Friday, February 28, 2014

Pink hanky, or the trials of tatting with colour

I started the edging for this hanky and was coming up on the 3rd corner when the thread broke. I did a whole hanky with dimpled rings and the thread didn't break even once. With this simple edging that I think of as a vine edging, where the rings are small 8-8, and the thread seems strong so it shouldn't break. But it did. I'm a big girl and I know how to open closed rings, back up, bring the thread back in and carry on, so I don't usually mind. See, it's all fixed.

This however is variegated thread. It has a long stretch of pink followed by a short intense stretch of green. The pattern is worked with 2 shuttles in a ring of 8-8 followed by a chain of 8-8 and a ring of 8-8 joined to the first ring. Since I'm using a variegated thread wound CTM on both shuttles there is a section of pink lace followed by a short section of green on one side of the lace, then repeated and the green is on the opposite side of the lace. like this. See?

I was beginning to wonder if the travelling patch of green on the top was going to match up with the green on the bottom, which I don't want it to. Then the thread broke right in the green. I thought about cutting out a repeat of colour and moving over to the next section of green, but it seemed like such a waste of thread, so I just joined the thread where it broke and kept tatting.

Then the thread on the other shuttle broke. I'm a big girl and I know how to open closed rings, back up, bring the thread back in and carry on...wait, I've been here before. At this point, I have not 1 but 2 shuttles with variegated thread that have broken about half way around on the edging.

One of the nice things about variegated thread, at least in my opinion, is that you get a recurring sequence of colour just like the lace has a recurring sequence of pattern. In order to continue that regular sequence, you have to have the same pattern used in the same section of colour. Breaking the thread means breaking the sequence. So to try and bring the colours into sync again, I undid everything back to the first break. Pulled the thread off the first shuttle until I was at the beginning of the green section and added the thread in. Then I brought in the pink colour on the second shuttle.

Of course at this point I had to go around the corner which used a bit more thread on the first shuttle. You can see what happened. The green sections caught up with one another and I now have an edging with half of it pink with little bits of green and half of it with solid blocks of green. I don't like it.

When I started this project I grabbed what looked like a full ball of thread and loaded the first shuttle, only to find out that the thread had been cut and wound back on the ball. That's OK there was plenty of thread left on the ball, so I unwound it and started again. The design is simple and it makes a fairly narrow band of lace, but it's easy to do a second row to mirror the first row, which I was prepared to do from the outset. If you read this blog, you'll know I abhor skinny lace. Nor am I crazy about doing multiple rows of lace to make it wider. However, this one is repetitive, quick and easy, so it'll do.

Except. There's always an exception. I like how I've done the corners on the first row. I'm not sure I'm going to like it when I add the second row. So I could just do the sides and join the row to the existing corner which will mean a lot of ends to sew in on teeny tiny thread. Or I could just do a chain over the corner, not really doing much of a corner treatment at all.

There there's that other exception. What do I do about the pooling of that block of colour on the second half of the hanky? If I just do the sides, I can start the variegation at any point and separate the green more for the second row, on the side where it's pooling, or deliberately match up the greens on the section where it's not. Of course that means all those ends to hide.

I was leaning toward spreading the colour out on the side that's pooling and doing a new corner. I've come to the end of the last side and realized that I either have to undo a section to join the lace to the beginning or crown in another pattern repeat. I'm thinking undoing will be a better fit and the last ring is being stubborn about re-opening and the thread is starting to look frayed.....


SWtrompeter said...

I love your corner treatment.

If you're using thread that might be considered 'vintage,' you may want to try putting the thread in your freezer for several hours, then take it out and let it warm up to normal room temperature. For some reason, some 'older' threads tend to break quite a bit, and freezing it for a while sometimes seems to fix whatever it is that makes it break. (Worth a try, anyway.) I hope this helps.

Sharon said...

Yes, I've heard that said, although I've never tried it. I think that if I can tat nearly a yard of lace without breaking it, and then break it twice in quick succession, the problem is one of tension. I probably shouldn't watch nail biting Olympics while tatting. :-)

Ladytats said...

the reason the freezing works, is because cold things attract moisture. Usually old threads have become dry from the way they are stored. By putting them in the freezer, then letting them warm to room temp, they will slowly absorb moisture without getting wet. This seems to strengthen the thread. Even if it is only dry on part of the ball, it seems to even things out.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

I've learned something new today. Who knew a freezer could come in so handy? I love the edging you're using, but I'm not sure I'd ever be able to make that many dimpled rings.