Sunday, 24 September 2017

grace marks

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Continuing with the doily DIP (design in progress) … the next 2 rounds are tatted !

So Rounds 5 (the 2 lower pics) and 6 completed. Started on Round 7, with Round 8 on the app.
I might end soon thereafter. 
I heartily welcome your thoughts, reactions, and suggestions. Would you be interested in tatting it if I wrote the pattern ? It looks better in person than in the pics.

But let me rewind back to last year. It all started on Craftree when a small group informally came together to do a Round Robin. I remained interested throughout, never gathering the courage or confidence to actually attempt anything. And Wow, those doilies are a designer’s dream (and a few of the ladies were first-timers) !

Grace Tan coordinated and updated the thread there and kept encouraging me to take part. She even proposed a RR starting Jan 2017 where we wouldn’t need to send the doily across physically. We could each design a round and share the pattern around.

Even though it did not come about, this remained at the back of my mind.
Only now something seemed to click and the rounds are coming together… I owe this project to Grace’s faith in me.  

I’m still a novice, finding my way around. But I can't stop myself from sharing what I learn from self-discovery and from the tips and advice left by my friendly tatters :-)
Here are a few (in no particular order) for beginners like myself –

Doily Designing for Dummies
Want to design your very first doily ? These few pointers might come in handy.

  1. Keep it simple.
In terms of technique, elements, process. There will be plenty of opportunities later to apply advanced techniques or designs.

  1. Keep it focused.
A theme can help maintain focus and reduce our tendency to be too adventurous. My doily has a radiating theme. And I have tried to avoid Reverse Work, tatting clockwise from the front. It makes my work very easy and limits my rambling off.

  1. Motif - Zone in on 1 or 2 design elements.
Repeating this element with tweaks in placement, number, and size is sufficient to create later rounds. In my doily it is mainly the outward facing ‘rings’ and some wavy chains. (Echoing - see #10)

  1. How to avoid or tackle ruffling or cupping 

  1. Use tools to design.
eg. Grids. A polar grid for circular projects also helps us see & compare the proportions between old and new rounds, thus reducing trial and error in stitchcount.
Apps. I used Sketch Guru app on my tablet to doodle ideas. Upload actual picture and work off it.
These are only 2 examples of the many available tools, apps & programs.

  1. Design ahead.
It helps to think of TWO future rounds so that one has an idea of where joining picots are needed.
One can use a fine crochet hook to make the joins, but remember that a picot brings some height to the round/row. Hence estimating whether the entire round will lie flat or the number of stitches required can be flawed.

  1. Lots of picots !
If one cannot think 2 rounds ahead, then have lots of picots in the new round. We can then choose which to join to in new round. What to do with the remaining picots can be decided later in the final version.

  1. Prioritize
This is part of staying focused. Once the ‘skeleton’ is ready in the trial model(s), decorative elements such as picots, beads, colours,  can be added in later or final version.

  1. Functional highlights & end goals
If a doily is to be placed under an object, that object will hide the central portion of the doily. Hence make sure that the design highlights are where they will always be visible. Also thinking ahead to how you want to end the doily can assist in designing the earlier rounds. (Tablescaping - see #10)

  1. Design Features
Spacing ; Filling v/s Featuring ; Echoing ; Avoid over-thinking (muddying the waters) ; Tablescaping ; Spanning. 
See the strength of collective wisdom ? Go seek advice :-)

In the 10 points listed, some are direct inputs from Grace & Ninetta, but it is also a synergy of several cumulative factors and forces over time.

These are first thoughts and not a sacrosanct list. Creative minds and hands come up with their own paths and no one path is universal. So pick up your shuttles, don your designer’s hat and get going. See you ‘around’ J

A very special thanks to Grace & Ninetta
salute to the tatting community


  1. Wow, it's lovely to see how your doily is developing! You give me too much credit - I think most of the ideas and insights about designing a doily came from you yourself! ;-)

    1. Thanks, Grace :-) Watching you and the others design each round of those fabulous RR doilies was so very inspiring ! But your faith gave me confidence :-)

  2. Great advice. I found a grid or a chart of circles very handy when I designed the African sky doily. Don't want to tat a whole round and then find it cups or ruffles.

    1. (sheepish..) I did just that last night, Jane ;-P Tatted an entire round that will be snipped off! The pattern remained same but stitchcount and joins needed tweaking. Had 3 different segments in that 1 round, but am happy with the last. Will remember to take a pic before snipping :-D

  3. Very good advice, I have designed small things but not a doily as yet.
    Perhaps one day I might give it a try, I have a few things I'm playing with but I'll see how things go.
    I look forward to seeing how you progress

    1. Just the ramblings of a dummy designing her first doily, Margaret ;-P I think it's a matter of getting down to it, especially with all your experience. Once you start, things will start to fall into place...

  4. I love the way your doily is developing! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Thanks Diane :-) I'm fairly happy with it myself - not bad for a first, right ;-P

  5. Muskaan your doily looks amazing. Its tempting me to tat one. Also your pointers(advice) for designing are so useful. I look fwd to tat your doily pattern.

    1. and I thought it wouldn't appeal to you, Usha, without dot picots ;-P
      Do I hear you volunteering to test-tat it or would you like to wait for the final pattern to be released ?

    2. Hey Muskaan! I will tat your doily with normal picots for a change �� And surely tat with dot picots too. Haha😁

    3. Usha, I'd love for you to have dot picots wherever you want !! More the merrier :-D

  6. Thank you...
    Hat off! I think you're doing the hard part that is rationalising and teaching. Great to-do-list! I should print this beside notes from the online designing class. You rename the blog-post "10 ways to..." it would be perfect also for Mr.Google ;-)
    Yes, your other post listed in point 10 is great, now is time to decide if filling or spacing, repeat or not, etc. I'm looking forward to see what comes next! You're amazing!

    1. omg, this is so sweet of you, Nin ! Coming from a crafter who can belt out fantastic doilies & lace at the drop of a hat means so much to me !
      Not to mention Jane's one-of-a-kind Under the African Sky doily.
      Sharon Briggs' tutorials, then Susan's Design Class definitely contributed to my learning.
      I like your idea of tricking Mr Google ;-P

  7. What fun ,I wanted or sugested doing this but never got the foratude to follow through with a group to do a "round the world doily" so glad you have done this looks so fun and beautiful too😍

    1. Carollyn, we can have a 'RRR' - resident round robin - some time in future ? Each does a round in turn and shares the pattern for that round so that others can be up to date ... No need for sending the doily & threads physically around the world !
      For now, I'm enjoying playing it by myself ;-P

  8. Very good tips and interesting pattern :)

  9. Glad you liked this, Anetta & Sue :-)
    Snipped off to re-tat from round 5 onward. Happier with it now.

  10. I love the way, the dolly is developed.

    1. Thanks Alka :-) I've completed it in 9 rounds for the present version. Will upload the trial pics soon.