Friday, November 10, 2017

Merry Christmas Flutter

The pattern for the butterfly is here and colour coded. I don't usually colour code diagrams as they end up being uniform black and white when they are printed. The butterfly is done in 3 sections, body, left wing, right wing. In size 20 thread wind 2 shuttles CTM with about 1.5 yards on each shuttle of the colour being used for the body.. The first and last ring are normal rings and the others are split rings. I used a scrap piece of card about a half inch wide to measure the picots for the antennae to make sure they were the same length and tied a knot in the tip of each picot. After struggling with the first one, I used a  piece of thread through the tip of the antenna to give me something to hold onto while I tied the knot, then pulled it out when the knot was done.

For the wings I wound about 1.5 yards of the solid colour on one shuttle and about 1.5 yards of the variegated colour on the second shuttle. I hate trying to match up the colour distribution in variegated threads when I'm part way through a project so I tend to use more thread than I think I'll need so that I don't have to play match up. On the other hand I don't like to waste thread. It's a constant battle. "use more!/don't waste it!" I also don't use precise measurements. I generally pull off  an arm's length of thread and then add a bit more if I think I need it.

The wings begin at the bottom and when using 2 colours, start the first ring with one colour and hide the ends of the second colour as you tat it. RW and tat the short chain with the second colour and begin the first large ring with the second colour, doing the split part with the first colour. The next ring is also a split ring split on the side. The third large ring is a normal ring done with the second colour. The last large ring begins with the second colour and the first colour is used on the split side.

There's a short chain followed by one inward ring in the second colour and one outward facing ring done in the first colour. When you reach the bottom of the wing again, switch shuttles and tat with the second colour. The next two inward facing rings are done in the first colour and the outward facing ring is done in the second colour, which is also used to finish off the wing.

The second wing is done the same as the first wing, except that if you choose to do front side/back side tatting, you'll need to switch stitch order. Personally, I think life is too short to play around with fs/bs but do it the way you want.

Anyway, here's the pattern. Let me know if there's anything missing on it and just to make it easier to refer to both picture and pattern, I've added in the green and yellow butterfly again.

Edited: Green just didn't do it for me. I just had to tat it in red. So now the butterfly is in red and white.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

One more flutter

I started modifying the pattern for the butterfly so that I could post it and it occurred to me that without some clear direction on when to switch shuttles, other folks might have difficulty with this one. I decided to tat another one in 2 solid colours so that you can clearly see which shuttle needs to be use. Turns out it's not half bad done in solid colours. I was using up bits of thread off these 2 balls and had to add in both the yellow and the green on this one. I used my standard method for adding in thread and it's really hard to see where the joins occurred.

The pattern still requires hiding 6 thread ends, 2 for the body and 2 for each wing, which isn't bad when you consider it's done in 2 colours of thread. I'm thinking that if I tried really hard I might be able to figure a way of tatting it in one pass, but the mental gymnastics to do it might not be worth the effort in the end.

When I finally get this pattern done I may have to use 2 colours to make it readable, but that's a job for another day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

No snowflakes, just butterflies

For years I have been tatting snowflakes to send out with our Christmas cards to special people. You tat. You know that not everyone deserves the time and effort that goes into making a piece of tatted lace. So not everyone gets a snowflake. I do a few extras to give away to visitors during the holidays and as we all know, tatting is a great stress reliever so it accomplishes both keeping things calm and collected as well as providing little gifts. However, as the family ages there are more and more households without children and the need for the sparkle of Christmas trees. That means that I'm sending out snowflakes that don't ever get used.

As I considered this situation last year I thought that it might be preferable to send out butterflies that could be used all year long. For people who have Christmas trees they can still hang the butterflies. For those that don't, the butterfly can be displayed elsewhere or used on clothing or stored wherever they've been keeping the rest of them, which is hopefully not file 13 aka the circular file.

I have a butterfly pattern which can be done in one pass, but I don't really like the look of it. See what I mean?

I took the basic design and replaced the body section.You can see that I was playing around with how the wings fitted onto the body. That meant that the body, which is done with split rings needed to be done with 2 shuttles wound CTM

After working in size 20 thread I did it again in some size 80 using a solid thread colour for the body and the small rings that attach to it with a complimentary variegated thread for the rest of the wings. For the body I loaded enough solid coloured thread for the body and one wing. After tatting the body, I started the first ring of the wing and added in the variegated thread working from a section where the colours matched. (I used my method of adding thread which you can find in the sidebar to the right.) It didn't turn out to bad, but I didn't like the antennae.

When I tatted it again in the size 20 Lizbeth thread I made the antennae longer and tied a knot in the tip. I wasn't really paying attention to the placement of the variegated colour except on the starting ring to minimize the amount of contrast between the first ring and chain of the wing especially since the split rings were probably going to show a marked contrast anyway. Then again, these were butterfly wings and I wanted a lot of variation.

On some of the later butterflies I made more of an attempt at matching the wings, but sometimes, with the way the colours were arranged especially on a colour like Summer Fun, it was almost impossible. Some match better than others, although with the solid colours being in fixed positions, that certainly helps.

I'm not at all anxious about front side/back side tatting, so I didn't get bent out of shape trying to keep everything going in the same direction. On the second wing I just turned it to the back and repeated. For anyone who is, they'd have to reverse their order of tatting for the second wing.

Here's what the collection looks like. Each butterfly is approximately 3.75 by 3.5 inches which is just about perfect for what I was looking for.

And here's a picture with the one done in size 80 at the top for contrast. I'm thinking I'll glue that one onto my cell phone. I have the pattern drawn out for what I started with, but of course I tweaked it as I progressed. At some point I'll adjust the pattern to what the final version worked out at and get it posted.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

An embarrassment of riches

I have started and discarded a dozen posts over the summer covering such topics as the various silly trials we have had, the tatting I've done, the designs that have worked and those that have flopped, but it seems that something has come up before I was able to complete the post and I just never got to the point of uploading anything.

One of the things that happened this summer is that I retired. It was very anticlimactic seeing as I've worked from home for over 20 years, so retirement didn't really change things all that much. One of the things that did happen is that I declared 2016 as my last year of doing business for tax purposes. That means that I no longer have to keep track of expenditures for business and I no longer have to complete pages of business income tax forms. Yay!!!

I closed out all of the order pages on my web site and removed references to books that I previously had available so that people couldn't order them, and looked forward to not dealing with the business side of creating tatting patterns and information. I love you guys, but the remuneration isn't really worth the hassle. So there it was gone. Done and dusted. Kaput. Fini. Over.

Or so I thought. Since I closed things up, I periodically get notices from PayPal that people have sent me money. They aren't completing an order form. It isn't coming from my web site, I just get notices of money being sent to me for this book or that. Then I have to go back into my PayPal account and refund the money and apologize that I can't send the requested book---because I'm no longer in business.

I thought I'd closed the door on this part of my life, but somewhere folks are finding reference to   books and tutorials and they're sending me money looking to buy them. I'm guessing that people are reading old blog entries or something and that's what's generating these payments, so  I figured the only way to stop them is to let everyone know officially that I'm closed for business.

That doesn't mean that my patterns are no longer available. Some patterns are free from my web site and  my blog and as time goes on, other things will show up there. If you're desperate for something You've seen on line, let me know and I'll see what I can do. Otherwise, please stop sending me money.
Pretty please. With sugar on top.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Another bookmark

I did another bookmark, this one a really simple design, but I like how it turned out. It's a row of split rings surrounded by a row of ring and chain. What makes it effective is that the row of split rings in the middle is done with a variegated thread which is also used for the outer chain. The solid colour for the rings perfectly matches the blue in the variegated thread.

I chose to use a zigzag chain and tassel for the tail end. Making the tail and tassels often seems to take as long as it does to make the bookmark, but tassels just seem to finish the bookmarks off better than a tatted motif. I do used tatted motifs especially if the bookmark incorporates a motif like the flower shape in the previous bookmarks. I used a five ring flower for the bookmark I gave away, but the 2 I just finished had tassels. In fact, I spent yesterday doing nothing but tails and tassels for these three bookmarks.

As much as tassels are a pain in the butt, they are an effective use of the thread left on the shuttles. I know some people use up the thread on their shuttles tatting little motifs, 4 ring butterflies or one ring flowers for decorating stationary, but I don't. I have only so many hours in my day and I refuse to spend them doing "make work" projects that serve no real purpose. On the other hand, I'm stingy and hate wasting anything, even thread. So using up the remaining shuttle thread on tassels, as time consuming as they are, satisfies my need to be frugal and at the same time empties my shuttles.

Monday, July 31, 2017

I stuck with it

OK so I'm stubborn. Rather than give up and pitch it, I carefully fixed it, undoing the ring carefully around the hidden core threads. I didn't want to deal with hiding a bzillion threads in a single ring. So, I put aside one of the shuttles I had cut off and took the other one and unwound enough thread to tat a couple of rings and attached the end to a SPARE shuttle, so my thread was CTM again. (I could have finger tatted with the end, but I was already dealing with lots of loose ends and it was easier to keep track of this end when it was attached to a spare shuttle.) Then I used the shuttle to start the last split ring again carefully hiding one of the old ends (and the alternate colour) in the first half of the ring. I used the spare shuttle to tat the second half of the split ring while hiding the alternate colour and the other old thread end. That got rid of the two old cut ends.

Then I switched to the alternate colour to tat the next split ring, hiding the first colour in it's core. I proceeded to tat with the second colour until I was finished with it. When I switched back to the first colour, (the one that broke) I was running out of thread on the spare shuttle. That's OK, it had served it's purpose, I was now far enough from where I had joined in the new thread and hidden the 2 old ends that I could hide the ends of the new thread. I picked up the second shuttle and started tatting with it, hiding the end of the thread from the spare shuttle. On the next ring I hid the starting end of thread from the second shuttle. By the next ring all thread ends were hidden and I was back to tatting with 4 shuttles.

Whew! All that, just so that I could see what this design looked like done in 2 colours. Actually I guess that's 3 colours. (So I can't count. What else is new? It's not as bad as telling hubby to go left while pointing to the exit off the highway to the right- He only had to back up on the highway 100 yards.)

OK, back to serious stuff. I started this design thinking about doing bookmarks with 4 ring motifs. Then I thought about a 5 ring motif, joined alternating 3 rings on the side with 2 rings on the side, flip flopping them so that it resembled a flower and resulted in a straight line. When it was done, the 5 ring flower just merged together into a solid band of rings and the flower effect was lost. See the bookmark done in red and green. The individual flowers just disappear. Which is why I wanted to see the effect with 2 different colours used for the flowers.

See this one done with the 5 ring motifs alternating in red and pink. The flower shapes are evident and the green on the outside suggests leaves.

I don't like the 4 green rings on the ends. I'm not sure what I did on the original, I might have just used plain chains going around the end of the bookmark. Whatever it was, it didn't result in the lop sided effect the 4 rings give, but maybe I'm just being critical. It doesn't matter now anyway because I've done the design again and this time I have pictures of it.

Now that that's out of the way I can go back to embroidering that second picture I was working on. Or maybe not, as I've just thought of something else I could tat....

I told you I have the attention span of a flea.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Have you ever?

In this long saga of working with multiple colours and multiple shuttles, I have run into yet another snag. I'm an experienced tatter and having to un-tat is just a part of tatting. Unfixable problems get cut off and really horrible disasters just get pitched in the garbage.

After fighting with the screws, bits, pieces and horrible tension of working with double bobbins I resorted to using 4 shuttles. Unwieldy, but doable.

Then on joining the 10th ring, while fighting with all 4 shuttles and hiding the alternate colour, the thread split and frayed.

There's no help for it the last ring had to be cut. This is one of the rings in which the alternate colour has been hidden, so it's carefully undoing each stitch of the split ring and unwinding it from around the hidden thread.

Now since my CTM thread has been cut in the middle and it means hiding 6 threads - the two cut ends - the two new ends and the two alternate colours, I can either bite the bullet and fuss with it, salvaging the thread, or I can pull the thread off the shuttles, scrap it, and start again. Have you ever run into a project where every solution seems to bring out more problems? I'm dreading hiding the cut end of the old thread and the alternate colour on the split side of the ring.

I hate wasting thread. I hate having to fuss with a "relaxing" pastime. Which will win out?