Friday, April 30, 2010

This is where I left off last time, getting ready to tat these beauties!

I took them to an Easter Dinner I was invited to and tatted one for each lady plus gave her a suction cup to hang it in the window.

You know how some of our creative bloggers in the tatting community build up the suspense by posting a photo of an unopened package they received in the mail?

Well...I'm not one of them.

I rip into the package (carefully....sort of) and take a gander at the contents without the least bit of thought for any of you. Within a few short hours, this is how my package looked:

Yep, I'd already gone through every page and post-it marked where I wanted to return to! It arrived on Friday, April 9th, my first day of vacation. I'd planned on leaving that day for Hector originally but as expenses piled up in February, March and into April, I withdrew my registration knowing I didn't need to incur more debt, no matter how much I wanted to see everyone. This was a nice consolation prize.

In her foreword, Angeline Crichlow starts off by saying, "It is the author's opinion that very few persons can successfully learn to tat from a book." Amen Sister! I did teach myself from a book but it was, as Angeline says in her second statement, "filled with a tremendous and shattering frustration."

And then, only a few paragraphs later, she is recommending Coats & Clark's SpeedCroSheen for beginners! I hope Angeline had the pleasure of tatting with a good 6 cord thread in her lifetime. I think she did from some other comments, but I was floored to read her early recommendation.

I was intrigued that she started off with Josephine Knots and finger tatting. Finger tatting is not an unusual way to start, but Josephine Knots? Then I realized that it was a good way to get used to the motion of tatting and actually making a ring without the complication immediately of going in the opposite direction for the 2nd half of the stitch. Good idea!

I won't tell you any more about the book - I'll leave that for future recipients, but I do want to thank Fox for this EXTREMELY GENEROUS gesture! The book is hardbound and stitched at the spine. It is also a signed copy:

I trust that all recipients of the book will handle it with respect and do their very best to get it back to Fox in the same condition it arrived in. It truly is a treasure and is now on its way to the Land of Leprechauns, where Tatskool resides.

Now, the same day the book arrived, I also got another treasure in the mail - my T.A.T. package! I am now a Tatting Artisan! I would love to get started on the last phase but due to the aforementioned unexpected expenses, I think it will be June before I can afford the fee.

So...what kind of tatting have I been up to?

Once again my lace guild is making lace ornaments for a small Christmas tree that we donate to a charitable organization to auction off as a fundraiser. There is so much happening this summer and we also have a big exhibit to get ready for (the tree is included) so I'm trying to get as much tatting done as I can. We make ornaments in sets of three because the tree is divided in thirds and the ornaments equally spaced. So here's my contribution:

The angels are a pattern by Birgit Phelps that was subsequently adapted by Martha Ess. I suppose we all add our own little twist. These are tatted in size 50 and I've used a variety of beads and charms for embellishment. The doves are actually a chick pattern by Karey Solomon that was featured in her February issue of Tatting Times. When I got it, I put it in my work bag thinking I would check it out on a lunch hour but somehow it got lost in all the other things in my bag and it wasn't until I cleaned it out over vacation that I found it! The chicks were actually meant for Easter but I'm using them as a Christmas symbol. There is also a very cute heart on a cabone ring pattern in there that I'll get around to tatting eventually. I did block the pieces but the organizer is stiffening them all so they will be uniform. I just wanted them to have a little shape before she gets them.

One night very late, I decided to take a break from all the ornament tatting and tat Jane's butterfly bookmark, except I don't use beads in bookmarks (unless I can figure out a way to keep the beaded part OUT of the book) so it's just a butterfly.

Timing was bad, I was tired and I didn't really read through the pattern and prepare other than getting thread and beads. I was ready to throw it across the room before I was done! I needed six hands to juggle beads, shuttles, crochet hook, glasses, and pattern!

It's really not that hard, but you need to prepare. Have some safety pins on hand and you need a very fine hook - I had to use my Lacis size 16 hook - to pick up the beads. When you go to make the long picot, put the beads on it and secure the thread loop with a safety pin until you are ready to join it to another element later on. Have your beads counted out and ready to pick up. It would probably be better to be sitting at a table instead of in a comfy easy chair. Read the pattern all the way through FIRST! And before you know it, you'll be done!


Okay, I'll admit it. This sabbatical is not working out all that well for me. There are things I want to blog about. There are things I want to show. Posting only once a month makes it a huge post to read. It's not really keeping me OFF the computer which was meant to push me to finish other non-computer related stuff. So I may be back sooner than I expected.

One night this past week, I got home to find an unexpected package in the mail. At first, I couldn't read the name but it was from Singapore!

I opened it up and found this pretty pink envelope with a sweet note to me. I opened the envelope and there was a pink tissue paper package tied with delicate looking novelty thread and I could feel that inside was a bubble wrapped item. I couldn't tell what it was though - too much padding!

Much to my delight, it was a pair of earrings from Wendy over at Umi & Tsuru! I had commented at one point that I loved those little shell bits hanging from the earrings she makes. They are so delicate and pearly looking. What a lovely surprise! You can see examples of her jewelry on the left side of the blog. They are certainly beautiful eye-candy! Thank you Wendy!

Speaking of eye-candy, earlier this month I paid a visit to Pat Winter from Pat Winter Gatherings. A few members of my lace group and I are taking a dye class with her in May and I needed to scout out the location and surroundings. Pat is such a gracious lady and her crazy quilt work is exquisite! I got to see the studio we will be working in - or out in the garden, weather permitting. I went to a few bead stores later that Pat told me about in the area and had hoped to visit some other places too but $$ were a little short so I decided to come home instead. As it turns out, we'll only have a short time after the class before we have to head back to Lafayette so we won't be able to go to anything too far away. I'll have to make a trip on my own later in the summer. I wanted to spend some time at the Dunes and that will be an additional luxury for me.

It seems like I've been on the computer all day today (4-25) but I've unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, made meatloaf to take in my lunch, washed some laundry (still in progress) caught up on email and blogs and added to this post. My son helped me move a heavy piece of furniture earlier so later I will clean up all the stuff around it.

One reason I'm so behind is that I've been tatting intensely all week to make some booties for my little Miss Smith who will be here in another month. Yeah, I gave up on the bonnet, at least for the shower which was the 24th. For the booties I used the pattern I've always used, an adaptation by Lenore English. Unfortunately my printout shows as the host and it's shut down so I don't know if the pattern is available elsewhere or not.

Lenore came up with her own design using one from Anne Orr's baby shoes, something different for the toe, and an Aunt Ellen pattern for the edging. I used all of these elements but then added a motif I've used in many of my own patterns, a two-layer rossette that I placed on top of the original round motif. I put a tiny little button in the center. Now that I've finished it, I see a few more ways to tweak it but those notes will go into the next pair I make. I also would like it to come up a little higher on the ankle and that could be a major tweak.

(Originally I had 2 collages here but finally decided which one I liked better and removed the other)

I used size 20 thread. Lenore's pattern used size 30 but the only pink I liked and had was in size 20 so I used it instead. If memory serves me right, size 30 seemed just a tad small when completed. Fine for a newborn, but for someone using these for a christening, the baby is often 3-6 months old. The last pair I made had to be lengthened to fit the baby. I also tied the ribbon in the back instead of in the front. It was just a whim but the rosette takes up more room than the original motif and I think it would be too bulky to have the bow there. I finished the final tatting at 9:48 a.m. on the day of the shower. I had to block them and put the ribbon in, take pix, and then wrap them.

It was worth it. Look at 'em dance!

Thursday, April 01, 2010
Great article with comments about a subject that plagues all of us.

International Tatting Day!

Well...I shouldn't wait for the summer to be over to post everything. My granddaughter will be 3 months old by then and this will be a book! So I decided to do a monthly post until I'm ready to get back here. I am getting a lot done.

The OWOH event was back in February but there were 2 prizes I won that took awhile to get here.
This cute pin, which I knew as a "kilt pin" back in my youth, came from a lady in Israel with a couple of handmade beads on it. Can you tell which ones are the handmade ones? Her name is Shirley van Der Veldt and her blog is (love this name!) Things That Make Me Go Whoo! I love those rings she just made. You can visit her Etsy shop here.

This original artwork came from Pam Aries in Florida. Unfortunately, she didn't put the name of her blog in her emails. I found it after the initial notification but have forgotten the name. I'm sure it's on the list of participants though and you could always contact her by emailing me if you wish.

I was going to try to visit and email every participant who commented on my post during the OWOH event but I think I got sidetracked at about #35 and haven't pursued it further - I will.

Vinnie tatted a couple of small doilies and then tatted a heart using one segment of one doily. I'm not much for tatting doilies, even though I do still want to try doily #1, so I tatted this heart instead in some of Tatskool's choco-raspberry in size 40.

I added picots and an additional chain at the top, then I tatted a tail and it has become a birthday gift to my first Mother-in-law.

It's probably just as well that I'm not blogging. This was worthy of a rant. I'm still not convinced of the reliability of Lizbeth thread. The colors are to die for but I keep running into issues. There isn't a single one I've used that didn't split at some point when I retro-tatted. Usually a split thread is one I've picked at a lot or rarely just poked in the wrong place, but this thread has performed like this more than I think is a fluke. This little clump came from a ball of pumpkin colored thread that I bought recently from either Hobby Lobby or JoAnn's. I had used between 15 and 20 yards when I came across this. I was just winding it on the shuttle - - nothing sharp had been poked in it and it hadn't been wound and unwound or anything to stress the thread. I still haven't used enough thread on any ball to know how it looks from beginnning to end. I'm trying not to be too pessimestic about it - I know it's very popular. Buyer beware is all I'm saying.

I happened to find this on flickr when I was looking for something else and the link took me to an Etsy shop so I ordered it. After seeing the other items there, I recognized them as the work of Little Lace Lady. It's quite sweet.

One thing that has consumed a lot of my time was making this baker's dozen of earrings that a friend requested I make to sell in her spa. We'll see how it goes.

The baby's room once the painting and trim was done.

The bonnet as of 3/22/10. I'm not at all sure this is going to work out so I'm going to trim a cloth bonnet with tatting so that I will at least have something for the baby shower! You'll have to wait for next month's summary to find that out!

On March 25th, a Ft. Wayne tatter named Millie was visiting relatives locally and contacted me to see if we might meet. Well hey, I don't pass up a chance to meet a tatter!
I wanted to give her a little gift so what would be more appropriate with Easter coming up than to tat an Easter Egg? Easter egg #23, in fact, from Tatted Easter Eggs by Kristen Wind Hansen. I don't know why I haven't made more eggs from this book. Someone else posting one on their blog prompted me to look my copy up.

The thread is a Coats thread, size 20, that I bought in Ireland, probably in 2002, my last trip there. The ball is getting puny because I liked the color a lot and have used it in the past for many tattings. I was surprised at how big the egg turned out - about 4" x 2 1/2". This book has a minimum of instruction. You have to refer to the symbols in the front to know what they mean. The only instructions on this page: 2 shuttles; Make the Easter egg in one round.

I had to study the diagram quite closely. There was a tiny triangle to indicate "paperclip" which I didn't even know until much later. I thought it meant starting point and figured out I needed a paperclip there. I actually needed to put the paperclip there every time I ended up on that side to make an inverse picot to join in. (about 35 times) The diagram looked like two rounds but she said to make it in one that's when I figured out the rings were thrown off the chains. (34 of them!) I got a little confused by the numbers too. Where some larger rings were, the numbers 4 and 4 were underneath. I actually had to retrotat when I finally figured out that meant the upper chain part, not the ring. I did get it done in one round.

So I blocked it and then decided to add the ribbon with the button here. Originally, I was going to make a bookmark but it was so big, it would have looked funny. This way she can use it as a photo frame or hang it or whatever she likes. Turns out she scrapbooks so it's even possible she might use it there.

I had a great time visiting with Millie. We sat in Starbucks and talked for THREE hours! Wish I'd gotten a photo!

And here are my last tattings for April 1 - International Tatting Day!

More eggs from Tatted Easter Eggs by Kirsten Wind Hansen. Easter Egg #19 had me skeptical clear up until I blocked it. It looked pretty in the photo but not quite so in the actual tatting. I made a mistake or two but I'll leave it to you to find it. If I tat this one again, I will use 2 shuttles instead of shuttle and ball - just now noticed it actually says TWO shuttles! I was doing a lot of SLT's. (shoe lace trick) I would also add a picot on each loop of the "bow" to attach the triple rings to. They are not done as onion rings but rather a ring and then two chains which is how I prefer to tat these anyway. I believe it was a size 20 thread, Coates. I really like it since it is blocked. Already in a card for a goddaughter.

The second egg that looks like it came from a peacock is Easter Egg #3. I've made this one before and always forget to block it so that it has a "swirl" to it. It's tatted from some Superior Quilting Thread, 30 wt. which is about size 40 or 50.

The next is Easter Egg #5. You can do it one color but I really like using two. I suppose you could mix it up even more by using 4 colors and making each part a different color ring from the chain. It's very simple and quick. I used some Flora size 40 for this one. This one is already in a card too!

The last one is Easter Egg #8 and I was disappointed in it. Maybe I should have stuck with one color but I was feeling adventurous. The disappointing part was the spiral chain. Even with blocking it just did not look as neat as the photo. Maybe another stab at it would come out better as I would focus on making the spirals more even.

I will be tatting even more eggs before Sunday.

In the meantime,if you celebrate Easter - many warm and loving wishes to you with friends and family and the same if you do not celebrate it.

TODAY - Tat, Eat Chocolate, and tell everyone you know about tatting!!!!!