Monday, July 31, 2017

Encapsulation and the stone pendant

 In this pendant, I used a Mookaite Jasper stone with colors that went well with my "Knitty Gritty" hand dyed thread. Using inspiration from several wire-wrapping tutorials that I found in books and online I launched forth into wrapping the stone.

I tatted the flower motif separately. Then, when I got to the place in the wire-wrapping where I wanted the tatting to be, I wrapped the wire over the tatting. To clarify, I only wrapped the wire over the tatting in a few places, to catch it in place. I folded the tatting out of the way to continue the wire-wrapped pattern underneath. 

The methods I use for tatting the little flowers are Josephine rings (rings tatted using only the same half stitch repeated) and encapsulation (tatting over multiple core threads). Scroll down for the tutorial on these techniques.
Wire weaving in progress.

Catching the tatted motif in place, while continuing to weave the wire under the tatting.

The front side of the finished pendant.

The back side of the pendant.

 Here's a tutorial on the encapsulation technique that I use for the little flower motifs.

You need at least 3 threads. For this example I used a continuous multicolored thread on 2 shuttles plus a contrasting color on a 3rd shuttle. 

 The threads can be knotted together, but I like to get started without a knot. I pick up one of the shuttles with the continuous thread, which is the color that I want for the rings (flower petals), and tat a Josephine ring. I like to use the 1st half of the double stitch only, because it gives a tighter ring. But, the 2nd half of the double stitch can be used instead, for a looser look. The differing results are because the 1st half tightens the twist in the thread, the 2nd half loosens the twist. I usually put 9 to 14 half stitches in these rings, which must be closed carefully because the thread wants to kink.
After closing the ring, a short chain follows. Hold both of the continuous threads and the tail of the contrasting thread. The tail needs to be long enough to tension it along with the other threads for the multiple core of the chain. (Note: at some place along the "stem" of the flower motif the tail can be abandoned and cut off later. This is how I start the motif without a knot and no tails to sew in.)

 Wrap 1 unflipped double stitch over the multiple core threads. I used 2nd half first, 1st half second for this, but the other way around works too.
Pick up the same shuttle that you used for the first ring to tat the next ring. It is important to keep a main core thread sliding freely inside the chains for the flower, to be able to snug the flower up tightly when it's done. Only after the flower is closed, can any of the threads be used freely.

Follow each ring with an unflipped double stitch wrapped over the multiple core.

Use as many petals as you wish for the flower. Follow the last ring with 1 unflipped double stitch chain. Then, to close the flower and continue with a chain for the "stem", put the chain thread on top, leaving the multiple core threads below, between the 1st and 2nd rings.

Wrap unflipped double stitches for the "stem" chain. If you want the stem to curve upward, bring the wrapping thread under the multiple thread core, then tat first half, 2nd half. To curve the stem downward, leave the wrapping thread below the core and tat 2nd half, 1st half.

After a few stitches, pull the main core thread to tighten the flower. From time to time, also tug the other threads to keep everything nice and tight.

Continue the flower motif any way you wish, throwing off "leaves" and "buds" using any of the threads. To end off, the extra threads can be hidden inside the final rings, and the last ring can be a single shuttle split ring, leaving no tails to sew in. Have fun with it!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Knitty Gritty and Craftsy sale

New batch of "Knitty Gritty" just added to my Etsy shop!

My process is to first wind the thread (Lizbeth or DMC) into skeins, then put them into a soda ash solution to soak while I get the dye ready. I use Procion MX fiber reactive dyes for permanent colors. As the photo shows, I mix small amounts of dye in paper cups, then paint the dye onto the thread with a brush.

I wrap the painted skeins up in plastic to cure overnight, then rinse them out the next day. When they're dry, my dear husband helps twist them into pretty skeins ready to sell.

In other news, Craftsy has a sale through July 30 with over 500 classes under $20, including both of my tatting classes there! Click my affiliate link for the savings:  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mixed beading/tatting experiment

 This was my first time making a peyote beaded bezel. I had 12 mm Swarovski rivoli and wanted to learn how to bead around it. Deborah Roberti's tutorial Creating a Peyote Bezel is very detailed and easy to follow.
 I followed her instructions for the basic bezel cup to hold the rivoli. For the decorative outer row of beading, I came up with my own simple embellishment of alternating large and small "picots" of 5 seed beads and 2 seed beads.

 To add the tatting, I used a small crochet hook to grab the tatting thread (size 20) and lock join between the 2 beads.
Quite a bit of "ripping out" and trying again happened before I came up with a design that I found acceptable enough to finish the pair. The earrings are 1 and 1/4 inches wide, and weigh 1 ounce each. I'm keeping this pair for myself. Now that I've got the basics down, I expect other ideas for combining these techniques may occur!