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Monday, February 15, 2016

Calculating amount of thread used (Sherry's method)

I made a few minor adjustments to one of my doilies and tried tatting it in two colors. In the beginning, this was progressing well...but as the doily came together I realized just how much contrast there was between the two colors:

Kaleidoscope Coaster (click here for pattern listing)

This is done in Lizbeth size 20 Seagreen Light and Seagreen Dark. I still like the placement of the colors, which gives an outlining effect when seen from far away. I think I will try this again in colors that are closer together in shade.

A little while ago, I made a post about measuring yards of thread used in tatting. I was doing it the old fashioned way, measuring how much thread I loaded onto each shuttle, tatting the piece, and then seeing how much thread was left over. I have had a few people point me to tutorials by Sherry Pence and Karen Cabrera, in which the amount of thread is calculated beforehand. Sherry has a written tutorial on her blog, and Karen has a video (which I believe is based on Sherry's blog post).

(Aurora's tatting helper has also been mentioned, but I haven't gotten the chance to check it out and have to access an older computer to retrieve the bookmark for the site.) Edited to add: Phyllis has provided the link for the TatHelper website, you can access it by clicking here.

I decided to follow Sherry Pence's blog post and made some calculations for Round 2 of the doily pictured above. For this particular doily, there was an overestimation of the light green thread and an underestimation of the dark green thread. Here is the breakdown:

Light Green thread
      Estimated usage: 15.3 yards
      Actual usage: 14.56 yards

Dark Green thread
      Estimated usage: 8.35 yards
      Actual usage: 9.22 yards

I should mention that Sherry advises adding some extra to each measurement to account for picots and core thread. What I find interesting is that the light green thread didn't need any extra. In fact it used less than the amount calculated. The dark green thread required about 1 extra yard. Luckily, I erred on the safe side and had plenty of thread on my shuttles to complete Round 2 in one pass.

Over the past several months, I have been taking notes on the amount of thread used for different pieces of tatting. I think it's time to make a spreadsheet to see how the actual thread usage matches up with Sherry's method of calculating.

31 comments:

  1. Serwetka piękna , ten szmaragdowy kolor rowniez.

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  2. Wowie, that is beautiful, with striking yet complementary colors!

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  3. It is very beautiful, wonder if the dark green in center is where the thread was used up I can see where this would be a tricky calculation!

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    1. I think it's because the dark green thread is the core thread under all of those long chains around the outside of the doily. I'm guessing that the light green thread is less likely to need extra yardage because it rarely acts as the core.

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    2. That's exactly what I was thinking, too! When I made calculations for my Big Doily, I also included the core thread and typical picots in the calculations. It was a pain, but worth it. ;-)

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  4. Beautiful, the colours are stunning together. I am so lazy when it comes to calculating thread, it is another boring part of tatting as is writing down patterns - I just want to tat!!!

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  5. As I never mind adding in new threads (after all there are no ends to sew in later) I never see the point of working out how much thread is needed!!!! I'm just lazy, I suppose. I load shuttles and tat. When I design a pattern I feel forced to work out thread amounts but often don't!!!! I worry that people who go by my judgements are looser tatters than I am and will run out anyway. Hey, ho, each to their own and my poor brain doesn't 'do' maths anyway!!! 2 + 2 makes 22 in my little head!!!!

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    1. I never really mastered adding new thread and always have lots of ends to sew in if I run out. However, I also typically load the shuttles and tat without measuring. Not because of the calculations (I like numbers) but because it's a pain in the butt to take out the yardstick and measure out what's needed!

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    2. Oh, Robin I'm way too lazy to get a measuring tool out too. I use the lazy way to measure a yard like this http://lifehacker.com/5351728/estimate-distances-with-your-arm-and-this-rule-of-thumb

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    3. Ummm...so I just tried to stretch my arm out to my side and measure a yard from my nose to my fingertips. Turns out my arm is about 5 inches too short!

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  6. I like the contrast of the two colors! Most of the time, I can't be bothered about how much thread I need for a project, especially since I've learned to join new thread! I do know that I like to wind approximately 15 yards of thread on each shuttle for a Spinning Wheel glass mat. That's important to me when using hand-dyed threads. I want to make sure I have enough!

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  7. The doily is gorgeous! Looks like a flower and would be beautiful in other colours e.g. pinks :).

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  8. I think you have the right amount of contrast between the colours to be effective. Lovely. If I'm working with size 20 thread, I know roughly how much a ring takes, count the rings and wind on that much. I don't want to wind a whole shuttle and then use only half of it.

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  9. That is so pretty Robin! Yes, there is a lot of contrast but I think it highlights the shapes and looks just wonderful.

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  10. I like the doily, the light contrast really shows the pattern off, and I think it makes the pattern stand out
    Gorgeous pattern
    Margaret

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  11. I just had to pop in and say...that is a gorgeous piece of work you have there! I love the colors and the way they pop out at you. Wonderful work.

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  12. Love your tatting Robin. Always so neat and tidy!

    As far as calculations go I tend to be very lazy. I wind 5 full wraps around a standard Clover shuttle for every ring of 20 ds then leave about an extra few as a back up. Been working for me for the last 15 years.

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  13. Beautiful doily. Love the contrast. Here is link to the tathelper blog: http://tathelper.blogspot.com/. I have been using it since she came out with it. I love it. Trial and error at first. Once I understood the program, have had no problems at all. Just enter your pattern and calculate. No math involved.

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    1. I was quite interested in the Tathelper application - but I'm on a Mac! I think I'll continue to use Excel for my calculations...

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    2. Thanks Phyllis! I've just added the link to my post. Like Grace, I don't have a Windows computer, but maybe others will find the application helpful.

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  14. Thanks everyone! I was worried that the light green was a little too overwhelming for the center. Looks like everyone likes it though!

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  15. Very pretty doily & the colours work well. At first glance in my bloglist, it looked almost like an Iris Niebach doily :-)
    I'm too lazy to calculate thread lengths, though I am making a bit of an effort for some new patterns (I use my easier wind around my holder method of which I have the dimensions; so count winds & multiply ...)

    But here's a thought : use multicoloured thread! That way all one needs to do is count the number of repeats of a particular colour in the colourway that the project uses, & multiply by length of the colourway. I had this idea last year, while tatting the Chicken Wing coaster - my first with a colourway. Talk about chickening out ;-p

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    1. You know, I also thought that it looked like an Iris Niebach design while tatting it. Though it certainly does NOT have the maze like quality seen in her designs (my mind doesn't work like that!)

      Funny thing, I remember the fleeting thought of using a variegated thread to measure how much was used. Like you, I never did follow up on it, and I totally forgot about it until I saw your comment. To be honest, I can't even remember when I had the thought...it flew in and out of my head so quickly!

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  16. I am finding it difficult to keep up with all the blogs these days, and also have gotten behind in commenting. But I want you to know that you are truly leading the way into computer design, and I'm always astounded at all the designs your come up with. The posts about tatting 'outside in' are really amazing!

    The colors on this doily look just fine to me! A really lovely design.

    I also want to comment on the 'tiny books' from Angeline. I'm so pleased they are in your possession! I had no idea she had put these books together! I'm a very proud owner of her Let's Tat book (it's under lock and key!) and I obtained it way before I really knew who she was. The leader of our tatting group had obtained one back in the early 1990s and said we could order one. As it was before Christmas, and our family had a 'grab bag' gift exchange, on my list of gift suggestions I put the book as the only item I wanted, and I wrote down Angeline's address and how to obtain the book. Fortunately my sister-in-law got my name and complied with my wishes. She ordered the book from Angeline and had the book sent to her (my SIL's) house. So I also have a handwritten note from Angeline, but it's addressed to my sister-in-law, which is so amusing! There is also a delightful tiny butterfly at the top! One of my prized possessions!

    Again, I'm very much in awe of your research in computer design!

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    1. Thanks Kathy! I know exactly what you mean about keeping up with blogs. I have a hard enough time just making one post a week, not to mention commenting on others' blogs. I feel like I have good intentions but can't find the time to follow through!

      You are lucky to have a hand written note from Angeline (even if it is address to your SIL). The mini books that I have must be even more rare than Let's Tat, as I've never seen any more of them on eBay. I guess I am pretty lucky too, to have stumbled on the tiny books.

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  17. This is just stunning. The contrast between the threads turned out beautifully, and the pattern itself has such lovely lines and use of negative space.

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  18. Lovely pattern. The doily is beautiful in those colors; there is enough contrast to see each part but they go so well together. I rarely worry about how much thread a piece uses, I wrap my shuttles and go! Currently I am trying to calculate thread as I' doing a round robin doily where the thread was sent along. I'm using two shuttles and I don't want too much left on the shuttles that might not be usable for the next round.

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    1. Thanks Wanda! Like you said, there are certain situations where calculations come in handy. Though it seems like the majority of the time, tatters aren't too concerned about it and prefer to just pick up and go (myself included). That's good news for me, as I won't have to worry about including that extra bit of information in each pattern. But the formulas are there if I ever need them.

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