Friday 23 December 2016

miniature conifer

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A tatted tree

Grace did such an admirable job of creating a pair of Christmas tree earrings in 3D, using the simplest of techniques and dressed up with beads! How could one resist – 3D combined with freeform was calling out to me. It seems like ages since I made something in 3D freeform – I’ve been domesticated ;-P

3D Christmas Tree
Earrings by Grace O B Tan 

A 2-shuttle pattern with rings thrown off a spiral (Josephine) chain. 
In size 20 thread it is 2 inches high (including the trunk)
Au Naturel ! 
My first test tat was without beads. I deliberately went for a natural look, the intention being to wrap a string of beads later, like fairy lights. This has taken a backseat coz the tiny tree became fiddly to work with and gold thread was tangling up – need More Hands !!! But last night I had an idea to anchor the tree while I wrap it. Hope it works.

TIP : Tying/inserting a marker at end or start of each layer helps to keep track as the foliage becomes denser. See the 2 threads knotted on the in-progress foliage?

So much fun ! A simple string of mostly decreasing rings, tightly packed down on a spiral chain –that’s it! Brilliant.
TIP : Ensure the spiral chain stitches do not ‘unflip’ at any time, before working on a new ring, and after closing it too. The core thread of chain should continue to slide.
This may not be a problem for tight tatters, but for me the half stitches did tend to unflip at times.
Couldn’t find a bead that would work as a trunk (didn’t like the round wooden beads I had). Left paper clips in place of the trunk bead, to allow core thread to slide.
This called for a trunk call to tatting! The tatted 3D trunk was sewn on later (pattern at end).

DH can’t get over how Real this miniature looks - both the foliage alone, as well as complete tree and I am very happy with it, though there are a few slips (a definite advantage in freeform tatting!). It looks so cute, and tiny – merely 2” high !
I used Red Heart green (229) and brown (341) in size 20

It is very quick to tat up sans beads & much more fun. But beads add sparkle, character, and cheerfulness !
Au Noel !
Got out my shuttles and beads and stuff; sat in the sunlit balcony, and strung beads. It went surprisingly smoothly - there’s nothing like natural light !!!

I did have to load my shuttle thrice (Pony shuttles are small), but fortunately I had strung around 200 beads on the ball thread, and took only about one-third for each bobbin load cutting the thread and leaving the rest of the beads on the ball thread.
TIP  : The lower half contains large rings. To keep track of the stitches, I listed the picot count for ring in that layer. Eg. Layer 1 rings have 10 picots; layer 2 rings have 13 picots, and so on. Helped me immensely.

I used Anchor green (0245) in size 20 for foliage here. Except for the gold beads, all are transparent seed beads; a star sequin graces the tip. Since the  beads are plastic, they do not add weight to the tree. However, if using as earrings, a light starching might help to keep the foliage in desired shape. I didn't make earrings; can be used as tree ornaments or how about tassels for a Christmasy gift!

IDEAS  : This pattern can be adapted to .....
... make 3D flowers in a jiffy ! Adjust ring count & size, and choose flowery colours, OR
make a twig with fir needles – long picots (snipped) on a spiral chain – how cool is that for a wreath ?!

Meanwhile for those interested, here’s the pattern for the tatted trunk …..
I’ve been holding out on this pattern (a prototype peek here), wanting to add beads & colours to highlight the spiraling effect. May be soon, now.

Tatted 3D Tree Trunk 
2 shuttles CTM. Size 20 thread.
Ø       Each ring, layered/stacked above the previous ring, creating a 3D hollow cylinder.
Ø       First & last rings are normal rings ; all in-between rings are split rings.
Ø       Keep the picots normal to slightly long, depending on how much distance you want between the stacked rings.
Ø       Mock picot (MP) is used to climb out of each ring.
Ø       Switch shuttle (SS) after each ring.
Ø       A total of 6 to 7 rings is sufficient for the tree pattern above.
Ø       See pictorials on layered rings here  , and here .

R1 : 4 – 4 – 4 – 4 . MP
** SR2 : 2 – 2 + 2 – 2 + 2 – 2 + 2 / 2 . MP. SS **
Repeat  from ** to ** for desired length (or height) 
Last Ring : 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 . 

Use the tail ends to sew to the foliage. 
Tie ends and insert the tails through the hollow tube and snip. 

Many many thanks to Grace for sharing her delightful  pattern with us !

happy tatting always 
and happy holidays :-) 

Related Posts :
Layered or stacked Rings how-to method 1 ; method 2


  1. Thanks for blogging about my little 3D Christmas tree! I'm really tickled that your DH can't get over how real the miniature tree looks! ;-D

    1. Grace, he liked both versions! And he was so impressed that he actually told me to buy a larger bead box !!!
      They do look pretty real :-)

    2. So pleased about that! :-D I must try the tree with your tatted tree trunk. But right now, I need to rush to finish my own pair...

  2. Beautiful Christmas tree earrings :)Happy holidays :)

    1. A very merry Christmas to you, too, Anetta :-) These trees do brighten up the place.

  3. I can't imagine wearing Christmas tree earrings, but I do really admire Grace's work and yours! The one without beads is impressive, but yes, you really need the festivity.

    1. I agree, Jane :-) I don't wear such earrings, but the trees are very cute & fun to tat. I will keep them for decorating the tree.
      And this practice helped me with my beading - not that difficult, once you get into the rhythm !

  4. I love them both! Your DH is right, the au naturel is gorgeous. I can't figure this out though, I know when I see it, it will make complete sense-like the spiral chain did many years ago but I need a video. Any takers? Must find brown thread.....

    1. Thanks Michelle :-) Not sure which part you are referring to - if it is the foliage, then scroll down to the Midrib with Veins picture here : It has twisted picots on a spiral chain. Replace the picots with rings, and make the distance between rings merely 2 half stitches, and you have a compact conifer !
      In case you are referring to the tatted trunk, let me know & I will make a stepwise pictorial specifically for this.
      Hope you find some brown thread & give this a tat - waiting to see it on your blog :-)

    2. Hi, Michelle, I assume you have looked at my pattern? I'm still looking for ways to improve it. Maybe some progress pictures...

    3. I have but for some reason, I'm dull witted here. Could be not looking carefully enough? I will when the guests leave.

    4. Give my pattern a try - maybe it will then make some sense, or at least you can tell me what's puzzling you. I do find, though, that once Christmas is over I lose my incentive to make these little trees! ;-)

    5. Thanks, Grace :-)
      Michelle, consider this 'transformation':
      1. a regular chain with thrown rings (made with SH2) along it's edge
      2. the chain has only 1 double stitch between each ring, thus bringing the rings close to each other.
      3. Instead of a double stitch, you now make 2 half stitches of same type between each ring.
      4. You now have thrown rings on a spiral or Josephine chain!
      This is continued for a length, then the chain is pulled tight, snugging the half stitches and the rings together, while ensuring that the rings swirl around the chain core thread.
      You have your compact foliage !

      Does this transformational imagery help ?

  5. Gorgeous trees I love the beads on them. Thank you for the pattern

  6. Wow! Two beautiful trees! Isn't it fun when hubby encourages the purchase of more tatting-related items?

    1. Thanks, Diane :-) One can only hope that the encouragement is not fleeting ;-P

  7. Muskaan, your trees are gorgeous.
    Thank you Grace for the pattern.

    1. So glad you liked them, Claire :-) Hope you enjoy tatting them as much as I did .

    2. You're welcome, Claire! :-)

  8. I love this tree its wonderful I have not been blogging much at all and I feel I have missed a lot. Years ago someone did something like this and put it on top of a pencil!

    1. Christmas all year round on the pencil 🌲🌲🌲 .... nice !!! Thanks, Carollyn

  9. That's an idea! But, how do you make it stay on the pencil? Glue?