Well, here's the yoke, finished at last. I took it off the blocking board Monday. I wish I remembered when I started. It took about 2 1/2 balls of DMC Cordonet size 50, or maybe 2 2/3. It's hard to estimate partial balls. It's been an interesting journey. It just occurred to me, I should have measured the dimensions for you, but it's not coming out of the suitcase now. And I'm all packed up ready to leave for Toccoa Tatdays in the morning, and it's only 2 am. That's what time I usually get home from work, so that's not bad at all. Wonder what I forgot to pack this time...
No, I'm not done yet, but Sherry, the Celtic Dreamweaver, shared this picture of one she made over 20 years ago and wore for a long time. She must have bought the book when it was brand new. I had thought about adding some small motifs to fill in some big open spaces, and I see she already did just that. Thanks for the picture Sherry!
You will have noticed that the blogging has slowed down. The blog finally caught up with where I was in real time with tatting the yoke. Some weeks I don't get hardly any tatting done, but I made good progress this past weekend. Only 14 motifs to go!
After fixing the offending motif I showed last time, I have now completed the inner neck edge. These motifs were all "Yoke Circle 1" and I am now done with that particular pattern. Only 41 motifs to go :/
Remember, I told you with Sparks yoke, you have to look at the pictures to see where to make the joins? The problem is, some of the pictures aren't very good. If the picture isn't clear, look around, and you may find a better picture on another page. Anyway, I didn't do that one time and realized later I had a motif joined in the wrong place.
We've all had mistakes and had to cut away. It's a little more complicated when the cut away part includes a picot that was joined to by some later tatting that you don't want to cut out.
Here is how I handle that situation.
Disclaimer: some of the scans were made from the front side to show tatting you would be working from the backside. Instead of making more scans, I flipped the pictures around, so don't pay too much attention to whether the stitches in the pictures look like front or back.
Fixing mistakes in tatting that was joined to later:
Carefully clip away the offending piece, leaving bits attached. If you are certain which bits formed joins instead of picots, go ahead and pull only those off. If in doubt, pull out just the core thread of all the bits.
If the bit was forming a join, then both threads will come away from the picot it was joined to.
When the bit was forming the picot, it will remain attached to the remaining tatting when the core thread is pulled out. Don't pull out the picot thread just yet.
Look carefully at the two thread ends sticking out one side of the tatting and find where the connecting thread lies on the other side. Use a needle to pull it up partway. Now that you know where to re-create the joined picot, put this part away and make the new replacement tatting until you get to this point. Unwind the ball thread shuttle or cut off a long length of the ball thread and put it in your smallest sewing needle. Put on your best pair of reading glasses.
Arrange the old tatting in your hand in position to join to it. Pull on the loop so that just the one thread end nearest you is pulled out. Immediately...
... put the ball thread needle through the tiny hole while you can still see it. Try to put it through in the same direction that the thread end just came out.
Now pull the rest of the bit of thread out and put the ball thread needle through the other hole. Check carefully to make sure the ball thread is in the right direction to form a picot. I will admit I got mine backward the first time, which would have formed a twisted picot. I pulled the ball thread back out and used a couple more fine needles to mark the holes while I put the ball thread back in the needle and tried again.
Once your are sure everything is right, adjust the ball thread to the length of a picot and resume tatting.
While making all those close ups on the scanner, the background was nice too.
Look what I've got! Some dear friends graciously offered to let me ride with them to the Fringe Element Tat Days in Canada. I am so looking forward to it. Which reminds me, I had better start finding transportation to the Palmetto Tat Days.
Next up is "Yoke Section 9," the really long strip across the front (or back, I hope). This is a milestone in my progress, as it is the last of the large pieces, and all the secions are now joined together. And also too big to fit on the scanner.
It's very pretty and dainty. It would make a good edging or insertion.
The diagram shows only the ends, and I take exception to the way the diagram parts are displayed on the page. If you ever make this, remember, next to the end trefoils, the longer chains need to be on the outer side of the curve on both ends.
Meanwhile, in the garden, there have been good times and bad times. Here's a picture from a week or so ago.
A deer got through the fence and ate a bunch of tomatoes, both fruit and vines. The squash plants didn't bear much and died an early death. On the up side, the deer didn't get all the tomatoes, and the vines are starting to put out new branches and blooms. I'm trying to grow some more squash from seed, and the young plants are looking good so far. I'm getting more cucumbers than ever before and I already made a batch of bread-and-butter pickles. (No idea why they are named that.) The peppers are starting to bear as well.
One plant that was supposed to be a jalapeno turned out to be this instead. I picked one when it was 6 inches long. I'll have to figure out what I can make with these.
When I first saw the picture of the yoke by Phyllis Sparks, I expected the wide portion to be the back. However, in the book, she says that is the front. I hope it can be worn either way. I'll just have to see how it drapes when it is done. Above is "Yoke Circle 8," the center of the wide section. At this point, I had taken off several weeks to work on the Rose Mignonette doily. By the time I got back to the yoke, I must have forgotten everything I knew about the short bare thread spaces. I worked this motif at least 3 times. I can't remember if the picture above is the final or next to last effort. The center is a little crowded, but it is in Mrs. Sparks' photo as well. I made the picots in the outer round a little longer to prevent cupping.
Here is the picture of the whole yoke from the book again to help you keep your bearings.
At about this point working on the yoke, I took a break to investigate the rose mignonette doily from Needlecraft Magazine that Georgia was looking for. I happened to have the issue with the pattern, but I starting thinking how I had not added to my collection for a while, and I had a little money in my Paypal account....
So off to Ebay, and I lucked into a few, and a few more, and you get the picture. Judging from the numbering of the issues, the magazine would have begun in September 1909. I've never seen one from 1909 or 1910, but I've got a few from 1911 now. They frequently have some tatting patterns, and always some crochet, plus the ads and letters are amusing too. When I started sorting and cataloging my issues, I was dismayed to discover many of them were missing pages. I'll be trying to replace those with better copies eventually.
And then I found this. It's really prettier than this - the flash washed out the image a bit. I was so looking forward to that deep yoke on the cover, but alas, there is no such pattern inside. I could design a yoke from the picture, but nah, I've got to much else to do right now. One day, maybe?
Curse you, Ebay, for suggesting more items I might be interested in. Now my Paypal is all spent, so I need you all to buy more of my books, so I can go hunting again :)
Still working on the Phyllis Sparks yoke, I wanted to do the small motifs around the end to make sure they would fit. And they did! You can see here motifs number 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 15, 16, and 17. It is exciting for it to start looking like the final product. Incidentally, I think motifs 15 and 16 are misnumbered on the diagram. If you work this, when it comes time for the small 4 ring motifs, count the number of joins and picots you need and then pick the pattern.
The motifs in this yoke by Phyllis Sparks are somewhat arbitrarily numbered. The piece in the previous post is "Yoke Section 11" and this one is "Yoke Circle 13."
The first motif for the yoke went smoothly. This section did not. I think it took me 5 tries to get it right. First it was not laying flat at Round 3, and once I got past that, it was again cupping at Round 5. Keep in mind that the bare thread spaces for this pattern need to be very short. I seem to have some trouble with that concept. Once I figured it out, I got the other side done in just one try. If you contemplate working this yoke, be advised that the patterns are diagrammed with some text comments. Most of the joins are not described, so you have to consult the photos very carefully to see where to join. Also, it up to you to make the second side a mirror image of the first, especially critical in this piece, with the way the rings are thrown off on the last round. Just commenting, not complaining. I'm still enjoying the challenge.
I'll put the mignonette rose doily on hold while I work on writing up the pattern. Meanwhile, I'll go back to the yoke I was working on when I got distracted by the doily.
The yoke comes from "Practical Tatting" by Phyllis Sparks. Used copies aren't too hard to find. It has quite a lot of edgings, some doilies, a few nice collars, and this exquisite yoke. Patterns are diagrammed in a style different from the norm, but easy enough to follow once you get used to them. Patterns have more cut and ties than preferred by the modern tatter, but usually not too hard to get around by substituting split rings etc.
Here is the entire yoke as pictured in the book. There are (I think) 86 individual motifs made from 17 patterns. This was to be more than just a project for me, but more of a tatting meditation. Is "centering" the right word? I wanted something old fashioned and elaborate. First, I must make each section correctly, which is sometimes as much about matching the designer's tension and picots as well as following the pattern. Next, all the pieces must fit together. Lastly, I must have the perseverence to complete the project.
Mrs. Sparks writes that you make make the motifs in any order you wish. She began with the large circle near the top and then the bow shaped strip around it. I decided to begin with the large oblongs that go over the shoulders. I thought working a large section would tell me if I could follow her patterns and enjoy them.
So far, so good.
I didn't make a scan with a black background way back then, but since then I found out some of you preferred the dark background, so I tried to photoshop it.
Meanwhile, DS3 and I visited the Sarah Duke Gardens in Durham.
There are several sections, with different themes.
When I was almost done with one of the motifs of the rose doily, I made a Dreadful Mistake and had to cut away. The rings are so small I did not think I could add in thread without making an ugly blob, so I just set that piece aside. Later I went around the edge making split chain like wrapped stitches. It was a bit tedious and time consuming, but a very dainty effect.
Here's another background. (Later on, when I broke the thread trying to open a ring, I did try adding in a new thread, and it was not too bad.) Have you planned your tatting get-away for this year? Registration is now open for Palmetto Tatters Tat Days in Toccoa, Georgia, September 7-10, click for information HERE. and for Fringe Element Tatters Tat Days in Cambridge, Ontario, September 22-23, click for information HERE.
Did you ever enjoy working on a project, but at the same time been so tired of it you couldn't wait to be done? Here it is, in size 80 thread coming in at 10 1/2 inches, a little wider than my scanner bed. Judging from my motif last time, I estimate it would be around 14 inches or more in size 40. Now, to finish. I need to clip off the thread ends. I worked in the ends as I went along, but I left long tails to prevent the chance of pulling out the ends in the stretching/blocking process. That's not usually a worry, but with these tiny rings, there weren't a lot of stitches to work the ends into. Oh, and to get this written into modern notation, which was the point to begin with.
There have been many mistakes, mis-starts, and cutting of thread with the 1926 Rose Doily I told you about last time. I salvaged the motif with too many rounds by crocheting a border around to have a nice mini doily. A little stretching and blocking might help, but that would be like making an effort :)
Why did I ever wait so long to start blogging again? I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading your comments.
And now to bore you with non-tatting. My other big hobby is my vegetable garden. Here it is on April 1. For the smaller spring crops I use the "square foot gardening" method.
And here is last week. The lettuce is about to bolt and the spinach already has, but it's been a good crop and pulling it out will make room for the summer veg. Note the extra netting since deer were jumping the fence.
I picked my first squash this week, and I've got baby tomatoes. Hooray!
Back to your regularly scheduled tatting next time.
Not too long ago, Georgia sent out a request for help finding the source of this doily. She did know it was from a Needlecraft magazine from 1926. I collect those off and on, so I pulled out my boxes from under the bed and found it in the April issue. The designer was Mildred Thompson. Georgia also invited me to write out the instructions for modern tatters. How could I resist? As you may know, vintage patterns are hard to follow. Not only are they usually written in a different style than we are used to, but test tatting and proof reading were apparently not done. First off, the instructions say each motif has 20 rounds. This is wrong. Of course I did not realize this until after I had worked one whole motif. Studying the photo reveals that the central motif has 18 rounds and the outer ones have 19 rounds. You could make it with more rounds if you wanted to, but I think it does matter that the center motif have one fewer rounds so they will fit together. At this point I am doubting that I have enough thread on the ball for a whole doily anyway, so I start over.
Then comes the issue of how to join the motifs together. The orange thread in the picture above is the way the pattern is written. Who would want to work that asymmetrical mess? No wonder the designer writes that the small fill-in motifs are not worked in, but sewn on top. That's one way of covering up the problem. I have devised a method for a neater way to join the motifs and work in the fill-in motifs, but will it work? Will the whole thing lie flat when I am done? Time will tell. (Lots and lots of time....)
I had promised myself that I would get back to blogging once I got my life back under control. Things were looking good earlier in the year, but then they fell apart again when autistic DS3's group home closed down with only a few days notice. That seemed like a disaster at first, but was a blessing in disguise. Late last month he moved to a home for autistic adults that is better in every way than where he was before. It's not local, but I can get there with Amtrak. Last weekend, the whole family got together to give him a day out. We went hiking at Eno River Park and out to lunch. Then to make it something for everyone, we went to a gaming store for the guys, and to Scrap Exchange for the girls. That's sort of a huge secondhand store geared toward crafting. I bought stuff. Beware the giant bin of buttons :)
For a long time, I didn't do any tatting. Though tatting is an excellent stress reliever for most, above a certain level I just can't do it. Eventually I was ready to begin again, and I wanted something very old fashioned and traditional. I saw this image on Pinterest and thought it was something vintage, but I tracked it down to "Practical Tatting" by Phyllis Sparks from the early 1990's.
A quick trip to Bookfinders.com and I was in business. The yoke is made up of bunches of traditional style motifs. I was making good progress and then got sidetracked to another old fashioned project. More about that next time, maybe.
Meanwhile, it's time to be thinking about TatDays in Toccoa. Registration will be opening around June 11. I haven't chosen all my classes yet. Decisions are hard. The logo above is by Anitra, one of those magazine covers she is so good at designing.