuttle, coming in it’s way. That’s when I realized that perhaps I tatted more easily, more smoothly if it is clockwise ?
So, when I started again, I went round clockwise, with FS/BS tatting & it Did work ! Must keep this in mind for future.
I anchored the JRs, by adding picots on either side & decreasing the stitchcount to compensate.  
Marilee kindly permitted me to make any changes I wanted, but I am deeply unsatisfied & ashamed with what I did in Round 3. That was the reason I hesitated to post it for so long….
I loved the curves of the outer chains, but wanted the trefoils at the tips to be smaller or different. All I came up with was to make daisy picots like a corona/outline around the central ring.
Someday I will tat this again, in smaller thread. 

Anne Bruvold
tatted on 20th July 2015
Spot the Odd One out !!!

My notes reveal that I had taken a hiatus from tatting last year as well, for a week. I think I was sewing during that time. Anyways, this simple but lovely doily was my ticket to get back into tatting mode. It was quite a rage on Craftree at the time, where I first came across the pattern.

Materials : BlissIndia.  Variegated thread (no colourway, dye details or size mentioned). Probably a size 7 or 3.
South Maid Mercer CottonUSA . Art. D-54, Color 430, Cream. Size 10.
2 shuttles.
Techniques : directional tatting, thrown rings (trefoils)
Started with this colour placement, but switched to the other because of thread size mismatch & also it seemed like the central flower effect was being lost.
This is one of those easy, almost generic, triangle motifs that can be used to create large fabric when joined in different ways. 
Very quick tat, joining individual motifs as one goes.
One realization about working with variegated threads in directional (fs/bs) tatting dawned. I had started the 1st motif with normally tatted inner rings, & RODS for the chains & trefoils. Since this latter was a larger chunk of working, in next motif I switched to RODS for the inner rings & normal sequence for outer ecru part. This reversed the colourway (from clockwise to counterclockwise)!!!
Can you spot the odd one out ?

Again, many thanks to both designers, and my apologies to Marilee. 
Hope I can do a better job next time.

happy tatting :-)


  1. I love Anne's pattern, though it's a while since I tatted it. Yes, so many possibilities to join in different ways. Marilee's one makes me think of clothes pegs! It's funny how bits you think will be tricky go fine and then the 'easy' part is problematic. I often have that with sewing.

    1. Now that you mention it, Jane, they do look like clothes pegs, especially in thick thick thread !!! I had thought of them as obedient cats sitting in a circle (if the ear picots were a bit longer) ;-)

  2. I have done both of these patterns too and I found Marilee's pattern is a great reminder of tatting that I don't do too often and can see how you enjoyed seeing if there is another way to do that :) I find that thread size hard on the hands to work with like small rope but I have a collection of large sizes because sometimes they are just necessary for things like coasters too.

    1. I had just loved the colourways so much, after drooling at the lovely usage by bloggers, that I didn't care what size they were! Of course, in the etsy pic, they looked much finer, with a silky sheen. But these are surprisingly soft to tat with - except for the fact that one has to keep reloading shuttles.
      The South Maid threads are not as soft, though.

  3. I also meant to say they are beautiful too :)

  4. These are both lovely. Like you, I find that my tatting style works best when tatting in a clockwise direction. I also tend to prefer that shuttle one be front side with traditional double stitches and then I use shuttle two for the RODS.

    1. I use shuttles similarly, Eliz !
      As regards clockwise/anticlockwise, I have been doing both equally well for the past year now. I think in this snowflake it had more to do with the thread choice (very thick, stiff, & getting in the way) & may be partly the pattern.

    2. ... and partly my own inexperience :-)

  5. Both look great from here!!! :)

  6. Two lovely coasters, I said this recently, I think the other day, we all have different ways of tatting, left to right or right to left, what is proper tension for one will be too tight for someone else, where someone does a small piciots someone else's will be large, where a designer has said small, the person doing the pattern may do small picots anyway and thinking small will do an even smaller ones, and visa visa someone who normally does large will think they mean an even larger one simple because in their mind what is large to someone else is not large or small to them.

    Thicker thread seems to send some patterns completely out the window, where as thinner thread can make the pattern so small it ends up as a miniature dolls house whatever. Ok if you wanted something that small or even larger but not ok if you wanted it the same size as the pattern says it might be, of course tension also comes into it, ones tension maybe not the same as the designers.

    Tatting is not a one size fits all, and it's interesting just how it can vary, from different threads brought in different countries to different manufactures, even the same thread made by the same manufacture on a different day.

    Sorry I wrote a book I also agree with Jane, the what looks easy can turn out to be hell and what is hard can work out simple. A bit like life,

    1. Very perceptive, & great perspective, Margaret ! Totally agree with you. And that is why I think pictures of actual tatting as well as a few process pics help a lot.
      But this diversity also brings out the individuality of each working, as well as the tatter's creativity.
      Your philosophical take on life is spot on - everything is relative :-)
      Thanks for an insightful comment, Margaret :-)