Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The computer ate my homework-AGAIN!

It's not really the computer that's at fault, it's me. It's 4:15 AM as I type this and I think my brain is frazzled. I was SO close to having this drawing done. I mean it's only 3 rows, so how hard can it be? Hubby was up working late so I decided to go ahead and work on the drawing. I finished the first row then had to go back and re-work it to get the split ring right. Then I remembered that the second row had rings off the top of the chains and had to re-do that part. The 3rd row had rings in 2 different sizes and when I placed them it threw things off so I had to start again and just as I was saving the final drawing I hit the wrong key while nudging the mouse and shifted a 3 inch drawing to zoom out to half a page in a format where I couldn't hit undo. Grrrrrrr!

I'm stubborn, so I didn't quit. The drawing is done. I think. Like I said it's after 4 in the morning  and who knows what I'm doing.

Here's the picture again.

and a pattern to go with it.

Let me know if anything is out of whack and I'll take another look at it when I'm functional again. I'm signing off for the night. ZZZZZ

It's huge!

I have another snowflake done. It has hearts.  It has points. Just for Muskaan it has a flower. It's 5 bloomin' inches from point to point.

What it doesn't have yet is a pattern.

Working on it.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

It didn't look that way in my head

I was trying for a design with dimpled rings on top of chains like hearts on a telephone pole and I figured it would need some rings part way up the telephone pole to hold it together. After the first heart I realized that the chain up and chain down weren't going to make a pole. There was a gap between making another flower shape. OK, I can live with that, so I kept on tatting. Because I was in a mind set that said heart on a pole I planned on the snowflake points being between the hearts rather than on top of them. As I was finishing the second row and it was buckling like mad and far too open to be useful and I realized it would need another row to get points of any kind on it and the points weren't going to be where I wanted them, so I just decided to quit. PFFT!

I'm not drawing this one.

Test tat anyone?

I tatted another snowflake with dimpled rings since it seems that some of you really liked that idea. This one uses a regular 6 ring daisy as a base which does tighten up the centre and gives it more stability. The chain around the daisy let me climb out on a split chain instead of a split dimpled ring and simplified the pattern. I tatted the row around the hearts (Row 3), using only a single picot over the top of the heart, but when I did the next row to form points over the hearts I needed picots where I hadn't planned any, so I wiggled my hook in between stitches 5 and 6 and did the join anyway. You can see that on the last row I used a stitch count of 6 which worked on my sample, but you may have to use a stitch count of 7 on the chains to compensate or use really tiny picots on Row 3. I've shown the picots on the diagram and it should work OK but I'm not going to re-tat it right now as I'm already on to the next. GRIN

Oh, you wanted to see what I was talking about? Here it is:

I guess you want the pattern too, don't you?
If anyone's feeling adventurous and wants to give this one a try and let me know how it turns out, I'd be much obliged. Otherwise it'll have to wait until I get through this spate of designing for me to have the time to re-tat it.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Hexagon or Snowflake

Hello, hello, anyone here? I found a new bobbin and opted for working with one good and one so so shuttle and whipped through this snowflake that I had roughly sketched out. A proper daisy made with rings would have had a tighter, more structured centre that would have lent the design more stability. I didn't want to repeat the chain up to the sides of the dimpled ring, but still wanted to isolate the heart shape, so there are long connecting chains from side to side. My initial drawing had chains going from the middle of the long chain to the pair of rings over the heart, but I could see as I was tatting it that it was going to make for a huge unsupported chain so I chose to go with a shorter chain joined back to the side of the ring ad 2 short chains between. There are still points. Sort of.

This design is about 4 inches across from point to point, but it's too light and airy to hold it's shape without stiffening. It would be OK hung in a window, but it will flop over hung on a tree and the outline is more hexagon than snowflake. I've designated this design as difficult only because it has a split dimpled ring following a split chain. Some people have a heard time getting a dimpled ring to close and when you add in the complication of making the dimpled ring split, it just makes it that much harder. It's at exactly that point where you've already tatted half of the design and you have to pull extra hard to close the dimpled ring, that the thread is likely to break.

I can't make my mind up whether I like this design or not. I could add another row to make the points more pointy, but after a good night's sleep I think I have an idea for doing it with a proper 6 ring daisy, which luckily I already have tatted! LOL

BTW I'm merrily zipping along designing and drawing snowflakes and posting the results here, but not getting a lot of feedback. Has anyone tried tatting these designs? Any suggestions for new ones?
Off to tat more flakes.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Too many designs. Too little time. Too little thread.

I have some ideas. I planned on doing another snowflake with a daisy centre and I have the daisy tatted with both shuttles full of thread attached. Then I noticed on Facebook several people commenting that they really liked the snowflake with the hearts.... Which sidetracked me into thinking of more designs incorporating hearts... Then I wondered if it would be possible to design something starting with a central ring and really long chains terminating in dimpled hearts... And then I took a look a the daisy and realized that it was the same size as the rose used in the Hearts'N'Flower snowflake. So I started drawing it out and then realized that it's possible but difficult to throw a dimpled ring off the top of another ring. It's even more difficult to do it 6 times in a design.

That's when I pulled up the earlier drawings that utilize chains to make the daisy shape and they'll definitely work.

So now my dilemma. I've misplaced all of my shuttles except for the ones that are too loose and the bobbins spin. Or my wooden ones that take too long to load and unload. Or the ones that are full of thread, but already have a daisy attached to them. I have designs floating in my head that have to get out NOW or I'll lose them and no shuttles available. Do I tat like mad to get the daisy design which is currently laying limp in the back recesses of my noggin and is sure to be a disaster because I'm just not feeling it. Or do I wind a couple of worn out bobbins with rubber inserts and limp along getting these fresh designs out into thread?

Then there's the other problem. I'm running out of white thread. I started this exercise with a full ball of Aunt Lydia's size 20 thread and I can already see the cardboard core. I can feel a bunch more flakes in the offing but I'm going to run out of thread before I run out of ideas and the last time I checked the store, they didn't have any more. Lots of size 10, which I don't need because I was gifted with 20 balls of the stuff that I never use, but no size 20.

There are too many designs that want tatting, not enough time to tat, not enough working shuttles, and not enough thread to play with. It's enough to cause a nervous breakdown!

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Another daisy centre

When I'm designing I have no idea whether I'll need a lot of thread, or just a little bit so I tend to just fill my shuttles and tat. Tatting lots of snowflakes has meant that I've ended up with lots of fairly long cut off thread ends. That can get wasteful so sometimes I just start tatting with the left over bits and add in more left over thread as I run out just to use up the thread bits. Sometimes I end up adding in new thread 2 or 3 times in a small snowflake, but the alternative is throwing out a lot of thread.

I'm playing around with 6 ring daisy centres which usually end with a split ring so that you can climb out to the next row. The last one I did I was using up some of the left over thread from previous snowflakes and I've run out of thread just as I was finishing the daisy so it didn't seem worth while to tat a split ring just to tat a partial chain and then have to stop and add thread. This sort of haphazard way of tatting means that I always have to stop and think about it when I draw it out. I need to draw it for what should be done with full shuttles, not what I actually tatted doing my trial piece.

This next snowflake is the second one I drew out, but the arms look too straight... or maybe not. In any event it's 2.75 inches from point to point.

As usual, here's the pattern.

That makes 12 snowflakes I've designed since November 7th. I'm not including the Chained Flake because it was designed a long time ago and just drawn up recently. I wonder if I can come up with a few more before I run out of steam?

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Baby Flake

I thought I'd try something using a 6 ring daisy. The first attempt made an arm that looked like garbage so I cut it off. I drew out a couple of variations and then started to tat. Here's the first one that I name Baby Flake because it tiny and cute and about the smallest thing you could tat for a snowflake. It's just under 2 inches from point to point.

And since I'd already drawn it before I tatted it, there's a pattern to go with it.

Edited to add: The pattern calls for the last ring in the daisy to be tatted as a split ring so that you can climb out into the next row. Since I did this one in a hurry late at night I neglected to show the split ring in the legend although it is shown in the drawing. See that shaded edge of the ring? That's the split.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Hearts and Flowers

I went to sleep last night thinking about a snowflake with a rose centre surrounded by points with hearts in them. I mentally kicked around several ideas then I pulled up the drawing program to see what it might look like. It kind of looks like this.

Then I sat down and started tatting it. The rose looked like a rose and the hearts surrounded it but when I added the chains around the hearts it looked like petals, not snowflake points. So I added a row with inward and outward facing rings that gave it points. After tatting the first arm it looked like crap. I kept on tatting and amazingly, it looks like a snowflake!

Complete with pattern of course.

Uh-oh BRB

I'm back, did you miss me? I just realized I didn't label the rows, so I had to stop and fix the pattern. Then I realized I'd missed the stitch count for the chain on either side of the dimpled rings. I wanted to keep the lines around the hearts clean so that the hearts would stand out. Although the design is mostly chains the snowflake still holds it's shape, which is good because I hate wet noodle tatting.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Back to roses and snowflakes

A basic rose plus another row made a cute 2.5 inch snowflake. Simple, quick and easy both in tatting and in drawing. No splitz just shuttle and ball, it just falls off the shuttles.

Wet noodle tatting

I finished another snowflake. I'm not sure if I can say anything about it. It doesn't have an attractive profile and worst of all, it's limp. I don't like designs that don't hold their shape. When I was tatting this one I started with a central ring with large picots, but If I were to tat it again I'd do it with small picots. I didn't join the small rings on the last row, but if I were tatting it again I would join them to give the design more stability. As it is, this design has as much structure as a wet spaghetti noodle.

I'm calling this one a fail  and I won't be writing out the pattern for it.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

A first for December

This first design for December starts with the same daisy flower and outline row used in the November 27 snowflake. After I got to that point I decided I wanted another row of chain which I tatted forgetting that I needed some picots on it to attach the next row, Then I added the picots and another row with rings joined to those picots and chains from petal to ring to petal. Which put too many stitches in place so I cut it off and started again and the next try wasn't much better.

Then I opted for the simple ring and chain arrangement which also looked like it was going to ruffle. On the next row I just tatted two rings joined side to side to pull things in and I think I finally have a design that I like. It didn't look too promising until I blocked it pulling out the picots on the sides of the points.

Would you like the pattern? Of course you would. So it's here:

That makes 7 new designs so far this season, not counting the little flake that's just the inner part of another design. Maybe I'll go for an even 10.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

It's really simple - or really hard

The comments of newbie tatters always hit home. I learned to tat sort of by accident. I had no idea that you needed a shuttle to tat with, I'd never seen tatting and was totally clueless. Then when I'd finally managed my first ring that closed, I had no one around me that tatted and no pattern books. Which is why when I began teaching I came up with a chain only bookmark that can be done in size 10 thread. It's something that a beginner can do in a short amount of time that results in something useful. For your edification I've included it here:

Those of us who shuttle tat know that it's easier for a beginner to work with chains using 2 colours of thread. The different colours make sure that you know when your stitches have been flipped. If it's the shuttle colour, you goofed. If it's the ball colour, all's right with the world.

So, I thought wouldn't it be a great idea to design a chain only snowflake for beginners? This is where theory and reality hit head on.  If you're designing something with the idea of it being a simple beginner's pattern you don't want to muddy the waters with teaching a bunch of "exceptions to the rules".

I thought I was being clever but tatting with just chains makes for some other complications. To begin with, there's no starting ring so right away the novice tatter has to learn how to tat a mock ring. Then to keep the picots space from closing, they have to learn about a lock stitch. And then of course all of the joins are shuttle joins rather than the normal type. To top it all off, every round is cut and tie, unless the tatter knows how to tat split chains which brings everything full circle.

I though I was being clever making a chain only design- never mind. Let's just forget about it. I guess that's why I never did get this one drawn out--- until now.

I took the time to draw this one out and you can do it chain only, although this sample obviously starts with a central ring. And, of course, every round ends with a split chain climbing into the next row. I have shown one pathway through this maze of chains, but of course you can tat it any way you want. You can ever forego the split chains and cut the thread at the end of every row. Unfortunately that will mean about a bzillion ends to hide.

Anyway, here it is the really hard - simple chained snowflake.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The attention span of a gnat.

It was my intention today to draw out the pattern for the 8 sided motif above, but I posted the pictures of some of the recent snowflakes to Facebook and one of the comments was "I am still learning wish I could do this" which is kind of heartbreaking. For a rank beginner split rings and split chains are just a bit beyond their grasp, but any of the recent designs could be done without using either technique. Split rings and split chains make it EASIER to move from one round to the next without having to cut tie and hide ends, BUT what a lot of beginners don't know, is that cutting, tying and hiding ends makes those techniques unnecessary.

Generally in a concentric design like a snowflake or a doily, the split chain is going to come at the end of the row making it possible to "climb up" into the next row. The solution is to finish the row, cut the thread and start the next row where you left off. That's a generalization and I'm sure that there are exceptions which I'll think of just as soon as I hit Post.

Likewise on this type of design a split ring is usually the first part of a new row which is often placed in the middle of the chain on the previous row. That's because connection points from row to row are typically at the midpoint of a chain. So when you get toward the end of the row you are instructed to tat a split chain which moves your threads from the end of the chain, to the middle of the chain. Then a split ring is the first thing you tat which brings the threads up from the tip of the ring to the base of the ring and positions it in the normal place to keep tatting.

To avoid the split ring just finish the row in the usual manner, cut, tie and hide threads. Then tat the split ring just like you would a normal ring because once you've cut the thread and started again, your thread s are already in the right position. It sounds complicated, but it isn't. The simplest way to think of it is just tat what you need to tat to get to where you want to be.

Thinking of making things simpler I remembered a snowflake that I had designed some time ago but never got around to drawing out the pattern. So when I got stumped trying to draw this 8 sided design I put it aside to go looking for the chain only snowflake I created. Look at what I found! These are some of the snowflakes that I've created over the years. There are more somewhere, but I haven't unearthed them. A lot of the things I've created have been one of a kind snowflakes that I designed and immediately gifted to someone so they're gone out of my possession forever and I don't always remember to take a picture first.

I also found the Elephant Flake.

This is a snowflake that I started, but it kind of grew to a huge 10 inches across and I never did write it out. I'm thinking that I should draw it one of these days..... where was I? Oh yeah, drawing out the pattern for the 8 arm snowflake. See? what did I tell you? The attention span of a gnat.

Here's the pattern for the snowflake with 8 arms, which of course, means that it's not a snowflake at all, it's an 8 point whatchamacallit.

Trying to draw this design so that it is reasonably easy to follow and get the stitch counts in, especially along the chains that are joined to each other had me scrapping and restarting this drawing about 5 times. I finally started saving it in pieces so that if I lost or messed up part of it, I'd have backups to work from. I think I got it all in. If I didn't, let me know and I'll go fix it. The pattern starts with a central ring with 7 picots and a mock picot. The mock picot is secured by using a lock stitch, that's an un-flipped half stitch followed by a normal half stitch. Make sure to keep the picots around the central ring both large (double the height of the stitches) and uniform. The large number of stitches on the central ring and the longer picots are what make this design work instead of  having the rings overlap.

Row 1 and 2 end with split chains, but if you don't know how to tat split chains just tat the row like normal cutting and tying the thread at the end of the row. Then start the next row tatting.the rings and joining to the picot in the middle of the chain on the previous row. After that just tat around the row ending with a chain joined to the base of the starting ring. Cut and tie again then start the next row.

By the way, if you haven't seen my blog previously, take a look at the links list on the right. All of the patterns should be accessible by clicking on the Pattern label. The explanation of the legend symbols I use is listed there, as is the link to the tutorial on how to add thread. Since almost everything that comes off my shuttles is a new design, I end up cutting off and starting again lots of times. As hiding a zillion ends isn't my idea of fun, I use this relatively painless method for adding in thread that simultaneously adds in new thread and locks it in tight.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

One stitch makes a difference

Right at the outset I have to say the perle cotton I've used for the past couple of days, is really crappy to work with. It's some old dollar store thread I have in my stash and since these 8 point designs aren't going to graduate into being anything other than experiments, I figured I might as well use up the garbage thread. The up side of the equation is that I use up the crappy thread, the down side is that it's hard to work with, it splits like mad, and it's really hard to maintain an even tension when the thread is so squishy.

That's right, I re-tatted the 8 point design with a larger centre. One more stitch between the picots in the starting ring so it's 4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4. This time it took very little persuasion to lay flat. The rings don't overlap and the points of the design are fatter and more spread out. You can see the difference when the 2 samples are laid side by side. The first one has narrower points yet the overall size of the motifs are almost the same.
You can see the difference when the 2 samples are laid side by side. The first one has narrower points yet the overall size of the motifs are almost the same, both being about 3.5 inches from point to point. I was thinking that I might tat this design using multiple motifs joined together doing row after row of motifs in different colours. That's not going to happen because I've already fallen out of love with it. Told you. I have the attention span of a gnat.

I have another snowflake on the shuttles, but I guess I better take out enough time to get this one drawn out so y'all can tat your own.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

It didn't work- yes it did

I added 2 repeats to the November 8 snowflake to see what it would look like. I started with the same ring with 2 more picots and went from there. It looked ruffled when I was tatting it and the ruffles didn't come out when I stretched it. I did a quick blocking, pinning just the outer picot of the points and sprayed it with a shot of alcohol to see if it would pull into shape. The alcohol works the same as water, but dries quicker so that I could see the results.

The finished motif is about 3.5 inches across done in perle cotton size 8 and some of the rings overlap. What do you think? Still ruffled isn't it? I might be able to tweak it possibly by changing the central ring to 4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4, but I don't want to spend any more time on it, since I don't think it's going to work out as I'd imagined.

The good news is, there's another snowflake off the shuttles. This one looks more like a snowflake, it keeps the daisy centre, so maybe I need to call it a "flowerflake" like Muskaan suggested. It's light and airy and fairly quick to tat resulting in a snowflake that's about 3.25 inches point to point done in size 20 thread.

Row 1 ends in a split chain and Row 2 uses lock joins to connect to the first row. Row 3 uses the second shuttle to throw rings off the top of the chains to make the points and that's as complicated as it gets as you can see from the pattern.

The next idea I tried went nowhere fast, so I'm thinking of going back to the rose I started with and see where I end up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Close, but no cigar

The phrase, and its variant 'nice try, but no cigar', are of US origin and date from the mid-20th century. Fairground stalls gave out cigars as prizes, and this is the most likely source, although there's no definitive evidence to prove that. -and why should you care?

I started with the failed design from November 12th because I really liked the reinforced daisy shape, but I could tell the the arms had too many stitches to fit in the available space and rather than waste any more tatting time I cut off the arm and started back at the second row. (I'm not counting the starting ring as a separate row.) After the central ring that daisy shape is made by chains joined to each other and the last petal of the daisy is a split chain allowing the second row to wrap around the top of the petals. Muskaan should love this design since she loves to pick out the flower shapes in her tatting.

Row 3 has short side chains that join side to side and 3 little rings joined into the space above the lock join. I showed that little spot which isn't a picot as a tiny circle where the 3 rings join. Row 3 also ends with a short split chain. Row 4 is ring and chain with a ring thrown off the top of the chain at the tip of the point. I realized as I was writing this out that I had forgotten to shade the ring at the tip to show that it's done with the second shuttle. Of course that meant that I needed to show a second shuttle in my "legend" which I had also forgotten.

In addition to the central daisy, I also like the filigree effect of this design although the rings at the tips seem too small, but I like them anyway. Only, it's not very snowflake-y AGAIN. A perfectly lovely design, just not what I was looking for. I've been on a roll designing and drawing 6 designs in 20 days, but none of them were what I was hoping for. Close, but not quite. So I have the next rendition already on the shuttles.

I'm not sure it's going to work either, but I think I'll give it a break and go back to the November 8 Snowflake as I want to see what it looks like with 8 arms instead of 6. If it sits right and looks good I'm thinking of doing a multi motif design in different colours, but that will depend on how it looks, what colours I have available in the necessary quantities.

And why should you care that it was close, but no cigar? I titled this post, which I had written previously in Notepad but not saved because it was just a short post. Then it occurred to me that such idiomatic expressions don't make sense to international readers so I Googled it to find the source, for your edification. As I was holding down the CTRL key after copying the meaning of the idiom I switched screens back to the unsaved Notepad file which I had previously highlighted to copy it. At that point I accidentally hit the letter T and deleted the whole post!!!

And the whole point of this saga was to provide you with the pattern for the above snowflake, which is posted here:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Unimaginative Snow 11-21-2018

I decided to re-tat the cut out snowflake and see if I could tighten it up and make it more snowflake-y.  An extra outward facing ring at the tips of the points did give the design more of a snowflake shape. The finished flake is about 3.25 inches from point to point.

The unconnected rings with the chain between them still resulted in a big hole in the middle of the grouping. It could probably be covered by a bead, but I wasn't looking for a beady design. I included some insets showing split rings, split chains and directional arrows that will hopefully make the drawing clearer. In order to tat it in one pass begin with the central ring and use a split ring  to climb out. Then tat the short connecting chain to the next 3 ring grouping. The 2 rings of the first grouping thrown off the top of the chain don't get tatted until you finish the row.

It's not what I'd call a successful design, but it's done and it'll look OK hanging on the back of the tree. Since I already had it half drawn anyway I finished the pattern and it's posted below if anyone is interested in this insipid design.

Onwards and upwards, hopefully to something I like more. I picked up the snowflake with the daisy centre that I started November 12th and cut off the offending bits and started again. So far I'm liking it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Decisions, decisions

I went back to the drawing from the cut out snowflake and made another attempt at executing it What and ugly mess. I stated out with unconnected rings which looked pretty. When I tried to climb into the next row things just didn't want to work, mostly because the design required the unconnected rings to be connected. That's the point at which I decided the the drawing while possible to tat, wasn't going to look any good.  So I cut off the second round and went for something different.

At the end of the third row I ran out of thread so I just cut it off. After hand blocking it, otherwise known as pulling it out by the points, it exposed a lot of bare threads and I'm not sure I like the look of it. Shall I scrap it, or re-tat it and see if it's winner.?

The alternative of course is to pitch it and start over. I still have to work something out for the failed daisy from November 12th.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

TA DA! my December 2018 snowflake

I finally got the December 2018 Snowflake drawn. I've designed so many snowflakes that I've started naming them by the date they were created. On the original design I started with a central ring of 2-2-2-2-2-2 and normal size picots, but as you could see when I posted earlier it made for a scrunched up snowflake. I tatted it again with a central ring of 3-3-3-3-3-3 and picots twice as long as normal which made the circumference of the central ring much larger. In case you are unfamiliar with tatting a flat rose, take a look at the links on the right side of the page where I've included a tutorial on how to make them. When making roses try to keep your tension even and make sure you snug up the chains before you make the lock joins.

Even with the larger centre the finished snowflake looks very crumpled, although it did block out flat to a snowflake about 3 inches across. The first chain of Row 5 was 12 stitches, but I changed it to 6-6 with a very small picot on both side of each arm, then joined arm to arm which made the snowflake pull into shape better, made it easier to block and made it look better over all.

Showing those 6+6 chains was a bit of a problem, so I showed the stitch count with little arrows where they ought to go.

That means my Christmas snowflakes are done and dusted and now I can go back to that pattern drawn from the snowflake cut out and play around with it a little more. I think I'll just use a central starting ring this time and not get too creative Until I see where this thing is going. The problematic row should be left ring, right ring, split ring down ring, then chain, up ring, chain and repeat, but getting to that point may be a stinker.

In any event, here's the part you were waiting for, the finished snowflake and of course, the pattern.

If you have any problems with it please let me know, as I dashed the drawing off in a hurry.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Something is better than nothing

I started tatting my Christmas snowflakes, and as Muskaan mentioned, the inner part makes a nice little snowflake all on it's own. Here's what it looks like after the fourth row.

Cute, isn't it? This little snowflake is just over 2 inches across from point to point. It's nice, but not as large as what I was looking for, so I added the 5th row. I managed to draw it up to the point of this little flake, but trying to get the stitch counts in where the chains are lying against one another is giving me problems so there's no pattern yet.

Actually, that's not true. There is a pattern for the the inner part of my Christmas snowflake which I've called Little Flake. That part of the pattern is included below.

Hopefully, I'll get the rest of if drawn out soon.

Friday, November 16, 2018

I think it'll work...maybe not

My frustration level is getting pretty high about now. Hubby's making noises about sending out our Christmas cards soon which means I need to get a on tatting tear and start whipping out snowflakes.
That's hard to do when you can't even settle on a design. GRRR!

Since things aren't flowing smoothly I thought I'd go back to where they started going off track and resurrected my second try to take another stab at it. I knew the inner section needed to be larger so that the next rows didn't overlap. I began by making the inner ring larger and making the picots longer That made the chains on the subsequent rows correspondingly longer. After that I followed the original design and I think I have a winner. The finished snowflake is 3 inches across from point to point which is what I was aiming for.  You can see the first attempt at the design and how  the final version came out.

There aren't and split rings or split chains to slow me down and I have a pretty flake that flows off the shuttles easily. I just have to sit down now and tat like mad. Then all I have to do is draw the pattern out, but that might take a while.

Hubby has the camera attached to the car and now has to run wiring from the front bumper to the dashboard. A backup camera is wired to the back up lights and it only engaged when the backup lights come on. Since this camera is being wired to the front of the car, the camera would be on all the time unless it's wired to a switch so that it's only on when needed. It needs wire going to the switch and wire going from the switch to the battery as well as wire going to the display. Running wire through tight spaces needs smaller hands, namely mine. Consequently I'm going to be spending the next little while with my hands covered in black grease.

Black grease and white thread don't make for good bedfellows when you want pristine snowflakes.
Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Back to the drawing board - again

I posted the snowflake cut out that I was using because I though others might want to use it to create their own snowflake. I created a quick sketch to play around with. I drew over top of the paper cut out like the picture shown here. 

Then I deleted the paper cut out and was left with just the drawing and I proceeded to tat it.

I anticipated that I'd have to increase the size of the rings on each row, so I started with inner rings of 5-5 I expected a big hole in the middle of the design because I wasn't starting with a central ring, but I though it might look really cute with long woven picots in the middle so I started with long picots and ran into my first snag. If you want to weave the picots they need to just touch the edge of the ring on the opposite side of the motif, but it's hard to know how long that distance is when you haven't tatted it yet. so I took a guess. I was using a sort of unconnected cloverleaf with the inner rings at 5-5 as mentioned and used 3-3-3-3 for the side rings ending in a split ring up to the next round.

That's where things got squirrely, or I got tired. I needed 4 connected rings of graduated sizes, joining to 2 more larger connected rings. I tatted it, undid it, tatted it again, undid it again, looked at the drawing and reasoned it out and tatted it again, and again. Then I got fed up and cut if off.

At least now I know how long the central picots have to be. Of course I'm obviously NOT using this design which might work when I'm  more alert to figure out what I need to do. But I've decided that since the dozen split rings I'd need to tat would slow down my tatting speed and I either need to rework the design or scrap it altogether, I am once more going back the the drawing board.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The computer ate my homework

I thought I'd get back to something simple and see where it lead me, so I started with a simple ring in, ring out design, except that half way through the first round I could tell it was going to cup horrendously, so I cut it off and started again.

This time I went with ring chain, thrown off ring and it looked too simplistic, so I cut it off and started again.

The next  design looked like it was going to work, but after the second repeat I realized that I had intended to have a starting ring, work up one side and come back down the other side to a second inner ring. I lost track of what I was doing and instead of a second inner ring I attached to the second picot of the first ring. There's no way that's going to work. So it's time to snip again.

Since just tatting without any pre-set plan wasn't working I thought I'd start with a paper snowflake template and use it as a basis for a design. Ages ago I designed a bunch of cut outs on the snowdays web site and saved the images for future reference. I grabbed one of the images, pulled it into my drawing program and began laying out rings following the outline of the paper snowflake cut out.

Before I could plot out the placement of the chains and how to tat the design it created, hubby decided we had to rush right out before the store closed to get some nylon screws for the front bumper. He's putting a camera behind the front grill so that he can see how close he's getting to the curb. The front hood of the car is really long and sloped in such a way that you can't see how close you are to the curb in the parking lot and several times we've gotten out the the car and realized that we're not close enough, or we've gotten too close and scraped the bumper. He removed the grill in order to mount the camera and realized that when the car was repaired after a little fender bender, the shop had remounted the grill and broke off the supports so that the only thing holding it on was the license plate.

That was just about the point where I realized that the new set up of my drawing program had defaulted to an inappropriate drawing platform. When what you are trying to create is lace, an electronic diagram template, just won't do.

That's not a problem, all I had to do was bring up a lace drawing, erase it, paste in my partial new drawing and save it under a new name. Easy peasy. It was at that instant that the computer locked up so that I couldn't save anything, couldn't change screens, couldn't close down any of the five programs I had running, couldn't change to a different drive and in fact couldn't do anything except pull the plug. Pulling the plug meant that anything on screen was lost. Gone! Tonight I get to start again.

And after all that, the store we rushed out to, didn't even have the nylon screws we needed to put the grill back in the bumper.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Look Ma, it's a dud!

I liked the daisy shape on an earlier design so I thought I'd try it again. After completing the daisy I didn't really want something that used a lot of split chains so I thought I'd just outline the daisy shape with more chain. I like the effect and started to create another row that would bring in the snowflake shape. I didn't like the effect I was getting so I undid what I had started and began again. I didn't want a lot of rows so I thought I'd do something that went out instead of around.

Once I had completed one arm I could see it was going to start bunching up again so I quit before I got too invested. This is another dud although I may keep the first rows of chain and revisit the design at a later date. I've already got the next one on the shuttles, but I'm not sure I'm going to like it any better that the first few.

Maybe I'll go back to the original design. I liked it but it was too time consuming, only at this rate I may spend all my tatting time creating and throwing out designs as not suitable and still not have anything ready for the Christmas cards.

I had the same problem the first year I did snowflakes to send out and ended up doing a whole bunch, all different. That would have been OK if I'd remembered to write down what I sent to who so that I could rotate them for the next year. Since I didn't keep record I had to design an all new snowflake, which started this whole thing of sending a different snowflake with our Christmas cards.

I guess I'd better get cracking as the mailing date will soon be upon us. Of course if the post office is on strike, the cards aren't going to go anywhere anyway!