Monday 29 March 2021

2 sliding tips

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sliding in ...
I discovered this when working the Angel Choir doily in size 80. The joining picots were extremely tiny - mere stubs. Often it was difficult to insert even a fine hook through such a tiny space. However when I inserted the hook from behind/backside (in order to make a down join), it went in smoothly! Hmmm...
I believe the reason lies in how threads lie. The close-up of backside of picot (pic above) shows that the adjoining stitches are mere vertical columns, whereas the picot when seen from front shows 2 horizontal bars on either side (pic below).
These horizontal bars create more friction thus making it difficult for the hook to slide in. There is not as much friction from behind and the vertical threads make way easily to accommodate the hook.
Would you agree?
Even if I was not making a down join, I inserted the hook from backside... this 'opens up' the picot space and the hook can then be inserted from the front.
Try it if you remember, and let me know if it works for you.

sliding between...
Isn't it annoying when we find a slab or uneven thread in the middle of our tatting? And then one has to make forced decisions, snips, ugliness, thread ends to hide, whatever!
When we load our shuttles, whether winding the thread around shuttle or walking shuttle over the thread, it is a good idea to let the thread slide gently between finger and thumb so that we can catch any slub or thread deformity in time and take timely decisions.
I've never used a machine to wind thread, but if some of you have, can you slide the thread between fingers before it loads on the bobbin/shuttle? Or is there any other way to catch the culprits beforehand? How do you manage?

Hope these little tips are useful. Do you have a quick tip to share?

But before sliding away, would you like to see some magic or maybe it's an optical illusion?!

sliding in some magic...
Well, I have absolutely no idea how this came about but take a dekko ...
All 3 screenshots were taken 3 days back at the same time. Look at the thumbnail encircled in red. It shows my 2 quick tips post in the feed of my (above), Jane McLellan, and Ninetta's blog! 
The above thumbnail is of the 1st pic from my post - I had made it smaller to accommodate 3 in a row.
Spot the difference?😵
The ones in these other blogs show an image of the 4th pic from same post!
How'd it happen - any theories/solutions? It would be fun to replicate, eh bloggers 😄 

Friday 26 March 2021

colour temptation

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Nefertiti seems content with this necklace adaptation of Daniela Galli's Primula della Vita motifs😊
We are enjoying a long spring heading into the festival of colours (Holi) after which summer will set in (lunar calendars are way more accurate when it comes to seasons). No wonder I wanted to capture some of those colours in thread through this addictive floral motif shared by the very talented Daniela Galli for an event on facebook in early February.
Primula della Vita! And once started, I couldn't stop! Such a pleasing shape.
Each motif is 3.5cms in Anchor Pearl cotton size 8.
Would you believe that 3 years back I had saved an image hoping to convert the lovely primula flowers into tatting. That Primula mercerium image led me to this cluster which became my template for colour choices. This was my Mom's go-to flower to sketch! 
These are still unblocked and I like the slight overlap of petals! What to do now? A spring necklace! How to join? With leaves! 
On the top is the first leaf I tried, but cut off. Tried a few more ideas, including beads, and rejected all.
Finally settled on simple single-shuttle rings in different sizes. Strategically distributed to join adjacent motifs. 

Following 6 pics are close-ups where the 2nd of each pair has a Swarovski crystal in the center. Which do you prefer?
The core thread remains same through both rounds. After completing the central medallion, only the knotting thread was snipped off and hidden; a new colour was joined as knotting thread for the outer petals - false CTM method.
Tatting moves clockwise, all from the front. SCMR with thrown rings, climbing out with mock picot, and lock join are the only techniques for motif. 
TIP: Notice how I always use 2 metal jump rings? It is my way of assuring that even if thread slips off one ring, the other will hold it, till we can fix and close the gap.

My favourite kind of tatted lace - a bit of freeform, overlap, flowers - bringing in Nature in some small way!
These are all the materials used. Anchor Pearl cotton size 8 threads and beads, crystals. The details are notated on the pic.
Crystals sparkle in real life and give weight, body, and a finish to the necklace. 

Many many thanks, Daniela, for this wonderful pattern! I thoroughly enjoyed this project and hope to that the motifs in future as well.
Currrently there's an Easter 3D egg and cute chick pattern that Daniela has shared with the Chiacchierino: Filo, Amore e Fantasia group, if you wish to join in. It's on my to-tat list for later, but these amuse-bouches are so tempting for a relaxing distraction!

Tuesday 23 March 2021

2 quick tips

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Well tips are strewn about my blog - have to stay true to the name of this blog ;-D. Following are 2 quick tips, one of which you may already be doing.

Straightening Unravelled Thread - wind and rest!

When we have to unravel/untat stitches, the thread gains kinks (fig1) that are not merely unsightly but often affect future tatting. It happens because the thread balance/twist is disturbed. A quick fix is to simply wind that thread back on to the shuttle or the ball (fig2), allow it to rest for a few minutes (a minimum of 10 minutes), and voila, the thread is almost back to normal (fig3)!

In fig2, I wound the unbalanced thread partly on shuttle and partly on ball to show that either works equally well. To quicken the process, slide the unravelled portion gently between fingers, a few times while winding back.

Simple and quick, right!

Turmeric Powder for Cuts - rub and forget! 
Every Indian household knows the immense benefits of turmeric, one of the basic spices in our cuisine. It has antiseptic and healing properties - internal as well as external. You must've heard of the 'new' rage  'golden milk'? It is simple 'haldi' (turmeric) milk, an almost timeless legacy.  
What is known in Western world as 'alternative system of medicine' is over 3,000 years old based on the more than 5,000 year old Ayurveda (Science of Life) philosophy. 

So anyway, who does not get cuts, including bleeding ones? The quickest way to disinfect the area, stop the blood flow, AND heal the cut almost instantly, is to RUB turmeric powder over the cut. A gentle but deep rub in one direction such that the powder can enter the slit. Rubbing it in hurts obviously, but Do It.
In the above pic, this cut is 3 days old and it is still reddish, sore, hurt every time it came in contact with water and soap. I had Not used turmeric powder - simply used a tissue to stem the flow which took several minutes. 
But I'd finally had enough and rubbed turmeric powder. 
The above pic is taken one day later, AFTER I had spent the entire morning in heavy spring cleaning, with my hands in soapy water, etc.! But I had No problem, no reminder that there was a cut there! 

The trick is to do this deep turmeric rub immediately (I was actually surprised that it worked on a 3-day old cut). It seems to cauterize the tiny blood vessels, thus not merely stemming blood flow, but eliminating all soreness, pain, sensitivity. It kind of closes up the open capillaries and scar tissue starts forming immediately. 
It is like apply, rub, and forget !!!

Remember to try it next time - and rubbing it in is Extremely important, not simply sprinkling/applying it on top. This was my own discovery and my family/friends have become 'converts' ;-D. Turmeric powder is part of my first-aid box, besides the kitchen.

The only drawback is that there is a chance of yellow stains on anything you handle for the next few minutes until you wash it away. And for very deep arterial cuts, it may not work because the flow is much stronger.

Saturday 20 March 2021

happy sunflowers

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Adaptation of Endrucks' pattern #1 edging into a circular coaster/doily.

by Meenakshi (muskaan) Jain
adaptation of Endrucks-Leichtenstern's pattern #1 
from her book ‘Die Schiffchen-Spitszen’,1920
UPDATE (Nov 2021): pattern now in pdf... click to download -
The large one on the right is a prototype from 2015. The upper WIP is halted due to cupping. The lower left one is the final version, with pattern below.

6 years in the making! In 2015, it was tempting to convert Endrucks' #1 edging into a circular coaster. Every other year I would pick it up, sketch or tat a center and fail. For a long time I thought of it as a sun/corona. I also wanted some block tatting inside. 
Till that aging process resulted in my own maturation and this center materialised from yet another failed attempt at tatting a reflection of the happy hands, large ring facing inward (like our reflection in water). That proved too large, but led to this idea which worked! 
Design Tip: Notice the cupping in above WIP model? I believe it happened because in my 2015 model there was space at base of large ring and arms on either side. In new model there is no such space.
The lower center was tweaked with shorter chains.

ROUND 1 - center medallion pattern

Ball and shuttle, continuous thread. Joining picots are small. Start with a large ring (starred in pic). Tatting moves counterclockwise.  
    R1: 4-4-4—4-4-4. rw
    C1: 5-5. rw
    R2: 4+(R1) 4-4. rw
    C2: 5-5. rw
    R3: 4+(R2) 4 +(R1) 4—4-4-4. rw
Continue around (total of 10 rings). 
NOTE: Remember to join last 2 rings to the first ring. The red lines in
 the top right pic show the last large ring is joined to 2 previous rings on the left, and one join on the right to the 1st large ring. The final small ring is also joined to rings on either side.

ROUND 2 - circular edging/petals pattern
For stepwise edging pictorial, with sequence, legend, links, etc. refer and the notes below

    2 shuttles, ctm.
    A ring: 4-4-2—2—2—2-4-4. rw
    Bchain: p 4•4•4-4. rw
    C ring: 8-2
6. dnrw, SS
    Dchain: 4CWJ 4• SS
    E ring: 2
2-4. SS
    Fchain: 4CWJ 5+
    Gchain: p 4•4•4-4. rw
    H ring: 8+2--6. dnrw, SS
    Ichain: 4CWJ 4• SS
    J ring: 2
2-4. SS
    Kchain: 4CWJ 5+ . rw
    Lchain: 5+(Rnd1) 5. dnrw, SS
First Motif Complete.
    **Leave space
    Aring: 4-4-2—2—2—2-4-4. Rw, SS
    Make B,C,D as before
    Join to E above and lock join to A below. Keep Both threads on same side ( I prefer to keep them above). 
    Continue chainF
    Make picot join and continue to other side, as in 1st motif, and complete the 2nd motif.
** Repeat ** to ** till all 10 motifs are made and joined back to the first motif. Tie & cut.

Model worked in Anchor size 40 (00269 & 00302) measures 7.5 cms. Round1 medallion is 3cms. 
In Anchor size 20 (the prototype model), it measures 4cms inside and 11.5 cms final.

I sought the advice of my Endrucks 1920 Project partner Ninetta (thank you!) when there was cupping and her tips along with my own ideas helped me arrive at a model that lies flat. A very close inspection will reveal discrepancies as I implemented changes on-the-go. But I am fairly confident this is good.

  • To work petals in 2 colours, see pictorial for colour placement options and methods.
  • All joining picots are very small.
  • CWJ is optional but gives a smoother outline.  
  • For fs/bs tatting, I did a bit of cheating with the CWJ – I made 1 less half stitch on the backside chains, and formed a normal CWJ. Thus when seen from the front, they appear as a complete stitches.
  • I did not count the CWJ as a stitch.
  • There are chain segments with 1 more or less half-stitch-a judgment call. 
  • Simple blocking on completion will give it a neat finished look. 
  • All decorative picots are deliberately kept long. Picot gauge is optional.
In my 2015 prototype I had used double and triple picots which are now changed to regular long picots. I think it gives a way better look!
If you look closely you will see the tweaks I made in the light yellow center, trying to settle on the right count.

  • For a more natural look, vary the length of the petals by adding or reducing chain segments by 2, 3, or 4ds.
  • We could try to do away with the 2 rings at the periphery, replacing them with chain segments and picot for joining.
  • Add more layers of petals for a beautiful 3D flower.
  • Add more colours. Hubby insisted on just these 2 and I obeyed (sometimes I behave ;-P).
  • I am working on a 3D 3-petal earring/pendant/brooch adaptation that I think should work - simple tatting and a beaded version.
So, keeping my fingers crossed that you remain sunny and cheerful for future posts, without ennui setting in ;-D
And I welcome somebody to test tat this and send in their feedback. I hope there is no mistake. I will convert the pattern into pdf format at a later date.
happy tatting and adapting !

Wednesday 17 March 2021

lucky hands

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A tatting charm awaits us .... such a beautiful adaptation of the already adapted-from-vintage-edging heart pattern! Yes, you guessed right - the Happy Hands Heart from Endrucks' #1 pattern is now a Shamrock leaf, courtesy Diana Howe. And she shares her working with us!

Happy Hands Shamrock - adaptation by Diana Howe

UPDATE Sep 2022 - pattern pdf :

In her own words -
I’ve modified your Handy Hand Heart to create shamrock. The center ring (R1) makes a handy spot to add a lapel pin to mount it on a collar. Enjoy!

She shares 2 sequences sketched neatly - clockwise and counterclockwise!
Must leave a small space between CH1 and Ring A – the width of a thread – to allow an alligator join (passing one shuttle over, one shuttle under heart) to cross from chain D to E.

Tail/stem: after last ch 3, join to start.

I really like a balanced double stitch to create a stem.

This one is tatted in size 40.
Notice that she has used normal chains throughout instead of the roll tatting segments in the heart pattern.
TIP : Instead of ending the stem in a knot, one can hide ends in the chain as shared here - 

Above is her earlier leaf in size 20 where she used the S-chain (1double st,1 reverse st) for stem.

I really like the simplicity of her arrangement to create a perfect leaf! We are indeed lucky to have this pattern.
All tutorials can be found by clicking on the tabs above.

I requested her to write something about her tatting journey for us to get to know her better and she graciously agreed -
Diana Howe of Lake Stevens, WA, has been tatting since 1980 when she purchased a Better Homes & Garden tatting kit in Ames, Iowa in preparation for a road trip (move) west. Been creating ever since! So, while trying to design a shamrock with heart shaped leaves that start from the base, Muskaan posts the perfect heart, Handy Hand Heart. Here is her adaptation. Enjoy!

Many many thanks, Diana, for sharing your lovely adaptation and for your kind words :-) 

Please note that I have made a couple of edits to the edging pattern I shared in previous post, adding a few points I'd forgotten at the time of posting.

Monday 15 March 2021

balancing act

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Vintage pattern in modern format and pictorial showing some of the options available especially when using 2 or more colours.

Pattern Updated - March 17th, 2021 (in this colour). 

Pattern #1 (Happy Hands) from Frau Eleonore Endrucks Leichtenstern's 
book Die Schiffchen-Spitszen’,1920

Then - The above is an old model from 2015, tatted as per original pattern. Look closely and you will see that the left and right side of each motif is not a mirror-image; all chain stitches face the same way.. as in block tatting. It makes tatting very easy as seen in the notated sequence. You start with a chain, holding a picot with paperclip and work up and down towards the right.
modern sequence of work
Now - We would shudder at the nonsymmetrical nature of the original! We now prefer that everything is laid out properly, symmetrically. And when using 2 colours, their placement is balanced. Which led me to the reworked 2-colour model inlead pic, and a pictorial to describe the steps as well as options we have. The modernisation involves a bit of complexity in tatting sequence, but it is the best/easiest of all I tried/could think of.

Notations/Abbreviations used : 
-,p=small picot; --=decorative picot; =lock join; rw=reverse work/turn work; SS=switch shuttle; dnrw= do not reverse work 
Techniques used :
2 shuttles; thrown/floating ring; lock join; fs/bs tatting (optional); reverse join (optional); 2-colour tatting (optional) and related colour placement methods like SLT, etc. 

NOTE: 2 colours are used in pictorial to highlight which shuttle is in play.
Shuttle 1 - blue thread ; shuttle 2 - mustard thread.
All joining picots are very small.

When working with single colour, follow the directions from 1 to 15. 
    1. ring: 4-4-4--4-4-4. rw
     B chain: p 4•4•4-4. rw
    2. C ring: 8-8. dnrw, SS
    3. D chain: 4•4• SS
          E ring: 3-3. SS
       F chain: 4•5•
NOTE: As often happens with concentric chains, you may need to adjust the count with an extra stitch or half so that they lie flat.
    4. G chain: p 4•4•4-4. rw
TIP: For smooth curves, use CWJ (Catherine Wheel Join) instead of LJ (lock join) wherever possible
    5. H ring: 8+8. dnrw, SS
       I chain: 4•4• SS
        J ring: 3-3. SS
      K chain: 4•5• . rw  (Instead of lock join at end, I prefer making a picot join as in Motif#2)
    6. L chain: 3-3-3-3. dnrw, SS
First Motif Complete.
NOTE: Unlike the original, with our tighter stitches and tensioning, this edging tends to curve (as in lead pic). If you want a straight edging, make L chain: 3-3-3-3-3.

Leave bare thread space before starting nest ring (as seen in #7 pic above)
    7. A ring: 4-4-4--4-4-4.
    8. reverse or rotate work
    9. B chain: 4•4•4-4. rw

    10. Make ring C & chain D as before
    11. Join to ring E above and lock join to chain below. Keep Both threads on same side (I prefer to keep them above). Continue chain F
    12. Make normal picot join and continue to other side, as in 1st motif.
NOTE: I found this normal picot join is neater than the lock join used in motif#1. I had even tried the under-over join but was not satisfied. You can choose whichever join you prefer.

    13. 14. 15. – continue as first motif. 
Second motif complete. Repeat this motif till you reach desired length.

OPTION 2 - Tatting with 2 colours.
Reverse Join for bilateral symmetry of colours 
    16. After making F chain, start making lock join and
    17. Entrap other thread between loop and shuttle before tensioning.
    18. Notice the shuttles switch positions after Reverse Join. Complete 3rd motif. See how the colours are positioned.
    19. 4th motif continues with shuttle positions switched, and another RJ while crossing over to right side. Notice that there is bilateral symmetry of colours, but they alternate with the 3rd motif.
TIP : See Lock Join Plus tutorials for more options on switching colours (shoelace trick, reposition, twist work, etc.) whether within a motif or between motifs.

Thus we have several options on how to place colours, which join to use, which sequence to work, etc. It is up to the tatter to play around with the options to create and adapt. 
This will be converted into a proper pdf with stepwise diagrams and uploaded to the Endrucks 1920 Project document. There are more adaptations of this pattern in the works - sunflower coaster, beaded necklace, interlaced bookmark, besides the heart already shared. In fact there are now adaptations of the heart by inspired tatters which I will share in another post!
Yet another idea is from the multi-coloured Girotondo here. I can visualize each motif in a different or alternating colour, and the connecting chains in another colour, encapsulating the motif thread(s). I plan on doing this for the bookmark adaptation. 
I hope Frau Endrucks will not be too unhappy with our 21st century style....