Here are some notes on the advanced tatting class offered on Craftsy. The class is taught by Marilee Rockley, aka Yarnplayer (check out her Facebook Page for a link that gives you 50% off the cost of the course) , and is called Next Steps in Shuttle Tatting.
(If you're not familiar with tatting, it's a form of lacemaking that uses something called tatting shuttles, or thin long needles. I only do shuttle tatting. Here are a couple of tatting shuttles lying on a partially finished doily. I finished that doily a while ago by the way.)
On to the class. It is billed as an advanced class, so you need to be familiar with tatting basics like rings, picots, chains, joins and so forth. The same instructor also has a beginning tatting class on Craftsy (I haven't taken this) which you should check out if you're interested. (There are also tons of useful videos on YouTube. More about that perhaps in another post.) The class consists of 30 minute long videos for each of the seven projects, a PDF of the patterns and written instructions, and a material list. You can post questions to the instructor, Marilee, at any time too, although I didn't take advantage of this feature.
The image above shows all the completed projects. Lizbeth brand size 10 thread is specified for all the projects, but since I didn't have any I used what I had on hand instead, which made things a bit more difficult but added an extra challenge.
Project 1 is the shell-shaped one in the middle.
Techniques used: chain, floating ring, picot, bead in center of self-closing mock ring, Catherine Wheel join, bead on core thread. The Catherine Wheel join is the main one here - it's fiddly but produces a smooth outline.
I used a variegated Anchor Pearl Cotton combined with DMC Diamant, both embroidery threads. I like the color combination and the glittery effect added by the Diamant, but the Pearl Cotton was a bit too fuzzy to show off the shell shape. I used Miyuki no. 8 seed beads, and a lapis lazuli bead in the center.
Project 2 is the navy blue and bright pink flower on the right (called the Daisy Picot Key in the instructions).
Techniques used: ring, picot, chain, join, lock join, bead picot, daisy picot. The main one here is the daisy picot, which is like a mini-false ring.
I used a cotton crochet yarn called Lang Marisa from Lang Yarns, a Swiss company. I have about a 100 balls of this in lots of colors, given to me by my knitting mother (whose yarn stash has to seen to believed...it runs in the family ^_^;), so I used it a lot for practicing new techniques. It's a tad thicker than no. 10 but smooth, tightly wound and silky, making it a nice tatting thread.
This calls for Toho large hole size 11 seed beads, but I didn't have any so I used regular Miyuki size 11 seed beads at first. Unfortunately the holes were a bit too small for the yarn - I broke one of my precious Tulip beading needles trying to force the beads on... so I used size 8 seed beads throughout instead, using 1 instead of the 3 each specified in the pattern. I also used 2 colors of beads instead of one.
Project no. 3 is the pink thing in the middle, called the Maltese Ring "Echo".
Techniques used: ring, picot, chain, join, lock join, bead picot, bead on core thread, maltese ring. The last technique is the inner ring that is formed by a pearl tatted chain and a small ring inside.
I used Anchor Pearl Cotton again, and once more it wasn't the best choice. By the time I got to the 'tail', which is a Msltese ring with long picots, the thread got a bit too fuzzy. Beads used: Miyuki no. 11 seed beads. This time the thread was thin enough to slide the beads on to.
Project no. 4 is the pink and black bracelet at the bottom.
Techniques used: ring, picot, join, bead picot, bead on core thread, pearl tatting.
This is my second favorite of the projects. I used Lang Marisa again, in black and pale pink with Miyuki no. 8 white pearl seed beeds - Gothic Lolita colors basically. I may give this to my niece, who was fond of that look last time I checked. The high color contrast shows off the pearl tatting very well.
Project no. 5 is the blue flower with a red center, called the Glorious Blossom.
Techniques used: ring, chain, picot, join, lock join, bead inside ring, bead inside self-closing mock ring, bead picots, join between beads, beads on core thread.
I knew how to do the techniques shown in this project already, but it was still very useful. For this one I used Olympus Emmy Grande, a very popular Japanese thread. It's about size 10 and is ideal for tatting, being very smooth, glossy and strong. (It's used a lot in Tomoko Morimoto's book New Tatting.) The beads are Swarovski crystals, a 8mm round one in the center and 6mm bicones surrounding it. This is the only project I bought something for - the beads - since I wanted to make this in Funassyi colors. ^_^
Project no. 6 is the flower-vine thing (it's a necklace) at top, called the Encapsulation “Garden” Necklace.
Techniques used: ring, chain, picot, join, lock join, encapsulation, folded ring, onion ring, Josephine knot, single shuttle split ring, bead picot.
This project was the reason I signed up for this class, and it more than met my expectations. I had never even heard of the encapsulation technique, where multiple threads are carried along as the 'core' thread and pulled out when needed. I hadn't tried the single shuttle split ring before either, which involved finger-tatting, and that was interesting too. Folded rings were new too me too. And the dimensional onion rings, where the rings are made to overlap each other are a very nice design element.
I did make my life a lot harder though. I didn't have any Lizbeth thread s noted previously, and didn't have any multicolor no. 10 thread. I tried the design with no. 40 initially since I have a lot of multicolors in that size, but the design really calls for a thicker thread in my opinion. So...I used 2 threads (Marisa again) for the "flower" parts in 2 shades of purple, and alternated them to give the appearance of multicolor. This worked wonderfully for the flowers, but the stems initially got very thick so I had to pull the knots quite tight. I am very pleased with the results though.
I also modified the pattern a bit more, by adding beads inside the Josephine knot 'berries' for a bit of shine.
Project no. 7 is the green and pink knot, top left, called the Celtic Triangle.
Techniques used: ring, picot, chain, join, Catherine Wheel join, bead picot. . This is Celtic tatting, which I have tried a bit in the past It's a nice project for anyone new to Celtic tatting I think. You do need a thin Celtic shuttle for this besides a regular shuttle. In a pinch you can try using a small stick or something that you can wind the thread around, since the Celtic shuttle is only used very briefly. The Catherine Wheel joins used here make a lot of sense, since you don't want the picot in the contrasting color peeking through.
I used Emmy Grande for this, and three 6mm Swarovski crystals instead of the 9 no. 8 seed beads specified. This worked out well (it's hard to see in the photo the but the crystals really glitter nicely in the light).
I highly recommend this course to anyone who has the basics of tatting down. As a point of reference, I started tatting in May 2014, learning from books and online videos. I found the course moderately challenging but not overwhelming. Each project took from a couple of hours to (in the case of the encapsulation necklace) days. I completed all the projects within about a 3 week span.
I've never bought a Craftsy course before, but I do like the format. Since there are no deadlines and so forth and your instructor does not come after you to do your homework or something, you do have to have some motivation and self-discipline to get the most out of the courses.