Monday, July 31, 2017

I stuck with it

OK so I'm stubborn. Rather than give up and pitch it, I carefully fixed it, undoing the ring carefully around the hidden core threads. I didn't want to deal with hiding a bzillion threads in a single ring. So, I put aside one of the shuttles I had cut off and took the other one and unwound enough thread to tat a couple of rings and attached the end to a SPARE shuttle, so my thread was CTM again. (I could have finger tatted with the end, but I was already dealing with lots of loose ends and it was easier to keep track of this end when it was attached to a spare shuttle.) Then I used the shuttle to start the last split ring again carefully hiding one of the old ends (and the alternate colour) in the first half of the ring. I used the spare shuttle to tat the second half of the split ring while hiding the alternate colour and the other old thread end. That got rid of the two old cut ends.

Then I switched to the alternate colour to tat the next split ring, hiding the first colour in it's core. I proceeded to tat with the second colour until I was finished with it. When I switched back to the first colour, (the one that broke) I was running out of thread on the spare shuttle. That's OK, it had served it's purpose, I was now far enough from where I had joined in the new thread and hidden the 2 old ends that I could hide the ends of the new thread. I picked up the second shuttle and started tatting with it, hiding the end of the thread from the spare shuttle. On the next ring I hid the starting end of thread from the second shuttle. By the next ring all thread ends were hidden and I was back to tatting with 4 shuttles.

Whew! All that, just so that I could see what this design looked like done in 2 colours. Actually I guess that's 3 colours. (So I can't count. What else is new? It's not as bad as telling hubby to go left while pointing to the exit off the highway to the right- He only had to back up on the highway 100 yards.)

OK, back to serious stuff. I started this design thinking about doing bookmarks with 4 ring motifs. Then I thought about a 5 ring motif, joined alternating 3 rings on the side with 2 rings on the side, flip flopping them so that it resembled a flower and resulted in a straight line. When it was done, the 5 ring flower just merged together into a solid band of rings and the flower effect was lost. See the bookmark done in red and green. The individual flowers just disappear. Which is why I wanted to see the effect with 2 different colours used for the flowers.

See this one done with the 5 ring motifs alternating in red and pink. The flower shapes are evident and the green on the outside suggests leaves.

I don't like the 4 green rings on the ends. I'm not sure what I did on the original, I might have just used plain chains going around the end of the bookmark. Whatever it was, it didn't result in the lop sided effect the 4 rings give, but maybe I'm just being critical. It doesn't matter now anyway because I've done the design again and this time I have pictures of it.

Now that that's out of the way I can go back to embroidering that second picture I was working on. Or maybe not, as I've just thought of something else I could tat....

I told you I have the attention span of a flea.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Have you ever?

In this long saga of working with multiple colours and multiple shuttles, I have run into yet another snag. I'm an experienced tatter and having to un-tat is just a part of tatting. Unfixable problems get cut off and really horrible disasters just get pitched in the garbage.

After fighting with the screws, bits, pieces and horrible tension of working with double bobbins I resorted to using 4 shuttles. Unwieldy, but doable.

Then on joining the 10th ring, while fighting with all 4 shuttles and hiding the alternate colour, the thread split and frayed.

There's no help for it the last ring had to be cut. This is one of the rings in which the alternate colour has been hidden, so it's carefully undoing each stitch of the split ring and unwinding it from around the hidden thread.

Now since my CTM thread has been cut in the middle and it means hiding 6 threads - the two cut ends - the two new ends and the two alternate colours, I can either bite the bullet and fuss with it, salvaging the thread, or I can pull the thread off the shuttles, scrap it, and start again. Have you ever run into a project where every solution seems to bring out more problems? I'm dreading hiding the cut end of the old thread and the alternate colour on the split side of the ring.

I hate wasting thread. I hate having to fuss with a "relaxing" pastime. Which will win out?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Alternating colour split rings

I have tatted 2 colour work involving split rings without using a double bobbin shuttle. It involved a doily where the alternating colour split rings were required to climb out from round to round. I gave it to my mother in law who kept it on a little side table under glass and I'm not sure what happened to it when she passed away. I suspect it probably got thrown out as the folks that cleared out her home wouldn't have known what it was.

The instructions written for it in my newsletter were:
"This doily is worked in 2 complimentary colours of size 20 Opera
thread, one Light and one Dark, and is approximately 10 inches square.
The stitch count is 8-8 for both the rings and the chains. You’ll notice
that it shows 4 shuttles being used for this design and that is because
you need to use either 2 spare shuttles wound in the colours used or
you need to use two double bobbin shuttles each wound with both
colours in order to tat the many split rings in the right colours."

Here's a picture of the doily in question. It's a simple continuous design once the centre block is done.

The instructions state that when tatting the split ring using a double bobbin shuttle you can just use the Dark colour on the second shuttle. If you are using 2 spare shuttles you will have to hide the end of the spare Dark thread in the first half of the ring and then tat over the bottom of the ring thread and the Light colour shuttle thread with the spare Dark thread.  

Since I don't own 2 double bobbin shuttles, I obviously didn't do that when creating this doily. By using my method of adding thread and hiding ends shown in my side bar you add and remove the alternate colours as you work. It's fussy, but I think not as fussy as having to deal with double bobbin shuttles that don't let the individual bobbins wind freely. 

I've just finished the split ring part of the bookmark in one colour and now I'll go grab a couple of extra shuttles and see what it looks like done with 2 colours.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Double, double toil and trouble

I designed a bookmark in pink and green that worked out OK, but I thought it would look better in two colours with the green.

I grabbed my double bobbin shuttle and the trials began. I absolutely loathe having to unscrew the centre post in order to load the shuttle. I hate little bits and pieces that can get lost. The centre post on my shuttle is tight because I don't use it often and I had to open up a paperclip and use it to push the outer half of the centre post out before I could get to the bobbins to wind them. Once they were wound, I had just as much trouble trying to get the centre post back in. GRRRR! I hadn't even started and already my blood pressure was going up.

I wound one bobbin in red and one in pink and then I started tatting. I only got the first ring started when I remembered that split rings were an intrinsic part of the design. So I cut the thread and went looking for another couple of shuttles. I only own one double bobbin shuttle because it isn't something I use often, so for the split rings I was going to need to use 2 shuttles stuck together.

I re-wound the thread with half on the double bobbin shuttle and half on the two separate shuttles and commenced to tat again, only to realize that releasing enough thread from one bobbin to tat a ring was also unwinding the second bobbin because the double bobbin shuttle held them together so tightly. I took the screw out of the post and managed to rewind the second bobbin to a manageable length. I got one half stitch done and the shuttles twisted around so that the second half stitch only got one thread! There has got to be a better way!!!!

I went online to see about buying another double bobbin shuttle, but just to experiment on one design It's going to cost more than $50. I'm not that curious. I own one double bobbin shuttle. I have it. I've used it. I've designed a pattern that uses it. Admittedly, it was only required for the green leaves.

I can't really see that it's of great benefit for ordinary tatting. It has it's place, but it's never going to be a favourite technique, especially when winding and unwinding the bobbins is such a pain in the butt.

I did see a different style of double bobbin shuttle.

Has anyone tried this style? Any thoughts on it? They still have that blasted screw, but the bobbins look like they'd be easier to adjust separately. Comments PLEASE!!!!

I wonder if a sleeve could be developed that you could just push 2 regular shuttles into. It might make the whole process easier.

At this point I'd spent more time mucking around with getting thread onto the shuttles than I had tatting and I could see it was going to have me pulling my hair out. I just wanted to get tatting and see how this design would look in two colours and it would take me less time to add in alternate thread colours as I needed them for the split rings, than what it would take to mess around with 1 double bobbin shuttle and 2 separate shuttles, so I just separated the double bobbin shuttle again and unwound the thread off of it.

Maybe when I've calmed down a bit, maybe in another century or so, I'll try it again. Or maybe I'll just wind the thread on some card stock, it might be easier especially for split rings. In the mean time, just colour me frustrated.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tatting and not tatting

I got the fourth colour change done and I like how it looks. Generally a doily is intended as a decorative way to protect a table of other surface. The holes in a lace doily let you see the beauty of the wood underneath while still protecting the wood from scratches and dents. This doily isn't intended for practical purposes, It's just a study in colour changes. It might get used on a table or it might get framed. Then again it might just get thrown in a drawer. I like the spokes effect that happened in the turquoise row and intend to repeat it on the next colour which will be the dark blue.

I actually had the dark blue done ages ago, but I'm not liking how it's looking and I'm cogitating on how to get the effect I want. This will be that last colour change and I'm kicking around maybe adding a single row of chain in the starting pink to follow the contours of the design and bring a little more of the pink into it. Which I could maybe do if I could just get the dark blue to work out the way I want. I've tried three variations so far and don't really like any of them. So I put it aside.

What I've been doing instead, is embroidery. Several years ago I did a bunch of butterflies on squares roughly 8x8 inches. I had ideas of doing enough squares for a quilt alternating embroidered butterflies and birds with plain squares. So far I've done 6 squares one of which is a little "cartoonish" and I just don't see that happening, so I thought I'd frame them and hang them on the wall.

I started with 8x8 thinking it was a decent size for a quilt square, but in order to block it and mount it in a frame it needed more material to be able to pull it into shape. So I added more fabric to the outside making a sort of fabric "frame" and then blocked it by putting a square of masonite behind it and running a thread back and forth into the fabric, first left and right, and then up and down. This pulled the fabric and the stitching, which had puckered due to the denseness of the stitching, until it was flat and smooth. This worked great on the first 4 designs. The last one didn't work so they've been sitting there ever since.

Last year I thought I'd just start with a picture with the intention of framing it. I scoured the internet and finally came across a picture of a bird with flowers that I thought would work. I printed it out on standard 8.5x11 and then ironed it onto the fabric just using a laser printer. The toner wears off so I worked quickly just sewing enough of the outline so that I could work from it. Then it got put aside while I worked on something else. I found it several weeks ago and decided to work on it again.

TaDa! More embroidery finished. I want to get this one framed and hung, and knowing that I might have puckering issues I was careful to keep it taut while working it. When I washed this one and pinned it out, it stayed flat. Now to do something about framing it. 8.5x11, like 8x8 isn't exactly a standard frame size.

Just in case you think I've forsaken tatting, I did do a couple of bookmarks. One which I think turned out quite nice, but I for got to take a picture of it, so I'll have to do it again. Maybe this time I'll use a double bobbin shuttle so I can get a better effect. That will probably have to wait because I have another picture already started in my embroidery hoop.