Ariana doily pattern

Long time ago I’ve received some “strange” fabric as a gift. Not so strange as a fabric, but that was totally different from what I’m used to working on (usually it is 32 count evenweave). That was somewhere near 23 count and called “Hardanger embroidery fabric” by the seller.

For some time it was left in a drawer with other fabrics – I had no idea what to do with it. The count is huge, the amount of fabric not so big. Then one day the idea “it might be a perfect size to make a couple of placemats for myself” appeared.

I’ve counted amount of threads I could use for a single placemat, and started searching for a pattern. Nothing matched! Everything was either too big or too small. Well, I could use smaller patterns, but I did not want to waste the fabric. So I was disappointed and the fabric went back to drawer again.

After another “some time” I woke up with the idea “wait, I might design something myself to fit that exact size I have!”. That’s where it began: endless counting, drawing, leaving everything for months disappointed with the result, counting and drawing again.

Now finally I have my first Hardanger embroidery design which I like – the Ariana doily! The pattern is available on Etsy.

I have tried to destash a bit while making it so used what I had at home. This is made using common crochet cotton (I even don’t know manufacturer) and embroidery floss for weavings.

And I have enough fabric for another doily of same size – two placemats were planned. The second one will not be exactly the same – I liked the design process. So somewhat similar but different “sister” for Ariana is already in early stages of design process. I have already bought some thread – I’ll use something different to embroider it also.

How I design tatted items

Various tatting related groups had lots of questions “how people design things” recently. Summer Maze doily was my first larger design, so I’ve decided to share what worked for me. By no way this is how “everyone does it” and don’t think this is a way to success :D This is just “this worked for me this time”. I might do another item using some different methods!

The tools I used:

  • Waste thread and shuttles. I had limited amount of thread which I wanted to use for tatting, so I’ve chosen another one for trying thing out. It wasn’t even the same thickness, but that’s definitely not the best idea for some parts of design.
  • Radial grid (printed). As I was designing round doily, I wanted it to be more or less symmetrical. I’ve drawn radial grid myself, putting circles every 0.5 cm. At first I had 16 segments, then I’ve added more when I needed.
  • Free Inkscape vector graphics software
  • Pins and something to support them. I’ve used my bobbin lace pillow.
  • Lots of patience and small scissors

I like things to be more or less actual size on my laptop screen when I’m designing. To achieve this, I adjust zoom percent in design software so that 10 cm on screen were actual 10 cm when measured by ruler. The simplest way to check this: draw straight line using Bezier tool and set it’s length to 100 mm. Then take a simple ruler, measure the line on your monitor and adjust zoom until you get 10 cm. Note that zoom percent will be different on different monitors / different software.

Then I tat rings of predefined count of stitches and draw matching elements using Inkscape. We have set “correct” zoom level already, so when you tat the item, you just draw something of similar size, place the tatted ring to monitor and adjust size as needed. That won’t be exact, but helps me a lot.

Then I place elements of initial row using Inkscape the way I like, and connect them using chains. Usually I don’t care about the length to be equal at first, as I never guess the correct curvature without actually tatting them. So this is just to see if this might look good enough.

When I’m happy with the result, I tat elements of first row. If it’s not based on some other design I’ve done before – I tat only rings and loose chains. If it’s a bit similar to other designs – I try to guesstimate length of chains and tat as “normal” item.

Then it’s scissors / pins time! I put what I have on the printed radial grid, pin it, cut in places where chains are too short or too long, or where picots should not be joined. I use pins to see “what will happen if I join picots here, will it keep the symmetry”

When I’m happy with the result, try to tat it once more using waste thread and measure on radial grid once more. Usually I need only one or two initial rows tatted with all elements. For other rows most of the time it’s enough to tat two (sometimes – even a single) repeat.

Only then I use the planned thread, tat the item, adjust the pattern using Inkscape. Then repeat everything for the next row. The good thing when the waste thread is same thickness as “real” thread – you can use the already tatted rows to adjust next row. But watch what you are cutting!

How much cutting and wasting thread does it take? Well, I’ve kept almost everything while designing Summer Maze doily, here’s the answer. The doily on the left, the “trial and error material” – on the right.

Summer Maze doily pattern is ready

So, finally I’ve finished it!

Long story short: at first I wanted to tat the Mystery Doily. As I need pattern diagrams while tatting, I started by diagramming it. That’s when it all began… At first my computer “told” me that it was “mathematically impossible”. I try to match exact size of tatted elements when drawing diagrams, and for the original they were just out of symmetry when tatting according to given stitches. As I don’t like doing longer picots for adjusting symmetry – had to modify a lot so that I got more symmetrical thing. So little by little a new pattern was born.

The most interesting thing was: I had no idea how the finished result will look like. I even had no idea how large it will be: my goal was “design will be finished when I’m out of thread”. Each row was designed so that it looked good if this was the final row.

The finished doily is 6 rows, so 5 different doilies in total! The one on top of the page and four more:

Some maths:
~ 45 g / 250 m of cotton thread (15 wraps / cm; size similar to Lizbeth 20 )
~ 55 hours of tatting when I’ve already knew how the round should look like
~ 22 hours of design
~ 42 hours drawing / writing the pattern
Total time – almost half a year (well, tatting is just a hobby, and not the only one)

Finally I had to think what to do with the pattern. Somehow this was not the one I’d like to share for free. I also didn’t want to keep it just for myself… So I’ve decided to try to setup Etsy shop. Etsy shop for the only pattern, guess I’m crazy :D Well, maybe in some time there’ll be some other patterns.

If you’d like to tat this doily – pattern is available here: https://etsy.me/2NDzP1v

New bobbin lace pillows

Two weeks of making bobbin lace pillows. Not that I needed them very much, but it “just happened” :D Well, we’ve started something similar to live bobbin lace courses here in Lithuania with me as a teacher. I’ve searched what cheap beginner level materials my students could use as pillow / bobbins and ended with buying those “maybe OK for pillow” things myself. You know, it “just happens” :D

Collar pillow

Then I’ve thought – “Oh, I’ve seen some non-standard pillow called ‘collar pillow‘ long time ago and liked the idea. So why not try making something similar?”

No very clever contruction this time:
– some wooden boad (it’s a bit heavy, but at the moment I like it)
– some packaging material similar to ethafoam as bottom layer of the pillow
– cheap touring mat as top layer of the pillow (I’d never sleep on such thing, but it looked good for pillow)

Glue both layers (used universal “Moment” glue for that), sew cover cloths for both wooden board and the two pillow parts, do lots of hand finishing to achieve good tension for those cover cloths. “Just” 12 hours of work and that’s it!

I know this green and blue is not the best colour cobination, but I’m not sure I’ll like this kind of pillow. I didn’t want to use the blue cloth for pillow part which will contain only bobbins, no lace – it was really difficult to find that “correct” blue material.

Honiton pillow

Somewhere in the middle of process making that “similar to collar pillow” thing I’ve thought – “Well, my sewing machine is already out, why not try to make Honiton pillow also?” I had something I’d thought it should work as Honiton lace pillow filling since… ~2013 I guess?

Dimensions I’ve chosen are 30 cm diameter and 18 cm height.

The filling…. wood shavings from pet store :D Used almost 3 packs of them (2.5 litres compressed, 15 litres uncompressed each; so almost 45 litres total). Just don’t ask me how I’ve managed to stuff all this thing there :D But at the moment it feels firm enough.

At some moment I’ve understood that I’ll not manage to put any more wood shaving, no matter how I try to compress.

So I’ve decided I need one more cover to help to tension the inner sack just by pulling some strong thread.

Tensioned as much as I could, left for one day, then re-tensioned a bit more.

And then – again lots of time for finishing everything by hand. I know some people leave cover cloths just pinned, but I don’t like the idea of “the pin might fall out”. The best thing – you don’t have to hold the cloth yourself while sewing, pins do that for you.

And here it is – finished! Another 12 hours total.

Now I need cover cloths for both of them, but hope it will take less time.

Forget-me-not snowflake

snowflake-gr-02-webI’m really bad at naming designs, but I think this one will have a name. “Working name” was Snowflake-002, a very creative one. So… I’ve designed it, tatted once, gave for someone as a gift and…. forgot to complete pattern diagram and publish it. This was late in 2017.

Now, almost two years later, I’ve found this pattern somewhere in the depths of my PC and remembered it was never published! So to not forget it again – it has a real name :)

It can be tatted in many different ways, but diagram shows how I did it. Initial idea was to create something for myself so that I could remember basic tatting elements after long time without shuttle.

This is a bit tricky, with lots of lock joins and all this is tatted as single row. The “very small picot” is a “very-very small picot” — do it as just a placeholder for lock join, not more.

The place marked as “do not turn and shoe lace holding thread in front before making another chain” really is not required. It’s just the way it looks best with my tatting style.

snowflake-002-pattern-final

This was tatted using two shuttles, and I guess this time sometimes I was changing them in a bit different way to get the look I’ve liked. So next diagram is just notes for myself: each color means which shuttle is in your working hand (not what you would get if shuttles were with different coloured threads!). As you see, most of the thing was tatted without switching shuttles.

snowflake-002-pattern-shuttles-web

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This pattern is free for your personal use, you can share pattern with others as long as you provide link to this site.

You can say “thanks” via PayPal.Me and encourage me to design something else :)