Ruth Perry has had the wonderful idea to start a Facebook group called "Tatting Vintage Patterns" to study old patterns and maybe recreate them. I thought it might be just the thing to get me out of a slump. Then, when I had a lot more to say than I usually put in a FB post, I remembered my sad, neglected blog. See, better already.
The group is starting with this antique hanky, owned by the V & A Museum, image recently posted by the Lace Museum of Sunnyvale, CA. The antique hanky has a mixture of regular joins and picots tied together, so it's that transitional stage in between antique and modern methods that I really love.
I chose to work on the square motifs. This seems to have been a popular motif in the 1800's, though the stitch count varies from project to project. Here is another example from a parasol cover owned by the late Mary Konior:
And here is a similar pattern in Mrs. Beeton's Book of Needlecraft:
Here is the version I made:
This motif has 9 little squares in the center, each made of 4 rings. I made the center section with rings: 6 - 6. The hanky has the little squares tied together at the corner picots. I started out doing it that way, but it was just too hard. (Later on, I remembered that in the old days, they would baste down all the bits and then tie the picots together.) I ended up using regular joins to connect all the outer squares to the center square, but I did not join along the outside, to preserve some of the effect of the tied picots when adding the outer round. You could join them all if you wanted to, or even use split rings to make the entire center as one piece.
The outer round has rings with bare thread in between, and the bare thread makes joins to attach to the center, and connect the center small squares. These rings are: 2 [ - 2] 9 times. (A ring of 9 picots with 2 ds in between and on each side.) At the corners, I made a lock join immediately before and after the rings to try to center them over the corners. When there are 2 rings adjacent without a join to the center, I made a lock join into the last p of the first ring so there wasn't a really long bit of bare thread. When joining to the center, I made the lock join through both picots of the center squares together.
A bit of blocking would have made this look neater, but I think it's a good try to recreate the original. This has been fun.
I've been working on Karey's Coronavirus Doily. It's a tat-a-long she has been releasing on her blog bit by bit HERE.
For Part 7, she says to use 2 shuttles so you can switch between them when the thread on one gets low. Two shuttles are also very useful to switch to the shuttle in the best position when moving between the inner and outer sides of the round.
With equal parts over-thinking the issue of keeping my variegated thread colors in sequence when reloading shuttles, wanting to minimize shuttle winding, and being a trouble-maker in general, I decided to use 1 shuttle and ball thread and make all the single rings as self-closing mock rings. Where there are 2 rings together, I worked regular rings, thinking that would have less chance of gapsosis. I figured shoelace ties to move the shuttle into the other position when necessary would not stand out next to the lock stitch chains. I wound several bobbins before starting, and it worked out right, so I never had to cut the ball thread to reload a shuttle.
Was it a good idea? I don't know. It saved me the time and effort of winding more bobbins, and that was good. I wondered if I was getting my SCMRs closed with consistent tension, and they probably aren't as tight as the regular rings. Is there too much color blip at the base of the SCMRs? I've already committed a few faults that won't bear up to microscopic examination, but from a few feet away, it looks pretty good.
Happy International Tatting Day 2020! I hope you are all staying home (unless an essential worker like me) and staying safe.
Oddly enough, I don't have a tatting project on at the moment, so I will share a treasure from ebay. Most of us have seen pictures of needlework sampler books, some very large and elaborate, and some very humble like this one I am now fortunate to own.
The covers are a "University Loose Leaf Notebook" from Woolworth's, and there is a calendar inside for 1927-1928-1929.
The pages are hand cut heavy brown wrapping paper, and the tatting samples are basted in with sewing thread.
There is the occasional finer thread or different color, but most seem to have been made with the same white and pink threads, probably size 30 at a guess.
Someone at Palmetto last year had a nicer sampler book, but also in some sort of dime store notebook from about the same period. While the idea of sampler books goes way, way back, I wonder if there was some common inspiration behind them both.
Unfortunately, this year's conference has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus. Right now, the plan is to meet next year, with the same theme and same classes. The Finger Lakes Tatting Conference will be April 17 - 19 this year, and registration is open now. You can see more information on their website HERE. The theme is "A Space Adventure" and it is sure to be a lot of fun. I'm teaching a class to make that little alien shown up above. It's made with techniques easier to do than to talk about, since they've got so many names. For that sturdy chain, I don't remember what Rhoda Auld called it, if anything, but some people call it the Double Double Stitch and others say Balanced Double Stitch. But I'm doing the version where you just double half of the stitch, making it the Half Balanced....Balanced Double Half.....whatever. And then I use that technique called Set Stitch, Victorian Sets, Lattice Stitch, RicRac Stitch, well a whole lot of half stitches. I hope to see a lot of you there.
So, how many of you have been yearning to make the Denmark Antimacassar from Riego's "The Royal Tatting Book" but were held back by the lack of an illustration?
It turns out that the 1867 edition of the book, which is the one currently available online, replaced the illustration with an advertisement. But the original 1864 version has the picture, and I have acquired a copy! The design is rather pretty, isn't it?
When time permits, I will be scanning it to donate a copy to the Antique Pattern Library. The APL is a true treasure trove of patterns, for tatting, for crochet, for embroidery, and many other crafts. At present, they are about $1400 short of their fund raising goal for this year. That's not a whole lot if a lot of people chip in a little bit. If you go to their homepage HERE, there is a Paypal donation button on the upper right corner of the page. Please consider helping, thanks.