Thursday, July 8, 2010

Learning to Make Cluny Leaves

With much thanks to Mimi Dillman and Elisadusud, I think I finally figured out how to tat cluny leaves!

I watched the videos over and over and read the instructions step by step and slowly made some progress. Thank you to everyone who suggested tutorials - they were very helpful.

Here are my first two attempts (that were worth photographing!). The same No. 10 thread was used for both. The top pair was shuttle tatted and the bottom pair was needle tatted. (Clicking on the picture shows more detail.)

I wanted to be sure I could both shuttle and needle tat these because I switch back and forth between the two styles depending on what I'm making.

For anyone who is interested, I found the technique to be the same for both shuttle and needle.

However, just for learning the technique of how to make cluny leaves, you don't really need a shuttle or needle. For me, wrapping my loom hand required the most practice. Passing the shuttle or needle or just the thread by itself, was the easy part. Closing the cluny leaf requires pulling on the threads to tighten up the leaf and as long as you've read the instructions or watched videos and know which threads to pull first and last, that part of the technique just requires a little patience.

You need enough open space in the 'loom' hand to pass the shuttle back and forth. If needle tatting, the open space can be much smaller. Tension using either method is the very important and at first your 'loom' hand gets tired and cramped. I relaxed my fingers without even noticing it which made the passes back and forth rather loose and sloppy.

I'm not sure why the shuttle tatted clunies have sort of a right-angle bend at the beginning of the second leaf. Perhaps I twisted the thread after the chain? I'll have to keep any eye on my next set and see if it happens again. If anyone knows what I did that caused this, please let me know.

Well, now that I have the feel of how to tat cluny leaves, I can safely say that many more practice sessions are in order to work on consistency and symmetry.

Because I struggled to learn this technique, I wrote down my own instructions along with a few pictures for future use. I don't want to forget what I did a few months from now if I put it aside for other tatting and try to come back to it later!

As soon as I have finished a motif with cluny leaves, I'll post pictures here and add it to my 25 Motif Challenge.

Don't you think cluny leaves would look fantastic as part of some crazy quilting? I do.

Now it's time to practice, practice, practice.

If you've been hesitant like I was to learn how to tat cluny leaves, or tried before and gave up, I say give it another chance. They are beautiful in all of the tatted pieces I've seen and I'm glad to be able to add them to my list of tatting accomplishments.


  1. I am astounded! And not a little bit envious! You have made so much progress in NO time at all. Took me months and months to get my clunies to look like yours. Congrats!

    Am looking forward to seeing your motif!
    Fox : )

  2. Thank you, Fox. You are very sweet. I'm a huge fan of your work - it's absolutely gorgeous.

  3. Your clunies look great! I was bored one day and tried one, it wasn't anything presentable :D
    Here is a pattern I thought you might like for part of your practice(I haven't tried it, I just came across it one day online and saved it for some reason)
    Have a great day! :)

  4. They look fabulous! I've not tried - tho, there are many other tatting skills I haven't tried : ) I'm such a slow-poke : )

  5. Thanks God's Kid - that's a great pattern with clunies - not too many but enough for lots of good practicing!

    Thanks Lelia - it's not a race so take your time and learn the techniques as they inspire you.

  6. Wow, great leaves, I am envious. I keep putting off trying them.

  7. Tatskool - I did too and now I wished I had been more persistent a long time ago.

    Give another try. What have you got to lose?

  8. Congratulations! They look fantastic.

  9. I,too, am facinated by the clunies. Have long looked at the many patterns and thought I could never do them. Finally decided to try. My first "tallies" were not the best, but with practice and more practice they became better and better looking. Now I feel I am able to finally tat the clunies and have my "tallies" be presentable. I shuttle tat and still have the "cramped" feeling in my "loom" hand when I tat, but the results make it all worthwhile. Elisadusud does BEAUTIFUL work and she is the one that inspired me to "want to make the clunie tallies".
    Your talllies look great - keep up the good work!

  10. Bravo. They are very beautifull ! Try more and more... Bonne dentelle, et bises de France


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