Wednesday, 7 September 2016

multiplier effect of mistakes !

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Doubling the Fun …

Mistakes can double the enjoyment; can double the opportunity. That's the reason you see 4 'snowflakes' instead of the desired 2. There is a common thread running through both ‘mistakes’ which involves a thread size mismatch.

The Snowflake Within
Remember ‘The Flower Within’ series where I tried to highlight the flower within various snowflake patterns ? Well, this time I reversed the trend, trying to bring out the snowflake within – oh what a cold heart this snowflake flower has ;-)
The Twenty-First Day of December Snowflake
Lene Björn

Threads : Anchor embroidery 4615-1335 ; Anchor MCC size 40 (4054) black & white.
Techniques : Josephine Rings (JR), thrown/floating rings, Lock join (LJ), Catherine Wheel join (CWJ), directional tatting, 2 shuttles

Mismatch of threads !
I started with 2 strands of the variegated embroidery thread . Only one black JR could fit in the cramped center space! Further, the size 40 white in Round 2 was much stiffer & thicker. Made a few stitch adjustments - decreasing chains by 1ds. Interestingly, black thread is 'normal'.
Yet, I realized that continuing on to Round 3 with 2 strands would’ve definitely cupped the piece. It was looking so pretty, that I went ahead to complete the present round, and stop at Rnd 2. I like the smaller size as well – just over 2 inches.
Measurements : Rnd 1 : ¾” ; Rnd 2 : 2¼”  

Started a new one right away, this time with 3 strands of embroidery thread along with the size 40 crochet cottons. Went smoothly & lay flat.
Measurements : Rnd 1 : 1” ; Rnd 2 : 2½” ; Rnd 3 : 3¾” 

TIP : I used 1 CWJ to anchor the trefoils in Rnd 3. This was counted in the chain stitchcount. Experimented with placement, & found that it did not matter whether the join was made before or after the trefoil.

  • Perhaps the JRs in last round could’ve used fewer half stitches. They are too close to each other; compounded by variegation it all looks too dense & busy :-( 
  • This is a great pattern to showcase fancy variegated threads or expensive HDTs because a lot of the tatting is on chains. 
  • One thing that escapes me is why the black JRs seem to fill the inner space. Need to see whether it is a matter of using 2 different threads/colours or just my own tatting goofs.  

The Twenty-Second Day of December Snowflake
Lene Björn
I’ll start with the correct version (left one in pic), and then recount my mistake, which of course occurred prior to this & was shelved for over a month.
Threads : Anchor Mercer size 40 (4054) – black, tinted pink – 1203, & green - 00229
Techniques : Josephine Chain (JCh), thrown/floating rings, Lock join (LJ), Catherine Wheel join (CWJ), 2 shuttles
  • A Lock Join causes a slight dip in the chains & this would’ve given a more petal-like effect in round 2, but with the black core thread blip showing. In order to avoid this colour blip, I chose to do a CWJ. 
  • Again, as in previous snowflake, it made no difference whether CWJ was made before or after the thrown ring. CWJ was counted as 1ds here.
  • I couldn’t get the star-like points that Lene has in her tatted model. Probably had to do with smaller size of green thread. 
Measurements : Rnd 1 : ~2⅜” ; Rnd 2 : ~3¼”  
  • For the Josephine Chains, I went for a mirror effect, using all 1st half stitches on one side, a very small picot, & all 2nd half stitches on other. (In the correct version I did the opposite - shs on the way up & fhs on way down).
  • The pattern doesn’t call for a vsp since the thrown rings are on the Josephine chains of round 1. Since I wanted to play with colours, the ring was thrown to 2nd round & a vsp was needed in round 1 for joining.
  • This is a pretty straightforward pattern. However, to keep tabs on the half stitches, I drew tally marks for every 10 half stitches, while dropping & 'posting' the shuttle after every 5 !

Now for the "forced adaptation" due to mistake in first attempt ....

The Heart Within
Day 22 adaptation

Doubled Up !!!
So here’s what happened … I got confused about the stitch count for the Josephine chains & got no answer when I asked on Craftree. Was the number meant for each side of the chain or for the complete chain ?! I went with the former, resulting in Double the chain lengths !!!
This pic shows the correct version on top. Inset, to the left, is round 2 which required doubling of the stitches too.
But doubling also brought an opportunity to try something different.
I played around with the long Josephines (they actually looked like a large flower - it is over 4" wide across)! Folded them over, and I saw Hearts being formed !!! 

The collage showcases the process I went through - very very fiddly, since this was an afterthought. If one has to make it again, one can add picots for joining & securing as one tats. In the collage below, I used sewing thread to join temporarily, snipping it off in the end.
In this case, though, a mismatch in thread sizes actually came to the rescue ! It is probably the first time I’ve tatted with different thread sizes in a regular pattern. The larger size 20 for round 2 helped me keep the same stitchcount that was used for size 40, but it spanned the distance & avoided the cupping issue. Easier to change thread size than to rework stitch count.
Threads : Anchor Mercer size 40 (4054) – black & tinted pink – 1203 for round 1
Size 20 vintage maroon (022) & black for round 2. The new black thread is much thicker than the vintage thread.
Techniques : Josephine Chain (JCh), thrown/floating rings, Lock join (LJ), an adaptation of Join on Smooth Side (JSS), shoe lace trick (SLT), very small picot (vsp), split ring (SR), reverse join (RJ), 2 shuttles
Measurements : Rnd 1 : >4” before folding ; 2½” after folding . Rnd 2 : 3¾”  

Pattern for Round 2 of adaptation :

Shuttle (SH) 1 – black ; Shuttle 2 – maroon
abbreviations listed in Techniques above ; fhs - 1st half stitch ; shs - 2nd half stitch.

Join to a folded arm of chain from the previous round . (refer to enlarged pic above)
With SH1
Ch : 6, 4shs, vsp, 4fhs, 6. JSS to next arm BUT instead of completing the JSS with a shs, make a SLT in order to switch shuttles.
With SH2
SR : 8/7 .
R : 8-8 .
SR : 8/7 . RJ to next arm thus switching shuttles.
Repeat from chain all around.

NOTE : If only 1 colour is used, simple LJ can be made instead of JSS & RJ. The latter were used only to regulate the colour blip.

Okay, I’m off now … apologies for boring you out of your wits … but you know I’ll never learn ;-p

happy tatting
happy Tat Days to all who are attending


  1. I haven't gotten to these two yet. This is a great example of a lesson I learned from Mona Brookes' Drawing with Children many years ago. Instead of "mistakes," these are opportunities to use your imagination. I love what you've done with yours. Thanks for sharing the instructions for the hidden hearts motif. As I looked at your photograph of the oversized motif through the set stitch round behind the original snowflake, it occurred to me that the snowflake in a much smaller thread would make a lovely overlaid center to the work behind it. You've sparked my own imagination!

    1. That book must be pretty awesome for young minds, if the author does not believe in colouring within the lines!
      I have post-its with visualization ideas scattered throughout the book, Eliz, but never know which one will call out to my shuttles ;-p I love your overlay idea, as well as the "hidden hearts" name ! Looking forward to your experiments :-)

  2. Not boring at all! I still think these posts would make a brilliant resource book. You have great pictures and explanations which enable the rest of us to skip the trial and error!

    1. ((((Michelle)))) Thanks for your kind words & support :-)

  3. I love how your mistakes turn out, it is like it forces your mind to look at another dimension, very talented.

    1. That is so true, Bernice ... mistakes do force you to think beyond the obvious. Although, at the finishing stage of the hearts medallion, I kind of wished I had offset the outer round, instead of a somewhat staid round :-)

  4. Marvelous how 'mistakes' lead you in new directions!

    1. Yes, Jane, so much more satisfying than throwing them in the bin :-)

  5. Not boring. Very fascinating as I had much the same experience with several of the patterns in the book. I put it all down to my tatting skill. I don't tend to change stitch count at all. I should learn to! Keep experimenting! When you share your excellent posts, we all create much better lace!

    1. (((Mel))) you are too kind ! Always glad of the support of all you talented & experienced tatters :-)

  6. The 21st day of December snowflake is so pretty with all the colors. I didn't recognize it at first. Your other snowflake is a very clever adaptation of the original pattern!

    1. I do like the liveliness of the 21st day snowflake, Robin, although the JRs should've been further apart.
      I loved the way Ninetta made her strawberry flower petals, creating that dip. It is what I used for the heart outline here. Should've mentioned it in the post, but totally forgot.

  7. Wow, I am always sorry I take so long to view your blog. This time especially sad I needed to see this earlier, to be reminded that mistakes can be good we call that making "lemonade out of lemons" and color wonderful again. Love the half stitch usage because I feel it needs to be done right to look good and this was done right :) Hugs from Carollyn

    1. Oh that is so sweet, Carolyn! Your work in finer thread beats me any day ;-P But yes, mistakes can be put to good use & I hate just throwing them in the bin

  8. your tatting is very beautiful and neat! Loved it