Tatting the Wheel
I've been tatting some wheels this week. These are all done in #80 DMC tatting cotton. The first one is on the bottom left, and I changed my technique and stitch count until the motif was about 1.25" (3.5 cm) in diameter.
The wheel is a motif from tatting's early history, but don't let it fool you, it's not an easy task. With no chains, your rings and picots are in the spotlight and have to be perfect. That fold-over join at the last is also a challenge.
I'm careful as I close my rings. If I pull too hard, I'll get a twist in the last few stitches, but too loose and the ring will be oversized. The length of the space between rings is critical; I find my thread stretches when I close the ring. I make my thread very short and know it will 'grow' when I close my ring.
I was amazed to find many different patterns for wheels. They all have the same center ring with 12 picots, a small ring and a larger outer ring, but the stitch counts are all different. I didn't think it made much difference, but my 3 white wheels tell the story.
The first wheel was the largest, with a center r 12p sep by 2, sm r 6j6, lr 5, p, 3, 5p sep by 2, 3, p, 5.
I made the second one smaller by simply changing the small ring to 4j4, and making a smaller space between rings. It wasn't small enough, so I tried again, changing the center ring to 12p sep by 1, and simplifying the outer ring to 4, 7p sep by 2, 4.
Now I'm happy with my pattern, and the picots and spaces are falling into place. The next challenge is finishing my threads. I've eliminated one thread end by climbing out of the center with a split ring. I tried the Magic Thread, but it's not something I can do every time. I lost my favorite needle for #80 thread. I'll have to look again, because I don't like the one I'm using now. I will also remember to tat the last ring with a little less tension, and perhaps my needle will fit through the stitches easier.