If you've been following my blog, you may have noticed that I've been spending a lot of time designing coasters. I've finally narrowed it down to six patterns, and am in the process of putting everything together in iBooks Author. Here are the final six (the mug in the back is on an extra coaster for scale):
I tried to vary the shapes and styles of the coasters in an effort to create a more diverse pattern pack. I've found that I like to take a concept and work many versions of it so that I can explore the different possibilities. This lends itself to creating pattern packs and I can see a lot of potential ideas for the future (beaded snowflakes, bookmarks, crosses, repeatable squares, etc.)
One thing that I discovered while working on these coasters is that backwards designing can be really beneficial. Both of the floral coasters were designed by forming the outer round first, and then fitting the inner rounds later on. This saves so much time when needing to cut and re-tat, because you don't have to cut up the laborious final round. (Click here to read more about backwards designing)
I also learned that it's difficult to design things to fit a certain size. The coasters in the image above are all tatted in size 20 thread (except the one that the mug is sitting on, which is in size 40). As you can see, the coasters came out to be different sizes. If you nitpick like I do, you can tat the larger ones in size 40 thread to make them smaller, or you can just use a larger mug. You could also use them as mini doilies instead of coasters.
It will be a while before I have all of the patterns written up. By the way, if you have a Mac and design patterns I highly recommend trying out iBooks Author. I'm still making my diagrams in Inkscape, but I'm saving them as images and loading them into iBooks Author so that I can add detailed written instructions as well.