Sunday, 19 April 2009

Update on the tiny hearts

As of today I have reached the half-way mark of making the tiny hearts. I have managed to complete 717 pieces of these hearts. I think I can do them all with time to spare before the end of May.

I realised that I have not shown a good picture of the hearts that I am making. Here is one showing the main three designs and one variation of it. Each one is less than 2.5cm at the widest point,

However, a lot of tatting ideas are floating around in my head and waiting to be tried out. I want to get these hearts done as quickly as possible so that I can start realising these ideas.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Drawing Tatting Charts

This is my take on drawing tatting charts. I am not focusing on any particular software but rather writing about my experience with using what I have.

I started drawing my charts using the basic Microsoft Words Draw program that comes with Microsoft Words. That is the only one that I have to start with. This program uses points.

Here is an example of points on a shape. In this case, the shape is a ring.

The one on the left is the shape of a ring as you would see in my charts. The ring on the right is as seen in the drawing stage. The black dots on the outline of the ring are points. I can alter the shape of the ring by placing the cursor on any of these points and dragging it around.

This is what happens when I start to move the points around (right pic). Can you see how out of shape it has become? You probably can figure out which points I have moved by comparing this with the one shown above.

Some designers use the eliptical or oval shape to denote rings in the charts. In my case, I drew the shape of the ring using the curve line tool and adjust the points until I got the shape that I want. Setting the gridlines visible helps make the adjustments easier to get it almost symmetrical.

I only need to draw the basic ring shape once. After that, I just copy and paste it for any number of times that I need to draw the chart. Then there is the resize tool that allows me to increase or reduce the size of the ring to fit the chart. The Rotate tool allows me to turn the shape at any angle according to the design. Isn't that wonderful?

Drawing chains is just a matter of using the curve line tool and clicking it into the shape of the chain that is required. The shape of the chains is adjusted by moving the points in it.

I worked using this Word Draw program for quite a while, until I got tired of, and felt limited by, the lack of functionalities in it. So I decided to try a proper drawing software - not that the WordDraw is not 'proper'. Like I said, there are limitations to what can be done using it.

This other drawing software that I tried uses nodes rather than points. The nodes are represented by the tiny square at the ends of the two blue lines shown in the diagram on the left.

The shape of the arc can be adjusted by dragging the small box at either end of the straight line.

Dragging the node further from the arc will make it curve more and bringing it closer will result in a flatter shape of the arc.

There are lots more preset shapes available in this drawing software compared to the WordDraw, such as these,

What I find interesting is that from one basic shape template I can create many more shapes. The different shapes below are derived from one basic shape by sliding any or all of the nodes on the four sides. The nodes are shown in the shape on the far right. Now, I find that very useful!

But I could not find a preset shape that I like enough to be used to denote a ring in my chart. So, I used the curve line tool again to create the shape that I want. That was the most difficult part of all. After I got that down, it was just a simple matter of copy, paste, resize and rotate. Now that I understand how the nodes work, I am getting to like them now. You'll be seing a slightly different shape of my tatting diagrams from now on.

Here are two examples of charts drawn using this new software,

This is not a tutorial about how to use a draw program. That would take much more than just one blog post. But, if you find some useful information from this post, I am happy to be able to help.