Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tatting on Vacation

We are in Alaska. I brought a lot of tatting with me to work on thinking there would be quiet times when I would want to tat. So far, we've been so busy that I haven't even taken it out and looked at it.

However, we did have a three hour flight to Anchorage and I was able to get it out and do a little work. The lady next to me told me her grandmother tatted but no one else in her family learned how to do it. I gave her a butterfly that I brought with me. I was thinking about leaving tatted bookmarks and other motifs as thank-you gifts to the hospitality staff throughout our trip.

Yesterday it was a clear, sunny day as we rode the train to Denali. Today I think it will probably rain. We're planning on taking the Natural History Tour today and won't get back to the lodge until 11:30pm. It's amazing that it stays light outside that late!

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.