Saturday, April 8, 2023

Evolution of an OLD pattern

 This is a cross-shaped bookmark that I have been tatting for more than 50 years. I believe that this pattern was originally found in an old Work Basket. The pattern is unusual because the rings are on the exterior portion of the cross members and the chains are the "foundation or framing" for the cross members. 

I like making this pattern using Size 80 thread by winding two different colors (such as a colorway [either variegated or ombre] together onto a single shuttle. Other combinations can be a colorway for the rings and a solid, complimentary color for the chains or vice versa. To finish out the original pattern, the instructions called for the crafter to cut an appropriate length of narrow ribbon to feed through the joins of the chains both horizontally and vertically.

All the exterior rings start with a base of 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 or 3 + 3 + 3 - 3 - 3 with the joins made to the adjacent picot of the previous ring. Reverse work. [Note here, if using two threads together on the shuttle, be sure that the joins pick up both threads of the picot.]

All "interior" chains are either 3 - 3 or 3 + 3. Reverse Work. The corners that turn the 90-degree corners are Ch 3 - 4. RW R 2 + 1 + 1 - 1 - 2. RW Ch 4 - 3. As you come back on the other side, join the chain picot to the adjacent picot on the previous corner.

All end chains (at the end of the cross members are Ch 5. RW.

To explain the progression, let's look at the five samples in the picture below.

The Red Cross is tatted in traditional style with all stitches, regardless of the element; i.e., all double stitches (slip 'n slide method) are 1st Half: under, over, flip to the core thread then 2nd Half: over, under, and flip to the core thread. All joins are up-joins and do not count in the stitch count of the ring or chain elements. I used a lock-stitch chain to thread between the joined chains to mimic the ribbons from the original pattern. The tassel was created using this YouTube video but I only used two sets of 15 rounds (length-wise) on a Boye 7570 yarn bobbin - from my stash of accessories as that model seems to have been discontinued).

The Blue and White cross is tatted fully front side/back side. The same stitch counts and progression but the joins (down-joins on FS and up-joins on BS) count in the stitch counts as the 1st half of the next double stitch. You may notice a slight difference in the overall size of the piece. Using this method of tatting gives a piece about 12% smaller than tatting traditionally. The white thread for the chains mimics the ribbon of the original finishing instructions with extra threads cut, attached to the final end chain with a luggage tie, and pulled snugly against the chain to create a tassel.

The next two pieces represent a commission of work from my hubby. He wanted a patriotic-colored cross with distinct colors rather than a variegated colorway of the three colors associated with the USA (Red, White, and Blue). Both are tatted FS/BS but the first tri-color (approximately at the 4:00 o'clock position in the picture) uses self-closing mock rings (SCMRs). Close inspection of the piece (not readily visible in the picture) will give a blip of color at the base of the Ring.

The second tri-color uses single-color rings for all rings and simply alternates colors. For both of these crosses both the Blue and White threads are carried in the chain core creating a padded chain. I did NOT reverse the work on either of the two tri-colors but used the chain thread (red) to wrap unflipped stitches (as RODS) onto the two core threads. Both crosses were worked on the FS which necessitated a lock join to join the chains. For the SCMR style, I wanted the small corner rings to be Red (the same color as the chains); this called for an SLT with the two core threads and chain color before and after the small ring. To finish the crosses, I cut additional threads of all three colors, tied them to the last chain, separated all three colors distinctly, and braided them. Finishing this tassel with a simple overhand knot.

It is interesting to experiment with other tri-color combinations. A thought that comes to mind is to use a colorway, ombre style then select two solid colors that either complement or contrasts those colors in the colorway. For two-color combinations, a variegated colorway paired with white will always work beautifully. Pair the variegated colorway with black and a stained glass look will appear. 

Just for definition's sake (and why I use the terms I do):

Colorway - A color or arrangement of colors.

Variegated (adjective) - Having discrete markings of different colors. Synonyms include multihued, polychromatic, kaleidoscopic

Ombré (adjective or noun) - Having colors or tones that shade into each other.

Generally, colorway describes any thread, yarn, or fabric where the dyeing process leads to an arrangement of distinct colors. The terms (Variegated and Ombré) are more specific and can be used as adjectives when describing a colorway. Colorways work best for me in small pieces but if the repeat is suitable to a larger piece and the tatter pays attention to detail, especially when adding a thread, the result is stunning!

The final cross in the picture (upper left) is a Variegated colorway (Lizbeth 164 - Blue River Glades) with the chain using a complementary color (Lizbeth 675 - Fern Green Medium). The thread size for all of the crosses is 20. I did have to adjust my tension especially on the tri-color crosses as there were distinct differences in diameter among the red, white, and blue colors. I determined up front to use the red for the chains since it is a very strong color and always draws the eye. 

1 comment:

Monaco said...

Thanks for the in-depth knowledge and insightful posts