August 15, 2009

Blog discussion: On closing a ring

A few weeks back I put out a challeng to my fellow tatting bloggers. Many participated and I really enjoyed the whole process. So, I thought I might call on my bloggy friends again for a discussion of sorts. The topic? A very basic principle in tatting-

Proper closing of a ring.

There seem to be several methods used. Some just close the ring and go on tatting, and then of course there are the camps that insist you "post" the shuttle (pass the shuttle through the ring to the back of the work) before you close the ring. Then there are a few of us that I've come across that have spent time analyzing and fiddling to find the perfect personal method. The desired end result would be, I believe, a ring that closes and stays flat, without distorting the stitches. I have tried a few things and this is what I have come up with.

I tried every method I could come up with. I tat frontside/backside, (work stitches in reverse order whenever tatting on the back side of the piece), so I think that the results might be different if I had tatted the chains traditionally. Here is the lowdown on each ring. From left to right

  1. Normal tated ring, no modification before closing.
  2. Posted the shuttle before closing
  3. add one first half stitch and post
  4. add first half without posting
  5. add one second half stitch and post
  6. add second half without posting.

These are my initial observations.

  • Ring one rolls outward slightly after you tat the chain that follows.
  • Ring two rolls inward and half of the last double stich is eaten up in the process.
  • Ring three lays perfectly flat, and all stitches are visible. however it leaves a tiny "bar" at the bottom of the ring
  • Ring four rolls outward even more than ring one
  • Ring 5 rolls inward in an unacceptable manner
  • RIng 6 rolls outward only slightly, but adds the appearance of an extra stitch.

My typical method of choice is currently number 3. I find it leaves the rings flat and undistorted. My one concern is about judging. If I entered a piece would that little "bar" on the bottom of the ring be unacceptable?

So what do you think? what method works best for you? Perhaps you'd like to tat up a sample and share your observations. I did a simple pattern of R 4-4-4-4 CH 4-4 here. Tell us about your particular preferences and method of tatting. I'm curious to see what might happen if I didn't do frontside/backside, whether that would affect the rings in any way. Also, what about when rings are next to eachother? Would there be reason to change to a different ring-closing method when doing a cloverleaf? It seems to me that what you tat after the ring has some bearing in this discussion, because different elements might put tension on the close differently.

Anyway, I'm in a strangely analytical mood right now. I think I'll work up a few different samples if I can get some time.....however I think it would be best to use a solid color next time. If you would like to join the Blog-discussion, come back and comment with a link to your post, and maybe like back to this one. That way tatters down the road can come back and have access to all of our input. I will do another final run-down post like I did with the last blog challenge when we are all through.



TattingChic said...

Elizabeth Zipay, who has the absolute most perfect tatting I have EVER seen in my life did a post on this on May 29th of this year. I've adopted her method and I've found my rings lie nice and flat. Click here to find that post.

Gina said...

I remember going through this discussion on my group a few years ago. Personally, it didn't make a bit of difference to me visually. You could end up with a rounder ring or a more oval ring but blocking can change all that too. I tat for the fun of it. I don't like to add extra steps that do not have a significant impact on the final piece, but that drives some people crazy. LOL! So whatever feels good is what should be done. Honestly, I can't tell the difference in your rings except that ring 3 is slightly larger.

If I take an edging of rings I've tatted and examine them closely, they all look slightly different even though I'm using the same method. I really don't think it matters as long as you are consistent in your choice of method.

Judges are all different. At our fair judging, it's not unusual to get someone who knows nothing about lace or only knows about one kind of lace, usually crochet, so they would never know the difference. But then there are some, like those trained at Palmettos, who do. So...tat for your own standards, whatever they may be.

Anonymous said...

So glad you brought this up. Pursuant to my blog post about the tendency of the last stitch to roll inward in a ring in which the shuttle is posted, I have played with all of the above variations...and reverted to simply posting, (and only in rings worked on the front side - in a ring worked on the backside, the thread is already where it needs to be for the next move). Since I have been working on Phase II T.A.T., I needed to come up with a way to make the rings as close to perfect as possible while still using the method required by the course. The answer is in the pinch. If the ring is held firmly in the pinch as the next element is begun, and the first half of the first stitch of the next element is snugged only with the working thread, while keeping the core thread from shifting, the last ds in the ring will not roll in.

You did not mention what you do in rings worked on the back side. Do you invert the formula?

I look forward to reading what everyone has to say about this and, if our conclusions are earth shaking and our arguments convincing, we should probably share them with Tatters Across Time, Inc.


Suzanne said...

Just to clear up any confusion: Blogger was not letting me comment under the 'morduededentelle' open ID. Suzanne and morduededentelle are one and the same.

Steph's (tat) Stuff said...

Hi Krystle! Interesting topic. I also prefer the #3 ring, but like you, I wonder about judged competition so I don't use the technique. I just stick with number #1. When it comes to posting the shuttle, I only do that when I tat a ring that begins on the backside of the piece.

When I was learning to tat, my tatting teacher touched on the subject by stating that the extra half stitch will throw the symmetry of the ring off. She had some tatted samples(3-3-3-3 rings) with an extra half stitch thrown in, one sample had the half stitch at the start of the ring and the other sample at the end. The asymmetry was more noticeable on the ring with the extra half stitch at the beginning.

Krystle said...

Hye Gina, you are right. ring three is bigger, it has an extra stitch after the top picot....whoopse! I guess I better do my sample again!

Ladytats said...

Hi Krystle,
I post my shuttle through the ring for the simple fact that it is easier to open the ring if you need to. If I hold the ring firmly while closing it and snug the first stitch of the next element up carefully, the stitches will lay flat. One other thing I have ocassionally used is to post the shuttle through to the back of the ring, but close the ring by pulling the thread in front. then just pull the thread to the back before starting the next element. that gives the look of pulling the ring closed without posting the shuttle, but by having the shuttle to the back, you gain the benefits of posting if you need to open the ring later.

Vanessa. said...

Hi Krystle

I use the first option and didn't realise that there was more than one way to close a ring.

As a new tatter, I'm frequently 'unpicking' my work. Is method 3 (your favourite method) as easy to unpick as method 1? It appears to be a bit trickier to open the loop.

Krystle said...

Hi Vanessa! Actually, method 3 is a lot harder to open. that's part of the reason I'm deciding what might work better.

Anonymous said...

Since reading about the different methods, I had decided to give it a try.

I've been doing the post before closing, and then the 2nd ds when beginning a ch.

I admit, it does lay much nicer, but it has an awkward feel for me... just something I have to get used to, I guess.

I could tell it was time for me to go to bed last night when I made the wrong join... LOL. So this morning I tried picking the ring open, and I agree with you Krystle, method 3 is difficult to undo. I found myself a little frustrated and ended up just biting the threads off and starting over.

For overall appearance (in my case), method 3 wins.