Florence: The tough part of the pattern

Reducing the small points
Reducing the “squareness” of the original motif and confusing myself

This was going to be a completed motif with six sides that had promise for being my new design, but I got distracted while tatting and made a big mistake. I  cut off the mistake and was going to reattach thread and continue, but since I’m using variegated thread it’s not quite that easy. The flow from one colour to the next would not work, and the mistake would be distracting, if not obvious.

The error came from the chain which goes up one side of a cluster from the middle row, ends in the one ring point, and then the chain starts again and goes back down the side of the same cluster from the middle row. The point in the image in the top right with the white thread dangling is where going back down the side of the cluster was the point of distraction from the pattern.

So here is where I needed to stop doing tatting with a scribbled pattern, with numbers crossed off and arrows pointing to the good bits, and go to my computer to write the pattern out and make a diagram.

I use Adobe Creative Cloud software, so I create my diagrams in Illustrator, and I document the written pattern (with the diagrams included) with InDesign.

And I know where I want to add photos of the work in progress inside my pattern now… at the place where I messed up. Messing up is annoying, but it does help to make the documented pattern better.

I sell my patterns at knotshire.etsy.com as well as finished pieces of tatting.


Florence: First step towards six sides

First four to six modification
First attempt at modifying a four sided square design into a six sided design.

Not really a surprise, simply adding 2 sides to the four sided design I started with doesn’t work.

While I was doing the inner row, it was pretty obvious that simply adding 2 point clusters to the 4 point clusters from the starting pattern was going to cause spacing issues. It felt a bit cramped. While tatting on the outer row, it was clear that this pattern wanted to be square. So I stopped work on this motif.

I think the colour on this motif is much nicer than the dark blue and white of the square motif. This is still the size 8 thread, same as the thick thread I used on the square motif, but it doesn’t look nearly as clunky – probably due to the colour. So the cool blue hand dyed thread that is my inspiration for this snowflake doily, Florence, will likely look very nice. Which is a good thing.

On to the next attempt.

Florence: Starting Point


square starting pattern
Square pattern as a starting point to create a 6 sided snowflake

As a starting point for a new pattern I often look in my old pattern books for ideas. This pattern is from a placemat pattern called Lavender & Lace from the book Tatted Doilies & Edgings edited by Rita Weiss (1980). (Most of the patterns in this book are actually from the early 1900s and are reprints.) The placemats are made up a series of these four-sided motifs.

It is a four-sided pattern, so it will need a lot of changes to make a six-sided snowflake. My snowflake patterns are all six-sided. The molecules in ice crystals join to one another in a hexagonal structure to create natural snowflakes, so six it is.

The appeal of this pattern is the defined points. I like the long corner points, and I also like the in-between points as an echo. I also like the chains between the rings with the connections to the inside row, they make for a very sturdy-looking design.

I’ve tatted this pattern in spare thread I have in size 8. This is quite thick and makes for large designs, which is good when starting a design. I’ve had many aggravating moments with patterns from old books that really don’t work, but you won’t notice this until you try to tat them in thick thread. Then looking closely at the pattern pictures, you see the manipulation that was needed after stitching in very thin thread to make the pieces work! An early 20th century take on “we’ll fix it in post”. I don’t need the aggravation of trying to work with that kind of pattern. But this pattern turned out quite well, so I’m happy to start with it.

Florence: Inspiration

Purple Thread
Hand Dyed purple thread from ColourComplements.com
Blue Thread
Hand Dyed blue thread from ColourComplements.com

I was approached by another Etsy.com seller who hand dyes thread and wanted me to tat up a snowflake for her! She has a blog at colourcomplements.com that has samples of items created with her thread, and she likes to showcase seasonal items. So coming up for November 2015, she will have a sample of my snowflake tatting created with her thread for her blog.

I’ve been thinking about trying some hand dyed thread, so this is a great idea. I’m using this thread for inspiration for this year’s new snowflake design. The blue for sure… the purple is making me want  to use it on a pattern I created 2 years ago. We will see…

Wonderful inspiration for snowflake Florence!

Emma: Steps to a Finished Doily… or is it finished?

Emma finished piece
Emma tatted doily.

Working with a very simple centre doily (from a pattern I’ve created before), a more evenly spaced doily looks much better than the first experiment. I would give more detail, and I intend to do more description on future patterns that I will add to my blog, but I’m not sure this is a finished pattern.

Emma diagram
Diagram of Emma pattern without stitch count.

I’ve used Adobe Illustrator to create a diagram pattern (shown here without the stitch counts because I may sell the pattern, so I don’t want to give it away). I’ve written the pattern up in words and put it into Adobe Indesign, as I typically do with new patterns.

I’ve tested the pattern by creating a second doily, which I may sell in my shop.

But I’m not sure if this is a finished doily. It is only about 13cm (5 inches) in diameter. Which makes it rather small. And what do you do with a little doily like this?

I’m not sure whether to sell the finished doily and pattern on my shop on knotshire.etsy.com or not.

Emma: Experimentation with hearts on a doily

Emma pattern first attempt
First attempt at new pattern Emma.

Not likely to be a keeper, the first attempt is always a fun piece. Here you can see a little problem with size. The centre is too small. And there are way too many hearts too close together. The outside arched chains look good.

But I did get a lot of practice making dimple hearts.

Emma: Experimenting with dimple hearts

String of tatted hearts
String of hearts

The next step in creating a new pattern is experimenting. This string of little hearts takes the idea of the outer round from the inspiration pattern and puts hearts where the simple rings were.

I’ve always found that tatting, which includes rings and joining arched chains, a bit awkward for working with hearts. The roundness at the top of the heart is easy enough, but the point at the bottom is difficult to manage convincingly.

For my little hearts on Emma I’ve used a “dimple” technique. This is where you create a picot and join to it in the same ring. I do this to get a convincing point at the bottom of the heart. This makes for cute little hearts, but it can be a challenge to manage properly when closing the ring.