Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Love an Inspiring Story

I believe we hear far too much of the sensational "bad" news. I believe there is far more good in the world than bad and if we focused more on the good, it would only increase. A friend sent me a different version of this story, set to music, but this one tells you the history. I do not believe these people are really exceptional. I believe we all have this capability. What makes them exceptional is that they used it.

In spite of it being a holiday weekend, I spent a good part of Friday at work, finishing up some paperwork that was really making me feel overwhelmed. I haven't gotten to do nearly as much tatting as I had hoped, but I did get most of this bag done. It's for the friend I'm housesitting for. Her birthday was right after I came back from the cruise but I was still off and didn't get to her luncheon. I wanted to make something for her anyway, but needed to finishe up my anniversary winners first. I'm finally caught up there (still working on Betsy's) so I could work on this. She loves things from the 50's so I thought this would go with the hats and gloves and jewelry she has collected .... or she could actually use it! She goes to conferences sometimes (food inspector) and this would be nice to hold a hotel key and some change.

I had trouble deciding which beads/buttons to use. A single white pearl shank button looked spectacular in the black flower but didn't really go with anything else. As I dug through my beads, I found these brown ones that worked better than anything else I had. There are a few goodies tucked inside now and I know she is on the road on the way home so she won't see this blog entry before she gets here!

And here's the ribbon bookmark pattern from Ellen without the ribbon!

Next weekend my lace group demo's for the Dickens of a Christmas downtown. I'm going to participate this time. I haven't been able to get involved in anything we've done the past year.

I'm home at the moment, taking care of some chore, but I'll be going back to Paula's soon. Tomorrow evening I'll be back home again. Yay!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Congratulations to Gina Butler!!!!

Gina Butler from Oklahoma City was the 150,000th visitor to the Threads of a Tatting Goddess Blog! Your tatting goddess goes in the mail tomorrow if I get your mailing address by then.

Location Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Oklahoma
City : Oklahoma City
Time of Visit Nov 27 2008 8:21:36 am
Visit Entry Page http://threadsofatat
Visit Exit Page http://threadsofatat
Out Click Email Tatting Goddess
Time Zone UTC-6:00
Visitor's Time Nov 27 2008 8:21:36 am
Visit Number 150,000

A few others thought they were the one, but only one location shows for the 150,000th so I have to go with that one. I wish I could give a goddess to everyone who visits but I guess that just makes it special!

Anyway, it seems appropriate that the one tatter people often confuse me with is the winner. Gina Butler has the same initials as me and it's gotten more than one person sending things to the wrong person! Now to make things even more confusing, when my new auto license plate arrived this year, they had changed the way they are numbered. We used to have the county number and then a letter and then random numbers. Now we have 3 numbers and 3 letters....guess what mine are? If you've ever seen Gina's online ID, you'll have an's 268BEA. So if you see a car at a tatting event and it shows those 3 letters, it's ME, not Gina Butler!! (unless she has a personalized plate! Do you Gina?)

I remember wondering if my visitors would ever hit 100? I gave the link to a few friends after I started my blog. It was probably months before it ever got to 100. LOL! I don't think it happened until I started my yahoo group and it started with only a dozen members so it did take awhile. People weren't used to blogs, only websites, and I think they viewed it as an online diary. I do share personal stuff, but most of my blog is focused on tatting.

Anyway, it's introduced me to so very many people all over the world. I like to think that I've helped make tatting more visible and accessible through this medium. I hope I've inspired a few along the way too.

And many thanks to Jane Eborall who told me how to forward my gmail automatically!!! That's another benefit of blogging - mention a problem and someone is there to help! Of course, after she told me, it seemed so obvious. I think I was trying to change it at the group site instead of the email site.

This is the bookmark I mentioned, made from Judi Banashek's directions in Advanced Tatting Patterns. It was definitely for advanced tatters. She told how to make the motif. She told how long to make that long picot and to leave it off for a 4 sided or 5 sided piece. The picture is either an xerox copy or a drawing and has a ribbon running through the center. She doesn't tell you what to do with the long picots or exactly how to turn, only that you just tat half a chain. I considered joining them but decided not to....some are not quite long enough. If I make a bookmark again, I'll make a regular size picot or leave it off. The thread is size 30 Omega. It looks like size 20 tatted up though.

That reminds me, last Saturday at tatting guild, when we made the candy cane, the model was made in size 10. I used size 20 thread instead and we were all amazed to see the size 20 candy cane was about half the size of the size 10 sample. It's not usually such a dramatic difference with only one step up in thread size.

I also tatted a few repeats of Singtatter's bookmark but forgot to bring it with me today. I was trying to empty a shuttle and only got 2 repeats done and knowing I didn't have enough thread on the shuttles, I just tatted a tail and still made a bookmark out of it. I was hoping to show it but I'll remember the next time. It's hard for me to keep everything straight while moving between houses. My friends will be back Sunday from their visit in Houston, TX and my life should get back to normal. HA!

And btw, I ended up taking an antibiotic for what turned out to be an upper respiratory infection. I feel so much better now! So there is much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Holiday.

Thanksgiving Leaves Turkey Wave

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's getting closer...149,814 visitors as of this writing. If you think you might be the one, check down at the very bottom of the blog where it says "visitors" and check the number. If it's only a number or two away, contact me! I may miss who it is! LOL!

Jon contacted me and said she got her package! It made it to Malaysia before I thought it would. I'm only showing the tatted stuff. There's been such a dearth of tatting here that I'm using every opportunity I have! I love making these little bags. Each one is different and has its own personality. It's a good thing I don't keep them...I'd be naming them, feeding them with things to hold for me, tucking them into bed everynight with wishes for sweet dreams. I had a hard time matching the gold but in the end, I actually did have a thread that worked! Not that it looks like it from the scanner but it did match the tiny outlined stars in the fabric. The bigger ones I couldn't match. I looked all over for a bead or button to match too. After tons of searching and taking apart an old necklace, I found this single gold button in a bag of buttons that I could have sworn I'd searched through. It never fails, just as you give up, it shows up.

This is a bookmark made from one of the snowflake patterns in Tatting by Myra Piper. The thread is some vintage size 70 from somewhere.....I don't have it with me!

I love that the online class now has easy access but I hate the group site. I do NOT use gmail. I have to have it for my blog login but I do not use the email. I've missed every single online class because I don't read that email. I've tried to go in and change my email address on the group site. I'm allowed to add an alternate address on my profile but it will not allow me to use it for mail. I can't tell you how much I hate gmail. I know there are people who love it but I don't. Period. I have 3 other usable emails - why would I want to use one I hate? Especially when I feel forced into it. LOL!

I've been tatting a motif by Judi Banashek in her book, Advanced Tatting Patterns. I can't remember the name of it now...something like's a single motif that she goes through expanding from a single to be used in an edging or bookmark to a double piece used as an earring to a 4 point motif to a 5 point motif...and so on. It's about design but I just like the motif. Looks like the Taj Mahal. I'll get it scanned later. I forgot to take it home with me the last time I was there.

No..nothing new on the reindeer other than I sat and stared at it for quite some time the other night. I have a different idea in mind now. And that's okay, really - I'll still try to come up with something to make this one complete too. I just don't think it's going to be before Christmas. Realistically....nope. Sometimes I come up with an AHA! but so far, that has not happened.

Well...back to work. Hope everyone has a FABULOUS Thanksgiving (if you're in the States) and if not, then have a FABULOUS week and weekend!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Watching, watching, watching!

hmmm....somewhere between Wednesday and Thursday of next week, I should get my 150 thousandth visitor. The only thing I'll have to identify them is IP address (maybe) and city and time. If I can figure out who it is, I'll send them this goddess pendant. The only problem is that sitemeter (free) only shows 100 hits at a time so if I don't catch it before it goes past the 150,000th person, I'll never know. I might have to do something else.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I know what I forgot to say! I've been rearranging my blog links. There is one for Tatting and one for "inspirational crafts". A few in the crafts category have tatting sporadically but unless it was a major focus, I put it in Crafts. When I get around to making a new blog, I will have a section on resources too.

Something else I keep forgetting to post about is this lovely bag I've been using for my knitting lately. My son-in-law's mother was also on the cruise with us and she had made bags for all the women, including me. His sister and cousin also had goodies for us...a bag of candy and a scarf. The candy is long gone and I can't remember where I put the scarf just now but it has flamingo's on it!
This is the back of the bag. Wendy did a wonderful job with it. You can never have too many bags. I put a different craft in each bag which really helps when I'm traveling or housesitting like I am right now.

Today is the first time in a long time that I got to go to tatting guild in Greenfield, hosted by Kaye Judt. She always has a new pattern for us and often it involves a new or little-used technique but this one is just rings and chains. There were several people I haven't seen in ages, Tami- who used to live in Lafayette, and Janet Groves who has lost 62 pounds since the last time I saw her! I'm inspired again to keep at the gym and diet! I've really gotten off track since coming back from the cruise. I can go to the gym but because I don't have my new card yet, I always have to take time to let them find me in the system. Plus I've been so busy and lately, my cold has kept me away too.

These are two snowflake butterfly bookmarks. The pattern is actually snowflake #44 in Tatting by Myra Piper. I made the varigated one first but the black and white image in the book intrigued me with the middle part so I made a second one in two colors to see how the middle stood out. There are even more possibilities if you want to play with thread and colors - maybe the center ring in each "point" could be included in the center? What if the large rings coming out of the center were the same color as the points? There is a lot of switching shuttles as it is and throwing off of rings from chains. I called it a snowflake butterfly because it is originally a snowflake but when I turned it, it looked like a butterfly. The shape could easily be a cross too.

I'm currently at home baking a pound cake for our Thanksgiving tomorrow but it's done so I'll be leaving shortly. I also need to make a broccoli salad and a cranberry syrup but I can do that at my friend's house. She has a gas stove and I have electric. Didn't figure it was a good time to try to figure out the nuances of gas cooking. I've always preferred electric although I grew up with a gas stove. Maybe that's why? LOL!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blogs and Advertising

It used to be that companies advertised their goods with contests and coupons. I've noticed something new going on. BLOG GIVEAWAYS! There is even a blog devoted to it. Just look at all the cool craft stuff you can win!

A non-tatting friend and I have talked about ads on blogs for a long time. I don't like them. When I first started blogging, I paid to keep them off. Now they pay YOU to let them put them on.

Sorry, but they truly annoy me. I never click on them. I don't care if you get money for it.

But what about the ads that are part of the blog itself, that promote the blogger's goods?

A few years ago, I belonged to a local Meet-Up group of bloggers. There were all of THREE of us. Blogging was still not all that popular. The leader of our group kept talking about how money could be made with blogs...on and on and on. It bored me. That wasn't why I was in the group. I wanted to learn how to make my blog look better. It was before google took over and nothing was free besides the space which was limited.

I do have an ad....can you find it? I created some goods with the Tatting Goddess logo in cafepress. Where? you might ask. Cafepress was an early online storefront business. I've sold very little. Very little. I liked the idea of no inventory and no investment beyond my time. I should probably delete my storefront and the link to it and when I rennovate my blog, I probably will.

I don't mind links to a blogger's storefront or website where they sell stuff. What I don't like is the constant sales pitch. That's not what I read blogs for and I find myself skipping over those more and more. I understand that it's marketing. It's just not what I'm looking for. If I'm looking for something in particular, I go to Ebay or Etsy or Ravelry or do a google search.

But blogs aren't just for entertainment. They were highly instrumental during the presidential campaign. I didn't read any myself, but a good many computer literate people did. Good things get done because of blogging. Word spreads like wildfire when disasters happen and people call to help. Rumors spread too. You can't believe everything you read. That's important. YOU CAN'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ.

Blogs are an avenue where one can express an opinion as well as provide entertainment and information. I love that so many tatters are blogging now. It's so much easier to see another's work and understand what is being talked about. Blogs have inspired new designs and new tatters. It's explosive, the way it has happened. I do wonder what is next? (and don't bring up podcasts - I ignore those too. If I can't print it out to read later when I'm not in a hurry, it will be ignored.)

BTW, I'm not saying any of this is bad in any way, just my preferences and everyone has different preferences. That's what makes this such an exciting reality.

I love this little tree bookmark by Ellen Lai. I'm not doing too well with it but I'm using a smaller thread than she did and it was late, I have a crappy cold, and found it hard to pay attention. The diagram is great. The completed one is done wrong - I zigged when I should have zagged. The one in progress is also wrong and I opened up the ring to correct it last night and decided to go to bed instead.

I actually stayed home today because I feel so rotten. I'm housesitting for a friend for the next 10 days and have to pack my clothes and "stuff" to take over there later today. They've already left. They live at the other end of the county so I won't be coming home every day (they also have a dog I love who is in failing health) and their connection is dial-up so I probably will not be posting much either.

Yes, I plan to take the reindeer with me to work on. I've been hauling him around for several days now.

I actually felt pretty good yesterday between the time I left work and got home. I ran a few errands, stopping at the Dollar Tree to pick up some paperweights that Kathy posted about in her blog. I didn't find them but managed to pick up $40 worth of stuff anyway - and when I mentioned to the cashier what I had come to buy, she knew exactly where they were and went off to bring some back to me so I did bring a few home to play with. In the meantime, I got a lot of "little" Christmas shopping done - stuff for the grandkids, stuff for coworkers. Much of it is part of something else that I'm putting together.

Well, I'm finally hungry so better eat and get to packing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm sending these to a friend for her stitching on something else. It was a nice little diversion. The one on the left is Sue Fuller's pattern from A Potpourri of Tatting which is out of print. I love this little tree - it's so easy, all chains and quick. The middle one is what I mentioned in last post, the delphinium by Lindsay Rogers in Tatting Collage, but it's doubling as a potential Christmas tree this time. The ones on the right are from Patty Duff's Minitats. When I tatted it in green last year, I didn't like it but I like these. The one on the left is in size 50 thread but the others are in size 30 thread. I left the tails long so the recipient can use them for the sewing onto whatever she puts them on.

We have 3 super Walmarts in town, 2 in Lafayette and 1 in West Lafayette. Over the past few days, I've been to the WL one and the one on SR26. They still have their fabric and craft areas. It's only the one close to me that got rid of theirs, and they are the newest one. I still don't have a clue why.

I was in Hobby Lobby tonight and found the perfect thing for my Secret Santa exchange! It was under the $10 limit AND on top of that, when I got to the checkout, it was 50% off!!!! I'm so excited. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to ...ah...embellish? it but I have ideas. I think I'll start with some black ______ and then over that, maybe some deep pink _______ and some mauve ___ and then some ______. It's going to be so cute! And useful too!

I can be working on that while I work on Becky's package. I should be sending Jon's out on Monday. Things are coming together so that I can get back on track. I may have to skip the mystery motif this month if I'm to also work on the reindeer.

It's such an intensive time at work. We're doing fraternity and sorority annual fire and safety inspections plus I'm inspecting some other buildings that are due. It's so tiring. I didn't even go to the gym all week until today. for more tatting!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Martha was kind enough to send a scan of my other Romanian Point Lace teapot. I tried using a star at the bottom of this one. I did like the star but I didn't like the netting around it, but I am never happy with that stitch. I feel like I don't get it as nice and even as it shows in the pictures. I usually like the effect of 2 or 3 buttonhole stitches in each thread instead of 1.

I have not had time to work on the mystery motif this month. I started one but haven't gotten back to it and I want to finish up Jon's package and start my SS before I tackle anything else.

It's been an exceptionally busy week at work and this will probably continue until right after Thanksgiving and then it will be much much slower!

A couple of quick tats for a friend. I'll be tatting some other quickies from a different pattern for her before I send them off. This is the delphinium from Tatting Collage, but they're not being used as delphiniums. It's amazing the different uses you can find for shapes.

I expect to finish up a couple of projects this weekend and almost, ALMOST, be caught up. I've had a rather exasperated request to complete the reindeer design I started (ulp!) five years ago. Seriously, I would like to finish it too. I wonder if I can remember how I got those teensy bells on there? LOL!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


To Betsy Evans

Winner of the November Blog Anniversary Drawing!!!!

Clapping Hands Congratulations

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Opinion Followup

As I said in my Opinions post, I don't like to complain unless I have a solution to offer. And then I went teetering near the edge of dropping off. LOL!

I heard from many people privately and I know that I'm not the only one who recognizes that some books could be better written. Seasoned designers are very good about asking for input before they complete and publish their books. I remember Iris asking for thoughts on her blog. I've seen Sharon Briggs ask for preferences. Many will ask which style of notation is preferred, what kind of binding is most convenient, what sort of balance between color, text, photographs, and diagrams are helpful? Then they juggle the most popular of responses with their own resources, which are sometimes limited, and go from there.

I learned about a budding group focused especially on designs and publishing. It is hosted by Sheron Goldin and can be found at I would encourage new designers who are thinking of putting a book together to also check out old designs. There are antique publications available free at The Antique Pattern Library. I suggest researching there just to see what has been done. Then I suggest checking out as many tatting books as possible from your local library or I.O.L.I. library, which has an extensive collection. You have to be a member to borrow books, but it's well worth the exploration.

Tatting is still not the craft you can go to your local craft shop and learn how to do. Lessons are sporadic in most places and completely lacking in many less populated regions. It's important that a book be as clear as possible. Directions need to be well written, as abbreviated as possible without losing clarity, with clear separation between segments. Abbreviations need to be explained somewhere. If it's not a learn-to-tat book, any techniques beyond the basic ring, chain, and join need to be explained and illustrated. Clearly defined and marked diagrams are a plus. A clear photograph is desired, but even if it is a black and white scan, the edges need to be well defined. The font needs to be big enough to see clearly. If terms are used that are not standard, they need to be cross-referenced with the commonly known term and explained. If a pattern is 3D, it needs to be shown from all angles. Pattern books get a lot of abuse over time. They need to open easily and stay open, which is one reason spiral binding is so popular.

I would also suggest finding a mentor, someone who has already published and get some input from them. That's where the yahoo group is helpful.

My best advice is to not jump into publishing a book until you've checked out as many resources as possible, to make sure you aren't plegarizing unknowingly, and to learn the best way to present your patterns and your style. After all, if you've gone to a lot of time and trouble to design and tat and record your patterns in a book, it would be a shame to have it wasted in a poor presentation. Additionally, it gives you a less than stellar reputation as a designer. Your designs may be superb, but if no one can follow your's a waste. That's what editors do, you know. They make something presentable and marketable.

That said, I'm looking forward to the new crop of tatting books that will come out in the next year. I've heard of so many people "working" on a book and I know tatting is a never-ending fountain of creativity.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Connie got her package so I can show a few things I tatted. The choker pattern by Judith Connors became a border on this Autumn towel. It was about the easiest project in the whole thing! I also made a pincushion just like this one and a tea caddy with a tatted teapot on the front. There were other goodies which I hope helped make up for her having to wait so long!

I had fun painting another shuttle too. There are days when I wish I could paint all day long!

Remember my purse angst some time back? I bemoaned the fact that mine was so heavy and big and I couldn't figure out how to downsize? Well, right now it is much lighter because I have not transferred everything back since the cruise and I'm holding out as long as I can to see what I absolutely have to have. In the meantime, as I attempt to declutter my living room, I see a reader tip in First, a biweekly magazine I pick up sometimes at Walmart or the grocery.

The reader, Linda Robinson from Santa Barbara, CA, says she empties her purse into a basket as she comes in the door every night. This forces her to trash clutter and take care of bills or deposits she might have forgotten about, plus swapping purses in the morning is a breeze. I wonder if I could get myself into the habit of doing that? I'd have to empty about 6 pockets in the purse too though. Maybe...the idea does hold promise.

I mentioned that I found some UFO's while doing some sorting.....well...last night I found 6 more plus I know I have one stuck inside a book and one on my computer desk. How does this happen???

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I wonder if anyone recognizes this edging? I suspect it is from Mary Konior since there was another motif in the baggie that is one of Mary's patterns but I don't find this edging in that book and I'm trying to stay focused on sorting and cleaning in the living room and NOT get sidetracked with finding a pattern.

Or maybe turned the other way like this????

I would really like to tat off the rest of the thread on the shuttles. I'll find something to put the edging on and even have a few ideas in mind. I have no idea what the original idea was. LOL! I don't even remember tatting it but I do remember the other two pieces in the baggie. They were test tatting to see if they would work to frame something. This is different thread though and clearly for something else, long forgotten it seems!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

LOL! I got this as part of an email this morning. I'm not in the habit of arguing with people, publicly OR privately, but this is a good reminder not to.

Every so often I run across something that really touches my heart. Earlier this week I visited The Tarnished Tatter's blog and found this loving tribute to a deeply missed 4-legged companion. I thought it was so sweet and ordered the pattern which I finally got around to tatting last night and blocking, very late. Not my best work, but I know the pattern works and it's a fairly quick tat, if you want to offer a little something to someone who is grieving for a lost pet. She titled it "Paw Prints on my Heart". It's designed in needle tatting but I had no trouble following it with my shuttles.

Lovely design, Heather.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I know it may not be perceived the same way I see it, but I was so excited with this election! I knew it would be a milestone even before the primaries were over. I'm not normally excited about elections and politics. I always vote but even when the one I vote for wins, I've never been exactly happy about it. It was sort of like the lesser of two evils in the past, but this one?

I loved seeing lines and lines of people voting. I loved that there extra days and locations to vote. I think way more people voted for that simple reason. I loved that they were brave enough to say what they wanted. I will not put down the losing candidate to justify the one I voted for, but I truly feel this is such a wonderful point in our history. Ultimately, I don't think it matters who gets the office, it will be a challenging four years ahead and it really is dependent on the mass consciousness more than anything, but I think this particular person will do the best job he can in making it an easier transition.

I was considering using this vintage pattern for the mystery motif but the directions tell you what it is...and it is not tatted exactly the way the directions say. I've added more rings at the upper wing than called for. It's not clear what to do at this point - it just says continue with other side as directed. LOL! I think I can sort it out and I'll clean this up eventually and post the instructions but first I'll move on to a viable mystery motif. I've done several vintage butterflies but I'm not sure I've done this exact one. Certainly not from this magazine but several of them have been reprinted in other publications along the way. This looks familiar so I'll check into it more later.

Every time Georgia sent out an email asking for volunteers for the Palmetto fundraiser book, I tried to duck under the radar. It's not that I mind doing it, I was just very busy and very stressed, in a nice sort of way. There are so many great designers out there that I really never gave it another thought. But then she emailed ME. She was down to needing ONE flower. Would I give it a try? I don't think I do my best work under pressure. I can come up with good ideas, but they become better ideas if I have time to work on them. Even so, I devoted two evenings to designing and testing this narcissus. I had no idea who else was involved or what the other flowers looked like. I was just hoping I wouldn't be put to shame too badly!

I got the CD the other day and saw I was in good company! This was a fundraiser at the Palmetto 2008 Tat Day. I don't know if you can still order them or not but I'm sure you can contact someone on their website who can give you an answer. The pattern CD from the classes is available now so maybe you can get both at once!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I tatted this piece during the cruise and was waiting until it was blocked to show it but I haven't even hidden the ends yet. There are two parts to it - this and the exact same thing on the bottom, I think.

It's from this book and while the diagram shows all three pieces and how they fit together, it doesn't really show how the two halves go together. I THINK the bottom half is only the large motif now, not all three. From the photograph, it looks like it has to be stiffened.

I think something screwy is going on with my blogroll. I noticed Jane Eborall's blog says it hasn't been updated for weeks and we all know that is impossible! I saw a few others on the list that I know have been updated. I was looking for a link to Terry the Tatter's blog, which I thought I had but couldn't find. She tatted the rose brooch on the same page as the motif above. I also have one of those in the works and will eventually get to finish it.

I finished this RPL teapot yesterday to send to a friend. I made another one earlier which I'm also sending and thought I had scanned it but I can't find it now (am I not repeating myself repeatedly?) and it's already sealed in an envelope.

I haven't gotten nearly as much done this week as I had hoped, housewise, but I got Connie's package done and it's ready to go out too. I also have a good friend whose birthday passed while I was gone and I want to finish something up for her but I don't see how I can do it before I return to work tomorrow. I did get the majority of my tatting threads put away this evening. I need to get Jon's package started and the November mystery motif posted so the week will still be a whirlwind!

On top of that, Indiana does not change back from DST just yet but it says so on my computer so I'm constantly confused about what time it really is! I'll have to fudge on the post time or it won't publish for another hour.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


We've all got one, right?

I just put away an email I was writing to a tatting friend to vent about a couple of subjects related to tatting that I don't want to post about. Why? Because they would offend some and hurt a few others and I never want to discourage tatters. Besides, if I don't have a solution in mind, why complain?

I've even got a blog in the works for the sole purpose of evaluating issues related to tatting. It wouldn't be popular. I may just keep it private. I would rather offer it in the spirit of helping others improve their work, be it tatting, designing, books, or blogs. I'm not sure I'm in a good enough mental place to do that as well as it should be yet.

Here's an example. I was at ZigZag Corner yesterday and bought some thread and other tatting supplies. I don't need much, but the thread is a gift and I was checking to see if there were any new books. I absolutely adore being able to see the book before I buy it. I found two books by a designer that I've bought from before. I still haven't tatted from the book I have. I need to rewrite the long, run-together directions in order to follow them. I've tried to follow them, but even with post-its, I got lost. Beautiful designs - but I will not buy another book in the same format and the other two were like that.

I've long thought I would love to offer a service to designers where I could rewrite the pattern to standard notation (which is still up in the air and will probably never be agreed on) and make up the diagrams (something I've still yet to learn) and offer advice on how to clarify certain things, but I'd have to charge for such a service, since it would be time-consuming and tedious, and no one could afford it in the end given the low-volume demand (compared to other craft books) of tatting. Nice idea, but not practical for now.

I did buy one book yesterday. I've put off buying it because 1) very expensive; 2) I couldn't see it before buying until yesterday; 3) it's something I don't tat or use very much. I've long admired the photos Iris has put on her blog for her book, Just for Fun, Tatted Jewelry, but the price was prohibitive for me. I don't wear tatted jewelry for the most part - in fact, I don't wear a lot of jewelry on a daily basis. Earrings - and the occasional necklace. Rarely a bracelet or a brooch. I like them, I just don't wear them. I will tat them for other people, but not all that often. There were only a few things I thought I would tat from the book for that reason, so it was hard for me to justify spending so much, especially since I couldn't see how it was done. I have another of Iris's books and it's very good. I've tatted a few things from it and I've tatted those few things more than once because I like them so well, but even that book was probably half the price of this one. I have well over 100 tatting books and 4 binders full of printouts. I'm out of room and I don't have enough life left to tat even what I'm inspired to tat now....but the lure remains.

The book is nice to look at - color photographs, good quality paper. It's in two languages so the ability to use the same book is broader. I haven't tatted from it yet so I really can't speak to the ease of usage but the diagrams are there and seem clear. She gives the size of beads used, the size of thread and approximately how much thread to put on the shuttle in that size. Once you're an experienced tatter, you know where to compensate when you want to use something different from the original instructions and I have always maintained that it's very helpful to know how much thread to put on the shuttle from the pattern, regardless of the tatter's tension. This is true in knitting and crochet - even when you know the gauge, you are working from a good estimate, not something carved in stone. There are two items I am pretty sure I will tat and possibly two others. $38 is a lot of money to pay for 4 sets of instructions but that is my splurge for the year. It's more than the two books combined that I did not buy, but I know I will tat something from this one and probably nothing from the others.

I am NOT saying everyone should make a book like this. I actually prefer the small $6/$7 up to $10/$12 booklets that are more limited in scope. I almost bought another copy of Tatting by Myra Piper to give as a gift. It has 47 snowflake patterns in it. The directions are not short form but abbreviated, no diagrams, and the pictures are black and white photocopies, but very clear. I've tatted several snowflakes from my copy and the directions are good. It's an excellent buy. Do you know how many snowflake and heart patterns there are out there? Even butterflies? Tons of them.

My other favorite snowflake book is Snowflake Roses by Denise Munoz. There is one flaw with this book. It was printed with errors so there is a sheet of paper with corrections inserted which is easily lost. There are only 12 patterns but they are all variations with a rose center. No diagrams but the directions are clear and short-form. Both of these books are only $6 each. I've tatted a lot out of both of them. They are also easily affordable gifts. Please note: Newer copies of this book are correct. If you buy one and it doesn't have the paper with corrections, it's probably current. Thanks to Sue Hanson who checked her new copy against my copy of "corrections."
Along that line - I like books that focus on one element. Martha Ess's block tatting, for instance. Ruth Perry's Celtic tatting is another potential - though I would like the focus to be on either the alphabet or edgings, or motifs rather than a combination in each book. Pat Stevens book on Fantasy that one. It's about a SINGLE flower, but the potential combinations are fabulous. Dianna Stevens with her book of bags. The books about animals. If you don't like to tat critters, you don't have to buy it for the one thing you do tat.

Holy Moly I've turned into a critic anyway. I'm aware that some people prefer a variety of patterns in one book and I do have some like that, but knowing my preferences (I don't do doilies), I'd rather buy a book of all edgings than one that is largely doilies with 4 or 5 edgings included.

Okay...'nuff said for today!

I have severely restricted my shuttle purchases in the last year or two. I don't even know how many I have. There was a point where I decided enough was enough. What I want now are the ones made for me. I have a friend who was considering making one like a copper one I admired at one time but it hasn't happened. I'll treasure it if it ever is made. Anyway, I did buy this SewMate shuttle yesterday. Only $3 and I have 2 of the purple ones already. It's a little bigger than a Clover and Clovers are my favorite working shuttles. Actually, I keep forgetting I have these and there have been a few times when I wished I could put more thread on the shuttle than the Clover holds. I think this would work perfectly in that case. I read where someone ordered one without the pick because the pick cut into their fingers. I have that problem with new Clovers too but you can take a fine file to them and smooth that tip a bit. My older Clovers have worn down all by themselves.

Speaking of shuttles, I was thinking the other day that in the years I have been tatting since 1997, I've never broken a Clover. Ever. I have some other shuttles that I'm afraid of breaking, including wooden ones, so I don't use them. A shame really, because they want to be handled, I'm certain.