Archive for the ‘Celtic tatting’ Category

First attempt at ply-split braiding

First attempt at ply-split braiding

Well, I just gave the Celtic tatting two more tries, and gave the Japanese hook tatting two tries as well, and I am 0 for 2 on both. The Celtic tatting is incredibly frustrating. I’m not getting my joins to work right at all. In normal tatting, my joins through the picot allow the thread to slide back and forth through them, and my joins in Celtic tatting are not doing that. I’m not sure why. I have four shuttles actively involved in two separate Celtic snowflake patterns right now, neither of which is going well, so I have sent out a scream for help to both Craftree and Ravelry. It would be so nice if I wasn’t the only tatter I knew locally. Sigh.

As for the Japanese hook tatting, thus far I have found very little in the way of tutorials online. This is something I may have no choice but to buy a book or two for. I made two attempts at it with the little leaflet that came with the hooks and some #10 crochet thread. It’s initially like needle tatting, as far as getting your stitches on the hook. After that, you’re looping your working thread around the hook and pulling it all the way through the stitches you’ve made, leaving a small loop at the starting end. This did not go well at all, in either attempt. There is no give in crochet thread, and trying to pull the hook through the stitches just resulted in the hook getting snagged inside the stitches. And there’s no getting out of this easily or gracefully, because there are hooks at both ends. It actually took me longer to work the thread off the hook than it did to get it on the hook in the first place.

So the experiments were epic fails so far. I’m eyeballing the ply-split braiding and the micro-macrame and debating over whether or not I want to go for 0 for 4…I’m thinking not right now!


The first part of this post was written last night, so now I can add to it–this morning, after dropping the kids at school (Am I a terrible mother for thinking it feels so good to say that??), I made my first attempt at the ply-split braiding. I am 1 for 1 on that one!! It was lots of fun for me, and I had a hard time putting it down even to take the picture of it. The cords I used are the ones I bought from the supplier. I’m still not having any luck making my own cords. It may be that the Lacis cordmaker is not up to that kind of a job. For now I can keep buying cords from the supplier, but I can’t do that forever. Well, I could, in point of fact, but I like bright jewel tones, and there are only eleven color choices on the website. For now, it’ll do, though.

Next on the agenda is the micro-macrame. I don’t know if I’ll get to it today, as much as I’d like to try it. I’ve been watching tutorial videos to get a feel for the difficulty of it. Some of the finished projects look pretty complicated, but when you watch the tutorials, they’re not really all that bad, and nothing so far that I feel incapable of doing. So maybe I’ll get to it this evening!


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Mary Konior pattern Leaf Braid. I started too wide, and now have them where they should be!

Mary Konior pattern Leaf Braid. I started too wide, and now have them where they should be!

I was on Pinterest, and something new popped up on my feed. Not cool. I haven’t even tried the ply-split braiding or the Japanese hook-tatting yet, and here’s another thing coming along to pique my interest. This time it’s micro-macrame.

I wouldn’t have thought macrame. In fact, I’ve seen macrame pop up on my feed before, and I’ve laughed, because I tried it back in…well, never mind when. 🙂 The point is, my thought was that macrame was outdated. Then macrame jewelry started showing up on my feed. And it was gorgeous. And it was colorful, which it really wasn’t when I was a kid. It was always the rough brown hemp, and everyone had nets for hanging plants or decorative owls. That’s the extent of what I remember macrame being used for. But now there’s all this coming up, which necessitated the starting of another board. So what was there to do but start looking into it?

Lo and behold, I already have most of what I need to play with this. The thread that I bought for kumihimo and discovered I hated for that purpose is suggested for use in micro-macrame. The design board I made for my stained glass class is perfect for working on it. I have a self-healing cutting mat. Scissors abound…there must be four or five of those in my studio alone. Really, the only thing I don’t have is head pins or T-pins, which are easy enough to find, and cheap enough to buy. And I do have all that thread in my stash to use up, after all…

Yup. Another rabbit hole.

Celtic tatting isn’t going all that well right now. It’s very confusing, in and of itself, and the first mistake I made was in the thread I was using. I had a sample of a tweedy, red-white-and-blue #10 Lizbeth thread that I’d gotten in the mail for free. The thread really doesn’t appeal to me, so I thought it was perfect for practice, and really, how hard could this possibly be, right? I mean, I use double stitches every time I tat. And after the number of times I did that bookmark, I’m really good at chains, so it can’t be that bad…

Yes, oh, yes it can! I was warned. I should have listened. Celtic tatting is weaving long chains together to make knotwork. I’m not making combinations of rings and chains, I’m only making chains. Very. Long. Chains.

I fought with that pattern until four am, at which point I ripped it all out in frustration. The mistake I made in the thread resulted in the fact that the very busy-ness of the coloration made it nearly impossible to differentiate between stitches, and then by line three of the instructions, the directions given were confusing to me. So I’m going to try again, this time with plain white thread.

The tatted braid projects are going very well, though. I’ve discovered that I really like doing the braids, and I’m trying to figure out how to turn them into something other than bookmarks. Not that there’s a thing wrong with bookmarks, but I’m fond of bracelets, necklaces, and barefoot sandals too!

I’m finding that tatting–other than Celtic, that is–is not so much about complexity. At its most basic, from what I can see as a novice, it’s mastering rings, chains, picots, and joins, and a design is maneuvering those same items into an aesthetically pleasing configuration. The complexity comes from how many of those things are used in the design, and keeping track of both them and where they go. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!!! I freely admit that I’m a novice, and may be missing aspects of things! And even if I’m right, it doesn’t make it less of an art form. Sometimes it is gorram hard to keep track of everything!!

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Tatting hooks, lacquered shuttles, bone shuttles, and Celtic shuttles

Tatting hooks, lacquered shuttles, bone shuttles, and Celtic shuttles

I need an intervention, and I already know that I cannot count on all of you other fiber arts nuts out there to give me one! You will enable me, one and all, lol! My tatting shuttles bred again, like I mentioned in a previous post. Those shuttles and Japanese hook tatting tools arrived today, and after I oohed and ahhhed over these six items, I counted up my tatting shuttles. Forty-six!!! How did I lose so much control? Where did I go wrong? Did the rabbits rub off on the shuttles? What’s going on here???

I didn’t know, when I started this, how much I was going to enjoy tatting. In fact, in all honesty, I wasn’t sure that I would like it at all, but like all the other fiber arts I’ve picked up over the last five years, I underestimated myself. By no means am I great at it, but I’m having fun with it. With time, I’m hoping to get better at it.

Now that wrestling is over for the night–I had to watch with the kids, of course, and they never miss an opportunity to see Roman (Okay, neither do I)–I’m going to make an attempt at Celtic tatting. We’ll see how this goes. If you hear a frustrated scream in about a half hour or so, don’t worry. It’s probably me. It will almost certainly be me. I bought a book for beginners with this technique, and it looks a little daunting. So I’m going to try the first project in the book, since it at least appears to be the simplest.

Or at least I’ll try it if I can tolerate the hordes of gnats that have gotten into the house through the screens due to all the rain we’ve been having. Gah!!! How do you get rid of these little pests?! They’re everywhere, and I don’t want to close the windows because it’s too hot, but they’re driving me nuts! I feel like they’re crawling all over me, and I’ve got the heebie-jeebies. Everyone in the family is complaining about them, but what can you do? They’re small enough to slip through the screens. There were tons of them in the rabbit cages tonight, and I’m just hoping they were all gnats and not something else. There’s a cloud of them by my lamp right now, and there isn’t an ounce of bug spray in the house. Guess what I’m buying tomorrow?!

Definitely time to distract myself. I’m so grossed out. One of the best things about living in states with four actual seasons is the fact that you get several months of the year almost entirely bug-free. I wish that applied to spiders, too, but there’s no escaping those. Okay, I’m out of here before I give myself a worse case of creepy-crawlies!

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