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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Revisiting a design

I keep several design binders where I store pieces of finished tatting as well as hand drawn diagrams for each pattern I make. Sometimes I leaf through the pages, looking for a small gift to put into a card, or to get inspiration for new creations.

Most of the designs are finished and have either been placed on my blog or in my Etsy shop, but once in a while I store something that I intend to work on later. While looking through last year's binder, I kept seeing a snowflake that I started in July. I set it aside because I didn't like the way it looked, but over time I started to think..."Oh, that's not so bad."

I had written a note to myself to make a few of the chains longer to increase the negative space, so a couple of weeks ago, that's what I did:


The snowflake on the left was tatted in July of last year, while the one on the right was tatted just recently. In the end, I think I'll go with a happy medium, and use a chain length right in between the two tatted samples above.

I had also wanted to invert the clovers in the middle of the snowflake, to create a design that could be completed in one round. I just finished that up a few days ago, and as you can see it creates a much different visual effect when compared to the first design. The new snowflake is in the upper right corner of the following photo:


As usual, I have been distracted away from old projects and have found myself drawing and tatting snowflakes again! I feel like I'm more inclined to make snowflakes when the weather is nice. Perhaps that's because I get sick of all of the cold and snow in the winter, and I don't want to tat things that remind me of it.

I'm working on a few designs that I drew with the Amaziograph app (this is my first real test of the program), and I hope to share some photos in the next few weeks.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Drawing Symmetrical Chains

Today's post will be about how to draw a symmetrical arc, which can be used to represent chains in tatting diagrams. This is something that has come up in the online Inkscape discussions, and a few members were trying to find solutions to the problem. I found something that works pretty well, and I will share it below.

To begin, open Inkscape and select the Pencil tool. You will need to draw either a horizontal or a vertical line. (Due to limitations in the software, this method will NOT work with diagonal lines. However, after you have made your symmetrical arc, you can always rotate it into the correct position later on).

To draw a horizontal line, use the Pencil tool to click a point on the screen, then hold the CTRL key and click on another point to the right of your original location. The CTRL key will help keep the line in a horizontal position (or a vertical position, if you are drawing a vertical line).


Next, we need to switch to the Node tool (F2) to add a central node to the line. With the node tool, click on your line, and then click on the icon at the top of the screen to "Insert new nodes into selected segments":


This will place a new node in the middle of your line:


Make sure the central node is still selected before proceeding to the next step (the node will be blue when selected). Now, click on the icon at the top of the screen to "Make selected nodes symmetric":


This will change the appearance of the node from a diamond to a square. You should also notice a few small circular icons on either side of the node. These are called node handles:


If you do not see the node handles, please make sure that "Show Bezier handles of selected nodes" is turned on. This icon appears at the top of the screen when the node tool is selected. It looks like this:


To turn the line into an arc, we are going to select and drag the central node while holding the CTRL key on the keyboard. Make sure that the central node is the only node selected for this part (otherwise you will be moving the entire line):


Now it's time to edit the fullness of the arc. For this step, you will be clicking and dragging a node handle while holding CTRL on the keyboard. Remember that the node handles are the small circular icons on either side of the node.

You only have to choose one node handle to drag. The other node handle will automatically adjust along with it (this is what is meant by a "symmetrical node").

In the example below, I've dragged the right node handle to make the arc more full:


This is what the completed symmetrical arc looks like:


I can see this method being useful for creating bookmark or cross diagrams. If you can find a vertically or horizontally positioned chain within a doily diagram, this method can also be used there. Subsequent chains can be copy/pasted from the first chain and rotated and placed as needed.

Here is an example of a simple edging diagram containing symmetrical chains:


Only the first ring, chain, and picot set were drawn. I then grouped the first set, duplicated it, and moved each repeat into position using the arrow keys.

If you have questions about anything contained in this post, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Drawing Teardrop Shaped Rings: Alternative Method

On Wednesdays, a few members of the Online Tatting Class have been meeting to discuss using Inkscape to create tatting diagrams. I've been attending the early sessions, which are at 3 PM Eastern Standard Time.

During the first class, one of the members named Pixie shared an alternative method of creating teardrop shaped rings. I had previously used a different method, which can be found by clicking here.

This alternative method involves drawing an oval with the Circle tool, changing the oval into a Path, and then making the topmost node corner (which creates a pointed end). I've incorporated another step, which is to add a Spiro path effect to the ring, to smoothen out the curves.

Here is a step by step tutorial.

After opening Inkscape, you will need to draw an oval using the circle tool:


This oval needs to be changed to a Path, so that we can get editable nodes. To change it to a Path, select the oval and go to Path -> Object to Path on the main menu:


Once the oval has been changed into a Path, it should have four little square icons (called "nodes") around the perimeter. These will be visible only after the node tool (F2) is selected.

Select the Node tool, which is right underneath the cursor icon on the left side of the screen. Then, click on the topmost node of your oval, or whichever node you would like to make pointy (it will turn blue after it has been selected). Next, click on the icon at the top of the screen to "Make selected nodes corner". You will need to click on this icon twice to get a nice sharp point:


This is what the oval looks like afterwards. You can see the teardrop shape beginning to form:


We can smooth out the edges of the ring by adding a Path effect called "Spiro Spline". To do this, select your ring and go to Path -> Path effects on the main menu.


This will open up a new window on the right side of the screen. Click on the "+" icon to add a new effect:


After clicking the "+" icon, a pop up window will appear in the middle of the screen. Scroll down and select "Spiro spline" then click "Add":


This will smooth out the edges of the ring to make a nice teardrop shape:


If you want to reshape the ring, you can do so by using the resize arrows, which appear when the ring is selected with the Cursor tool (F1). The height and width can be adjusted pretty freely, and you don't have to worry about holding the CTRL key while resizing. Click here to read more about resizing shapes in Inkscape.

You can also adjust the shape of the ring by moving nodes with the node tool, but I don't think it's necessary in this case. However, if you would like to see a more detailed explanation of that please leave a comment down below and I will create a separate post with pictures.

After you have a shape that you like, remember to save it to a template file for future use. Copy/pasting images from a template file saves a lot of time when creating new diagrams.

In my next post I'll talk about how to draw symmetrical chains. The question popped up in our online Inkscape discussion a few weeks ago, and I've finally found a solution. I just need to take screenshots and compile a post.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

White square

I've been a bit busy lately, so I don't have too much tatting to show. I made this white square yesterday, in the hopes of using it as a base for a cube shaped box. It is tatted in DMC Cordonnet Special, size 40 white.


This is the same square as I'm using in the black box, except that it has a few extra thrown rings for stabilization. The tatting is much more dense this way, but I'm hoping it will help to give structure to the base and walls.

I'm also thinking that it would be nice to put a little flower with leaves on the top when it is all done. That is another thing I will have to figure out how to design.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stiffening beaded tatting

This is a continuation of my previous post, in which I tested out different methods of stiffening tatting. I received a comment asking if anyone had tried fully submerging a piece of beaded tatting into a stiffener, and how that would turn out. Luckily, I had a few tatting scraps to test this on: one with beads and one with a metal filigree finding.


I decided to use Mod Podge Stiffy because it is my favorite of the fabric stiffeners that I tried. I poured the stiffener into a plastic cup and submerged the tatting in it for a few minutes. Afterwards, I took the tatting out and blotted it really well with a paper towel. I made sure to remove any excess stiffener that had gotten onto the finding and beads. I let the tatting dry overnight on a paper plate wrapped in plastic wrap.

Here are the results. The heart had a lot more substance to it, so it turned out a little stiffer than the small beaded sample.


I didn't notice any stiffener stuck to the metal filigree finding. Even though the tatting was blotted really well, it still maintained the same level of stiffness as my previous tatted samples using Mod Podge Stiffy. I guess the stiffener really soaked into the fibers.

Here's another picture of the back of the filigree finding. I think the color abnormalities are just part of the finding, and not the fabric stiffener:


I tested the stiffener on a small beaded sample as well. If anything, maybe the beads became a little duller after the process? It's hard to tell as I forgot to take a picture of the tatting before it was stiffened.


Again, there is no residue left on the beads and the tatting is fairly stiff. This one didn't have as much substance so it's not quite as stiff as the tatted heart.

Overall, I'd say this product works really well and as long as you are careful to blot out the excess stiffener, it shouldn't interfere with beaded tatting. However, I would suggest running a test before using it on something you like, just to be sure!