Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Japanese twisted clover doily by Sumi Fujishige

Here I am, after a break of almost a year. I will try to fill out all the things I promised to show you - or at least some of them!

So, item 1 - Japanese doily. This is Doily 11 in Tatting Lace by Sumi Fujishige. She has at least one other book with the same title, but this is the one with the biggish doily on the cover. Here's a listing for it.

Doily 11, Tatting Lace by Sumi Fujishige
This doily is very pretty, and it grows quite fast. That's why I decided to tat it as a gift for my friend's mother. However, it proved tougher to do than I expected.

First problem — it really ruffles a lot!

Rounds 1 & 2

Actually, I had problems in Round 1. The clovers were quite squashed together. Never mind, I said, it will flatten out in Round 2. Well, it didn't …

Round 3 in progress
 Round 3 didn't fix it  either; it seemed even worse …

Rounds 1, 2 & 3 done

Yes, I am really impressed at the ruffling…

So, for the first time, I blocked a doily while it was still in progress.

Being blocked after Round 3
Did that fix it? Not really; the succeeding rounds were still ruffling…
Ruffling after Round 5

Ruffling after completing the doily
 So of course I blocked it after I finished the six rounds of the doily. Then it finally lay flat!

The finished doily after blocking
So then I rolled it into a tube with wrapping paper, and it went into my suitcase, and it travelled all the way from Singapore to Ecuador, then right across South America, and finally, in Buenos Aires, I presented it to my friend's mother, as a thank-you for hosting us. To my relief, it was still flat! She put it into her drawer of treasures, with her pieces of beautiful linen. And I fervently hope it's not ruffling up as it lies there quietly…

If I were to do this doily again, I wonder how I would reduce the ruffling. Was the ruffling so bad because there were too many clovers for the diameter of each round? Should I make the chains in the clover rounds a bit longer, then? I'd be interested in your ideas.

Second problem — the twist in the clovers 

The instructions show how the twist in the necks of the clovers is done — first you tat the chain after the clover, then you pass the shuttle through the window made by the previous chain and, voila, there's the twist. Ms. Fujishige used Size 10 thread and a Clover shuttle. I had some Size 10 thread, but it felt coarse and I hated tatting with it, so I switched to Lizbeth Size 20. But then the shuttle was too fat to pass through the window!

So I said, ok, I will twist the clover inside and through that window, tat the chain, then untwist the clover. But that didn't work very well. I ended up putting too many twists on the neck, and they didn't sit very well, and I couldn't seem to make them look consistent. I realised that I needed Celtic shuttles. I had a regular Celtic shuttle (shaped like a post shuttle, but longer and narrower), but that wasn't narrow enough. Then I tried the super-narrow Celtic shuttles made by Tony and Patty Dowden (e.g., here). These were certainly narrow enough — but I found them a bit annoying to use. Either I had to do a half-hitch of the thread on one tip and then it didn't unwind nicely, or I didn't do the half-hitch and then it would unwind every time I dropped the shuttle. I had never noticed before how often I drop the shuttle!

But, I finally solved the problem by making my own shuttles out of a laundry detergent jug. That will be the subject of my next post…


  1. A lot of work while worrying about ruffling! I'm glad it turned out well eventually, it's very pretty.

    1. My big worry was that I would complete the doily and then it wouldn't lie flat, and then I wouldn't have time to tat another one for my friend's mum! But fortunately it turned out okay in the end...

  2. Interesting post, lovely doily I look forward to reading your next post.
    Nice to see you back blogging,

  3. Glad to see you again! Your doily is lovely but the ruffling would have annoyed me to no end! Good thing you persevered. I'm looking forward to the laundry detergent shuttles!

  4. Glad you persevered ... the doily looks really nice & pretty. Love the twisted clover chains !

  5. A very lovely doily. Glad everything went well after the ruffling.

  6. a beautiful end result...turned out gorgeous!

  7. Merci pour cet article passionnant ! Ce retour d'expérience est vraiment très intéressant. Je vous félicite pour cette fin heureuse, le napperon est très beau !

  8. Perfectly lovely results even though that doily seemed to fight back all the way!