Monday 27 April 2020

dancing in the snow

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In January I was contacted by Craftree’s jmjtat. Her guild, ‘Fiber Frenzy’ from the USA had decided to work on my snowflakes as a tat-along through to August, to be displayed in September. They ‘really liked the variety in style and techniques in my collection’! Many were interested in the Peacock in the Snow flake of which I had uploaded only prototype pics. She requested me to release the pattern.

As I had written earlier, I felt the theme was not complete, since white snow was missing in the flake! I finally got around to designing and tatting the final round of snow.
I kept tweaking the treble stitch arches through the round, but now feel confident of what I want for the final.
In Anchor Pearl cotton size 8, it measures 9.5 cms tipwise, and 5cms as hexagon side.
Each round is layered tightly hence ruffles slightly, but settles flat with quick blocking with rolling pin. Can’t say if I have the stamina to test a few versions to get it sorted. We’ll see.

Just wanted to share the first complete look, though. What do you think?

See the white sewing thread across the purple rings in pic below? My prototype had picots and I wanted to see how it would look without them. Hence sewed them to the back – laziness personified ;-P
But look at how beautiful the arches really look from the wrong side!!! From the front, they are partially hidden by the Josephine rings. However, JRs are part of the peacock motif, so I’ll simply reduce the half stitches in each.

And I really have some ideas to re-tat a variation without the JRs so that the arches are in full view! 
And to make flowers with these arches – getting ahead of myself ;-P

Waiting for your comments - answers and suggestions !

Wednesday 22 April 2020

tricks without the trick

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Colour play without the shoe lace trick (SLT)!

Last week when I went digitally AWOL, I was compiling a pdf package for the IOLI Chapter Pattern/Gift CD, 2020. Instead of sending a single pattern, my recent crosses from the magic square spurred the idea of an entire project based off those sketches. It would make a wonderful design exploration for groups. I need to convert some pdfs into shareable links - will post later.
After sending them off, I couldn’t resist trying out the pinwheel sketch. So, here is the ‘simpler version’.

Pinwheel Coaster (or Tatted Quilt Block)
Adapted from the vintage Magic Square
To make it easier, I started with a black medallion of 4 rings. It should’ve been smaller (my mistake!) – you can see how the adjoining chains have a shallow dip.

The correct stitch count for each ring is : (3-3-3-3), joining to previous ring and to the first one at the end. 
Notice the numerous tails? Lots of scraps used in first 2 motifs. All knotless addition of threadtatting over tails in separate elements, and lots of False CTMs (and more here) in order to start the chain as if the thread is continuous and later add in new thread/colour. Remember to cross the new thread around the old one
These (and more below) ‘tricks’ kept the SLT away!!! 

All rings are 6-6, the first of each 4-ring cluster has a large central picot.
All chains are 6 or 6-6-6.
Each triangular motif is worked with one shuttle and ball.
I wound 2 Pony shuttles separately one with yellow and other with orange and these lasted for the entire coaster. Respective ball when needed. 

Core thread under 2-coloured outer chain and when joining to inner black ring, have the core of same colour as start of chain.
The corner chains show 2 colours. For this, the core thread remains the same as the first half eg. yellow chain with yellow core. Midways, orange chain thread is added over the yellow core. The yellow chain thread is snipped off and whip stitched back (since I like to hide under different elements)
Similarly, the inner chains that join to the black ring have the same core thread, but different stitch colours. While making the join, I pulled up a loop of the new colour ball, passed the shuttle through and worked the chain, hiding one tail. The other tail was whip-stitched back.

Work moves counter-clockwise and can be tatted all from the front using direct tatted chains.
For the adventurous, this square can work as one block in a larger tatted quilt! Imagine the riot of designs and colours and shapes.
Each side of this quilt block square is 9½ cms and 12½ cms diagonally in Anchor Pearl Cotton size 8.
A separate medallion in the center is the easier version. If one wants to tat exactly like the sketch above, the inner 2-coloured ring can be worked as a SCMR, adding the 2nd colour midways using this method of adding thread WITHIN a ring.  

I debated whether to add an edging. My sketched ideas looked good on paper, not in tatting - overkill! Ended up with a simple outline which hubby approved!

All chains are 6-6, lock join.
Corner chains are 2-2—2---2—2-2. (graduated picots)

Avoid shoe lace trick: Keeping the SLT away is a personal preference. In needle tatting, this knot is made after every ring and chain, yet the lace looks beautiful. So for those who do not mind the SLT, wind 2 shuttles, one with each colour, and make a SLT after each element to shoe the colour you want. There won't be so many ends to add and hide then.

The same holds true for tatting this coaster. My notes pertain to how I approached it. Every tatter is free to choose their comfort tactics.

I will also share how to keep the colour blip on the backside when working and joining a chain backside. I've used this before, but not in this situation and I truly love the trick!

Friday 17 April 2020

springing flowers

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...and surprise emails… Stay at home orders have truly unleashed the learning and creative founts of tatters! Emails asking for help have increased, too. One such was a request to test a 2-colour re-writing of Julie Patterson’s Spring Flowers bookmark in order to help out a friend.  
Got on it right away and experimented with a few little spring flowery effects. 
Though not mentioned in the original pattern, it is best worked with 2 shuttles.

Mogra Gajra (garland)
In order to get a feel of the pattern, I worked it in single colour, 2 shuttles. This is the easiest to accomplish and simply by switching shuttles, one can keep all elements flat and in position.

TWoT Notes : This pattern moves en bloc like Mary Konior’s glass mat or Sushma's bookmark. I’ve come across a few such patterns where shuttle 1 is the main shuttle for a block of work and then shuttle 2 takes over for the next block and so on. This is especially evident in frontside/backside tatting. 

My next red and brown version is the flame of the forest (Butea monosperma or palash) tree in full bloom! One of my favourite flowers to draw in ink.
In order to get the colours in position, shoe lace trick (SLT) had to be used. I am not a fan of this and later tried many little tweaks, including capturing the brown thread in the single red ring to avoid SLT. Nothing worked to my satisfaction since the twig does not remain in the same plane as the flower. It tends to start beneath the 4-ring cluster.
I ended the twig with padded double stitches, getting a straight, thick branch.

My final version is clearly lavender! Love the colours here. 
In this case, I used an unflipped half stitch in place of the SLT. Unlike regular reverse stitches, it is manoeuvred in such a way that the half stitch faces in same direction as the ensuing chain. Images 3A to 3C give an idea of what I did - twist work in reverse stitch. The shuttles switch position!
I like this method best for 2 colours as you can see that every element lies flat in the same plane.
UPDATE: one page pictorial for Twist Work

To compare front and back views of all three -

view from the back
All 3 are worked in Anchor Pearl Cotton size 8 and are 1” wide. Length depended on the thread left on shuttles. Due to this narrow length, I'm going to use these as tails in a future bookmark(s), hence left the tail threads uncut.

I love the pattern – the clean lines and turns – it is exciting to work. However it is floppy (the SLT one is floppier than the others) unless sewed down. So stiffening will be needed or inserting it into a sleeve. Or one can add a joining picot to the 3rd ring and link the chain to it.
Beads can add colour and sparkle, and decorative picots can change the look of the flowers. Something to try in future.

Many thanks to Julie for sharing her pattern and 
Jill for throwing the opportunity my way :-)

Thursday 9 April 2020

lighter than a feather

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My tada moment is a bit clouded….
I love how light this 3-round doily is in size 80; I love the design; I love the colours; I loved tatting it; and I even love how neat my stitches are. But it did not come out as I’d visualized it. The rounds appear distinct, not flowing gradually into one another.
This is Daniela Mendola’s Tatting Sharing Rewind Version 2
Tatted with Lizbeth size 80 threads.

Round 1 – 2 shuttles : Tropical Punch (132) in Sh1 and Leafy Green (138) in Sh2.
I’ve already shared my experience here, along with Round 1 notes here, including where to start if one wants to climb out to next round.
The round moves clockwise. 
It is 4cms in diameter.

Round 2 - Ball and shuttle, ctm. Azalea lt (629).
This simple rings and chains round moves counterclockwise.
Now this is where I should have used Tropical Punch for the chains, so that it leads better into the next colourway. Oh well, learn as you go.
8 cms in diameter.

Round 3 – 2 shuttles, ctm : Falling Leaves (100).
Starting with the inner ring, I moved counterclockwise, with chains and thrown ring tatted backside.
10 cms in diameter.

Any ideas how I can use this? Did I tell you how light this is?!!! Oh well, you already know – It is I who am late to this experience. Even a size 40 seems heavy now.

Waiting eagerly for a group photo of all her Tatting Sharing doily versions....

Many thanks, Daniela, for such a wonderful collection of patterns.
And to my secret donor !

Sunday 5 April 2020

what social distancing?

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The road to friend’s house is never long – Danish proverb
And our digital age has proved this despite social distancing norms and lock downs in countries. A friend can reach out any time and connect 1000s of kms away – a mere hop, skip, and virtual jump :-)
Ninetta Caruso’s Girotondo - Ring of Rosies edging will be taught in the Online Tatting Class on Monday (April 6th) and she sent me an advance copy for feedback, etc. In order to confirm an idea, I tatted it as well. So here are my notes, at her request. It is a simplified option, eliminating a few steps.

NOTES on my working of the Girotondo Edging :
1.  Work moves from left to right tatting first the body then the head. However, overall, the edging progresses from right to left as seen in the flow of colours - green to orange. For fs/bs tatters, only the head ring is worked backside. This piece starts with the green motif.
2. Since I intended to use this as jewellery, I started, CTM (green), with a ring using Sh2. Switch Shuttle.

3. Work the chain (arm), SCMR (body) with floating rings (feet). RW and tat head. RW and continue with 2nd arm. One motif in green complete.
Notice no Turn Work or Under-Over/Alligator join is required. And the shuttles/threads are in the right position to start next element.

TIP: Initially it is easier to follow the path on the single upturned diagram (page 2 of pdf) rather than the main diagram with 3 kids because the single motif shows how the lace looks in our hand while it is being made. We are basically tatting the kids upside down!

4. The left and right arm of each motif has a different core thread colour. The new colour is added before tatting the head ring.

5. Here’s how I worked in the new thread colour differently. I took pics only when reaching the white head, but the green and white tails ends were done similarly.
(fig-1) Snip green tail. Add orange thread. I crossed the tails as usual. This crossover creates a barrier to any accidental pulling out of tails and one can give a good tug to hide any colour blip.
(fig-2) Green tail gets hidden in the white head ring, and
(fig-3) the orange tail in the white arm chain.
Securing tails in different elements means barely any bulk.
(fig-4) As seen from the front.
(fig-5) 3 motifs completed – as seen from back, and 
{The multiple orange tails is coz I ran out of thread and added new}.
I always snip off the final bit of tails at the very end.
(fig-6) from the front.
NO COLOUR BLIPS, back or front, even without the alligator join.

6. I did a long picot join in the orange foot for symmetry and equidistance. This was an after-thought. The difference is visible when compared with the other white leg and I prefer the symmetry. 

7. I made only 3 motifs, ending with a SSSR to hide the final tail, as suggested in the pdf. Jump rings linked to a chain were inserted through these end rings for a pendant necklace. In finer thread, these could be earrings!

8. Worked in Anchor Pearl cotton size 8, 3 repeats measure 5½ cms without end rings and 6½ cms including end rings. Each motif is 2½ cms tall.

9. Saffron, white and green are the colours of the Indian flag. Timely symbolism …
Tonight at 9 pm, for 9 minutes, we will be switching off all lights and lighting diyas or candles in solidarity with Nature & Mother Earth against our global enemy. Will you join us?

I enjoyed test tatting this fun edging, long on my to-tat list. Glad for this opportunity! I always learn something new from Ninetta’s patterns – she is such an ingenious and innovative designer. She made a new version in rainbow colours – gorgeous and lively!!!

The original pattern (8 years old!) can be found here and hereI will update with the new pdf link later, in which she has stepwise pictures and other details, including written instructions.
UPDATE : Ninetta has written a detailed post about her working, along with the pdf link. Check it out and start tatting :-) 

Don't forget to attend class. I can no longer attend, sadly.

Thank you for a Wonder-full pattern, Ninetta !

Saturday 4 April 2020

picoted S Chain cords

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Ever since I shared the S-chain cords using scrap threads, there has been a renewed interest in this beautiful effect. Last week Madhur asked for help with the picoted S-Chain I had used in a bookmark tail here. 
I took pics and prepared a quick pdf to send to her. I’m sharing some background notes here along with detailed steps and large pics, if you are interested.

S-CHAIN WITH PICOTS or faux Pearl tatting!

  1. Sabina Carden-Madden first wrote about the S-Chain, along with instructions and comparison. 
  2. 1 double stitch is followed by 1 reverse stitch or lark’s head knot. In other words, 1 flipped stitch is followed by 1 unflipped stitch/hitch, and repeated to desired length.
  3. If picots are added before every stitch, the cord looks like Pearl Tatting, without the hassle of 3 threads or even 2 shuttles.
  4. It can be tatted with single shuttle and a ball, but the effect is best seen when there is a contrast between colours.
  5. For initial practice, use a thick thread and 2 colours.
  6. For even picots, a picot gauge can be used. Scroll down to page 3, III-A – Direct Tatting, to see how a gauge is used in direct tatting or reverse stitch.  

Above pics show vertically and horizontally measured picots in 2nd side of split ring which uses reverse stitch.

Double Stitch v/s Reverse Stitch :
1 double stitch is made of 1st half-stitch (under-over) followed by 2nd half-stitch (over-under).     1 ds = fhs, shs
1 reverse stitch is made of unflipped 2nd half stitch (over-under) followed by unflipped 1st half stitch (under-over).     1 rs = ushs, ufhs
UPDATE - 1 reverse stitch is made of 1st hitch (over-under) followed by 2nd hitch (under-over). 1 rs = 1st h, 2nd h

Pictorial shows coloured thread in shuttle, and a ball of cream thread.
Tie threads or start with a ring in order to get a good grip.

The 1st image shows a ring (with tails hidden within) followed by (1ds,1rs)x4 already worked.
Start chain with picot followed by 1 double stitch. 

The next stitch is a reverse stitch or unflipped stitch (as in 2nd side of split ring).
Bring shuttle over-under to make an unflipped half stitch.
Do NOT snug tight. Leave picot space at the beginning. See next pic for a better idea.

Notice the bare threads after previous ds? This will later become the picot.
Make next unflipped half stitch (under-over) to complete 1 rs.

Now snug the stitch.
The space converts into a picot at the beginning of this reverse stitch.
Also notice that the reverse stitch faces downwards as opposed to the double stitch.

IMPORTANT : Snug properly only after you are satisfied with picot length because each stitch locks the work in place. See above on how to use a picot gauge.

Leave picot space and make another ds.

Repeat the 2 stitches (p,1ds, p,1rs) for desired length.

See bookmark tail made using a doubled-up cord. It is also linked into a mock ring that resembles a Maltese Ring! 

Hope to see this cord being used in patterns - it can easily be substituted for regular chains, mock rings, etc. Vary the length of picots to create feathery effects! Let your imagination free

UPDATE : If distinctly contrasting colours in size 20 or thicker thread are used, a beautifully woven pattern emerges! Check the image in this post -

Wednesday 1 April 2020

happiness thy name is lace

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I had a different post in mind for ITD (designed/sketched a doodle as well), but this day coincides with personally important celebrations and I’ve been busy with other stuff. Nevertheless, I am equally excited to share my first real size 80 lace and in very happy spring colours. More aptly, ‘Tatting Sharing’ as the doily is called, captures the spirit of our tatting community.
As most of us know, Daniela Mendola has been cleverly creating a bonanza of free doilies from permutations and combinations of 10 design rounds of which the first round is the same so far. I voted each time, but didn’t tat along.

Since some charming readers look for lessons in my posts, I won't disappoint ;-P.

My Notes on Round 1 and Lizbeth size 80

  1. TIP : Should have started with only one twin ring (the right one) followed by chain, thus ending the round with the missing twin. Accessibility is easier. And if one wants to climb out, make that last ring a SR and continue to round 2. 
  2. One thrown ring (look closely at the last ring in above pic) didn't close fully, and afraid of breaking the thread by tugging too hard, I made an under-over ‘join’ at base of ring.
  3. Had to use a black background to 'see' threads better.
  4. My years of tatting, with a few different threads, paid off – muscle memory takes over even without being able to 'see' stitches clearly.
  5. A couple of times distraction made me lose count. Had to use my book light or magnifier to confirm.
  6. Hook on pony shuttle is too large and tends to snag the picot thread. Size 11 crochet hook works great in joining.
  7. After the first 2 repeats,  I even managed Ninetta’s blipless join when needed, including with a down loop! As usual, I counted it as 1 stitch.
  8. I've done a bit of experimental tatting with silk/rayon thread, and even sewing thread and swore off them. But absolutely love working with this brand, thread and colour range.
 International Tatting Day, 2020 
I have since started the 2nd round in pink as you can see above. Wonder if Daniela can guess which one I am making?! All details & links when I complete.

In consolidation with a special tatting friend, I won’t be serving or eating chocolate today. But serving threads and lace in a chocolate box is happiness personified, happiness multiplied!
 A couple of years back, when Ninetta told me she kept her threads in this box, hubby immediately ordered 2 (I have another unopened one in my fridge right now). Little did we realise only size 80 balls fit in. Finally time for the threads to claim the boxes!

happy tatting always with a muskaan :-)