Custom Pages

Friday, October 30, 2015


I have been tatting other people's snowflakes for a change. I forgot how much easier it is to follow a written pattern than it is to come up with one from scratch!

The larger of the two is Frivole's latest creation, "Snowdrop" which can be found in her Etsy shop. The snowflake looks complicated, but the pattern is actually very easy. All you have to know are rings, chains, floating rings, and lock joins. I wondered what the snowflake would look like with onion rings in the center, but I'm afraid I made a mess of the pattern when I tried to change it, so I'm just leaving well enough alone :)

The small snowflake is Mandatory's first PDF tatting pattern. You can find a link to the pattern on her blog. This pattern is very easy and quick. It's great if you are looking to make miniature snowflakes. Included with the pattern are a few suggestions for alternative picot placements and beads. I put a few extra picots into the top cluster, which was not explicitly suggested, but I think it came out okay.

In addition to tatting snowflakes, I've also been taking a closer look at iBooks Author. As I said in my previous post, iBooks Author is a free App for the Mac (not available on the iPad or iPhone). I have been planning to use this program to give my tatting patterns a more polished look.

Further research reveals some limitations with the program. iBooks Author is meant for making ebooks that are readable on the iPad. The page dimensions are specifically sized for an iPad screen and are unchangeable.

What does this mean? iBooks Author will NOT work for making a physical book (i.e. one that you send off to a professional printer). However, iBooks Author will still work for creating digital PDF patterns, and these do print out okay on a home computer (but with blank margins along the edges).

Here is a photo of what I am talking about. I printed out a template in Portrait mode and another in Landscape mode. Can you see the blank edges? Landscape is worse than Portrait:

Personally, I am a bit bothered by the margins, so back to the Internet I went, to look for a solution. I think I found one in the form of a PDF cropping program (aptly named "Briss"). I have not downloaded or tested it yet, but the reviews look very good. Apparently the pages can all be digitally stacked on top of one another, and you can draw a bounding box around your PDF file to trim the edges.

Overall there are a lot of new things to learn and I'm sure it will keep me busy for a while.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Doily is Done

The doily is done, and has been for some time, though I only got around to sewing the ends in today. Here it is in Lizbeth size 20, Ecru and Autumn Spice. It measures 5.5 inches across:

On my previous post, Frivole asked if I was going to share the pattern, either on my blog or in my Etsy shop. Before her comment, I had been thinking about what to do with the pattern for several weeks. You see, I really want to make some changes to my pattern writing style by including things like materials used and written instructions to go along with the diagram.

I also recently found iBooks Author, a free App for Mac computers (unfortunately not available on the iPad). There are some nice looking templates with places to put photos, materials, a written pattern section, etc. I should still be able to use my Inkscape diagrams by loading them into iBooks Author as photo files.

I'd like to take my time playing around with these new ideas, without the pressure of adding the pattern to my shop. (Besides I don't know how much of this pattern I can actually call my own, as the third and most intricate round, though heavily modified, is essentially Frauberger's design).

As a result, I've decided to share my pattern notes here, so that those who are interested in trying out the doily can do so, and I can take all the time I want to play around with my pattern writing ideas. When I do get around to making polished written patterns, both this and the Frauberger bookmark will be available on my Free Patterns page.

For now, I've uploaded photos of my pattern notes. These are the actual notes that I use when I am formulating a design, so there are some erasure marks throughout. Please scroll down for a zoomed in photo as well:

There is a very slight issue with cupping of the thrown rings in Round 1, which is easily blocked with a dab of water. Another way to help with this issue is to make the picots joining the trefoils together just a bit bigger (instead of making them "very small picots" just make them "normal" picots, if that makes sense). All other joins will be very small picots.

Right clicking and opening these images in a new tab will make the numbers large enough to see. If anything is unclear, don't hesitate to ask!

For those who have already made the Frauberger bookmark posted to my blog in June, this doily will be no problem. Otherwise, please take a look at this post (click here) for more information about how the Frauberger edging is made. (Also note that the stitch counts in the bookmark are slightly different than those in Round 3 of the doily).

Lastly, for those who are interested in how many yards are used, I have made calculations with Lizbeth size 20 thread.

Unlike my typical diagrams, my rough notes are not color coded. For the yard calculations just remember that Shuttle 1 forms the rings while Shuttle 2 forms the chains/thrown rings. In Round 3 the shuttle work looks like this:

Round 3 can be done in other ways as well, just remember that the yards calculated are specifically for the above method.

And so I leave you with another long winded post (try as I might to make these things concise, I just cannot escape my detail oriented ways). I'm off to enjoy the Fall weather and then to continue tatting Frivole's latest snowflake. Until next time...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Measuring Yards

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to figure out a good stitch count for the small doily from my previous post, so that it lays flat without blocking. I'm tatting it again, in Ecru and Autumn Spice (color idea borrowed from Elena K)

It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's a nice color combination for Fall.

I tend to get bored unless I have something new to figure out, so this time I decided to try to calculate the number of yards that are used in each round of the pattern. Grace T gave me the idea when she was proofreading one of my snowflake patterns in June, and I thought it would be useful information to incorporate into future patterns.

I don't have a yard stick (never had use for one until now) so I used a tape measure (the kind used in sewing) and stuck it down to the couch with some packaging tape :)

The packaging tape actually came in handy later on when I was trying to measure out 20 yards to put onto the shuttle. I had to take the thread off the ball in 5 yard increments, and then place a piece of tape at the spot where I left off. I wound the shuttle up to the tape marking, and then measured out another 5 yards at a time. There's probably a better way to do this, but I couldn't think of one!

To measure the yards used in each round, I subtracted what was left over on the shuttle from what I had originally loaded onto that shuttle. So, if I loaded 4 yards, and was left with 1 yard on the shuttle after completing the round, then I knew the round took 3 yards of thread to make.

A few thoughts arise from this process:
1) Could I have tatted one repeat only, and then calculated the amount of thread based on this?
2) Is there a formula for calculating yards used in size 40 or 80, when compared to size 20? (i.e. multiply the size 20 yardage by 75% to get the size 40 yardage for the same pattern?)
3) Will slight differences in thread (different brands or varying thicknesses from the dyeing process) affect the amount of yards used in a pattern? Also, will different tatting tensions affect the amount of yards used? If so how much leeway would I need to provide in yard estimates?

These are the kinds of questions that distract me while I am tatting, which is probably why I so easily lose focus when tackling larger projects!