I have been working for weeks on a new Couture piece. The Countess Choker…The name Countess, because it reminds me of aristocratic beauty that is decadent, fiercely envied and stunningly gorgeous.
My intention was to work a design with no frilly picots, smooth chains and flat ring on ring discs.
I will rework this design to get the collar I am thinking of but I will use a heavier weight thread and wider rings. As with a lot of my work, I begin with an image in my mind, draft it to paper, and decide on number combinations and the style of stitches. I prefer to graph my work although I will occasionally write it out in a code that is pretty much unreadable to anyone else. Sometimes I look at it and think “what?”.
I usually begin by working with a ratty old ball of crochet thread to get a feel for what is going to develop. As I work the pattern I adjust numbers of stitches and frequently start over because untying knots and adjusting the work would take more time than just cutting and beginning again. With all Couture work, I track my time when I begin the actual piece from stringing the beading to hiding ends and adding jewelry components. I am a fast tatter but Couture work takes my full attention and a lot of time.
My Couture collection is one of a kind work that I will never duplicate. I may rework the actual pattern but it will not be embellished the same as most of the time I do not record the beading. I record the stitches. Below are three Couture pieces, Enchanted, The Duchess and Poise. All are in my Etsy Shop Snappy Tatter.
The Countess turned out to be an amazing statement choker. The basic chains and flat discs around the throat was where I began.
All chains and rings are beaded, which requires me to determine the number I will need in advance and in what order they will be used and string them one by one onto the shuttle threads. Most of the time I get it right the first time. I have learned not to guess or trust my thoughts. I am a visual person and need to see what I am doing on paper. Tedious, but it saves me time.
The beads along the chains are clear glass in gunmetal color that are silver-lined. The tiny rocaille beads around the rings are clear glass with silver-lining and are exceptionally shimmery. And there are Pewter colored Czech glass beads at the base of each ring. So when stringing beads it was necessary to figure out which shuttle would need to have the rocailles, which has the gunmetal beads and which has the pewter drops. Then I have to string them in the order they are needed.
All together there are three rounds in this work and beading was different for each round. Making long smooth chains requires my full attention to make sure I am tatting with the same tension throughout. The crystals that hang from Sterling rings are Swarovski and dangle wonderfully when you move making this choker very eye catching and sparkly from all angles.
Although it is not the original design idea I had, that frequently happens in my work. That is a blessing because now I still have the original design to work out. The Countess Choker adjusts from 14.5″ to 17.5″ with a Sterling extender that has a pewter bead and small crystal dangling from the end.
I made earrings to match as well. Something I should probably do more often.
I am now working on two other Couture pieces. One is a cluster of wee multi-colored flowers in honer of my favorite camping shirt that was cremated in a campfire last month. In between I have been doing a lot of work for family as well as trying desperately to stay cool. I have a lot of designs floating around my brain right now and feel an urgency to start designing more Snowflakes. Snow…so hard to think about when it is repeatedly 90+ outside in Pennsylvania.
Stay Chilly everyone!