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!


  1. Wonderful idea! Astonishing what options the tatting! Thank you :-)

  2. Thank you for this fantastic tutorial!

  3. This is an amazing idea and tutorial, It's so generous of you to share it!

  4. This is a brilliant idea, And thank you for sharing it.

  5. Thank you. I hope it will be useful. And the idea was in fact pretty simple, I had to share it.

  6. Fabulous! Such a good idea, with a wide range of possibilities. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Thank you, Jane. I do not know if this use of the wire is new, but it has some possibilities, as you said.

  7. Incredibly beautiful! The pictures are so clear. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial.

    1. Thank you, Marilee Rockley. I really try to explain as good as I can, pictures can help a lot. And my Samsung did not fail me yet. But it is so hard to take process pictures by yourself and you know it better thas us all!

  8. Looks Wonderful. Thank you. I hope I can do it.

  9. Very nice and a really well done tutorial. Thank you for sharing this and making it look so easy.

  10. Such beautiful flowers!!! :) Thanks for showing us how to do them!! :)

  11. Very interesting tutorial! This technique is new to me, I have never seen it before. Thank you for explaining it so well.Thank you