Monday, May 29, 2006

I returned Jazz to his owners today. Elena had Cold Soup for me when I arrived. It's a common Russian dish served on hot days. It's made up of finely cut radishes, cucumbers, boiled egg, and green onion. Separately, she makes a huge amount of beet juice. There is probably a formal name for it, but it's like a broth with a bit of garlic and onion flavoring in the cooking and also some citric acid to give it a bit of whang. The cold chopped veggies are placed into a bowl and then the cold beet juice spooned over it. She added some organic salt and some sour cream. There were hot boiled potaoes on the side, covered with dill...oh, and there is lots of dill in the veggie mixture too. You put the potatoes in last - a hot added to cold. some people add meat but she doesn't. It was quite tasty! She also added some lovely rolls, apologizing for not having the typical brown bread that is usually served with this soup. Then she plied me with hot strawberry green tea and some chocolate mint thingie.....I had no idea I was going to be fed!

I tried sewing the tatted inserts into a sample of the fabric. I need to find a neater way to do it but mostly I was looking to see how the thread looked with the fabric. The purple definitely looks better than the ecru but I don't think I will use either one. I think instead, that I will tat a hen and chicks edging and be done with it.

I couldn't believe how fast I got those placemats! They were here on Friday. There are 12 here and they look perfectly matched.

Here's a close-up so you can see the perfect tension. How do they do that? They look machine made but we know tatting has not been perfected on machine. There are embroidery programs for digital machines that mimic tatting but these are definitely tatted with crochet. I did notice the ends are simply tied and cut short. I think the separate elements are tatted individually and then joined together by a crocheted chain between each element. I brought them to my tatting guild on Saturday mornting. "made by machine" kept coming up, but we know that isn't so. I'm disappointed because it devalues tatting. Can you imagine the beautiful tatting that could be done by the maker if they had a free license to do so?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Last night I discovered that has a search box on their home page where you can search for blogs by keywords. I've used google for that in the past. When I first started blogging - before I created my blogs actually - I searched for tatting blogs. There were one or two, which either weren't active or the focus was on knitting or another needlecraft. That's why I started blogging! I wasn't the very first, but darned near.

I've been pleased to see more and more developing. I enjoy the "fixed" websites too, and those are my reference points, but the changing day to day tats of others is also a special delight to me. It was a pleasant surprise to see blogger come up with 5,485 hits. Those aren't all tatting blogs - they are entries about tatting ON blogs, but that's still a decent number. I plodded through about 100 + before I gave up. A large number were knitting or crazy quilt focused blogs with tatting as a side interest from time to time. A couple were purely for advertisment. And before I quit, I noticed some were repeating, just using different dates. Mine was listed twice - both older entries, and I saw several of my group members in there too.

There were some entries that mentioned tatting in LiveJournal that appeared to be fiction writing but I didn't pursue those since only members can read them. I'm a member but my audience might not be. One entry that I did pursue however, is the poem below which is a blog that everyone can access. I emailed Carol and asked if I could post it here and she generously gave permission.


I could live in a hermitage
drawing windows tight with lace,
patterning the sun nervously on the wall,
tatting while fantasies shuttle quietly
between prayers.

I won't live in a hermitage
in neatly stitched lines and circles, alone,
Joining the other minds beside opened windows,
we dance stormy patterns.

Carol at

Now....I should do some legitimate work related work.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I really like this motif. I tatted it in a tiny thread and framed it last year. I thought it might be nice for the curtain. This is size 60 Coates. Still not blocked. I was going to go to bed early last night but I was soooooooo close to finishing I did. I did a better job on this one. In the last one, it looks like my chains are turned.

Since I started this entry, I've made the purple medallion too.

This is how it looks on the fabric. The space behind it will be cut out so it's still kind of hard for me to visualize. I'm going to try a round motif too, and also the purple color. Maybe I should actually sew a sample in to see how it will look?

Conductive steel thread Make your own wearable LED display clothing! LOL! I looked at the thread, wondering about tatting with it, but it requires lots of other stuff, like a battery, to light up. Ingriguing idea however....tatted Christmas ornaments that light up, for instance.

Square watermelon? This photo is from Purdue too! I'll have to pop over to the Hort department and see if they have any samples around. Apparently this is a specialty in Japan.

On Tuesday evenings after work, I've been meeting with some other ladies informally as a way to mentor tatting skills. One of the ladies got a book on needle tatting since last week and used it and the shuttle both to practice with. My guess is that she is hooked now. When you're that determined to "get it", then there's no stopping after that.

There are so many new tatting books out! Check Georgia's site for some book reviews but there are more that aren't on there yet. There are new books from Toni Storer and Judith Connors (Australia) and one from Martha Ess.

At The Calico Cat, there are some free instructions for tatted trim on a hanky baby bonnet or ring bearer pillow. I see a new name there too, with a few patterns, by Ramona Sturtevant.

I also found another craft blog, , Miss Alice Faye which features some tatting in the archives, but the knitted shawl in recent entries is beautiful!

Now here is some tatting with a strong GREEN presence. Nice work but I'm not fond of the color.

Elegant egg titled "Heidi's tatting". I'd say this was inspired by someone's tatting!

Another instructional video? Looks like this tatter has made one too.

I decided to buy these. I can't imagine these being sold for so little. I suspect the thread is a cheap cotton but we'll see.

Nefertatti Need I say more?

Looks like this was done in sewing thread! Notice how she attached tatting to placecards. Looks like a scrapbooking idea to me.

Guess who's come to visit?

This is Jazz, our secretary's cat. She brought him with her from Russia, so now I have an house. You thought I was gonna say something risque there, didn't you? I'm keeping him while she & her family visit the Smokies over the holiday weekend. My cats are outside for the summer so there's not a big conflict going on, although Jazz has been peeking out over the window of the storm door at my cat who is VERY curious about who this is in the house.

Okay, if I get up RIGHT NOW, I will almost make it to bed at a decent hour!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I got this video off Ebay and it arrived yesterday so I watched it last night. The teacher is Linda Driskell and she is talking with host Jean Farish Huls. This is part of a series of videos on needlearts. The instructor clearly knows what she is doing and moves at a pace fast enough that you don't fall asleep but not too fast to understand. The close-ups of the hand movement are clear. I like her suggestion to bring the left hand (or hand holding the ball thread) into a gentle fist when transferring the knot or making the flip. It releases the tension and gives you someplace to put those fingers. I've noticed saying to relax them doesn't really help. She starts off immediately with a simple ring edging, progresses into a ring and chain edging, and then a round motif of rings and chains. She shows how to wind a shuttle, including using a paddle-like shuttle winder, and gives lots of little tips along the way. One thing I learned that I hadn't heard before: in a ring only edging, when you close the ring and start the next ring, where do you begin the next ring so that it is far enough away to not pull the rings inward, yet not so far that you have little loops of bare thread hanging of all different lengths? She suggested pulling your shuttle thread to the right and then see where the picot on the last ring made ends on that line...then go a little more to the right and start your ring there. It worked well for me! So now I've got an extra video for beginners.

I was cleaning out some stuff in my bedroom last night when I found this piece of fabric in a bag. I bought it at a 2nd hand store - it's a yard long and 45" wide. I love the butterflys and I love the color combination. I'll have to make something really cool with this....and with only a yard, it'll be a challenge!

I bought a tiny lavender on cream print from Walmart to make some kitchen curtains. I started tatting the motif I'm going to insert in the valance part last night. The thread is also something vintage I picked up somewhere forgotten now but it's a size 60 Coats ecru. I love the way it is tatting up, so clean and crisp. Some threads make me feel like such a clumsy tatter, like I can't ever get my tension right. They are supposedly good threads but I'm beginning to think different. I also have some purple that matches nicely. I wasn't sure which color to use so I will make one of each color and then lay it on the fabric and see which feels best. I'd like to put a tatted edging on it too, but since this is an experiment, I don't think I'll invest the time in that for now. Besides, I don't have enough of either color for that and I think they are both discontinued or unavailable now. to meet with my tatting newbies. We're doing a little crochet this evening too!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Heidi Holland sent me this post-it pen. Isn't it cool? Teensy little post-its fit right into the barrel (got 2 refills too) so you can write a note and post it on your work. It went straight into my tatting workbox! Heidi also sent me some wonderful organic teas. I haven't tried them yet but they sound sooo delicious - I know they have to be! Mint Melange, Chamomile Citrus and Green Tea Tropical. Also got a small tube of Nexcare hand cream which also went into my tatting workbox. Uhhhhh....I need a bigger workbox. LOL!

Tatters are the greatest! Nell sent me a few samples of the Turkish polyester thread she has. I have a few too, but they are a different brand. They look the same...but I wondered if they tatted the same? This is that shiny smooth delightful looking thread, Dantel.

I was disappointed in it as a tatting thread. Starting with the bookmark on the left:It's so slick I had trouble keeping a slipknot made to even wind my post shuttle with. The rings are very hard to close - it seems to grab against itself. Fortunately, it's an extremely strong thread so the extreme pulling I did to close the ring didn't snap the thread. It does look nice and shiny but I had trouble keeping my tension even because it slips a bit. I had to pinch nearly every stitch to keep it in place. The thread frays or comes apart easily if you have to untat it and catches on every little snag of dry skin or rough spots on anything. When I blocked it, it laid out on the board perfectly, but after it was dry and I removed it from the board, it seemed to take on a life of it's own. The heart curled up - you can't see it here because the cover of the scanner flattened it out and the tail curved to one side. Part of that curvature has to do with the nature of split rings, but usually when you block it, it stays the way it dries.

So then....I HAD to tat it in the thread I had and this is the middle bookmark in pink. I had all the same problems except it did seem to block better and the rings seemed a teensy bit easier to close. Maybe I got the knack of it better by this time. I wonder if I use a different color in the first thread if it will do the same thing. Sometimes it's the color dye that has an impact on how a thread behaves.

The whole time I'm tatting, I remembered the rayon floss I used to tat the Pam Palmer elephant. This thread is shiny and appears slick but it wasn't as bad as the Dantel. I used 2 strands of floss throughout the elephant. I wondered if I'd just forgotten that it was difficult to tat so I hunted down some floss that I still had separated and tatted the 3rd bookmark, shown on the right. It turned out larger but it was so much easier to tat! The rings closed easier and it blocked nicely. It does have a tendency to fray or split just like the other thread but the end result is shiny, just like the other 2 threads. It's not as convenient when you have to separate the floss strands and you are limited to 8 meters in length but I still like the actual tatting part much better.

I'm going to try the Dantel in some crochet cord and possibly as the filling stitches in some Romanian point lace and see how that works out. I'm a little concerned about it sliding out of the RPL as a filling stitch though.

BTW, the Butterfly Heart bookmark came from Dianna Stevens' Animal Bookmarks, A Tatted Zoo and this included design is by Bev Dillon. It's quick, obviously. I tatted all 3 in 2 evenings.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Here's the GinaB card I bought in Corning, NY after leaving Hector. It had all the elements I liked - flowers and dragonflies and done in watercolor so it could have been done by me...but it wasn't. You should check out Gina B Designs. I don't know her but she's gotta be good!

I decided to tat my daughter and daughter-in-law some motifs and frame them for Mother's Day.

Last night.

The peachie colored one was the first attempt - in a size 20 Manuela, I only got to the second round when I realized it was going to be too big for the frame. I think the color is all wrong now too for what I had in mind. I could have framed it this size but I wanted the 3rd row on there.

So here they are tatted, blocked and framed. I realized the silver frame had some chips out of it after I scanned it so I put it in a slightly different silver frame.

The gold one worked out perfectly. Both threads are King Tut quilting threads. It works up well although it will break if you are a tight tatter and pull too hard. I don't generally have too tight stitches. I have to give a little extra tug now and then but it's usually not a problem.

Yesterday was part one of the Romanian Point Lace program with my lace guild. I think everyone had a fair idea of how to do the cord by the time we left.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Yay! Heidi got her tin from me. I forgot to take a picture of the tin, but here's one I found online - it's the only lunchbox tin listed for Hershey's though I thought it was a little different. It's one I've had for awhile so it's "vintage". LOL! Actually, while I was going through storage cubes in the basement looking for something else, I kept finding tin after tin that I'd forgotten about. I think I even have one that would match the shuttle I painted for her which is a little further on here.

I had this flower done for her pretty early. I had looked through all,well - not ALL, but many of my tatting books looking for something floral to tat. I had 3 or 4 books pulled with potential motifs when I remembered Pat Stevens' Fantasy Flowers. I had so much fun tatting those while in Montana but never got around to actually finishing one so this was my chance! I checked her preferences in the list files and found she liked jewel-tone colors. I thought I picked two good tones, but after I was done, I found some that seemed clearer....but time was out. The "trailers", as Pat called the long center beaded pieces, are such an easy way to use up shuttle ends with beads. I purposely used the thread that the flower petals would be tatted in along with beads for the whole thing. Pat said you can't make a mistake with these flowers and I think that's true. Once I assembled it together, I didn't know whether to make it a long stemed flower for a vase or into a piece of jewelry. I thought it would be too lonesome as a single flower, so brooch it became!

It's been awhile since I painted a shuttle and this was almost an afterthought, delaying my mailing by one day since I wanted an extra coat of varnish on it. Can't guarantee it for tatting, but it's so much fun to paint and then to look at.

I'm anxiously waiting to see what everyone else got!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My yahoo group is in the middle of a tin exchange. My partner sent me this very cool bag packed full! I forgot to ask Heidi if she made the bag. I've barely been home with enough time to explore it thoroughly and it arrived on Monday. I noticed today that the inside of the bag is green just like the outside in pattern so I wondered if it was a reversible fabric or lined. I'll have to look at that closer tonight.

I had hoped to get a brighter photo but my camera was acting up again. I got more than the ONE required tin! I haven't opened any of them yet, but the Altoids has citrus sours in it, the larger rectangular one has pins inside (I've been eyeing those tins at Hobby Lobby for months!) and the little Love one has mints inside. I didn't read the racecar label to see what was inside. The little racecar reflects one of Heidi's interests! I also got some blue shimmery Sulky thread and blue beads. I'll have to try some of Nina Libin's Beanile patterns with that. Also have a slide-out credit card sized magnifier which will come in handy. And the sweets! You can see the Werther's Originals. You can't really see the big bag of Ghirardelli Caramel filled chocolate squares! It's not a big box like the link but it's definitely a nice sized bag of chocolate! Yummmmmm!

We also tatted a floral motif since it's Spring to add to the booty. I've been debating what to put this little floral sprig on. I have a denim shirt I've been meaning to trim in tattings. This might be a nice touch!

Many many Thanks to Heidi Holland! I'll post what I sent her when she receives it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The other doily. This is another Altin Basak thread, size 50, color 3006. Both ladies loved them. I know both want to learn and I've got one who will come next Tuesday evening to meet with the other newbies and get started.

Again, I used two shuttles and climbed out of each ring with mock picots and split rings. It tats up fairly quickly. I started this one, including winding the boggins, during a lunch hour and got to the last ring on the next to last row, which was a split ring. I left it for the evening and finished that last row then.

I got the latest Anna magazine today. If you didn't order it, you might still be able to get one. They've made extensive use of fabric centers with eyelet edgings. I like the white one on the left in this grouping.

These blue ones are lovely too. There was one I didn't scan that used a lot of block tatting.

I loved this one the most. There is a unique treatment of the last row of chains that gives the sloping effect.

And guess what next month's course is? Macrame Crochet Lace also known as Romanian Point Lace! I'm not particularly interested in this one but the blurb mentions two smaller ones so I can't wait to see those!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Well these have been sitting around for a couple of days. I wanted to get them made for our secretarys last week but ran out of time so I tried to get them done at the weekend. I have some acrylic coasters I bought at a lace day a few years ago but I can't find the damned things! I did find one but I needed TWO. So they are going to receive them as little doilies instead. This one came from a Japanese book, Tatting, by Yusai Shokoin, page 74. The thread is Altin Basak, size 50, color 3052. I used 2 shuttles and climbed out of each round with a split ring. I plan to make another one in a different color. It's 3" across.

This was going to be my other coaster originally. It does fit in the acrylic one but since I can't locate a second one, I went to plan B. LOL! I really do like this motif though. It is also from the same book, this time on page 71. I used a finer thread, Flora, size 50, color 80. It appears the same size here but it's actually about an inch smaller. Altin Basak size 50 tats up more like size 20/30. Flora size 50 is truly a smaller thread. The pattern has only 5 rings in the center but I could see that wasn't going to work without bowling so I added a 6th ring and it worked out beautifully. Again, I used 2 shuttles and climbed out of each round with either a split ring or split chain. The directions indicated using a ball and shuttle so you have to cut and tie if you do that.

Okay, this was my first attempt at a coaster. I used the motif from here:
Tatted doily with heart motif. I'd like to do it over and see if my tension changes after knowing how it will work out. The inner part of the chain humps on the heart were supposed to be 26 ds. I quickly figured out it needed to be a few less to lay nicely under the second, outer chain with the picots. I had trouble keeping my long picots from twisting too. About halfway though, I was getting the hang of it. It's quite large, about 4" across. I decided it was too open for a coaster. I think this was a size 20 thread but I'm not sure. I'd like to try it in a smaller thread too.

Sunday I started scanning some vintage Home Needlework Magazines for the tatting archive but it's very time consuming. I got 2 done on Sunday and 1 on Monday but on Monday, the pdf scan didn't transfer for some reason so that was a wasted hour. Very frustrating. I was home late today so it will be tomorrow before I can tat or scan either one. I suspect I will be mowing tomorrow night too!