Friday, 8 April 2011

arrow's shaft feathers design, or quad coloured scales

Nat, one of the readers asked me what the design I showed you (the third design diagram in this post) actually looks like on a real thimble and here it is.  This is quad-coloured scales, or period of four scales.  Although it's one of the scales design, the separate name of "arrow's shaft feathers" or just "arrows" is given to the design.  The design looks nicer when the angle of the thread is sharper although sharp angles require you to space your stitches with care.
I tweaked it a little so this is no longer a arrows design or scales.  I miscalculated a little (happens a lot) and it didn't turn out the way I thought it would be, but this is not too bad, if I may say so myself.  I will see if I could refine it a little.

By the way, what do you think about calling a period of four design as a quad-coloured scales design when it is stitched with only three colours?  The same issue arises in Japan, too, but no one has not concluded what is what.  "A period of eight scales in four colours" is more accurate and clear to understand, on the other hand it is not easy if you do not know what the period means.  What do you think?


  1. Eeek, semantics! Personally, I like the poetic name 'arrow's shaft feathers' better, along with a good diagram for clarity.

    The last brown and grey thimble is very nice. I've been sitting squinting at the picture and trying to figure out how it's made. Quite fascinating.

  2. Hi Chloe Patricia,

    I think this question of naming things can definitely be confusing. It seems to me (with my limited thimble experience) that part of the problem might be that we are naming two different things. On the one hand we are trying to describe the geometry of how you create the design since "period of four scales in two colors" describes the stitching paths you use to create the thimble.

    On the other hand, we are naming the look of the finished thimble since "arrow's shaft feathers" describes how the finished design looks but does not tell how it was stitched especially since you can create that design in several different ways.

    I think there is a place for both types of names. I need some pictures to expand my thoughts a bit so I'll do a blog post about it on my blog where I can include them. (My blog is at for those who don't know it.)