Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Time to Learn Clunies?

Last night I came upon an image on Pinterest...  after asking at In Tatters, I was told that the pattern was by Iris Niebach and it is this one, dating back from 2008.

I have to admit that I have one of Iris's small books and I don't find her patterns easy to follow (ssshhhh!  I'm embarrassed to say this!).  But this one really appealed to me so I had to tackle it.  The first stumbling block is that I hadn't tatted clunies yet (well, I had a very brief attempt at the technique some time ago which didn't conclude successfully).  So search on YouTube and Tatman came to the rescue with his video and I duly learned to make the loom, etc.

Another admission I have to make is that I am undecided about whether I like clunies in tatting.  To me, they belong to bobbin lace.  It may seem a weird thing to say but the whole technique to make them is so different to what normally goes on in tatting that it's like they're a bit alien to shuttle lace.  Is that a strange comment to make?

Nonetheless, they add an interesting texture element and I had to try them before deciding whether I like them or not!

Anyway, here is the image of my Iris Niebach motif.  THIS IS NOT MY BEST TATTING!  So don't look too closely but I was interested in just figuring out the pattern to start with and then making the clunies!  So this is my first motif ever with clunies.

As you can see, there's all sorts of clunies in there:  some are too thin, some are too fat, some look triangular rather than leaf-shaped...  The best one is middle left I think.  Still the last ones were easier to complete than the first so I'm making progress!

The other thing I found was that there was too much tension between some of the elements for me.  The "straight" lines are too wonky for my taste (due to my bad tatting!), I would need to adjust the stitch count a bit and anyway, chains are meant to curve, not lie straight so there's bound to be tension when forcing them to make a straight line.  Is that a fair comment?

Please don't think that I'm complaining about Iris's design.  It caught my eye because it's so interesting and unusual.  She does some wonderful work and I really appreciate it.  I'm just looking at it with a critical eye and wondering how I could modify it just a bit to my satisfaction.

I actually like it a lot and plan on remaking it.  I like the play of texture between the elements of the design.  It would make a really beautiful larger piece.  So I will have to make a few to see how they look like together...

Best wishes,


  1. I am looking VERY closely and this is very, very good! I cannot believe these are the first clunies you have used! Very pretty.
    Fox : )

  2. I think you did a beautiful job on it!!! :)

  3. It's wonderful!! - recently I signed up for classes in Romanian Point Lace, which I very much enjoyed, and "clunies" are a feature of that too - but MUCH easier when worked with a needle! They aren't called clunies, it's a form of needleweaving - but look exactly the same.

  4. You did a wonderful job! Your tension is always so nice and even. :)

  5. That is very nice. Your chains look very good in the straight parts. I am wondering if when using a solid color on both shuttles if you couldn't do a lock chain for the straight parts, then switch to a regular chain for the curved areas.
    Your clunies are pretty good for the first time, and you prove the adage, practice, practice, practice makes perfect.

    1. Ladytats, that's exactly what I'd thought I'd try next! (the lock chains that is)
      I meant to write that in the body of the message and then forgot as I was writing it.

  6. wow, gorgeous again! Your stitches are so lovely and even. Even your new clunies are quite nice.

  7. Many years ago I was talking to Rosemarie Peel (a designer I very much admire) and she said the same about clunes belonging to bobbin lace. I looked and thought about her remark and must say I go along with that too. I agree with you both on that!
    Pretty motif.

  8. Congratulations to your first Cluny motif, it turned out very well!! Very pretty star!
    For me cluny also belongs to bobbin lace...and I think it is really time consuming to do in tatting, right?

    1. Yes, you are right Petra! It really stops the flow of the work and it takes much longer to do than a comparable size split ring say! I might try it with split rings next to see what it looks like.

  9. It's a lovely pattern, I think you did well for tatting ClunIes for the first time,
    Lovely colours too.

  10. You've done a wonderful job with this design! It's hard to believe that you are just getting started with Clunies! Have you visited http://elisadusud.canalblog.com/archives/frivolite/index.html to see her gorgeous Cluny work? Fascinating!

    I do love Iris's designs, and yes, I find them very challenging! I tried making Clunies once, and like you, I felt they belonged to bobbin lace. I'm not very good making bobbin lace on a pillow, so you can imagine the difficult time I had weaving in my hand! I admire work that has Clunies in the pattern, but I don't think those patterns are for me.

  11. Good job! Clunies are tricky and yes, I agree, they interrupt the tatting flow, but they give more design options. I admire Iris's work, but leave it to others to actually tat her patterns!

  12. Very beautiful motif, and as always tatted beautifully as well! I have so far not been tempted to try clunies, as I agree with you: it doesn't feel like tatting to me. But now I think I have to give it a try, if the result can be this pretty.


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