Sunday, 31 January 2016

coPINg with memories

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Jogging your memory on this Memory Afghan from the Floral Fiesta Afghan pattern by Maggie Weldon. I started it in Nov 2014 & completed on Jan 10th 2016 spanning two winters. 
I am entering this as my very first Pinterest Challenge. The challenge has entered its 2nd year and we are now the Pin Chicks !!! It is a novel idea started by 2 bloggers Suzanne & Margaret to choose one pin every month & do the project/task/activity. It can be Anything you wish, and everybody posts on the last day of the month. Adding to the fun & mystery, the project remains a complete secret till posted. 

So why am I picking this as my first Pin Chick project ? Because it all started two years back with this pin on pinterest ! The image immediately caught my fancy – such a beautiful pattern that would use up my yarn stash! A stash that had built up over the past 20 years from leftover yarn. Later, in my bid to work out a border/edging, I referred to several other pins.

I will let the pictures do most of the talking, even though the photographs have failed to replicate the cheerful brilliance & subtle shade differences of actual colours … And remember, there is more to come (read on)

Following the strong & almost unanimous preference here to use a lighter colour for border, I had lined the periphery with darker colours/shades. This would create more of a contrast with a lighter border.After joining 12 motifs, laid point-to-point, along the breadth & 18 along the length, I decided it was complete, and required only a border & edging. 

Maggie's pattern does not have any border/edging ; she weighs down the points with tassels. Tassels look very pretty but are not always practical. So I had to figure something out. I did so want to keep the ridges intact - no plain old rectangle ! 

Following is some of what I tried. This is inspired by another pin here, with image only & no pattern. I looked at many other pins on my Crochet Stitches & How-tos board for inspiration & pattern, but loved the slight overlapping effect created by the spike/dropped stitch.

  • Spike/Dropped stitch : Insert the crochet hook through the base of previous row & pull up a loop to crochet.
  • Picot : chain 3, slip stitch in 3rd chain from hook.
  • All stitches are worked in/through the back loop.
Trial 1 : 
1 in pic, in white :  Row 1 - slip stitch in back loop  
                           Row 2 - single crochet in back loop, & spike/dropped                                                stitch at the notches   
2 in pic, in yellow : Row 3 - sc in back loop, & spike stitch at notches
3 in pic, in black :   Row 4 - slip stitch in back loop, and spike stitch at                                                  notches.
 Trial 2 : The single yellow row got lost between the white & black. Hence I added one more yellow row, worked same as Row 3 above. Thus 2 white, then 2 yellow rows. The spike stitches are more clearly visible here, although the lack of contrast between white & yellow masks everything.
The last row in black, with slip stitch in back loop & the spike stitch at notches, adding a picot at the tip. 
I liked the well-defined arched look, & tried it around some more motifs for colour-play. After the final black row, the edging seemed to flatten out too, & I hoped that with usage, it will flatten out further. 
So, got right down to work around the entire afghan.
 Two rows of border completed, using off-white/cream wool.
Started the 3rd row, but the ruffling only increased ! I did not do the math properly & this cream yarn was thicker & looser than the baby wool in the trials :-(
Note to self : always do your homework first , use Same yarn for trials as for final version, & don't bite more than you can chew !
This is where I left off last season.
So what did I do next ? 
Continued / Corrected / Changed / Chucked ??? 
For the grand reveal to this great suspense, wait a while coz I still have to take photographs, teehee .

A couple more pics .... 
 from front, and
from the wrong/back side. Yes, lots of ends to hide ! 

But don't leave just yet. Please take a few minutes to 
check out the immense talent of these Pin Chicks 
(in alphabetical order ; click on name for respective blog)!
We will gather again on the last day of Feb. Hope you join us as 
a pin chick &/or reader :-)

Pinterest Challenge 2016 #1
Related Posts : Just Starting

Happy Crocheting & Pin Chicking  :-)))

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Tatting Effects & patterns

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Mixed Effects

I usually like to post when there is something substantial or complete to offer.  This time I'm making an exception coz I don't know how soon I'll be able to prepare proper posts ...
These are a few effects I came up with over the last few months. Haven’t had much time or patience to develop or refine them . I also wanted to share something ‘new’ (I hope) at the start of the new year.
So, here's a sneak peek at some of the effects I have in the works (some my own, some borrowed) ... these are still in experimental stage & some kinks to be worked out … but they are pretty simple .

Crochet & knitting have a magic circle/ring, why not tatting ? Should we be left behind ? Nnnnnoooooooo!
All one needs is a loop with a slip knot OR a simple length of scrap thread (if one wants decorative, use different colour, or a ribbon, etc.) . Skip the central ring in the pattern. Begin tatting the pattern & when it says to join in center or to a central ring, join instead to this loop – a normal picot join. That’s it ! Take care not to pull the loop thread through when tensioning the join. In end, tighten the slip knot & hide tails.
This was back in October but it took a while to think of wider application & usefulness. I believe it has potential for designers to estimate round size, or how many repeats can fit in a certain diameter, ... as well as for tatters faced with certain situations – such as not having the right sized finding/doodad/button ; to cover tree ornaments (baubles) easily (slip on/over & tighten !); estimate girth of suncatcher, etc….. Join many individual motifs to the magic string to make a bunting or a necklace!
The magic circle can't even be seen if pulled tight. But if one wants it to show, That's possible too.

A wrapped-around effect for rings, worked with only 2 shuttles normally.
The wrapping itself is Very easy & can be applied to any single shuttle ring (Not split rings, though) with or without picots.
Start ring. Make 1st half stitch But before tensioning it, pass SH2 through, along the core ((just as we do when hiding tail within)). The continue tatting normally. Before closing ring, pass SH2 through the ring, wrapping around it. Close ring normally & continue.
The wraps can be made on picoted rings too (topmost ring in above pic). If one wants the wrap Within a picot, one will need to position SH2 before starting the picot.
This effect can be a bit fiddly at times since the wrap does not slide easily over the double stitch & may have to be nudged into position.
Secondly, if one chooses to place colours in a certain way, there is a tendency for the wrapped thread to be pulled tight accidentally (unless one uses a shoelace trick). So this is a ‘flaw’ I need to fix with a few experiments. I have a few advanced effects in mind for this … let’s see.
Also tried the blanket stitch for fun :-) I like the look in the 2nd pic, where the picots make a nice angle & also anchor the wraps. It is fine to decorate a single ring but I wouldn’t recommend it for multiple rings – it is very difficult to obtain tension, being a topstitch.

UPDATE : This basic wrap was applied to bare thread / mignonette in order to use 2 colours in same round and add some bulk :


Simple split rings (SR) ! 3 in a series, joined back at base of 1st SR.
Gives a ‘free swinging’ middle (top) ring. This has potential for 3D tatting, where one or more rings can be joined to picots on topmost ring, thus providing an enclosed cylindrical or barrel shape (something like the layered rings here but where the lower rings/petals are vertical too !). Tatted Bugle beads ?!!!  Or 3D flowers of course. 
If the stitches on the 2nd half of each split ring are increased, one gets this overlap in center. Imagine if one were to use 2 thread sizes – 20 for 1st half of SRs that form a peripheral outline ; & size 40 for 2nd half of SRs that give a clear overlap. Experiment with more number of rings to see what kind of overlap one gets. Look Ma, no Celtic shuttles ! 

with a ‘double twist’
(This is not my original idea, hence post titled “Mixed” effects).
There are 3 tatted pin links here (excuse my shabbiness – first attempts) :
2. Using 2 colours,  and chain reduced to 18ds
3. Doubled up chain . One can add a vsp to chain & join before starting 2nd ring.

4. Further Ideas : use 2 thread sizes - thicker rings & thinner chains. Make a separate ring or use a metal ring. Wrap the cotter pin chain all around the ring/large chain, covering it completely.  Something like enraptured ring – this is something I really want to try out – it would look so nice as the center of a flower or around a cabochon, pearl, etc. !

Ending with a quick & easy pattern using daisy picots to welcome the new year ….

Very quick to tat & use up scraps of thread. Daisy Picot technique.
2 shuttles.
Pattern :
(Form ring loop with SH1)
Sh1 : 1ds, p, 1ds
Sh2 : long picot, 1ds
Repeat from
for 6 'petals'.
Close ring. T & C !
These flowers are going to be sewn to an embroidered neckline, hence I left the tail ends long, to be sewn through the fabric later.
Notice the difference between front (top & bottom pics) and back (above pic) of flower ? 
Which do you prefer ? 
That’s it for this post. Still left with a lot of experimentation & trials & ideas to work on … hope some of the above inspire or generate even more & much better ideas

happy tatting :-)

Motifs #16-20 / III for 25 Motif Challenge

Friday, 1 January 2016

Greetings for 2016

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Here’s wishing all my readers & visitors to this blog, a very happy new year !
May your old wishes be fulfilled as new ones are formed :-)
May you have plenty of supplies for all your creative ventures …
And keep your muse working to inspire us all with your projects .

I thank you for your support throughout. Your comments always inspire or make me introspect; silence can be quite revealing too.

Looking back, & reading through my resolutions & objectives for 2015, I'm happy to say that I managed to fulfill many of them in some or full measure. This has been a year truly dedicated to tatting (to the neglect of all else) ! The journey is still on & I hope you continue to share it with me :-)

I learned many  new techniques, tatted so many doilies & other little pieces, took a leap from size 20 to 40 (;-P), was inspired to create my own small patterns, definitely made progress on Inkscape, converted some of my patterns into proper pdf downloads, .....
I joined Georgia's Online Tatting Class & while it is so exhilarating, educative & interactive, my only regret is that I have not been able to tat all the wonderful patterns shared there by generous & creative designers. Maybe I can plug along in the rear ....
I completed my 2nd 25 Motif Challenge & have in reality completed my 3rd, but haven't been able to post the projects. I have been including/counting only those 'motifs' where something new was learned, applied, tweaked, .....
My tree would've been quite full of tatted snowflakes had I laboured to string them on ;-(  Hopefully in 2016 ...

No new resolutions this year. I just hope to carry on, doing new things but also trying to bridge the backlog.
I will be joining the Pinterest Challenge, though ! It began with Margaret & Suzanne, then Carollyn joined in a few months back. 
It's really very simple - all you need to do is select one pin every month from pinterest & do it - it could be a craft, a DIY, anything really that you think you want to do. Keep it secret till the end of the month when each posts their challenge. I've been pinning for over 2 years & have wanted to try out a lot of stuff; this is my motivation/impetus/nudge to finally try some out ! 
We're calling ourselves the pinChers & hoping many more of you will join us :-) One small "pin"step at a time - that's what it's all about.

In my next post, I will share some 'new' & some 'old' but tweaked effects ... these still need refining, but since I've taken up wool for the winters, tatting those will take some time. It is still whirling round in my head, though ;-P

Again, thanks for your support & readership :-)
Is there Anything you would like me to change in my blog/posts ? What improvements would you like me to make ? Please leave your suggestions - all feedback & criticism is appreciated.