Thursday, April 30, 2009

This is the "Bloomer" bracelet from Marilee's Boutique Tatting. The instructions call for 6mm beads....and the bigger beads I had said they were size 6 - I really didn't pay that close of attention but when I was done I kept thinking they certainly didn't take up as much space as they did in the picture in the book. LOL! Well, it helps if you pay attention to details. 6mm is NOT the same as size 6 bead. I don't generally have bigger beads but I did have some pearls that would have worked. Oh well..... she also has a hair ornament using this same pattern. I didn't know how much thread to put on the shuttles so I just filled them both full. By the end, one was pretty much empty and would have been if I hadn't switched shuttles, and the other was pretty full. That's because all most all of the rings are thrown off of the chain so it's really the chain shuttle getting the workout. You could probably almost overfill your chain shuttle and just have about a yard on the ring shuttle and it would work out perfectly.

I've been very busy taking care of personal business stuff that I'd been putting off. I had a crack in my windshield that started at the end of February and is now halfway across the window so I made arrangements to get that fixed tomorrow. I've got someone coming out to give me an estimate on harvesting my trees. I mostly want to harvest the fully mature ones up by the house so that no more fall ON the house. Trees fall around here all the time and that was the 2nd one that was near the house so it's time to do something. Timber is worth some money so I'm hoping I'll be able to make some much needed home improvements as a result.

I've been hitting the pool every other day so far. Slept like a baby last night!

I can't remember which blog - it wasn't a tatter's I don't think - but they said these flip camcorders were on sale at Amazon and they'd had one for 2 years and loved it. I've sort of eyed the smaller camcorders off and on but hadn't really looked into it. Anyway, I ordered it Tuesday and it arrived Wednesday. How fast is that??? So I played with it a bit last night. It only records 30 minutes (and they are currently on sale at Walmart for $49 - a better deal) but that's fine for just little bits. Better than using my digital camera which really eats up the memory card. I couldn't view it last night because the popout USB is in an awkward place and when I try to plug it in the front port of my computer, the camera is too fat to fit in that space. So today I ordered an extension "cord". First I went to Walmart on my lunch hour to see if they had any - no, but that's when I saw they had the camera on sale - and the popout USB on that one is at the top which WOULD work. So overall, it's probably cost me $20 more to do it this way but it's still way less than regular price new ones. I can also download the movie clips to youtube or a few other formats that I personally don't use. Very easy to use. (if it fits in your port!) You can edit it. You can put it on a tripod. You can capture "stills" from it. I don't think it would work well in darker environments.'s my new toy. LOL!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This delicate yellow hyacinth was planted a few years ago and barely made it up before it was drooping. I don't know if one of the cats laid on it or what but I decided to cut it and bring it in. Maybe it will be bigger next year.

I finished the ring doily last night and blocked it after soaking in some oxyclean. The problem with white thread is that it doesn't take much to make it look soiled. This is tatted in size 20 thread and is about 4 inches across.

A few other early Spring flowers. I really need to separate and move these bulbs. It was there when I bought the house in 1977. I'm sure they would do much better in a different location.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is the ring doily from DMC Book of Charted Tatting Designs. I started it as a gift for Administrative Professionals Day but didn't have time to finish it so I gave something else. I'll gift it somewhere else - maybe one of the PIF's I've got going on Facebook. I'm actually further than this since I had a doctor appointment this morning and tatted in the waiting room. I only have a little bit to go now. Good news is that the doctor released me from his care. The break is not completely filled in but it's good and he doesn't need to see me any more. Now I just need to build up the muscle and strength in both legs.

I'm teaching a beginning class in a few weeks and I've been looking for easy motifs. It's only 2 hours and my experience is that people barely get the hang of the stitch in that time frame, let alone finish something so I'm finding the smallest and easiest motifs I can. Of course there is the basic 4 ring butterfly which is probably what I'll go with for rings but we'll be doing chains too and that's where I need to find something super simple. There are tons of patterns that will work. I just need to settle on SOMETHING, make up my samples and go from there.

In the meantime, I thought these sweet doves by JoAnn Stearns will work nicely on some of the puzzle pieces so I've left the thread ends long in case I want to sew them on a piece later. The blue one is in size 10 thread and the white one is probably size 80 thread. Big difference, huh?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

**Just an added note that the teapot bookmark is an adaptation of the square teapot in Martha Ess's new book which can be ordered here: on Martha's website!

I think I'm done playing around with this piece. If I decide to use it, I'll remove the blue/green flower and replace it with something more color coordinated. LOL! I'm ready to get started on the "real" ones for the exchange. JoAnn Fabrics had a great 50% off sale this week, including coupons for 50% off which I didn't even get to use because everything I bought was already on sale. I have tons of fabric already but I couldn't resist picking up a few fat quarters while ideas blossomed in my head.

I'm trying hard to declutter and made a small effort with it late last night by going through a stack of books and magazines. I bought this book from the Half-Price bookstore which is a birthday calendar book. I think I was going to use the pictures and quotes inside but it's in such great shape that I can't bear to cut into it so I decided to give it to a coworker who grows wonderful flowers and shares them with us in the office.

I also tatted her this teapot bookmark to go with it. It took me less than an hour and a half to tat the whole thing and I used 4 yards on each shuttle which included the tail. I kept track of all my changes, yardage and how long it took as a reference for future tattings. This is just such a nice quick tat gift and I like those.

This is a Monica Hahn angel from Christmas Angels and Other Tatting Patterns. I've never liked the pointy wings on her angels although I love the rest of the design. Someday I'll fit them with new wings. LOL! I used beads on this one too which don't show up all that well in the scan but they added a nice touch. The thread is Omega size 30.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I've been hunting for a bead needle and had nearly given up, knowing I had one somewhere but unable to put my hands on it, when I found this doll I started 4 or 5 years ago now.

She is from one of those popular newsprint type magazines back in the 70's. I think she is supposed to have some kind of Victorian gown but this is as far as I got so she is still naked!

At the time I thought the heart lips would be a cute touch but once I got the button sewn on, I wasn't so sure - so I set it aside. Now....I think it looks like she has a pacifier in her mouth! LOL! So I'll take the button off and probably embroider a new mouth. I think she has an inked one but embroidered would probably look better. I'm not sure what I had in mind for that unkempt hair either.

Last night I worked on the puzzle piece some more, trying out different stitching techniques. The more I work with it, the more comfortable I feel about it. I keep getting more and more ideas for other pieces.

And I did find my beading needle. A whole packet of them! They were in a drawer full of beads - where else would they be????

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There was another teacup card I saw on Tuesday that I forgot about. I'll try to find it but in the meantime, here are some other free templates you can be creative with:
Oh - here's the one I saw!

and some poems to go with it:
Won't you come along with me and join me for a cup of tea,
Bring along a friend or two, even a cat or dog will do,
We'll sip over tea and have a chat, and talk a litte of this and that.
We'll eat our cookies, the times does fly, and soon it's time to say good'bye.
But, it will be such fun, you see...
Please join me for a cup of tea!

or...Angel Tea

'Tis said that Angels bridge the gap,
Uniting souls attached in love -
While sending out messages of hope
And Peace - as decreed from above,
Surely the spirit remains between
Such special friends as we -
Let's each take a quiet moment today
And "together" share Angel Tea.
(By: In the company of Angels)

And here we have stationary and tea accessories!
Okay, you have to see this! It's a pdf file to made a fold up notecard and it has a teacup and spoon graphic on the inside. Perfect to send one of Martha's tatted teapots to a special friend!

It's from the blog A Number of Things and I got wind of it from this website, One Pretty Thing.

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!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Oh my! I am enchanted and mesmerized. I've spent hours now looking at French blogs. I started with Elise's blog because I so love her cluny designs. Even though I taught a cluny class once, I've never been crazy about doing them ...but Elise makes me want to master them!

So then I used the Altavista Babelfish translator on her site and found there were links to other blogs. Well, you know how that follow a link follow a link follow a link follow a link follow a link follow a link follow a infinity!

I made myself stop after perusing pages and pages of The Chocolate Raspberry Workshop blog! I didn't see them all but I was simply blown away by the quality of the fabric which seeps right through the internet waves. The soft rich colors, exquisite stitching, the beautiful presentation on the blog. This certainly isn't your Walmart craft fabric!

It makes me want to tat yards and yards of lace, design and cover buttons, sew "ladle" after "ladle" (bags I eventually figured out). I want to embroider, to knit, to sew, to make all kinds of lace. I want to put it all together in enchanting little settings. I want to SHARE. I want to talk with these women who create such delicate works of art. One was due to have her baby and her husband was away for a week due to work. She hoped the baby would wait until the next Saturday. One site was called A Needle in a Bundle of Hay. LOL! I think we would say a needle in a haystack. There was a recipe for this delicious looking cookie - I think it was chocolate and mint. There was a tart shell of some kind that spoke of lemon and freezing. I saw the most beautiful and soft knits. You could feel the luxurious softness through your eyes.

So I started a blog list. McAfee warns about many of the sites but it has to do with the links on the sites, so I just didn't click on those. They are ads. I don't click on the ads on American blogs either.

So maybe I'll go try to tat again. I finished the celtic teapot but I had a problem. I will not show it until I make a new one the right way. I may just set it aside for a bit. I need to make my "puzzle pieces of friendship if I can just funnel all my ideas into something workable! It seemed so easy and now I think I'm making it way too hard!

What a beautiful warm day we are having!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Marie got her package!

I said I'd let you know what she got at the weekend but I really thought it would be a bit earlier. Priority mail sure has slowed down! I know the mail only travels at night but I was shocked to see that it was still only in Indianapolis on Wednesday morning. The poor dear has already had to wait two months since her name was drawn!!!

I had this done early, as far as the sewing goes and I even had the tatting done but could not find the time to marry them! I was really pleased with how they turned out. The little pouch is like the others I've made and the business card holder is too, just tweaked a bit and I printed off some "tatting business" cards for Marie and stuck them in there. There are some very nice elegant templates available online. Marie had told me that green was her favorite color.

This is another basket like one I made earlier but this one has the handle. I used the 3D daisy motif from Little Grey Bungalow for the blossom.

This one has a different smiley bead. The leaves are a leaf pattern from Rosemarie Peel's book, 20 Tatted Motifs, which is no longer in print, but you might find a copy somewhere.

The yellow edging is Camomile from Mary Konior's Tatting Patterns. I added some tatting buttons from Emblazon Yourself! and filled it up with goodies. It really holds things well. I may put a handle now on the 1st one I made.

So that ends my year of celebrating monthly blog anniversary winners. I think there were something like 70+ entries. While I appreciate my readers, what I really love is that you all love tatting and are doing your little (or big) part in keeping it alive. I so much enjoyed making every recipient's package! Some I knew well and others I met for the first time. There's something special about tatting something for someone who appreciates this particular type of lace. I wish I had the time and energy to make something for each and every one of you.

I hope to get back to the vintage/mystery patterns soon. I may offer them differently - I don't know. The idea of tatting without a picture or diagram was meant to provoke thinking. It kind of forces you to think about how designs come about, how shapes take form. I think we've got some of that going on now with Sharon's design class and with the TIAS designs so maybe I'll focus more on conversion and updating - making some of those beautiful old patterns more accessible to the average tatter.

For now, I'm going to go finish a teapot!
I've been busy surfing, surfing, surfing! I love inspiration.

For decades now, I've been saving "fancy" fabrics as well as bits and pieces of embellishment potentials and I've had a book for many many years of crazy quilt embroidery stitches. YEARS NOW! Don't you think it's time I did something about it?

I do

I would love to show you all the photos that have inspired me but that would require me to email each person and ask permission to use their photo and then wait...and wait..and wait...

I could just give you the links but that's not nearly as enticing as the visual.

Part of my "decluttering" process is to use all of those things I've been collecting over the years or get rid of it. As I've mentioned for three years running, this will be the year I finish my son's quilt. At least the box is now right next to my sewing machine. I still have one more quilt to make for my youngest son after that so I really need to get busy.

I'm currently tatting Martha's celtic teapot. I rejoined the gym on Tuesday and have spent the last two nights doing pool workouts which are so invigorating. They wear me out when I do them but the next day - wow, more energy than I've had in a long time! It also cuts unto my tatting time.

I was surprised this morning as I followed up on the google alerts for tatting posts to find myself featured here: It's my YouTube video on hiding ends in a beginning ring. It's public and available so it's not like anyone has to have permission to use it, but it would have been nice to know about beforehand. LOL!

I started this post yesterday and am finishing it up today. I hoped to have the teapot done but I had company last night and by the time I got started on the final round, it was late. I'm almost to where I start the spout. I want to do a smaller version and I've been trying to figure out if it's possible and how to make it possible. I may try using a size 80 thread first to see how much smaller that makes it. The instructions include a finished size in relation to the thread size used and size 20 and 30 are both mentioned but not 80 so I think size 80 might make it small enough for what I want. If anyone has made this teapot in size 80, please let me know what the dimensions are!

I added a tail to the square teapot and am using it as a bookmark in the book I'm currently (s-l-o-w-l-y) reading. It's titled Burnt Bread & Chutney, a memoir about a subculture, Jewish Indians. The author was the odd girl out, a Jew in India, and then an Indian girl among American Jews. There is a wonderful secondary story about her Indian grandmother that is central to the overall story. It's not that the writing is riveting, but I enjoy learning about the religious impact in mixed cultures. A lot of the reviews describe it as boring or disappointing but I am happy that it is not sensationalized. It feels more real to me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm reviewing Rosemarie Peel's newest book for a publication so I took the opportunity last night to tat some of the beginning motifs which also permitted me to empty a few shuttles. I don't think I'll tat any of the bigger motifs at this point and actually started on Martha's celtic teapot instead. Rosemarie's book is largely a beginner's book and all the patterns are very simple so there's not really a reason for me to tat more. This gave me what I needed in describing terms, diagrams and clarity. Her books are always good. I just need to highlight the best parts of it and any drawbacks that might be crucial. I really am not too fond of the how-to-tat sheet of instructions that is separate from the book itself. It might not be a problem in an individual's collection, but I imagine in a shared library that it will easily be lost. Her books are small enough to tuck into a bag so the idea of simply taking the fold out with you isn't as much of a convenience as it seems to be at first.

These little things tatted up really fast, for me. How fast will they be for a beginner? I'm always surprised at how I've forgotten how long it takes to make a single stitch when you are a beginner. Getting the fingers to work together nicely, keeping the thread and shuttle under control, going in the right direction....

I did fumble. My tension sucked. It took weeks and months of practice to even begin to feel I was making something pretty. I thought I was doing pretty good and then I'd get something in an exchange that was exquisite. It just made me try harder. So never give up - it just takes practice, lots of practice!

“It is difficult to see why lace should be so expensive; it is mostly holes.” ~ Mary Wilson Little

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yee-Haw! I finally got Marie's package ready! The last blog anniversary winner! It goes out in the mail tomorrow. I'll show you what I made her at the weekend!

Hey Look! I won something too!

I was one of the recipients of a PIF surprise hosted last year by Anna Luna of It will come in handy to keep my sewing needles separate from my straight pins at the table by my "tatting chair".

You've all got one of those, right? That favorite chair by the good light, where you cozy up and tat and maybe watch a little TV and even occassionally nap?

I had a nice Easter at my youngest son's house with his lovely new wife and her family. I got my federal taxes done yesterday and hope I can motivate myself to do the state yet tonight but if not...there's still tomorrow! I'm just really tired for now.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I finished up the crocheting but didn't get everything written until this morning. I still need to add the photos when I get home and then proof what I've written. I did some things wrong with the first one which explains why I had to wing it at other points. LOL! I changed the basic pillow to something simpler in the second version plus I added scalloping at the back pocket. I've also got several more points in the edging than was called for in the original pattern. I really didn't see any other way to work it. The only thing that is the same as the original is the center rose and the leaves and the way the points on the edging are made. Those are the parts that make it pretty though.

In the meantime, I've emailed Annie's Attic to get permission to use the pattern. Sure hope they respond soon!

I've been busier at work these days since I get around a lot better. I'm back to full duty but I avoid doing too many stairs and will start some PT next week. Progress continues on my roof between rains and other issues. I stopped at the grocery tonight and am really tired now. I need to test-crochet the rose instructions and I also need to do my taxes. I'd rather sleep! I'll do the test-crochet though and if I have time, I'll look at my taxes. I was disappointed in what I estimated last week and I think that's why I keep putting them off. I've never put them off this long before.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

You knew I had to do this, didn't you? Just ONE! It only took about an hour and I emptied a shuttle. That's why it ended up being two colors. I barely made it through the center part when I ran out of thread so I decided to give it a contrasting final round. I think it's sooooo cute!

Monkeys are done and on their way!

Did you know Ruth Perry has created a new location for the tatting calendar? I have a link in my sidebar and you can find it HERE. There are three entries so far.

And did you know The Shuttle Shop is open again? You can find them HERE. I've started a section in the sidebar for links to sources for tatting supplies. I'll add them as I come across them. I don't have time to look them all up right now.

I missed a lot of blog entries while I was so busy. That's a first for me. I usually keep up. I'm not sure if it's because I'm so busy or if there are just getting to be so many tatting blogs that it's unreasonable to expect to keep up with all of them. What a lovely dilemma!

Just now glancing again through my most recent I.O.L.I. Bulletin, I see Marilee Rockley,Yarnplayer, is featured. I was hoping to find her book amongst the vendors on Lace Day but I didn't see it and I forgot to ask. Actually, I think Zig-Zag Corner had it when I was there last but I'd already spent $$ on thread so I'll just get it when I go to guild next time.

In the meantime, while looking for some other things today, I've come across about three UFO's! They will have to wait. I'm almost finished with the crochet part of the crochet project and just need to write it up...tomorrow. Then back to tatting!

Monday, April 06, 2009

I've been feverishly working on completing a trio of monkeys that I was commissioned to make. It was only when I started the second one that I realized I had tatted the first one (far right) differently from the one that was referenced in my blog several years ago. So tonight I get to make yet another one. It's started but will still take a few hours to complete.

Doesn't that pic just give you the giggles???

I guessed at how long it would take me to make them because I was busy with something else at the time and didn't have time to make a sample and see. I now know it takes me three solid hours of tatting - longer when you count winding shuttles and hiding ends. Even longer if I were to count all the retro-tatting. LOL! I have notes on how much thread to put on each shuttle and I've bridged the center so there is no cut and tie with more ends to hide. Actually I guessed pretty good. I knew at least 2 hours and figured it would be closer to between 3 and 4 hours. My hand ached last night.

After this week, I think things will slow down. Do I keep saying that? I had a list of 9 things to do last week. Two are done. A third will be done tonight. Maybe a fourth.

My roof is in process of being done. The weather was not cooperative yesterday and today. Once I get all my committments done, I'll rejoin the gym and get myself to the pool for some workouts. My ankle is still not completely back to normal but I keep reminding myself that it has only been a little over 2 months since the injury and it will take awhile. I will start some physical therapy next week.

Still gotta do my taxes too!!!!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Guess what I found in the mail when I finally got home last night??? See the pretty wrapping below! What a clever use of novelty yarn!

Wendy at Umi & Tsuru has been offering a bit of tatting in a monthly giveaway. Well....I like to get as much as I like to give so I entered when she had the book thong and won it! And then the mail somehow burgered it up and returned the empty envelope to her and so she made another and sent it to me.

It's really cool! I immediately put it in my DMC Book of Charted Tatting Patterns. I may put it in one I'm actually using in the moment but I wanted to see how it looked in the book and it's fabulous. I might have to make one myself!

I'm actually working on a crochet sample for my lace guild that I'll be teaching a week from Saturday. I had one made up but in a smaller thread than called for and I wanted to make the base simpler so now I have to make sure it works. My house is a mess since I haven't been home or able to do anything for several weeks now. They are reroofing my house this weekend so I'll stay home for part of it and get something done for a change.

I was shopping at Von's (our famous bead store) last night before a dinner meeting and had Marie in mind. Dear patient woman....she deserves something a little extra, don't you think?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Tea for Everybody!

If you follow my blog much, you know I collect tea-for-one pots, the all-in-one combination of teapot and cup that makes just enough tea for one person. I'm not the perfect brewer and I only like a few flavored teas, like spearmint and chai, beyond the regular everyday normal tea. I am not a tea expert by any means, but I do collect infusers and spoons and just whatever appeals to me in the line of teas. So when I first got a peek at one of Martha's teapots, I couldn't wait to tat one!

When I inquired about the pattern and found out she was designing a whole book of teapot patterns, I was just plain giddy! When she asked me if I would be interested in test-tatting a pattern or two, I was in heaven!

I've test-tatted for Martha before and her patterns and diagrams are a delight to work with. I was amazed at how very few mistakes there were and how easy they were to read and follow. I've only seen the patterns I tested, which you can see below, but I would highly recommend this book based on that alone.

You can find ordering information on her blog or her website.

I've done this one in a solid color and also with the rose contrasting the pot color. I love this one. The 2 color version actually went to Connie Angeline, one of the monthly anniversary winners but I asked her not to show it at the time.

I think this is my next favorite (until I see the other patterns!). I made one all in one color and then I made this one in 2 colors, which I plan to frame and hang in my kitchen.

And this little number is perfect for that special doll or dollhouse setting.

The color combinations are endless! While I used a varigated thread for the main color and pink for contrast, you can't see the contrast as well as in Martha's pink/red version. I can't wait to see how everyone tats up their own once they get the book!