When faced with a task that seems too difficult, there are three options: run away from it, break it up into manageable bites or, gradually creep up on it.  Me, I generally opt for the ‘run away’ category; except in the matter of tatting, where I am fearless and determined.

In recent weeks, there has been a bit of sighing and moaning in tatland about the slightly unwieldy nature of the split chain (pdf).  If one does not use them often, it is difficult to remember how; and then it is awkward and fumbly in the execution.  However, the general consensus is that it is worth it not to have to cut and tie.

In this case, I decided to use the ‘creep up on it’ approach.  It had not escaped my notice that the Catherine Wheel join (pdf) formed the double stitch in exactly the same manner as it is formed in the split chain and, a big plus, did not cause the pronounced dip in the chain that one gets with a lock join.  So, I decided to start using this join wherever I wanted a nice clean line and, in so doing, have become completely at ease with the mechanics of executing a split chain.

Below, you see Ruth Perry’s new Celtic Cross pattern (pdf), in Lizbeth size 20, color #s 634 and 635.  In the outer round, I used Catherine Wheel joins in all but 4 places (where I wanted a sharp dip in the chain).  If my technique were perfect, the stitches that link to the picots of the previous round should be indistinguishable from their neighbors.  Not quite there yet, but the outline of the cross is nice and smooth.

Celtic cross crop

I wish you all a very happy holiday weekend.  There will probably not be a blog post next Tuesday because I will be on the road to Idaho.