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.....

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Another hanky in the works

When I went through my stash of hankies I realized that I'm out blue flowers, so I got to thinking that I ought to do matching edgings for the hankies I have and finish them off, so I can buy more with blue flowers. Here's the current assortment.

I'm thinking that I'll use a double bobbin shuttle for the pink and blue flowers so that I can repeat the colour on the edging. I haven't come up with a design that I like that I can do that with so I selected a hanky with a single flower to work with.

I chose this pink flower and then went looking for threads to match. Out of the threads I have none of them are quite right. There isn't much of the deep pink and the pale pink thread is a little off. The pink flower has a bit too much yellow in it.

The variegated pink might work, but then I'd have to pair it up with a green to match. The green leaves are a yellow/green and not a blue/green like the thread. The best match in the greens is a yellow/green variegate. I don't like mixing 2 variegates together. Too often they don't quite work and I don't want to tat 44 inches of lace that doesn't look quite right.

You'd think that with nearly a 100 partial balls of thread, finding a match would be easier. Nearly running out of thread on the last hanky has me wary of starting another one without being sure of enough to complete the job. One of the other options I have is a pink green variegate that on the ball looks like a perfect match.

Once I had the thread chosen, I opted for using a traditional design, just to get things going. Designing edgings isn't my strong point. When I do an edging I want it to be fairly wide. I don't like skimpy edgings. Of course wider edgings take longer to complete and use more thread so it's a bit of a balancing act.

I've started, using what I think of as a vine edging, which is just a variation of a ring and chain edging, but it's skimpy. The edging makes a wider design if it's mirrored back to back, but that will mean playing around with the corner treatment which I have already done for the first side. I like the corner the way it is.

My options are to put the mirror image on the inside, and play round with how it connect to the first corner, or mirror it on the outside and just follow around the outline of the existing corner. Of course I could always just repeat the edging part and just join it to the existing corner.

Decisions, decisions, what shall I do? I don't know, I guess I'll have to wait and see how I feel when the first row is done. Yet another reason why I don't like multi row edgings.

Of course it's February and I really out to design another heart.

Have I mentioned before I have the attention span of a flea?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Lesson learned: Make sure there's enough

You may remember that I won some thread on ebay. It was a lot of size 80 thread which I use mostly for bookmarks, like the one in my last post, and edgings. Winning a batch of partial balls lets me have a wide variety of colours, although not necessarily a lot of thread. Bookmarks don't take a lot of thread so having only partial balls is OK.

I decided since I have a nice palette to work with that I'd add an edging to a hanky. I happened to find a lot of cotton hankies with machine embroidery in the corner and I bought a bunch on them in different colours and designs. It seems that most often I want to make these as bridal gifts so I generally use the hankies with the blue embroidery like the one shown here.

If I can't have plain white on white, blue at least goes along with the "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" tradition. Of course, unless you know ahead of time what the wedding colours are going to be, the lace is best left white.

Consequently, the white drawn thread hankies and the ones with blue embroidery are gone and I still have those in pink, purple and mauve. So I decided that I should just tat matching edgings to some of the others and keep them on hand for quick gifts. (I don't know how it happens, but things just barely get off my shuttles and they're walking out the door, sometimes before I even take a picture.) Anyway, since I had lots of lovely colours to play with I thought I'd just choose a hanky and give it an edging.

This one has a mauve flower with a darker mauve ribbon and mint green leaves. One of the variegated balls of mauve thread was a perfect match, as was the solid green. I filled my shuttle and merrily tatted away. Guess what? You don't have to guess do you? You know when I started out talking about partial balls of thread, what was inevitably coming.

I ran out of the variegated thread half way down the last side. (Why is it always the last side? Couldn't it happen half way through?) Fortunately in the other batch of partial threads there was another ball of the same dye lot that I won. Good thing too, because the thread was vintage Lily brand which isn't being made any more and the balls of DMC and Coats aren't really a match for it.

At any rate, here is the finished hanky using my Hearts and Flower edging and I have a wee giftie  ready if I need it.

NOTE TO SELF: Next time you make a hanky edging make sure you have enough thread before you start!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

A bookmark pattern for you

Besides the usual snowflakes that I tatted over Christmas, I also did a bookmark for my SIL. Her birthday comes just before Christmas and consequently her birthday can get overlooked in the seasonal events. Since it was near Christmas though I thought of doing something with a poinsettia like a small pin, but didn't have the time to fuss with designing something with the points of a poinsettia. Getting the loopy round natural shape of tatting to conform to angular shapes can be aggravating.

I settled on a bookmark, and thinking of a poinsettia, I worked in red and started with a basic daisy shape. The daisy seemed sort of ordinary so I added another round to the petals to give it a little more oomph. It was finished off with a row of chains and some single rings like leaves between the flowers.

I was planning on sharing this with you earlier, but better late than never. Here's a pattern for you to enjoy.
UPDATE: I knew I had forgotten something. Maureen kindly pointed out that I hadn't specified where to start and the new drawing has that added in. The shaded rings are done with the second shuttle, so the first daisy ends with a split ring and the next begins and ends with a split ring. The top rings are tatted with shuttle 1 and the bottom ones with shuttle 2. This lets you tat a row of daisies instead of tatting individual daisies that you have to join together and hide all those ends. I don't normally show the stitch count inside the rings, but on the little "leaf" rings it was less crowded to put them inside.