Monday 28 June 2021

au revoir not adieu

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My dear email subsrcibers,

We've had it good all these years. You subscribed to my blog through email, I kept the window open, and every new post reached your inbox immediately. Sadly, this service is being discontinued from July. You can read more details in Ninetta's post here.

However, we can still keep the doors of communication open - it requires just one little step from you. I've compiled a list of 10 options of how you can continue to grace my posts in the virtual world, so that it's merely a temporary au revoir, not a final adieu. And this is applicable for all bloggers/blogs you follow.

1. Bookmark my blog and save it in your browser, using the link (I've set it to 3 posts per page) -  

2. Subscribe  to Posts & Comments from the right hand panel. 

When you click on Posts, you get a drop list of 3 options. Select your RSS feed and you will get immediate updates in your chosen browser.

3. Feedburner for Atom is another link you can save / bookmark in your browser-  . Instant updates (I checked) and you get to see 25 posts starting with the most recent! 

4. Create a profile. If you have Gmail, click on blogger and create your personal blog. It does not have to be public.

On the left panel, you can click on Reading List and add links to the blogs you wish to follow. Or create a blog list as explained below.

5. If you already have a blog, but have subscribed via email for convenience, simply add my link to your blog list and catch the latest post. Click on Layout 🠊 Add a Gadget, and select 'Blog List'. Once installed, you can keep adding as many blogs as you wish. I have over 300 blogs listed in the right panel of my blog!

6. via BlogLovin' - Here's my direct link: 

You can subscribe via this site or join as a member and then follow bloggers.

7. via Facebook - I am fairly regular and active on Facebook. My timeline is open to all, and I add my newest post with link there. So follow/friend me there to keep track. Here's the link -

8. via Instagram and Pinterest although I am not active on either. But who knows, I might have to make an extra effort to reconnect. 

9. via email within a group - It is not possible for me to email over 1400 of my subscribers. However, it appears there are some groups that follow my blog. Perhaps someone in the group can take it upon themselves to email the post to a few members. Simply click on the M icon at end of post, and feed in the sender/receiver details and the entire post will be emailed. In fact, the leader can email the post to her/himself and then simply mark copies to all - easy! 

10. Blog archive - If none of the above appeal to you, I would still appreciate an occasional eyeball. There just might be something that catches your interest. You can click on year / month to see the posts for that timeframe. Perhaps by the end of July I will have uploaded 700 posts in less than 8 years of blogging.

I sincerely hope you continue to stay connected with all of us bloggers through whichever path you choose. "The road to a friend's house is never long." 

If there is any further help you need, please leave a comment or email me (through my Profile).

Many many thanks for being, and hopefully remaining, a reader and follower of my blog.
au revoir .... see you soon

Friday 25 June 2021

fumble fingers

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 I swear if you watch me do beaded tatting you will forget how to tat with beads! My fervent wish is that a beading friend sit beside me and help me use the tools and materials I have effectively and efficiently. I simply fumble my way through, taking a ginormous amount of time even for simple patterns. And nothing comes simpler than this earring pattern!

Remember I told you about receiving many gift patterns around ITD this year? This simple one-shuttle earring pattern is a special gift from Jill McLean! Here is my journey ....

1. My first trials with new metallic thread (Natvarlal brand) failed. The single thread broke soon after starting my 1st attempt. 
So I used 2 threads above, but while closing the ring, one thread broke. Had to be abandoned.

2. Played safe on my next trial, using size 20 metallic thread.  
My only variation was using 2 different coloured beads. The yellow ones (up beads) went around the hand on the ring loop, while the blue ones (down beads) were pulled from the shuttle. 
Stringing beads didn't require too many brain cells - load all of one colour, then all of the other!
TIP : One can work the small ring as a SSSR hiding the tail without any sewing! (Miranda pictorial ; Marilee video)

3. Friends urged me to use my silk threads. So here's one Opella silk skein (all 6 strands) along with faceted bicone crystals in 2 colours - the inner green are a tad smaller than the outer silver crystals. 
I used metallic silver thread to make jump rings for the 2 teardrops. Huh, they don't look too bad in the pic, but I had a tough time getting them into shape, especially doubled up. 
Here the large ring took patience while closing - had to slide the stitches to the left in batches till the ring finally closed. 
This time the small ring on top is a split ring, sewing in tails on either side after making an overhand tie. 
TIP : But there's a way to end on a SR without sewing, too.

4. How would it look if the size of beads was inverted? So, large black wooden beads on the inside and small seed beads (17/0) on the outside! 4 seed beads per wooden bead. 
This time I decided to make a mock ring and was going to make onion rings, but switched to a red Swarovski crystal surrounded by seed beads instead. Both used Floating Beads methods.
The black beads are strung through 5 strands of Anchor silk thread on shuttle1; and silver metallic thread with seed beads on shuttle2. 
My idea was to have the red colour show up in the stitches between the black beads. How wrong was I! Unless I used reverse (unflipped) stitches, the red is hidden. Felt like a fool, but didn't feel like undoing the first few stitches, so continued.
QUICK TIP : Tatting with Metallic thread 
This metallic thread is pretty much a wire with silver thread wrapped around it and it was difficult to get a flipped stitch, especially the first half stitch.... till I hit upon a little movement!
1. Floating beads at the start, and an open chain in progress which will be joined back into a mock ring using a lock join.
2. Making the 1st half stitch. The silk thread does not have enough strength to make the metallic thread flip. With any free finger/thumb, gently push the loop indicated by arrow ... push it upwards and it's a Flip!!!
[The inset shows how direct tatting would've worked.]
3. And there it is - the 1st hs. The 2nd half stitch poses no problem. 

And that's it for now. Other ideas percolating in my head will have to wait for another day.
Isn't it amazing how simple variations and combinations can create a range of effects?!
Design TIP The size of the down/inner bead, besides the size of thread used, affects the size of the earring as is evident above. The up beads do not affect size of ring. 
The double layer of beads adds stability of shape and structure, besides the visual effect.
And this is such an easy but versatile pattern that one can make a pair for every dress!

Many many thanks, Jill, for your gracious, exciting, and enjoyable gift ...
made me push my beading boundaries 💖

Wednesday 23 June 2021

2nd shuttle or ball

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 A question was asked recently in the context of a specific pattern. The pattern contained chains that faced opposite directions in an edging. It would be an easy "switch shuttle" if one were to use 2 shuttles. But she wanted to know if it could be done with one shuttle and a ball?

Yes! Of course, the easiest way is to do a shoe lace trick (SLT) or overhand tie, but you know I avoid it as much as possible, preferring other options such as Reposition, Twist Work, Reverse Join, and/or Reverse Stitch, whichever is most effective at the time. (See

Here's a quick sampler I tatted to show one way of  How to Avoid Using 2 Shuttles - using direct tatting.

Please note that this is Not the original pattern, though the general shape, and direction of each element, is similar. I also made up my own stitch count.

1. I started with the middle ring, unsure how long the leftover thread would last. But basically, we are tatting ring and chain segments, reversing work (RW) each time.
2. Now here is where the chain changes direction and our single shuttle is not in position. To bring it in position, either do a SLT, or follow what I did -
Turn work (as if turning the page), and direct tat the chain ie. with unflipped or reverse stitched (as in 2nd side of split ring).
Notice the chain takes the colour of shuttle thread, unlike the previous chains. 
3. Reverse work after completing the segment. This brings the shuttle to the top ...
4. .... and tat the 1st ring of next repeat. It looks like a thrown/floating ring.
5. Rest of the motif is again worked as alternate chains and rings, with RW between each element. Repeat the direct tatted chain and continue for desired length.

TIP: If you want all chains to have the same colour, SLT or Repositioning at the start and end of chain would be a better choice, and the chain would be worked with normal flipped stitches.

A couple of days back I stumbled upon Jon Yusoff's How-to - Avoid using the 2nd shuttle . See, thrown rings using one shuttle !!!! 

One might inquire 'Why replace 2nd shuttle with a ball?

My answer is that it may be a matter of preference, sometimes mood! It can also be a means to reduce the number of tails to hide especially if it's going to be a looooong edging. Of course, one will need to either have 2 balls of the same shade (in order to reload the shuttle) or preload several shuttles before using the remainder of the ball for the 2nd thread.

One other scenario is when the rings are worked as mock rings (MR) or as self-closing mock rings (SCMR), a single shuttle and ball can work well.

Personally, I do not mind hiding ends, and 2 shuttles are more portable and manageable (a shuttle won't unravel if it slips off, unlike ball of thread). 2 shuttles also provide a lot of flexibility and freedom. 

As I always say, there's no absolute right or wrong in tatting. Choose what you feel comfortable with, or what the pattern demands, or how the pattern can be adapted to colour(s) and techniques. My point is merely Be Aware that there are several paths to the same destination, and with a bit of thinking ahead and adaptation you can travel any road!

You can find all tutorials here - 

Monday 21 June 2021

all tagged and bound

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 I was a good homemaker/tatter this weekend! Continuing with my taming the silk spools idea, I tackled my size 20 stash!

See, all neatly bound and tagged!
There is one drawback to this system. I generally wind leftover thread back on the ball. And sometimes I use these lengths for experimentation, practice, or learning. The paper sleeve keeps them tucked away and hidden now.
The advantage, though, is that the tag is so easy to cut and tape back, especially now that it is all organised.

And this time I wrote down the shade number. I will no longer have to peer inside with a booklight to read the tag inside.
Ruth Perry shared her method - she slits the empty plastic tube from a used ball of thread and inserts a new ball into it - it acts like a broad clasp or bracelet! 
Unlike Lizbeth, these threads are wound over cardboard tubes which I sometimes use for leftover thread. While it will work, I didn't have the numbers required, plus being thicker, they'd take up way more space than the paper sleeves I used.
Since the majority of the balls are of Anchor, I didn't need to write that down, except on the few Red Heart balls.

Here they are, back in their box. I used to stack each ball separately, till the numbers surged and the entire pile would get disturbed when trying to reach a colour at the bottom! So I bagged shades of same colour together, in those potato mesh bags. Now I merely pull out the entire bag of, say, blue/purple, and choose the ball I need. 
This is the largest container that hubby had bought extra knowing my penchant for stocking ;-P A bit of size comparison with the Pony shuttle on top.
I completed this mundane task while watching a movie each on Saturday & Sunday ;-D This really needed to be done since the mercerized cotton tends to unravel unlike perle cottons, and I feel happily satisfied.

Wednesday 16 June 2021

using silk thread

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Melanie wished for some details on how to put silk threads to use, and this post is a short compilation of my projects showcasing some of the ways I've used them along with my thoughts/tips. But first step over to see the silk project she's working on here.

1. Embroidery on paper - 

So my very first project with silk thread, for which I specifically bought a spool, was for embroidery on greeting cards in 1986-87. These are some of the many I and my sis made together. Except for the towers on the left which used 2 strands, the rest all use only one thread.

2. Hand embroidery (single thread) - 

These next 3 are hand-embroidered on handkerchiefs, using only one thread. 
I tried to use the thread for a picot edge but unless the tension is very precise, the silk thread tends to break. I finally settled on coloured sewing thread for the edges.
I've posted details about this here. The sheen and colour choices are amazing! However, ironing needs to be done by placing a damp fabric over the embroidery. Otherwise the threads may singe and fray.
Another hanky where I used single silk thread. These are all old well-used hankies, hence the fraying is visible. For really long-lasting embroidery, I recommend Anchor embroidery thread/floss.
TIP: One tip when using silk for hand embroidery - Use short lengths. Long threads tend to unravel or knot. More importantly, the thread frays due to friction with the needle eye. My solution is to keep moving the needle along the thread so that it does not cut through the thread at one point. It works really well, as in the next project ... 

3. Hand embroidery (multiple threads) -
Here I used 3 strands of silk (1 from each spool - yes, I bought several in the same colour, LOL). Working with multiple strands of silk is not an easy task since unlike embroidery thread, these are smooth and do not adhere together. But where there's a will, there's a way!

This is also the go-to thread for another form of hand embroidery - Phulkari, a traditional style with geometric designs that fills up the entire fabric from the front! The Punjabis use brilliant colours to fill up the spaces. I am not much into symmetrical patterns, hence have never tried this stitch/pattern.

4. Machine embroidery -
Above is my sole venture into machine embroidery. I deliberately went freeform with the neck coz I could not manage to 'stay within the lines' - my design choice, haha. It is for my MIL's nightie way back.
It took a lot of manoeuvring to get the tension right and avoid breaking thread midways. I managed successfully for the most part, but not always.
This is nothing compared to what my Mom could do, including using a horizontal needle to couch over. It was mesmerising to watch how she moved the hoop on the machine with one hand, while turning the hand wheel with the other, phew!

5. Tatting - 
Finally, tatting with silk. Above is my first venture with single silk thread tatting back in 2014. The sheen is not very clear here. I simply let my shuttles take the lead, belting out a freeform braid. As you can see, it has rings, chains, split rings, onion rings, floating rings.
I found it surprisingly easy to tat, except for the eye strain. Thread moves smoothly and surely, rings close neatly. There wasn't a single break throughout! And see how dainty it is.
TIP: Before closing the ring, if you post the other shuttle through the open ring, it creates an overlapping and enclosed effect!!!!
See how the threads seem to emerge from within the topmost ring? It happened when I posted the other shuttle through the ring before closing it. And the chain seems to emerge through the ring!
The flaws in tatting are purely my lack of skill at the time.

6. Tassels - 
Then of course, the common use for silk threads, as advertised when selling, is for tassels, as in the above bookmark. Long tassel earrings are a rage at present.

Silk thread brands in my stash - 
I was asked about the colour fastness & brands of these silk threads. Above are the 3 brands where the tags/sleeves are still intact. Below are each with clearer details ....
I like this Coats' Doli brand the best. The spool itself is tightly wound, as is the thread. I prefer this for machine embroidery.
Besto is another I have several spools of. Both the thread and the spool are not as tightly wound as Coats. But colours are gorgeous - lots of pastel shades.
Codak is from my MIL's leftover stash. I have 3 or 4 colours in this brand, which appears similar to Besto, except that the spool is smaller. No thread details on the sleeve, except for colour fastness.

I have a few twisted strands of silk thread as well, but forgot to take a pic. Maybe I'll add a pic tomorrow. So do check in tomorrow ....
UPDATE - Here's my complete silk thread stash -
The 5 wooden spools are vintage pure silk threads (at least 60-70 years old) as I'd mentioned in my earlier post. 
On the left are some skeins of Opella brand silk threads. Some have been used, others are still intact after decades! The tag says 'Fast to Bleach' (does that mean it is bleach-proof?), and it has the shade number as well, unlike the other spools.

UPDATE - This is what Kathleen Minniti says in her comment below - NO CHEMICAL BLEACH EVER ON SILK! It will literally dissolve silk to nothing. The label may be referring to fading from sunlight; laying garments out in the sun to "bleach" has been a time-honored method of lightening cotton and linen fabrics.

On the cards below Opella, are leftover lengths from projects.
And under that is my new metallic thread stash that I will show you once I've tatted with it!

Sunday 13 June 2021

timeless dancers

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The tribal dancers are finally here in their full glory! These gypsies took their own sweet time, didn't they?! Modern style presentation of pattern #18 from the German book ‘Die Schiffchen-Spitszen’,1920, by Frau Eleonore Endrucks-Leichtenstern is now in pdf form for the Endrucks 1920 Project

Direct link to #18 pattern reworked by Paola Bevilacqua and muskaan - 

There are 4 rows, tatted in one-pass. No modernisation here - Endrucks' herself tatted it continuously! Simple techniques - 2-shuttle tatting, block tatting, thrown rings, lock join - and voila, a complicated-looking design is born!
The single motif  is a bilaterally symmetrical version, which is also indicated in the pdf. 

Paola Bevilacqua first tatted a single motif in Dec 2020 using a ball and shuttle. Her pics are shared here, and her process pics are also in the pdf.

Row I - This is also a stand-alone pattern listed as #18/a and reworked by Paola Bevilacqua. This is uploaded as a separate pdf in the Project files.
It can be curved a wee bit by making the upper yellow rings smaller or substituting with beads. Embellish with beads and we have ourselves a beautiful necklace!
I deliberately used 2 contrasting colours in order to clearly distinguish which shuttle is in play for which element. 
Row II - The model is tatted using frontside/backside tatting and it was amazing to see that All red elements are worked backside while all yellow elements are frontside - throughout the entire 4 rows!
In this row, Endrucks uses an extra chain on one side of the block to reach the other yellow ring. It is barely discernible.

Row III - This is a chains-only row. We climb out of the previous row with a long chain. In the original, this chain is shorter because she ends row II after the 1st block despite having 2 blocks at the starting end. I chose to make them symmetrical and preferred the broader arch.

Row IV - A quick chains-only row! 
Do you see Gandhiji's 3 monkeys here? Possibility of yet another adaptation? 
TIP: Throughout the pattern I counted my joins as a half stitch. On the front side, I used a down loop for lock join (and vice versa) since it leaves a smaller footprint.

Rows II to IV also form a standalone pattern #18/b. It was tatted and diagrammed by Elisabetta De Napoli and the pdf is in the Project files. You can see all her other contributions to this project in Ninetta's post here.
I have strung beads on metallic threads and wound up my shuttles to make this 18/b into a crown!

Merely curious to see how this broad lace would look upended. What do you think?

TIP: My block tatting in this project is a midway path.... Endrucks' uses (1ds,picot) to climb out to the next chain in a block. Instead of the 1ds, I simply made the picot long enough to span the height of the current chain, and a bit extra to ease joining of next chain. I think it works well doesn't it? 

On close inspection, you can see that some rings in the red/yellow model face opposite to each other, when cut vertically or horizontally. Compare this with the 4-coloured model on the right where symmetry is 'perfect'. 
With a tiny bit of jugglery and thrown rings in place of normal rings, this lace can become symmetrical. Only one chain requires a downward picot for the adjoining ring to be linked later. These modifications are also explained/inked in the pdf. 
I used 4-colours to distinguish each row if we want to tat it in this manner. But despite 4 colours, it is still worked in one pass, and I used false ctm to add in new colour. 

Anchor Pearl cotton size 8 is used for both models. A few minor changes from the original had to be made.
I had attempted to increase the skirt by another 2 rows in a 3rd model but ran out of thread and time. Perhaps some time in future. And what about a 3D skirt that goes all around? Easy enough to tat using the same stitch count! Could be adapted for a skirt/gown or bell, etc.

It is now up to you creative tatters to adapt this pattern to your vision and share with us. If one Facebook, tag Ninetta or myself, and use the hashtag #Endrucks1920Project. You will find all details and links to original and modern in the Project files here

My heartfelt thanks to all the lovely ladies mentioned here - 
dancing is fun only when friends are around 💖💝💖

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