Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I trust that everyone is enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends and pets. My get-together won't be until Sunday but I've been grateful for having a day of rest before I have to do anything. My daughter is having it at her house so it's not like it's a chore for me, but I also want to get everything organized in my own home for Christmas decorating.

Last night I was intent on getting Tatman's (Mark Myer) Autumn Pumpkin tatted. I didn't even get half of the outline done before I gave up in disgust. My fingers are trained to CLOSE the ring, not leave it partially opened! I lost track of where I was and ended up curving it the wrong way. It was late. I cut it off and went to bed. LOL!

So this afternoon I decided to brave it again - beings I had all that thread still on my shuttle.... I continued lettering all the rings on the pattern so that I could keep track of where I was and then marked on yet another paper each half ring I completed. It was slow going but I had fewer mistakes to correct. I heeded his tips about making the joining picots longer on the outer rings and smaller on the inner rings. I also closed the inner rings a bit more than the outer ones. I had a little trouble at the bottom. In spite of all my record keeping, I got off track on the last few rings and had repeated them so I had to back-tat. Then I realized the second side wasn't quite as big as the first side and had to back-tat two rings there at the end. So then I wished I had numbered the rings instead of lettering them. Finally I got to the big blossom, finished it and decided to take a break. I may get the other inside bits done tonight but I don't think I'll get the stem or leaf done. I thought I might make one of these for each of the women in my get-together on Sunday but I have concluded that this will be an "only piece." LOL! Mark might be used to tatting all those half-rings but I find them a pain!'s such a lovely pattern and everyone enjoys a challenge now and then, right?

And I really do appreciate that he has made this pattern available to us. I dearly appreciate ALL the tatters who bless us with their talents and creativity.

This morning I sewed the other bird I had cut out so now we have a pair. I don't know if there will ever be a flock of birdies, but so far, this has been fun.

I had used the heavy duty upholstery thread in my sewing machine for the last one since the color matched but for this one, I switched to a regular weight navy blue. I think it stitched up much nicer. I used my little scissors to clip the seams and when I turned it inside out, I stopped at the head and stuffed it before I completely turned the body out. That helped a lot! It's amazing what you learn to do better after a trial run.

I also finished the tail a little differently. The instructions are only the most basic. They don't tell you to clip seams or how to turn it or how to stuff it. I wanted the tail to be flatter so once I had the bulk of the bird stuffed, I stitched across where the tail began. I added a little stuffing but not a lot and stitched the tail closed. Then I machine stitched lines vertically down the tail.

I still haven't decided how I will embellish them. Will I add wings? (tatted of course) How will I deal with the eyes? I was considering some embroidery but since there is so much of a pattern on the print, I won't. I might make another one out of solid fabric and add stitched embellishments to that one.

As I was sewing this morning, I was thinking about how things have changed in terms of sewing since I was a child. I really don't remember exactly how old I was when I learned to sew. We had a Singer treadle sewing machine and I remember the belt would periodically get too loose and would have to be tightened. When I started sewing in home ec at school, we had electric machines where you pressed a paddle with your thigh to get it running. I loved that! But the majority of my sewing until I was an adult and married was on the treadle machine. It didn't have a zigzag stitch or a buttonhole maker. I taught myself to make bound buttonholes because I was so bad at hand stitching them. I finished the seams of my garments because we didn't have pinking shears sharp enough to help avoid fraying.

It's incredible what a sewing machine will do today. I currently have a cheapie Singer model that I bought on ebay. It does zigzag, but that's about it. I don't make clothing anymore and have hardly sewn for a long time. I have a serger I haven't even used. I could have sewn these birds on that treadle machine without needing any fancy stuff though.

I'm really grateful that I do know how to do a lot of needlework without the fancy equipment, but I'm equally grateful for all the advanced technology because it allows us to do more in less time and to use our imagination and creativity even more!

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I think the pattern turned out just fine. I mean, really, there is no such thing as a perfect pumpkin. The golden yellow floral motif is reminiscent of a chrysanthemum. So what you have here is a very pretty piece for autumn/Thanksgiving.

    I love the birds,especially the one sewn with the celestial fabric. How about small black buttons for the eyes? Many years ago, my grandmother taught me to sew, but I never stuck with it. She had an old black Singer with a treadle, too! Everytime I see one, I think of her.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Gina!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving!

    What a post! Man, Gina, you can really write! With all you do and tackling the demanding pieces - like Mark's pumpkin - and doing your day job, you are a wonder! Wherever do you get the energy?!
    Fox : )

  3. Your birdies look great! I agree with Steph, I like the celestial fabric one the best, love the fabric, though the other one looks good, too. I like what you did with the tail.
    My grandmother had a treadle sewing machine. When we were first learning to sew she wouldn't let us use thread, we had to learn to sew straight without, first! She could tell by the holes in the cloth. We still had a lot of fun with it.

  4. Your Punkin' turned out cute. I am like you with the partially closed rings...I've never done well with those patterns. I can't seem to get a consistent "closing/left open - space" going with them. Your turned out nicely.
    I like your celestial pattern. I've seen that fabric before here on your blog. It must be a fave of yours. :)
    Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving. I admire your ambition. I had a nice Thanksgiving post going on in my head, but didn't get around to it! I was too busy with other things.

  5. I did a puzzle piece with the celestial fabric. It just happened to be handy, already with my sewing stuff but I had my son pull out the tub of Christmas fabric this morning so I'll be dipping in that soon!

  6. Happy thanksgiving! I wish I had some turkey! I love your little birdies!

  7. I think you did a grand job with the pattern so far. And I like that you are putting contrastin colors inside. Can't wait to see it finished!!!
    If any tatter has problems with the half ring, you can make it a complete ring. Just be sure when you alternate rings that you leave a thread space(to compensate for the thread space of the half ring). Trial and error, but it does work!

    Good luck!!!!


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