24 February 2010

Dragonfly and Swan - chart ready

The chart for the dragonfly and swan that I showed in my previous post are ready. 

Click on the tab for 'Free Tatting Patterns' at the top of the page for the link.

Dragonfly and Swan

These two motifs are quite fast to tat up and doesn't take much thread.  They are useful for emptying shuttles when you need them to start on a new project.
Since they are quite simple designs, there is the possibility that someone has thought of the patten already, but I have come up with these on my own without referring to any other patterns that may have been done before.

I am giving the patterns in chart form with a little explanation along the side.  If you need any help with them, please e-mail me.


This pattern is made with one shuttle with a little finger tatting. I have added beads in the chart but you can replace them with picots.
Leave a tail of about 20cm and make the first ring at the tail-end of the dragongfly, i.e. the ring R(5-5) and proceed with the split rings, followed by the wings on the left side of the chart .
The lower wings are joined to the 2nd split ring of the lower part of the body.  The upper wings are joined to the head of the dragonfly.
Male a long picot in the ring for the head which is then cut to form the feelers.
The pattern ends with the lower wing on the right side of the chart.  Cut and hide the ends.

If you don't like ends, you can try this alternative.
You need about 150cm of thread for this.  Start in the middle of the thread, i.e. 75cm on each side.
Make the first ring at the tail end. followed by the split rings.  Use one side of the thread to make the wings on the left side, and the other thread to make the right wings.  For the right side, make the double stitches in reverse order, i.e. the second half of the stitch first.  Finish with a split ring for the head, close the ring and cut off the thread with enough length for the feelers.

I have since found out that dragonflies don't have feelers/antennae.  They have stubs at the top of the head for eyes. So, instead of making a long picot you make a regular ring with 2ds separating the beads instead.


Leave a tail of about 30cm of thread at the beginning and start with the onion rings for the body.

After closing the second ring of the body, make a shoe-lace knot (SLT) to change the position of the thread left at the beginning.  Using this thread as a ball, make the neck of the swan, joining to the body as shown in the chart.

Make a split ring for the head and cut off the ends leaving just enough for the beak.

22 February 2010

One Shuttle, Two Shuttles, Reverse Work

I have read questions in forums and groups about finding out if a pattern requires one shuttle or two shuttles to tat. This has prompted me to write this post.  This is my understanding of the issue. Others may view it differently, but not at all the wrong view.

Written instructions would usually mention right up if a pattern requires one-shuttle, one-shuttle-and-ball or two-shuttles.  This may not be so obvious if looking at a chart of the design.  So, my focus here will be on charts, specifically the style that I use for my patterns.

This chart is for a flower motif and is made entirely out if rings using one shuttle only.

The second chart is a shuttle-and-ball pattern. Notice that the rings are on the inside and all the chains are curved on the outside.  However, the rings on their own are all facing the same way towards the centre, and each of the chains are curved in the same direction.

This third chart is also made with shuttle-and-ball, even though it looks different.  Here, the rings are on the outside and the chains are in the centre.  But, the point to note is that the rings are all facing to the outside and the curves in the chain are the same.

The same cannot be said for this chart.  This is an example of a pattern that requires two shuttles.
I will go into a bit more detail using the chart below.

Here there are two sets of rings, A and B, with A pointing in one direction and B in the opposite direction. This is an indication that two shuttles are required.  In this example above, rings A are made with one of the shuttles, and rings B made with the other shuttle. Depending on the design, the positions of the rings may not be in direct opposite as shown here, it can be at any point along the chain

Another clue to look out for to know if you need one shuttle or two shuttle is to look at the curve in the chains.  Using the chart above as an example, notice that the chain between the ring (A-A) or (B-B) is curved in one direction while the chain after the rings curves it the opposite direction, both within the same row or round.  They are telling you that the part if the chain between the rings is made with shuttle 1, and you have to switch to shuttle 2 to make the chain after it.

While I am it, lets is look at another step in tatting that is not obvious in charts, Reverse Work.  Written instructions usually have the notation RW or rw shown at the end of each step to indicate that you need to reverse your work before starting the next part.

Reverse Work (RW or rw) is to flip over your work in hand verically.  Looking at the earlier chart, rings A are on top while rings B are at the bottom.  Reversing your work is to switch their position.

Using this example, after making ring A, you need to reverse work to make ring B, followed by the chain.  The change in the curve of the chain will also indicate that you need to reverse work.

17 February 2010

Tatting Tip - Loading two Shuttles with Equal Amount of Thread

Here is a tip on how to load two shuttles continuously without first cutting the thread from the ball, and get an almost equal amount of thread in each shuttle.  This works with Clover shuttles or its equivalent, and with thread size 20.

Load the first shuttle until full.  Then continue by winding the thread over the outside of the shuttle like this -

The trick is to make 150 rounds over the shuttle, counting as you go.  When you reach 150, cut off the thread from the ball and start loading the second shuttle with the cut end off the first shuttle.  And you get this - 

Two shuttles loaded with thread continuously.  The term often used to refer to this is CTM - Continuous Thread Method.

If you plan to use beads, as I have here, string the beads before you start loading the first shuttle.

11 February 2010


This years valentine heart is 

The pattern for Enchanter is available in pdf file from here.

10 February 2010


My Valentine gift to you this year 

I know there are still a few days more, but if you are still searching for hearts to tat, you may want to try this.
The chart is below
Load two shuttles CTM.
Begin with the dimpled ring (DR) in the centre of the heart with the stitch count of
DR(7-7-7sp7+[to the sp]7-7-7)
Then, make a split ring SR(2-2-2-2/2-2-2-2).
Rotate work so that the dimpled ring is now pointing downwards.
Switch Shuttle (SS), C(12) and reverse work (rw).
R(4-4+[to the first picot of the DR]4-4), rw.
C(10), rw.
R(4-4+[to the 2nd picot of the DR]8), rw.
C(2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2), rw.
R(8+[to the picot of the DR joined earlier]4-4), rw.
C(8), rw.
R(4+[to the sp join of the DR]4), rw.
C(8), rw.
R(4-4+[to the 4th picot of the DR]8), rw.
C(2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2), rw.
R(8+[to the picot of the DR joined earlier]4-4), rw.
C(10), rw.
R(4-4+[to the last picot of the DR]4-4), rw.
Leave a tail of about four inches of thread from each shuttle before cutting.  Tie the ends to the space between the split ring and the floating ring.
Tie the ends into a bow. Isn't that great - no ends to hide.

This is the link to the pdf file of the pattern.

Olympus Tatting/Crochet Cotton Thread

I have enjoyed tatting with Olympus cotton thread.  It is a 6-cord, mercerised cotton thread from Japan. The label reads Olympus #40 but feels more like #30 rather than 40.

These are some pieces that I have made with this thread which I have shown in my earlier posts.


3 February 2010

By Hook or by Crook

This is what happened when a tool is not used for what it was meant to be used.

This is my #14 (0.5mm) hook that I use with fine thread, #50 or more, or when I need to add beads to picots.  Now, #14 hooks are difficult to find where I am.  None of the local needlecraft stores have them.  I put the hook in my wish list to an exchange partner and she obliged.
I won't go into details on how it broke. Enough to say that I didn't cause it to break!  When I mentioned my broken hook to someone, she was surprised the culprit is still alive, LOL.

But every cloud has a silver lining.

I have been eyeing LadyShuttleMaker's hook pens ever since she listed them in her etsy.  I placed an order in the morning and the hook broke in the evening.  Luckily I managed to get to LadyShuttleMaker in time to ask if she can replace the hook size that I ordered earlier with a #14.  She said my order was already packed and ready for shipping but had not left, so she said she will make the change.  Phew!

And the hook pen arrived yesterday, Yippee! The hook is retractable. When not in use, I can stow it away and avoid any accidents, like poking myself, or breaking it ...again ...ughh.

Here is the close up of the hook pen. As you can see, it is really tiny when you compare it with the #50 HDT shown together in the picture.

Yup, that's right! I just can't resist the new Victorian Valentine HDT that LadyShuttleMaker has just released, seen below with the Tuscany HDT.