Tuesday, January 22, 2013
When I first began designing, way back in what seems like the Dark Ages, I often wanted to create certain shapes and wasn't sure about how to do it. One of my early attempts was this bunny. It looks like a bunny. OK, if it doesn't look like a bunny cross your eyes and squint. The design, such as it is, was made up of mostly overly long unsupported chains. Since I wanted to use this design as a pin, I tatted it over nylon fishing line, which gave it the support it was so sadly lacking.
Now, don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for the simple outlines created by chains. They are perfectly fine if you plan to attach the finished piece to fabric or if you intend to seal it inside an acrylic coaster or key fob or in some other way, give it the support that it needs.
However, if the finished product is going to stand on it's own, those extra long unsupported sloppy, floppy chains are going to be a problem. They have no more backbone than a wet noodle and I call them spaghetti chains. In a doily, you will spend more time rearranging the chains and pushing then into shape, than you will enjoying your handiwork. In a snowflake, the arms will sag and droop without serious stiffening. In earrings and pendants the design will fold into a sad little blob. In all of these instances your effort and ingenuity will not elicit praise, but sad commiseration, which, if you are like most designers, is not the response you're looking for.
After numerous design attempts I have learned to test my designs for droopiness by holding things like motifs by one corner or edge and see if it will stand straight. If it will I know I have a nice tight design, if it won't, I take another look at it's construction. If I have spaghetti chains going on, I look for ways to add in a ring or two at key areas to give the added framework. Sometimes adding these rings detract from the design. At that point I have to step back, look at the design and do one of two things; scrap it, or decide that the overall design is just too pretty to scrap. In that case, spaghetti chains or not, it's a keeper.