Thursday, December 30, 2010

Belated Thank You to Diane

Jane's post today reminds me that I have been really remiss in failing to show the give-away I won from Diane, the Lace Loving Librarian. It arrived just as I was leaving town, and I meant to post once I got back, but got distracted by the real world.

Above is the best part, a really pretty shuttle she decorated herself. Isn't it nice? I really like pink, so this is just perfect.

Everything was inside this nice little satin-y pouch. Poor lighting conditions don't do the color justice.

Inside was the shuttle, some vintage size 80 thread, a sample of Sulky thread, an EZ-Bob for winding thread, and a charm clip. Such nice goodies!

I've been really lucky with the give-aways lately. Watch this space for a give-away of my own, probably in January.

Thanks again to Diane!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

In case you were wondering, yes, I did fall off the face of the earth. Or maybe it just feels that way.

Despite all the real world fiascos I won't bore you with, I did get in a little Christmas tatting. For the girls at work, I made Jane's Flurry Snowflake set in bangle bracelets. I forgot to take pictures of them, oops. I admired the pattern from the start, but did not realize how really clever the constuction was until I made some of them.

For some other friends, I made the teapot above. It didn't start out as a Christmas pattern, but the Christmas colors adapted rather well, I think. There were several versions, but I forgot to take pictures of them too, except this one. Organization has not been my strong point lately, and I was in a big hurry to get them in the mail. Some should reach their destinations by Christmas, and others will arrive late, I am sure. The pattern is destined for an upcoming issue of Tatting Times.

I wish everyone peace of mind, hope for the future, comfort of friends and family.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NC State Fair

Life hurries on faster than I can blog about it. Anyway, last month, I was able to visit the North Carolina State Fair. First priority was to have a visit with my friend Anitra, who has had a tatting display there for many years, and was named Female Craftsman of the Year in 2007.

Her booth was in a building called Village of Yesteryear, which was full of different crafts, with many ongoing demos. There was another lace maker there. As I walked by, I heard someone ask her how long it took her to learn to make lace. Her reply was that she was still learning. What a nice thought. I know I am still learning.

On to Exhibits... I thought there was supposed to be some tatting in the Arts & Crafts Building, but I never found it. So on to the 4-H Exhibition building. (In NC, tatting is considered a Home Furnishing.) This tatted mat won both the lace blue ribbon and a special judge's award, so good for her!

Here is a framed motif by Arlene.

I think I've seen this piece on someone's blog, but unfortunately, can't remember where.

I also saw this collection of heart motifs. Also there was a clothing(?) item with tatted trim, not pictured, camera battery dying.

I wonder if there was more tatting there that I may have missed. I had made a quick circuit around the room and then got all wrapped up in the quilt display, where a lady was telling about each quilt. Next thing I knew, my cell phone was ringing. DH was bored and ready to go home. Sigh... Oh well, I had a good time while it lasted.

Monday, November 08, 2010

How Does Your (Grandmother's) Garden Grow?

In last summer’s issue of Tatting Times, there was a pattern called “Grandmother’s Garden” made up of tiny motifs you could make by emptying shuttles. I looked at it and thought, “nah, not something I would make…” A few weeks later at the Palmetto conference, I saw Karey working on this piece, which had grown larger since the picture in the newsletter. It did look more interesting “in person” than on the printed page. Then I saw several other people there working on theirs as well. Soon after I got home, someone else emailed me a picture of hers in progress. I can only take so much watching other people having fun; so I had to join in with the thread left over from these motifs. This pattern is addictive. I went from emptying shuttles to carrying some extra wound bobbins with me as a great on-the-go project when I have just a little extra time. My piece is pretty random. Look here for Pam’s beautiful orderly interpretation. When I decide on the final size and shape, I will probably add a solid border all around.

Working in different colors can lead to a color “blip” at the site of the joins. To minimize this, pull the thread loop up toward the front side of the work, so the blip will be on the back side.

Front side

Back Side

For me, the magic thread is the only way to go with this many thread ends. If I had to sew in all these ends, well that wouldn’t happen in my lifetime. (The granny afghan on my sofa still has shaggy threads on the backside a year later.) You can use Google to find links for several tutorials and videos. A version I saw once had you just pull in the thread ends when finished with the tatting. For goodness sake, tie a knot, then hide the ends.

Karey has graciously shared the pattern here, (Scroll down to Oct 26) It’s really easy. She would like to hear how many motifs, with ends worked in, that everyone has completed by Jan 1, so if you join in, let her know.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I Won!

I was so lucky to win a giveaway from Miranda at the Tatting Fool blog. This package arrived very quickly, and my first thought was why was, it so big and heavy? It turned out there was an extra surprise inside--a package of Biscochitos, the official cookie of New Mexico, flavored with cinnamon and anise. I do love cinnamon. I had enough will power to wait until I charged the camera battery and took the picture. But since then, I've been eating quite a lot of them. Will power only goes so far, you know ;)

There were three thread samples, and not just any thread, but HDT by Lady Shuttlemaker and Yarnplayer. Plus, a snowflake made with each thread so I can see how they work up. The snowflakes are all Miranda's designs, and I especially like the one in the middle. My picture is pretty poor, but I can tell you these are very nicely done.

There are Delica beads and Gingher scissors with a leather point protector in a little tin. Three crochet hooks, two of them the tiny sizes great for pulling beads onto picots, and one with a comfort handle. And everything in a pretty re-usable fabric bag.

Thank you Miranda, for being so generous!

Monday, November 01, 2010

A Gift and a New Challenge

My friend Ridgewoman recently surprised me with a gift of this book, Spitzen Ideen by Susanne Schwenke. Since many of the patterns have block tatting, she said it made her think of me. It is is a delightful little book and I am very grateful to have it.

It is a German book, but it is very easy to understand. There are clear diagrams for each pattern, and there is a German/English glossary of tatting terms used in the patterns, which are written short hand style. It has edgings and insertions, snowflakes, and Easter eggs.

This is my favorite pattern, which came out around 5 inches diameter in size 30 thread.

I made this snowflake next, chosen for the pretty block tatting in the design. I an sure I will be making more designs from this book in the future.

On another note, most of you are probably aware of the 25 Motif Challenge. Sharon began this a few years ago as a way to encourage tatters to see if they could finish 25 pieces in a year. She and her team post pictures of everyone's progress. Viewing that blog is always interesting, and has led me to meeting new people and learning of patterns, threads, and books that I "must" have. The basic guidelines are here. She lets each person define what a motif may be, which has ranged from a single earring to a large doily. Some participants choose to further refine their own challenge, for example, to make 25 animals or snowflakes. I am ready to begin again, and for this time around I will count only motifs made from books. I have some new books and some old ones that have been neglected too long. Don't worry, I'll still be making fun stuff from online patterns, and designing some of my own, but only patterns from books will count toward my challenge, to make it more, er, challenging. So these will be the first two for the new challenge.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eeek! Spider!

Jane recently posted instructions for a new method for tatting a floating chain, with this spider pattern to try it out. Floating chains are really fiddly for me, (think split chain with one end that won't stay put) so I thought this was worth a try.

Well, the tatting part goes pretty easy, but when I pull the thread end back through the stitches, I have a terrible time with the thread twisting and tangling. Those of you who don't tat as tightly as I do (ie, almost everyone) may not have so much of a problem. Anyway, it was a fun exercise, and a potentially useful new technique.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Peacock Blue

Sometimes I buy thread colors because I have a project in mind. Sometimes I buy a random ball of thread because the color calls out to me. This thread was all but jumping up and shouting at me. This is Lizbeth 657. The label calls it Ocean Turquoise Dark, but I call it peacock blue. I love this thread. In real life, it's brighter and just a tiny bit greener than it shows on the screen.

First, I made the Luna moth pattern shared by Pamela (Totus Mel) here. Then I teamed it up with some bright yellow and worked Sharren Morgan's Flag Tail Dragonfly from this year's Palmetto Pattern CD. I had enough thread left on the shuttles to make a little parasol by Karey from an issue of Tatting Times.

I'll be looking for more things to make with this thread.

This makes more than enough motifs to wrap up this round of my 25 Motif Challenge. The theme this time had been any motif that I did not design myself. I'll just start over again soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Challenge Motifs

I've been tatting up a storm lately. Here are a handful of projects in no particular order. (That's because I can't remember the sequence I made them...)

This bookmark is Pamela Kite's "Christina Edging" from Georgia's Tatting Online book. The threads are Lizbeth variegated #130 and Raspberry Pink #623. I got samples of these through the Thread Exchange Blog. I know people love or hate Lizbeth thread. Well, I love this variegate, and it's on my list to buy. Instead of trying to use an entire exchange sample for a project, I just wound a shuttleful of both, so I have some left over for something else.
This is Anne B's Seahorse Dragon, adapted from a pattern by Deb Arnold. This is a wonderful pattern (and so is the original seahorse). Anne has great designs and we both love dragons. The threads are a handpainted thread by Karey Solomon and a silver/grey Lizbeth. I love Karey's threads because of the way the colors flow at random. Click here for Jane's recent interview with Karey about her threads.

This one is theBlooming Trellis Bookmark by Eliz (Tatknot). This is worked in assorted vintage size 70/80. Most Celtic type designs are worked in three parts, but her takes just two.

This last one is Lauren Snyder's "Pearl Tatted Bookmark", also from the Tatting Online book edited by Georgia. I always thought this one looked intimidating, but I finally gave it a try. (Sorry the picture isn't great. I've lost my pale blue paper that I liked to use as a background for white.)
I think this makes Motifs 21-24 for my 25 Motif Challenge.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Home from the Fair

After where I left off last time, later I returned to the local fair to see how I did. (Actually that was two weeks ago, but my blog is getting further and further behind real life.) The first thing I saw was this tatting edged table cloth and napkins (Not mine!) which I was happy to see won a blue ribbon and a judge's award. I'm glad she got this recognition, and luckily for me, this was entered in a luncheon set category where I wasn't competing.

Here's a closer look:

I chose the category "item decorated with tatting" for my handkerchief, and was delighted to win the blue ribbon.

I saw only one other entry in this category, a pillowcase, I think. Please forgive the over-cropped picture. (I wonder if the crafter meant it to be displayed in that ziplock bag? I've learned it's wise to give instructions about removing protective covering for a competition.)

Since that's the only tatting-dedicated category in the "Adult" age group, I have to be creative in using other categories. Here you see my Elgiva Nicholl's heart entered under "Needlework, any other", and the Workbasket Crinoline Lady as "Needlework, picture".

The third place ribbon for "Needlework, any other" also went to tatting. I think this is Ruth Perry's Celtic Cross. I think this tatter is new to the fair, so I'm really happy to see that.

I entered one of my button necklace sets under "Jewelry, miscellaneous".

My angel from Ineke Kuperij's Nativity book won for "Decorations, Christmas tree".

I also entered "Crochet, any other" ...

... and "Basketry, basket or tray". (I made that basket quite a while ago, but there's no time limit for this fair.)

The final score came to five blue and two red ribbons, a very good result. Please keep in mind that my local fair does not have that many entries, so I'm not facing a whole lot of competition. Sometimes I feel a little guilty, greedily snapping up easy prizes, but I'm trying to promote crafting locally. I really would be happy to face more competition, so I'm hoping to see more tatting next year. I'm already planning what to make, and crossing my fingers that the pick-up day won't fall while I'm out of town for Palmetto 2011.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Handkerchief Time

My first goal after the Palmetto weekend was to edge a handkerchief to enter in the local fair. I had a vintage hanky I must have picked up at a yard sale sometime. I used some size 40 Lizbeth thread that I got while I was there. Size 80 would have been more appropriate for the fabric, but I knew I would never get that size completed in time.

I searched for an edging pattern that would use just a little pink, and found the perfect one in the book "A Tatter's Workbook". Since it's mostly chains, I only had to refill my bobbin once, as an added bonus. Slope and roll joins instead of lock joins worked well to minimize pink spots where I didn't want them.

This was a big project for me, 54 inches of lace, 7/8 inch wide. Look how much thread it took, compared to an unused ball:

I was really happy with the tatting, though perhaps my decision to sew it on with blue thread wasn't the best since I had trouble keeping the stitches even. I finished it in the wee hours one night and dropped it off at the fair the next morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Thread Exchange Projects

As I've said before, the Thread Exchange Blog is a fun way to trade samples of thread. Typically, the samples are 12 yards (11 meters).

Then comes the question of choosing a project you can complete with the sample. Motifs and bookmarks work great. Here are two of mine.

This one is a bookmark of Mary Konior's Duet pattern, made with size 20 Lizbeth #125 Seascape. I looove this color on the ball, but in this particular bookmark, not so much. Perhaps the back and forth rings were not a good choice for this thread. It looks better on Isdihara's blog.

I also used an exchange thread to perfect my koala bear pattern. I think this is Lizbeth 691 Mocha Brown Medium. It's a nice shade, a bit warmer than the similar Cebelia I had been using.

I've wound my shuttles with more exchange threads, so watch this space.... the way, I can claim this as Motif 20 in my current 25 Motif Challenge.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Post Palmetto

Well, here it is, three weeks after Palmetto, and I am finally getting to my blog. (Insert usual excuses here.)

As always, I had a marvelous time, getting together with old friends and making new ones. I learned a few new things too. I always come away with some new technique or trick.

I was a little surprised how few pictures I took. I guess I was too caught up in the excitement to get the camera out much. Anyway, here are a few:

Here Erin and Georgia are displaying the smaller quilt for auction. (The group project yielded 1 large, 1 small, and 3 wall hanging sized quilts.)

Sue H in her purple finery at the banquet. That's a lovely tatted shawl.

Riet and Katherine

Karey and Schari

Hope presides over fun and games session

Mary Konior Lace

Close-up of a flower in Shawna's arrangement that won the People's Choice award.

Next year's conference has just been announced: Sept 23-23, 2011 in Toccoa again.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More Critters -- Now on Sale!

I am pleased to announce that More Critters on the Block is now on sale.

I will, of course, be bringing plenty of copies with me to the Palmetto TatDays conference.

The book is digest size, 8 ½ x 5 ½ inches, and has 32 pages plus cover. There are 23 patterns in all: hummingbird, dolphin, koala, skunk, butterfly, ferret, dachshund, elephant, raccoon, turtle, sheep, lamb, rhinoceros, hornet, owl, giraffe, gecko, whale, bluebird, grasshopper, fox, alligator, and pig.

Here are a handful of the designs.

Despite the recession, we decided to keep the price at $10.00 plus shipping, like my other block tatting books. You can go to my site here for links to buy a single copy through PayPal. If you would like more than one book, email me and I can send you an invoice for reduced combined shipping. There is an address there too, for snail mail check or money order payment.

I would like to thank my test tatters, Jane, Heather, Pamela, Stephanie, and Sherry for all their help.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Leprechaun Visit

Danny was surprised by a visit from Feargal and Miss Scarlett. They had timed their visit so they could travel with Danny to Palmetto TatDays. "You are going to have so much fun!" he said. Since they were tired from the journey, at first they just sat and talked. Danny enjoyed hearing all about their Grand Tour and getting news of his cousins. (Miss Scarlett noticed how he especially perked up when they were talking of Maebh, but she didn't say anything.)

Then Feargal was ready to unpack and show off his skateboard. Danny tried hard not to look envious. Then he showed them around the apartment, and suddenly Feargal stopped and said, "What is That?"

"That's the book stapler," said Danny. "You have to jump on it real hard to staple a book. I can do it, but it may be too difficult for you." (Leprechauns are naturally competitive, if you hadn't noticed.)

But Feargal's eyes took on a strange gleam. "That's not a stapler, that's a skateboard ramp! I can skate down that, turn a flip in the air, and land."

"Oh wow! I've got to see that," said Danny, now obviously awed by his elder cousin.

"You musn't," said Miss Scarlett. "It's too dangerous!"

"It will be great!" said Danny.

"I can't look," said Miss Scarlett.

"Here goes!" said Feargal.

Feargal skated down the ramp at great speed, but what came next wasn't exactly a flip in the air. In fact, it was nothing like a flip. Suffice it to say, it's a good thing he is a magical being, so he was not injured in the fall.

Danny said, "That was awesome! Can you teach me how?"

Boys will be boys....

Is your leprechaun coming to Palmetto TatDays? Let me know, so I can add them to the list of "Who's Coming".