Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm taking part in an exchange hosted by Pat Winters which involves embellishing 4 puzzle pieces of the same shape. They're due by June 1st but several have already submitted theirs. You can see them at Pieces of Friendship blog.

This isn't what I was going to do at all. A few months ago I was all fired up and traced the puzzle shapes on some white fabric, also copying "top" on the first one before I realized I would have to cover it up since I can't erase it. LOL! My plan was to embellish with tatting and perhaps a bit of embroidery. I've not done the beautiful stitching on crazy quilting before and don't feel skilled enough to offer it but now that I have this one piece of fabric that I have to cover up, I decided to at least piece a few strips of fabric and see where it took me.

Lesson #1 - plan ahead. Fortunately I'm just playing with this piece but very quickly I learned you better know where you want to lay that fabric and how the overall arrangement should look before you stitch. I didn't even know if I had any other fabrics to complement the original I stitched down and was scrambling to try to find something even close in color.

Lesson #2 - plan ahead. LOL! So in trying to figure out what kind of tatting would fit on something this size and make a statement without detracting from anything else, I could tell I needed to play with some thread and motifs to see what will work and what won't. This little bird from Tatting Collage is perfect but it's in size 80 thread. I hadn't planned on doing a lot of tatting in size 80 but I think over size 30 is going to be too big for the size of the puzzle piece which is basically 4" square.

Lesson #3 - go back to lesson #1. What about those edges? How do I define the shape and hold the fabric layers together? The blanket stitch or a satin overcast stitch is recommended for finishing the edges but what am I doing before I get to the finish part? I traced the puzzle outline on the back and then zigzaged along that, trying to stay on the outer part of it so I can cut just inside or along the edge when I got to finish. I'm not sure yet how this will work out. I think now that I should have just hand basted the shape and cut outside of that until I was ready to finish. Frankly, I wasn't thinking about this very much - I just jumped in so that I would be started. Once I start something, I feel compelled to continue until I finish.

So...that's where I'm at on that!


  1. I give you tons of credit for trying this one! I looked at it and knew there would be no way I could complete it. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  2. Anonymous1:39 PM

    I have been enjoying your blog for a while now, but haven't commented. So it's nice to "meet" you!

    I'm fairly new to tatting, so I watched your video on how to hide beginning threads this morning. This is something I have tried before without success following illustrations in books. I was so excited to figure it out using your tutorial. Thank you!

    Perhaps I can help you out with a couple suggestions for your puzzle pieces. You could build a puzzle piece using the technique laid out for this fabric postcard (http://quilting.about.com/od/quiltpatternsprojects/ss/fabric_postcard_3.htm) and embellish from there with embroidery and tatting. You wouldn't want a heavy fusible web though, because it can gum up your needle.

    Or you could use foundation piecing to piece a block (http://www.needlework-tips-and-techniques.com/crazy-quilt-block.html).

    Years ago I made a crazy quilt bag for my mom. At the time I read that an old tradition for crazy quilts was to embroider a spider on its web on them for luck. I embroidered a web in one corner and embellished it with clear beads to look like dew on the web. A tatted web might be cool. Maybe you could tat the spider as well!

    To finish the edges, I think it would be best to have your shape pieced and cut out, then baste by hand, then blanket stitch. You could even sew the layers together with a straight stitch on your sewing machine. Pick a color thread that blends well or use invisible thread. Then use the machine stitching as a guide for your blanket stitch and leave it in.

    Sorry for such a long comment. It looks like a fun project and I get excited. Sometimes I have too many ideas!


  3. Ann, Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll surely put some to use.

    Do you mean you figured out how to tat from the video? Because it was just meant to show how to hide ends! Thank you for the compliment!

  4. Anonymous3:17 PM

    I learned to tat from step-by-step instructions I found on the internet 8 years ago. I figured out how to make a pattern called "lacy bookmark" which didn't require me to learn to hide my ends properly. I made a few and then I put it away for many years and have just come back to tatting. So I'm a novice who wants to build new skills AND MAKE SOMETHING NEW! I realized that getting rid of those dangling threads was important to my finished product and saw that you had a video. So, thanks to you, I'm figuring that out and I have also made something using two shuttles. PROGRESS!

  5. Hi Gina, this is a really cool project! I can't wait to see how the finished pieces will look together. Have a great day!


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