Sunday, February 27, 2011

Figure 3 continued

I was up way too late last night and woke up way too early this morning so I kind of doubt I will get any more done on these today. I have some fabric ready to put them on but I'm still mulling it over.

I tatted these last night and left them to block As someone mentioned, it seemed like a lot of work, so I only made small inserts. They really didn't take all that long to tat and the crochet part generally goes much faster than tatting.

I used some of the thread I dyed last Spring which I think is size 30. I had so many threads wound and while they were initially labeled, in the dying frenzy later, I lost track of the size and brand. I have a lot of this color combo which I don't particularly like but that means I can save my favs for what I know will work out.

The top one is tatted in the dyed size 30 thread and I used some size 40 Venus thread for the crochet part. I wondered in the last post if the crocheted part was done with a smaller thread and from the way this worked out so nicely, I think it was.

The bottom one was tatted in the same size 30 dyed thread and I also used it for the crochet part. I decreased the chain stitches between sets of joins to only 1 stitch and it seemed to work out better too. I also used seed beads (size 11) in the picots where the crochet joined. I made sure the picot was loose enough for the crochet hook to move through later. It makes a nice row of beads. I debated on placing beads in other places but decided to limit it for this sample. They could be put in the bare spaces which is one way to regulate the length. Just slide the same number of beads on the bare thread each time before you start the ring and make sure you start the ring right next to the bead.

I was trying to think of a way to add a header if you don't crochet. You could tat a lock stitch chain (do not flip the 1st half stitch but do flip the 2nd half stitch for as long as you want) and join it at the appropriate picots. You could also chain across and only have a slight arch between joins. If you have a picot in the center of each chain arch, that gives you something to attach to the fabric. It won't have the width of the crocheted one but it might help the insertion keep its shape. Most tatting is primarily curved and you have to get tricky to come up with angles and corners.

I'm off to take a nap now and hopefully work on my taxes when I get back up. I'm also hoping to tat Victat's dagger heart so my next post might be about that - or it might be about the insertions in a bag. Got to keep you guessing!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Motif #6 in 25 Motif Challenge

I got back to the patterns in Plate I from the DMC Tatting publication.

This is the original print from the publication in figure 3. This is an insertion and tatted insertions often had a crocheted header and footer to use in attaching it to fabric.

This is my first sample tatted in DMC Special Cordonnet size 20. Does it look familiar? If you've ever tatted booties or a basic bookmark, it's very likely you used this arrangement although maybe with a different stitch count or number of picots. This is the tatted part only.

The instructions make the first large ring 2---2-2---2. They say "long picot" instead of "---". You can tell from the photo that they did use a longer than usual picot at the sides. I'm not sure why as I'll explain shortly, but they have it measured perfectly in their sample. They also say to use a long picot in the smaller 4-4 ring. You really only need it long enough for the other 3 rings to join into.

You make a large ring, turn, leave a bare thread and make a small ring, turn, leave a space and make a large ring, joining to the large picot. You keep doing this as long as you want the insertion to be. Then on the opposite side, you do the same thing, joining the small rings in groups as shown in the photo.

It didn't tell you how long the bare thread should be. I was generous in this sample, but in a second one I'm making, I'm using a much shorter measurement.

So then I proceeded on to the crocheting, using the same size 20 thread. The instructions say to treble to join to the picots on the large ring but I could tell that was way too long compared to the photo. Knowing crochet terms are different in European countries, but not wanting to look it up, I changed it to a double crochet which looks the same as the picture sample. It said to chain 2 between each treble (double crochet) join and between each group of joins. That's what I did along the top of this piece and you can see it is too many stitches.

When I crocheted along the bottom side, I crocheted only 1 chain between the two picot joins and 2 chains between each group. It lays much better now but I think it is still slightly too long. Blocking might fix it. After the first row of crochet, the second row was a single crochet in each stitch and the final row is a double crochet, chain 1, skip one single crochet, double crochet in the next and repeat across. Do the same thing on the other side.

This ended up being quite a wide insertion. Thread size was not indicated. I do not know if the same size thread was used for both the tatting and crochet or not. It's possible a finer thread was used for the crochet part and in that case, the number of stitches might have worked out. At the very beginning, it does say 6 cord Special Cordonnet (no size) for tatting and DMC Flax Lace thread for knitting and crochet.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ to be continued ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The seller, Hand Painted Pink Roses, actually paints in color on jewelry, buttons, and other small objects so how I managed to zero in on this, I don't know but I'm glad I did.

The tatting is vintage, pretty much past its prime but what a lovely addition with the pen and ink. It would go great in a collage, especially one made of fabric.

I guess I didn't upload anything else to this blog this morning. I did put several things on the lace blog but haven't written that up yet. I don't have anything tatted to show. I was packaging the Blogaversary winners' boxes last night and they're being sent off today. Winners please let me know when you get it so I know it isn't lost.

I had two short errands for my lunch hour yesterday so stopped in an antique store I'd heard about but hadn't been in. I only got around the outside perimeter, not the inside but one thing I liked was an abundance of linens at a reasonable price. I saw more tatting than usual too.

Once upon a time, my dad and his second wife ran an antique and oak reproduction store. They carried both antiques and Oak reproduction furniture. I would never claim to be an expert on antiques but I did learn a bit about them. I have to admit it's a little disconcerting to see household items I grew up with listed for high prices and designated as "antique". Dishes I ate dinner on every day for the first 18 years of my life are touted as "rare".

So, sometimes I'm skeptical about some things. One of the first booths I looked in had several crocheted bags hanging on screws. The bags were gorgeous - Irish crochet with the decorative balls hanging on them. They also looked so freakin' skudgy. Dark, discolored, and stiff to touch. Not just one, but several. They were each listed at $45. I got more and more miffed as I walked through the store, thinking about them, than I should have, I guess. For one thing, I'm pretty sure they were purposely aged. I don't think that was natural. If I were to buy them, the first thing I would do is soak them clean. All that crap on the fiber is ruining them. I think some of them were definitely vintage in terms of when they were made but it makes me angry that someone would put that kind of treatment on them to make them seem even older and in the process, damage the fibers. They looked in really good shape for being that old and dirty. Other things in the booth were in beautiful shape. Also, hanging on a screw? Nah, this was for display, not value. Most items I see like this have some broken threads or knots. This didn't.

In another booth, I found a hanky with a tatted edging. The hanky was pink and the edging was pink and green. The fabric was okay but you could tell it was getting old and frail while the tatting looked great. The problem? The edging was tatted onto the fabric, not stitched on. I know some people prefer to tat directly on the fabric but this does become an issue when the fabric wears out. It will take some very careful cutting away of fabric to salvadge the lace.

I know that's not important to everyone. So I've come to the conclusion that I'm a lace SNOB and a thread SNOB. I can't help it. I appreciate well made lace and well made thread and well made fabric. I can't abide nylon lace these days. For one thing, next to my skin, it makes me itch. When it burns, it melts. It's almost guaranteed to be machine made. Machines don't have hopes and dreams built into every stitch.

Maybe that's it. The human factor. I want to connect to the human factor.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I wasn't going to post tonight. I felt well enough to go to work today but it was very tiring and one of those little-bumps-in-the-road-all-day-long. I actually intended to be in bed NOW but I guess it will wait a few minutes.

During my lunch today I started crocheting a flower from a book I found in the library, Crochet Bouquet by Suzann Thompson. Everything in the book is crocheted in yarn, but I prefer thread so the scale ends up very differently.

This one is called "Topsy Turvy Flower" but this is only one version. The main flower part is done in Lizbeth "Wild Mountain Breeze" or something like that and the yellow is Cebelia. The stamen is some green I dyed and you can see more of it on the back but I'm not showing it here. Its overall size is about the size of a US quarter coin. The photo was taken on my camera and I can see it's not true. The "black" flower part is actually brown so you can see it's off. I didn't think the center yellow pouf would allow it to scan well though.

Well...I thought I'd jazz it up a bit by finding a "cookie cutter" frame. I used to have an editing program that did that but it went with my old computer, so I was looking for something free online. The very first one I found, is as far as I went. I didn't find a cookie cutter shape but I did find these cool effects!

this is the Art Poster filter. You can apply more than one effect at a time but I do want to get to bed tonight. I'm sure you could change colors or probably do any of the other filters and then apply the art poster effect and get something really cool. BTW, you don't have to register or download anything. The program is on-the-spot usage.

Here's the first one that wow'd me. I started with the flower on a green background because I was afraid of damaging the pink background one until I'd saved a few and found I still have my originals. This is the kaleidescope filter.

So then I got brave and used the pink one and played a bit with the settings. I wish I was a computer whiz - imagine what you could use these images for!

In this one, I played with another effect which I now forget but you can see how it deepened and changed the tone.

So...maybe something to keep in mind the next time you change your blog header?

I'm going to bed NOW!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I recently purchased a publication offered by Pat Winters about CQ embroidery. I bought it partly to support Pat's venture and partly to see how the resource worked. I've seen a few online publishing businesses and haven't been drawn to any one yet. I have ideas in the back of my head and we'll just leave it at that, but I did want to see how this one performed.

While I was browsing the site, I ran across this intriguing wraparound glove pattern!

Found HERE!

Yeah, probably more knitting than I want to do but I love the idea of it so I bought it too. Both publications arrived on the same day, in a clear plastic wrapper like many magazines come in. I got email notices that the publications had been printed and were on their way so communication was good. I like that. BTW, our own Umintsuru is featured on one page in Pat's magazine so if you're into crazy quilting, go get it! No patterns or anything but it's always nice to see a tatter's name in print.

I tatted a few more flutters last night and will be leaving soon to round up packaging for the Blogaversary winners. I've got a cat sleeping on the floor under my desk who is wheezing as much as I am. I thought he was over that so it looks like we both might be visiting the doctor this week. Different doctors, of course. I do feel better but the cough and wheeze is still there. I felt good enough last night to do laundry and put away the beads and thread I'm no longer using. I need to wind bobbins for the next bookmark pattern. Following Karen's progress on Contemporary Embroidery has me itching to get back to my sampler pillow-to-be. Then I saw a teneriffe doily on Jenny's Australian Needleart that I loved as well as the mat she just finished.

There is always a lull after the Christmas holidays as everyone recoups. Even those who plan ahead and have lovely projects to dive into are often set aside until we get our bearings again. Suddenly I'm seeing lots of new inspiration and wonder how I can possibly ever do it all in this lifetime? Oh...and I need to get started on the next figure of Plate I in my 25 motif challenge!

And Happy Birthday to my Little Sister!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

You know Spring is almost here when I start tatting butterflies! (or it's the early onset of Spring Fever)

The top row is a pattern by Mary McCarthy and appeared in the August, 1990 edition of Workbasket Magazine. When I learned to tat and entered my first butterfly exchange, this is the pattern I used. I love it as much today as I did then. Do you see that jewel colored one in the top middle? That is Merrilee's Stardate and I just love that colorway!

The second row is another flutter favorite. Rosemarie Peel used to have it on her website but I just checked and it isn't there. The site is still under construction so maybe it will show up later. I'm tellin' ya, you better grab a pattern when you see it because they have a tendency to disappear over time.

Both patterns only take about 1 1/2 yards on the shuttle because there aren't that many rings involved. I ended up changing the length of the picots slightly on Rosemarie's pattern but I suspect that has to do with each person's tension and spacing. I added a few more stitches on the ending chains too and that was personal preference. I may change them back next time.

I've been sick this week with whatever that cruddy cold virus that is going around is. I slept all afternoon, waking up drenched in sweat. While I feel better right now, I remember I did that a few days ago and before half a day was gone, I felt bad again. So I'm crossing my fingers and laying low. For my blogaversary winners, I haven't forgotten you. I had hoped to send it all out today but it didn't happen. The mail won't go again until Tuesday so hopefully I'll be emailing you all to tell you it's "on the way"! I should have made St. Paddy's bags or Spring bags instead of hearts. Oh'll remember the date!

Friday, February 18, 2011

OWOH Winners!

The winner of the tatted hearts and butterflies is Gayle-Page Robak of Canada. Gayle works with mixed media and digital art. You can view her blog here!

The next winner is Rebecca of Rebecca's Rainbow Kisses. Rebecca is from Massachusetts and is the mother of 4, including a set of triplets. I have a cousin with triplets and know (second-hand) how much work that is! Rebecca also makes wonderful clay art dolls and beautiful jewelry, among other things.

The final winner is Calej from the Philippines. Calej expresses her art through many different avenues. You can see them at Calej d'Art.

I had a great time visiting blogs again. Although this was the final OWOH, it appears there will be a new event next year along the same line but with a different name. Lisa has a signup for the newsletter about the 2012 event, which is called Our World Our Art, so check it out if you're interested.

I barely made it through all the blogs, mostly because I was home sick today. I do wish each participant's art was listed with their link. There were many I had no interest in, such as scrapbooking and paper art. There are only a limited number of mixed media that I like but I would have looked at them to find out. There were a few art journals I liked but not nearly as much as were offered. I was disappointed sometimes to see that artists with wonderful pieces offered a doorprize completely unrelated to their work. I didn't comment on every blog, only the ones where I would like the doorprize. There were some that I didn't want the doorprize but I wanted to comment on other things that I liked so I went to another post in the blog. I started out reading everyone's story and then ended just skimming through since I just wanted to make a quick visit before it ended.

I noted a distinct difference between generations. Younger bloggers go for quicker art and trendy stuff. Older bloggers are involved in an art they've been attracted to for years, even if they just started in it. They are more involved and more serious about it. The work tends to be more elegant and professionally finished.

I loved the lampworked beads. I have no interest in making them myself, but I love looking at them, touching them, and imagining ways to use them in my tatting or other lacework. I also love the art dolls. A few were not to my tastes but most have me itching to get my hands in the clay. I have the tools. I just need the time to play.

I admire artwork and photography but have to admit that most of it was not to my tastes. I love good photography but don't buy it because I don't feel an attachment to it. I usually manage to take my own photos of the things I do feel an attachment to and I guess that's the dealbreaker when it comes to buying someone else's work. Now I do find a lot of stuff on Flickr that I like but it's the kind of stuff I want to use in a blog, not hang on my wall.

There was all kinds of jewelry although it didn't seem like as much as last year. Lots of papercrafts. Lots of altered books and mixed media as applied to altered books or paintings or such.

Very few had to do with fiber in relation to the total. I was a little surprised at the number of people who were in love with the dragons and seahorses. I like them too but they were very popular in the comments. I like that - it helps encourage people to learn this art so if you're looking for a way to get younger members in your guild or group, these might be the kinds of projects you can target.

I'll probably do this again in the new venue. I like exposing tatting in as many ways as I can. I added a few links to my bloglists and hopefully started a few new friendships. I've won a few doorprizes myself and will show them when they arrive.

Next post I'll show what I've been busy at.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


heheheheeh...Tativor! That was my confirmation word on a comment I left to someone from OWOH. I couldn't help but think, how appropriate! I'm a TATIVOR! I literally consume tatting! I think Tatman should come up with a cartoon rendition of a Tativor - I guess it needs an "e" - Tativore!

Just a quickie note. The OWOH event goes through today. Some people have closed early but it depends where you are in the world as to what day it is AND it's always an option to end a bit early. I will announce OWOH winners tomorrow morning since I'm not staying up until midnight to draw.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you wondered what the heart looked like on Christina's Heart, a link I got from Bellaonline, which is overseen now by Georgia Seitz, this is it! I used the shaft of a crochet hook as the picot guage and since the picots are only 1 ds apart, I just left it in place and made continous picots which keeps them all the same size and creates this sort of figure 8 in the picot when you slide the hook out. Blocking it would take care of that but I kind of like it. I was tempted to crochet around the edge but kept forgetting and cutting off the thread. Maybe another time.

Crazy Mom posted the link to this heart yesterday but I'd already tatted it from a printout I had from last year. It was only when I went to block it last night that I found my mistake. Do you see it?

Hint: It's leaning to the left because it's a bit heavy on that side.

I have a binder full of heart patterns from the Internet. I've tatted most of them but there are still a few I want to tat. Nell's Old Glory Heart is one. I even bought red, white and blue sewing thread for it. I have no clue why sewing thread unless that was the fastest way I could get the right colored thread in 2001. Martha Ess's Two Hearts as One pattern is the other one. This is the link to one of the hearts. You'll need to visit the 2nd link to make the complete heart. Both patterns have been around since at least 2001 and I wanted to tat them from the get-go but I haven't. Why? Because I will have to really concentrate and sit still! LOL! And I'm making them for ME so it's hurry...I'll get around to it! So if someone would please send me a Round TUIT, I'll tat them! It's been TEN years, for cryin' out loud!

I only need to hear from two more winners from the Blogaversary celebration with their mailing address and I'll be wrapping up the OWOH tour on Thursday/Friday so then I can get back to the 25 motif challenge. I've been eyeballing it but not too closely or I won't get everything sent out in a reasonable time! I already started knitting something last night to get my hands busy for a bit. It might turn into someone's birthday gift so I don't want to post it. But you all know how SLOWLY I knit so maybe it'll turn into a Christmas gift instead.

Take some time today to tell those you love that you LOVE them and for those you wouldn't feel comfortable saying "I Love You", then tell them something nice about themselves that you like or admire or deeply respect. We should let people know we care about them. It makes them blossom!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Whoo Hoo! What a fun day this will be! Are you ready???

Eight little bags waiting for a name to go with them.

Winner #1: (40) Diane at Crafty Diane Bag #7

Winner #2: (14) Dale Marie atShuttle & Thread Bag #4

Winner #3: (17) Kimberly, Bag #7, substitute bag #2

Winner #4: (34) Teresa of Stitching & Knitting Bag #5

Winner #5: (19) Kathy of Kathy's Victorian Lace Bag #4, substitute bag #3 (no email found - please email me with your mailing address!)

Winner #6: (62)To Tat or Knot to Tat Bag #6

Winner #7: (30) Bonnie of Bonnie's Tatting Blog Bag #1

Winner #8: (40) Robert of Iowa Bag #5, substitute bag #8

Congratulations everyone and I'm emailing you each privately for your mailing address. Now...the contents of the above bags are identical, BUT...I have more to go with each one and you'll just have to wait and be surprised! That part will be different in each case.

I wish I could give every single visitor to my blog a momento. I loved reading how my blog was the first tatting blog many of you read when you first discovered tatting. I loved knowing I have contributed to your interest and understanding about this beautiful art. A HUGE inspiration for my blogging is the desire to share what I've learned or am in the process of learning. I love watching newcomers develop their skills and expand to the point where they are helping the next wave of new tatters. I love seeing tatters taking old patterns and old basics in a new direction and to a new level.

While there are a few unique people who pick up on tatting immediately and learn every new technique quickly, for the majority of us, tatting was a skill that was learned slowly. It meant practice, practice, practice. Lots of knots and fraying of thread and pride dashed in a mistake discovered too late for an easy fix. It meant the saving of money to buy a special book or shuttle or thread. Waiting on the postman. Slow deciphering of techniques by email or phone calls. Frustration. Triumph. Even tears sometimes.

When I first started blogging, it was just for fun, for myself, a place to set down my thoughts about tatting. It came at a time when the tatting lists were dealing with spam and flaming and trying to figure out what to do. While order was being restored, it was often intimidating to offer thoughts that were perceived differently, sometimes completely out of context. I guess, for me, it felt safer to have a place of my own to speak.

I had fun developing this new medium and it has changed significantly through the years. The best part for me is having a record of what I've done. Sometimes I'll get an email about a post from years ago and the writer asks about it like it was yesterday. I have to go look it up and refresh my memory. And yeah, there are times I'm amazed at my own work but I think this is true for everyone. I initially promoted blogging for that very reason. I felt too many people under estimated what they accomplished. So much of what we make ends up given away, sometimes as an intended gift and other times as a serendipitous moment. It's easy to forget something you no longer have. I am often reminded by others of gifts I knitted or crocheted or quilted decades ago. My camera photos from back then are not nearly as nice as today's digital or scanned versions. It's also a great record of techniques you've learned and a visual record of how your tatting improves.

I remember the scarcity of patterns when I began tatting. I had a large collection of Workbaskets even then and that was my main source. Tatting publications, books or magazines, were hard to come by. Even now, I only see a few books in the bookstores and libraries. The Internet fixed that. I have binders and binders full of tatting patterns. I have books and publications from all over the world. I feel sorry for people who put together pattern books of tatting because the demand now is not as acute as it used to be. Not that we ever have enough patterns but I think you really have to work at it now to sell your product. Word gets around fast if there are any shortcomings and it's hard not to duplicate what others have done. Even so, I think the patterns and designs just keep getting better and better! I like that diagramming and well thought out illustrations are more common these days. I'm proud to be part of the generation that has advanced the renaissance of tatting.

Since I had 8 winners coming up, I was looking for quick little tats. I still haven't found exactly what I'm looking for but I did have fun trying and I wanted to show you what I tatted last night and today.

I wasn't sure I would even finish it. I was emptying some size 80 thread from shuttles as well as playing with some of Mary Maynard's flowers from Rings of Flowers. I tatted a lot from this book when I first got it but never did ALL of the flowers. Using it now, I realize how dependent I've gotten on diagrams since there are no diagrams in this book. Near the back, she has some fans and I don't think I got to those before. I really liked this one so I gave it a try. I didn't finish it exactly the way she did but this is the basic pattern. The teacup is a notepad of paper.

Here it is on its own. I started off with the wrong color for the first ring but now that I know how it goes, I can tat it in the right sequence. It's so tiny, just the right size for a notecard or as a scrapbook element or embellishment for a very small child's clothing. I had a LOT of threads to hide, 6 of them I think, and it certainly was not a quick tat but still....I am as enthused and excited about tatting something new as I ever was.

Truly, tatting is my passion.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Blogaversary Celebration & How I Learned to Tat!

My blogaversay is on Sunday, February 13th.

Yeah, right before Valentine's Day and right before the ending of the OWOH event and ON my grandson's 17th birthday. It will be a busy day. So I'm announcing the celebration now so you can get in on the drawing before things get crazy!

This is the end of my 8th year blogging. Eight Years! So I've come up with 8 little gift bags, one for each year. Each bag will have a number attached to it. The number is associated with a giveaway item. I can't tell you what the item(s) is/are because I don't have them altogether yet, but I do have several. Not all are tatting related. Not all will even fit in a bag. Some are just pretty, some are tasty, some are useful, some silly.'s starting to sound like the Seven Dwarf's! Ignore that comment.

Just to make this interesting, when you comment, pick a number between 1 and 8. If the random number generator picks your comment number, then the number you mention in your comment will be your bag number. Now I don't want to make this too complicated, just a little bit more fun. It's obvious that more than one winner could have the same number, so the first one picked by the random number generator will get the bag number they designate. In the interest of simplicity and brevity, I will pick the duplicate number winner's bag. Since you don't know what gift is associated with the number, it's not really a big deal. Basically, you're telling me your favorite or lucky number between 1 and 8.

So, this post only, and only one comment per person! No strings attached. I just want to thank you for being interested in my blog and keeping ME in interested in my blog. I will do the drawing on the morning of the 13th.

Miranda posed the question - What's the story behind you learning to tat? I wasn't going to because it seems like I've told the story countless times. It came up in group discussions and forums and in newsletters over the years many times. I usually mentioned it only because of my frustration.

I'm self-taught. Maybe I'm not a very good teacher because I had to teach myself twice! My two youngest boys are 29 and 30 years old. When they were little (in 1980-something), I read a lot of stories to them. That really has nothing to do with this story other than to tell you I was busy. I also remember that story-reading going on the same time I first taught myself to tat. I had one of those Coats & Clark How-To books, a little green one. I also had a metal Boye shuttle. I'd bought it years and years before because I wanted to learn to tat but never got around to it. I was probably cleaning something out and found the shuttle. I remember sitting and studying the book, size 10 crochet thread in hand, and slowly going through the steps in the book. They have these little black and white drawings, you know. I didn't understand what it meant to "transfer the knot". I could come up with a knot okay, but the thread wouldn't move after that so there was no way I could "close the ring". I think the knot flipped accidentally, to be honest. It was years before I heard the term "flip the knot". All I knew after many tries was that a loop turned over and when I did that with both halves of the stitch, it made a nice looking stitch which slid on the core thread. I made 4 or 5 rings, slowly, painfully, and with lots of non-sliding knots in the process. I do remember laying it down to read the boys a story. Apparently I just put it away, thinking I'd pick it up again when I had more time. After all, I knew the secret now and could tat.

Famous Last Words!

Fast forward 12 or 13 years(1997). I was working full time. My two older kids had graduated from high school and the two younger ones were starting high school. I found my shuttle again! Oh yay! I have time to do this now, I thought to myself. With unabashed confidence, I wound thread on the bobbin and stuck it in the shuttle. I still wasn't clear about that hole in the bobbin or the hole in the top blade of the shuttle but I tied the thread about the bobbin and might have even tried putting the thread through the shuttle hole but that didn't last long. I had to refresh my memory with the how-to book to sort out how to put the thread around my hand and how to make the movements with the shuttle. So far, so good.

Now, you're not going to believe this: I ended up with a knot.
and again
and again
and again
and again
and again.........
What was I doing wrong? I fussed with it for two weeks. The frustration was even more intense because I knew I had successfully tatted a ring before. Now I was getting nothing but permanent icky going-nowhere knots!

So I was strolling around in Hobby Lobby one day and saw the Needle Tatting book and needles. I ignored it. Too much money and besides, I knew how to tat....if I could only remember the key. A few weeks later, in desperation and with healthy discount coupon in hand, I bought the needle tatting book and needles.

Oh my. I was instantly successful. I knew it was different, but I was making rings. And then chains. And I made a ring only bookmark. The Internet was new at my workplace and there was only one computer that you could connect to it on. I was still learning my way around and I don't even remember how I searched for it but I searched "tatting". I found Tat-Chat and what has become In-Tatters. I found a website by Carrie Carlson with BIG drawings of shuttle and thread. And then it hit me. The Flip. THE FLIP! I'd forgotten THE FLIP! The needles went back into their tube. The book went into my library. I never looked back.

I hated the metal Boye shuttle and found David Reed Smith online and ordered a very small wooden shuttle. Loved it. I bought more. A coworker gave me a red plastic Boye she'd had for years without learning to tat with. I found a beautiful Tortoise colored shuttle at St. Vincent DePaul's. I bought an ivory Bates shuttle. I bought more Smith shuttles. I bought some tortoise Clover shuttles. I bought some Comfi shuttles. I bought some German shuttles. I found more shuttles in second hand stores. The neon colored Clover shuttles came out and I bought some. THEY became the perfect working shuttles for me.

See that round spot? One of my problems with the metal shuttle was that it kept sliding out of my hand. Someone on one of the lists suggested getting these little round rubber circles in the sewing department which are adhesive on one side and to stick it on the shuttle so I'd have some "grip". It did help but that darn hook got in my way too. I have no idea why this still has thread in it!

So...self-taught....both times...but I recommend to anyone and everyone to get a mentor or a teacher or a video - something with a moving visual! And that's why I'm always willing to help someone who is frustrated with tatting. I remember the feeling all too well. I am SO GLAD I stuck with it.

Monday, February 07, 2011

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

It really is an airplane!

I was lucky enough to get to test-tat Jane's TIAS so I got to see what it was early. I have to tell you though, I did not guess it until I actually scanned it. Jane's known for her critters so I can see why everyone was guessing along that line. I did too except everything I thought of, she had already done so I knew it wasn't what I came up with. Once I got out of that mindset, scanned it and saw it from a distance perception, it was clear as a bell.

Good one, Jane!

I didn't tat at all this weekend. I was busy sewing something that I hope to show in a few days. I'm preparing for my Blogaversary but tonight and tomorrow night are busy so I guess it will wait until after that. That means folks won't have a lot of time to enter for the celebration so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I've also been visiting other blogs in the OWOH event which ends the 17th. There are over 800 blogs right now and people can join in until the 12th, I think. You don't have to be an event participant to enter the drawings, but you do have to have an active blog in most cases. There are tons of creative bloggers out there to meet so if you have a chance, I encourage you to waste a little time there. I enjoy the jewelry and art dolls the most.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Last night was a restful night once I got myself unstuck. When I got home, I drove all the way down the lane as I knew my son needed to get in too later. As I tried to turn and maneuver in the lot, I got in some deep stuff and couldn't move so I decided to walk up and get the mail. Besides, I'd seen someone plowing out a neighbor's drive. I walked over and got his attention and asked if he would take a swipe at my drive. Turns out he is a former neighbor, brother of the person he was cleaning the drive out for, and had only moved a bit down the road.

So I went back to my car and shoveled around the tires, getting myself out just about the time he came down the lane. After he got one side of the lot, he had me move over and then scooped the other side so my son could park up closer to the house too. Wasn't that nice? I did pay him for his gas but would've paid him more if he'd taken it.

At work I'd been to a few campus appointments in other buildings which meant I had to bundle up in my ten pound long wool coat and boots and carry my work bag and walk to my destination in the freezing brittle cold. It's amazing how much it wears you out doing that, so I wasn't in the mood to do much when I got home. I decided to crochet a couple more blossoms. The one I made for the vintage pattern was only the first round. I didn't need it any bigger but I went ahead and finished the rest of the pattern on these. They will probably go on a rock cozy before too long.

It did give me an idea for a tatted flower. We'll see if I have time to pursue it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Motif #5 in 25 Motif Challenge

I had fun with this galoon and made lots of observations that I hope will help others who tackle this publication. This is the D.M.C. Tatting by Therese de Dillmont found free from The Antique Pattern Library. It's a wonderful repository for all kinds of antique needle art publications.

You might remember from the last post that I went back to the beginning and I am tatting the 6 patterns in Plate I. I just remembered that I tatted a ruffled scallop from another publication that I was going to show in this post but I need to tat it over. So I'll show it in another post. This one is going to be long anyway. Above is the photo in the publication of figure 2.

The pattern is worked in three rows but the second and third row are the same, just on different sides of the rings. The first row, which is the center line of rings, is written: With one shuttle: *3 stitches, 1 picot, 2 stitches, 1 picot, 3 stitches, 1 short picot, 3 stitches, 1 picot, 2 stitches, 1 picot, 3 stitches, close the ring = carry the thread under the ring and join it to the short picot = repeat from *.

So the ring is made with 1 shuttle like this: 3 - 2 - 3 ^ 3 - 2 - 3, clr
^ stands for "short picot"
You pull the shuttle thread from the closed ring under the ring and then pull it up through the short picot enough for a loop and put the shuttle through it like a shuttle join. Right next to the last ring, you begin another ring just like the last one and continue the same pattern for the length you want.

I realized as I drew it out before tatting that this is a very clever away to achieve the same line of rings we usually do with split rings. I originally thought the thread going under the ring was decorative and gave it an extra lacy effect but it is just plain practical.

I decided to tat a row of split rings in the same pattern and see how they compared. I had 16 rings in the original length so I tatted 16 split rings. Both are tatted in DMC Special Cordonnet, size 20. As you can see, the split ring length is shorter because you don't have any space taken up with the tiny picot join. The split rings are tatted 3 - 2 - 3/3 - 2 - 3, with 2 shuttles, of course. I also left a tiny picot at the beginning point of the first split ring to join the 2nd and 3rd rows to. That was just personal preference. You might use the galoon differently and chose not to.

I also want to point out that the rings were tatted in the same direction. In other words, the end where the tails show is the end of the length. I started at the opposite end in each, but does it look that way if you are only looking at the rings? I think I would guess the split rings actually started where the tails are if I didn't know better. The only thing I can think of at the moment is that the first line of rings with the thread pulled up through the tiny picot puts some tension on the ring and makes it rounder. Any other suggestions are welcome.

I've tatted the 2nd/3rd rows on the original. The instructions say: With 2 shuttles: Fasten the threads to the 1st picot of the first ring: *1 stitch = join the right hand threads to the 2nd picot = with the two shuttles: 2 stitches = with the left hand shuttle: 4 stitches, close the ring = with the two shuttles: 2 stitches = join the right hand thread to the 1st picot of the next ring and repeat from *

What this means is that the row is chain work with a ring thrown off the chain. I put most of my thread on the chain or ball shuttle and only enough to cover the distance with the ring shuttle. To cover the distance, I usually figure the length I'm going with the thread plus half more. So if the length were 12", I would put 18" on the ring shuttle unless I am also tatting some rings with it.

I joined in the first picot at the left, ch 1, j to the next p, ch 2, r 4 with the ch shuttle, ch 2, j to next p. This is where I started so you just continue the same pattern all the way. *+ (join)ch 1 + 2, r4, ch 2, repeat from *

I went all the way around, improvising a chain and ring at the end.

I did the same thing with the split ring length except I made Josephine rings instead of a small ring of 4 ds. Some vintage designers really liked small rings but I find them kind of ugly unless you are using a fine thread. Since the small ring was 4 ds, that meant 8 half stitches so I made the JK 8 first half stitches. I think they lay nicer than the small rings but you can do it either way. I've put the two together here for comparison.

Another difference I noticed was that the one with the thread pulled through the tiny picot tended to turn on me and I had to be very careful when tatting the 2nd and 3rd row to make sure the thread was underneath the ring.

Now I like to take these patterns one step further, besides updating the pattern, I like to find another way to apply it and I like to tat it in color. I already had a shuttle wound in Lizbeth Springtime and then didn't tat what I had planned so it became this. I used the original method of rings, pulling the thread up through a tiny picot, but I used Josephine knots instead of small rings.

Then I crocheted a little flower to cover where the ends meet. My plan was to tat a band for a plain candle votive holder I have and I was hesitant to join the ends permanently. Once I was done and pulled it around the glass, I found I had measured correctly and it slides on very nicely as you'll see in the next photo.

I thought about gluing it on but I really hate to use glue on tatting unless I have to. This way, the band can be slipped off and washed if need be.

I liked it so well that I've added another photo for you!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Recently I suggested a private exchange with Faith over at Simple, Vintage & Crochet. She crochets, I tat, and I had seen a crocheted basket potholder around the same time I tatted the mignonette basket so I thought an exchange of baskets would be fun.

Here's what I got! Isn't this cute? I love the suggestion of a hanky or piece of linen hanging over the edge and the butterfly and the flowers. I crochet too so I can appreciate the skill and time that went into this. Thank you Faith!

Originally I was going to put my basket for Faith on a pincushion but it seemed too big so I decided to make it into a pillow sachet of sorts. It really was fun stitching all the tatted bits in for the flowers.

I made the pillow easy to open in the back and put in a muslin bag of scented epsom salts, Dr. Teal's Therapeutic salts, to be exact, scented with eucalyptus and spearmint. It smells heavenly. In fact, I'm going to make a similar pillow and put Faith's basket on it for me! The salts can be put in bath water for a relaxing soak and smell good in the meantime. that the OWOH is underway and the exchange is done, I'm back to the 25 motif challenge. I got started last night and I think you'll find it very interesting when I get it done. We have a snow recess today because of the predicted blizzard (lots of ice last night too) so I'll have some time to work on it today.