Saturday, June 25, 2011

What do you think?

It has been a busy week. I've spent most of my time trying out some new ideas for designs. I hope to reveal some of them to you before the week is over.

Meanwhile, I need some opinions. This image is of a couple of the Flaming Caverns Bookmarks. I tried switching the roles of the solid and variegated threads to see what happens. It might be easier for you to make up you mind about which look you prefer if I had used the same colors for both samples, but I didn't. Sorry. I have two daughters and each has a different preference. Do you have a preference from these two samples?

The hanky edging has been my project during family television watching, but everyone has been too busy at other things this week. While that is a good thing for the family, it means the edging has been neglected. I should manage some progress on it this weekend, though.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beaded Celtic Snowflake

I decided to pull out some of my own patterns for play. This is my Celtic Snowflake I in a size 60 thread with glass beads added. From bead to bead it measures 6 cm.
The hanky edging is progressing slowly as I needed to slip into production mode with some of my tatting projects. I'm still managing to practice with a few techniques as I work. The up join provides a smooth look to a ring, but is extremely awkward for me, especially with tiny picots. If any of you have any tips for the up join, please share. I have lots more work to do with the different joins before I make up my mind about how they will affect my own work.

The most exciting 'technique' I've discovered lately is from the March 9 post of Jon Yusoff entitled "How to estimate the amount of thread required for a project." While I know there are lots of great ideas out there for how to empty your shuttles with tiny projects, I much prefer the idea of loading what I need and only what I need. To test the technique, I started with some of my favorite thread sizes and a few of my favorite designs. With my first project (one of the Flaming Caverns bookmarks), I cut it so close that I had to take the shuttle off to finish the last ring. Since then I've thrown in a few extra centimeters of thread just to play it safe. I've used it nine times now, each a success. It takes a little time to do the math before you start, but I think it well worth the effort. Jon, I thank you.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another Round Robin Doily From the Past

I've received a few questions about round robins so I thought I'd answer them from my own experience as I post an image of the doily that was mine at the end of the round robin that also produced the purple and black one for Sue Hanson (see previous post).

The specific guidelines for a round robin group can vary greatly, but the basic guidelines are usually pretty similar. You usually try to match people of similar skill levels. There is room for lots of flexibility.

The doily is usually begun by the member who will own it at the end of its travels. You send your center, the instructions for what you've done so far, and the thread, beads, etc., to be used in the project. As the piece moves from member to member, each adds another round or two (determined entirely by the tatter to get the look they envision) and encloses the instructions for the parts they have added. When it returns to the person who created the center, they have a completed doily and the instructions to reproduce it, as well as any leftover supplies.

Round robins don't have to be made with original designs. In some of my earliest efforts, we were encouraged to tat a motif we liked for our center. Edging patterns or other doily patterns were sometimes used for succeeding rounds. You do need to add picots that others might use in successive rounds. The first few people might choose to add something different every time, but the last few are going to have to think about how to bring it all together to look finished, especially the last tatter. That is one reason a tatter may add more than one round. Their part may not look finished without them. Sending the instructions around with the piece provides members with the information they need to repeat elements from an earlier round in their own round helping to pull the design together.

It is also a long commitment.  There is usually a limit on the amount of time you have for each doily, but it must be long enough to give you time to think out your part as well as produce it. I think we usually had a month, so you can see that, depending upon the size of the group, you could have project commitments for many months. There is also the expense of postage as you send each piece on its way.

In terms of designing, it is very similar to me to the agonies I go through in deciding what edging to put on a hanky. It is a matter of deciding what will look right with what is already done.

My one regret about my own round robin experience is that I didn't get the patterns for all of the doilies I helped to create. I think the difficulty of putting the final pattern together is one of the reasons for that. If I did one today, I would want every group member to scan or photograph the pieces as they progress and mail or email the instructions and image to the other members each step of the way. Then all members would have all of the patterns without any extra work at the end.

Is it challenging? Yes! Is it fun? I think so. Would I do it again? Definitely!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Round Robin Doilies From the Past

I didn't expect to get to tat today, but I managed to get about 3 inches of the hanky edging done during a break this afternoon. This evening I've been sorting through some of the tatting documents I've accumulated over the years. I came across some scans and pictures of doilies from round robins I participated in during 1997. I thought you might enjoy seeing them. I didn't get to see the other two completed doilies.

Both of these first two were both made from my center motif. The second picture is the one that was produced by the entire team. I call the first one our Oops Doily. When my doily became temporarily misplaced, one of my team mates tried to get it going again, but she didn't have the instructions from the previous rounds. As a result, I got two doilies from the round robin. I put the final rounds on our Oops Doily. (As you can see, the original piece turned up again and finished its rounds.)

This doily was started by Judy Gorrindo and was returned to her after I added its final round.
Every round robin doily is unique and it is so much fun to see them come together. This is probably my favorite doily of all the round robin doilies in which I've had a part and it belongs to Sue Hanson who designed its center motif. The round robin began in 1999 and I added a couple of rounds early in its movement (the small rings with two chains). When one of our team members had to drop out, I volunteered to finish the piece, adding the last two rounds. I just love looking at this one.

I wonder what other treasures I'll find as I clean?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Distracted from tatting

I'm doing a lot of deep cleaning at home so I'm not getting any tatting done. My youngest daughter and I are working together which makes the work more fun. I'll be back with my tatting progress in a few days.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Link to old Harpers Bazaar Issues

I googled Harper's Bazaar, November 1870, looking for an edging pattern that was mentioned in an email I saved from an old Arachne discussion. I found links to lots of issues here. Have fun!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hanky Project Day 5

I've rounded the first corner and now have a good idea of the number of clovers needed for the remaining sides. My husband had to loan me the 3.0 reading glasses he uses for detail work on plastic models when I had to untat a ring that wouldn't slide. I think I'm going to add a pair of at least 2.5 reading glasses to my tatting bag. They are much more convenient to use than a magnifying glass and won't take up a lot of space in the bag.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Notes on the Magic Thread Trick

As I was responding to some of the comments from my last post, I had an "ah ha!" moment about the magic thread trick. This is a trick I haven't used very often. It requires planning ahead so that you get loops in place before you need them and I've usually been too lazy to bother, since sewing ends into the piece worked pretty well for me. I find that more difficult to do these days so I'm once again motivated to use the Magic Thread Trick. One of the mistakes I sometimes make is that I put a loop in headed the wrong way. Frustrating! I've always pulled it out and grabbed my needle, but I just realized I don't have to do that. I can pull another loop through with the first which will now be headed in the right direction!

For those of you who don't want to bother with the Magic Thread Trick, Fox tells me that she and Jane Eborall use calyx needles (which have slotted eyes) for sewing the ends back into their tatting. I just love having choices! I plan to get a few for my tatting bag for those times when I forget to add a Magic Thread loop. It will happen. :)

P.S. I got several inches done on the hanky edging last night. I'll post a picture later today.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Technique Practice

I haven't picked up the doily yet today, but I did some technique practice.  After practicing a little more on the motif I was messing around with yesterday, I started my tatting time today by trying Mary Maynard's candy cane again (see the previous post for the link). I'm really pleased with my split chains. I also successfully tatted over ends and enclosed the final ends with the Magic Thread technique. I often forget to include my loops or get them in backwards, but I took the time to carefully think out where they needed to be.

The other motif started out as Lene Bjorn's Thirteenth Day of December from 24 Snowflakes in Tatting. While grumbling to myself about the thread I had chosen to use, I missed a small chain segment in the second round of chains. I didn't realize my mistake until I had come around with the third round of chains. I decided to quit with that round and hang it from the messed up chain side as an ornament. It is a wonderful pattern which I will use again with a thread I enjoy. It served well to give me some split chain practice though. There is a short 4 ds split chain in every round. The Magic Thread technique took care of the ends again.
Now I'm going to go work on the hanky edging for a while.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hanky Project - Day 1 & Split Chain Progress

Attached is a picture of what I've done with the hanky edging so far. The thread is Mettler Machine Quilting Thread which is smaller than size 80 tatting cotton. I think it may be about a size 100. The edging is inspired (based on) Mary Konior's Beaded Braid. I started at what I felt was the most difficult part, the scalloped corner. Keep in mind that there will be one more round.
I've spent most of my tatting time today trying to master the split chain. I made it successfully multiple times years ago from typed out instructions provided by David from Australia to the Arachne email list. Of course, I couldn't find David's instructions anywhere when I wanted them today. I'm glad that there are so many resources on the internet to help with learning a technique because, even armed with 4 sets of instructions, I just wasn't getting it. It was this link,, that finally began to get a dim glow of recognition. I had originally learned, though, to tat the split chain from right to left rather than left to right so I went back to Jane Eborall's original method instructions. I'm finally making something that looks like double stitches! I've got a lot of practice to do before this is comfortable which is my goal, but at least I've found the method that works best for me.

I hope those of you who are struggling with learning a technique will take heart from my story. Just because you can't seem to get it with one set of instructions, don't give up. Find another resource. There is more than one way to do many things in our craft and even more ways to explain them. Maybe I'll have a split chain project worth displaying tomorrow. Meanwhile, here are my practice pieces.

The split chain stitches in the candy canes look like double stitches from one side, but look awful on the other side. The unfinished split chain in the solid motif show the first good stitches I feel I've made. I'm going to try the Mary Maynard's candy cane again now that it is beginning to make sense.

Edit: I should have checked my mail before I posted. Georgia Seitz sent me a link to a split chain video by Linda Davies that is just what I needed. This looks the closest to the method I remember using before. Now to practice, practice, practice. Many thanks to Linda Davies for making and sharing the video, and to Georgia for sending it to me!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hanky Edging Trial & Learning New Techniques

I made my list of techniques I'd like to learn or practice. Wow! There were many more items on the list that I expected. I've tried a number of them at one time or another, but didn't master them well enough to use them regularly. I'll start by experimenting with different types of joins and mastering the split chain. Those seem to offer the most benefit to me at the moment. Later I'll pick a few more.

Feeling a strong desire to get the edging started on the hanky Diane gave me, I opted to begin with someone else's design rather than create one of my own. (I think I have enough design projects underway already.) I chose Mary Konior's Beaded Braid (page 9 of Tatting with Visual Patterns).  Ignore the single ring. Mary's pattern has the clover with the bead at its base repeating over and over again with a final round of chain to finish it off. With my little practice piece of edging, I can already see a need to lengthen the chains between the clovers. I have some ideas for the corners and rounding the largest part of the scalloped corner.

After adding the round of chain scallops on the outside, I think the tatting will be the same width, or slightly larger, than the "ribbon" of the corner. And even though they don't look it in this picture, the beads are white. What do you think?