Friday, 17 April 2020

springing flowers

Pin It now!
...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.

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 :-)


  1. I used this pattern for an edging, sewn onto a food cover, which worked well, but I felt it was too floppy for a bookmark, as you did, Goodness, it’s 12 years since I did that edging!

    1. I agree, it would work beautifully if sewn down, Jane 🌹 I think the pattern is dated 2002, so I am certainly late to the garden party 😄

    2. After reading Thread Bears, I looked at my edging again. I think I just bludgeoned it into submission when I sewed it down! Your solution much more satisfactory.

    3. Glad the bludgeoning didn't kill the lace, Jane 😄😄😄 Proves tatted lace outlasts and prevails 😀💗

  2. I agree about floppiness. I liked the look of the bookmark, but didn't like the hand or heft. How a bookmark feels as I'm pausing or starting my reading is important to me and my OCD driven mind! I will definitely remember your tricks the next time I decide SLT isn't what I should use.

    1. I like to match a bookmark to its book, too, Mel 😄 I rarely use SLT, and much prefer the manoeuvred half stitch.

  3. They are all so very beautiful and the purple is my favorite just FYI 😃💜😃

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue, flowers always make me happy 🌹🌻

  5. I love the way you do comparisons and clearly indicate your preferences! I am not a fan of the shoelace trick either. I've used it, but it always sticks out like a sore thumb.

    1. What stumps me, Diane, is that the SLT is used by needle tatters after every ring and chain, and yet it does not show or hamper the work in general. Perhaps we are not doing it right?!

    2. I've wondered about that myself! I'm starting to think I need to take up needle tatting so that I have a better understanding!