Sunday, 26 March 2017

a Sunday tatting puzzle

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How to notate ?

I’d like a bit of help, please.
I checked and rechecked, counted and recounted, compared with original tatted model, … and was very confident that what I wrote and tatted was correct.
Then I Googled and found many tatters have made and blogged about the same project over the years, but there was no mention of anything amiss.
Now my confidence is undermined and I need you to take a few seconds and choose the correct one, before I make a complete fool of myself ;-P 

One ring and chain are diagrammed above, along with stitchcount.

When there are many picots separated by the same number of stitches, we like to shorten the notation by putting a single repeat within brackets followed by the number of times the bracketed segment needs to be repeated. 

Going by this ‘shorthand’ method, which of the following notations is correct for each element - A or B ; C or D ?  (refer to diagram)

  A]   R:  3 (– 3) x6, 7 – 7  RW
  B]   R: (3 –) x6, 7 – 7  RW

  C]  CH: 7 (– 3) x5, 7
  D]  CH: 7 (– 3) x4, – 7

With experienced tatters, our brains autocorrect ; but for new/beginners incorrect notations can cause unnecessary frustration. It is this latter scenario that makes me more vigilant now.

Waiting for your response, tatters J
A or B  for ring ? and 
C or D for chain ?


Just to complete and justify the title, here are a few other ways we come across for the diagram above.

Without any brackets ...
     R: 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 7 – 7 . RW
  CH: 7 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 7

Some include the total number of picots in that element as end of line …
     R: 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 7 – 7 . RW (7p total)
  CH: 7 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 7.   (5p in all)

“sep” or “sep by” is shortened from “separated by”. It gives us only the number of stitches between the end picots in that segment  ….
     R: 3ds, 6p sep 3ds, 7ds, p, 7ds. RW
  CH: 7ds, 5p sep 3ds, 7ds

These are a few that are most often used when converting descriptive antique patterns to shorter modern format.

Friday, 24 March 2017


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tribute to a tatter and ode to tatting

A tatting tribute to Irene who passed away recently ...

Heart of the Butterfly 
Irene Woo

In keeping with the season,  I chose spring colours. Tatted with 3 strands of embroidery thread/floss.
It is such a pretty pattern ! Now that I Googled it, I find that it is also called 'Butterfly Heart'.

I will share my own notes and the revised pattern in a future post.
That butterfly has one wing smaller. Instead of retro-tatting, I made a Josephine ring head and wrapped the tail thread around to simulate a body.

And check out this poem Georgia shared on BellaOnline

Why I Tat? 
Sariah Joy 


I have often wondered why I tat - why does it consume me and fascinate me ? Most articles made are for beauty & decoration, not functional or wearable, and get stashed on completion. It is time-consuming unlike crochet or knitting and so much more difficult to unravel after a mistake. Yet, give me a shuttle any day!
Perhaps it is that lace, besides being pretty, is small enough to experiment with and stash away too. That small piece is complete in itself, yet does not take up space. The tools & materials are minimal, too, hence easily portable when traveling.
It does keep my hands 'productively' occupied, my brain challenged, and my curiosity sparked.
Or may be some brains are just wired to tat - our default is tatting, even if we enjoy other crafts ?!

Why do you tat ?!


keep tatting happily always 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Spring celebration

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Star Dahlia by Anna Barzyk
Clover by Mariya Darydova

Hexagons always appeal to me - be it in any art or craft form. Tatted snowflakes are aplenty, but the focus is on tips/points with 'invisible' or inferred sides. 
Addionally, I love when chains are used to outline previous elements, highlighting aspects with width.
No wonder this pattern was such a pleasure to tat - a clear-sided, textured, yet elegant pattern.
I follow Anna's blog and love her beautiful tatting and other projects. She shared this pattern here recently. I chose a lighter outline to represent the flower in nature.

Clover is a cleverly designed pattern. Joining to the vsp at beginning of chain in each leaflet creates a charming center which is evident in the left leaf and much more in Marya's model.
The left leaf follows her pattern verbatim, split chain and all.
The right one, tatted first, is a bit of a lazy tatting attempt. Here, I worked all 4 leaflets completely, instead of a split chain,  and then tatted the chain stem. 
I'll be back with something more on clovers soon....

Many thanks to Anna and Mariya
 for sharing their pretty patterns.

I hope you, too, enjoy tatting these as much as I did

Monday, 13 March 2017

crowning Chaos !

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What a colourful life I live, in complete disarray! Who knew when I chose 'Chaos' as my next book to read,  it would become manifest in various aspects - not exactly the Butterfly Effect, but not in my control either. Do I sound like a broken record ?! ;-P

Tatted Edging
Coats and Clark Book 121 , pattern A295

Remember this vintage pattern I was 'modernizing'? Anetta spotted why the straight edging curved into a collar - a missed ring ! Decided to tat the entire pattern again, so as eliminate all chaos in pattern-writing while climbing out of rows.

Georgia shared it in this Mar 9th Bellaonline newsletter and will be sharing it in Online Tatting Class today. If there is any confusion due to conversion glitches, the original pdf with all symbols can be downloaded here.

It has a dense centre (row 1) with all those picots,  but I really like the scalloped shape.  And the versatility is visible in the various projects derived from that one edging pattern ! Add beads and you have such a plethora!

Please note : Adding a short chain at end can enable us to work the entire 5-row pattern in one pass !! The sequence of working the rows will change, though.

I have not changed any stitch count. Row 1 ruffles. I used my usual rolling pin blocking method after shaping with fingers.
I had more pics, but they are inaccessible at present.
I realise that the images and text are not in sync, but that's the crowning chaos ;-P

Many many thanks to Georgia for "empowering" us !
Join in if you can.

happy tatting down through the decades :-)

Friday, 10 March 2017

revisiting options

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When learning, we move from easy to complex to consolidation. Further learning and explaining requires an ability to break the complex into easy. I’ve come full circle with this tutorial. In my defense, I am continually learning J

A Craftrean is working on Renulek’s Wiosna 2015 and referring to my notes. This prompted me to read through my Round 9 notes. Errrghh ! Unnecessary complication!
In light of more experience, here’s a simpler, more direct method of working that round, with shuttles always in position (no SLT or ungainly cross-threads). And how changing the base join can change colour placement. 
click on image for larger view

Wiosna 2015 Round 9 REVISITED

Start with 2 shuttles, CTM (if using one colour).
I have used 2 colours to differentiate the 2 threads at a glance and also to illustrate colour placement options.
When working from the backside, you can use the reverse order of half stitches (RODS - optional, but indicated).

Start with shuttle 1 ring, working from backside. (RODS)
Reverse Work
Tat chain from front.
Lock/shuttle join to ring picot. Continue around the ring as per pattern. 
Last chain is to be attached in space between ring and chain as indicated by the pin in #5.
Lock join to base. (see join options below).
Turn Work
Switch shuttle and work the chain from backside. (this chain is attached to Round 8 in doily)
Switch shuttle and work ring backside. Notice that it is worked like a thrown/thrown off ring.
After closing ring, Reverse Work.
Work chain frontside and join to previous motif as per pattern. Continue around.
2nd motif complete. Continue in similar fashion for entire round.

Colour Placement Options
When working with a single colour, the above method is sufficient. But when we work with 2 colours, choices need to be made between colour of ring, colour of chains around ring, and colour of chain between adjacent rings.

Shoelace/Overhand Tie
We already know that colours can be switched using the SLT or shoelace/overhand tie. I am not a great fan of this method, but it does the job.

Onion Ring Join
Instead of a Lock Join at base of ring, an onion ring join can be used.
Pull a loop of chain thread & pass core thread through it. Tension and continue as before.
Compare the change in colour placement with first two motifs.
If we use onion ring join, the switch in colour will happen naturally after every 2 repeats.

Reverse Join
Pull a loop of core thread as if making a lock join. But encapsulate the chain thread within, and then make the lock join.
This tends to switch shuttles/colours automatically. What we would do with LJ+SLT, is accomplished with one RJ.
Compare colour placement with earlier motifs.

In conclusion, for the same pathway and working, we can choose our colour placement by choosing the type of join.
And, of course, there are many options available to work Round 9, as discussed in the earlier post and here.
Also, this same path can be used for onion rings ! I've been using it since Robin's Frauberger Bookmark which I learnt later (so I'm excused, right ?!)

If anybody wants larger pictures or a pdf, please let me know through comment or email and I will mail the original pics to you or upload the pdf.

till then, happy tatting always J

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

Monday, 6 March 2017

cute flower motifs

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Tatting Decorations
Daniela Mendola

I could just do the one, though Daniela has shared them in many sizes ! I loved the simple lines and the elegant shape of the petals. She has so many patterns on her blog - all very elegant and pleasant. And she dabbles in many different crafts, uploading video tutorials or pictorials in embroidery, crochet, and tatting. This is my first, but definitely not my last ! 

What also attracted me was the bare thread line overlapping the round 1 petals. She demonstrates it in her video, but it also reminded me of Martha Ess' Decorative Join.
Essentially, both are the same. The only difference is that Martha pulls up the chain loop from the front, thus getting visible 4 threads while Daniela pulls up the chain loop from the back, thus distributing 2 threads in front & 2 at back. In some ways it's like the former is in a flat plane while the latter is in a perpendicular plane. I really like the effect, even though this image shows me that I didn't execute them to perfection !!!

Tatted in size 20, this one measures 1.5" across

many thanks, Daniela ! 
happy tatting J

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Fill in the rings

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Turkish tatting and filled-in rings 

BD Angel 2017
Wally Sosa

Wally has been sharing a birthday motif annually for the last 17 years ! This time she chose an angel with Turkish Tatting or Oya Makuk (lace shuttle). She has shared an excellent stepwise pictorial, as well as Karen’s video for this technique. Both made it easy to follow along.  

I used various shapes of sequins to create a wing-like effect, along with a beaded star in the center. 
So that I remember in future : thread the left wing sequin, red star, round sequin and bead on the shuttle (core thread). Then bring the thread back through the 3 sequins, thus securing the bead over the 3 layers. Snug into place. Then load the right wing. This can be done over a picot, if desired.
I also increased the stitches in the head ring so that it showed up nicely over the ‘wings’. 
I had to decrease the skirt length because it was becoming too wide (I need to practice controlling my hand loom). Instead of 15 weaves, I only did 10 or 11. The increased width also called for a longer chain below.
The above pic shows the angel from behind. I like this woven edge too - feels 'sunken'.

It was tremendous fun learning a new technique on such a cute, quick pattern. One suggestion in the OTC was to add beads on the long picots ! Wouldn't that be awesome. 

Many thanks to Wally for sharing her immense creativity.


  My Experiments with Solid or Filled-In Rings

It was my first attempt at Oya Makuk above, but many months back I did experiment with filling in rings. You might remember that tiny 3D spiderwort doodle.

The images below are all prototypes. I haven't been able to work on them since.

In this first experiment, graduated picots are made on a normal/true ring. Then on the way back, keep joining to each picot. Close ring. The effect closely resembles oya, but can be done within a true ring. 
Requires tremendous practice to get it looking nice ; size of ring is a limiting factor ; joining is a bit fiddly.
On the plus side, no need for any other thread or shuttle ; no extra thread ends to hide ; can make spot decisions.

Could I fill the entire ring ?
The graduated picots were made along the edge as before, but at the tip I added a twisted picot for spiked effect, and went back from above, joining to each picot and adding a few extra stitches to get the larger arch. One can use a folded ring for this. When Inverted tatting fails us, this faux inverted tatting can come to the rescue !
I found this leaf ring much easier to close than the petals, and could make it larger, too. 
Again, requires a lot of practice. And one must be careful while closing the ring.

Now this is something I have never come across !
It is a ring made and filled up Entirely with chains !!!
Start the chain (I used 2 colours to differentiate between core and chain/stitch thread). At regular intervals, insert a paperclip to hold an inward picot space. I have 3 such picots as evident from the clips.
Continue with a long chain ; fold at desired point, turning back and joining to inner picot, fold and move to right, and so on. It is one continuous chain, being joined back to picots along it's inner lengths. 
Pretty fiddly, of course, with all those dangling clips. But fun to experiment ! And do-able too. And no limit to size of ring !!!

In balance, of course, one has to admit that Oya makuk is the way to go. Turkish tatting is a much simpler, quicker, neater way to fill in a ring of any size or shape ! And so much easier to add beads in the filling picots !!!

Hope you enjoyed my little whimsical meanderings ....

happy tatting always :-)