Friday, 9 November 2018

Vitrified Tatting?

Here is another experiment I tried with tatting:  incorporating elements (not into glass as the title of this blogpost suggests but) into resin.  However, I say "vitrified tatting" because I think that's what it looks like.

The little bowls are a bit rough as I have not had time to sand and polish them yet.  But this first one has a rather appealing "frosted" look.

The snowflake I used was one of the samples I made when designing Crystal Star.  At the time, I wanted to be able to offer a version of this pattern that doesn't require beads.  It didn't make it to a final version but I rather like the multiple chains in the centre and may re-visit this design at some point.

To make it, I first cast a silicone mould of a bowl.  The bowl was my first attempt at "throwing" on the wheel so it wasn't the prettiest or neatest of bowls!  But anyway that's what I used for my mould.  The bowl was unglazed so had a matte, slightly rough finish which is why the resin also looks more matte and you can see the lines of the original bowl in my resin bowl.

Silicone being poured over bowl to make mould:

Bowl removed from the set silicone mould:

Lace snowflake laid into mould ready for resin pouring:

I hadn't mixed enough resin so I ended up pouring twice with a little bit more blue the second time which gave that slightly graduated colouring which I like.  You can see how rough the bottom of my bowl is at the moment.  Needs more work!

The second bowl I cast from a commercial, glazed bowl so the resin from that mould came out shinier and smoother... except for the fact that I had bubbles in my silicone mould!  But that's another story.  It just means the exterior of my resin bowl is rough and the bubbles from the silicone stand out on the surface.  It needs sanding and polishing.  I've also found that it's incredibly difficult to pour resin without causing some bubbling to occur and you can definitely see them in this second bowl.

I used clear resin this time:

The second tatting design is one of Robin Perfetti's called "Kaleidoscope".

So that's the resin bowl experiment.  I do like how the tatting becomes part of the bowl, like it's floating inside and I will definitely make more items if I get the chance.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Snow Crystals

I don't have time to tat at the moment but as you can see, I'm still thinking of tatting.  Here is the design from the last post which I cut on the laser cutter.  I'm fond of this small design which was based on a real snowflake image.

Here's the real snowflake:

Here is Snow Crystal:

 And here's the Illustrator-drawn multiple version which I sent to the cutter:

As you may have noticed, I was keen to keep the slightly 'bobbly' edge that you get with the double stitch, so rather than drawing smooth lines, I added dots on the edge of the lines to better emulate the look of tatting, even though this meant it took longer to cut!

And here they are, cut out of plywood and out of acrylic,
before I finished peeling off the backing from the acrylic,
and also before I finished popping out all the little pieces.

And one more photo once I'd removed all the protective backing on both sides.

All icy, shiny, and sparkly!

I do like them.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Acrylic & Velvet Qanik

As mentioned in the previous post, here are two versions of Qanik cut out of acrylic.  They look like they're made of ice, don't you think?

I did find that it takes nearly twice as long to cut the designs out of acrylic as it does out of wood.  The laser cutter has to go slower so that the plastic doesn't fuse back onto itself.  Also, the little pieces needed a lot more prizing out whereas with the wood, they just fell right out.

The last thing I tried in that first laser-cutting session was "engraving" Qanik on velvet.  This wasn't completely successful.  I only had time to cut the outline and the effect wasn't quite what I was looking for but I hope to get a chance to try again with different settings and with "engraving" the whole snowflake next time.

I've also drawn a smaller snowflake for the next session.

This is one of the ones I designed, inspired by a real snowflake.
I look forward to seeing it laser-cut.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Laser Cut Qanik

As you can see, tatting is still always on my mind.  I'm trying all these new techniques but it's with lace I want to try them!

After the embroidery tests, I next wanted to laser-cut some snowflakes.  I used my Qanik pattern this time and drew it with Illustrator.

It was fascinating to watch it being cut into 3mm plywood.  The fine picots which are less than half a millimetre thick came out surprisingly well.

Even the shrapnel looks pretty!

I had two drawings:  one where I had copied the elements so it was more symmetrical (bizarrely I ended up with not symmetrical in two halves but in thirds because of the way I copied it) and one where I drew the whole snowflake so that it was like hand-made lace, not exactly symmetrical, with more "movement".  In the top photo, the symmetrical is on the left and the hand-drawn is on the right.  Can you see the difference?

I ended up with three of them after my session.  But I'm already planning what to draw and cut next time.  Those machines are really amazing!

As you can see the laser cut flake is a little larger than the original tatted Qanik but that was because some of the elements would have ended up too fine for cutting.  In this version, I drew the lines with a "bumpy" edge to simulate the look of the tatted knots something I'm going to re-examine in my next drawings.

In the next post, I'll show you the plexiglass version!

Best wishes,

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Embroidered Quatrain and Autumn Treasures

Here are my first tests with embroidering Quatrain.  I like the blue on black fabric.  You can see it below next to the "real thing".  Not too bad?

Here is a close-up.
I realised that the outline was wrong on this first version.
It should have been a back stitch to make it thicker instead of a running stitch.

The next version was four together and I fixed the outline.  I started the embroidery machine with the dark purple... only to realise that it was too dark and you couldn't see the stitches or the outline so I switched to the lighter rust-orange colour.  It's a bit of a shame as this means we lose the effect of the four motifs joining together in the middle.  I think the combination of satin stitch with backstitch for the outline worked out quite well.  Unfortunately that was all the time I had allocated with the embroidery machine so I'll have to wait until my next booked slot to try it again.... and also to try it on transparent organza fabric... and next onto soluble or "burn-away" stabiliser so that the lace will be self-supported, a lace fabric.  Can't wait to try the next versions!

Oh, and after those first tests, I realised how inefficiently I had drawn the design with the software, the machine having to cut, tie and start again way too many times which slowed the process a lot.  So I am going to re-draw the design.  But it also made me think that it would be even better if I could invent a stitch that more closely mimicked tatting and this is what I came up with:

This is obviously not tatting!  And I'm not trying to replace the beautifully hand-made lace that we make with our shuttles (or needles) but it's an interesting exercise.  

Autumn has arrived!  The trees were looking beautiful on our walk today.  

We came across some hawthorne berries... and I wondered about making jam/jelly with them.  I love gifts of nature like that.  The berries were so pretty and I looked it up:  yes, you can make jelly with the "haws".  Jam is a little more difficult because there is very little flesh on those berries and a proportionally large pip in the middle. 

Here they are in my colander, ready to be picked over and stalks removed.

And the next day...

I only got one jar and a half out of all those berries
but it's tasty and we like it!

We need to go pick some more.

And here it is with the light behind
so you can see the lovely red shade
of this delicious jelly.

I hope you are enjoying a lovely autumn.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Embroidered Tatting

I will be a bit less active on the web these coming months as I'll be busy with my studies!  I'm also enjoying having the chance to learn new software that will enable me to have a go at using an electronic embroidery machine.  Of course, all I could think of was that I wanted to see some tatted lace embroidered.  I chose my Quatrain pattern and drew it using the program.  I selected a satin stitch surrounded by a back stitch to try to simulate the look of double stitches.  Not sure how it will turn out but I hope to be able to get it embroidered next week.  Can't wait to see what it will look like!  Now I need to choose what fabric to embroider it onto...

And then of course, it will be easy to just copy it over and over to make a lacy fabric.


I hope the start of autumn is proving to be beautiful and enjoyable for you, wherever you are.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Little Tatted Box and Lids

Do you remember this little tatted box from last year?  

The lady of the box is a bit of an ice-drop addict.  She was keen to have a lid for her box that had a cabochon in it, ice-drop style.  She asked if I might help...

The first design I came up with is the simplest:

And here it is on the box:

I'm sorry my choice of thread and cabochon is not the best... I just grabbed the first one out of the bag thinking I was just making samples and it didn't matter!

It gives you the idea though so you could put any pretty cabochon of your liking in there, of a size approx. 20mm.

Then I wanted to try something a bit different...  and wondered whether I could come up with an onion-ring type design...  but it had to work in one pass so required some pondering...

And this is what I came up with:

Both designs require the use of split rings to make them "one pass" and the second design also requires a split chain.  I'm really comfortable working with both but I know some tatters are not, in which case, you'd have to cut and tie and start again as you move from round to round.

I said it before (it was even the title of this blogpost!) and I really think that...  "Split rings and chains are a tatter's best friend!" - I say that because I just love designs made in one pass and always strive to find a way of making as many things as possible in one pass and split rings and chains are essential in many cases to be able to move from round to round without having to cut and tie.  I have videos on making both if you're not confident with them yet.  I particularly recommend Mary's method of making split chains which has revolutionised my relationship with split chains.
I also have two other videos with annotations only (no speech) which show both ways of making the split chain using that method which can be found on my channel.  Going to look at the videos has made me realise that I was due to make a second talking video showing how to make the split chain when working FS/BS.  I've added it to my list! 

Anyway, I digress...

Here is the second lid on the box:

And all of them together:

I believe the ladies at Palmetto will be working on this box later this week at their "Tat Days".  I hope they enjoy it.

I'm lucky to have a mould for the box but if you don't have one, you can easily make yourself one with a spray can plastic top for example which you could use for the base, then use another around which you wrap some making tape a few times to make it a bit wider for the lid (I find about 3mm wider works well, if using size 20 thread to make the box).  In fact, I've just gone and measured a spray can top and it measures exactly 50mm which is the same size as my mould.  Perfect.

Best wishes,