Monday, July 19, 2010

Motif Study

Every so often I find a tatter in the 25 Motif Challenge Blog who has managed to stay under my google-alert radar. Yesterday I found Nami's blog and proceeded to look through it because I also have an interest in beaded jewelry. To my delight, I found a motif she designed and tatted and she posted the diagram for it.

I wanted to try the motif out and I wanted to test a ball of Lizbeth thread I got on clearance at Hobby Lobby a few days ago. It's called "Leaf Swirl" and is similar to another thread I used to use for tatted alligators which is nearly gone. There is not enough variety of green shades in the Lizbeth so I won't use it for alligators but it will work for foliage in some cases.

Anyway, part of the challenge was figuring out what to do next. I always try to find ways to climb from one round to another with a minimum of ends to hide. I didn't realize until I really studied the diagram that the petals were chains, not rings. L-O-N-G chains. I was afraid they would be unwieldy and they are a bit. If I choose to play with this more, I might try to figure out a way to make the petals shorter. So I began with a ring and a mock picot, starting my chain after the mock picot. Easy so far; with very long chains that meant I had to pay attention to tension.

The tricky part was that I wanted to climb out of this round, not cut and tie, so that meant a split chain. Not just any old split chain, but one in which the beginning of the split where I attached the thread was at the base of the first chain and I had to join twice to the first chain on my way up. Most tatters find it hard to estimate the correct amount of bare thread space to leave to accommodate the stitches but when you're talking about 16 stitches and a join, it was pretty much a guesstimate. Can you tell where I made the split chain in the first motif? It was actually a bit longer than I needed.

I didn't feel the green/ivory thread was the best showcase of the pattern so I decided to do it again in a solid color and ended up using white because I have a ball of size 20 Hakelgarn that is nearly empty. I knew from the first attempt to fill both shuttles and I actually measured 9 yards out for each shuttle. I also wanted to do this a second time to work on my chain tension more and see if I could do the split chain better. I think I did. This is where I ended. This time the thread left for stitches was almost too short! I also find those joins on the last join not quite as smooth as the others. I tried it both ways. I usually join pulling the core thread up through the picot but I tried going in the opposite direction and that was even worse.

Here's the finished motif in white. I just steam ironed it for this so the middle is not as nice as it will be when I wet it and block it to even the petals out more. You might notice this pattern does not have any decorative picots. I usually like a few but one of the things about this design that really attracted me was the clean rounded outline. I think that part is so pretty!

Out of 9 yards (or full length arm pulls) I had about 10" left on each shuttle and enough for this small butterfly. Barely! This happened both times so if you try it in size 20, you might want to wind a bit more thread. Oh - and it measures nearly 4" across!

Thank you Nami for a fun challenge!


  1. Thank you for taking this challenge. I'm very glad you like it:)

  2. I like the effect of the leaf swirl thread.

  3. I like that motif a lot. I probably wouldn't have attempted a split chain that long, though. There are times when I'd rather hide the ends. But we all have our own preferences.

    I think the motif would look really cool with the flower in one color and the outer part in something contrasting.

  4. I think it turned out quite well, and I do like that design.

  5. I like this motif in both the `Leaf Swirl`and the white threads. I might give it a try but will have to have Rita teach me how to do split chains for needle tatting.It`s likely easier than I think!!!

  6. LOVE the pattern. I saw it also and have bben tempted...

    That thread is pretty, but I would love to see it in a single colour... maybe a few beads too. Very versatile looking motif.

    Fox : )

  7. Both look nice! :)

  8. Anonymous2:26 AM

    This is one of the posts you read (well, *I* read) and think 'Wow... I thought I was doing ok - but I have SO much to learn!' (Also, where I think I shouldn't read tatting blogs first thing in the morning - i read 4" as 4 foot :)

    It does look good with no picots - feels quite celtic.

  9. Occasional crafter - funny thing, tatting. You're told it's just rings and chains, one stitch. Portable, inexpensive. Next thing you know, you're trying to learn technique #6,023 and you have a LOT of $$ wrapped up in books, thread, and shuttles. It takes over rooms in your house and your car. You tat during meetings at work and on your lunch hour. You tat wherever you have an odd moment and even in the middle of crisis's and full blown events. The ol' bait and switch routine for sure! LOL!


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