Friday 14 February 2014

Bumper Valentine Blogpost!

First of all, I completed my son's scarf.  Four balls of Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran.  I'm pleased with how it turned out and according to my daughters, it's "manly" enough.

This Tweed wool has lovely flecks of colour all over
making it more interesting to look at.
It's a very dark maroon red. 

And now I've washed it and rinsed with
fabric softener, it's lovely, soft, warm, and cosy.

Hopefully, he'll like it too!

Once that was done, I turned my attention back to hearts, today being the day it is.  I wanted to try hearts I'd not made before.  Here is Susan's One Shuttle Heart.  Interesting?  It uses half-closed rings instead of chains so that the whole heart can be completed with one shuttle only.  A bit more unusual for a heart shape but it's nice to have one-shuttle options.

Then I found this pretty one which I like a lot.  It's simple and just the right heart shape for my taste.   It's Edda Guastalla's Heart.  I have made one of her edgings before.

Just in case you wanted to see which edging I was talking about!

I tatted the heart once and it looked all wrong until I noticed I'd missed a little "1" on two of the rings and decided I also needed to make my picots just a tad longer (I tend to make my joining picots quite small).  The second version was much better.  I adjusted the tip and made the chains 4 and 3 each side of the SCMR instead of 4 and 4 so that it sits more straight than on the accompanying pattern photo.

I still found the rings in the top curves to be quite tight so I changed the stitch count just a bit to give more space to the rings and I'm happy now.  

This brings me to another subject.  I've now got into the habit of completing my rings with one more 2nd half of a double stitch.  I was only doing it occasionally before (particularly on very small rings) but I now find that I tend to do it all the time.  Have you noticed how the last stitch of a ring has a tendency to roll backwards slightly?  This means that from the front, the ring looks one stitch short.  Adding one extra half means that it's this half that gets hidden away by the slight backwards twisting and the stitch count looks right.

Better explained in photos:

The first photo is tatted the "standard" way.

Here are rings and chains with all 4-stitch segments.
If you look at the last segment of the rings (bottom right of rings),
you can only count 3 stitches
although 4 were made.

Here are the same rings and chains
but with adding an extra 2nd half of a double stitch
before closing the rings.

There you can clearly count 4 stitches
even on the last segment of the rings.

Some people advocate "posting" the shuttle before closing the ring to remedy this problem but I don't like the shape that this gives the ring.  It seems less "tear-drop" shaped to me when you post the shuttle.  The extra half-stitch doesn't affect the shape in that way.

I have also found that this has a second advantage:  when you have to un-tat, the rings appear to be easier to open.  I'm not sure yet whether this is my imagination or actually the case, but that's how it feels to me.

And lastly (have you had enough yet?), I made one more heart* in dark red to decorate the lid of a small box. This is a little paper box that is really easy and quick to make (origami).  Here is one link to how to make them if you're interested.  Make one box for the lid and then make another, just a bit smaller for the bottom of the box.  I recently received one such pretty box containing gifts from a friend.  

I'm sure you'll have guessed what's to go in the box?  I melted some of my husband's favourite chocolate and poured it into little heart moulds and then put the hearts in the box.  

*(Actually, I can't believe it but it's the 5th time I've tatted this heart today and I made a mistake again!!  But I'm running out of time and it's going on the box anyway… no… I can't do it… I'm going to have to tat it one more time!  6th time lucky, keep your fingers crossed for me.  I ended up writing it up and numbering the rings - funny how sometimes the simplest things are the ones that trip you up.  You think it's easy so you don't pay attention enough).

Phew!  I bet you needed to stop for a tea break
before you got through this post!  

Best wishes,


  1. Happy valentines day to you too,
    Lovely scarf it looks warm and cosy for him.
    Your hearts are gorgeous, thank you for sharing the patterns,
    I hope you had a great day.

  2. Nice scarf! Fabulous hearts!! Very beautiful edging!!! :)

  3. What does it mean to 'post' the shuttle? Thank you for this easy solution to something that's always bothered me!!

    1. Hi Lucy, "posting the shuttle" means passing your shuttle through the loop of your ring before closing it. I tried it but I do find it changes the shape of the ring too much for my taste.

  4. Scarf & hearts are very nice. Thank you for the tip on the extra 1st half ds before closing the ring. I'm going to give that a try as I have been posting but it's not completely satisfactory. Kaen in OR

    1. Hi Karen, please note: it's the SECOND half of a double stitch I add at the end. Feel free to experiment of course but I found the 2nd half looked better than the 1st half.

    2. Next project will be another pair of Feather Earrings in Yarnplayer's latest book so I'll be trying the 2nd half of ds at end of rings. Thanks, Karen

  5. Happy Valentines'! <3
    A very interesting discussion about giving it ring a final 2nd ds so it closes more snuggly. I'll try that. I don't fancy posting the shuttle before closing rings either. I'm particular about how my chains curve too! LOL
    Pretty hearts there. I have tatted the same heart motif many times and love it. Will give the one-shuttle heart a try. Looks cool!

    1. Hi Val, it's not really to make it close more snuggly as such but more so that the stitch count looks right and to counterbalance the twisting effect at the end of a ring.

  6. Oh my goodness, I learned to make those boxes more than 25 years ago when I was about 12 years old...loved making them and wanted to again but haven't been able to find the instructions and had of course forgotten over the years! Thank you for providing that link! Lovely little heart as well, so pretty to see in all of the different colors!

  7. Interesting post, thanks. I'm going to try adding an extra 2nd half stitch to rings.

  8. Very interesting solution, it really does make the ring look more balanced. I'm going to have a go at it! :)

  9. Thanks for this technique, it really does make my rings look much better. I was never sure if my tension was right. I found the rings were more round than teardrop shaped if i didn't pull tightly closed, but if I did pull them tight, no matter how hard I pressed the stitches between thumb and forefinger when closing, the last stitch buckled under. I have also found it a lot easier to get my next chain or ring really snug with this method.

  10. Hi Ejay, I'm very glad if you are finding this helpful. I am always looking for ways to improve my tatting so I often re-visit techniques or try to find new ways to fix things that bother me. As for the gap between a ring and the next chain, have you tried starting the chain with the 2nd half instead of the first? This does help close the gap. Also, folding the ring down before making the first stitch of a chain (if starting with a first half), that too helps to get the first stitch really close to the previous ring.

  11. So cute! i love the box! and all the hearts, and your tip.

  12. Ahhhhh ha! that extra second 1/2 helps lots! When I get a picture of an element I like, blow it up, and then start counting the stitches.... I usually had a question as to why it wasn't "balanced"..... I now know, Thank you!

    1. Pleasure Patty, I'm glad you found this blogpost helpful!

  13. I tried to contact you via your mail, Don't know if you received it, was about section III after the 3 rows of rings, of the green dolly, I have the graphic but don't understand where to start


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