Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tatting and cabochons

In the Ankars tehnique among a lot of other new elements, apears the use of a cab worked in lace. It does not matter what kind, what form, as long as it fits. Matter of taste too.
The simpliest manner to do it is to tat a front element, with a nice center, that a back side and capture the cab /stone in between by sewing those 2 layers together or joining them by another round of tatting.
The method I found in a Russian forum (the author was Nina Prokoviewich but I think the method belong to Ekaterina Stepnaya) is, in my eyes nicer.
Irina Astratenko has also another method: 1 shuttle, alternating rings with seed beads in between. (work ring, turn work, place bead, work ring, turn, place bead, work ring, join... )
The beads are optional.
To understand the principle: you will tat both sides at the same time, by making some sort of frame.
You need 2 shuttles, because you will want that the threads you use for the rings end at the same point, to you can start the chain. Of course, you can use a shuttle and a ball, but you will need to turn and flip work.
You can choose any type of cabochon. My first try was a rivoli, 5 mm thick. I hesitates a lot to publish this method because I was thinking I am infringing the rights of Marie McCurry, but I am not. By the way: you should pay a visit to her page. Lots of goodies.
So there you go.

The last piece was a mother of pearl pendant: 

Needed material:

You start by planning your tatting by copying the shape of your cab and then drawing. Use axes, just draw, imagine how it would be. 1:1 scale is very good. Working with cabochons and designing is not for beginers, you need to know your thread, in order to estimate the ds and to place the joins. Gauge your thread by making rings and chains increasing the ds systematicly. It can help you to plan your tatting. Like this you will have more or less your rough pattern. 

I used for my test the Penny 30. All my rings were 8 - 8 - 8, all my chains were 8 bdp 8 (bdp: beaded diamond picot). 
I choose the pink shuttle thread to work the upper rings and the blue shuttle to work the lower ones. The chains: pink shuttle thread was the core thread. Like this I avoided the thread to make unwanted switches. 
I always start like this. Never a knot. I hide the ends with the first ds. 
Work the first ring with the pink shuttle, do not turn. Take the blue shuttle and work very close the lower ring. Close and turn work. Hold both rings tight and start chain. 
Snug the chain and prepare to work the next set of 2 rings. You will join the upper rings to form 1 round and the lower ones the same. 

You will notice soon that they for the cage for the cab. 

Continue until you will consider necessary for your stone. Make tests from time to time, to estimate how much you need to work. It is better to have it tighter, like this the lace will hold the stone very well in place. You will finish every round normally. 
You will close first the upper rings. Then you will place your cabochon, hold it in place and work the lower ring, make the last joins and you will see already the stone caged in your lace. Pretty uncomfortable this last ring, but possible. Tat the last chain to finish your work. 
Fot the white and lila piece, I worked an extra round.  

I worked another piece with some beads. Not necessarily my thing, but I can show you how you can play after: 

You can decorate this base as you like. 
I would suggest you to start with a round piece and no beads (except the outer round). 
Pay attention when you start any ring. The smallest bare thread between the 2 rings can spoil a lot from your work. 
For a thicher cabochon, just make bigger rings. But still do not plan more ds between the joins because they will tend to go up, and not lay on the stone. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Understanding Ankars

An Ankars piece is easy to recognize. I just found this piece here (you can recall it for sure) and I try to explain some of the distinctive elements. I do not touch the thread used. Only the construction elements or the foundation and the beads.  

1. The stacked rings. 
They are caracteristic for Rina Stepnaya's Ankars orientation. 
There are 2 big groups of this element "ring on ring" : the ROR simple and complexe ones. 
Golden rule: rings must very well closed, snug to get the stiffness necessary, make sure that the front side and back side are "clean", back side must be as beautiful and neat as the front side. You must develop  your way to close these rings. If they are not correctly and completely closed, you will have important issues for the final aspect and the balance of those stacked rings. One reason more to avoid coton, even the best one. 

There is no order how you work them. You can start from the larger ring, work all the joining picots and then the smaller rings, starting from the larger one to the smaller one, joining through the previous ring. No bare thread left between the rings, otherwise they will not pile up nicely. 
In noticed that up join and down join tend to place the rings under or on top of the base ring. For sure, this allows you to make clean joins, no twist for the thread. 
As you notice, a good planing is necessary. 

2. Sewed beads
There is no restriction in using the beads. 1 rule though: best quality beads. The regular shaped ones are kind to you and to your patterns. They are easy to incorporate. But don't stay away from the baroque beads. They bring personality and charm to the pieces. 
Crystals of glass beads: fire treaded ones, to avoid that the thread is cut. 
Easy test for the quality: give them a bath with concentrated soap. If after some hours they did not loose the colour, you can use them. But, again, for some beads you should not jump on the brand new ones... the older ones are sometimes better. 
How to plan them? 
a) you know your thread, and you adapt your pattern to your beads. 
b) you tat the foundation and then search the beads. 

Seed beads should be very regular. You can use them in the lace (godo planning required), sew them, use them as "stoppers" of "buffers" for bigger beads. 

Fire treated. 

No words. But make sure they are the good type. 

Yup, they are welcome. 

Check the quality. 
Sky is actually the limit. 

3. Beading skills are welcome in Ankars. 

4. The seed beads are often tatted in. There are a lot of possibilities, this required a full class. There are more ways to use them than picots or beads on core thread. You would be surprised. 

5. Often there is a central piece, a focus one. In this necklace  it is this cabochon. There are at least 4 ways to do it. Again, a blog entry would be necessary. Trust me, it is not the known way of tat an edging for the front, tat a flower for the back and we put them together with some beads. 
During the class I will give details about all these elements. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ankars tatting rules for a simple pattern

Please, do not make the mistake to believe Ankars means stacked rings, 3D tatting and multilayered pieces.
This technique uses common tatting patterns but there are some details which make from a common pattern an Ankars piece.
- work it with shiny, resistent, polyester thread (Lavsan, Isacord, Brildor, any machine embroidery brand you find as long as it is resistent, shiny, not elastic).
- tat the ds according to the Ankars requierments: right hand completelly still, no moving, thread tight, form the knot with the left hand. This is Rina Stepnaya's way of tatting for Ankars. This makes a stiff lace. The video of Karen Cabrera shows it perfectly. Remember it looks like regular tatting, but this makes the difference:

- combine 3 or 4 strands, one of them can be easily from a different colour or metallic.
- choose good quality beads, even ones (Toho, Miuki, quality ones).
- plan your beads to tat it the lace with extreme care.

I will show you how a simple tatting element can become Ankars. I admit, not the spectacular one, but it is something different than tatting with beads. And no, beanile is not Ankars, Nina Libin is clear about this one.
The simpliest rosette ever. Tatted with polyester thread (Penny 30), really stiff. All gold Toho rocailles 11.0 are tatted in.  The white and the red ones are sewed. This is one of the ways used in Ankars. 
You need to tat the rosette: 
12 x 4 = 48 beads for the rings (they will be on the shuttle). 
6 beads on the ball. 
To finish it: beading needle required 6 Toho white, 6 Toho red, 11.0 size. And 1 finishing crystal (if you wish). 

All rings: 10 - 5 - 5 - 10. 
All chains: 25. 
All joins are done between the beads. 

R1: take 11 beads in the loop. 10 ds, bring from the loop 4 beads, 5 ds , bring 3 beads from the hand, 1 from the shuttle, 5 ds, bring the last 4 beads from the loop, 10 ds, close ring, turn work. 
Remark: when you make those 4 beads picots, do not make them too tight. You will want to have some manoeuvre space when you make the join. 
Chain 1: bring 1 bead from the ball, hold it tight, start chain. 25 ds, snug as tight as you can (too bad for the aspect if you work with coton), turn work. 
R2: take 7 beads in the loop.  10 ds, join between the beads, 5 ds, make the diamond beaded picot, 5 ds, bring the 4 beads from the loop, 10 ds, close ring, turn. 
Repeat until you finish the flower. 
The last join is a bit difficult, make sure you make it between the right beads. 
You will notice that the flower is not stable in the center. 
You just come with the beading needle and wave in the beads you kept for finishing. My piece gained in stability after sewing the red ones. The white I added in fact just to bring some contrast. 
I played with one of those beaded centers by adding a 4 hole pearl and giving some volume to the piece. 

Do not be afraid of experimenting. But if you want to make an Ankars piece, just respect the Ankars basic rules. This way of making the ds will improve your tatting too, since this movement forces the thread to wrap better around the core thread. As for the beads, unleash your imagination, sky is the limit! There is actually no Ankars pattern... the originality comes from the way the elements are combined, the beads scheme and the colour scheme. 
Have fun and happy tatting. 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ribbon flowers

This is for you. The solution I found for a tatting riddle.
There are more of them, for sure. I mentally tatted 3 of them, I tested only one.
There you go.
All you need: 2 shuttles, one filled with ribbon, the other one with thread, crochet hook. Scissors. Forgot about them.
I will not make any pattern I will just "show the way" how to do it. The rest is up to you to adjust.
I worked with organza 0,5 mm wideribbon and 20 Penny polyester thread.
Why organza? because it has a fine texture. Any other ribbon for embroidery would do it.
Make a gauge for the ribbon. I made mine of 1 cm.

You will make only chains. 
Take the gauge and make witht he ribbon the inner petal. Roll right  1 or 2 times the thread at the base of this petal. Remove the gauge, take the shuttle with the organza thread and start tatting the chain. Careful not to diform the measured ribbon. And I strongly advice you to snug in time. You cannot tighten this chain after some ds.  
When you reach the upper part of the inner petal, you make a Catherine Wheel join, so the organza ribbon remains a continous thread trapped in the join. 

Finish the chain. 
You will join the 2 sides of this chain to form the ring with the thread from the roll part you did when you started the petal. secure this join and then make a slt with the ribbon. Start over. 

Hope it helps. It is not so wasy to get it nice from the first try, but it works! Have fun. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pattern Sakura

For a tatting exhibition in Japan, organized by the Romanian Embassy in Tokio, I made a hair comb using the symbol of the Sakura.
The pattern is, again, not the important element here, but the technique, the way I made those little beads to make the floating stamen.

In order to do this you need to prepare your beads, a beading needle or simply something to allow you to pass a second time through the beads. I use just my guitar string, I think you saw it in action several times. 
Material needed: seed beads of your choice, stringing tool (dental floss, beading needle, your choice), 5 paper clips. 
1 Shuttle and ball (CTM). 
Technical difficulties: none! Just a nice mock picot and lock joins. Manipulating the beads and making clean lock joins is task enough.   
The Sakura has 5 petals, sou you will need to string 10 stamen on the shuttle and keep aside the beads for 5 others which you will string while you work. 
Preparing the beads: 
 Before filling the shuttle, prepare the stamen as follows: 
string the beads for 1 stamen. 
 pass the beading needle through the beads except the last one. 

 Snug. Done. Prepare to make the next 10 ones. 

Fill the shuttle with these stamen on. Group them by 2, leave some space in between them so you can use them when you need it and still have thread to work the needed ds. Do not cut the thread. 
The central stamen will be a long beaded picot secured with paper clip, so make sure you have all the material ready. 

Start ring with all the stamen in the loop.
Working sequence: repeat 5 times: 3 ds stamen 1 ds beaded picot with paper clip 1ds stamen 3 ds picot. 
The central part is done, you have all the elements ready. 
· Patience is needed to manipulate those beads (stamen), but it is easy: just take the upper one and move it... 
· Try to avoid beads with cutting edges.  

Next step: all chains and lock joins. I used sequences of 15 ds, but please, adjust them to fit your needs. I choose not to make any join between the chain, I like the way the petals just superpose. You can use the Catherine Wheel join, but I prefered to interrupt the core thread, to have a nice angle. 

In the picture of the comb, you have 3 different ways to use those stamen. 
Left one: long beaded picot. Simple. 
Middle: you have now already the directions. 
Right: 1 stamen used as a bead at the base of the ring. It is working and the beauty is that it can be done not to lay flat. 
Hope this helps. 
Have fun tatting. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tattings versatility

This what I like in tatting. This versatility. If one dares, of course. And this is what I always try to tell to anyone asking for hints: dare to be original, change a colour, do different combinations. Alter a bit. You will may not change to too much to be entitled to tell: "This is my pattern", but this little piece will have your signature. And will make you proud.
I revisited this pattern, from the stud earrings:
And I tried some finishing ideas.
If is absolutelly the same pattern, the same elements used. Except the 6 agat beads (2 mm), added to the inner element (sewed in). 
Also same one. This time I sewed the coral beads and the Toho 15.0 rocailles. And yes, you must sew the inner beads, there no way you can properly work the rings and add the beads as they are added.

By far, may favourite is this one:
Same basic pattern. Changed from 4 beads to 3 beads in between rings. This does not make it a new pattern. I added the outer chains, like for the beaded flower here:
Combining the 2 together, this may be an original? Nope. You can still point to to the originals. So again, no new pattern. But I got out from the boredom of working over and over the same thing. 
The pattern for this one? hard to give it to you. With my Penny 30 and my 11 Toho beads: 7 lj, 6, lj, 7, lj, 7 lj... and so on. Lock join between the beads as you see in the image. 

Just have fun if you dare ;) Just dare!
Happy tatting. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

1 shuttle bracelet, beads all around.

I avoid Pinterest, even though I have an account. I pin in there only in some boards (my ideas to tat and the art board). I do not delete de other ones because this would cause to many broken links...
But this does not mean that I do not spend a good amount of time in front of the PC starring at patterns. I don't know you, but since some time I discovered how clever were the creators of the antique patterns. How they solved some problem, how they invented new methods or techniques. I cannot thank enough Sue for 2 excellent books, both teasing my curiosity.
And this is how I got to this idea: what if I can make a beaded chain with 1 shuttle? And then combine this element with rings. I experimentes with dead ends, (yes, they work with 1 shuttle only), chains in the middle of the work finishing where they want to (encapsulating, padding... you name it). There is nothing a shuttle with thread cannot do. Some solutions are simple, some come from riddles but what would be tatting without a bit of riddles?
The first attempt was this one. All rings. No chain at all. 
Pattern? I give it to you just to guide you, but it really depends on your thread and your beads. 
1 shuttle, all beads on the shuttle. Keep your crochet hook handy. 
Start with ring, 1 bead in the loop. 
16ds, bring 1 bead from the shuttle and make a small picot for a future join, 2 - 14. Close ring. The bead from the loop will remain at the base of the ring. 
Turn work. Bring 1 bead from the shuttle, prepare to work the first smal ring: 8-2, close. The bead will be trapped ar the base of the ring. 
Do not turn, bring one more bead, make small ring: 2+6-2, close, do not turn. Repeat this until you have 6 small rings. Make lock join to the picot on top of the bead on the core thread. 
Do not turn work. 
Take 1 bead, start another big ring: 2 + (to the picot from the small ring) 14, bring another bead on the core thread and let the picot for the next join, 16, close, turn work.   The bead from the loop remains at the base of the ring. 
Start to work the small rings as the previous ones. 
Not so difficult. 
But I did not like it , the beaded chains did not lay flat on the wrist and since I do not like to stiffen or to block, I changed some things: reduced the beads from 6 to 5 and gave up the beads from the bigger rings. 
Lot better. 

 I start to like these 1 shuttle patterns. This would be my third no-Ankars 1 shuttle pattern. But I really like the freedom one can have. Just as I said: 1 shuttle, thread, beads, a crochet hook. One of those projects you can tat while waiting for something or in a bus, with no fear for the ball of the second shuttle.
Have fun. Please let me know if I did write something wrong. It always hapen.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Swirly rosette

Emptying a shuttle, some time ago.
Just tatted to the end, just to see what it gives and to practice the pulled join of Nina Libin, but a lock join actually does the job.

It is 1 shuttle pattern, 49 beads on the shuttle (in my case!). You must have a sure hand to make a nice lock join, no knot, no bare thread left by mistake.

All is a base of 6 ds. With this count, some 11.0 Toho rocailles you will have a 7 petals rosette. At least this is what my Penny 30 (like a Lizbeth 40) did.

There will be no turn. All the beads will remain on the shuttle.

Symbols used:
- join picot.
+ join
vsp: very small picot
Red beads: you bring them from the shuttle and let a join picot, large enough to allow you to pass the crichet hook to make the join.
Green beads: their number depends on the size of your ring.
Blue beads: just bring them from the shuttle between the petals. In my case (my thread, my beads), 3 were ok. If you use less, you will have more petals, I assume.

Every R1: 6 - 6 red bead 6 - 6, close, do not turn.
Every R2: 6 + 6 vsp 12, close, do not turn.
Take the beads (marked green), place them bellow, pull the thread through the vsp, make lock join to fix them in place. Bring another bead (marked blue here), and start over.

For the last R1 there is a small trick to place the last bead on the core thread. Work 6 + 6. Bring the thread to make the join but before you pass the shuttle, bring the bead, keep it in place and finish the join.
The last R2: worked normally, male the lock join and after placing the last blue bead, you cut and hide the end.

I wish I could give you an exact pattern, ds, exact amount of beads and so on, this would be so elegant! But, in my opinion, it is better to pass you the way, to give you the weapons so you can be independent and, later, to play with this knowledge. This is the reason this kind of patterns, with small technical details, will always end up in the blog.
Have fun  with it. I know I will develop it. I already see it as a six point star with a second round. Snowflake anyone?