Friday, March 6, 2009

This is harder than it looks

I had a request for the Coral Reef earring pattern. I thought about just sending you all to the webpage where I found the antique book - but then it occurred to me that I'd like to write my own book of patterns someday...and just the other day I was reading on e-tatters about programs to diagram your own tatting patterns...the freeware program Inkscape was mentioned. Having never heard of this one - I've tried others and given up in frustration - I thought I'd download it (it's free) and give it a whirl. Good grief. There are so many different buttons and things and windows opening up all over the place and I didn't even know where to start.

At some point I figured out enough to open up a scan of the Coral Reef earrings and then open another layer over it. I started to draw objects on top of the picture itself, tracing the picture as I went - using freehand lines, ovals, dots for beads. The stitch count numbers came next. Finally I deleted the underlayer (the initial scan of the earrings), grouped all my drawings together and exported it as a bitmap file so it could be uploaded here. Voila! You see it there - and it only took me like 8 hours! No, I'm just kidding. It took me about 2 hours of trial and error, and I'm sure the next time will be easier (as long as I don't wait 6 months before opening the program again).

I hate typing up instructions longhand - and actually I much prefer diagrams when reading and tatting a pattern as well. But, for those of you who DON'T like diagrams, or if you don't use beads often and are unsure how those get added - here's the pattern for you (I hope you can read it as I'm also not so good at writing them longhand!):

Two Shuttles.
R = ring
Ch = chain
- or p = picot
vsp = very small picot
+ = joining picot

Load 6 beads on shuttle #1 and 4 beads on shuttle #2.

With shuttle #1: Pull up 6 beads into the ring you are going to make. In other words, the beads should be on the part of the thread that is wrapped around your fingers.
R 4 - (place two beads in the picot) 4 - (pull a bead up from shuttle #1, put it next to the last ds, made and make a picot around it) 4 - (place two beads in the picot) - 9 - (place two beads in the picot) 9. Close ring. RW.
Ch 7 - 3 - 3 - 3. Lock join to 5th p of last R. Do not RW.
With shuttle #2. Pull up 3 beads into the ring you are going to make.
R 3 + (to last p of previous Ch) 4 - (place three beads in the picot and pull the 4th bead from the shuttle, place it next to the last ds made, finish the picot) 4 - 3. Close R. Do not RW.
With shuttle #1: Ch 3 + (to last p of previous R) 3 - 3 - 7. Cut threads and tie off to vsp of the 1st R. Make another and you're done with your earrings!

And for those of you who could not read either the diagram or my version of the longhand pattern - here's the link to the book it came from. The .pdf file is down near the bottom of the page, under "mongraphs". The stitch count is slightly different than mine, and of course, it doesn't have the beads added. Have fun with whichever pattern you use.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I was cruising around the tatting blogs tonight and came across the exact same doily as the one I just fixed for my friend, except this one was tatted very recently, while the one I worked on was probably tatted about fifty years ago. It was tatted by Kelly Dunn and is posted as Motif #16 on her blog. I was so surprised to see it! She mentions it is from "The Tatter's Treasure Chest," which is of course a compilation of older tatting books from the 40's. I guess the doily I fixed was probably tatted from the original tatting book. :-)

Small piece of eye candy! This was a special order and is my own pattern, which I call "snowflake". I love these two colors together - sage & lavender.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coral Reef Project

Oooh...I love the colors in this thread. I purchased it from Pamela, it is a lovely high quality thread in gorgeous colors. Once in a while I like to pull out all my vintage books are just start cruising through them. So often I find so many things I never remember noticing before. I think this pattern looks pretty modern - but I found it in "Priscilla Tatting Book No. 2", by Julia Sanders. As I often do, I used just one motif for the matching earring.

In other news - I am mourning the loss of another vintage metal shuttle. I really like the early Boye shuttles - they are high quality and don't tarnish, not like the new metal ones...ick. The older Boye are a little dangerous with light color threads if you get the thread caught in between the bobbin and the shuttle. So, I use them only with the darker color threads, but I really like them because they have a removable bobbin (the only kind of shuttle I use) and they will hold more thread than Aeros (especially with beads on the thread). Between my grandmother and antique shops I managed to pick up about 6 of them but I am down to my last one. Eventually they all snap on me down at the base. I am constantly switching bobbins and I think after a while it's too much stress on that spot. Bah.