20 September 2010

Now I get it!

Finally understood the single-shuttle split ring, or SSSR.  I tried a few times before but never could follow the instructions.  I was on chat in InTatters with Cannalure and Soyloquesoy and casually mentioned that I am having problems with the SSSR.  Being good tatters, as all tatters are, they guided me through as I attempted it and finally managed to get it done.

And to prove that I really did it, here are some of my attempts,

The creative mind then sets in and I decided to try adding beads.  First I made it using bugle beads, shown in the middle in the picture above.  Then I made another sample using seed beads.  I should have used another thread with the seed beads because it didn't show up very well with this thread.

I think I like the bugle beads better.  I can imagine pretty bracelets with some fancy beads made with this method, maybe two or three rows joined together side by side.

A note about the SSSR.  There was some discussion earlier about posting the shuttle through the loop before closing a ring.  I don't do that when closing my rings.  However, for this SSSR, I find that the ring looks better when I post the shuttle through before closing the ring.

Another happy note, the postman dropped me a few goodies this past 30 days.

My first order of Lizbeth thread was the first to arrive. I have never bought any Lizbeth before though I have tatted with it using thread that I received as gifts.   BJ, the Sanguine Stitcher gave me a discount coupon from Handy Hands and I ordered these.  These are part of my birthday present form BJ.
Lizbeth all in size 40
The other part is this.  BJ is an expert quilter and she made a quilted carrier bag that is just nice for me to carry my tatting.There is also a needlebook, a ball of Cebelia and a book titled 'Gardens'.
Birthday present from BJ
Diane promised to send me some EZ-bobs when she read that I could not find any of them here. And they are the next thing to arrive.  Boy, did she send me some!  24 pieces in all.  Certainly more than what I was expecting.  Thank you Diane.
EZ-bobs from Diane
Finally, I ordered Ruth Scharf books from Georgia and they arrived the same day as Diane's EZ-bobs.  I was trying to figure out how to read the patterns because they are all in German.  Luckily, I received an e-mail from Georgia with some English translations of the German tatting terms.
Ruth Scharf books
All in, it was a good 30 days.

15 September 2010

Dealing with Ends

This post was prompted by several e-mails that I received asking me how to hide the thread ends after the tatting is complete.

Tatters don't like to deal with many thread ends, or at least I have not come across any who look forwards to having loads of ends to hide.  So the best way of addressing this is to reduce the number of ends to hide.  This takes a little bit of planning even before you start tatting. 

Start with CTM where possible
It is always good to start with continuous thread (CTM) whether working with shuttle-and-ball or two-shuttles if you can, (pic 1).  You have already reduced one pair of ends to hide.

If you are working on motifs that are worked in rounds, study the picture or the chart and see if you can utilise split rings or/and split chains to jump to the next round.  You will be spared hiding ends after each round.

But, there will still be that last pair of thread ends when you finish your work.  I am sharing here two methods that are often used to hide ends.  These are not the only methods to use.  There are other ways to hide ends but I have not tried them before, so I cannot say much about it at this time.

One method that I often use is sewing in the ends.
When you have made the last chain (or ring - I am using the chain here as an example) cut a tail of about 6 inches of both thread.  Tie the ends to the beginning of the motif with a square knot.

Thread one of the ends to a blunt needle and sew in the thread in between the double stitches, going in first in one direction and coming back again in the opposite direction, (pic 2).  After each pass, give the thread a slight tug to make sure that the thread is pulled under the caps of the double stitches.  Do this over a number of double stitches.
Sew in the ends by taking the needle in between the double-stitches
Do the same with the other end but to a different part of the tatting.  For example, if the first end is sewn into a ring the second end can be sewn into a chain.  Trim off the excess threads close to the tatting, rub the stitches where the cut is to hide any trace of the cut ends.

Another method is often referred to as the Magic Thread Method.  This method requires pulling the end through the double-stitches with the aid of an another thread.  Again, study the design and pattern to see where is the best place for you to put in the magic thread.  In this example of the same pattern as above, I have started with the CTM. I have decided to add the magic thread in the first chain because that is where I will end the motif.

Before making chain, cut off a piece of thread, preferably in contrasting colour and thinner than the thread you are using for you tatting. Hold your tatting as you usually do  when making a chain.  Fold the magic thread into half and lay it over the core thread of your chain.  Make sure the the curve of the fold is facing the opposite way of your chain progression, as shown below.

The magic thread should be lying along the core thread
Make the first half of the double stitch as normal.  Then, make the second half of the double stitch,  but before tightening it, slide both ends of the magic thread through the half-knot. 
Post the thwo ends of the magic thread through the half-knot before tightening the stitch
Continue to to post the two ends through each half-stitch for the next few double stitches and you should get something like this.  What you are doing is tatting over the core thread and the magic thread together.
Double stitches made over the core thread and magic thread together
 After about five or six double stitches, you can stop and continue with the pattern as usual.  When you have reached the last element of the pattern, in this example a chain, you need to add in another magic thread to it.

But, in my example, I am not using another thread.  Instead I use a floss threader to function as the magic thread. When you are about five or six double stitches from the end, place the magic thread over the core thread of the chain.  Make a first half-stitch and post the ends of the magic thread though the half-knot before tightening it. Continue doing the same for each half-stitch until the double stitch that you need to complete the chain.  For this last double stitch, only post the magic thread ends through the first half-stitch and complete the second half-stitch as normal.
Double stitches made over the magic threa

Two magic threads placed at the beginning and the end of the motif.
Cut off a tail of about six inches of each thread.  Tie the two ends together. To hide the ends, post one of the ends through the fold of the magic thread and pull the ends of the magic thread together.  I find it easier to pull the magic thread if I only  post the thread end about a third of the way through the loop of the magic thread.

One thread end is put through the loop of the magic thread, in this case the floss threader.

Post the other thread end through the other magic thread, and pull it to bring the thread ends into the double stitches, as in the picture below.

Here are the two samples of the motif with the ends hidden, one made by sewing in and the other by the magic thread method.