Wednesday, 8 March 2017

misses can be good !

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my design path from learning to needle tat to pendant to shuttle tatted snowflake !

There are multiple inspirations and paths to designing; some are project-specific, others can be internalized. Long-time readers may remember many of the design paths/ processes shared, with more to come. I will keep adding them under Design Ideas and Processes .

Feynman was brutally honest in sharing his mistakes, failures, and dead-ends along with successes so that others knew the exact pathways - the hows and whys. In designing we learn from our mistakes and can put the misses to good use. 2 recent adaptations arose from doubling the chain length (The Heart Within) and joining rings incorrectly (Reflected Nights snowflake).  

But much earlier, I’d outlined how my needle-thread size mismatch led to a medallion (snowflake) instead of a pendantand why the name 'neemiss' was coined. Here, I’d like to share more pics and details of the process for any budding & interested designer. 
Never be scared to experiment or to redeem & repurpose mistakes !

Neemiss Snowflake Design Process

It started with me trying to learn needle tatting using a thick mattress needle with size 20 thread !

DAY 1 : Basics
My very first needle tatting attempts on June 21, 2014 (clockwise from bottom right):
a red roselle (true rings) medallion ;
a ring and chain medallion where inward-facing rings are attached to a single long picot ;
interlocking rings.

DAY 2 : Burlesque Pendant !
Next day I tried clovers and chains. Then a Josephine rings at end, including a thrown JR. 
It was all so quick and easy, that instead of going around, I decided to return from the other side to create a pendant. Added tiny silver bells and a few rings in the empty space.
There are a lot of mistakes, but it was a very liberating experience – back then I struggled to design in 2D. Called it the Burlesque pendant because of the red-black combo.

DAY 3 : Conversion to shuttle tatting 
In order to convert the pattern to shuttle tatting, I wanted to change only one design element – make the center ring of second clover larger to get a well-defined dip/point.
Instead of 3-6-6-3, I made it 3-8-8-3.
Horrors ! As I finished tatting 3 clovers, the pendant shape was a compact half circle instead of a broad arc! Needle to shuttle conversion was awry because needle was too large for size 20 thread in pendant.
Nothing to it but to go ahead and complete the circle.

Sketched a couple of ideas for next round....

Went with this one, but as you can see below, not fully.    

 So now you know the reason why alternate clovers have a different stitchcount !


That’s it. Two days of needle tatting gave rise to a snowflake.
Many lessons learned here.
I now have 2 sets of tatting needles, but no time to take it up seriously ;-P Yet, I maintain, that testing & trials can make for quick work if needle-tatted, then convert the final to shuttle. Let’s see what this year holds.

happy tatting & designing J


  1. Very interesting!! Thank you for sharing!!! :)

    1. Thanks Sue :-) The miss was not a hit, but it certainly taught a lot of lessons !

  2. I have a friend that just needle tats and she has made it a skill to switch over all the shuttle tatting designs to needle. My brain cannot go there I'm just a shuttle tatter🌹

    1. I do want to learn needle tatting more seriously, Carollyn, and hopefully this year. I admire tatters who are proficient in both, though my preference will always remain shuttle :-)

  3. I like to see steps in design process. There are many ways that designs come to fruition. People then see the final product without knowing how it came about.

    1. So true, Jane. There's usually a backstory and if I did something for the first time or differently, then I like to share it/read it :-)