Monday, September 28, 2009

Back from Ontario!

Yeah, I'm back! I rolled in about 8:30 p.m. last night. Originally I was to meet up with some friends in Ft. Erie but they had a last minute conflict involving a family member and a nursing home so I opted to come home. I considered stopping at Indiana Dunes but did not have the address of the bead shop I wanted to go to or several other places I want to make it a point to visit and I think I was feeling a bit homesick - odd for me, but there was a tinge of it.

I have 25 photos from the Fringe Element Tatters event in Cambridge, Ontario but it takes a lot of time to sort and edit so I picked ONE that seemed to embody the entire event for now. You can see how full the room was, the tables on the perimeter with lots of goodies to buy, the portable Ott lights, chocolate if you look closely, and you might even recognize a few people!

I got to see lots of old friends and meet some new ones. The very first person I saw when I came in to register was Fox, from Tat-ology. Not that I would have known that, but she recognized me. LOL! Guess I look like my photo. Then there was Kelly, from Tatfully Yours, who is a bright star to be around! Both ladies were such a pleasure to meet. Too bad Canada feels so far away. IS - it was a 9 hour drive for me and I consider myself close, compared to many who live in the States. I hope I get to see all of them again. Canadians are such fun!

Murray was a new face. I'll show his woodworking later. It was good to see Ruth, Karey, Kaye, Susan, Margaret, Norm (don't think I even got a chance to say hi to Norm!), Rita, Ginny, Shirley, Sylvia, Heather, Brenda, and host of other friends.

I taught two classes, one on beads and one on vintage patterns. Both were mostly informational. It's fun and all to tat with beads but it helps to know something about sizing and how to thread them and how to get them on a pattern if you've never done that before. I hadn't really planned to design anything for it but in the end, I came up with this brooch. I'll stick it in my e-snips file eventually but it is a good way to practice tatting with beads without getting too involved in other techniques. This one is a center of simple rings and a back of basic chains. I used Lizbeth thread for this sample, size 20 and beads size 11/0. Also, Brenda Franklin had her beads there - got a photo of those that will make your eyes pop! Brenda is an excellent resource for bead info.

The Vintage pattern class was about learning how to interpret vintage terms and directions into something you can use with today's modern techniques. We talked about terms, drawing the pattern out, tracing it, listing the steps, and converting them into something more contemporary. Participants were invited to bring a vintage pattern that they wanted help with. I didn't feel I accomplished much in this class and kept asking everyone if they got what they wanted from it. It was the last class at the end of two days and everyone is pretty much brain-dead from so much stimulation so I hope once they've gotten back to normal, that they'll feel free to email me with feedback - or questions. This is the first time I've done this class so I'd like to find a way to make it better. I debated on using one pattern for the class to go through and I did have one with a few things to point out.

My biggest problem with teaching in this kind of venue, with several classes going on at the same time, is the level of distraction. When I teach my lace guild members at the library locally, we are in a room by ourselves. It's usually 4-6 people, sometimes less and sometimes more, but it's very easy to clarify things. Someone asks a question and everyone can hear. But we don't have to pay for a room and this is the challenge most Tat groups face when they have these events. There's not enough money to fund separate rooms for each class. I was grateful for the good lighting at Best Western and the noise level really wasn't bad compared to other places I've been in.

Tatting guilds, as an entity, are still in their infancy. I don't think any of the major tatting events have been going for a decade yet, but even so, they've been streamlining and learning how best to host tatting events along the way and have made great strides. Those evaluation forms they give you are necessary to make improvements. I really think the best feedback comes a week or two after the event though. An initial survey followed up with a feedback form would probably offer the best input. I'm sure any feedback you offer at any time is appreciated though. Tell them what kind of classes you want. A good mixture, IMO, is one that offers a refresher on the basics, opportunities to practice the basics in new ways, and some cutting edge techniques for advanced tatters who get bored with the basic stuff. For many people, the social aspect is the most important part, but they want to enjoy the tatting too. That means they want to go home with something they actually finished but also a project that challenges them that they can work on when they leave.

I've already been asked to come back next year and tentatively accepted, although I'm expecting to make some major changes (moving, job possibly) in my personal life over the next year or there's always that to consider.

It was the oddest thing, but the very day before I left for Ontario and even that morning, I suddenly got all kinds of emails from people seeking help in one way or another. It's not unusual for people to email me along that line, but they're usually spread out more.

One question that has come up 3 or 4 times is how to make the crocheted Romanian Point Lace cord. I keep thinking I'll make a tutorial but there's not much reason to when Sunshine over at Sunshine's Creations has made such a good one herself here!

I also got such a nice compliment with the tatting of a spiral bookmark by Cindy over at A Happy Bluebird. I can't really take credit for the pattern. It was from a bookmark I received in an early exchange and the pattern is actually an adaptation of an old edging. Quite clever of the tatter, to think of using two colors that way. I wish I could remember her name. When I finally tracked the edging down and put it into pattern format for the bookmark, I neglected to write her name down. I actually only documented it for me because I made several of the bookmarks that year for various family members who were graduating from high school in their school colors. It was in 2000 (included my baby) and before I started my blog. You think you're never going to forget those details, but I started forgetting stuff around 50. It finally dawned on me that I didn't HAVE to remember everything. I could look it up! Well...usually I can look it up.

Well, this has gotten quite long and I haven't even begun to describe Tat Day! I'm off for a few days and want to make the most of it in getting things organized at home.



  1. A lovely commentary on your time in Canada. Gosh you people do travel some distances to get to these tatting events. The button is beautiful in colour and design, I love working with beads, must be a family thing!!!!

  2. Hi Gina
    What a lovely thing to say about me. Thank you. Many people say things about me but can't put them in print!!!LOL It was really great meeting and I hope you enjoyed the party. We do get a little crazy sometimes!!! But still have alot of fun. Please keep in touch.
    Tatfully Yours, Kelly

  3. Good to have you back safe and sound. You didn't mention Rita - was she there? Love the brooch too. Pretty thread and beads.

  4. So I was right! To start a blog to remember things, I mean. I shall hit the 50 next year, so good thing I have links to patterns now. LOL.

    I wish I could make it to one of these tatting events - maybe they will get closer to Minnesota in the near future. Sounds like some fun learning there!

  5. Hi Gina! I loved reading this and thinking about what went on this weekend. My only regret is that I did not plan to be in the bead class. However, at least I have your pattern, and lots of spanking new, shiny beads, so I am eager to tackle this on my own time! I love the design.

    Next year - bead class for sure!
    Fox : ))

  6. I so wanted to attend Fringe Element Tat days. Instead I attended the wedding of a young
    (25) lady, whom I gave her first bath, in the newborn nursery. Of course that was a must attend event for me. Thank you for sharing the pictures with us.
    I love the beaded motif you did. The beads appear to be on the surface and not in the tatting,I know there is such a thing. Is that how you did it?
    I also want to learn how to do Romanian Point Lace and there isn't much about this on the web except some very expensive books and kits.
    Good Luck with your future plans.

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas regarding Fringe Element Tat Days. I loved reading every word!

    I do so hope you will be able to post a few more pictures when you get some free time.

    Betcha your classes were a huge hit!

  8. Hi Gina, Thanks for blogging about your day with the Fringe Element Tatters. Since I haven't been able to attend any of these Tat Days, it wonderful to read about everyone's experiences and see pictures of all who attended.

    Very Cute Rosette with beads!!

    Have a great day!

  9. I enjoyed reading about your trip to Ontario. I am glad you had fun and met a lot of new people. The brooch is beautiful.

  10. That is just the coolest thing! A gathering for tatters! Wow! I so much admire the art and patience of those who can do this. Thanks for letting us take a peek.

  11. Thanks so much for sharing your time at Tat Days. I've never been to anything like this but hope to go some day. I'm looking forward to seeing more pictures whenever you have the chance to post the.

    The brooch is lovely. I don't use beads much - I'm lazy - but they sure do make things look good!


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