Monday, November 15, 2010

Pretty in Pink, and Purple - Stage 2: Tatting

After several trials with this pattern I thought this piece would be a breeze to complete, but the slightest change gave me a run for my money!  In the past trial pieces I shared, I added the beads prior to my shuttle winding.  This is typically one of the easiest ways to get the beads on the chain; when needing beads I could just slide them into place and stitch to hold.  However, in the trial pieces I was using Swarovski crystals and the final piece I chose to incorporate pearls.  Pearl beads are not something I typically have worked with in the past but I didn't think they would be very different than other beads.  When sliding the beads on the thread I noticed that they were not as easily gliding over the thread.  The holes in the beads were plenty large enough, but they seemed to stick to the thread a bit.  In a hurry to get started, I just slid them down the ball thread and got to work.  However, after finishing the first petal in the pattern, I realized this may be a bigger problem than I thought.  I attempted to close the final ring, and spent several minutes trying to get the thread to untwist so the ring would close cleanly.  As I continued on through to the next two petals of the pattern, the problem continued to get worse until when closing one of the smallest rings, the twisted thread snapped.

GAH!  I hate thread breaks, they slow down the whole process. 

TIP: Ring Closing Thread Breaks
With a break like this it is really important to backup your work to ensure the most beautiful and strong repair possible.  In a piece like the one pictured above, I recommend using a scissor to cut the ring in half before the joining picot (but as close to this picot as possible).  You should then be able to pull apart the stitches easily enough after doing this to get back to the base of the previous chain.  This will look something like the picture below.

DO NOT try and tie your shuttle thread back on to the broken thread.  It is nearly impossible to work over knots going forward with the piece.  In addition, knotting will cause a lumpy section in your work which will detract from its beauty.  Instead, trim your shuttle thread at the breakage point to make sure you have a clean, non-frayed end.  Wrap the shuttle thread around your hand in the normal way to prepare to make a ring.  Simply pull the broken thread through the middle of the turned stitches as you continue with your ring.  I would continue doing this for at least 3-5 stitches to ensure the strength and durability of the join.  Once, finished with those few stitches, trim the broken thread and complete your ring.  When reversing work to complete the next chain, you will apply the same technique to the new thread's tail.  As you will see below, using this technique will result in a perfectly lovely fix!

Well, despite the several thread breaks, things all came together finally last night.  Here is the final piece prior to being added to the headband:

...and here is the final piece, modeled by my daughters.


Karen Tapahe said...

Beautiful piece! Thanks for the tip on what to do when the shuttle thread breaks. That usually frustrates me to the point of completely giving up on the piece I'm making. I just hope I don't have to try this technique too soon :-)

bySteph said...

Thanks :) I am just starting to record a couple real short how-to videos I plan to add to my blog that will illustrate some of these basics. So, maybe there will even be a video by the next time you are cursed with the broken shuttle thread lol!

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