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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

iPad Design Tutorial: Part 3

How to Make a Rough Estimate of Stitch Count

In the previous post I talked about how to draw a design that can be turned into tatting. Now, it's time to make a rough estimate of stitch count so we can begin to create our piece.

First, you will need to make a sample piece of tatting to use as a measuring tool. I recommend choosing a color and size that will be easy to see, so that you can count stitches to approximate the location of your joins. To keep things consistent, make sure to use the same color and size for all of your measuring samples. I used size 20 white, simply because I had a lot of it on my shuttles.

For my sample, I used rings and chains, increasing the stitch count as I progressed. The stitch count is as follows:

Ring 2-2
Chain 2-2
Ring 3-3
Chain 3-3
Ring 4-4
Chain 4-4...and so on until I reached a ring of 14-14

Using this sample, I can easily count up from 2 to see which ring or chain I am at, instead of painstakingly counting each stitch. You can use my stitch counts, or you can create your own. You may also wish to include clovers, self closing mock rings, or other shapes in your sample if you think they will be useful.

After you have created your sample, it's time to open up your drawing. Let's take a moment to talk about drawing size. I like to work from a drawing that will be roughly the size of my finished motif. I can usually get a good size by switching my iPad between vertical and horizontal views. If switching the view fails to give you the size that you want, you can resize your image by zooming in or out and performing a print screen. Alternatively, you can make your image appear larger by cropping the photo.

To do a print screen, hold the power switch and quickly press the home button at the bottom of the tablet. The new image will be saved to your camera roll. Click here to read more about using print screen

Zooming in and doing a print screen is easy:

Zooming out requires some skill, or another person to push the buttons as you hold onto your zoomed out image:

When you have gotten the image to the size you want, it's time to lock the iPad's screen rotation and touch screen by using a feature called Guided Access. This will prevent things from moving around while you are taking measurements. To enable Guided Access, go to Settings-->General-->Accessibility-->Guided Access. Make sure the switch is turned on by moving it to the right (it will become green).

Guided Access will only work when you are using an App or looking at a photo from your camera roll, so make sure you have your drawing opened before proceeding. To begin a Guided Access session, triple press the home button at the bottom of your iPad. You will have to press the button rather quickly to get it to work. Now, turn off both touch and motion by moving these switches to the left (I've circled them in red below):

On an iPhone, you will have to press Options at the bottom of the screen to find the controls for Touch and Motion. Press Start or Resume to begin your session. Don't worry, you can stop Guided Access at any time by triple pressing the home button and choosing "End" in the upper left corner. Click here to read more about Guided Access

If you are using a tablet other than an iPad, you will have to run a Google search to see if there are any comparable features that temporarily disable touch screen and rotation. It's not necessary to move onto the next step, but it does make things a lot easier.

Now that we have our iPad set up, it's time to take measurements. To do this, I hold my sample piece of tatting against my drawing until I find a ring that looks like a match.

I do the same with chains:

I write the total number of stitches down on a roughly drawn diagram. I recommend writing stitch counts in pencil as they will be adjusted frequently, and the diagram in pen so you don't accidentally erase your rings and chains.

To estimate join location, I go back to my sample and count individual stitches, making note of where the elements on my drawing intersect.

If you already know the general stitch count for basic shapes, such as clovers, then you don't need to go through the detailed process I've outlined above. Instead, you can measure one ring to get an estimate of the size of the clover, and then tat the rest using your knowledge of making clovers.

For my pattern, I've opted to use a different method altogether, one that involves lots and lots of picots. I stumbled upon this trick when I found myself constantly redoing Round 1 to get the joins in the right location for Round 2. You can see my stitch count below, a series of 2's separated by picots.

By placing a picot every two stitches, I have increased the number of choices for joining and given myself a lot more room for error. I only use this method when working inner rounds. For the outer round, I don't have to worry as much about picot placement. Keep in mind that if you don't like a lot of picots, you can always remove the extras once you've figured out the location of your joins.

If you have a pattern with multiple rounds, the measuring procedure will be the same for each round. I prefer to work my rounds separately, so I don't usually measure the second round until the first is successfully tatted.

There are a few more points I would like to make before ending this post. First, the measurements that you make in this step are very rough. Don't become discouraged when your first, second, or even third attempts need to be adjusted. I change my stitch count regularly, and find the process to be similar to figuring out a puzzle...sometimes a very frustrating one.

Second, not everything needs to be measured. For example, if you have a motif with many different sized rings, you can reduce them into two or three categories. I usually separate mine into "small rings" and "large rings". That way, I can re-use the same stitch count without having to measure every ring in my drawing.

Lastly, while measuring is an important step, I feel that the best reason to use an app like Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad is to get design inspiration. So, if you find my procedure to be too labor intensive, I suggest simply drawing some pictures to get your creativity flowing. Who knows where it will take you?

That's it for today's post. Next time I will talk about how to begin tatting your piece using the estimations you've just gathered.

Click here for Part 4


muskaan said...

Robin, I am more & more impressed by your eye to detail & immense patience & perseverance - not just in your tatting but also in writing out these tutorials ! Your tutorials are very thorough.
You should contact the people at the app to let them know how you have put it to use. I can assure you, they would never have thought that lace-makers would use it to such good effect ;-)))
A couple of nights back I, too, started to make the sampler with rings & chains ! But for me, this was only the 1st step in the process. Will share details if it works out ; keeping fingers & toes crossed ;-))

Robin Perfetti said...

Thanks, muskaan :)

I'm sure the makers of the app would be surprised, I doubt that they even know what tatting is!

Good luck with your design, I will be curious to know how things work out, keep us posted :)

Ninetta said...

Thanks for your series of tutorials, you're clear and full of details. I love what you say about inspiration, these apps are a great source. I've found another called "infinite design": the perfect name! There's another called KaleidoDraw that has a dotted brush, not as bad 'cause it could be used as an indication of stitches' number. Hugs.

Patty said...

this is brilliant! thanks!