Sunday, 17 June 2018

wish to be a fish!

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Oh yes, you read it right! I do wish I could be a fish and stay in the water. It has been so horrid – hot and humid – here for the last 3 weeks that all one wants to do is laze in cool water or swim about like a fish. All energy is sapped out. We have been facing temperatures in the 110°F or 44°C range and no respite in sight.

So as I was saying, this adorable little fish tat-along came at the right moment!
I’ve admired this cute Kiss Kiss fish all along. Loaded my shuttles with thread and beads.

Size 20 Lizbeth – 132 Tropical Punch and 
pearl beads which are slightly larger than the required size 11

Day 1 – the tail fins and ventral part of the body.
Two long tails from each shuttle act as the padding for the body to allow the fish to keep it’s shape. I really like how she used the tails instead of adding thread separately!

Needless to say, the stitches are unflipped here (reverse stitch for encapsulation or padded tatting).

Day 2 – eyes, kissing lips and dorsal half of body.
With beads for eyes and lips in place, the encapsulation continues on. Dorsal and ventral fins are made with decorative picots.
After joining & knotting back to the tail fins, I simply tied a bow with the thread ends instead of hiding ends. Yup, lazy!

I thoroughly enjoy patterns that can be worked all from the front! And a sweet cute little fish is just so much fun! I do wish I could’ve taken pics against better background with seaworld props. But the weather does not permit all the physical activity involved ;-P I'm fried fish here ....

I intend to make this again with thread & bead sizes complementing each other. Perhaps then I will exert myself for a better background.

Carollyn has explained everything beautifully with stepwise pictures. She has given me permission to draw out a diagram for her patter pdf. So stay tuned to her blog !
It may be a small fish, but the designing is very clever - no small fry !

Thanks a heap, Carollyn, for this wonderful tat-along & pattern!
I still wish I could be this fish :-D

Monday, 11 June 2018

I'm on the take

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Ummm, that news is Fake ! 
Nevertheless, I did succumb to Temptation. It was a Book!  How could I say no?
Aah, heart in hand, I refused. Not once but twice and again later. Even went to Amazon looking to buy it.
She was just so deliciously persistent.  How could I break her enthusiastic heart ...
Am I that heartless ?! ;-P
So these are what tumbled out from Denise’s generous hand into my grateful lap after travelling over 12,000 kms. She had an extra copy of Billie Heisler’s book and wanted to send it to me after reading this magic pathways post

And she sent so many friends along to keep it company ....
... hand dyed threads (never imagined I’d ever hold them in my hand) – one each of Marilee & Karen Solomon, metallic, marigold, … Lizbeth size 10 from the Sweet Tart mix (okay I had asked for just one length of size 10 in order to compare with my Anchor size 20s and put the size issues to rest).
The Marigold is her first attempt at native dyeing -- I'm glad she explained it, making me treasure it even more.

.... her own tatting – priceless! It is wonderful to be able to hold someone’s tatting in hand. This ice drop has an Adorable bee hovering around it!
Isn’t that heart the cutest – “made with love”!!! And all her thoughtfulness, too, is apparent in the entire packaging.
The pink ice drop looks like a pretty flower from both sides! Photo has watered down the lovely pink shade unfortunately. It is flanked by one of her prettified butterfly.

I’m still jumping with joy unable to focus on how to use these lovelies. Hope I can do justice to all she’s sent. Suggestions are most definitely welcome.

And to top it all – a friendly handwritten card (on the top left)!
She also inserted the latest Handy Hands newsletter and their Lizbeth catalogue! The catalogue couldn’t have come at a better time. 
A couple of weeks back I received my order of 2 Lizbeth packs – the Ice mix and Sunkist mix – in size 20. The balls have shade numbers but no names and I was going to go to the HH website to hunt down each. With the catalogue in hand, I simply ticked off the fun names.
I needed solid colours to use for my pattern samples/models. We easily find conversion tables between Lizbeth 20 and other brands, unlike Anchor. I have listed a few in the Resources page (click on Tab) and will soon add more. 

So many goodies and it’s not even my birthday yet ;-P

ps: I’m most definitely not on the take ;-P I have long standing offers from generous tatter/blogger friends which I have steadfastly declined (entire loss being mine).

Can’t thank you enough, Denise ! 
You are a gem & I treasure your friendship.

Friday, 8 June 2018

that one magic node

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Inkscape hack #3

Be it any medium, I am a freehand, freestyle person. 100% accuracy and precision takes a huge toll out of me. Freehand makes me joyous, even if minor flaws creep in. Trading practicality and hedonism for perfection - my mantra or excuse?! ;-P

I had been pleasantly engaged in drawing a seemingly complex tatting diagram for my mate. It consists of many parts that are not all symmetrical. The many sized rings and chains not only face in different directions but some elements have lots of picots.

For picots, I find it easier to draw small straight lines individually with the Bezier (or pencil) tool – trying to orient as I draw. This gives me a quick first draft. Then I group them together and change their value, colour, etc.

Length and orientation may still need tweaking when the whole element/portion is done. Earlier, I would select each picot and use the arrows to do it. Not always convenient since the lines are relatively small and the arrows come in the way (how much can one zoom for each picot – my old compy can’t handle it ;-D)! Further, unless the Control key is held down, the thickness/value of the line changes. This meant an additional step to bring back the required value.

This time I discovered a very easy and sure-fix method that has multiple advantages. All we need is Just One Node! Quite magical, I’d say :-)

We can use a single end node to increase/decrease length and tweak direction. We can also shift the start/end nodes for proper alignment with other elements.
The greatest advantage, besides ease and speed, is that the thickness of the line does not change at all! And it is great when drawing asymmetrical diagrams

Robin’s tutorials cover symmetrically placed elements, and she uses the pencil tool to draw picots

I. Straight Line (Picot)
Choose just one ‘end’ node to change length or direction ! 
(see diagrams below)

Fig1 shows the first draft lines for picots. 
After selecting the picot to be tweaked, I choose Node tool. 
One can choose either of the 2 end nodes. The chosen one will become red coloured to show it is active. 
Then drag 'outwards' (in relation to the line/picot) to increase length (fig3) ; 
drag 'inwards' to decrease length (fig4) ; 
or drag sideways to right or left to change direction (fig5).

II. Curved Line/Arches (Chains) :
Choose just one node to shift arches - length or position ! 
(see diagrams below)

You might remember my quick and easy way to draw a continuous line of chains and create arches between two nodes. Sometimes, after changing the value or on close inspection I find that the points are not aligned correctly - 
one point may either not touch the ring (fig3); 
or may have invaded inside the ring (fig4); 
or may be misaligned (fig5).
All we need to do is select that point, convert to Node and move it in desired direction !

I'm sure this hack is nothing new. But for me it was an exciting self-discovery !!!

Related Posts :
Inkscape Hack #1 - drawing continuous chains
Inkscape Hack #2 - designing from pre-existing template 

hope this shortcut is helpful too...

Monday, 4 June 2018

swept away

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Or more accurately, swept under the carpet during blogger’s spring cleaning! Probably dumped forever.

Blogger has discontinued comment notification through email (it no longer supports OpenID) for the last couple of weeks.
It’s a bit inconvenient, but I’ve found my extra steps to get around this mess since I don’t want to hamper ease, freedom and openness when leaving a comment. I don't want to moderate if I can help it.

Here’s what I do now ….
  1. When I publish a new post, I tick the “Notify me” box and voilà I receive your comments in my Inbox. I’ve done this for my last few posts but not the almost 375 prior posts.
  2. I now check ‘Comments’ on my blogger dashboard every day, to make sure nobody has left a comment on those past posts. I’d hate to miss a question …
((Huh, if only I can remember ! I forgot to click on notify me when I published ;-P ))

Further, since OpenID is out, only those with a gmail account will see their name/avatar in the comment. For others it will be published as 'Anonymous', in case some of you have been wondering. So make sure you leave your name or avatar so we bloggers know who to thank.

I hope my dear readers will continue to support and comment. You can also email me through my Profile page.


Thursday, 31 May 2018

I love floating

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The task was split chains and floating chains. I chose floating chains - 
also known as dead end chain, curlicue, or single shuttle split chain (SSSCh).

This black butterfly with curlicue antennae and the 3 with venetian picots (a variation of floating chains) was my earlier submission for the task. However I have a feeling that it was not appreciated by the ladies there. In any case I needed to complete the card topper.

I had gifted the earlier card to my SIL. MIL liked it very much, so this butterfly edging card is for her. For the card topper I used handmade paper with herbs embedded in it. I glued some folded paper underneath to raise the level slightly.

Rummaging through my many little scrap pieces, I tried to choose and arrange them into some collage (taking many pics to remember the arrangements) but finally settled on a fairly simple arrangement. I absolutely loved how Jane's Maltese Sunflower looked here, so that stayed obviously. And these were the only 3 butterflies that seemed proportionate.

Time to work on the foliage.... A helper thread worked wonders to wrap around the hand and hold the core thread taut while encapsulating. 
I mentioned this in my tutorial especially for fine thread, but didn't show it on the fingers.

All chains are spiral or Josephine chains. I like the texture and dimension they create without taking up too much space. In Anchor size 40, they are about 4cms tall maximum. 

While working on the foliage my Lizbeth specialty packs (size 20) arrived and I made one more butterfly using floating chain tipped with a Josephine ring for each antenna. 
Unfortunately it was too large for this scenery at 2-2/5×2 cms (2½cms high with antennae). 

The tatting SOUP has been arranged then glued! 
I deliberately followed the slant of the herbs in the handmade paper - it is what inspired this nature collage. But it still needs some balance and sparkle.

3 Swarovski crystals glued inside corner florets. 
Unfortunately, my stash was lacking in anything smaller for the rest of the florets. 

Added another little foliage on top of flower. 
And to echo the crystals, I tatted and glued a Josephine chain cord using metallic embroidery thread all around the topper. 
The core is size 40 crochet cotton for easier handling.

TIP: When making long JChs, I like to wind the chain thread on a shuttle too. 
It is convenient to dangle the shuttles and maintain the twist within both threads.

There seems to be something missing along the outermost edge or periphery - too plain. 
Any ideas to bring it all together? Another silver chain all around? 
Or 3 crystals in each corner? A mirror in each corner?

Check out what the others have made here.
With the exception of the sunflower, the entire card topper collage is worked with one shuttle and ball. A 2nd shuttle was used only in case of 2nd colour or for convenience. There is no dearth of techniques and effects that can be created with a shuttle - including the many variations of SSSCh or floating chain!

under appropriate headings. 

hope you have a great day with lots of creative tatting floating in ! 

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Mock Rings 1 U-O Join continued

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In my haste to upload, I missed adding some details to the pics in previous post. These have now been notated and updated.

Continuing from previous post ….

The following are again mock rings made using the Under and Over Join. But we now have a tiny picot at the start of the chain. When the chain is joined back to this picot, it creates a mock or false ring.

1C. Under and Over Join: With joining picot; Unattached rings

 Make a small picot at the base of the chain before tatting the ‘ring’ portion.
Since the mock ring is unattached, it is easy to place 
one thread above and other below the chain.

Pull up a loop of ball thread through the picot, pass shuttle, and snug. 
A simple picot join converts this chain into a mock ring. Continue tatting.
Note: Although we have made a picot join, this arrangement of joining an overlapping chain is included in under-over join. 

This time the shuttle thread is below and ball thread above.
Pull a loop of ball thread down through the picot, pass shuttle and tension the join.
Two unattached mock rings made with under-over join 

1D. Under and Over Join: With joining picot; Attached rings

Here the ‘ring’-chain is linked to previous ring and both threads are above the chain.
Pull ball loop down through picot, pass shuttle and make the join.
This is reminiscent of the down join.
 Continue tatting.

For mock ring #8 both threads are below the chain. 
Pull up a loop of ball thread through picot, pass shuttle and snug the join.
Notice the change in overlap between mr7 & mr8! Continue tatting.

as seen from the back.
This above sampler, with joining picots and overlapping chains that form loops is also known as the Running Scroll, for it’s flowing cursive style.

This join can also be used to create a line of back to back rings – called a Cord of Loops. We now prefer to work this as a split ring braid or mock rings with a flatter closure. The latter will be discussed in future posts.

  1. In all these mock ring instances, the core thread remains free to slide.
  2. They can all be worked with a ball and shuttle.
  3. All mock rings face the same side as the normal first and last rings when we reverse work after first ring.
  4. The under and over join creates a slight overlap/layer when crossing over, giving the mock ring a dimensional effect rather than lying absolutely flat.
  5. The overlap changes depending on which type of crossover we choose.

This completes the first category of mock/false rings using a join across a chain.
But there are so many more ways of joining or closing a chain to create a faux ring. While I work on that presentation, I invite you to sit back and recall all the different ways in which you may have made mock rings. It is quite an eye-opener. Please share your list in the comment box in case I have missed some.

Main references:
Tatting Technique & History – Elgiva Nicholls, 1962. (running scroll & cord of loops explanation  on p94, models on p96)
An Illustrated Dictionary of Tatting – Judith Connors, 2007.

…. to be continued 

Monday, 28 May 2018

Mock Rings 1 Under and Over Join

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SCMR is a mock ring, but not every mock ring is a SCMR (self-closing mock ring).
While trying to explain this to someone who used SCMR as a default term, I started to remember so many different ways a mock ring can be shaped.

Mock Rings have been around for centuries. A mock ring is essentially a chain that is joined back on itself to create the impression of a ring. The difference lies only in the way the chain is closed.
In order to avoid overload I will break up the presentation into segments. This post covers mock rings made using the Under and Over Join.

Mock Rings 1: Under and Over Join

Once the tatted chain was invented, it was a simple step to convert it into a mock ring using an Under and Over Join - with or without a picot. Under and Over Join is a type of ‘across’ join, allowing us to move threads to the other side across an existing element.

A single shuttle filled with cream thread and a ball with variegated colour are used for clear distinction in this pictorial.
There are 5 stitches between every picot; each ring is 5-5-5-5 & chain 5-5.

1-A. Under and Over Join: Without joining picot; Unattached rings

After a normal ring (cream), RW and 5-5 chain (above pic), we start working on a long chain (5-5-5-5) that will form the mock ring. 

Place shuttle thread above and ball thread under the chain. Continue tatting the chain normally, enduring that the first half stitch after the crossover is nicely snug.
A mock ring is made, with the chain (running scroll) moving across from above.

Note: Because of RW, the mock rings face the same side as the first normal ring.
We know this popularly as Alligator or Capture Join.


Let’s see what happens if we switch thread positions (ball above and shuttle under). 
It is difficult to control the shuttle enough to get a continuous chain above. 
But it can be useful in directional (fs/bs) tatting when working from the back side.

This method is useful when the elements (in this case mock rings) are free/unlinked and the threads can be positioned on either side.
But if the ring is attached to previous element, here’s how the join can be made.

1-B. Under and Over Join: Without joining picot; Attached rings

After linking the chain to previous ring, both threads are in front of/above the chain.
Pull a loop of ball thread down from under the chain, pass shuttle through loop, and snug tightly. Continue tatting chain.

In this case, after linking the chain, both threads are below/under the chain.
Pull a loop of ball thread up, pass shuttle through it, and snug tightly. Continue tatting chain.

This pulled loop is very handy when crossing over any previous element as in faux Celtic tatting. I used it in Teri Dusenbury’s Flurry snowflake. The pattern instructed slipping the long ball thread through the spaces and tatting the chain (as in #1A or alligator join). It was cumbersome and prone to tangling. Pulling a loop through the joining point is a quicker, more efficient method.
I made this in 2015, but am unhappy with my work.

This is a view from the back.

Without a joining picot at the start, there is greater flexibility in shaping the mock ring, but one also has to be extra careful to see that the ‘join’ is snug and secure. Adding a small picot at the start of the chain ensures accuracy and stability. I will show this in next post, along with some observations.

…. to be continued
Till then, enjoy tatting all over :-)))