Wednesday, 12 July 2017

slippery paths

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a TWoT analysis of climbing out in tatting

Mark ‘tatman’ Myers’ Luster Snowflake
Studying Pathways and Process – a stepwise pictorial

Luster snowflake by Mark Myer is an excellent study in tatting continuously without cutting the thread, using techniques such as split rings (SR) and self closing mock rings (SCMR) to climb out. The pattern also provides plenty of SCMR practice.

We’ve all been there – we can do the split rings and SCMRs, yet the orientation and which shuttle goes where can get confusing during early stages of learning. Which is what happened with Amritha from the online class. She is aggressively learning many tatting techniques and often emails me for help. I can usually answer her questions using various means, but this particular one needed a holistic approach. It required more stepwise visuals, despite the accompanying diagram and notations therein. And I discovered 2 pathways in the process!

With Mark Myer’s kind permission and lovely email, I am sharing the path/sequence of elements in the snowflake, through the use of 2 different colours, in the hope that others facing similar situations may also find some resolution. 
This exercise will be beneficial in future 2-colour tatting to understand placement of colours, direction of tatting, shuttle choice, and directional (frontside/backside) tatting - to make choices and understand effects.

This project was started & completed in May when his Tatterville site was still operational. Since then, most of his patterns have been shifted to facebook. 
This pattern can be downloaded from Photos  Tatting Patterns album.

Click to download Pictorial pdf of Luster Snowflake Process
The stepwise pics and explanation are in the pdf along with notes, tutorial links, table and tips such as when to switch shuttles, etc. 

When you climb out with a split ring and the very next element is a chain, how do you work this ? Do you reverse work and tat the chain from the back side (path 2) or do you simply switch shuttles and continue from the front side (path 1) ?

My own feeling is that the former is almost a natural subconscious movement and often unwritten/unspecified in written patterns & diagrams. The switch shuttles is a more ‘modern’ phenomenon. And I guess tatman used the Reverse Work path - it all fits in.
I faced a somewhat similar directional dilemma in this heart pattern where the diagram & instructions went a certain way & my tatting the other.

Your choice determines the overall direction of working the round, the shuttle required for elements such as thrown rings & SCMRs, and also the colour of chains, thrown rings, mock rings in two-colour tatting. 
This is one of the TWoT (This Way or Tat?) rules that is yet to be shared through diagrams.
Let's examine it partially through the snowflake ....
In both models, shuttle 1 has copper thread and shuttle 2 has green. The center is worked exactly the same. Only after the climbing into outer round with split ring, do we need to take a decision on how to proceed.

TWoT Rule for climbing out with a split ring
Path 1 involves choosing the nearest shuttle . Thus tatting progresses from the front, in a clockwise direction. 

Path 2 involves reversing work (RW) as we would do if it were a regular ring-chain pattern. Here, tatting progresses counterclockwise when seen from the front. (The same consequences are seen if we Turn Work here)

Compare also the colour changes that occur in the outer round because of these choices - in the chains, the rings and the thrown clover!
And obviously the working shuttle changes.

So how do we decide which shuttle produces what effect in some of the common techniques used ? Especially in 2-colour tatting. The following table works as a quick reference. 
Red thread in shuttle 1 & blue thread in shuttle 2. 
The table shows the colour of stitches and the lower row shows core thread colour (which is the same as the working shuttle, except in case of split rings).
And these coloured arrows depict the core thread colour in the luster snowflake (path 1) model ... where red is shuttle 1 (copper thread) & green is shuttle 2 (green thread)

This post has probably become more technical than I'd intended, so if you managed to read through, you are my hero :-)))

I thoroughly enjoyed tatting the 3 models, although I do prefer working in size 40 (white). And I hope some confusion will be laid to rest through the pictorial in pdf.
This is my first tatman pattern, but definitely not the last.

Many many thanks to Mark ‘tatman’ Myers
for his gracious permission and generosity

Related Posts :
How to avoid gapsosis in ring clusters (Luster snowflake used for pictorial)  


  1. Well it goes to show that there's more than one way of skinning a cat - or tatting a snowflake.

  2. Very interesting! I always appreciate your in-depth explanations. I learn so much from your posts!

  3. Jane, Diane, Sue - you are my heroes :-D Thanks for reading through and leaving an encouraging comment :-)

  4. Beautiful:)
    Thank you, i will definitely use :)

  5. There is lots to making of the snowflake and all the tips are great walk through you are great at staying focused and posting the steps and reminders too. As always :) I guess you can tell I am at the computer not my new phone I don't have cute go to pictures to comment with :) hugs to you dear :)

  6. Beautiful snowflakes, and pattern, thank you for sharing the pattern

  7. More heroes ! Thanks Renata & Margaret :-)
    And Carollyn - I do love your cute new icons and how you play with them to brighten up our blog and day :-D