Craft, Tatting

Crafter’s Block

I’ve got crafter’s block. Yes, I know I have a number of WIPs but you see I’ve been wanting for months and months to start a BIG tatting project. The problem is that there’s just too many options. Every now and then I start to work my way through to finally make a decision and get started, but then I find that I’m neck-deep in calendar days and I’m paralised by the options.

So today I thought I’d let you in on my options in a hope that someone might have some insights to help me to get a little closer to actually have a WIP instead of a dream.

1. The pattern
I want to do a BIG doily. I’ve been wanting to do a big doily ever since I first started tatting and I have done some fairly large ones, but they have generally been gifted (the ex-MIL got a particularly nice piece which I’ll never see again and which I suspect is either tossed away or buried in the back of a cupboard grrrr).

My first thought was to do the one that originally caught my eye – the coffee table mat from The Basic Book of Macramé & Tatting but then I found the large doily in Tatted Fashion which I “think” I like better, or at least it has a few more interesting rows. Then everyone started doing Renulek’s Spring Doily which is absolutely lovely.

2. Thread size
I want big. I want the “wow” factor. I want it to be impressive to a fellow crafter. I want to love it and for my grandkids to love it. I’m thinking size 10 thread, solid and durable but still a lot of choices in colours. But then maybe size 20 would look better as it’ll be finer… argh!

The following examples are taken from a Coats and Clark book and show the difference that diferent sized threads can make.

3. Needle or shuttle
I enjoy needle tatting, I’m convinced I’m faster with it plus it has the added bonus of being able to easily open rings. However, it it looser than shuttle and I wonder if that will affect the long term durability.

Screenshot 2014-06-20 21.11.37

You can see the difference here. These are both tatted using size 10 Lizbeth thread (col 680). The needle tatted piece on the right took 21 mins to create. It’s got that padded look to the stitches that is typical of needle tatting and is floppier, it’s also slightly bigger. The shuttle tatted piece looks tighter and is. It’s also much stiffer naturally. It took 25 mins so slightly longer, not counting the time to load the shuttle (not long cos I use an aero style). The needle tatted piece is much easier to weave ends into, I’ve always had difficulty with my ends!

4. Colour
And the final piece of the puzzle will be colour. I love the look of single plain colour for these huge doilies – they look amazing and you can see the intricacy of the design, whereas colour can detract from the design. However, I need colour. I prefer working with colour and I’m always drawn to the variegated threads. I know which ever one I choose it’ll look great in a bold colour, but I keep thinking that I will get bored… maybe I need to combine some variegated thread with some plain thread.

A quick google search of one of my favourite motif designs – Spinning Wheel by Mary Konior will show the results of using variegated threads and solid threads. I grabbed this screen shot from those results –

Screenshot 2014-06-20 21.30.58

Left is by Laurette and right is by Vanessa.

I’m thinking that the final piece will likely be a spring/easter table centrepiece – mainly because we already have enough decoration for Christmas, it would be nice to have something that comes out specially for other times of the year.

So… that’s where I’m at and what I’m pondering and why I currently have Crafter’s Block. I’m interested in knowing what you think of the options, why you think that and what you would choose so please do leave me a comment!

10 thoughts on “Crafter’s Block”

  1. I used to crochet with size 10, before I discovered tatting, but having made the tractor pattern for my grandson last year, I can say that tatting an entire piece with it was very hard on my hands – however, yours are not aged, so maybe that won’t be an issue for you! I love the coffee table mat, and that, I think, would look best on one colour – the Renulek might be more fun though.

  2. A solid colour shows up the pattern better (going by the samples above). A lighter shade of colour would also show up the pattern better. It is harder to pick up intricasies with darker coulours like Navy or dark purple. I think the needle tatted piece looks like it would be more durable.

  3. Ah – decisions – not always easy. Here are some thoughts from me to help you think. This is how I would reason if faced with this project, and might not be what is right for you.
    For a big doily/tablecloth I’d use single colour, white or ecru, as those are threads easy to come by for me and easier to make sure I have enough thread. Also using these basic colours makes the doily/tablecloth independent of season. If I need an “eastery” colour I’d use a yellow or bright green cloth under it and later a red or dark green for Christmas.

    If I were to use colour I would use solid colours as variegated colours hides the structure of the pattern. Also, if I were to use more than one colour, I would colour a picture of a finished white piece – if I could find one – to get an idea of how my choice of colours works with the pattern.

    I believe the quality of the thread is more important for the durability of the finished project than if the tatting is tight or not. If it is too tight, it might even put an extra strain on the thread and make it break easier. That said I personally would use shuttles even if my newbie speed using needles is quicker than my experienced speed using shuttle, but shuttle needs less concentration and is thus easier to carry on for longer periods – for me. I use magic loops and tatting over tails to hide ends quicker.

    Finally the size of the thread: choose the thinner thread. Size 20 looks more elegant than size 10, by both needle and shuttle.

    Happy tatting on your big project!

  4. Wow ! I love the coffee table mat. It looks a bit lighter (airier ?) to me. I would definitly go with a solid color size 20 and with shuttle. I find it looks a bit more crispier to me. Otoh if you make it with a thicker colored thread and you don’t like it, send it to me ;-).

  5. Now this isn’t easy to answer since so many of it depends on personal preferences…

    I think I’d use size 20 and the shuttle if I had to decide it. Tatting with a shuttle might take more time but it also looks crisper. Hiding ends can be a pain but considering how much effort goes into the piece it will be nothing compared to that.

    Comparing the three doilies I think the Renulek is the most interesting. It has “denser” and more lacy parts and also very intricate and delicate sections.

    It looks very nice if you combine several colors (if you don’t like using only one color). I think I wouldn’t use variegated yarn for it, though, because that might kind of hide parts of the pattern.

    I hope you’ll find the right combination of tool, thread and pattern. 😀

  6. size 20 thread, solid color..shuttle tatted. I like the Renulek doily. If you do the Renulek I’ve seen it tatted in multiple solid colors.

  7. You didn’t say what size needle you used with the #10 thread.. in the samples. a #5? needle? It will tighten up some when washed or blocked. Now about patterns. I like the left one. the Center one is more uniform in density of thread in the rounds than the other two. I like the thinner.solid.thinner.solid.. variety. I’m doing Renulek’s. I’ve been needle tatting and ended up “fudging” the 7/8th rows to avoid having to do 30 floating rings in round 7. The italian “magazines” have some very large tatted tablecloths, one of them is on the cover — don’t remember the number, but its with a lot of pink on the cover, and the tablecloth, in rounds, is also pink. Can’t see the center on the cover, but its all tatted.
    For thread, I would choose one varigated and use it in a couple of specific rounds, and keep the other rounds in solid colors.

  8. Hi Judith
    I’m not sure what size needle I used – I don’t keep tabs on what sizes I have. I tend to match the needle size to the thread size for each project, aiming to get a needle as close to the actual thread size as I can.

  9. I love all the doilies especially the Renulek one. I also love the spinning wheel, which I haven’t done yet. Anything by Konior is beautiful! I guess it’s time for me to do/make a bigger piece..!

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