Category Archives: tatted lace

Pattern: Flowering vines bracelet

Four pieces in the flowering vines pattern, mostly bracelets

Four pieces in the flowering vines pattern, mostly bracelets

Today’s pattern is a tatted strip that looks best done in different colors (one for the ball and the other for the needle thread). It’s quite a narrow strip, works well as a bracelet, and would work well as a simple edging if you neglect the bracelet clasp bits of the pattern. It’s a simpler descendant of this pattern which I was surprised I hadn’t thought to try sooner.

Wearing the yellow-flowers bracelet, to give you a sense of how narrow it is

Wearing the yellow-flowers bracelet, to give you a sense of how narrow it is

To work in two colors, knot the ends of two threads together when you start the work and bury the ends in the first ring or chain as you would when joining in new thread. Start the first few knots of the pattern right up against the color change knot, in this case on the needle thread side. I like the pattern with green for the “vines” and a variegated thread for the “flowers” (although the yellow also works quite well), but your mileage may vary.

To start the bracelet:

  1. Ring 6ds, picot A, 6ds
  2. Chain 3ds
  3. Working as for a chain, in the ball thread: 6ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 4 second-half single stitches, 2 first-half single stitches)x3, 12ds, (2 second-half single stitches, 4 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches)x3, 6ds. Start pulling the core thread through, but pass the needle through the closing loop to form a self-closing mock ring. I found it works best to pass the needle through the loop two or three times in the same direction to make a longer connection.
  4. Chain 5ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches)x3
  5. Shoelace knot
Close-up of the stitches

Close-up of the stitches

Repeat unit (start after step 5 above, repeat 1-3 as many times as you like or until bracelet is about 1/2″ shorter than you want it:

  1. Ring 6ds, picot A, 6ds
  2. Chain 4ds, join A of previous repeat, 2ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches)x3
  3. Shoelace knot

Finishing the bracelet:

  1. Ring 8ds, small picot, 4ds
  2. Chain 4ds, join A of previous repeat, 2ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches)x3
  3. Pass the needle through the small picot and tie a shoelace knot
  4. Chain 4ds
  5. Tie both threads together and wrap a pony bead in the needle thread as in this tutorial
  6. Tie threads together again, pass both through the center of the wrapped bead, and clip ends

vines_1Obviously, if you just want an edging, ignore the first and most of the last section (steps 1-3 are a decent way to end an edging section, but you don’t need the bead). If you want a tasseled bookmark, ignore the first section and instead of making the wrapped bead make a tassel in step 5-6 of the last section.

The yellow piece shown is my working-out-the-pattern piece and does not have a bracelet clasp. The piece with blue “flowers” is scaled up, replacing every three stitches with four (except in the bracelet clasp, which is the same size).

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Journal: 16 March 2015

Things I have been up to lately

Things I have been up to lately

Since my last post, I: finished the mitts with my Christmas-present yarn, made a few new tatted bracelets, finished plying my hand-spun yarn, started knitting a shawl(ette) with it, chugged away on my Sierpinski blanket and my big green scarf, dyed some things, and did a bunch of mending that really needed to be done but ate into my creative crafting time.

The mitts are pictured above; not much to say on the topic. I’m pretty pleased with how they came out, mostly because of how warm and soft/smooth the yarn is.

Bracelets:

Two of them are this pattern, and the one in the middle is a pattern I’ve yet to post. I’ve been playing with color a bit; I’m really pleased with how the blue/yellow one turned out but less pleased with the blue/black one.

I finished plying my handmade yarn, and am pleased to report that the three-plying method using long crochet-like chains worked really well. I almost immediately cast on a knitting project with the yarn: a top-down triangular shawl based on this (knitting fool link) lace stitch. I’m hoping that I’ll have enough for a reasonable shawl/shawlette; I was too excited about casting on to bother with details like measuring out my yardage. I’m working from the outside (gray) in (towards purple), despite winding the yarn in a center-unwinding ball. Partly this is because of the colors and partly because my spinning gauge was still totally inconsistent, meaning the purple end is considerably thinner than the gray. I’m hoping it’ll look nice and like the shawl is fading prettily away, and not get all warped and sad and look like I am bad at spinning. We’ll see; wish me luck! Photos:

tea_dye

Dyed tatting, with reference pieces

I conducted a dyeing experiment using tea on some tatted things; shown at right are the tatted bit I dyed purple a few weeks ago, three bits I stained with tea, and bracelets made of the same thread and undyed to serve as a color reference. The tan one, of course, started out white. Not much happened; the tan of the formerly white one is reasonably lovely, the rainbow is a little less intense, and the “ocean” colorway thread just turned muddy. My verdict is I may do this to white pieces but should probably stop overdyeing things that already have color to them.

Sad re-dyed shirt

Sad re-dyed shirt

Speaking of which, after my rather successful re-dyeing of a shirt discussed in my last post, I was pretty confident and ready to dye my blue patchwork shirt that also got pink-splotched in the same wash load. I’m heartily disappointed in the results, shown at right; I think it’s obvious that it was amateurishly dyed over, it’s terribly splotchy right in the center front, and it just doesn’t look very good. I haven’t even had the heart to try it on and preen in front of a mirror yet, which is a bad old sign. I’m going to at least try it on, and depending how I’m feeling may pick up some black dye and see what happens, but as like as not will just throw it out (or leave it in my dresser to slowly migrate to the bottom of a drawer in shame). Ah well; fortunately I picked up some nice blue fabric at the store to make a new patchwork shirt, once I get through my backlog of sewing.

In more happy news, my Sierpinski blanket is coming along well and is over half-finished; photo:

Sierpinski blanket in progress

Sierpinski blanket in progress

Journal: 22 February 2015

Homemade yarn

Homemade yarn, just beginning the plying process

It’s been a bit of a while since I posted—I blame my busy social calendar and regret nothing—so I’ve got a fair bit to share with y’all today.

Yesterday I had a really good crafting day: I successfully re-dyed a shirt that had gotten pinked in an Unfortunate Laundry Incident, as well as playing with dyeing tatted pieces. I worked a little bit on the blouses I’m assembly-line-ing, and had good luck with my serger. I also had good luck with plying my home-spun wool; I came up with a way to make the colors work out and it’s looking like real yarn now.

I’ve also done a fair bit of tatting in the past month, started and nearly finished a pair of mitts out of my Christmas present yarn, and chugged away on the blanket and scarf I talked about in my last journal post. The blanket is now about halfway done, hooray hooray, and I’ve picked up enough yarn to finish the scarf.

In tatting news, I did a bit of design, both yesterday’s pattern and a modification of this pattern that I like rather better but is fiddlier to do (I intend to post a pattern for it in a bit). I’ve been playing with variegated thread, reproducing the beautiful bracelet that I made as a gift and failed to take pictures of, among others. I also made a butterfly bracelet with beading, which worked well. Photos:

Stripey mitts

Stripey mitts

The mitts are pretty straightforward double-crochet spiral things. I am striping them in the two yarn colors, with the interface between stripes being alternating stitches of the different colors. I’m pretty pleased with the starting row—I chained along the length of my hand, then chained back putting a treble crochet every third stitch to make four separate finger holes. The yarn is bamboo/wool, so very soft and warm, and it’s thicker gauge than I usually work with so the mitts are going quite fast and coming out bulky and lovely. I made the two mitts have opposite colors—red on top vs. gray on top—on purpose, in case you’re wondering.

Opposite colors

Opposite colors

I did intend to learn broomstick lace crochet with this yarn, and I tried to make a pair of mitts that way, with the first row of lace holes being the finger holes. Suffice to say broomstick lace in the round is tricky and not for beginners with improvised tools. So I ripped that out and started again with ordinary crochet. I do want to do broomstick lace at some point—probably the next time I have yarn that’s begging to be a scarf. I did learn that the packaging for a zipper makes a pretty decent flexible “broomstick”, for whatever that’s worth.

Sewing table with serger

Sewing table with serger

In sewing news, I picked up some fabric a while ago and it has been patiently waiting to be turned into blouses. I finally cut it this week—stacking all three pieces of folded fabric and cutting together, so let’s hope I don’t find any wrinkles—and hauled out the serger yesterday. I was, let’s say, pleasantly stunned to find that this old beast was still in good working order, threaded (!) in the correct color for two of the blouses (!!) and had good tension settings for the fabric (!!!). I was expecting to chew through quite a bit of scrap fabric getting it into that state, as the last time I recall having the machine out it was not doing so well on any of those counts. Evidently I either a) have completely forgotten the last time I used it, or b) have an infestation of wonderful. wonderful sewing-machine-mending gnomes in my house. At this point I can’t even think of any project I’ve made that would’ve used the serger and blue thread, so I’m leaning towards explanation b.

Lovely serged seam

Lovely serged seam

At any rate I am pleased with how the serger is doing. I tend to think of it as for knits only, but I’ve been irritated with the thick seams on the other blouses I’ve made, so I decided to give it a go. I’m a little nervous about a few things—the measurement of the seam allowance on curves, for one, since the knife and needles are fairly far apart and the guideline is at the location of the knife; I’m also worried about fitting the very different curves on the front princess seams, since I have to take the pins out at the knife point and hope the fabric stays in place until the needle. I guess that’s what the foot is for and I should just trust it. Wish me luck!

In dyeing news, I had an Unfortunate Laundry Incident a while ago where a non-colorsafe red thing pink-blotched two of my favorite shirts (the patchwork ones), plus a shirt I didn’t care about as much, a bathroom rug, my nice gray sweatpants, and so on. Two of the affected shirts were blue, so I decided to pick up some purple RIT dye and see if I could remediate them that way. I’m pleased to say it worked on the one I cared less about, and used only half the dye, so next time I have a good chunk of free time I think I will try it on the blue patchwork one. Not sure what to do about the brown shirt, unfortunately. Plus, while I had the dye out, I dyed a test bit of tatting just to see how it would do. The results are lovely, meaning I suddenly have a lot of options for all this white thread I have around. Photos:

The color is a little blotchy/uneven, but it looks a lot more deliberate than the single pink splotch it had before. I’m hoping it’ll be even less noticeable on the patchwork shirt, which is made of patterned fabric and is lighter-weight than this one, making it easier to dye evenly in my little basin. I’m particularly pleased with how similar the coloring is between the shirt and the lace bits, considering they’re made out of different fibers and all; I was prepared to have to snip the lace off if it didn’t work well. I did learn one interesting thing: slight deodorant stains make the fabric pick up more (purple, RIT-brand) dye than it would otherwise; hopefully not by a noticeable amount when it’s worn.

3-plying setup with crochet hook.

3-plying setup with crochet hook.

Last but far from least, I am thrilled to report that plying the homespun wool is going well. I had been planning on 2-plying it, matching end to end and working towards the center, making the yarn be multicolor at every point. I tried that. It looked terrible. So I laboriously un-plied the few yards I had done and tucked the thread away for a while to think about what it had done. Eventually I came up with a brilliant idea: 3-ply the sucker, working in crochet-like chains, making each section of yarn be all one color. It’s going really well: I love the colors of the yarn, and 3-ply brings me a lot closer to the sock-weight store-bought yarn I’d like to use it with. I’ll report again once I get more of it plied, but am really pleased so far.

Pattern: Ornate bracelet

Bracelet worked in today's pattern

Bracelet worked in today’s pattern

Wearing my new bracelet

Wearing my new bracelet

The name is a bit of a cop-out, but I’m pretty proud of today’s pattern. I had a pretty big pattern-design first with this one: it started as a doodle and some speculative stitch counts, as a lot of my patterns do, but this is the first one that, when I sat down with needle and thread, actually worked as intended without any adjustment to the stitch counts I’d guessed. On top of that I think it looks rather pretty.

I’ve been making a bunch of bracelets lately, and it’s occurred to me that in addition to the stuff in the tutorial on making bracelet clasps, plus a suitable pattern, a fair bit of trial-and-error work goes into placing the clasp in the pattern so it doesn’t jut off at a funny angle or leave hanging picots. I may post some notes about how to place the clasp in various of my old patterns at some point in the future, but I’ve been pretty busy lately. At any rate, going forward I’m going to include that information in new pattern posts, starting with this one.

My bracelet clasp has also evolved a little bit, so I’ll give instructions with the new one, but the other one works fine too (and inserts the same way into the pattern). Instead of forming the elongated ring for the clasp using spirals, I’ve been using four-four ruffles, which come out pretty straight. The main reason to prefer this is aesthetic; it also makes thread management a little easier. I’ve also been making the clasp ring a little shorter, which makes it harder to take off/put on but correspondingly easier to not lose.

This pattern is a little bit fiddly, fair warning: lots of ruffles and spirals and similar shenanigans. If you haven’t made others of my patterns before, I recommend reading this one before continuing. Pattern:

  1. Ring: 4ds, picot A, 2ds, picot B, 2ds.
  2. Chain: 1ds, 4 single stitches of the same type, spiraling halfway around the needle, 1ds.
  3. Ring (bracelet clasp): 6ds, (2 first-half single stitches, 4 second-half, 2 first-half) three times, 12ds, (2 second-half single stitches, 4 first-half, 2 second-half) three times, 6ds.
  4. [Starting pattern repeat] Chain: Leave a picot-sized space on the ball thread, making picot C between this chain and the previous chain; 1ds, 4 single stitches of the same type, 1ds, join A of previous motif (omit this the on the first repeat); (2 first-half single stitches, 2 second-half single stitches) 6 times to make a ruffle chain.
  5. Shoelace trick: tie a single knot between the needle and ball threads, reversing their positions.
  6. Ring: 4ds, picot A, 2ds, picot B, 2ds.
  7. Chain: 1ds, 4 single stitches of the same type, spiraling halfway around the needle, 1ds.
  8. Ring: 8ds, join C, 4ds, join B of previous motif, 4ds.
  9. Repeat from step 4 to step 8 until piece has reached the desired length. Omit picot A of the last iteration of step 6, otherwise it’ll dangle. Finish on step 8.
  10. Repeat step 4, but add 4ds to the end and do not shoelace afterwards; go directly into a repeat of the ring in step 8. There should be no hanging picots and both threads should be at the center of the end of the piece, right where you want them.
  11. Shoelace trick and chain 4ds.
  12. Knot the two threads securely together and wrap a bead for the other half of the clasp as described in the tutorial here, starting on step 5.
ornate_working

Test pieces in original scale and scaled up.

This pattern also, somewhat to my amazement, scales up well—in #10 thread and my idiom, it’s about 7/8″ wide as written, but if you scale up by 3/2 it still works, making a more open look and a width of 9/8″ or so. So the repeat unit becomes, in condensed notation, chain 2 spiral 2 join, (2-2 ruffle x9); shoelace; ring 6 picot 3 picot 3; chain 2 spiral 2; ring 12 join 6 join 6. Note that a spiral is 4 single stitches, so it’s (more or less) equivalent to 2ds. The photo at right has the piece I made to test the pattern I’d doodled and a larger-scale version.

Obviously this pattern also works for general edgings and strips and all; just omit the clasps.

Journal: Back from hiatus edition

Hello, internet. It’s been a while. As promised, now that I’m mostly settled in from the big move, I’m back! Not too unexpectedly, I didn’t get too terribly much crafting done, what with most of my WIPs being in boxes and that whole full-time job thing. However, there were some long flights and a holiday in there, so I have some things to report.

So close!

So close!

Mostly I’ve been chugging along on my spinning, and I am getting so close to the end of the roving. I am pretty excited about that—spinning was a new adventure, and I regret nothing, but until/unless I get a fiber farm and a spinning wheel, it is not going into my set of regular hobbies. I’ve also picked up some gray yarn that I think will complement my hand-spun yarn, with the intent of making a gray shawl with a big color block in it. I’ll keep y’all posted as that progresses, for sure.

bracelets_jan15I’ve made a bunch of tatted bracelets, some as gifts and some simply as something to do on airplanes and such. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of one of the gift ones, as I think it’s the most beautiful one I’ve made to date; I’m planning to make another like it for myself at some point, though, and I’ll be sure to get a picture then. The ones I’ve still got on hand are pictured at right.

Finally, I started in on another pair of honeycomb mitts, using the burgundy and white yarn left over from my shawl. I made a couple of edits: instead of the single inkline, I’ve made a column of six TSS stitches in each row, and I distributed the increases and decreases evenly on both sides of this column rather than all on one side of the inkline. I like how they are turning out so far, both in terms of color and pattern. Photos:

I also finished the grey and tan silk-bamboo scarf I’ve been working on in the background; I’ve got a pattern written up and will get around to finishing and publishing it soon. I finished the blouse that I was muttering about a couple entries ago, although I don’t have pictures for you today. My other WIPs—the lace scarf and cashmere mitts—are still in progress, but haven’t come out of the protective wrappings I put them in for moving yet.

blouse_fabricOne final crafting-related activity to do with the move is that I’ve had to check out all my local craft stores. So far I’ve just hit the local incarnations of the big chains; I intended to just case the joint and come back when I actually needed something, but on all three excursions I came out with new materials. Between two fabric stores, I came out with fabric for three new blouses (pictured at right) and a pair of slacks. If you’re paying attention, you may have noticed I haven’t yet finished the Great Five-Blouse Project; the plan is actually to put off the last of those for a bit and assembly-line these three on the machine just to put some more options in my closet ASAP.

green_cream_yarnI also bought some new yarn at one of the fabric stores. Some is some cheap baby-sport yarn which will become a low-mental-energy crochet project and then a why-did-I-move-to-a-place-with-real-seasons-in-the-middle-of-winter blanket. The other is something I just thought was pretty and unusual—it appears to be a mesh of white cotton/acrylic threads caging a core of colorful wool fibers. So both a somewhat unusual blend of fibers and interesting from a mechanical perspective. It’s Patons “denim-y”, if you’re interested. I think it will become another two-tone scarf.

multi_threadFinally, at a non-fabric craft store I got a couple more colors of tatting thread. The bracelet I mentioned above being so beautiful came from a variegated colorway, so I’m going to experiment more with that. I’ve got a purple/lavender/white and a navy/denim/white multi.

Tutorial: Tasseled tatted bookmark

Tatted bookmarks with tassels

Tatted bookmarks with tassels

I’ve made a bunch of tatted bracelets lately, and while I was working on one of those an idea struck me for another way to use all the edging patterns I’ve posted: fancy-schmancy bookmarks with a matching tassel on them. After all, tatting thread is pretty ideal for making tassels, so you can get perfect matching, and the actual fabrication of a tassel can’t be but so hard. And, unlike many of my “can’t be but so hard” moments, this one turned out well: tassels are really, really easy to make, especially if you have your tatting tools on hand.

Brown tassel with the frame I used to make it and a ruler for scale.

Brown tassel with the frame I used to make it and a ruler for scale.

You don’t need any special supplies if you’re a needle tatter; if you use shuttles, you’ll probably want a tapestry needle or similar just to tuck in the thread ends, or possibly a tiny crochet hook. You may also want some sort of tool to set the length of your tassels—a 6″ metal ruler, a pack of 5″ index cards, a pack of 4″ playing cards, etc. depending on the length you want—but you can also just use your hand, especially for shorter tassels. For the white tassel, I used my hand, and for the left I used a frame built out of Zometools, which are a modeling kit I have a lot of on hand.

Procedure:

  1. Ready for a tassel

    Ready for a tassel

    Choose a lace pattern and make about a 6″ strip, or whatever length you want the bookmark body to be. Shown are my Atlantis edging and garden path edging. Make sure you end with at least a foot of thread left on either the needle or ball thread, and at least 6″ (or longer for a longer tassel) on the other.

  2. Hold both threads  together and tie an overhand knot in them, snugged down close to the end of the work. Still holding them together, tie another overhand knot about an inch away—this creates the dead thread between the top of the tassel and the bookmark to go over the top of the book. This doesn’t have to be exact—mine are about exactly a half-inch and an inch-and-a-half.
  3. Making a tassel

    Making a tassel

    Set the work aside and start making your tassel. Using your same thread, wrap it around your hand or your length-setting tool 20-30 times, depending on how fat you want the tassel to be. Mine are 22 (brown) and 31 (white) wraps. Note: the width of the object, not the circumference, sets the length of the tassel, so your hand will give a 3-4″ tassel.

  4. Finish the wraps with a bit of overlap between the two ends (see photo) and cut. Work the next step on the far end of the loops from the overlapped area, as best you can judge, so the loose ends will both be at least the length of the finished tassel.
  5. Taking the tatted piece up again, tie the two loose threads around the bundle you’ve made, at one end. Make a good solid square knot or similar. Drop the shorter piece, holding it together with the bundled threads.
  6. Pinch the long thread against the bundle

    Pinch the long thread against the bundle

    Lay the longer piece along the bundle and use your thumbnail to pinch it against the other threads, about 3/4″ from the top of the tassel. See photo.

  7. Start wrapping the longer thread around the bundle, working back upwards towards the top of the tassel and catching the section that you were holding in place with the wraps. Wrap as tight as you can, and be careful to lay each new wrap alongside the previous without crossing or tangling the threads. 10-15 wraps is a good number, or whatever looks best to you—I would not go fewer than about 5 for durability reasons.
  8. Wraps made, ready to pass the thread down through the tassel

    Wraps made, ready to pass the thread down through the tassel

    Use your needle to tuck the last wrap you make under the second-to-last, pull tight, and then pass the needle down through the middle of the wrapped section of the bundle, pulling the thread through and tight.

  9. Cut the loops of the bundle at the bottom—a good way to do this is to hold onto the top, insert one blade of your scissors through the loops, and apply tension with both hands to make sure your scissors are right at the middle before cutting.
  10. Comb the separate strands of the tassel with your fingers to make them as aligned as possible, then trim the ends to make them all the same length. The sharper your scissors are the easier this will be.
  11. Finished! Stick it in a book or wrap it up for a fancy little gift.

bookmark_white bookmark_brown

Journal: 27 October 2014

It’s been a bit of a while since my last post, so I’ve got quite a lot of finished items to show you. The fabric I was excited about in my last journal entry is now an A-line knee-length skirt, the honeycomb mitts are finished along with a matching hat, and I’ve resumed the Great Five-Blouse Project. In the interstices of those projects I’ve also been making tatted bracelets, bringing my total up to five. The scarf I was working on in my last post is on hold—I finished off my yarn, but it is not yet a sufficient length, so on my next trip to the store I will need to get more.

Bracelets:

The crowns edging works very well for bracelets, although they are a bit wide, so I made a couple more in different colors, and I tried out the braid edging for a less ornate bracelet. I’m especially pleased with how the green one sits—it’s a larger thread than the other two, so I skipped one full pattern repeat and ended with a slightly snugger bracelet that sits happily at the narrowest part of my wrist.

Sewing:

Simple A-line skirt

Simple A-line skirt

The fabric I was talking about last time turned into a skirt in what I think is record time for me—I cut the fabric the afternoon/evening of my last journal post, and finished just at bedtime the following day. It’s entirely hand-stitched, too; having the nice sewing machine hasn’t spoiled me yet. It helps that it’s just about the simplest skirt you can imagine: a knee-length A-line skirt with no frills, although it does have a set-in-side zipper, an in-seam pocket on the other side, and a button and buttonhole tab on the waistband. I’m not entirely thrilled with it—I wasn’t paying enough attention to line up the pattern on the side seams, and the button/tab arrangement is a little hinky (I should probably move the button at some point)—but it will serve. I used the Simplicity 2758 D pattern, which I’ve used before (and more faithfully), but omitted the pleat and pockets and all.

Detail of button and tab

Detail of button and tab

I did find the perfect button for it—too bad I generally wear my shirts untucked, so the button will just about always be covered!

I don’t have any new photos of the Great Five-Blouse Project, but I’ve cut the pieces for the lavender blouse (#4) and started sewing the side seams. I’m planning to do the buttonholes at least by machine, and probably the hem and plackets as well, possibly in a decorative stitch. I started the seams by hand, though, because matching curved seams on the machine is hard and prone to puckers, so it’ll be an interesting hybrid of machine and hand sewing.

Mitts and hat

crossbones

Mitts and hat in Tunisian crochet

Well, I think I’ve gotten the Tunisian honeycomb bug out of my system at last. After finishing the mitts I had a fair bit of yarn left, so I decided to make a hat in the same style. I ended up a little short of the solid purple for a beanie, so it’s got a fairly wide shell edging in normal crochet. I’m not really a hats sort of person, so we’ll see how much I end up wearing it, but it’s quite comfy and promises to be warm. I’m planning to write up a proper pattern for both, so I’ll not say too much about the construction now, but here are a bunch of photos: