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,

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Updated Pattern and Video (and more socks)

I made a few changes to the pattern - added an image of four squares joined together as well as one line of text on where to join if you're doing so.  I also added a link to the video in the pattern.  The link is now updated if you'd like to get a new copy:

I realised, after filming the video, that I hadn't mentioned making it with two shuttles so I added that in too.  So yes, you can make it with one shuttle but if you want to be quicker with your split ring and hiding the end, you can also wind the bit of loose thread on another shuttle which you will then get rid of at the start of the second round.

You can see the video here:

On another note, when I'm not tatting squares and medallions, I'm trying to complete a pair of socks for another birthday gift.  I do enjoy knitting socks!  There's something that really appeals to me about that lovely fine yarn and those small stitches...

The orange shade is hard to capture correctly on camera...
It's called "Mango".

I've now used this sock pattern three times I think.  It's called "Horseshoe Lace Socks" and it can be found here.  There are several pretty sock patterns on this lady's website.  This one is an easy lacy pattern repeat to remember.  The pattern is for a top down sock but I like to knit mine toe up.

Starting to feel a bit of sadness that summer is slowly drawing to a close.  Children will be back at school next week already.

I hope you enjoyed yours!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Square/Diamond Pattern

Here it is!  The pattern for the little one-shuttle square.  Actually I think I will use two shuttles for the demonstration because it's quicker to make the split ring (and join) and then also hide the end which I'll show in a new video.  But it can be made with just one shuttle and, as for the medallion, use just the thread to finger-tat the second half of the split ring and mock picot.

Here are four of them joined together properly (they were just placed side by side in the previous post, not actually attached).  As you can see there is a bit of overlap of the side rings but I think it's okay.  Or you could choose to make a shorter centre picot or even omit it altogether perhaps?  Something to try.

Something interesting happens when you join them together...  Do you remember I showed the medallions joined together and how visually they seemed to become square?  Well, look at the squares joined together... visually, they become round!  I think it's easier to see in the smaller photo below where your eye is less distracted by the details.  The outside shape is still square of course but if you squint, the shapes you see are round.  Do you see what I mean?

And here are the rounds joined together:

They do look square, don't they?

Anyway, just an interesting fact I noticed!

Clicking on the image above will take you to the pattern.

I hope you enjoy it!

I plan on making a new demo video for this pattern in the next day or two,
so keep an eye out for it if you're interested/would find it useful.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 19 August 2018

New Square/Diamond

I was exchanging emails with Cindy (who sent me the lovely tatting bag) and she said she had made the medallion... only to find out that that particular motif didn't feature on her own bag!  She sent me a photo of her bag and I discovered that although it didn't show the round medallion, it did however feature a nice little square or diamond that isn't on mine!

I had to set to work straight away to work out this new design because as we all know... I like squares!

Here's photo of the fabric of Cindy's bag with the square/diamond on it:

I decided to make the smallest rings as JKs because that's what I thought they looked like although as you can see the image is not really clear enough to see individual stitches on the fabric.  They could also be made as regular rings if you wish of course.  I did add two stitches to the largest rings on the corners so that they would stand out a bit farther than the rings on the sides to be able to join the corners if wishing to repeat the motif - though it's a detail, I'm not yet sure whether I prefer that version or the version without the extra stitches.  I also guess the original on the fabric would have been made in two rounds because all the central rings point to the centre whereas I decided to use one split ring to be able to make the motif in one round.  As you can see, this means that one ring is of a slightly different shape to the others but I can live with that if it means I can make the motif in one round.  I also thought of reversing the centre rings so that they all faced the other way...  I've still to make a sample to see what that would look like.

As a square:

And repeated:

They are not exactly the same as these were my samples and I was still
making changes as I was tatting.  But that still gives a good idea
of how the square would look like repeated.

I also tried a different arrangement:

That could be interesting too:  some of them as diamonds
and some of them as squares, combined.

Pattern for this one too?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Square or Rectangle? (Pattern Available - and Video!)

I'm just one short of 25 repeats of the medallion... photographed on the patio under the setting sun.

I'm now wondering whether I should keep going with a square or carry on at this width and make a rectangle, like a runner type of piece.  What do you think?  I'm already thinking of what sort of border I could come up with to complete the piece when I feel it's the right size... or when I've had enough of tatting medallions!  :-)

Here is the pattern for anyone who'd like to give it a try.  

One-Shuttle Medallion
Clicking on image will take you to the pattern.

I hope you enjoy it!

Update:  I have now also published a video that shows how to make this medallion from start to finish.  You can find it here:

Best wishes,

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Medallion Repeated

I carried on making the little medallions.  They are relaxing to make with just one shuttle, and when I don't forget to add my magic loops - which I still do regularly! - , they are quite quick to complete too.  I love working out patterns in one pass.

Don't know where I'm going with this yet.  But here is a set of nine.

Doesn't look quite square but I think it's a bit of distortion from my photo.
... or maybe I need to block it.

It's interesting that a cross forms between the motifs.  I tried attaching them differently but this seemed to me to be the best way.  I wondered about filling in the spaces with something else... but I don't know yet.  It's also interesting that when the medallions are attached on all four sides (as in the very middle one), they end up looking square instead of round.

I've added another few more since this photo.  And I've also written the pattern for the motif if anyone might be interested?

Best wishes,

Monday, 30 July 2018

Lovely Gift

I recently received a lovely surprise in the post...  a beautiful handmade bag - with a matching small pouch inside too - in a fabric that features tatting!  Isn't it great?

I really like it.

I was looking at it today and was suddenly inspired to re-create one of the motifs from the bag.  Tat, tat, tat...

After a bit of trial and error...

I think this may be as close as I'm going to get to what I see on the bag.

The one on the bag is a bit more "open", maybe tatted a bit looser, or slightly longer bare threads and picots but I think the general shape and proportions are not too bad.

It was interesting trying to work out how to make it in one pass, with one shuttle only.  I found a way!  My guess is that it is an old design where each round was cut and tied.

Here is another photo that shows a smaller version of the same motif on the fabric with my tatted version next to it on the right:

Maybe a few of them put together might look nice?

Best wishes,

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Earrings in the Sun

Not doing lots of tatting still... but needed a new pair of earrings to match a blouse.  I always like making these flower earrings.  They are light and comfortable to wear but also keep their shape due to the layered design.  The pearl in the centre also adds strength and stability.

The thread I used is a lovely hand-dyed thread made by Karen Solomon of Graceful Arts Fiber Studio.  I do like her threads and the way the colours are more random rather than in a sequence as in most other variegated threads.  The thread is called "Watermelon".

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Braiding in the Garden

Oooh, it's been so hot!  It's still hot.  Well, hot for the UK anyway.  I did try to modify the tatting pattern from the previous post but didn't get to a satisfactory solution (without spending a lot more time on it).  So I'm afraid that one's been put on hold for now.

For a change of scene, I decided to make a few braided bracelets.  Something really easy, that doesn't require any thinking - perfect in this hot weather.

Just a bit of simple fun...
which results in rather nice braids.

I've also been working on the crochet bag pattern (which was a lot harder and took a lot longer than expected).  I think I'm getting there with it.  One of my readers kindly offered to test the pattern for me and I've been making several samples so I could take photos and make sure everything corresponds, makes sense, is clear enough to understand.  Like many crafts, it can be really hard to clearly describe in words what you are doing with your hands.  

I've not made so many blogposts lately.  Children are now on holidays so having a bit less time for online activities but I'm enjoying a house full!

How are you?  Is it hot where you are too?  

Best wishes,