Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tatting Tea Tuesday 6-29-10

I just finished reading The Lace Reader. I won't reveal the ending for those who haven't read it yet, but for a book that appeared to be lightly entertaining, with a bit of mystery and romance, with fun if completely fictional references to lace-reading, it had an unexpected twist at the end. Part of the fun of a mystery is trying to figure out "who did it" along the way. In this case, I wasn't even sure what the crime was. That's what made the ending all the more of a surprise. I feel like I need to read it again to bring all the pieces together. I was so close to finishing Sunday night but made myself put it down as I knew I'd be sitting for an hour for some routine car maintenence Monday morning. Even that hour wasn't quite long enough! I finished up the last 6-8 pages during my lunch!

Now I'm getting ready to read another book, The Red Book. It's about creativity, discovering it, inspiring it, following it. A more practical book, to be sure, but I'm excited about reading it. I'm also reading a book by Bill Moyers, the companion book to the documentary series having to do with healing and the mind, a subject dear to me ever since I can remember. I did get to watch a few of the documentaries but not many. I've checked this book out of the library before but never had time to read it. Since I bought this one for a dollar, it's mine and I can take as long as I want to read it. LOL! So enough about books for now.

Well...almost. I decided I wanted to make a RED bookmark for The Red Book! Also, after posting the interwoven picot bookmark the other day (which went to someone else a long time ago), I wanted one for myself. So I got out some clear bright red thread in size 40 and wound two shuttles. Now...I have the directions sent to me by the original maker but it only tells the stitch count on the chains, not the final bookmark I tatted. I also have Riet's pattern, or the lady who originally designed one she taught. I really prefer the clovers I used in mine though so I sort of redesigned what I tatted before. The only thing I didn't like before was the ends. So I tatted right along last night and I have to admit I kept wondering if those picots were too long, even though I used a smaller picot gauge than the first one I picked up.
As you can see, they are way too long! Definitely shorter picots will be fine. I have no idea how I might salvage this piece. I'm certainly not going to untat it. I guess I could cut the picots fairly short and fray them. It might be a nice embellishment on something after that and cutting the end off. I'll try again tonight. See, if I still had the old one, I could measure. You better believe I'll be writing measurements down this time!

And drinking tea.

Here are some tips for a nicely brewed cuppa!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thank you all for your responses to "what inspires you to tat?". Obviously, tatting appeals to a wide variety of people for all kinds of reason. The reasons I listed were a little tongue-in-cheek and I hope you had fun with them.

I sit in a little chair in my living room with a hexagonal shaped cabinet/table next to me. The table holds a lamp, several remotes, pens, and most importantly, my current tatting supplies. I suppose I could almost live here if I needed to. It certainly looks like it a good part of the time. Today I decided to pick up all the bits and pieces that accumulate after awhile. I put most of the thread away last week but I found yet a few more balls today. I have one set of shuttles with a project started on it but I can't remember exactly which pattern or even which book so it waits on me patiently to make time for it. There are scissors, pincushions (one for needles and one for pins), a few tubes of beads, beading needles, 2 rolls of Hugo's Amazing Tape, paperclips, some now-empty shuttles, and other odds and ends.

I don't show my chair because it is badly in need of reupholstering. I tried another chair for over a year but it was so hard on my back and way too big for me to get in and out of comfortably. I have the fabric and most of the supplies but it will take a block of time involving several days so I simply have it covered in an old lace tablecloth (not handmade), with a towel also on the seat as the cats like to sleep there and shed when I'm gone. Along the top of the back, I have a throw rug, for another cat that likes to lay up there (and shed) when she is in. With the addition of my son's two cats along with my two cats, I have developed a cat hair problem that I never had before. I put terrycloth towels everywhere they lay because it's much easier to throw them in the washer than to vacuum those spots. (the towels, not the cats!)

Everytime I decide to gather up the bits and pieces, I find I have a miniature forest of flora and fauna. Here are a few butterflies, a swan and a .....bird? LOL! It started out intending to be a butterfly but I quickly figured out there wasn't enough thread for a full butterfly so I was going to make a profile butterfly similar to Jon's most recent profile flutters, but I didn't have the pattern in front of me and was trying to just play with the concept. I could see it wasn't going where I wanted and looked more like a bird I've tatted in the past from Tatting Collage, so I ended it and gave it feet at the last moment. Well, now it doesn't look like a bird either! Perhaps a naming contest needs to be instigated? (update: swan is from Jon's free patterns.)

The vast majority of my shuttle endings are tatted into rings full of picots to fill out a flower bouquet somewhere along the line. They don't look like much on their own, but when you put them together and add a ribbon and touch of greenery, they often make the card or picture or whatever you use them with a tad bit more special.

And heart balloons are amongst my favorite shuttle endings. I forget about them for awhile and then I go crazy tatting them. I just adore them.

Now, chances are, these will all end up in a baggie until I find a reason to use them. Unfortunately, I tend to forget where I put the last baggie or tin and then I find them later all over the place!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sometimes I just like to ramble. I have been tatting but am not ready to show it yet. I even brought some with me to work on during lunch.

So what inspires you to tat?

Is it something you need to embellish?
Is it to relieve stress?
Is it the challenge of mastering something done only by hand?
Is it to keep the art alive?
Is it a compulsion with no clear purpose behind it?
Is it an excuse to play with thread and color?
Is it the feel of that oddly shaped tool in your hand?
Is it to add income?
Is it something to keep your mind and hands busy?
Is it an excuse to eat chocolate? (or drink wine?)
Is it an excuse to brag about how talented and intelligent you are? (wink)
Is it an exercise in patience?
Is it a reason to be competitive?
Is it an excuse to collect ...stuff?
Is it so you can have a reason to have a blog?
Is it to make a meaningful gift from the heart?
Is it about research you've been asked to do?
Is it to test your eyesight?
Is it an excuse to poke yourself in the finger with a hook and make sure you're not dreaming? (only joking Fox!)
Is it the social atmosphere?
Or do you just love, love, love it for all of the above reasons?

I was going through some papers and such recently and found some embroidery designs from Mary Corbet of Needle n Thread. I do like to embroider but I had actually saved them because they looked like great ideas for tatting designs. I admit I get irritated with blogs and websites that only show you a snippet and then you have to click on "read more" to get the rest of the story. Most of the time I don't. But sometimes I do, if I'm really really intrigued and have time to kill. More often than not though, you've lost me. At any rate, I saved these. As much as I'd like to show them, I haven't asked permission but do a google image search on Mary Corbet and you'll eventually find them.

Unless you're like me and get irritated at having to go somewhere else. LOL!

Okay, here's the link!

And here's some eyecandy from the past!

This came from one of those online generators around Valentine's Day one year.

This was a ripple edging from Mary Maynard's Book, Four Square Tatting. The tatting designs resemble some simple quilt designs. This is something I've always wanted to explore more but I haven't gotten any further.

Before Riet taught another version of this at Palmetto, I'd seen a woven picot bookmark that was done in an exchange. I eventually got hold of the person who tatted it, probably 4 or 5 years after the fact, and got some basics on how to go about it. For the longest time, I saw long, woven picots in all my design ideas. Some will eventually come to fruitation. It's a neat, but tricky, technique that requires significant planning ahead.

I took part in lots of exchanges over the years. One of the early ones had to do with embellishing a card with tatting for your partner. I've been asking myself if this is one I sent or one I got? I think I sent it. I vaguely remember buying the card and I recognize that Manuela variegated that everyone loved, and I do remember the two cards I got, one with a tatted curtain (so clever) and another with a little bear and tatting on it, but....I didn't note it in the photo caption. So, it might have been done by someone else and just gave me the idea to follow the same idea on yet a different card.

See.....you wished you'd written on the back of those printed out pics who was who and where and when the photo was taken.....ya gotta do the same thing with digital too!

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tatting Tea Tuesday 6-22-10

I was updating my wish list on half.com and decided to check the price of a book on Amazon while I was thinking of it. While there, I saw this title by Lyn Morton. Hmmm....we haven't heard much from Lyn on this side of the pond for a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time. And then I see it isn't even released yet but you can preorder from here with a nice savings. So, consider this a heads up if you didn't already know. Looks like there will be several new books making an appearance this fall!

Martha Ess, Marilee Rockley, Sharon Briggs, and I'm sure there are more.......better start putting your $$ away for them right now!

Me...I have no room on my bookshelves. In fact, I have piles of books sitting on the floor and in a box and a closet shelf. This is after getting rid of 2 boxes of books last winter. I was thinking today....what if I put bookshelves all across one wall, floor to ceiling, in the spare bedroom? Then I could get rid of all the other smaller bookshelves. I'm sure that would work! Don't you think????

Well..the tatting was yesterday but I drank tea today AND yesterday so that should count, right? I tend to alternate flavoring my tea with spearmint and with orange/spice or chai, but when it's really hot like it's been lately, just plain ordinary iced tea is the best! One day I added a ginger flavored bag and that was perfect too.

When I started this post I figured I would mix tea, tatting, and books altogether. I'm more than halfway through The Lace Reader. It's just about perfect for me right now. It's holding my interest but not so deep that my brain hurts in trying to follow it. I think there will be a little twist or turn in the mystery, just enough to be satisfying. I guess it's a nice escape. I have plenty of thought-provoking books so reading something just for entertainment is a nice change of pace. I was reading a biography about Lillian Gish before this (still reading it....slow) but it isn't as entertaining as I thought it would be.

I'm playing with some vintage motifs that I'm tatting from a publication I printed from the Antique Pattern Library. I think I printed this one out before. It has several motifs I want to tat. It's intriguing that they are throwing rings off of chains although they don't call it that. They use two shuttles and specify using the right hand or left hand shuttle. They don't say to make a chain though. You sort of have to figure that if they aren't making a ring, then it must be a chain. LOL! Last night I tried to convert one into something that could be tatted all in one pass but I can tell it will be disjointed. It will have to be in two rounds but that is still less than the way it is described. I managed to make the first motif all in one pass without having to cut and tie. The original was done in four rounds and you had to cut & tie after each round. The pictures are very clear which helps tremendously.

Well....better post this while it's still Tuesday!

Monday, June 21, 2010

When I was at JoAnn Fabrics the other day, I noticed they had all their Lizbeth thread on clearance for $1.97/ball. Since I've gotten bad balls from both JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby, I'm suspicious of these particular lots but I didn't have Caribbean and it's pretty so I bought it. It split on me once as I finished one motif, but otherwise, so far, no problems. But I'm less than 10 yards into the ball too. LOL! I hate being so skeptical but I've had NO problems with the ones I got from ZigZag Corner. Only the ones I've picked up more recently from local outlets.

(Update! Thank you Marty! The snowflake is from Mike and the pattern is HERE!)
Anyway, I tatted two motifs last night. One is from a vintage publication and I'll rewrite the pattern and offer that at some point later. The swirly snowflake was from a printout I had, and I'm pretty sure the designer is a guy and I think his name is Bob (maybe Biker Bob?) but it's not anywhere on the printout. It used to be that when I printed something from the computer, the website, at least, printed at the bottom. That doesn't happen much lately as so many websites are "print-friendly" and it's possible I copied and pasted the instructions onto a blank word document to avoid all the "extra" stuff. So...if someone, including the designer, will let me know who they are, I will be happy to add his information here!(Thanks again to Marty from Tat's All She Wrote.)

That said, I really like the Caribbean in the swirly snowflake pattern, but not the vintage snowflake pattern. See how the colors work out in the swirly but are disjointed in the vintage one? I had tons of thread on the shuttle after the swirly so that's why I tatted the vintage one. I'll do it again in white or a solid since it's for a project. The colorway repeat was good for one design but not another and this is the pitfall with colorful threads.

The other thing I wanted to demonstrate here was how the motif looks on different backgrounds. I actually have them on white too, but in my editing, I accidently saved one motif and lost the other so I didn't include it in the collage. I have lots of small cardstock that I use for background scans, especially for white pieces that don't show up. I put the motif on several shades of blue but it fades away into the darker blue so I didn't even scan that one. The gray is actually a gray-blue. The green and peach made the motif stand out better, but sometimes odd colors pull out shades you really don't want to see.

I actually like the swirly on the sky blue background. The vintage motif didn't look good on any of them but it's because of the imbalance of color distribution in the motif, not the background so much.

And that's my experiment of the day!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

No tatting!

But I've been very busy with other things. I've scheduled several Friday/Monday vacation days over the summer and this was the first. I mostly prepared for a bobbinlace class I took yesterday at the L.A.C.E. guild in IL. While I was there, I learned one of the new beginners had just taught herself to tat! I remember her first name was Dawn, so hopefully we'll be seeing a blog from her in months to come.

You can see the results of that workshop as well as some embroidery I'm working on at my lace blog.

I love having days off! I get my energy back and actually get something done. This morning I cleaned off a little corner of my computer desk. Found all kinds of things under the piles!

I was in JoAnn fabrics last night to get some interfacing for the embroidered bag that is in the lace blog. Buttons were 50% off but I didn't get any. I just bought some not long ago and didn't want to duplicate what I had. I'm also making a strong effort to use up all the wonderful stuff I already have. What I don't have will go in an etsy shop yet to be created. I've been a member for ages but always to buy, not sell.

OH - I bought some beautiful hand dyed silk/wool yarn from Yarnplayer and it arrived the other day. It's in the "Garden Afternoon" colorway and it's all I can do to keep from starting yet another project! Another reason not to buy buttons too. LOL!

Lace knitting has been on my agenda for a long time and I've done a few very small projects. Well, actually, years and years ago (thinking of niece who is over 30 now!) I used to knit little "smock" tops that had eyelet designs in the yoke. And I forgot I made my daughter a gorgeous sweater in her senior year that had a beautiful eyelet design all over. It was lost in a fire. I forgot all about those! Anyway, I want to knit a summer shawl from this yarn ( I got more than 1 skein!) and we have a very accomplished lace knitter in our guild whom I'm sure I can go to for help. Just need to decide on a pattern.

Happy Father's Day to all my family dads and my friends who are dads. Dads are every bit as needed and special as moms. Both of my parents have been gone since before I was 40, too early for their time, so enjoy those whom you are blessed to have in your life.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eye Candy!

Last evening I was going through some more of my needleart magazine collection. I've always wanted to sew heirloom clothing, especially christening gowns, so I've managed to acquire a nice collection of stitching magazines through the years. I've noticed tatting is often used as an edging on many of these gowns and little girl dresses. One I looked at was Sew Beautiful, issue #74, 2001, a Martha Pullen publication featuring heirloom sewing. I was intrigued by one article about the use of a technique known as "shaped tatting". It is made with purchased tatting -mostly edgings with a crocheted beading or header which is left in place when stitched as an insertion. This particular article describes shaped tatting. The beading is removed and then the edging is shaped on netting, but can be on fabric too. It is pinned in place and then hand stitched at picots and other major points. There were diagrams showing how to place so that you would get the results shown below.

This is the dress in its entirety. Many of the projects in these magazines have a tear out pattern included as an insert.

Remember this is an edging, not a motif, that has been stitched into a specific shape.

Same here. Then silk ribbon embroidery and beads were added to embellish it and make it look like a butterfly. In a way, it seems like a lot of trouble but if you don't know how to tat, it's another option.

I was thrifting yesterday during my lunch hour. I found this remnant of fabric which I was prompted to buy in case I decide to make something for little Ellie. Cost = 75¢

I also found this beaded angel ornie which I bought for the beads! Cost = 50¢

And I spied this pretty vintage bag, also for 50¢! It opens up into a long strip with three pockets. I have no idea what I will do with it but I couldn't pass it up!

Nope...I didn't buy this beautiful shuttle. I've been watching it on Ebay, one of Rosita's, but the bidding was beyond my means as I knew it would be. Sometimes a photo is just as good though.

Hope you enjoyed the eye candy today!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I did it! I made Mark's Elegant Heart! If I'd known it was really going to work out, I would have used a more color-suitable thread. LOL! I would also have used the same color for the 3rd thread that is needed to do purl tatting, sometimes referred to as "pearl" tatting. But it's okay since I really don't have to hide these threads, although it would make a nice motif if I did.I think the remainder of the Wintery Tree will be much easier since I don't have to come to a point anywhere. When I make the real tree, I'll just put a beautiful star at the point and any little boo-boo's will be moot.

I had quite a bit of fun looking through http://whatnottocrochet.wordpress.com/ yesterday. Some images are NOT suitable for children, btw. There was once a blog about things that should never have been knitted. It was so successful that they wrote a book and I've never seen them again! Actually there were more things I would have knitted that they made fun of than what I would crochet from this site. I had to agree with 98% of their choices. Sometimes it wasn't the pattern but the color combinations. I was never a big fan of the 70's colors anyway.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I really didn't venture out all that much this weekend and the one time I did on Sunday, it poured rain! I slept a lot and went through some of my needlecraft magazine collection. While I'm actually culling, I'm finding adorable little girl things that I have yet another chance to make now and I was reminded of things I DID get to make for my now 17 year-old-granddaughter. For instance, a pillowslip. I embroidered the crinoline lady and added a crocheted skirt. Loved doing that. I think I cross stitched Taz and a few other looney tune characters on pillows and shirts for the boys. I didn't cross stitch much - that was pretty much the extent of it. It was also before I learned to tat so most of what I made was knitted or crocheted or sewn. I crocheted her a beautiful tooth fairy doll with a bag too. Gosh, I hope I still have those instructions.

I've been strongly drawn to other forms of stitching the past year or so and much of it is along the line of embroidery although it is a lacy embroidery that I pursue. I've been especially intrigued with Karen Ruane's Contemporary Embroidery, and recently jumped at the chance to buy one of her hand embroidered silk purses. And I did jump! She had only mentioned them in her blog that day and by the time I got there, only one was left. I wanted one with color in the embroidery but I love this one too. If both had been available, I would have had to choose only one since it's a little pricey for me but what a treasure!

I'll have more views on my lace blog if you're interested but I wanted to show it here too. It's on silk and isn't it exquisite?

Can you imagine some tatted lace in very fine thread being in those circle centers? I'm thinking of all those bits and pieces I have just laying around....if you check her blog you'll find all kinds of inspiration!

I did tat the last version of the butterfly body bookmark although if this had turned out, it was going to be a bracelet since it's beaded. I tried bridging the two motifs in the center with an additional chain loop but it threw the symmetry all out of whack so I decided I was DONE with this and it's time to put it away.

I still have those committments I've been procrastinating on to do. The lining for the tatted bag and 6 more tree ornaments, plus I wanted to do some RPL for the exhibit. I'm going to a bobbinlace program with the L.A.C.E. group next weekend so I have to get ready for that. At this point I also need to mow outside again and I have flowers waiting for me to get them in the ground! Between the heat and rain and other activities, not much is getting done outside.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Last night I was going through some old I.O.L.I. (International Old Lacers Inc.) newsletters (The Bulletin) and decided to tat a heart bookmark in the Summer 96-97 issue. It's designed by Ronna Robertson who was a member of I.O.L.I. chapter Appaloosa Lace Guild. (and current Treasurer for I.O.L.I.!)

If you saw how slick the current publications are compared to the old ones, you would be amazed. So I really wasn't all that upset with the errors in the pattern. It is all text with a photograph. It starts off with a clover which automatically tells you it probably has 3 picots (as does the photo) but the instructions left a picot and 4 ds out of the first ring! There were a few other typo errors and I ended up tatting one near the end which I didn't see until I had it finished. Even so, it's a lovely bookmark and very easy to tat. The thread is some I dyed and is probably the mystery size 30 3 ply cotton as it was a tad bit fuzzy.

This issue has an article about tatting with beads by Judy Banashek and includes a split ring beaded bracelet pattern by her. Bobbie Demmer also wrote a column about beads and tatting and there was a snowflake pattern by Patti Duff. There was a poinsettia bookmark pattern by Sue Lantzer. This is in addition to several bobbinlace and needlelace articles and patterns. I believe the annual membership to I.O.L.I. is around $30 unless it went up a bit and I know it's a little more for overseas but it's a wonderful organization. They have a fabulous library (which is administrated by Cathy Kozlowski, a member of my lace guild) for members who can borrow books on any kind of lace for up to three weeks. Many many many of our tatting designers have donated a copy of their books to the library so this is a great way to look them over if you are undecided about purchasing them. They also have a lending library of videos and DVD's that can be borrowed through a different process and administrator. There is a deposit involved which is returned when the audio materials are returned. Mark Myers, our favorite Tatman, is the website manager. The membership directory can help you find other lacemakers in your area or an area you are traveling to.

Well, this wasn't intended to be a promotion for I.O.L.I. but I do think it is a worthy organization and often wish I had the time and energy to be more involved in it. If you have the opportunity to look through some older Bulletins or even current issues, I urge you to do so! You might decide to join yourself or get your lace group chartered through them.

I'm working on the butterfly body bookmark again tonight. This one will probably end up being a bracelet but the directions are the same so it's a way to double check my revisions. I also installed my new Serif drawing software today but I don't expect to actually get into using it for awhile yet. I've arranged several vacation days to give me 4 day weekends and it will be one of those weekends that I'll devote to learning the system and then diagramming all my designs. I've found a website to host pdf files and intend to eventually move my updated patterns there. I find E-Snips hard to use and lacking in many areas but until I can update my patterns, I'll leave them there.

Wow...11:30 p.m. already! I took a very long nap this afternoon so I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the moment!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

(Update ~ the reason I wanted to show where I used a split chain is that years ago, after I learned the split ring and the split chain, I didn't know where to use them! This is just one example but hopefully, it will help you see possibilities in other patterns.)

I still haven't finished rewriting the bookmark but that was because I ran out of thread on my shuttle and out of steam in my energy stream at the same time. LOL! I did want to show how I figured out how to do this all in one pass. In the original butterfly body, you had to cut and tie and then join in the middle of the chain loops. I realized I could make a split chain at this point where the second part joins and then finish the first segment on the return trip. In this scan, I labeled the first split chain and you can see that I continued on down and then came back up the other side. The second split chain happens in the same place basically, where the chain loop would normally be joined into from the lower body.

This scan shows the second half of the split chain completed and you can see it's now in a position to continue with the chain loops around the remainder of the upper body. The second half of this split chain is actually making the first part of the 5-5 chain loop so the next element is to complete the second part of the loop and join.

Here's the second half complete and from here I'll do the normal 5-5 chain loop, joining to the next picot. I'll end up at my beginning point and from there, do the entire segment again in the opposite direction. I do need to work on a way to stabilize that jumping off point though. In the first one I tatted, I added a little chain segment and then connected there but I haven't done that this time since I changed something else in the beginning ring.

Here are some sites where you can learn how to do split chains:
Fast & Easy split chain by Marie Smith
Original from Jane Eborall
From Snowgoose
Another from Snowgoose
The only tutorial I found for needle tatting but the graphics are broken.
Update: The current site for needle tatters is
and you do have to register to access the files. Thanks to Shannon for the link!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Some days just aren't meant for needlework of any kind. Last night wasn't my best of nights to begin with and I started it off with a nap. That should fix everything, huh? LOL!

Someone had asked for the bookmark pattern and I finally remembered to marry the original and my corrections except I couldn't understand my own corrections! I'll have to retat and see what I meant so I set that aside for another time.

At some point I'd found the Asian button templates I bought while in Australia back in 2005. Wow...was it really that long ago? I decided to make the teardrop shaped one and these are the results. It took me several times to get the hang of it and it's very doubtful I'll make another. You have to glue or stitch down the ends on the back. That pretty much ruined it for me. I glued mine and even after that and scanning, I pulled on the top loop and it distorted the shape so they're very fragile once complete. I didn't expect that. I thought they would be tight. The other one is the round shape. I don't think I'll even try it. I got it out after this one last night but didn't feel inspired to pursue it. I'm not sure what I'll do with them now. Might see if my grandsons want to work them.

Here's my other sad attempt at being creative. This is the "Elegant Heart" from Mark Myers which is also the top part of his "Wintery Tree", the motif I really wanted to tat. I've attempted this several times too but I'm real close to figuring it out now! I don't know if I'm reading the text wrong or what but I'm better off ignoring the written part and following the diagram. I still tried to do both but you can see it didn't quite work out. I'm going to try it again but this time I'll start at the point and I'll make sure my rings are the same on both sides of the heart. Mark is very good at this sort of tatting but it requires borrowing Jane's brain cell #3 for me. (now she knows where it slips off to now and then!) I just love that tree and I'm going to tat it come hell or high water! Once I do, I think I should be awarded an honorary "masters" in tatting!

Ah well...this evening I'm going to rework the bookmark and hopefully clean off the top of a chest of drawers that embarrasses me every time I pick jewelry to wear off of it. It has been neglected for far far too long!

Almost forgot - I wanted to mention that I only show 25 links to blogs on my sidebar but you can click on the bottom to see them all. The reason I mention this is that the most recently updated will always show up, but there are some that are actually websites or for some reason don't have a feed that shows them updated. Mark's pattern and technique website is like this. You'll have to click on the list and go way down to the bottom to find it on another day. I have it linked to my mention of his patterns today but if you want to find it in the future, you'll need to find it on the list. You might discover some other interesting people if you do that too.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

I spent Friday and Saturday in a workshop to get my CEAS, a certification that is not currently required but probably will be in the next few years. At any rate, it's helpful for my job. I have been doing ergonomics, mostly office ergonomics, for nearly a decade now. I was pleased to find there was only one new thing I learned about office ergonomics and it was more of a personal experience advice thing. I did learn a little more about Labor ergonomics, which is the weak area in our department for the simple reason that there is not enough manpower and resources to focus on it pro-actively. It's in the works though.

I brought way too much with me to do. I didn't feel good after sitting in a freezing room all day and my back has been hurting from something I did while mowing (???) and the conference room chairs were far from comfortable. I tried knitting and it looked like a 6 year old had done it so I abandoned that. I looked through some beading magazines I brought with me because I wanted to try some simple projects but couldn't bring myself to pull anything out of the bag and sort. I didn't even feel like tatting. So I read. The night before I had finished up a book, High on Arrival, by Mackenzie Phillips,a disturbing memoir. When we're young, we often dramatize the events in our lives because they ARE high drama to us, but reading about someone else's life and drama certainly puts it in perspective and makes one grateful for the simpler challenges in life.

So my next book (can't believe I'm getting to read this much!) is one I picked up at the Half-Price Bookstore a few weeks ago. It caught my eye with the title The Lace Reader. It was fiction so I knew it wasn't a how-to book. The website says it was on the bestseller list but obviously I never knew that. LOL! The character reads lace like some people read tea leaves. Now for those who think it's all woo-woo stuff, I've always viewed tea leaves, candles, bones, stones and such simply as tools of focus. The Rosary in Catholicism serves the same purpose, as does prayer and meditation. It's a way to focus inward and connect. Prayer has been called the state of asking and meditation the state of receiving an answer. Many people are able to do both but you can never do both at the same time. You can't be in a state of asking and receiving at the same time. One will follow the other and often very quickly, seeming instantaneous, but there is a gap between one and the other. So...I'd never heard of "lace-reading" though the overall concept is familiar to me and I found it intriguing. I've only started the book. In 2003, I made a trip to the East Coast, meeting and visiting friends I'd met online. Near the end, I stayed with a friend in Cape Ann (mentioned in the book) and one day we drove through Salem on the way to his doctor appointment. My friend was a wealth of information about the "witch" town as well as Cape Ann's former glory days so I'm finding the location exciting in this book too. The lace seems to be bobbin lace and already I'm learning new stuff about that. I wonder if the author makes lace herself? Well, it turns out she made up "lace-reading" but really...think about it....how many AHA! moments or wonderful insights have you received while making your lace? I think I'll enjoy this book much more than Phillips' "High" book.

I got home last night, still not feeling 100%, but I wanted to do something besides unpack. LOL! For a long time, I've been wanting to go on a dragon rampage. A tatted dragon rampage. Anne's pattern sort of popped up in front of me last night so ...why not? I tatted a dragon. Started it anyway. When I realized it was after midnight, I stopped and left the rest for today.

I don't know why I keep trying to put eyes in the ears of these dragons! When I was done, I realized my beads were in the ears or head of the dragon so they weren't eyes at all. So...it just means this is a female dragon and those are earrings! She's got all the fluffy picots so that means she's a girl, right? You can find the pattern on Anne's blog! I hope to make more soon but I have other commitments still in the works.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Eliz suggested the body of the butterfly would make a good bookmark. I had just figured out how to tat the body in one pass, by making a split chain where the lower body was originally started and I knew the whole thing wouldn't take all that long so I gave it a whirl. This is another thread I dyed but I think this one must be the "unknown" size 30 cotton. Vintage. 3 ply. Fuzzy. Soft. I didn't like the way the thread itself worked up. When I got back to the beginning, I tatted the same body in the opposite direction since it didn't seem nearly long enough for a bookmark. In the end, it's not a bookmark I like, but I do think it is more masculine than most I see. I got fed up with the thread and tatted it rather poorly. I also think the design needs some tweaking to turn out really nicely. If anyone wants the directions for this part, please email me privately. I won't be able to send them until after the weekend though. I'm leaving for some training tonight and won't be back until Saturday evening. I need to make a few minor corrections on the pattern that I initially wrote up too.

My mind must be elsewhere lately. This is a motif from a Vida Sunderman book which should be the same at both ends. When I finished the clover at the second end and was almost finished, I realized I'd left out a ring segment. It was late and I had no specific purpose for this motif so I just finished it off as is. It sort of reminds me of a Christmas bulb ornament. With a tail, it would make a nice bookmark. The thread was some size 16 Finca which is finer than size 12 perle cotton but very similar in sheen and twist.

Pat Winter had a link on her blog to Crafty Storage, a blog about storage methods. I dunno....I think they are way too organized there for me. LOL! I've noticed most of them have see-through containers. I have some, but most are not. Yeah.......it's like Christmas all over again when you open them up! heheheheh....I love rediscovering my stash. Sometimes I feel a little dismay at having forgotten something but I also love the re-inspiration. I need to go through my boxes. And I do need to reorganize. My "studio" is the one room I haven't touched in over a year. I've been busy sorting stuff from the basement and closets but this room has become a catch-all and I can't find things I need to find.

I really can't have some stuff out in the open. It gets dusty. Cats tend to climb and nosy into places they shouldn't. Then things get dumped and lumped together. Hmmm...maybe I should schedule some vacation SOON!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Tatting Tea Tuesday 6-1-10

Okay, it's not Tatting Tea Tuesday, but Tea on Tuesday is popular with other bloggers too! Art in Red Wagons has a list of blogs that focus on tea on Tuesday!

And look at what else I found! Mary McCarthy used to publish KNOTS, a tatting newsletter, back in the mid 90's til the early 2000's. Looks like tatting and tea went together back then too!

In my advancing years, I wonder sometimes if it is possible to become ADD? I don't tolerate boredom as well. My mind goes in dozens of directions at once. Maybe I'm just more aware of it because I'm less constrained by obligations.

I was actually looking for the butterfly that Two Shuttles has been looking for information about. I know I've seen it - that inner diamond shape rings some strong bells, but I can't find it anywhere. I remember it because the one I saw originally, not the yellow one on flickr.com, was also in two colors and I remember thinking I didn't really like the way it worked in that case. I do like the yellow and white one so it's probably about color choices. I'm pretty sure it's an individual pattern, not one in a book, so I was looking through one of my binders of printouts. It wasn't there, but ..... something caught my eye.

I had this printout from a butterfly round robin that I took part in at the turn of the century. (heheheheh....that was fun to say!) It's one I made for someone, though I don't remember who now and the page showing all the round robins is long gone. Apparently I didn't get a scan so I printed out the one on the page. I didn't have a scanner then and had to go to my sister's to scan my tatting. I didn't always make it and my camera was not a good one for lace. Then again, it could be on some OLD disc hidden away somewhere. Anyway...this is my only record of it.

It was actually meant to be a handkerchief corner and was originally tatted in size 70 thread. If you have The Tatter's Treasure Chest, it is on page 73. The photograph in the book is not very clear at all.

By scanning the book photograph and making it bigger (click on the pic to see it bigger), you can see the details a little better. I didn't have that advantage the first time I made it. I always knew I'd done something wrong but couldn't quite figure it out. Now was the time to sort it out! (never mind all those other projects in the background!)

I remembered enough to know I wasn't willing to try it in anything smaller than size 40. I think this thread is actually size 30. Do you know there are SEVEN different pieces that must be tatted separately???? I came up with a few shortcuts but I still had seven different pieces to tat.

The directions say to start with the ring just below the head and then tat the head. Since you have to leave a space of thread for no really good reason except to jump to a picot, I changed the order of things and tatted the head ring first. Then I tatted the ring starting the body. This is where you end up leaving a space of thread. Instead, I made a split ring, splitting at the very last picot since that was where the thread space was going to. From there, you tat around making little loops. Now this is where I so wish I could have found a way to continue on with the body but since the next segment STARTS where the lower picots are, it just seemed like more trouble than it was worth. I also changed the bottom long picot to a double picot just for fun.

(I now see that I probably could have done a split chain where I first joined thread for the lower body and continued on with the lower body which tats down and then back up the other side, continuing around the upper body.)

Each upper wing and each lower wing was tatted and attached during the construction. The ending place was not able to be manipulated so that you could tat the other half of the wing on that side. That's because each segment started in the middle and worked outward. There was no way to work inward and achieve the same effect. If you tat this butterfly, keep in mind that you only need a yard or so on the ring shuttle for any given segment. I put on two yards but the only time I used most of that was in the body which had five rings. For the upper wings, no more than 1 1/2 yard per wing and for the lower wing, no more than 1 yard. Since I did the split ring on each segment to avoid the thread space and it was only TWO stitches, I just left the chain thread on the floss holder. The pic above is the upper wing completed. It reminds me of one of the Star Wars ships. LOL! It's really tight and curls up on itself. Might be a design element to keep in mind for a future project.

This is the completed butterfly waiting to be blocked. BTW, blocking is a nightmare! When I wet this thread, it gets kind of hard. It doesn't want to be manipulated very easily. I used a bigger crochet hook to help pull out each point after making it as flat as I could with my fingers. It used lots and lots and lots of pins!

Here is it on the blocking board, waiting to dry. I also used the shaft of my crochet hook to slide in between the pins and flatten out the chains that kept wanting to turn. This flutter has a wingspan of 4" and is 3 1/2" high counting the antenna.

And here it is! You might notice that the upper wings look a little different from the blue version. That's because I joined in the wrong place with the blue one. You're supposed to join at the 2nd free picot and I joined at the top one which turned it upside down. I also did something else wrong that I haven't discovered yet because the last chain joins in sequence to the whole while the blue one was just sort of hanging there. I don't know if I would dare to tackle this one with beads or not. While it was a challenge to tat, it wasn't all that much fun. I'm ready to move on to other patterns and other threads!

But ....you know....wouldn't this make a gorgeous "stained glass" flutter? I'll leave that to someone who's more accomplished at that than I am. (furtive glance at Marilee)