"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Saturday, October 18, 2014

On Knowing When to Quit

For the next bit of greenery, I was going to use Mary Konior's "Lupins" pattern. I didn't get very far.

I had a really hard time closing the rings with the roll tatting. I decided when I got this far that I didn't have the patience for it. I've done roll stitch before, in Karey Solomon's maple leaf; but that uses much shorter lengths of it so it's easier to control, and more importantly, it's on chains, so closing isn't an issue. I don't actually see any reason why roll stitch should make the ring harder to close, but it does.

I should also note that Squijum is in much the same condition right now as he was in that maple leaf post, having had two more teeth pulled on Thursday. I wish he would let me brush them so maybe we wouldn't have to keep doing this.

Now you know I never let any tatting technique beat me for good, so I will come back to the Lupins someday. Right now, though, I have a project to finish, so I switched to a different pattern-- namely Chain Reaction, also from Tatting with Visual Patterns.

Starting this one posed an interesting challenge. Since I already had the shuttle wound from the Lupins attempt, I didn't want to waste that thread. Chain Reaction obviously requires a ball; but the shuttle was, of course, already cut from the ball at this point. Starting with non-continuous threads with a ring followed by a chain is no problem; we all do it all the time when tatting in two colors. However, starting with an open-ended chain with non-continuous threads always leads to the risk of the core thread getting pulled out.

I solved this problem in a different way with each of these two pieces. For the first one, on the right, I pulled a few inches off the ball and used it to finger tat the first chain. When I reached the second chain, where there's a shoelace trick to hold the core thread in place, I joined on the actual shuttle thread. This is a technique that would work well any time you have a pattern that starts with a chain and you have some reason for not beginning with a continuous thread.

For the second piece, on the left, I did something much easier. I realized that since I had originally wound the shuttle for a piece that was all rings, and I was now doing something that was all chains, I actually had enough on the shuttle that it could easily act as a ball for the short length I was planning to do. So I pulled a small amount off the shuttle and wound it onto another shuttle. This second one became my working shuttle, as it didn't need much thread on it; and the first shuttle, which still had most of the thread, became my ball. On this piece, I also joined the second chain to the beginning of the first one, even though that's not the pattern, just because I felt it looked tidier than having a little tendril hanging out. (Yes, I know foliage in nature does have tendrils hanging out and is not always tidy. That's not the point. Don't ask questions.) I also ended in the middle of a repeat; I kind of wish I had finished it, but it's too late now.

It's interesting to note that in the pattern, Mrs. Konior says it "will ease to a curve". In fact, it just naturally curves, as you can see. She must have blocked it quite a bit to get that nice straight edging she shows in the book. But for my purposes, curvy is better, so no blocking for me.

The thread is Lizbeth color 675 Fern Green Medium, size 40.


  1. Roll tatting is tough. I find that I need to use a really stiff thread to be successful snd I tat more loosely than usual. Always never the first try!! Hugs to poor Squijum. Mr G lets me brush, but can I see the beginnings of some plaque. My vet says T-D dental food is great, and I use it but only a little. Now I read that cats should only be eating wet food! Ah cats! : ))

    1. Funny thing, all his bad teeth have been on the right side; the vet says his left teeth all look great. She says maybe when that first tooth went bad and started to hurt, he learned to chew just on one side of his mouth, and after it was pulled and didn't hurt anymore, he just never went back to chewing on both sides. I do give him Greenies dental treats, and apparently they're working well on the side he chews on. I also give him those mesh-covered chew toys that are supposed to floss his teeth, but he licks them more than he chews them! In the wild, cats would have a natural abrasive scrubbing on their teeth with every meal as they crunch up their prey's bones.

    2. Gian likes those mesh toys. I tie one on the end of a rope he favours and we play with that. This game encourages him to chew on the toy. Maybe I'll try Greenies too.

  2. Wow animals have dental problems too, I am sorry that this happened and hope the solution is found soon.
    I too struggle with lupins and find it you change your tension it messes things up too. I am also a big fan of 2 shuttles for many reasons and this is one of them. I like the top with all the picots too!