13 November 2013

Stiffening tatting


I know this is an old 'chestnut' when it comes to talking about stiffening tatting.  

I NEVER use sugar water - did that about fifty years ago and that tatting looks dreadful now and in fact a lot has been thrown away.  I've never tried hair spray  either as I've never owned any (well I had a can in my teens once) - perhaps I should buy some just for tatting? 

So, on the whole I try NOT to stiffen anything.  

A few days ago (Sally 'persuaded' me) I thought I ought to look once more at this pattern which I did back in 2002 to see why I didn't make many.  First of all that's a totally HORRID snowflake on the page which would NOT appeal to me (or anybody else) as something I'd want to tat!!!  

Yes this is a design that does need stiffening.  I think I've found the answer now and will share it with you as it's useful for anybody who wants to stiffen with PVA.  I do like that glue for stiffening but I usually water it down.  In this case - well, read on..........

First of all before stiffening I feel that any tatting needs to be pressed.  I can hear somebody out there (can't quite fathom out who it is, please speak up) saying - 'how the heck can you press something 3D?

Well my solution is to wet the finished item thoroughly and then place it flat on the ironing board.  I then put a cloth over it and press firmly.  I do this again  moving the 'arms' over and pressing it the other way.  It looks almost as flat as a pancake by then but when you move the 'arms' into 'snowflake position' it looks GREAT.  Then to keep it looking good I get 'neat' PVA glue (white school glue) and squidge it in with my fingers into the now hot and damp thread.   Actually this is a method I've been using now for the past few months.  I think it's having the piece really wet before squiggling that helps.  Let me know if you've every tried it and how you get on.

You can see one of the 3D snowflakes that I did a few days ago below my ramblings.  It's not easy to photograph these little stinkers!!! 

I've changed the pattern quite a bit so will get the improvement up within a few days.  Please bear with me.

13 comments:

  1. That's a lovely picture - much more enticing, I agree, than the first one!PVC glue mixed 50/50 with water seems to work well, not that I tat much that needs to be stiffened. However this is a hot and humid climate, so that may have a bearing on what works and why.

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  2. Never thought to stiffen the pieces while they are still hot! Smart. The glue will have another texture than if you work with the coolen wet piece. I have to give it a try.

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  3. I haven't tried stiffening any tatted items yet so this is very helpful :). Thanks Jane :). As for the 3D snowflake, hopefully I can tat it one day :).

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  4. Hmmm... Something to think about. Being extremely lazy, I will probably try some Mod Podge... it's already watered down! ;-)

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  5. Thanks I had heard about stiffening any tatted items. I am making a lace for sari and this will be very useful for me.

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  6. I rarely stiffen, but sometimes it is necessary. A 3D item would need stiffening to handle being hung up.
    I never press as I feel it flattens the stitches and they lose their definition. However, I do wet and pin out to dry, or I will steam ~ hold the iron just above the tatting.
    .

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  7. Oh, Ladytats, I've never noticed that pressing flattens the stitches. I feel it needs a good bashing with the iron - sometimes!!! Mind I never pin out or 'block' as if the pattern doesn't lie flat then it goes in the bin!!!!

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  8. For 3-D snowflakes, my stiffening preference is a dense solution of epsom salts. I dip the lace in the solution, and then let it dry on a piece of waxed paper. The crystalline structure of the salt adds sparkle, and the lace becomes absolutely rigid and sturdy.

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  9. Nice snowflake!! :)

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  10. Love it Jane .. must have a go! ;)

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  11. Suzanne, can you give the ratio of e salt to water? Would love to try. I do jewelry and this would be lovely.

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  12. PVC glue can [at the 50 year mark] be quite yellow. PVC glue is permenent which is a plus, but if doing snowflakes that you want to be heirlooms to share for generations the old fashioned cooked corn starch is good to use -- another plus is that it can be washed out and redone if something gets spilled on the snowflake.

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