Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Shuttle Design - Trials and Tribulations

Well, it's been an interesting couple of days!  But I think I'm getting somewhere.  I've been trying lots of things in my attempts at making myself a larger bobbin shuttle.  Many thanks to all for the suggestions I received in my previous post.

I started off by breaking apart a Starlit to see if there was any way of putting some sort of bobbin in there.

No, the shape of the centre and its length means that a bobbin would have to have a very large centre to fit over this post and would leave less space for thread on the bobbin.  Bin that idea.

Martha talked about her friend who would bend a Boye metal shuttle to accommodate a larger sewing machine bobbin…  It so happened I had a pair of those old Boyes… I chopped two tatting bobbins and glued them together to make a thicker bobbin… and I also cut myself a couple of times in the process!  Those craft knives are awfully sharp!!

Not bad.  That kinda works.  You can see in the image below how much thicker my newly made bobbin is.

Then I thought, perhaps I could stretch an Aero to do the same thing!  I managed to get my thick bobbin in there but it's too tight and the bobbin doesn't unwind easily enough.

Then this morning I received some of the larger bobbins I had ordered (thanks Maureen for the suggestion) - they are for industrial sewing machines.  They don't look that much bigger in the photo below but they are really.

Ninetta showed me the double bobbin shuttle she made from a plastic bottle so I tried making one and held the bobbin in place with the help of a screw from another shuttle I have.

Some of the plastic is clear so it look like the end is chopped off, but it isn't!

That didn't work very well as I forgot that the screw needs to be flush with the surface of the shuttle or the thread catches all the time.  No good.

So I went back to the Boye and massacred it a bit…  poor thing!  I gave it a shape so the bobbin would fit and that's not bad.  You can see in the image below how much bigger the Boye on top is compared to the standard one below.

Still not satisfactory though… and I don't really enjoy tatting with metal shuttles… I find them heavy and slippery.

I therefore went back to my favoured Aero to see if I could get that large bobbin to fit in there somehow.  The bobbin is definitely too big and too wide and will not fit inside the shuttle as is… so I decided to open one end altogether.  I made a hole and a peg to hold the bobbin.  I also had to cut out the dimple as this was getting in the way of the bobbin and that's the hole you can see.

Ha!  Maybe I'm getting somewhere.

Start to tat… but no it doesn't work with the open end at the back because it keeps catching as you reverse with your shuttle when making the knots, using the slip and slide method.  

No, actually, the bobbin needs to be in front!  I need to lead with the bobbin.  Seems strange at first but I can get the hang of this.  I moved the hook to what had now become the front of my shuttle… another problem:  it's not easy to make the join using that side as the thread gets caught around the bobbin and the hook.  No, that's no good either.  I still need to have the bobbin in front but perhaps I can move the hook to the back.

Try again.  Yes, that works surprisingly well!  I have to get used to a new way of handling the shuttle but having an open end around the bobbin means that it's easy to hold it tighter or looser between your fingers so that you can very niftily unwind thread as you need it, without having to stop tatting.  It doesn't take me long either to get used to using the hook from the back of the shuttle.  It's practically as quick as if it was in the front.  I'll have to make a video to demonstrate.

I've now modified this prototype again so that the bobbin is held in place with something similar to the dimples as they are in an Aero and removed the peg.  A peg can always be problematic:  too tight or too loose... and because the plastic of the aero is quite thin, there is not much for the peg to hang on to.  So a "dimple" works much better.  It's also much quicker to change/refill the bobbin without a peg… and there's no peg to lose!

There is something else genius about this design… (are you still with me? I don't know if you've made it to here in this long blogpost!)… I have always found that the only thing I'd like to improve with Aeros is that it takes a bit too long to wind the thread back onto the bobbin when moving from a ring to a chain. Unwinding is instant and it's so easy to unwind thread from an Aero as you tat, without stopping.  But winding back takes a bit longer.  I've always wanted to come up with a solution to this and have had an idea under my hat for some time. This idea has yet to materialise but I have inadvertently found another solution with this design.  You can just roll the bobbin along on a surface to wind the thread back - SUPER SPEEDY!  I'll have to make a video demonstration of this as well because it probably doesn't sound very clear the way I've described it.  I LIKE IT!

Right I'm off to tat some more and will make the next row of my Jan Stawasz piece with my new shuttles to see how I get on.  As with anything new, it takes a bit of practice but so far so good!  

If this works out, I could even decorate these!

… to be continued.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Triangles Done

Twelve triangles completed.  This is what it looks like now.  Interesting how the addition of the triangle pieces makes it a nearly round piece.  But it will look different again once I add the border.  In fact, it's not going to be a square but an octagon by the time I'm finished.

And I have a question please:  does anyone have a brainwave as to how/where I could find myself a LARGE bobbin shuttle (two in fact!)?  I'm thinking of making my next piece of tatting with size 10 thread but Aeros don't hold enough (larger sized) thread on their little bobbins, I would have to stop, refill and join too often for my liking.  What I'd really like is a LARGE bobbin shuttle.  You know, something "Starlit" size maybe?  Not "Tatsy" size, that's too large… say "Moonlit" size as a minimum? Jan Stawasz made most of his work with size 10 thread and you can see in his books that his shuttles are large.  He uses post shuttles but I'm such a fan of bobbin shuttles and would just LOVE to have a pair of LARGE bobbin shuttles to work with thicker thread.  

Oh, and it MUST have a hook at the tip, like an Aero.  Any shuttle makers out there maybe?… Hearing my plea…?

I thought about breaking a post shuttle apart and seeing if I could somehow install a bobbin in the middle.  Not come up with a working solution yet.

Anyone with ideas?

Help, please!

Best wishes,

Friday, 31 July 2015

Tatting in the Sunshine

We've not been having too much of a summer yet but yesterday was beautiful!  At the end of the day, I sat in the garden and tatted a little in the setting sun...

As I have found before, Jan Stawasz's diagrams can be difficult to decipher and follow.  The numbers are all over the place so you keep having to search for the relevant stitch counts (when some of them aren't missing altogether!)… so I usually draw myself a little diagram of my own to follow.

 I'm now working on these little triangular pieces to fill the gaps before starting on the next round of split rings which will go all around the edge.  I have 12 to make.  I managed to make 8 yesterday so only 5 left to go.  I find the use of "magic loops" invaluable when working on small motifs like that as it makes hiding ends neat and quick.  I'm really won over by magic loops and find that's the method I now use most often to hide ends.

My mother-in-law came back from holiday and brought me… apricots and tomatoes!  First I made a batch of apricot jam, french style, soft set, with less sugar and flavoured with a bit of vanilla powder.  The flavour of the apricots is really wonderful.  I didn't photograph the jam but next I made a batch of chutney.  I'd not made chutney in a while.  I like seeing the fruit, veg, and other ingredients in my giant preserving pan (this was a recent gift from a friend who was not using it).

I also added a little fresh chilli to it with all the spices.

Sadly, it only made three jars!  But I'm pleased with how it turned out.  Will be delicious with some mature cheddar.  The tablecloth I photographed the jars on is one I embroidered when I was first married, to match our wedding china.  It turned out I never used the tablecloth much at all.

Here's hoping for another beautiful sunny summer day!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Square or Rectangle?

I picked up my Jan Stawasz piece again.  I added a few more motifs to it.  It is now square.  And I'm wondering what to do.  Shall I stop at a square and start making the border?  Or shall I make it into a rectangle?  I can't make up my mind at the moment.

It currently measures 33cm across.  So shall this remain a WIP for a while longer and I should continue to make it bigger or shall I finish it?    What would you do?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Robin & Frauberger

I too was inspired by Robin's version of Tina Frauberger's pattern.  Fox is making a nice version in blue to edge her hanky.  I tried a few repeats of it.  Robin did a great job of scaling it down; the original patterns by Frauberger are quite large and though I like the shapes very much, I'm not overly fond of very large rings and chains and too much open space in tatting.  A little while back, I too scaled down one of her patterns:  a crown edging.

Mine curves a bit though…  so perhaps I need to adjust it a tiny bit more for me although it obviously works well for Robin and for Fox… where did I go wrong?

Tatted in Lizbeth 40, number 137, "Berry Burst"

How's everyone's summer coming along?  Doing anything nice?

After being away for a while,
I just seem to have way too many things on my to-do list!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Slow Progress on Cap and New Blanket

I'm testing the mobile Blogger app. This is my first blogpost done entirely from my telephone. I had to go away unexpectedly (still am away) and without my computer but wanted to post a little update so you don't think I've disappeared entirely!

(Mmmm, just spotted the date above says 17th of June when today is the 1st of July and I have no idea how to correct this as it was added automatically... strange). Anyway, no matter but do not be confused, today is definitely July 1st which means...

Happy Canada Day!

This is how far I got with the Jan Stawasz cap. Definitely head shaped now.... but still for a very big head!  I'm now debating cutting out two rows to make it narrower and completing the last rows from there instead. 

I went to stay at my friend's chalet for a few days and as a thank you - and because every chalet needs a homemade blanket - I decided to crochet one for her. I always liked this snowflake design but strangely decided to use green as my main background colour instead of blue although there will be a few blue hexagons to break it up a bit and add interest. So this will be a "summer snow" blanket!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Seven Rounds

It was too late for a natural light photo so I just scanned it.  It's too big for the scanner bed now.  Let's see if round 8 will start to turn this doily into a cap... At the moment, if it were a cap at all, it looks like it would fit the head of a giant!

Best wishes,