Sunday, March 12, 2017

under the sea

I needed a break from white and snowflakes and tatted some sea creatures.

The gold fish is based on Ninetta (Antonina Caruso)'s adorable Kissing Minnows edging - pattern is here. I really like how the eye is made - a Josephine knot above the fish's head which is then twisted around the core while you make the next stitch so that it lies inside the fish.  Very clever.

The purple fish are based on Phyllis Schmidt's "Fish - Paperclip" pattern, which makes a cute quick paperclip bookmark.  I skipped the bead eye, removed the paperclip, and added some fins on the bottom.  I can't find her blog, but google was able to find the pattern here.  
[Side rant: The writeup for this pattern was distributed as a PDF and did not list the source location. Please, authors, please always include your site inside your PDF patterns!  Not having that information makes it very hard to find your site again and for people to link back to you to give you credit later!]

Then I made up a couple seahorses and a starfish to go with.  My first try on the seahorse did not go well - turns out I didn't actually know how the distinctive parts of a seahorse, the curly tail and pointy nose and funny fin on the back, went together exactly.  I looked up some photos online and the second and third ones look much more recognizable, though I think there's still room for improvement for a perfect little seahorse.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Adelheid Dangela's Gent motif

This is 'Gent' from Adelheid Dangela's book Occhi-Patchwork and More.  I really like the shape.
Adelheid Dangela_Gent
I've mentioned before that I find it irritating when a center rosette ends with a split ring to climb out to the next round, resulting in one of the rings pointing the opposite way from the others (I worked the one above in two rounds instead of climbing out).  And I wondered what would happen visually if ALL of the rings of the rosette were flipped the other way.  I tried experimenting on this motif.
Adelheid Dangela_Gent motif variations
Upper left: The original, no split ring (larger image at top of post).
Upper right: Original, climbing out with a split ring (the split ring is at the top - at 12'o clock).
Lower right: First experiment.  Since the center rings are all 5-5-5-5, I tried 5-3-4-3-5; the space in the center of the rosette is too large, but the rings are pleasingly round.
Lower left: Second experiment.  I used 7-3-2-3-7, to make the center rosette smaller and the free end larger.  Much closer, visually, to the original even though the rings are still slightly larger.  I'm pleased with how it came out and may try this on other snowflakes.  However, with a zoomed out view to see all four of them, I'm realizing that perhaps I am being needlessly picky and it doesn't matter so much that one of the rings is slightly different when climbing out.  After all, working the rosette separately results in a small irregularity where I tie the ends (perhaps I should be working on my finishing instead. ;)

As someone who collects snowflake patters, I liked Adelgeid's first book, Occhi-Patchwork, more than Occhi-Patchwork and More, as it had more large hexagon "snowflake" motifs.  This pattern is the only large hexagon from this book; the others are smaller hexagons, triangles, diamonds, etc. to be joined together into larger mats (some of which are quite impressive).  Her books are nicely put together, with diagram patterns and colorful illustrations of the motifs in larger mats.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Leen's Tatted Angel by Eileen Stafford

Update: Yorkie Sue has identified the designer!  Her name is Eileen Stafford, and the pattern is also available on Georgia Sitez's site at  Thank you Yorkie Sue!!

Leen published this lovely angel on the now-defunct geocities in 2000, but did not give her full name - if you know it, or a current website for her, please let me know so I can update this post (and my printout of the pattern).
Leen's Tatted Angel
It's a simple but graceful angel, and lends itself to variation (she shows several in the pattern writeup).  It can easily be worked continuously by ending with the bodice instead of starting there, and using a short split chain and split ring to climb down into the skirt.

Thankfully, the pattern can still be accessed via the internet archive/wayback machine here.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Anne Bruvold's SSSR Angel

I've been thinking about angels recently in a break from snowflakes, and really enjoyed this adorable angel pattern by Anne Bruvold, a clever use of both single shuttle split rings (SSSR) and self closing mock rings (SCMR) which tats up quickly.
Anne Bruvold_SSSR Angel
I added a few stitches to the body and removed a few picots from the head, but the major change was that because I find it awkward to hide the ends when finishing with a SCMR, I made these backwards using a single shuttle - unwinding a short length of thread let me work the body first using the short tail as the "shuttle" for the SCMR, then I worked the skirt in split rings until I'd used up the short tail and switched to SSSRs to finish, leaving only one end to hide in the last true ring.  This also avoided having to work in a second thread and make this an excellent pattern to empty some shuttles.

Anne has generously shared the pattern (as well as many others) on her English pattern page here.  I recommend bookmarking the page as her pattern PDFs do not link back to it, which is unfortunate.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Samantha Melnychuk's Kaleidoscope Snowflake

From A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk, the inward facing chains of this snowflake make an unusual straight-sided hexagon. I love the shape and the unusual structure, but with my tension (or possibly my blocking - her chains curve more) the double rings and the straight sides are a little crowded - I could modify it by increasing the number of stitches so the rings sit higher, or I could reduce to a single ring... 
Samantha Melnychuk_Kaleidoscope Snowflake

But a third option is to change the tip entirely to get it up out of the way.  I tried to mimic the style and reflect the shapes already in the snowflake; I am pleased with how it came out.
Samantha Melnychuk_Kaleidoscope Snowflake_variation by Sarah Nielson

While Samantha is no longer tatting and her books are out of print, I learned that she found a box with a few unsold copies of her books, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  If you are interested, please contact her directly at smelnychuk at gmail dot com.  Her three books are:
  • A Veritable Tatted Blizzard
  • The Psychedelic Shuttle
  • Teeny Tatted Snowflakes
(If you contact her and learn any of these books are sold out, please comment below so I can update the post!)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Teiko Fujito's motif 105 (star-tipped snowflake)

This snowflake is motif #105 from Tatted Fashion by Teiko Fujito.  I love the graceful lines and echoed shapes, with a small snowflake at the tip of each arm of the full snowflake (technically the original pattern had a star of five rings at each tip - I added a sixth one to change the star to a snowflake).  The pattern was illustrated as a handkerchief corner embellishment, proving that beautiful snowflakes hide in the most unusual places.  I can pin it a little tighter when starching, which straightens out the long connecting picots.
Teiko Fujito_motif 105 (star-tipped snowflake)
Book cover shown below using an amazon affiliate link. Teiko's work is meticulously executed and gloriously colorful, and I find myself flipping through the pages just to look at the lovely pictures.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Lenore English's January Reflections

This lovely snowflake was designed by Lenore English as part of a (sadly unfinished) "year of snowflakes" series.  I enjoy the multiple nested shapes, and the clever way she formed the clover/trefoil at the tips of the inner star - one ring is made in the round with the star, and the two on either side are made in the following round, and join at the base of the center ring - a useful technique for beginners who often have a gap at the base of their rings.  Note: mine ALWAYS needs to be blocked firmly to lie flat, and looks better when starched and pined firmly to stretch the inner star into pointy elegance.
Lenore English_January Reflections
I don't know if Lenore has a current website - this pattern was posted on Geocities and is available via the wayback machine here.  If anyone knows of a current site for Lenore, please let me know!