Sunday, March 25, 2012

The SCMR: A Chain With Attitude!

I had a couple of questions sent to me about the SCMR bracelet I mentioned in my previous post, so I'd like to talk about that for a few minutes. 

I like SCMRs - they bring a lot to the tatting table.  You can throw rings off them, which you can't do with a traditional ring, and you can close them in different ways according to what you're tatting and the look you want to achieve.

The thing that may be hardest for me is avoiding the dreaded gaposis.  Here it is, fouling up my SCMR - but it can also foul up traditional rings, chains, loop-tatted rings - it's aggravating!  Yes, I fixed it - as it was just three double stitches, I frogged them and (carefully) re-tatted.

In answer to the tatters who said they'd like to watch me tat this SCMR with the bead at the close, here it is - step-by-step.  First, pick up the bead with your crochet hook (this one is a size 13, and the beads are size 8).

The second picture shows the bead transferred to the loop of core thread.  Note that the core thread has been pulled to make the loop smaller; I'm going to show you the close I use most, which is a flat close, because it locks the SCMR so it can't accidentally open.

Here at left, I've used the point on the shuttle to pull up a loop of shuttle thread through the loop at the beginning of the SCMR.  This loop of shuttle thread can be used as a "handle" to pull the SCMR closed.

Here is the SCMR completely closed, and ready for the shuttle to be put through the loop of shuttle thread to close and lock it.  What's happening in this method of closure is that you're making a shuttle (lock) join into the SCMR loop.

After the shuttle thread is pulled tight to completely close the loop, the SCMR is locked closed.  I have been teaching this method for over five years now, and most tatters who try it tell me they like it better than the usual method of closure, which is putting the shuttle through the SCMR loop.  There is certainly nothing wrong with the usual method - to each his own, after all - but sometimes my SCMRs will re-open when I start tatting the next element of the piece, when I've closed with just the shuttle through the SCMR core thread loop. 

I like toggle clasps, especially if they're interesting ones - this one is a gecko!  This is a fun pattern - not necessarily a quick pattern, as it takes a little longer to tat an SCMR than a traditional ring, but it is a lot of fun.  With this pattern, you can choose your beads as you tat and not have to pre-string.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tatting Alfresco!

THIS was one of the most perfect days I've ever seen - it started out with early (very early) morning fog, which burned off as quickly as whisking a tablecloth off a table!  The sun was bright, the clouds were huge, fluffy, and white...except for the dark grey one, which rained on us (briefly) during our picnic (which we were enjoying in the truck).

We enjoyed today tremendously - both for the being outdoors (and being able to breathe, which was a bonus) and for my finishing one tatting project and starting another. 

Tassels are not my strong suit!
The first tatting project was six crosses, which I volunteered to do for our Guild.  The only criterion was that they had to be blue and white - and I found a lovely ball of Flora HH in size 20 which worked out nicely.  Any pattern could be used, so I used a Mary Konior (one of my favorites).  Here are the six.  Knowing that I would end them with a tassel, I put three yards on the shuttle and worked from the ball, and used the leftover shuttle thread in the tassel.  They'll go in the mail Monday.

The project I started today is a bracelet - it's a Martha Ess pattern with a twist, courtesy of the Shuttle Brothers (this was discussed at the PTG meeting last Saturday).  Instead of stringing all your beads and working with a single shuttle, tat SCMRs and slip the bead(s) over the loop before you close it.  I'm using Altin-Basak size 50, color 3004.  It's a lot prettier in person than in these pictures - there was some glare outside which bleached out the shuttle as well (it's actually dark blue).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It Was a Very Good Year!

...1868, that is!  It was a Leap Year, just like 2012.  Why, just look at some of the historic events:
  • May 30 - Memorial Day was observed in the US for the first time
  • July 25 - Wyoming became a US territory
  • August 4 - Ira H Stockwell patented the second American metal tatting shuttle
Both sides are the same - a spray of flowers from the center to the end, with the patent date around the center.  It's nickel silver, which is another name for German Silver.  This is another of my eBay finds - purchased as one of a group of four shuttles (the others were early plastics).  I'm very pleased to add it to my growing collection of old shuttles!