Sunday 30 April 2017

gifting SOUP

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using tatted motfis and scraps on gifts

Readers may remember that I use up many motifs, trial pieces, etc. to adorn fabric or paper. The acronym (not a very good one) SOUP stands for Sewing On/Using Pieces of tatting.
(click on label on right panel for my earlier “tatting SOUPs”)

Here are a few pics of my more recent ventures.
Since this is in family, and hand-gifted, I merely tape the motifs on the underside. 
The recipients enjoy taking out the pieces and re-using in their own way :-)

I like that the cover brings in some interest…

and I reduce some of my stash, making room for more !
Patterns on this gift wrapper:
Laurel leaves & Wiggly flowers from Ring in the Bouquet
Rosette Enchained – pattern to be shared
Those small fluffy flowers are made with scrap thread (size 40) using Interlocking picots (long picots on a Josephine ring). 


Jane’s TIAS rabbit & Irene Woo’s Heart of a Butterfly have also been similarly taped & gifted some weeks back (forgot to take a pic).
I try to match up the embellishment with the gift inside or to the recipient's taste, as far as possible.


Prior to that, this envelope has 2 of my favorites taped on ...
Super 17 Butterfly (3D in size 40) and
my tiny Hibiscus doodad


Mission accomplished !

Where/how do you serve your tatting SOUP ?

keep tatting - SOUP is healthy :-)

Thursday 27 April 2017

a new project

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I’ve started a new project (as if there weren’t enough unfinished ones!) as part of my unspoken 2017 resolution : working patterns from the books I have.
It’s the only way I can justify buying new books (space crunch)! I Have to work through at least some patterns from each of my books.
Partly random selection – mostly small motifs and medallions.
You might see the same colours for consecutive workings. That’s because I am loading the shuttles fully with size 40 thread and working them off. I will try to pick similar-looking shapes so that they can be strung/joined together later for a bookmark or mobile.

So here’s the one I will share now (although I made another first).

Star #1 (p39, Dover)
“Tatting Patterns and Designs”
Blomqvist and Persson

In one colour, the beautiful spyrographic continuity of the elements is highlighted. But I decided to go with 2 colours.

Worked in Anchor size 40 (closer to 50), it measures 2½” point to point ; 2” side to side ; each side of the ‘hexagon’ is about 1¼” .
Techniques : 2 shuttles, fs/bs tatting, thrown rings, thrown clovers, last to first ring join.

  • Since there are more thrown rings, I chose to work the inner rings backside, so that the chains and thrown rings & clovers could all be worked normally.
  • The medallion is worked in clockwise direction overall.
  • For the single thrown ring, stitch count at either end of ring differs by 1 stitch in written notations. Taking the clover stitch count as my guide, I chose to use the smaller number.

This beautiful hexagon could so easily be used as a motif for a larger doily or mat ! I like this pattern very much.
Looking at this pic, I now realise that the chains under the clover should've been snugged more. groan !

I am also drawing a diagram of each for myself, to print & save in book for future reference. 

Question : Can I share the diagram (without stitchcount) on my blog?
(The book was first published in 1967)

happy tatting always :-)

Monday 24 April 2017

layered revelation

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tatted snowflake with Celtic effect

Has this happened to you ? Some patterns tend to reveal themselves gradually, layer by onion layer, despite the fact that the designer has presented the pattern clearly, with superb diagram, instructions and a tatted model ?!
This is one such . And each layer brought clarity, simplification, and joy :-)
I had to retro-tat segments a few times, until the elegance of this design gradually made it into me thick skin.

Sparrow Kelly
I love the Celtic effect and elegance of this pattern! Not for the faint-hearted, but one soon gets into the rhythm & I enjoyed the challenge.
The diagram and presentation is very appealing & the layering of chains is clearly visible in her diagram.

I had started with the maroon and blue, but made a mistake in the 2nd repeat. Following the diagram exactly, this is what we get on the 2nd repeat – an extra chain and a visible picot. Unlike what the diagram says, Ring J is the equivalent of Ring A, where the repeat starts.

I started again, this time with pink hoping that the crossover layers will show better in a lighter colour.

My Notes
  • Overall, the snowflake is worked counterclockwise.
  • For frontside/backside tatting, all grey coloured elements are tatted backside.
  • Ring J is actually the equivalent of ring A, hence next repeat starts from ring J.
  • Her tatted model has one extra ring in the inner circle (13 instead of 12, which caused me a lot of confusion. 13 didn’t make sense, yet it was difficult to locate the extra ring - found it finally at 10 o'clock position).
  • Always remember to bring both threads to the front after ring H so that the chain is above Ch3 (this is a note to myself, coz I had to retrotat on many occasions!)
  • Also important skill required - how to join last ring to first. It is a bit tricky in this pattern, especially when the ring is small (more below).
  • Some rings and chains require switching shuttles to get colours into position. SS after ring B, Ch3, Ch4, ring G, ring H, ring I, and Ch9 .
  • I used direct tatting (reverse stitch) for some of the short chains, especially between the three rings at the tips.
  • UPDATE Shuttles are numbered & colour-coded according to the colour of stitches that show up, not necessarily the shuttle that forms the core thread. Hence green rings will use the green shuttle, but green chains will be made with the grey shuttle. 
Thesee layers revealed themselves gradually. The one layer that remains hidden is how Kelly came up with this synchronised design. Simple rings and chains, no SLTs or Celtic shuttles…. Would be interesting to get a peek into her gray matter, right ?!

Incidentally, I had to peel off layers to find the source of this pattern, too, which I had downloaded a while back. Googled Images, then found Kelly’s blog, (but pattern is no longer there), and her post where she mentioned it was being shared with the OTC. Got the date/month/year and hunted the 2011 OTC index. No image, but thankfully the pdf link was there (April 2011).

Last to First Join
There are many ways to avoid the folded join (and I always avoid). Some of these tutorials are listed here.
But this pattern had a different dilemma. (Not sure whether it was due to frontside/backside tatting, a small ring, or fine thread, hmm or my thick-headedness). :

  1. the ‘first’ ring was on the left of the current ring ;
  2. the rings were facing outwards
  3. avoiding a colour blip and using an up &/or down loop
I rotate the work such that the in-progress ring is on the right of the ring to which it will be joined (and the tapering end is away from me), then pull up/down a loop thru joining picot, pass shuttle through, & snug. It is Still Basically the same as the many tutorials out there, but needs some orientation.

UPDATE (May 10, 2017) : A video showing last to first join has been shared by Sandra Figg. Note the way she rotates the motif to orient the 2 rings correctly.  This same concept of reorientation is applicable to outward facing rings or rosettes.

Many many thanks to Kelly for this wonderful pattern !
 happy tatting :-) 

Wednesday 19 April 2017

quest for a tail

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tatting diagrams for 3 braids

3 Split Ring braids / tails 
derived from and for Jon Yusoff’s
Chinese Coin Bookmark 

I shared the completed body in my earlier post. Jon’s original bookmark ends in a long tassel which looks beautiful. Instead, I decided to make a tail, with a possible short tassel or charm at the tip. 

I made a couple of rough sketches, which are now converted into the following diagrams: 
These were my initial thoughts –
Split ring braid #1 rejected right off.
Couldn't decide between #2 & #3 (although I preferred the latter), neither whether I wanted a tassel or a charm.
Nothing to it but to start tatting one side ...
... and the shuttles decided to go with a single coin motif as charm :-)

The stitchcount for the entire tail is same as for the original bookmark.

After completing the charm, I tried to see how split ring braid #2 would look - after all it would be a miniature coin...
Nope, didn’t like it – seemed too angular.
Un-tatted and went with #3 and am very happy with the phase shift in chains !

As with a few other patterns, it was easier and quicker to switch shuttles and tat the chains with reverse stitch (unflipped) – no need to unwind & rewind main shuttle !
With direct chains, all tatting is from the front side, hence no reverse work, which adds to the confusion in such serpentine or magic square-type patterns.

TIP : I also discovered an easier way to join these RS chains with a down join. A down join, followed by the unflipped 1st half-stitch, creates the visibly complete stitch.
Pull loop of SH2 down through picot, pass SH1 through loop and snug. Make sure thread slides freely. 

These tails (and the bookmark itself) can be used as edgings and insertions or beaded jewelry.

Following the Chinese theme, I picked out a few related books ...
Peony was my first Pearl Buck book, and also my first literary window into Chinese culture. It was one of a few books that my friend gifted when she left for the US. While not in good state, I treasure it very much because she spent a lot of thought into which books to be given to which friend.
One thing I always remember from Peony - they wake a sleeping individual with soft music or songs, giving the 'wandering soul' time to return to the body.

Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud  This book I read a few years back and it was real eye-opener. Retracing Xuanzang's journey along the silk route in search of Buddhism in the 8th century, Sun Shuyung has woven a beautiful picture of the past and present. We studied a bit about the monk (our history books called him Huen Tsang), but to actually be brought to life in that era was a whole new experience. And to think all this was lost till an interested British archaeologist Alexander Cunningham rediscovered Buddhism in India !
The only thing I missed in this book were photographs. A few more photos would have done wonders, especially when the author was visiting and talking about real monuments, etc.

happy tatting and happy reading always :-)

Tuesday 18 April 2017

a central harmony

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Merry Christmas Snowflake
Sharon Briggs

Some patterns have an inherent harmony. I believe this snowflake is one such – elegance personified.

Clearly, there’s a flower within (remember the flower within series of snowflakes?). But this time I went with pristine white.
Tatted in one pass, in size 40, it measures a tad over 2 inches.
Tatted up so quickly, too - all in one sitting while supervising the AC servicemen ! Errr, I did have pre-loaded shuttles – so that’s a huge time-saver right there :-) 

Entire snowflake is worked clockwise.
If we start the daisy with shuttle 1, and climb out with split rings, then because we are moving clockwise, shuttle 2 becomes the main shuttle for all subsequent tatting (rounds 2 & 3).
With fs/bs tatting, the rings in both outer rounds will be worked backside (RODS) and these are cross-hatched clearly in the diagram !
Sharon’s diagrams are so self-explanatory. There are a couple of symbols (on top right of each pattern) that I am not very sure about, but this is no way hampers the working.
UPDATE : The explanation of symbols used in her patterns can be found here. Thanks Sharon :-)

Techniques :  2 shuttles, CTM, fs/bs tatting, daisy, split ring, mock picot, lock join.

I thoroughly enjoyed working this pattern and the actual result is better than what the lens or scanner captured !
This, and many more of Sharon's patterns can be found here
Besides patterns, and the inspiring display on her 25 Motif Challenge blog, I have learned a great deal from the design lessons she posted !

Many many thanks, Sharon :-)

And here’s what I did with the heart I tatted in previous post – made another SOUP ribbon bookmark charm! (tatting SOUP : Sewing On/Using Pieces of tatting)

  I did start reading this book a long time back, but never completed it. Should pick it up again...
Nina Libin's Heart for Kay acting as a ribbon bookmark charm ! All is harmony, all is peace ...

wishing you many stress-free harmonious hours of tatting :-)

Sunday 16 April 2017

back to tatting

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tatted heart, bookmark & kite

I hadn’t been doing much tatting for the past several days, trying to stay focused on completing all the presentations, diagrams and pdfs for the spring garland (hoo boy, it takes way too much time!!!). But the last few days were a bit better. I slowly got back into the tatting mojo and some of the UFOs are turning into WIPs ! While there are a couple of exciting things I cannot show yet, here are a few I can…

Heart for Kay
Nina Libin
The butterfly called out to me ! Just like in Irene Woo’s Heart of the Butterfly. Wish I could've taken a combo pic of the two, except that it has been gifted & happily received. 
This one, too, is tatted in 3 strands of embroidery thread, but I worked the heart in opposite direction to that given in the diagram. If I’d followed the diagrammed sequence, my butterfly would’ve had backside rings.

The 8-ring formation
Here I didn’t use any SLT. Instead I tatted the outer (thrown) ring first, then the inner ring, and continued with the chain. It seems to hold up fine even without any blocking.
This is a pretty pattern and quick to tat up. The pattern, to be shared with OTC tomorrow, can be downloaded here. It is scheduled to be shared with the Online Tatting Class tomorrow. 

UPDATE (Apr 18, 2017): see how I used this lovely heart here .

Chinese Coin Bookmark
Jon Yusoff
This free pattern has been with me for ages, ever since I found this teeming tatting world online. Seeing Fox’s work recently, inspired me to finally take it up. What I can do now, I couldn't have done 4 years back, so the delay was good ;-)
After the first few repeats, I felt bored with the single colour (I should’ve chosen something brighter!). More so because I felt I could've tatted alternate halves, then used a different colour to fill in the missing halves - like 2 sinusoidal waves. 
But now the body is happily completed and am working a tail from part of the pattern itself. No pics yet. The first half took a while to get used to, but the return was a breeze. And I'm pretty satisfied with the look.

Kite with Cluny Tail
Mimi Dillman
I started this cute kite, also from the Online Tatting Class, in March, intending it as a bookmark. Now I have some more ideas that need working out. Should I use this as a charm and combine 4 motifs to create a larger diamond for the main body? Decisions !!! Will take it up again after I finish the coin bookmark.  

Many many thanks to all the talented designers for sharing their work :-)

Sunday 9 April 2017

sights n scents of an Indian spring

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a free tatting pattern

I had just finished my Block Heart patterns in early Feb when Georgia threw me a hint about thinking ahead towards spring, ITD, etc. (groan !!!)
Coincidentally, earlier that week the advent of spring had been celebrated in India . Having already tatted an an impressionistic collage for the end-of-spring celebrations called Holi, I looked up some details of the former. 
The beginning of spring ‘basant’/‘vasant’ season is heralded by a burst of flowers and celebrated in large parts of India as Vasant Panchmi, with floral tributes, religious ceremonies, joyous singing, dancing, kite flying,…
You know how I love tatting flowers – what better than a garland incorporating some of that joyous spirit in an Indian leitmotif. 
This pattern (and the mustard fields) is going to be shared with the Online Tatting Class on Monday, and length of post was unavoidable due to pics ...

Spring Garland
a tatted floral veni/jadai

This is my attempt to capture a few of the colours and spirit of this spring festival with attached symbolism – auspiciousness of marigold flowers, the swaying yellow fields of mustard, and the fragrant white jasmines – as a garland around neck or as a ‘veni’ worn by women in their hair. (pronounced ‘waynee’. A broad floral garland also called ‘jadai’ in Southern India and worn by brides)
Before I dive into the pattern details, I urge all tatters to please check out this video on flower veni making – the first few minutes will reveal something I'd never noticed before. I’ve seen many methods, but not this !   
The scents !!!! Pure floral essence or attars and an exquisitely hand-carved sandalwood box.

I have already shared the 3 stand-alone patterns. Here, they are joined to create a broader garland. 
Marigold braid acts as the foundation row ;
Mustard fields acts as a filler middle row ; and
Jasmine braid tops the ensemble. 

Recommended thread size : between 30 to 50. The tatted model is worked mostly in vintage 40 which is equivalent to size 50. The measurements work out to :
Marigolds : ½ inch wide; 3 flowers = 1 inch
Mustard : ¾ inch wide (~ 4½” long)
Jasmine : ½ inch wide; 8 buds = 1 inch

Row 1 : Marigold Garland
This row is tatted exactly as per pattern shared here, for desired length.
The first flower was mistakenly left unattached (see "Oops" below)
Part of this length is for the main body, the rest for a tail or tie.
One fully loaded bobbin is sufficient for the 23 flowers in size 50, and a bit less for the green.

Row 2 : Mustard Fields
Attach thread to any of the marigold flowers and work a fabric of these single-shuttle picot flowers as per pattern & instructions here. This row is worked from right to left overall, but in a to an fro fashion as seen in next pic ...

The work grows from side to side as seen in the marked sequence – this is only a guide. 
There could've been a couple more flowers at the beginning (see "Oops" below)

On one side, the flower is attached, using a normal picot join, to the row 1 marigolds before returning back to the other side. But leave some slack on the joining loop to resemble a picot, as described in pattern.

To keep the 'open' edge relatively straight, I initially used grid paper – place your work on the grid, and see that the work is aligned to desired width.
Continue for desired width and length.
One fully loaded shuttle (size 50 thread) sufficed for this 4½” long segment.
Since we are working with a single shuttle and flowers are randomly arranged, some bare thread is required, old-style, to span the distance between 2 flowers. This, however, stays hidden on the wrong side. (a wrongside view of garland is shared below).

For a dense effect, keep the flowers close, and bare thread minimal. The texture & feel in fine thread is quite exquisite !

Row 3 : Jasmine Braid
Attach threads to a marigold nearest to the edge of body. The first ring is joined to an adjacent picot after closing, to anchor the braid well.
Basic pattern, shared here, remains the same, except that the left column of flowers is attached to previous row of mustards as follows ...
SR (on left)  : 8 + 2 p 6 vsp 2 / 2ushs p 1 p 1 .
SR (on right): 10 p 6 vsp 2 / 2ushs p 1 p 1.

In response to some confusion about direction of 3rd ring, I have drawn a diagram : 

To turn the corner : after tatting the right-side ring (numbered 1 in above pic), tat another ring without turning work. This ring 2 is joined to the vsp of ring 1. After closing, lock join to the vsp of previous left-side ring, and without turning work, tat ring 3.

 Ring 3 is lock joined to the picot of previous left-side ring as shown by the + sign. 
(see "Oops" below)

Now turn work and tat a regular left-side ring, joining to previous row and continue to desired length.

A gauge from the practice pieceIt was not always easy to gauge where to attach the jasmine ring. A short practice piece of 5-8 flowers was very helpful in correct attachment! When it came time to join, I placed the gauge over the braid, matching the flowers, and knew which picot on row 2 would be needed.
When it was time to join, I placed the gauge over the braid, matching the flowers, and knew which picot on row 2 would be needed (crochet hook used as an indicator here).

TIP : If one does not want a straight-ish edging, join the jasmine at any stitch along the 10 stitches instead of after 8.

Only 2 instead of 3 continuous jasmine rings would've sufficed to turn this corner. The first ring actually got hidden under the previous right-side ring ! But 3 rings would work for a full turn.

 The jasmine braid is continued unattached to form a tail or tie. 

as seen from the wrong side.
I deliberately went with a different braid at each end in order to showcase them separately and also to keep a bit of freestyling. Obviously, the tatter is at liberty to use any combination of braids, or repeats of the same braid, to create many variations !
By altering the row widths, and combination/placement/addition of beads, or changing the thread colours, the pattern can become a necklace, a bracelet, anklet, belt, etc. or individual flowers/groups can be used as appliqué, brooch, and so on. How about a floral henna for a bride's hand ?!  
I am going to use it as a bookmark, hence no beads.

Oops !
Parts of this garland were tatted on the go, and a few mistakes crept in. Here is a listing to quell any confusion, hopefully :
1. Marigolds – the first flower is not joined. It was a mistake which I incorporated as a design modification in order to get the curve.
Since I did not know how long a tail was needed, the wip pics show 2 threads of this row at right end where I left the shuttles ‘dangling’, and completely the unattached braid tail at the end.

2. Mustard – the first few flowers are not as closely situated as the rest. I could’ve added a few with scrap thread later, but have left it for now.

3. Jasmine – the given pattern & diagrammed pdf starts with the first ring on the left, which is how I started the row initially. 

But it left an unseemly gap on the right side. Hence, for this garland, the first ring is on the right, BUT it is tatted backside just as in pattern. 
Close-up pics in Jasmine braid show that I did not keep the green thread at back of work while starting the next ring, thus the bare thread is visible on top.
Corner : For an gentle angle, instead of 3 continuous rings, 2 would suffice. The first of these is now hidden behind a previous ring on that side – one tatted & joined as usual, the next joined to the long picot of right side flower, and then turn work and tat the right side flower as usual.

Okay, I think I need a break from all these long posts, as do you my dear readers :-) 
Dear hubby misses my company due to the long hours spent daily in front of this PC ;-P

Hope you are enjoying fair weather and happily tatting away :-) 
see you in class !