Monday, 28 April 2014

Books I Read - II

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He had been my bedside companion, Literally, for the past several weeks !!! He had become a part of my conscious & subconscious motivation towards creativity, towards creating something (The "I Love Tatting" doodle was one such attempt). He had seeped into my very being and thoughts, as if he was live in front of me! And now, after 2 months, I have finished reading this very potent portrayal of Michelangelo Buonarroti :

The Agony and the Ecstasy 
Irving Stone

Irving Stone brought the 15th century Florentine sculptor, painter, & architect to life using Words just as Michelangelo used his chisel & hammer to dig into the soul of his chosen marble slabs and carve out the figure & expression. Stone’s words paint a vivid picture of the sculptor’s life, his anguishes, his passions, his love, his mastery, his talent, his relationships, his demons, his emotions. I did not need to ‘imagine’ anything, it was as if the entire life was being played out right before my eyes ! Perhaps, this is Stone’s best of the 3 books I’ve read so far & that is saying a lot because “Lust for Life” on Van Gogh was just as vivid. I stayed glued to the book, or rather to the persona of Michelangelo, right through the 750+ pages.
After finishing, I felt a kind of void… as if someone close to me was no longer there. That is the power Stone’s words And the maestro’s personality had on me.

I did get the feeling, though, that Stone was a bit partial to his protagonist. Perhaps an excusable occupational hazard? Or was Michelangelo really so gullible? Stone seems to gloss over some aspects/issues, such as the latter’s finances in later years.

This is not to detract from the brilliant narrative, but I sorely missed pictures of Michelangelo’s works. A few illustrations, pictures of his works, just a few panels, would have enhanced the reading experience even further & captured the visual.
To that end I was lucky to have 2 books to consult & cross-refer. {I Googled for images & info, too}. These gave me some idea of the intricacy that Stone talked about. This could also, well be the TIP for this post – having references to fall back on - either your personal library, or access to one, besides search engines on the net.

The Great Artists series #23 discusses his David, Pieta, & the Sistine Chapel frescoes in some detail with accompanying pictures. There is also a brief comparative account of Michelangelo’s contemporaries & his inspirations. This was both educative & informative, besides being visually appealing & illuminating.

The Great Artists #23 - Michelangelo

I also had fond memories of my visit to the Sistine Chapel & Rome to fall back on. “Rome & Vatican” by Loretta Santini was actually bought on that visit to guide us around the city & acquaint us with it’s history, architecture, & so on. I feel truly lucky to have been able to see the frescoes & the Pieta (& replicas of his other works, including David; and the St Peter's ) - Unforgettable !!! I could back again & again to experience their mastery ! 

Loretta Santini's Rome & Vatican

After a book is finished, I immediately pick up another. This is one of those rare times that I could not take up anything else to read. Nothing compared to the potency of this read. But the reading won't stop for long even if all else does ;-) 

 Happy Reading J

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Muskaan's Tatting Pattern : I Love Tatting Doodle

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Original Pattern : Notes

(for intermediate to advanced)

It’s a logo
It’s a bracelet
It’s a pendant
For now, it’s just a doodle to celebrate my love of  tatting !!!

Tatting + Chocolate = Bliss !!!

Firstly, I’m a day late with this post. Wish it weren’t so, but ….

I first came to know about the existence & celebration of International Tatting Day exactly 35 weeks back through Vinnie's post. So, I considered April 1, 2014 to be my ‘first’ ITD & created a pattern for this day.
It is a simple doodle where the letter ‘a’ in ‘tatting’ is converted into a heart to convey the overall message : “I Love Tatting” !
I have done 2 trials and still need many more to get it right. However, baby steps …
When I first wrote the word & consulted Usha (InTatters member) about my idea, she came up with some brilliant suggestions. My initial idea was to tat the word, then add the horizontal line that crosses the ‘t’s later. But she suggested going from right to left, thus doing it in one pass !

I am sharing Notes & pictures of my drawing & trials & listing out the techniques used but the actual pattern has still not been properly written out. I must say, hats off to all the designers who have the perseverance to write out each little detail & tat the same motif/piece over & over till they get it ‘right’ !
I find that jotting down stitch counts, etc. while tatting, only Hampers my tatting pleasure :-(. But, this time, I shall persevere, too. Only, I’m going to try it in size 20 thread rather than 40, or my poor eyes will bear the brunt.

I Love Tatting Doodle
Original Pattern Notes

It all started with a simple pencil sketch .... 
But an ambitious tatting project !

Trial 1.

2-shuttle. Shuttle 1 : White ; Shuttle 2 : Brown, 0355. Anchor Mercer Crochet Cotton, Size 40. Since it was the very first attempt, I just used the thread already in one of the shuttles instead of a red/maroon for heart.
Length : 2 inches/5cms ; Height :3/4 inch/2 cms.

I Love Tatting Doodle - Trial 1

1. Start from right to left chain with normal ds. (scroll down for full form of abbreviations)
2. SSSR for dot on ‘i’, since I needed to hide the color within & make the entire circle white.
I was thrilled with this coz it was my First attempt at SSSR And I successfully hid the colored thread!!!
3. At each ‘junction’ there is 1 vsp added to the chain
4. Folded chain, although I did not get the curve right. It turned out convex instead of concave !
5. BDS. This was used to keep the thickness similar to the later letters.
6. Short folded chain with ds.
7. Heart, here, has been tatted separately as a folded ring. 4FHS, p, 4SHS to get the inward point. 2 vsps on either side to join to the adjoining ‘t’s.

Note: My initial idea had been to make it all in one pass, hence I used 2 
colors from the beginning. The ‘problem’ was how to get the Same color for the SR heart And get it folded And get the threads to enter & exit at desired points. For this I did try out a Split Ring heart as well, but did not use it (adjoining image). I was not at a skill level as to make a good SSSR heart with the threads entering & exiting at opposite ends. I checked out many many heart patterns, but All either started at the base or at the top center. Someday, I will try this out again. Anyway, I followed Usha’s suggestion to make the heart separately & join.

8. Chain of ds with vsp after every 3 ds, going up, joining to vsp on the cross line.
9. Slope & Roll join to each vsp, coming down the vertical ‘t’.
Steps 8 & 9 repeated for 3rd ‘t’, ‘i’ (half the length of ‘t’), & shaft of ‘n’.
10. Folded chain using a combo of ds & BDS for the rest of ‘n’.
11. Split ring for ‘g’. The 2nd half of this first ring has a few vsp. When the ring is closed, the threads are brought down, again using the S&R join.
12. Chain of BDS.

This is where I left off Trial 1.
I got some idea of what was required, how to go about it, etc.
I decided to proceed to next trial, hoping to finish a  final version in time for ITD !

Trial 2 :

2-shuttle, both in Anchor Mercer White, size 40 thread. Red heart ‘a’ made separately.
Length : 2.5 inches/6cms ; Height : 3/4th inch/2cms.

I Love Tatting Doodle - Trial 2.
I am only listing the differences :

A. Chain made with BDS this time, to keep it straighter & also for a width similar to letters.
B. Josephine Ring/Knot for dotting the ‘i’ instead of a split ring.
C. 2 vsps separated by 1 BDS . This would afford 2 anchoring joins when the ‘t’ crossed, keeping the letter/line straight.
D. Short Folded Josephine Chain. This time I got the curve right, but just a tad long.
E. At the base of Each letter, 1 vsp has been added to anchor the underlining chain later.
Here, after 'E' is where I use Reverse Stitches to make the foot of the 't', etc. 
F. After making the SR, this time I made a chain of BDS, folding it near the lowermost curve.
G. Chain continued but in normal ds.
H. Bullion Knot. Okay, I’m not sure whether it Actually is a BK & whether it was done correctly – I referred to .
But here’s how I went about it : I made a loop for ring with Shuttle 1. But instead of making ds, I simply rolled the 2nd shuttle in & out, & of the loop, over the loop thread – like couching. After about 15 or more such weaves, I closed the ring. That’s how I ended up with an intertwined thread !

TIP : If one uses fewer weaves/rolls, ie shorter bullion, then it will not twist when closed. Only when the bullion is made longer, & the ring closed, it tends to twist around itself. And the advantage is that it will Not Unravel !!!
Very Useful technique. I could easily use this in my 3D Pond Reed pattern !!!

I. Josephine Chain, joined to the respective vsp at base of each letter, as it progresses from right to left.
J. Bullion Knot/Ring similar to H above.

TIP : 
While this is still a doodle, it has the potential to be used as a pendant or a bracelet. Simply extend the horizontal lines both above & below, in any which way, to create the length required. Beads can be added, as well as other little JKs, etc. This little doodle has vast potential !

UPDATE : I forgot to point out that the foot of each 't' & 'n' were made using Reverse Stitch. I will soon upload the entire stitch count for this doodle.

Abbreviations & Techniques Used :

ds : double stitch
Folded Chain
SSSR : Single Shuttle Split Ring
vsp : very small picot
BDS : Balanced Double Stitch (Ruth Perry)
Folded Ring
FHS : First half of double stitch
p : picot
SHS : Second half of double stitch
SR : Split Ring
S&R join : Slope & Roll Join
Josephine Ring/Knot
Folded Josephine Chain
Bullion Knot (or Roll Tatting? - I haven't checked this out yet)
Josephine Chain
Reverse Stitch
Superb tutorials are available for all the above techniques. I will eventually make my ongoing Resource Page, listing techniques with respective tutorial links & tips as I learn them.

Hope I have been able to convey some idea of how I went about it. Someday I will write down the stitch-count when I make one that I am totally happy about. I'm not still satisfied with either of them. As you can see from the sketch, I wanted it to be simple .... not wavy & lacy....
Please feel free to ask for any details or specifics. I'll be more than happy to share all.