Saturday, September 15, 2007

A new look

A couple of years ago I tatted a lace collar for my sister for her birthday. I used a basic ring and chain base, several rows of mignonette, and a very frilly floral edging I had designed, to create this ruffled piece of loveliness.
I had envisioned the floral edging being flat, but a gross mis-calculation resulted in a bzillion more repeats than necessary. However, by the time I had completed about one third of the final row I knew that the only way to fix it was to cut off the last 2 rows and redo the penultimate row with single large outward facing rings to space out the floral repeats in the final row. This realization occurred at the same point at which I knew there were not enough hours in the day to cut off the rows and experiment with an alternate variation and still have it completed in time for her birthday. I tatted on with this gloriously full ruffle and completed it as shown.

Some time later my sister admitted that while she liked the ruffles, the collar was too large for any of the clothes she owned and that she much prefers her dresses and blouses with the neckline - at the neck. Consequently she wondered if the collar could have a piece cut out of it and made smaller so that the neck opening was smaller.

I did mention that there are several rows of mignonette, didn't I? It's really hard to hide short ends in the bare threads of mignonette. I was really loathe to try retro tatting 4 or 5 tiny mignonette rings to give me enough thread to hide ends and I suggested that a better alternative was to add more rows at the neck to decrease the circumference of the opening. It sounded like a good plan at the time and the collar was returned for re-working.

The first problem occurred when I pulled out a ball of thread to start working on it. The thread I had was a different dye lot. I know it's white, but there are shades of white and this collar used a bright white and the ball of remaining thread in my stash was creamy white. The little bit of the bright white thread I had was insufficient to finish the collar so I put the collar aside while I considered what to do.

The second problem was to design some inner rows that would bring the neckline up the required distance. I sat down with the drawing program and sketched out the existing pattern and several variations of inner rows to see what I could come up with....................

The third problem was that everything I tried looked awful. A single row of ring and chain large enough to fill the gap was too big and heavy for all the delicate rows of mignonette. It made the lace look clunky instead of light and airy. Two rows of ring and chain either filled in too much of the neckline or not enough. Rows of chains didn't match the design and more elaborate edgings detracted from the elegant and lacy floral edging.

I put it away to think about how to resolve my problems of no thread and no pattern, which, when you think of it, are pretty basic problems. That was in Feb 2006 when I drew out the pattern of the existing collar to put it in the newsletter.

The other day I was rummaging around in one of my storage chests and I found a bag with some tatting bits and a ball of thread. Not just any thread, the thread, the thread that is the exact size and dye lot for the collar. I had put it away for safe keeping, so safe that I couldn't find it. Since none of my drawings had worked I figured I might as well just attach the thread and "wing it".

It worked. The collar now has a smaller inner circumference. There are 2 more rows of mignonette about half the depth of the lower rows and one top row of mignonette/small ring. It's still light and airy, the rows gradually and naturally decrease so that it lays flat and it looks like it was designed that way. I'm quite happy with the results.

All that's left to do is finish up the sides and modify the closure slightly. I still haven't decided whether I should stay with the single closure at the top or use 2. The original, and another at the new top. Either way, the collar is done now, and I can block it and send it back to my sister.


Clyde Page said...

Sharon, I think you did an amazing job on the collar. You are truly talented.

Tattycat said...

All I can say is WOW! You must really love your sister and she is really lucky. You did a great job!

Marty said...

Just beautiful! I thought the original was prime, but you managed to make the rework even more lovely. What a lucky sister you've got!

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

The collar is absolutely beautiful! Congratulations on your ability to stick with it until you found a solution!

Sharon said...

Thank you all for your wonderful compliments. My sister is worth all of the work and more. I'm blessed with the BEST family.