Saturday, May 30, 2009

I haven't been able to garden like I would like to but I do have some irises and peonies on the hill in front of my house that bloomed prolifically this year. This is one of the irises that I photographed and then "layered" with my editing program. Isn't it gorgeous?

I've been sorting through printouts and putting them in sleeve protectors and of course, that fires up my imagination and "wanna tat" mode. I tried to limit what I set aside for immediate tackling but there are probably a dozen things I think I should get to right away! This one is a vintage crochet pincushion. I've made the little bolster stuffed with fiberfill since I'm never too sure about vintage patterns until I try them out. What I would really like to do is stuff it with potpourri for a lingerie drawer. For now though, the pilot is a simple stuffed tube as the instructions tell me to make.

The crochet looked like it was really simple - I thought it would go FAST! Ha! That was Thursday night and I'm still not done. I ripped out several rows last night thinking I missed something on an end. I'm not sure if I did or if the late hour just whispered that suggestion to me and I took it to heart, but I'm near the end now. Once it goes around the tube, then I crochet the beading at each end. There are no instructions about attaching the long crocheted edges together but I'm going to somehow. It will gape if I don't.

So...this very simple project has become way more time-consuming than I expected, but I think I will love it when it is done and I think I will come up with some improvements too, but for now, I'm following the instructions, believe it or not!

Well...except it does call for a silk casing over the tube under the crochet...I'm skipping that for now.

I thought I'd show some more of the goodies from my thrift store excursion last weekend. This fan box intrigued me, partly because of shape and design and partly because I can store all my little tatted fans in it. I even have a few "fan" shuttles from Georgia Seitz but I probably won't put them in there. It's an Avon box that I probably admired in their catalog at one time but since I don't use Avon anymore (for decades now!) I don't buy it. It cost me 50 cents.

I LOVE this little plate. This one was 50¢ too. Almost everything was. This one has a label on the back that says Bath & Body Works, Fall 1999. The original price was $6.00. I wonder what went with it?

Here's a few more finds. The umbrella on the left was originally $12.99, according to the sticker still on it. I did pay $1.50 for this one, but the others were 50¢ each. I thought someone might have glazed the egg locally but the tag on the bottom says it is from the Philippines. The blue sachet is actually a bit bigger than I like them but I bought it anyway.

This is the ornament tree that I bought at Goodwill once. At the moment, I've got my ceramic sachets hanging on it. There is a white one not on there because the ribbon is missing and I haven't replaced it yet. I probably have more around the house of these. I pick them up at garage sales and thrift stores. I had most of these in my bedroom, hanging on drawer pulls and the mirror and any other place I could hang them, but I wanted to see how many I had so I brought them all out and hung them on the tree. I'm pretty sure I have some in the basement that I'll get to eventually.

I had planned to tackle the kitchen today but didn't get to sleep last night until 4:00 a.m. so I ended up sleeping in til 10:00 a.m. I just couldn't get to sleep. Then I was SO cold. It was warm outside but the trees around me keep the house cool. That's great when it's 90º outside but it wasn' I bundled up. Took a nap around noon. LOL! I think I really just didn't feel well. I'm good now though. So the kitchen gets done tomorrow. Hopefully the sachet will be done tonight. Maybe I'll even put it in the fair! That reminds me, I need to track down the RPL I did last winter so I can enter that too. The more lace we have in there, the more likely they will keep the category going.

I really need ALL summer off. There is so much I want to get done, painting - both utilitarian house painting and recreational personal painting. Rearranging rooms, sprucing up, etc. At any rate, I'm truly enjoying my days off, even if they are at home.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I sent my puzzle pieces in Tuesday. Yep, that red one wasn't there before. I was so frustrated trying to finish off the edges nicely that in a little fit, I just added tatting and embroidery to felt so that it would be easy to blanket stitch! The bottom motif is from Heather Johnston's book that I mentioned a few posts back and then I added a rosette on top of it and some beads. The thing about felt is that it reminds me of Christmas ornaments and indeed, the white and silver here seem very holiday-ish.

Of course, I had to identify myself. Learning how to make labels by ironing on a transfer, which I had to make first, was also a learning curve.

This pitcher & glass set is one of the items I got at the thrift store while shopping with a friend at the weekend. Only $3.00!!! I suspect it should have 6 glasses instead of 5, but I didn't care. I'll put it in the center of my table once I find my bright cheery yellow tablecloth.

I was kind of tickled the other day to look down and find the kitties sleeping at my feet. It's a little annoying at times, the way they follow me from room to room, including the bathroom if I don't shut the door, but I guess it just means they like me. LOL!

I tatted Kim Millar's Aurora Blaze bookmark which is tatted around a crochet braid. I'm preparing for a class I'm teaching at the end of June. This didn't work out as well as I would like so I will probably play a bit with crocheted braid and see what else I can come up with. This is also used in Romanian Point Lace.

And last but not least, this is the quilted jacket made by Jane Smith that I mentioned in the last post. Her daughter, Roganne, was kind enough to send me another photo so I wouldn't have to keep looking.
This is a close up of the inside. If you click on the photos, they will enlarge. See how straight her stitching is? Incredible!

I've been busy today getting my many folders of printouts into sheet protectors! I've already gone through 160 sheets and will have to go get more to finish. Then I'll sort them all out, tatting, knitting, crochet, sewing...etc. and put them into the proper binders, or in some cases, make a new binder. I wonder how many of these projects I will actually complete before I leave this earth?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Tribute

Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor those who have passed on, to think of them and their contributions to our lives, our world. Many people automatically think of the war dead, but that's what Veteran's Day is about, to honor the military. Memorial Day is about everyone.

I've been wanting to do this for a long time and even had most of the photos downloaded last week but needed to take one more - which I've finally accomplished. Today, I'm honoring a tatter.

Hi Gina, ..... My mother at 94 yrs. old just passed away last week. She was into sewing most of her life and started with making a quilt, with her mother, at a very young age. Through the years she was always sewing something. She tatted, cross stitched, embroidery, quilting, knitting, crochet and what ever else there was, she did. Her work was outstanding. Now I have boxes of supplies that I just can't throw away and I know someone who is into this would love to have it all.

I got this email in early January and nearly deleted it before reading because I didn't know the name and the subject line said, "can't throw away". I'm glad I chose to open it instead.

A. Jane Smith was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but her daughter didn't know I was in Indiana when she wrote to me. The picture above was her retirement party after working in a New Jersey jewelry store for 20 years.

I wonder if she ever tatted jewelry?

This is a photo of mother and daughter in 1949. I was born in 1949 too and this old black and white photo reminded me of my own family history and the people in it. I have these photos because I asked Roganne for some history on her mother. So often we get piece of tatting or shuttles or thread from unknown sources and wonder about the hands that worked them. The beautiful apron I posted about recently is an example. I wanted to know who this dear woman was who spent so many years enjoying her craft.

She also sent me many scans and photographs of her mother's work. I think you'll recognize some of the patterns as you look at them.

While Roganne had no memory of her mother actually selling her tatted work, there were samples like this that suggested she did at some point. There was a sheet of black scrapbook paper with other samples and prices that were included in the items she sent me. I posted about it here.

Here are more samples of tatting on fabric. These are quite elaborate so I wondered if they were actually for hankies.

Roganne said her mother tatted a tablecloth too but it had been sold at an auction long before.

It was apparent she tatted on a lot of hankies. There were nearly 2 dozen hankies in the box I received waiting to be tatted on. She was extremely organized. The hankies were in baggies and marked by size, 9 1/2 inches, 10 inches, 10 1/2 inches.

She marked her shuttles too. She taped a label on the shuttle with whatever size thread was wound on it. One shuttle has a tiny tiny ring taped on it. I don't know what size thread it is but it's very fine.

Her daughter sent me several scans of pieces she found as she was going through her mother's things. It looks like she tatted samples up and attached them to paper for reference.

Most of the thread was small size 70/80 thread and she used a lot of color, but largely pinks and lavendars and blues, pastels.

The bigger balls of thread however were the traditional white and ecru and I suspect she used the color mostly for hanky edgings and the ecru and white for everything else.

Roganne kept things made for her and that had special meaning to her. She was not interested in learning how to do needlework herself and leaned towards gardening and landscaping but she has a healthy appreciation for all things handmade.

Jane Smith sewed extensively too, making slipcovers, household items, family clothing, and novelties. She made this doll for her daughter in 1982. I remember similar patterns in Woman's Day and made a baby doll like this for my daughter in 1970.
This clown was made in 1992 when she was in her late 70's. Roganne said she never stopped tatting so I think needlework must be very good for the health.

Roganne asked me if I knew what these were. I know it is chicken scratch embroidery and I'm guessing these are samples or possibly UFO's that were never completed - like an apron or runner or bag.
She certainly wasn't afraid of color!

Here's a cross stitch project exquisitely stitched. Jane also quilted and I know I had a photo of a jacket she completed but I cannot find it in my emails. It was also beautiful work and I wish I knew where I saved it.

And this is what I got from her. The box actually used to hold Jane's sewing supplies but Roganne put the tatting in it for me. It's quite old but I can't find any identifying marks to give me an idea of where it's from.

Jane was born early enough in the century that tatting was just becoming very popular when she started. I imagine her as a contemporary of Myrtle Hamilton, Monica Hahn, and Dora Young. Think of how exciting it was to learn of those new techniques then that we have taken and run with, creating even more new ways to tat. I don't know if Jane knew the split ring or split chain, but she was a polished tatter and her needlework skills in all areas are those of a master.

I am especially grateful to her daughter, Roganne, for offering me these memories and caring enough about her mother's work that she couldn't "just throw away" or put it in a garage sale or give to goodwill. I'm grateful she took the time to find someone who cares and respects tatting enough to take her belongings and care for them as if they were her own.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I got a lovely surprise in the mail yesterday! Trayna, from Scotland, sent me this sweet heart to thank me for my part in organizing an exchange some time ago. Isn't the little pooch on the card adorable?

Oh look! Now Alice Cantrell has made stickers for the tea notes! If you go to her blog you can see the picture of the note with the sticker on it.

I went to Tat Guild in Greenfield yesterday but left early to meet up with a friend I haven't seen in a long time. We went to a thrift store where I found some fabulous deals, maybe to show later, and then to a few garage sales and an art display in one of the downtown buildings. There were art quilts, photography, paintings and jewelry. We also stopped at the soda fountain that was part of building and had a soda and a sundae, reminiscing about the old days when sodas, candy bars, and comic books could be had for less than half a dollar all together.

I went to the graduation celebration for a friend's daughter this afternoon and then came home and took a nap. I'm currently finishing up the edge on the last puzzle piece. Am anxious to get back to regular tatting!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Here are my puzzle pieces in process. I have 5 but will only send 4. The brown/burgunday one simply has the leaf motifs outline embroidered in silver and copper thread. If I use that fabric again, I will do it differently. The others are ready for finishing. I'm finding that part tedious and time-consuming. The embellishment part is the fun part!

This one is finished but I'm taking the buttonhole stitch off tonight and doing it over. I kept thinking it just didn't look the way I expected it would look and then when I started the piece below, I realized how I had done it wrong.

This one is started but I only got 2 sides done before I had to get to bed. I have 3 different fusable backings and tried 2 of them. I also put a fabric backing on that so it took me awhile to get through them and I think next time I can do a better job of it. I could not zigzag it as neatly as I hoped so I did as well as I could, just to secure the layers and now I'm using the buttonhole stitch to cover it and make the edges look more finished.

Here's another teapot bookmark that I sent to Alice Cantrell who has the free pdf notecard file on her website which features a teacup. The teapot pattern, in case you are new to it, is from Martha Ess's new book.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Look what came today! A perfect angel from real life angel Laura B. I sent mine off to her some time back but didn't expect her to send one right away since she was due to have surgery in just a few days then - which turned out well, btw. The angel from Monica Hahn's Christmas Angels & Other Tatting Patterns is done in Lizbeth thread size 20. And that's a perfect card for me - 2 lovely teapots! Thank you Laura for doing this exchange with me. We agreed to do it before I knew about the surgery so I'm especially thankful that you were willing given everything you were already worried about.

Here's a close up of the more unusual crochet hooks from my antique store find. I think I have have one somewhere that has that "eye" in the shaft but I don't know anything about it. The one with the multicolored handle is actually one of those miniature latchhooks that you use to correct snags on sweaters. I'm sure they are used for something else but I don't know what! One appears to be homemade - the one that is straight all the way from the tip of the shaft to the point of the hook. I couldn't find any markings on it either. The one with the bent shaft struck me as made purposely that way because the thinner part of the shaft is longer than usual. It also says "PAT PENT" with an obscure mark between the two words. Does that mean "patent pending" or is it someone's name?

Hey, go look at the ornament trees here!There is a huge selection in style AND price but aren't these perfect for displaying our tatting??? I have one just like the gold 12 arm tree that I picked up at Goodwill some time back. It's actually holding my collection of ceremic sachets or pomadours. I should show them sometime.

They also have ornament stands which are a little different. I think some of these may have to go on my wish list!

I had to chuckle when I saw one of our more recent new tatters graduated from high school and is teaching tatting and selling custom orders. It took me two years to even consider putting something to show in the local fair. She's not the first young person to exhibit such enthusiasm about tatting and I'm happy to see it. It just makes me feel S-L-O-W. LOL!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Heather Johnston over at The Tarnished Tatter recently celebrated her 200th post with a giveaway and I won my choice of one of her pattern books in pdf format or some of her HDT (hand-dyed thread). I chose the book Motifs A Many.

This is the first one, named Blue Jay (hers is in blue) and I'm liking it very much! I can tat it in less than an hour and it uses less than 5 yards of thread. I first tatted the smaller one at the bottom in size 50 that just happened to be on my table. It turned out about 1-1/4" wide. The two upper ones are size 20 and came out at 1-1/2" each. The Christmasy looking one is Lizbeth thread in the Christmas variegated. My lace guild is decorating a small artificial tree this year with lace to donate to an auction for charity. The ornaments must be small to be in scale with the tree and I think these might work out fine!

I took a 2 hour nap earlier today so of course, I wasn't sleepy tonight. I emptied a shuttle by making the next pattern in Heather's book which is very similar to the first one but has 6 spokes and an extra "twist" on each spoke. This one didn't take long either so I'll probably make some white ones for the tree...or silver or gold.

I had hoped to finish my puzzle pieces today but didn't get to it. All I need to do is add some fusible facing and a backing, then finish the edges. Tomorrow is a pretty full day but I'm going to try to finish them off at some point so I can send them to Pat this week. There are some really gorgeous pieces there and it's really hard not to compare your own work with them. The idea is to have fun and share though and that's what I'm doing! I did try to figure out how to make twill tape labels today. I have the twill tape but forgot I need some transfer paper to print on. I'm pretty sure I have some.....but where?

Water is standing in the yard outside because we've had so much rain over the past few weeks. Another storm last night that even had the severe weather sirens going off. I have water in my basement. There is a drain so it doesn't get deep but it takes forever to dry up, even with the dehumidifier going. I used to have this problem all the time but this is the wettest it's been in a long time. My sump pump doesn't seem to be working right either. I hear it go off but there is water on that side of the basement so either it isn't working properly or it's not getting outside. I don't really have time to move everything around and investigate and nothing is in imminent danger so I just put up with it for now.

Ah is really very good to me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I finally got around to scanning these late last night. I bought them the same time I got the apron. Most are size 11 but there are a few different ones. One has an odd bend to it and I'm certain it was manufactured that way. I should have set it apart so you could see it clearly. There are a few different ones - I might show them in the next post. I scanned the hairpin lace loom with them so you could see the size of it. I've wanted a small one for years - ever since I drove to Kokomo or somewhere to help someone with tatting and she showed me a very small one, much smaller than this one, maybe only 2-3 inches high, that she inherited. I know you can set the bigger ones to only have this much space but it's more awkward to hold, in my opinion. Anyway, I'm delighted to have this one! I'll have to figure out something to do with the lace on it.

I forgot to mention this ebay win too! I have it turned wrong - you can't see how the metal part folds into the wood. I think the blurb about it placed it at around a 100 years old. The hook is tiny.

I took my little flip camcorder to work yesterday, mostly to see if I could connect it to my work computer. It didn't show everything so something must be restricted in using it. Anyway, in the process, I found Cormac hiding in the cup that holds honey sticks and mint chocolate stir sticks for tea. He wasn't lost - he's been hanging out there since St. Patrick's Day. The camera pics of him that day weren't too clear and he was hoping for another photo opportunity.
I fooled him - he thought he'd found a pot of silver (Americans keep more silver than gold, it seems) but it was only a bowl of Hershey's Kisses! This is another feature of the camcorder - you can pull out stills from the movies!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

There is an adorable bitty bear giveaway on Bearbits! You have to go see it even if you don't enter.

Go see all the views, front, back, separate from the pincushion - exquisite work!

Have you noticed I've been changing backgrounds? I've been looking for just the right look and this isn't it, but it's such a cute whimsical one that I'm going to keep it for a bit. I wish I could put the faces of my tatty friends on the fairies. This background comes from Cute & Cool. I'm also trying out The Background Fairy, and The Cutest Blog on the Block. So far. There are many out there. It's so easy - you copy the html, click on "add a gadget" in your layout mode, then click on the "html" gadget and when it comes up, paste in your code and save. Depending on your background colors, you might have to change the colors of your text and links, etc.

I taught 3 new tatters in Crawfordsville today and then 2 more on Tuesday evening coming up. More than that expressed interest but timing apparently didn't work out. I think these three got it though. One woman had tatted before but had forgotten a few things, like how to join.

I found this Tea Lady being offered for sale over on Uniquely Tea last weekend and so I offered to buy it! The decor is not that great and I knew that when I bought it but the design is not something I've seen before. The billows on the side of her dress will hold teabags and sweetener or sugar cubes. There is also an opening in the back where you could put stirring spoons or whatever suits your fancy. I'm tempted to decorate her with tatting but probably will not.

Here's a closeup of her ladyship sipping her tea!

After teaching today, I headed over to the Antique Mall in Crawfordsville. I was sort of looking for shuttles but I'd never been there before and wasn't sure I'd find anything. It's big - and it took me awhile to find my way around. There was one room chock full of sewing notions, threads, fabric pieces, quilts, and instruction books, including Workbaskets. Much to my dismay, I had nearly all of the magazines there! I did get an "Alka Seltzer" glass tube full of crochet hooks and very small hairpin lace loom that still has the lace on it. But my favorite find was this apron. (also the most expensive!)

I'm not sure if you can tell from this photo (click to enlarge) but the monogram is even tatted letters. I didn't realize that until I got home. I thought it was embroidered on. The hen and chicks edging is on the pocket as well as bordering the entire apron.

The stitches appear to be beautifully uniform but the picots weren't pinned out in the pressing/starching. That would be a LOT of work.

You can see the insert between panels is a simple rings only pattern. All of the tatting is about the simplest you can do, but isn't it precious on this apron??? The owner must have been extraordinarily skinny too. The apron ties barely came to my sides, not that I'm skinny, but even someone skinny would have trouble tying the ends and there were no buttons or other fastenings.

What will I do with it? I don't have a clue but I COULD NOT leave it there in that musty store. It was hanging with a bunch of gingham dresses on one side and aprons on the other. Just sort of jumped out at me and pleaded with me to take it. I asked the man if he would take less......he said he could only knock off a few dollars. So I asked about the crochet hooks and hairpin lace loom which weren't priced. He said $10 so I asked if he would take $5 for those and I'd pay full price on the apron. Deal! Way too then I wished I'd offered less. LOL! No matter - I don't regret it at all. Happy Mother's Day to me, is the way I see it.