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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No 10, Sweet Rose and How I Stiffen My Tatting..

Next of Jon Yusoff's Snowflakes to fall off my shuttles is Sweet Rose.
In white...

and Rainbow Bright....

Because I am tatting all of Jon's snowflakes in the same thread I can see just how different they all are. This is quite a different more rounded shape than the others.

This pattern also looks very well in HDT as once more the flow of the thread colours is not interrupted. This one worked out so well,and has to be a favourite, I love how the rings in the middle show the different colours.

Sweet Rose is quite small, 2.5 in/7cm and I used size 20, 6.5 metres on Sh1 and 3 metres on Sh2.

I normally stiffen snowflakes if I am going to hang them on my tree as they hang better...but I scan them in before I stiffen them as I love the shine on the thread.

Stiffening unfortunately takes away that natural shine but on the plus side it intensifies the colours. This is the first year that I have found that out as I have only had white snowflakes previously.

I guess we all have our own way of stiffening so I thought I would show you mine.

I lay my snowflake in a flat dish and dribble some stiffener on to it, not too much... I just want enough to fully penetrate the thread. I use my stiffener undiluted for a snowflake.

Then I press the snowflake into the liquid until all the thread has changed colour, adding more drops of stiffener if necessary.

I often blot out excess stiffener on another snowflake in the dish, then I lift it up and with both hands I squeeze the stiffener into the thread. yeah well I had to hold the camera this time!!

I block the snowflake on a couple of cork tiles pinned one on top of the other and covered with an old dish drying cotton cloth, what we call a tea towel!

Cork is not ideal as it is too resistant to the pins, styrofoam I find is not resistant enough for blocking. My favorite board is Softboard, this is a compressed fibre board that used to be used a lot as an underlay under flooring...and also sometimes with cork for notice boards. I have two large thick softboard notice boards that I made and covered with hessian years and years ago, that I find are perfect display boards.

Where I got the softboard from I have no idea, I thought it would be easy to get more, but no, when I went to look for more softboard I couldn't find it anywhere.

I finally tracked down a supplier
in the UK of large sheets of 6mm thick board and will soon be making a new blocking board from double thickness board.

I like to use a cotton cloth under the tatting as it soaks up the excess stiffener. You might imagine that the tatting would be stuck to the cloth when it is dry and you would be right..but it peels off easily. Of course I suppose if you are using PVA glue you might find that your tatting is welded permanently to the cloth!!

I have tried blocking on plastic but I find that it leaves the picots full of excess stiffener. The stiffener does stiffen the soft board but that's not a problem. Pins go easily into softboard and are held firmly. It's the best thing I know of for making display boards too.

Here is the stiffener that I use, made in UK.

One bottle will last me a lifetime!
Although I haven't tried it yet I believe that this stiffener will wash out if I change my mind. When my under cloth gets too stiff I just wash it and all the stiffness comes out.


  1. A lot of your process is the same as mine except I started using a brush yesterday and it helped me. I might have to make a board like you describe so that I can do an even better job.

  2. That sweet rose pattern is very pretty! Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing your process, Pamela! I never thought to use a cotton towel, but it makes sense. I hope to have time to do some stiffening this weekend... after I bake cookies, wrap presents, do laundry, clean the house... maybe I'll skip cleaning the house! ; )

    I love that you tat the snowflakes in white and HDT, and I love seeing the HDT snowflakes displayed on both a black and a white background. Seeing all the beautiful snowflakes online makes me want to quit teaching and do nothing but tat!

  4. I dont know how similar your stiffeners are to mine, mine is sludgy and sticky on my fingers..till it dries.

    I am sure it will wash out as I wash the cloth when it gets too stiff.

    I never thought of blocking any other way when I started and stiffening just followed on with the same method and it worked.

    Can't imagine brushing it on tho as squeezing it into the fabric works so well.

    Glad that you guys like the snowflake presentation, it is cool when its consistent I think.

    Am dying to do them in other colours but sticking to my challenge.

  5. Thank you for posting your method of stiffening your tatting. I didn't think to use a paper towel, but I will try it out. I also need to get some better pins to use in blocking. The last snowflake I blocked, had a few rust spots on the thread :(

    I too love seeing all the snowflakes you are making in the rainbow bright and listing the size and amounts of thread you use.

  6. Don't use a paper towel Carol, that def would stick to the tatting. Anmy cotton cloth works for me but it does depend on what stiffener you use.

  7. Thanks for pointing that out Pamela. I must have misread it and thought it was paper towel, but I've re-read it and I see you did say tea towel. Got it! :)


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