Saturday, 20 May 2017

DROPping into space !

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I had the pleasure of test tatting a snowflake which had square rings.
Jumped at the opportunity to practice square rings. The only time I tried a couple of these was 3 years back & at the time I was still groping my way through the plethora of techniques. Nothing to write home about.

Diamond Snowflake
Phyllis Schmidt

The highlight of this flake is obviously the square ring oriented like a diamond. 
A square ring is simply a combination of padded tatting and regular tatting

I experimented a lot with the square rings, starting with Christiane Eichler’s method. It is very effective. But you have to work with 2 taped shuttles throughout the entire pattern, which slows down the speed of tatting (unless you have those double bobbin shuttles).

Hence I really liked Phyllis’ practical tweak where she uses only bits of spare thread limited to the square ring. Rest of pattern is worked normally. 
Even with spare thread, I tried a lot of variations and all seem to work just as effectively – same size, smaller size, embroidery floss, different colour, etc. – once we get a hang of the technique, and close the ring tight.

But I will still recommend 3 strands of embroidery thread for size 20 whether in same or different colour – the colour does not show up; being less tightly twisted, it grips the stitches within; it is finer than size 20; and it is easy to find the right shade.
Don't be afraid to pull the spare threads tightly and finally close the ring tightly at the very end, after you are satisfied with the angular shape.

My thoughts on square / angular rings :
I tried to make squares - rings or mock rings - using single bead on core thread, 1ds SCMR, dot picot, padded stitches, to name a few.
End result - padding is absolutely necessary to get really straight lines, whatever way we use to make angle (unless one tats loosely and blocks & stiffens profusely)
The padding can be along core thread as in the 2 methods above, or padding can be on the stitch.

See Phyllis' own working here, including a beaded version.
Pattern is shared here and will be discussed in OTC this Monday 
(along with my twisted picots in the Snowflake Sparkle, I think).

The top left is my first test tat ; the lilac is the final version. One of the spare threads in the latter is yellow coloured, but not visible even from up close.

TIP : And no, the spare thread does Not unravel. 
Yet to ease my paranoia, after closing the ring, I made 1 unflipped second half stitch, encapsulating the spare thread tails, then continued with chain normally. And further, I snipped them close, only after blocking, thus ensuring that the fibres caught on and held their place.

Techniques : 2 shuttle tatting, lock join, square ring, thrown rings, mock picot.
It is worked all from the front, in clockwise direction.
I did not do the unflipped half stitch before starting the square ring.
Blocking (for shape only) and stiffening is recommended.

Besides practicing square rings, I learned a lot from this test tat. Phyllis is so organized and precise in her response and resolution to all feedback. I have already applied this learning to some extent with good results, while testing/corresponding with Usha. Midways, I also became comfortable with Google Docs with it’s comment boxes, et al. Saves so much time !

Off to Space it goes

I magnified & mirrored my ice drops,
am now sending it into outer space.

That colourful bead box is one of my new acquisitions & I love the turning slotted lid !!! It opens only the desired bead segment, and keeps the rest in their place.

Warning : Continue reading at own peril - this is graphic material for precision tatters. ;-P

Yes, I snipped off the picot between rings in the green flake!!! But first I put a spot of fabric glue on each picot, let it dry, then clipped.
Sewed in the blue seed beads with single strand embroidery floss, going through both flakes.
Inserted the clear marble towards the end. A slightly larger marble would be ideal, but I had only these or much larger marbles in my stash.

Stiffened on the back with very slightly diluted liquid fabric starch/stiffener. It dried invisible.

Many many thanks to Phyllis for this splendid opportunity and lovely pattern

whether a flake, a double flake, an ice drop or a spaceship, 
hope you enjoy tatting this as much as I did.

happy tatting in whatever space you find yourself :-)


  1. I've seen square rings before, but never tried them out. You know I'm gonna have to stop by the Online Tatting Class to figure out how to make them :)

    1. Always nice to see you in class, Robin :-)
      Square rings are simply a combination of padded tatting for the sides, and regular tatting to get the angle.

  2. I like it, you always bring such interesting things to class.

    1. Thanks, Bernice :-) I just hope Phyllis likes the 3D adaptation (I kept it as a surprise)

  3. That's brilliant idea of tiny spaceship Muskaan!!! Center beads giving inflated effect to the snowflakes. Phyllis has used square rings nicely.

  4. I remember when these square rings came out and they are fascinating too! Love this snowflake and can't believe you explained in graphic detail the last part you might be reported ha ha ha :)

  5. It's quite a while since I tatted square rings. They're a bit 'off the beaten tatting track', but have their place, as in Phyllis's pretty motif.

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  7. Spell check, grrr. Thank you for your posts. Thank you for your willingness to try things and then explain them. Thank you for your humor!

  8. Usha, Carollyn, Jane, & Michelle thank you for your lovely comments - made my day !!!
    I'm so glad I got to touch base with those square rings in an exciting pattern and do hope I'm not "reported" and deported from TatLand ;-D
    Drop in again :-D

  9. The square rings are very interesting idea :)

    1. It sure is, Anetta ! And pretty easy to accomplish, too. May be patterns like these will popularise it the square rings.

  10. Magnificent! I will have to give square rings a try. My first reaction to the picture was... an Ice Drop fidget spinner! That's something my grandchildren would love! I'll have to show this to my almost 13-year-old grandson. He loves Star Wars and Star Trek!

    1. Diane, I had to go check what a fidget spinner was ( I thought it was a fancy name for a spinning top - you know the newer kinds with domed centers ;-P ). Well, the Ice Drop field widens :-)))
      A slightly flatter marble/cabochon would be ideal but I made do with what I had. Tried coloured marbles, but they didn't make much of an impact either.
      If only I could send it across to your grandson; but pics will have to do :-)

  11. Lovely snowflake, unusual design have put it on my to do list

    1. So right, Margaret, it is a special design. Hope you enjoy tatting it, too :-)