Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tatting and wire wrapping

Played with the idea of making ... tatted writing. I just love those initials, in French enluminures. Remember those monogramms with floral motifs around? They are perfect for tatting, in my eyes.
There are 2 ways to make them, I will show you the wired one, I like when they have a bot of body. But if you choose to sew them on a tissue, then you should consider making some changes, to make them lay perfectly.
Skills required? Padded tatting.. encapsulating, wrapping ... are some of the names of the technique used. All have their subtile differences (which I never remember). Guide for this here. Karen Cabrera has a video for the encapsulating technique, you should see before attacking this tutorial (talking to the ones who never did it before).  Sherry Pence (LadyShuttleMaker has a very good book for it with some sweet patterns).
This for the tatting part. Some wire wrapping skills would be also handy.

So I played before with an L. 2 times until I got the simpliest way.

All you need:

This initials require some preparation before. Finding a nice letter is smallest of your problems. Just search among the machine embroidery patterns... You will definitelly find some. Choose one model which is not complicated to form with the wire. You need only the letter, the other elements are just to help you get an idea. You print this initial 1:1 scale for the desired size. Mine was a 4 cm height C.
Now find a surface where you can place this printed letter and pin it. Take some thread (lighter colour better), and pin this thread on the contour of your initial. Then mark where you would like the have the leaves, flower budd. I draw (ha!) more or less my leaves... marked it on the thread. This will be very useful later.
Cut also some wire, be a bit generous, it sould lay nicely in your hand while working.

Now you can start.
I choose to work for this tutorial the more complicated element, the lower one.
Start by working a small bell. Mine is 3 yellow rings 4 - 8 - 4, so a 4 mm pearl fits in. You just adjust. Do not cut the thread from the shuttle, it will be needed later.
Work the flower. Mine: pink, 5 - 10 - 5, 5 rings. Before you make the folded join, just add the bell then work the last ds, close. If you think you cannot do it, just work the separatelly and place the smaller one on top of the flower through the last rings (for once this gap between the first and the last rings of a flower is useful). Keep the shuttle on the thread.
Now take the wire and place the pearl at one of the ends. 
 Pass this stem through the flower:
Secure this flower around the pearl as close as possible, just wrap the wire, make a knot, what you feel fit.

Now take the shuttle with the green thread.
Start to work the chalyx. Mine: 3 - 7 - 3, 5 times. Before you make the folded join, take the stem with the flower, place it in the middle of the flower, finish the chalyx.

Hold these 3 elements so close to each other as possible. Wrap the wire and the pink and yellow thread with the green one to form a bit the receptacle.
You can start now the encapsulating. Unflipped double stiches, like you would work the second half of a split rings. Since you have also the wire and the threads, the position of the hands should insure that you can work without stressing your hands. 
I made also a small picot and then 2 ds to anchor my first leaf:  
After you do this, flip the flower vertically. 

Work your leaf as close to the stem as possible (make the join to the stem). I worked a 2 - 14 ring. Take then another shuttle (pink) and work a smaller ring, as close to the wrapping as possible.   

Flip again the work and restart the encapsulating. 
This is why you will use the marked thread: to indicate you, more or less where the leaves and buds can be worked. 

 This bud is worked as follow: first the yellow ring, then the pink one, a bit larger, before closing the ping ring, just pass the yellow on through it.

You finished now your wire and you are ready to do the letter forming. I have hidden the pink and yellow threads in the last green ring. As you can see, I passed the gree ends through the pearl, along the wire. 

Wrap the wire around the pearl, fix it where you need it to be, make sure the pearl cannot slip out. If you prefer, just glue it. Hide the ends. 
I formed my C on the upper part with the help of a pencil tip. 


- When you choose a letter, choose a letter you can write in 1 stroke, without passing 2 times along the same line. 
- I used pearls to hide the wire ends, but this is not the only solution. 
- Be brave: try to tat some small flowers, hearts, have fun with it. 
- While encapsulating, snug the ds and pull the inner threads. Like this you have no surprises when you must work the leaves and buds, no free tread getting out to ennoy you and to spoil your efforts.  
- Try not to manipulate to often the wire, especially if it is a maleable one. 
The principle is the same it you tat without the wire, but you must rethink how you will work the ends. 
Have fun with this one. You can use it as monogramm on a box, present bag, a hat, a brooch, you name it!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pattern or guide for the blue beaded bracelet

I revisited a small piece I did some time ago, made some small changes and it is not that bad as a result. 
This time it seems complicated, it is not. 

2 shuttles project, you must string the beads before: shuttle 1: 32 beads, shuttle 2: 9 beads. This amount may vary, according to your needs, to your thread.
Basic pattern: start with the inner rings then make the chains. I told you: simple and easy.

bp : the diamond beaded picot.

Shuttle 1
R1: 10 bp 9 - 1, close, do not turn work.
R2: 1 + 9 bp 9 - 1, close, do not turn work.
R3: 1 + 9 bp 10, close turn work.
Start chain:
15 - 1 + 6 + 16 + 16 + 6 + 16 + 16 + 6 + 1 - 15.
All the lock joins will be done in between the beads, but this you saw already. And if you worked the beaded flower from last year, there is no secret anymore.

You take from the shuttle 1 the next 8 or 9 beads (depending on your thread, beads) and climb to make the next element. You work the inner round (shuttle 1) the same way as before. 
When you need to start the chain, take from shuttle 2 the same amount of beads you used and climb to start the chain. Before you make the first join, the one with the picot you worked before, make sure to give a twist to the beaded chains. When you are happy with the result, just make the join. The rest is just the same: chains, lock joins...
This is the result. 
The original (black and red one) was worked with no join in between the rings. It is ok, but what I did not like: not that stable as this second one.
And if you ask how I placed the seed bead ar the begining of the chain, no, it is not a picot. I just had the bead on the thread, passed the thread through the chain, passed it again through the bead (in the other direction), filled my shuttle and did my chain. 
I like it, it is a happy project, it requires a bit of attention  without being too difficult. 
Again, do not stick with the amount of ds I gave. They fitted my thread (the Penny 30 this time) and my beads (Toho 11.0 rocailles ), for a Lizbeth 20 and other beads you must definitely adjust! But the principle is there, and this is more important than a fixed pattern. 
Hope it helped a bit. Happy tatting. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tatting... counting... cutting... tatting

Tatting with beads can be very rewarding. And frustrating at the same time. Have you ever tried to add beads to an existing simple pattern? The pictots are nice to you, they behave. The beads on join picots and the ones on the core thread are nasty. Because they just replace a double stich somethimes and one has to take this in consideration.
I knew it, I got burned several times. Guess it will still happen.
The edging no 8902 from the Paragon tatting book no. 1 is one of the edgings I just love to do. I made a bracelet with this pattern:
Not a bad one. I do not like the fact that the trefoil does not lie really flat. 
So for the next attempts I changed the ds amount. And the threads. And added I pearl. Lesson no. n: never change more than 1 variable at the same time. 

Pattern itself is still wonderful: worked everything with a base of 8 and multiple of 8. But the fact that I worked it with 2 different threads (Penny 30 white and Range 40, silver) does not help. The pearl added 3,5mm in between. One  element only is beautiful. After the second  you can see: it refuses to go straight and when I managed it, then the silver part ruffles. Sue gave me some hints (Thank you!). Tried some, still have to work on. 
Until I find a decent, working solution, I rewarded myself with some earrings. At least some thread did not end up in the trash can. This time same thread, 2 shuttles, 2 colours, some ds changed. My pearl where I wanted it to be. I gave up the little turqoise flower on top I have prepared. 

From left to the right:
Shuttle 1 R1: 14 - 8
Chain 16
Shuttle 1: R2: 8 + 6 pearl (secure with paper clip) - 8, turn
Shuttle 2: R3: 16 - 8, turn work,
Chain: 16, turn
Shuttle 1: R4: 8 + 8 - 8, do not turn
R5: 8 + 16 - 8, do not turn
R6: 8 + 8- 8, turn
The rest the the first half, mirrored.

I let the bracelet idea with 2 colours wait for a bit. It is a full nonsense that I cannot find the right proportions for the ds for such a simple pattern. After the second of the third element, the small glitches punish me.
And since I hate to fix tatted jewelry... Why? Would you punish your costumers with a nice letter "instructions of use" where you tell them how to wash, starch and pin the bracelet? I work my pieces so they do not need fixing, I make sure that they are clean and then I use a nano-liquid which repelles further oil, fat, liquid substances.
Relaxing time gave this small medallion:
Love this little one! Again, seems easy, but if you do not make the right joins at the right point, the result if not nice. Definitelly a motiv to push further. 
Happy tatting. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The "what if?" syndrome and the "why not?" factor

Some time ago I tatted this simple bracelet. I think this is my simpliest since I shuttle tat. It was some time last year, the same time as the Chandelier earrings. Simple lines, seed beads only to join the 2 edgings. Simplicity has its effect. Always. 

Last week someone helped me rediscover it and asked for the pattern. Pattern? I thought. It is the very first thing someone learns in tatting after the flip, the ring, the rings and chains... I'd say it is the third pattern in learning to tat. But this stimultated me to push more in this direction.
It is what I named the "what if?" syndrome. You have a pattern in front of you, or you start to work something and you take a small break and the question hits: what if I make this chain longer? What if I close this ring over the braid? What if I do the join here and not there? I suffer of it. It hits me all the time. Remember, I cannot really follow a pattern. Now you know the reason. I see potential and the other thing, I know anyway to do. Even if after this I must throw away thread, I still cannot resist.
Then comes the "Why not?" factor. When the shuttles just start to do what they want (somehow). And sometimes I get a big flop (yes, I keep them), sometimes I get a small hit.
I had to work a bracelet for a swap. I was missing the idea when the what if syndrome hit me.
Revisited the small pattern with a small twist. 2 shuttles project, same colour, the beads added. 
After I mailed it, I wanted to tat it again, for me, to have it. And I got hit again: What if I work it with 2 different colours?
I works, I liked it. I got bold. The why not thingy... 

As you see, a 2 shuttle pattern. Seems easy, it is not really easy. It is not enough to be able to work with 2 shuttles, you must pay attention a bit to the different layers created. 

What you need: 2 shuttles, seed beads, crochet hook or something place the bead, paper clip to hold the bead. Patience. Lots of it.  

First half is easy. 

Shuttle 1
R1: 15 - 5, cl, dnt
R2: 5 + 9 - 9 - 5, cl, dnt
Take Shuttle 2, place the seed bead, secure with paper clip, start ring. 
R3 18 - 2, place the ring between the previous 2 rings, make sure that the thread of shuttle 1 will remain in front, close ring, do not turn. 
Shuttle 1: R4: 5 + 5- 10 cl, dnt. 
Take Shuttle 2: Start ring: 2 + (behind R2) 18, pass shuttle 1 through this ring (so it remains bellow the thread of Shuttle 2), place the stitches between R2 and R4, close. 
Remove paper clip, lock join with Sh2. 
Turn work. 
Chain (Shuttle 2): 18 ds (you can work 16 with no problem), snug, switch shuttles (SLT), turn. 
R6: 5 + 10 - 5, close turn work. 
Chain (Shuttle 2): 18 ds, turn. 
Shuttle 1: R7: 10 + 5 - 5. 
And so on. 
Personal remarks: 
1. The paper clip ennoys. If you find a way to avoid it, let me know. You can make a fake picot before you work R3, work the ring, close... 
2. You must at any moment check that the threads from Shuttle 2 will end up by being in front of the ones from Shuttle 1, so tou can have a clean join for the bead. I passed the thread of Sh1 through the R3 and R5 before closing. There are more that 1 way to do it. 
3 You can choose to work R3 and R5 one after the other, but make sure you make the right joins when you work the rings with Sh1. 

There are 2 variants of this edging, if you want to work 2 of them: 
The simpliest: 

The more complicated one: 
As you notice, you must work the rings with the Sh2 at the same pass. When you work the R4 (Sh1) make down join through R2 (difficult, but possible). Work R4, pass the thread behind the thread of Sh2, work R5 (up join through R3). Do not forget the order of the threads (Shuttle 2 in front of Shuttle 2).  If you do not do it, the transition between the rings is not smooth, and the backside of the work is not neat, the join with the bead is not clean. 
Have fun... or not. The bracelet looks really nice, so I will work it again. 
P.S.: do not start with the small rings, or at least do not finish with a 5- 10 - 5 rings... you will want to hide the thread of the second colour. This was my mistake, I had to make one...