Monday, 25 March 2019

uniformly tatted motifs

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A week back I was tagged on Facebook for suggestions on how to make uniform medallions. I love to receive such questions 'coz it gets me thinking and helps me understand better through a fresh new look. I listed 8 common factors at the time, 2 of which she had already suggested (#6 & #7). The following list has been refined and updated and will hopefully be of use to relative beginners.

How To Tat Uniform Motifs and Medallions 
This is a generalised list of 10 factors. There may be pattern-specific factors that may affect uniformity which are not covered here. For instance the swirl join in the model below. 

1. Thread
Mercerised crochet cotton which is tightly wound will keep stitches even, unlike perle/pearl cotton. Experienced tatters can work equally well with any thread.

2. Personal experience
One’s tatting tension improves and becomes more consistent the more one tats.

3. Familiarity with pattern
Sometimes the first working of a new pattern may not be representative since we are intent in figuring out the pattern. Once familiarity sets in, one can focus solely on the work. Hence it may be advisable to disregard the 1st attempt and choose the 2nd motif as a base or reference for future.

4. Template
Scan the chosen motif or glue it over a grid paper to use as template for reference. All future motifs can be placed over it while working to confirm uniform progress.

5. Techniques
Again, consistency and continuity of techniques employed in the pattern.
eg, whether working frontside/backside or traditional; or whether working chains with regular ds or with reverse (unflipped) stitch; and so on. 
In case of Josephine rings and chains, choose whether to work them with first or second half stitch and carry on with the same method. 
Do not change midways.

6. Elements
Consistency in elements is important, especially when working long chains and large rings. Ensure that the stitches are snugged with the same even tension throughout the entire piece.

7. Picot measurement
While uniform picots are visually appealing, the joining picots need to be of the same size to avoid disfigurement. A picot gauge may be a handy tool to use. Detailed article on the choices we have - Measuring the Picot  

8. Joins
Some count the join as a half stitch while others do not. Some prefer a down join to an up join. Whichever way you choose, continue with it throughout.

9. Beads
If using seed beads in the motif, select evenly sized beads.

10. Blocking
Pull motif into shape and use a template to block each medallion accurately. Blocking really helps in 'hiding' minor flaws or discrepancies, so that the final motif becomes a replica of the others. 

Can you add to this list? I love hearing from you!

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

bye bye winter

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It’s done; before Holi which signifies the end of winter in the lunar Hindu calendar. Took a bit longer because there were days my mind was cliffhanging ;-P 
On reaching the arms, I realised there was sufficient yarn left to continue in yellow. But to keep the chest warmer, I picked a denser pattern (#44 in The New Knitting Stitch Library by Leslie Stanfield). I was going for flames, but made an error and the pattern turned into diamonds. Still it looked good.
It is also a 16 row pattern that needs with multiples of 6 (+1) stitches. 8 rows have been offset from the original, to change into discreet diamonds.

Finally running out of yarn for the arms & neck strips, I picked up the white and added a trim in yellow. Barely 10 gms yellow left now, phew.
I’m going to embroider a small sprig in white, but have burned the fingers on my right hand. Embroidery (and tatting) will have to wait till the blisters subside.

While the photos may not show it, the blouse/top does look very pretty and hubby approved ;-D
This is fresh off the needles, with no ironing/blocking. Will only be worn next season. I didn't shape the body coz I like breathing space ;-P 



Happy Holi, everybody !!! Colour the town with tatted threads J


Thursday, 14 March 2019

cliffhanger

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Cliffhanger - as in a dramatic (hopefully) end to a series... Yes, you'd be right in thinking this, if only to an extent. There are numerous, I mean Numerous ta-daa moments I have left unshared, but there's more.

Look closely and you will see the cliff is made of an ever-increasing heap of pending posts, unfinished projects, wishful projects, WIP presentations, and on and on.... getting higher and steeper by the day.

And you see that tiny dangler? Why that's me hanging for dear sanity, for organisation, for speed (yeah, not That kind!), focus and diligence. The winds of lethargy and piling stress are buffeting this 'cliffhanger'.

Can she hang on - for how long? Can she persevere to overcome and survive the years of buildup?! Can she land on her feet running? Or will the cliff pile-on finally tilt over and crush her under the debris?!

To know the answers, wait for the next episode 😈😈😈😈

So are you a fellow cliffhanger or are you sitting pretty 😄🌹🌹🌹


Tuesday, 5 March 2019

a Celtic flip

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Remember how I wondered about a Celtic variation here? This is how I went ahead to complete a Celtic variation of Ninetta’s Curled Ring ice drop.

Notice there are no curled rings here, but the beaded rings are raised. I was hoping for more of a water lily effect.  

The pattern for 2 motifs/medallions remains the same as Ninetta's original (I have inked the count in the pic above for easy reference).
BUT, I flipped the cabochon, switching the motifs in the process : the lower one is now in the front/on top, and vice versa.

I didn’t tat a new one, simply added to what was already tatted. One can call this a prototype variation if you will,  with scope for improvement. 

For outermost green round, after the first lock join to previous round, I continued with the Slope and Roll join. It looked better.
There was a very geometric and open shape after completing the green, hence I added more silver rings in the empty spaces to look more like petals. If properly planned, a full round of 16 silver petals would give it more of a lotus/water lily effect. 

as seen from the back
I still don’t understand why the outline is more square than circular despite all chains being 7-7 ! Anybody?

In Gautam (green size 8) and Red Rose (size 20) metallic threads, the motif/pendant measures 4½ cms across and 5½ cms diagonally. The cab is 2cms.

Friday, 1 March 2019

changing tack

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According to the Hindu calendar, the festival of Holi will fall on 21st March this year, meaning we can expect the cold to last till then. Taking this into cognizance, I spurred myself into knitting a blouse/tunic. It's been 5 years since my last one! Tatting has really taken over my life.

I was given this yarn and the items knit from it looked fine and were said to be warm. There was a shine which I could live with. But when I started knitting, I just couldn’t get a feel for it. It was too nylon-ish, too artificial. It is a mix of 25% polyamide & 75% acrylic. Has anybody tried something similar? What is your opinion?

I tried earnestly for a few days, but finally gave up before it was too late.  
Frogged it and pulled out yarn from my own stash.



Vardhman Little Angel.  Shade LAL011. I only have 200gms and will again have to resort to a white yoke as in this 2014 topThis is 100% acrylic (at least the current ones on their site – mine are from 2012!), but at least it feels more like wool when knitting.
This is the true yellow shade, not the lighter/pale one in other pics.

I hope to finish it in a week, but there are tatting commitments, which may result in a race against rising temperatures. Thus, I chose a relatively repetitive pattern with just enough lace and change to keep my focus and retain interest.  
I used UK #12 needles for the border (p2,k1) and UK #10 for pattern. This is where it reached after 2 days. 

 
Pattern is again from my favourite book. I just naturally gravitate towards it - one of my Best and most used buys! All patterns are visual charts which I find very easy to follow and navigate. 
The one I chose, #196, is an 8+2 repeat over 16 rows. 


Monday, 25 February 2019

due credit

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Ninetta’s Curled Ring Ice Drop that I posted here was taken up in Online Tatting Class on Feb 18th along with Ninetta's original post/pattern.
Undue credit was given to me (not that I'm complaining when my name is linked with that of my very talented friend's ;-P). I’d like to reiterate again, that the pattern is Entirely Ninetta’s. Arguably perhaps the only ‘contribution’ I made is the following :
  • using 2 colours that highlighted the curled ring effect ;
For 1st (top) motif, load one shuttle only with seed beads
  • not tatting the entire pattern thus making it look more like an ice drop. In the original the last round turned it into a square with floating hearts in the corners ;
1st (top) motif made
  • using the word Celtic/faux Celtic. Reason: the gem is encased using 2 motifs. Remember Rosemary Peel's famous square motif where the 2nd motif is interwoven through elements of 1st and then a 3rd round is added which connects and holds the 2 motifs in place? I was reminded of it here. EXCEPT ....
For 2nd motif (seen from back) wind thread ctm. Silver used here.
What Ninetta did was curl the rings (immediately after closing each) through 1st motif, thus securing them in place and also forming a pocket to insert the gem. So while a 2nd motif was tatted, it was not 'separate', joining as we go. 
For this reason, only 2 rounds performed the function making it easy to stop at this stage; the 3rd round in her original pattern merely added decorative value.

Many more stepwise pictures are posted in Ninetta's blog in the link provided above.

lll

What if the 2 motifs actually were separate? This is how they would look (I have increased the size of silver rings to 12-12)....
A Celtic variation in progress
Notice how the upper and lower motifs are completely separate, then placing them over each other, the silver is interlaced, and the gem inserted before interlacing the last ring. However, the silver rings are floppy and need another round of tatting to hold them together. 
Ninetta's curled rings engineered the feat without the need of another round as pointed above. 

lll

We thank Georgia, again, for her interest in this beautiful design and for sharing it with the class. I only wish I could attend the same way as a year back. Over-enthusiastically, I would sometimes attend even the first session which starts at about 0030 hrs my time! No wonder it affected my health and constitution. I miss the motivating and learned company! 
Congratulations are also due - she completes 40 years of tatting !!! Wishes for many many more to come J

Saturday, 23 February 2019

med to cab

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This has been on my mind for a long time. I’ve shared pics of the Rosette Enchained medallion back in April 2017.

It was designed specifically for the This Way or Tat? (TWoT) series (Set II).
Then while re-tatting some of my snowflakes in Lizbeth 20, I worked this too. (it measures just over 4cms). 
Since then, an ice drop adaptation/version has been on my mind. With numerous distractions along the way, I finally completed it a couple of days back.

Chose this dark purple shade in order to reduce my stash (I bought 3 balls thinking it was a grey). But huge mistake using it during prototype stage. Moreover it masks the slight layering effect. My excuse to tat more ;-P

Worked with one shuttle and ball, ctm.
In Anchor Pearl size 8 (20), it measures about 5½ cms with the cab just short of 2cms.
Only chains front and back. Back is worked separately from front, and then linked while working it’s last round. Hence the cabochon can be inserted at the very last stages with just a chain or 2 to go!!!
In above collage, the close-ups are of the back. 

Once I have the ice drop worked in solid but light colours (going to use 2 colours in one of them for a 3D floral effect!), I’ll share the pattern. Hopefully both patterns.

I had experimented with entrapping the cabochon with chains only. There I used inverted tatting technique.    
This time it is simple chains and lock joins with some decorative picots thrown in and a change in chain direction for that inward curve of 'petals'.
 

My Ice Drops (original & adaptations) -

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

rose is a rose

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rose is a rose is a rose, whatever the material used.
Time to make a rose spray after my first trial here.
Huh, turned out the coloured paper I’d bought had lots of coloured square sheets but only 3 of each colour. And each rose requires 3 sheets to make. It was either send hubby back to buy more, or simply go with the white rose. Why not? The first one did look good. And the theme seemed to be white (white saree, silver/white wrapping paper).
I found the video for DIY paper rose. It is by Dreamy Posy here. 
Also found an 'easy' rose bud video. Hmm, my fingers couldn’t turn out one as nice as in the video. Patience was hard to come by :-( 
Leaves are simple, as before, except for a spikier rim. Folded for veins.
A spray needs baby breaths! Watched this video by tsuku cafe and tried. Ugh, it was a horrendous job with glue & tissue sticking to my fingers. Not happy with the green taping either, but well, job done. (the 'well' is displaced ;-P).
Overall it looked fine. Hubby thought it was an overkill. More importantly MIL loved it and is going to use it to embellish her friend’s birthday gift in a few weeks' time ;-D
If we were geographically closer, I would’ve offered to make a better spray. I'm going to try my hand at crochet roses/flowers for next time. 

Sunday, 17 February 2019

drop it around the neck

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In crafting, nothing goes to waste! The ice drop here was a second attempt. The first attempt, too pretty to discard, is now a pendant!
Download Jane McLellan’s Elana ice drop pattern from her blog (listed on right panel).

I had 2 reasons for setting it aside as an ice drop : 
1. the perle cotton is not stiff enough it’s shape with the weight of the glass pebble unless stiffened later.
2. I forgot to link adjacent motifs (which is why you see 2 green beads between the motifs)! Clearly they would’ve started flopping even more as the round was completed.

The threads had not been snipped off for want of a decision at the time. So I finished the left side (as seen in pic) with a chain of 10ds, secured it properly to previous round, then continued with a pearl string.
On the right side, I pulled off a length of thread, inserted it through the base of split ring and repeated as above.
Both pearl strings were tied off with relevant findings and thread ends needled back through the end beads before snipping off closely.

I hand-sewed pearl & green seed beads on the top part of the pendant later. Obviously one can simply string the beads beforehand and tat regularly with beads in place of picots.

This picture shows the overlapping motifs clearly. But with mere 4 repeats, this pendant does not require stiffening.
So that’s the story of the incomplete ice drop! Crafty, eh?! ;-P 

The green glass pebble used here is 2cms in diameter. Anchor Pearl size 8 ( Lizbeth 20) white thread.

Friday, 15 February 2019

curled and celtic

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Overcoming the lethargy to work with beads means I take the opportunity to work a few projects in quick succession! This time it is Ninetta’s ice drop with curled rings. Well, it does have another round with treble hearts, which changes the circle to a square. I stopped at 2 rounds since this appealed to me even more.
The variegated didn’t quite turn out as pretty as I'd visualized. And as you can see, using it for the curled rings makes it look too busy. Went with silver (on right) and snipped off the earlier part.

TIP : To get the curled ring to look like a heart, insert the ring (the picot end) from below and fold/curl from above. This difference is clearly visible between the first 2 curls on the left.

As recommended, I chose a 2cms glass pebble. Yet for some reason it looked like 8 repeats would be too tight a fit, so a 9th was added. No, didn’t need it!

I like the clever way she used 2 motifs to interlace and trap the cabochon within! Faux Celtic along with curled rings and more – nice!! You can see the underbelly in Ninetta’s post – I forgot to take a pic. 
UPDATE (Feb 25) : Please read continuing post with some more pics and a WIP variation. This pattern was taught in Online Tatting Class on Feb 18th.

I have one more ice drop pendant to show you next time ... stay tuned :-))) 

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Goldilocks meets a friend

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Remember how I couldn’t introduce you to Goldilocks since she was already in bed? 
The wait is over. Meet Goldilocks and her friend, Elana! 
Well, opposites attract again (see comments here)! Gold / silver; tiny / large; warm / cool; quick project / long project; AND our two friendly designers from different hemispheres!

Closing the spiral ring using metallic thread was a tad dicey. Anyway, after making it with single shuttle, I switched the shuttle thread to regular cotton size 20, using gold for the visible stitches.
Lenka shared some nice pics on how to add beads in spiral rings. Do check out her beautiful applications of the spiral rings. 

Red Rose metallic gold size 20 & Anchor size 20. size 16 seed bead & crystal teardrop.
2+ cms across & 3+ cms long without teardrop.

Jane McLellan’s Elana has long been on my to-tat list. It is such an elegant pattern.
And I wanted to stick with blue and white. This is actually my 2nd attempt; the first being left aside after 4 repeats for 2 reasons. But read what happened in next post here. (Update)

Notice the missing chain in first round? I used the double ring & chain sequence. And the rings on the back are 5-5-5.
I used bead as picot gauge method to load bead with a crochet hook only when it was time to link. Yet the small Pony shuttle bobbin had to be loaded twice.
Adjacent Ankars motifs are slightly tightly packed with some overlap – perhaps my seed bead was too large?
But I love how it looks despite the thick white thread! And finally another struck off the unending list
Blue glass gem - 2¼ cms x ½ cm high. The pebble is not absolutely clear but has shaken snowglobe effect.  Anchor white 20.  3½" diameter

2 projects, but so many techniques have been incorporated! My knid of tatting ;-P
And now that I have my beads and gems out, there are a couple more projects queued ;-D

Monday, 11 February 2019

simple in spring

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Vasant Panchami, also spelled Basant Panchami, is a festival that marks the arrival of spring, celebrated by people in various ways depending on the region.’

The Hindi word for spring is ‘basant’ and from it is derived the colour ‘basanti’ which is similar to the yellow of mustard flowers. (Remember my 2017 spring garland with it’s mustard fields, etc.?)
By chance, but perfect timing!
When I saw Elaine P Gan’s Rose Heart, I wondered whether 2 shades of yellow would work well here.
This is my first project from any of her patterns, though as you know, I’ve been a frequent user of her reverse join! And, through Sue’s test tatting, I have admired how she puts together patterns using simple motifs and fairly basic tatting.

Worked in Anchor size 40 (00293 & 00302), with ball and shuttle.

No heart should be alone!
I’ve been seeing lovely models of Gloria Nelson’s With All My Heart in facebook and liked it’s simple elegance. The outline appears like a free-flowing scroll!

A clover is arguably the simplest heart shape in tatting. So why not highlight that with a contrasting colour? How to do it without too many ends to hide???

Aha. SCMR – self closing mock rings! And all worked with one shuttle only! Same as what I did with the very colourful scrappy doily
I wound yellow in the shuttle without cutting it from the ball. The magenta is ball only.
Work all 3 clover rings as mock rings using yellow core thread from shuttle.
Then snip off the magenta (with tail to whip stitch later) and continue the outer round using yellow ball thread.
The thrown/floating ring at the bottom is also worked as a mock ring.

Worked in Anchor Pearl size 8 (00291 – shuttle & ball ctm & 04380 ball).

Both hearts measure approx. 4cmsx4cms (bit longer than wide) and are quick enjoyable tats. And I used Ninetta's blipless join again. 
I like the contrast of these designs - one frilly the other stark. Yet both so beautiful. Although I worked both as simple motifs for now, Gloria's pattern is for a beaded lanyard and Elaine has used hers on a card.

AND, Buddy Hearts will be taught in the Online Tatting Class by Georgia today ! All are invited and hope I can join in.  With frequent and long spells of illness over the past year, I haven't been able to attend regularly,  if at all  :-(