Sunday, 30 August 2020

Endless Hearts finger rings

 These are included in the pattern for the Endless Hearts Braid with Corner. I just didn't want them to slip by unnoticed. 😉

The red & yellow ring is made with Lizbeth Size 20 (Christmas Red, Honey Drizzle), and the black & "stained glass" ring is made with Lizbeth Size 40 (Black, Ocean Sunset), with my Tiny Trefoil Heart pattern (see under "My Patterns").

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Endless Hearts - endless variations!

This post is actually a tribute to my test tatters. I had nine test tatters, and they came up with many different ways to do the various elements in the pattern! 

I incorporated some of their suggestions, but not others. However, now that I realise what a wide variety there is in tatting styles, I want to share their ideas with all of you – because you may also have the same style. 

I will probably update this post as and when I come across more suggestions or links... 

All the variations suggested below make reference to the pattern for the Endless Hearts Braid with Corner


RW = Reverse Work
SLT = shoelace trick
FIP = Face Inward Picot (see pattern, or diagram here
IP = Intruding Picot (this post and the following ones)
CWJ = Catherine Wheel Join. Tutorials for this can be found in many locations on the internet.
vsp = very small picot for joining
ds = double stitch

Different ways to do the EPJ (Encapsulating Picot Join)

As given in the pattern (last page):

Make a vsp on Chain (2). Don't join Chain (2) to Ring (1) yet. Tat Chain (3) until the point of the EPJ. As with a normal picot join, pull a loop of thread up through the picot of Ring (1), but then pull it down through the vsp on Chain (2). Put the shuttle through the loop and snug up, but not too tightly. Later, join Ring (4) into a loop of the EPJ.

By substituting the elements in the join:

A. Make an FIP instead of a vsp on Chain (2). Then pull up the loop through both the FIP and the vsp, put the shuttle through the loop, and snug up.

B. Make an IP instead of a vsp on Chain (2). Then pull up the loop through both the IP and the vsp, put the shuttle through the loop, and snug up.

C. Make a long picot on Ring (1). Make a vsp on Chain (2), do not join to Ring (1). When tatting Chain (3), make a picot join into the long picot of Ring (1) and the vsp of Chain (2) (the vsp is layered over the long picot), put the shuttle through the loop and snug up. Later, when tatting Ring (4), make a picot join into the long picot of Ring (1). (This works best if doing the pattern front-side/back-side.) (More details here.)

By doing sequential joins:

A. Make a lock join from Chain (2) into the picot of Ring (1). Then, later, do a picot join from Chain (3) into the lock join on Chain (2). Then, later, join Ring (4) into the core thread of Chain (3).

B. On Chain (2), make a CWJ into the Ring (1) picot; also make a vsp between the half-stitches of the CWJ. Then, later, do a picot join from Chain (3) into the vsp on the CWJ on Chain (2), and immediately make an FIP on Chain (3). Then, later, join Ring (4) into the FIP. (Two of my test tatters independently came up with this solution.) 

C. If you don't mind strivers (safety pins / paper clips): On Ring (1), make a tiny picot. On Chain (2), make a CWJ into Ring (1), and put a striver between the legs of the CWJ. On Chain (3), make a picot join where the striver is, then immediately put the striver on the core thread. Then join Ring (4) with a picot join into Chain (3) where the striver is.

Blipless joins:

I know of three main ways to do it. All three are listed here.

Turning the chain to make the S-curve:

In the pattern, the turn is accomplished with two first-half stitches. Other ways are:

A. Simply RW the pattern around the chain being tatted. (This was my original suggestion; it did not work too well during test tatting.)

B. Do a SLT, then RW.

C. Use a Reverse Join where joining to the previous clover (video tutorial here) (However, this will lock the core thread.)

Substitutions for the Catherine Wheel Join:

A. the Anne Dyer Join to the Smooth Side (or JSS) (video tutorial here

B. the Slope & Roll Join (this can break the line of caps for the chain)

C. the lock join (this will put a dimple in the chain)

Substitutions for the FIP:

A. The Intruding Picot (as mentioned above)

B. The down picot (tutorial here)

Other variations:

B. Making the 14 ds stretches of chain a bit longer - 16 or 18 ds.

C. Omitting free picots from the rings.

Endless Hearts Braid with Corner


This is a pattern I was working on quite intensely, in early 2013. In response to a request, I even created an SCMR corner for it. 

But then I stalled, because it was so onerous to tat! I needed two paper clips as strivers for every repeat of the pattern – they went on, then off, then on, then off, over and over again. 

When it came to describing how to tat it – well, that was even more hideous! I took pictures for a tutorial, then realised that I still needed to write long and convoluted sentences about joining to the undersides of chains…

So, I just gave up – though I did go on to write up and publish other patterns using the little hearts (see under "My patterns").

But, in July, Muskaan shared about the Intruding Picot. I saw at once that maybe this picot could replace those pesky paper clips. So I dusted off my Endless Hearts samples and scribbles and started experimenting with it again. I eventually stumbled on a join that was new to me – I call it the Encapsulating Picot Join. That solved most of my problems, and I was able to tat the Endless Hearts without strivers or tears, and then to write it up and draw diagrams for it.

And now, after extensive test-tatting and rewrites, here it is at last!

My test tatters made many suggestions, reflecting a great array of tatting styles! I wasn't able to use them all, but I have compiled them in the next blog post, so that you can try them out, if you wish.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

3D Christmas Tree Earrings - updated barely in time for St. Patrick's Day! ;-)

Yes, I finally had time to tweak my pattern — you can download it here. Many thanks to Muskaan for test-tatting my pattern, and for her very helpful and detailed comments on it. If you check out her test-tatting blogpost, you'll see her 3D tatted tree trunk for these earrings. I intend to try that out for my next pair!

Here are a couple more pictures of the earrings. The one in off-white is actually a prototype, and the one with the square beads at the base I tatted for myself — managed to finish them just in time for a party on Christmas Day!

3D Christmas Tree Earrings: Prototype with blue base bead

3D Christmas Tree Earrings for myself

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone who celebrates it! If you feel like tatting today, you can check out my Trefoil Hearts Shamrock in the Patterns section.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

3D Christmas Tree Earrings – barely in time for Christmas…

Actually, it's not quite ready yet. It's freeform and unconventional, so I've been uncertain how to write it up. But a few people have said that they're waiting for the pattern, so I will just put this out as is. I'd welcome any feedback – then I can continue to improve my description of this pattern. So, here it is! :-)
[Update March 2017: I have now improved the pattern and changed the links to go to the updated version.]

3D Christmas Tree Earrings - November 2016

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Better late than never — the pattern for the Dagmar Cross

In April 2013, the Danish Tatting Association sent out a call for tatting designs. They were celebrating their 20th anniversary, and they wanted to put out a commemorative issue with new designs. I heard about this through Craftree/InTatters (here's the discussion thread). I decided to try doing something for them.

I cogitated for a while. I felt I ought to design something Danish. The first thing that occurred to me was a Viking longship. But I felt it ought to be 3-D, and I didn't feel up to tatting that. Then I thought about Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales. Swan? No, that had been done. Mermaid? That had been done, too. Tin soldier? Yeah, he was steadfast, but he didn't seem compelling. Then I thought that, just as there was a Celtic cross, there might well be a Danish cross. I Googled "Danish cross", and found the Dagmar Cross (have a look at it here — scroll down to see a picture of the original two-sided Dagmar Cross and read its story).

So I designed a tatted version of the side with the five medallions. And here is how my design looks:

I submitted this pattern to the Danish Tatting Association in July 2013, in good time for them to include it in the December 2013 20th anniversary edition of their magazine, Orkis Bladet.

After that, with their permission, I started getting the pattern ready for publication on this website. I did the instructions and the diagrams and got them test-tatted. And then... well, I didn't like the tatted models I had. One (the green and pink) was in Milford Mercer thread, which is rather sticky. When I retatted it in better Lizbeth thread (Herbal Garden and Autumn Spice) the ring sizes came out a bit different. But then, I didn't use flat colours for the Lizbeth model, so the construction of the cross wasn't so clear. I thought I ought to tat another model. But — I will confess to you — this pattern was no fun to tat! And none of the flat colours I had seemed right, anyway. So I kept putting this task off, since there were lots of other things that were more fun to do.

But, tonight, I finally looked at my pattern again. It's really all right! The instructions are test-tatted; they are clear enough, and mistakes have been fixed. My two models do show quite well how the cross should look. So why am I making such a fuss? It's not perfect, but it will do.  So, all I did tonight was to add the watermarks to the pictures and diagrams, and at long last, HERE IT IS. :-)

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Celtic shuttles from a laundry jug

As I explained in my previous post, none of the Celtic shuttles I had on hand were quite right for the Japanese Twisted Clover Doily, so I ended up making my own.

How to make the Celtic shuttles

I started with a laundry detergent jug. Initially I tried cutting narrow flat shuttles from its sides, but these turned out to be much too soft. Then I noticed that there were ribs on the bottom of the jug:

Ribs on the bottom of a 5-L / 1 gallon laundry jug

The ribs are only found on the larger sizes of jugs (five litres or one gallon). This particular jug seems to be made partly of recycled material, and it is quite soft and easy to cut, so the ribs are needed for stiffening. So: 

Step 1. Cut off the bottom of the jug. I'd actually recommend that you include a bit more of the side than I did here.

Ribbed bottom of a gallon jug

Step 2. Cut strips from the bottom of the jug. One rib in each strip, two strips for each shuttle. Match the lengths of the strips — the outer ribs are shorter, the inner ribs are longer.

Cut along the sides of the ribs

Step 3. Trim the strips so that they're no wider than the ribs, and cut the ends so that they taper a bit. For these particular jugs, I found that a sharp pair of scissors worked better than a knife or box cutter.

Notice that the tips point upwards from the table top

Step 4. Use an awl to drill two or three holes along the middle of the ribs. Nest the ribs so that they lie close against each other, then drill a hole about one inch from each end, and another halfway along the length. Drill through both pieces.

Rib strips with awl

Nested strips after the holes have been drilled
Step 5. Turn one strip over so that the convex surfaces of the ribs face each other. The holes should still be nicely lined up. See how the tips of the strips now come together? :-)

Convex sides of the ribs now facing - tips come together

Step 6. Sew the two strips together with sewing thread. For longer shuttles, use a figure-8 method of sewing. Sew through the holes several times and tie off securely.

Step 7. Trim the sides and ends to make the shuttle as smooth and slim as possible. But don't cut the ends shorter, or the tips won't meet. The shuttle is now finished! :-D

The finished size is about 4 in / 10 cm long. It has a square cross-section, about 0.4 in / 1 cm wide across the diagonal. The exact length and width will depend on the jug you use, and which part of the bottom you cut the strips from.

Completed shuttle

Completed shuttle - tips come together

The shuttles in use 

For the Japanese Twisted Clover Doily, I used two of my homemade shuttles. I was able to wind about nine armspans on each of them. The fully wound shuttles were just narrow enough to pass through the spaces below the clovers (as explained in my previous post).

Japanese Twisted Clover Doily with homemade Celtic shuttles

My homemade Celtic shuttle passing through the chain space in the clover round

So, these shuttles were just right for this project. Narrower than regular celtic shuttles, but wider than the super-slim acrylic Celtic shuttles. For me, it was important that their tips came together so that the thread didn't unwind every time I dropped or laid down the shuttle.

I hope my instructions have been clear; please let me know if you need any further clarification. If you try making similar shuttles, I would love to see some pictures! ;-)