Thursday, 20 October 2016

truly serpentine

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I had written this post some days back, while still less than halfway through the doily. Didn’t get a chance to either take pics or to notate them and post. Meanwhile, I completed tatting the entire doily a couple of days back. Life is a bit in the way, and that has forced me to break the presentation into 2 posts. Here, I will share my working notes (the Boring stew), giving me time to complete the presentation of the finished doily (the yummy candy).

My Working Notes
There is quite a bit of interest in this beautiful doily. Before I start to forget, I’d like to share my working and thoughts ….The doily is not blocked, so please excuse the pics

Abbreviations used (in order of appearance):
SCMR – self closing mock ring
DS – double stitch
RODS – reverse order DS
SLT – shoe lace trick/overhand tie
p – picot
shs – 2nd half stitch
fhs – 1st half stitch
RS – reverse stitch (unflipped)
RW – reverse work

1. Worked completely in one pass !!! Divided into 4 quadrants ; each further divided into 2 mirrored halves (thus we get 8 sectors or pizza slices). Each quadrant (made of 2 sectors) forms one complete repeat.

At this stage it looks like a bull’s head !!!!
2. When considered for the doily as a whole, the overall direction of work is counterclockwise. However, within each sector, we work in many different directions, including ‘up and down’, ‘in and out’. It’s serpentine movement reminds me of the magic square and Iris Niebach’s doilies. 

3. The pattern as such is simple, worked with two shuttles : Rings and chains with reverse work. 4 SCMRs, few split rings, and a few rings made with 2nd shuttle. That’s about it! What makes this doily an arguably advanced or skilled pattern is the movement of the elements and segments – not easy to memorize.

4. If one is doing directional (frontside/backside) tatting, then we encounter ‘blocks’ or segments that act as a “unit” – thus we start with a segment where rings are DS & chains are RODS; then switch to the next segment where rings are RODS and chains DS. Those who have tatted Mary Konior’s Spinning Wheel Glass Mat in directional tatting (or in 2 colours) will understand how one half of the wheel ‘spoke’ works as a unit/block/segment.

5. Exception to #4 : There are also what I consider ‘thrown’ rings (even though they may not strictly be on a chain) ie. rings made with the other/auxiliary/second shuttle. They, of course, will follow the order of the ‘chain’ (RODS or DS)
6. I did add some complexity of my own (yes, I can’t seem to leave well enough alone !) by customizing the placement of colour using Reverse Join or simply laying one thread over the other (instead of SLT. See, I’m not much of a stickler for rules, nor a lover of SLT ;-) ).

7. To turn direction, I used ‘folded chains’ ie., (p, 2shs) or (p, 2fhs). These were included in the stitchcount of the chain (1DS). The folded chain also helps to keep the colour of chain constant.

TIP : In order to fold the chain, I made a picot and continued with the Same half stitch twice, as the last half stitch ; thus there are 3 same half-stitches in a row.
Note that in directional tatting the order switches after folding, because the chain has turned back over itself!
Thus, when folding a DS chain : (p,2shs) , continue next chain with RODS
Conversely, when folding a RODS chain : (p,2fhs) , continue with DS

8. I love the way tattingweed has sketched & notated over the scanned doily with little red arrows showing the direction of tatting – very clear. While tatting, though, I did miss the numbering on rings. Hence, halfway through the 3rd sector, I took another printout & inked the ring sequence. It really helped ! I also added the stitch count for the mirrored Sector 2. in the first printout.

9. There are some rings that need picots, while other elements join there. Due to changes in direction, it was sometimes difficult to tell which ring came first and had the picot. I made a black line on that ring, in the printout. But with the rings numbered in 2nd printout, it was easy.

10. Using Reverse Stitch for chains is another way to keep track of the pattern. RS helps us tat from the front, reducing RW to a minimum. This makes it easier to read the printed sketch. However, if a segment has many ‘thrown’ rings, then RS is not such a convenient option (unless one uses Reverse Rings or Rings in RS!)
As it turned out, I didn’t use the RS much for various reasons. It did come to the rescue in the very last segment, when joining back to the first sector. Here, one has to work inwards, and it became too confusing. When I switched to RS, I could accomplish the tatting and joining all from the front.

Spot treatment

There were a few mistakes where I had to retro-tat the element. But one mistake was discovered very late and a lot of tatting would have to be cut – I had joined a ring to the wrong picot! This called for some minimally invasive localized surgery.
Here’s what I did :
Cleared some space in the ring by moving the stitches and snipped the stitch thread - Not the core thread ; Not the entire ring.
Logic : It would give me plenty of thread at either end when the ring was unraveled.  Luckily it was a large ring and I had more than enough length to sew in the ends to adjoining elements.
Pull the core thread to unravel all the stitches.

Add new thread and tat the ring.
This was also completely knotless method of hiding ends – tatting over tails and sewing in opposite directions to adjoining elements
As I write this, I realize an easier way – I could’ve done a Mock Ring using the core of snipped ring! Waaaaah :-(  Or may be I had already closed the ring and it didn’t seem worth the trouble to unravel it. Memory evades; but nevertheless a solution to keep in mind for future.

As a reward to those who have diligently read through all this, I’ll keep my mouth shut for the most part of the grand reveal in next post, letting pics do the talking. Ummm, at least I’ll try my best ;-p

happy tatting till then :-)


  1. Goodness! I look forward to seeing the final doily.

    1. I'm pretty excited about posting the final pics, Jane :-D
      Thanks for gulping down the stew ;-)

  2. Replies
    1. I was going for the window glass painting effect, Sue :-)

  3. Stews that involve tatting deserve a second helping. I read this twice and looking forward to yummy candy dessert.

    1. You get a double scoop of candy for dessert, Bernice, on the house :-D Your order is being processed ;-p

  4. This post is everything I hoped for. I've saved it with the pattern so that I'll have it all in one place when I'm ready to start it. Love the stained glass look of the threads you chose, too. Looking forward to the yummy candy dessert, too. I know it's going to be stunning!

    1. Aaaah, yes "stained glass" !!! I had gone into some memory warp and just could not remember the term :-(
      I'm glad all you wonderful tatters enjoy a nice dessert :-D And it Is trick-o-treat season ;-p

  5. I looked through the diagrammatic instructions, and wow, that's quite a maze. It reminds me of the way Iris Niebach designs patterns. Can't wait to see the finished doily!

    1. A pleasurable maze, though, Robin :-) Yes, definitely along the lines of Iris' patterns. Love one-pass doilies that require a bit of puzzle-solving ;-) Have just posted the finished doily pics. Hope they stand up to scrutiny

  6. I've just started this doily in one varigated colour (not complicated like yours!) I appreciate your detailed notes. Thank you for sharing. When looking at her diagram, it appears that the mirrored section is not tatting in the same/reverse order as the first section. There are some elements in the second half tatted in a different order but I see that you did tat the second half in the reverse order. I appreciate your notes about RODS and DS. Because of your dotted snowflakes, you sure have me thinking about it!
    Mama Martin

    1. Thank you for your encouraging comment, Mama Martin :-) Check out Eliz's blog posts, too - she is applying the 'rules' to every project in her own way and sharing her observations. Once you become mindful, I won't even have to complete the series !

      In the Crinoline Doily, the arrows marked 1 & 2 in each quadrant are tatted only once, but the rest of the sector is mirror image. That is probably where the confusion arose. Feel free to ask anytime ...
      Would've loved to see your workings ! Happy tatting :-)