Monday, July 18, 2016

Edging issues

Edgings are officially my nemesis. 

I have been trying to edge this vintage hanky FOREVER and let me tell you, I am over it!!

This was my first attempt---it was ok until I got to the corner. 

And then it went wrong--notice how the tiny rings are going everywhere but straight. 

So then this past weekend I went with this...

This one I just tatted straight onto the hanky, and it went ok for rounds one and two, but round three is not playing nicely. 

We'll see what it looks like tomorrow when it's dry...

I'm not holding out too much hope, unfortunately. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Flowers in Her Hair

For those who were wondering, here's what I was doing with all those shuttles:

The base of the pattern is from this Japanese book:

I made up patterns for most of the flowers. 

For the color scheme I was nominally inspired by these flowers:

And here it is on a person:

I think with the colors it would look better on a blonde--it gets a little lost in my hair. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

So Many Shuttles!

One of my favorite things about tatting is that even though there is only one stitch, there are so many possibilities!!

The bottom two are taped together for a piece of four-color tatting.

So fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A (Tatting) Tragedy

Oh hello. Last time I checked, it was October...then I blinked, and suddenly it's 2016!!! Yikes.

The end of the school year (December) got crazy, then summer travel took over, and now it's the beginning of the school year, so free time feels like it doesn't exist.

With all that, I haven't been very productive. I've mostly focused on two (what should be) big projects, both of which have ended up as big duds. (Tatting tragedies, if you will).

The first isn't so much of a tragedy, but more of a summer-time flop.

I started one of Jan Stawasz's 8-sided doilies in size 100 thread at the beginning of summer, and got fairly far...
Unfortunately I went to refill my shuttles and realized I couldn't remember which ball of miniscule white thread I'd started with...I thought it was size 100, then came to realize that I had an almost identical ball of size 80, and the threads were just different enough (but also so remarkably similar) that I decided to just leave it. That sounds rather defeatist now that I think about it, but I didn't want to get to the point where I was stuck with half the doily done in obviously the wrong thread.

So then I moved onto another doily, this time in blue size 80 (so I knew I could keep track of the thread). THIS is the tatting tragedy...

The doily is from this book:
which took me a while to track down (I had to find it on the Internet, it's apparently not available anywhere in the Eastern side of Russia), so I'd been waiting a long time to make one of these doilies.

I looked through the book and, even though my Russian is pretty terrible, it's good enough to read the numbers, a few of the directions, and of course the patterns are diagrammed.

So, I began, with this small center motif:
 Count with you see five sides to this motif? Because that's how many I see...

My rendition--with five sides to the center motif.

So on I went, on my merry way, tatting along...almost finished, as a matter of fact...

Until today, when I realized there was something terribly, horribly wrong.
On the final round, each "motif" attaches to the doily on three chains in a row. I realized today that, if I continued in this way, I would have one chain floating--I had one chain too many!!
I went back and checked--I had been attaching the final round correctly, so that wasn't the issue.

I re-checked the pattern, all the way to the center motif...

Yes, I've done that correctly, too--five sides on my center motif, just like the pattern.

Then I looked very, very carefully at the center motif of author's photo of this doily...the original picture is about 2" by 2", so it's rather hard to see...
Here is a blown-up photo of that center motif
How many sides do you count on the center motif now? Oh, 6? Hmmmm.


I followed the pattern, but the pattern was wrong! It's six sides, not five!! UGHHHH!!!

So, now the doily is just a big mess, so wrong in all the ways, and I'm a little distraught, because I have steriously been working on that stupid thing for at least a month, and wanted to enter it in the Canberra Show this weekend, and now it's WRONG!!!!! Oh the humanity!

... OK so I do know this isn't the end of the world, but I'm so, so sad about it right now. I really liked this pattern, and I really wanted to see how this doily was going to look when it was done.

And I really, really don't want to do all that work again.

Le sigh.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fair Feedback

I always love getting feedback on things I tat. Good or bad, it doesn't matter--it's just nice to know what people think...

Overall I agreed with pretty much everything the judge said about my tatting, which is always nice. :)

Yep, that corner definitely puckered.
What is particularly funny about this is that at the other fair the judge's comment was that I'd attached it too tightly to make it easy to remove for washing :)
My Best of Show entry!
Not sure what they mean by finer thread since it was made with size 20?
I really did work hard to make that fringe even! :)
Every year I get a comment about needing to pull out the picots. I probably need to learn that lesson.
Overall, happy happy :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

State Fair Time -- Purple Might Be My New Favorite Color!

OK, so please forgive me for what may seem like bragging, but I'm just so pleased!

It's Fair time again and this year I finally achieved a long-held goal: BEST OF SHOW for tatting at the Iowa State Fair!! :)
The basic pattern is made in size 40 Lizbeth, and came from a pattern in "Workbasket" magazine. I added the flowers at the ends and middle of the necklace, and used the basic pattern to create the earrings and bracelet. The flower is actually a snowflake pattern from an Italian Christmas book, "Natale con il Chiacchierino Ad Ago" by Alicja Kwartnik.

This was my only blue ribbon this year, but I also received a 2nd place (red) on my bookmark,
my set of three Christmas Tree ornaments (far left)
and the small Rose and Thistle doily (far right)

I also got third place (white ribbon) for my stupid and frustrating handkerchief edging (I am SO excited to see the written feedback on that!) and fourth (pink) on that white collar.

All-in-all, happiness abounds. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book Reviews #8 & #9: "Tatting for Pleasure" and "Tatting"

Hello! I've been extremely remiss both in updating my blog and posting book reviews in general, so I decided I would make it up to you, my faithful readers, by giving you TWO BOOK REVIEWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! Enjoy :)

Title: "Tatting for Pleasure" and "Tatting: Basic Patterns"
Author: Rosemarie Peel

Year of Publication: 1998 and 2009
ISBN: 1 874688 08 7 and 978-1-874688-11-2
Number of Pages: Both books have 32 pages--however, the patterns start on page 1 and end on page 32, so every page in these books counts!
Heart pattern from the title page of Tatting for Pleasure
Number of Patterns: 14 in "Tatting for Pleasure" and 18 in "Tatting: Basic Patterns"
Types of Patterns: Throughout the books you will find various Edgings, 2D Flowers, a 3D Flower, Small circular motifs, a Bracelet, Earrings, a Bookmark, Horseshoes, a Fan, Celtic Motifs and Edging, and a Butterfly.
Type of Pattern Notation: Both books have short notations with abbreviations (Ch 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3, RW), as well as numbered diagrams AND, for many patterns, additional diagrams which look like hand-drawn pieces of tatting (black and white only in "Tatting for Pleasure", two-colored in "Tatting") which you can use to count the individual double-stitches.
"Alexandra" from Tatting: Basic Patterns
Illustrations: Both books have full-color front and back covers with images of many of the patterns held within. "Tatting: Basic Patterns" also has full-color images on the front and back inside covers, and very cleverly has a picture of a tatted bookmark that looks like it could be pulled out and used as a real bookmark. It makes me smile every time I see it. "Tatting for Pleasure" also has black and white pictures of some of the patterns. While, as far as I can tell, all the patterns inside are shown in photo-form, not all of the photos are next to the patterns. However, Ms. Peel has very helpfully pointed out where the pictures can be found on the page with the pattern.
"Rose" from Tatting: Basic Patterns
Notions: "Tatting: Basic Patterns" includes just two patterns that use beads, and just one other pattern calls for anything besides a shuttle and ball of thread (a fan base with 3 in. sticks). "Tatting for Pleasure" also has patterns with beads, and one with a fabric covered button. Most of the patterns call for two shuttles.
"Button Cover" from Tatting for Pleasure
Shuttle or Needle? I feel comfortable saying that any pattern in either of these books could easily be achieved with the needle, even though all the patterns call for a shuttle.
Other Inclusions: Both books begin with a page of well-described abbreviations used in the books. "Tatting for Pleasure" also includes a page about Shuttle Preparation, detailing one and two color tatting and illustrated directions on how to achieve the Reef Knot to attach two thread ends, an insert about the Reverse Stitch, and another page about Bead Work.
"Tatting: Basic Patterns" has diagrams and directions for Lock Joins, Rings, Reverse Work, The Join, and Getting Rid of Ends, as well as excellent explanations for adding beads and an ingenious way to climb out from the middle of a chain without having to implement a split chain (thus avoiding a two-colored chain if your shuttle thread is a different color than your ball thread.) Page 27 if you happen to have a copy of the book.
Skill Level: "Tatting: Basic Patterns" Beginner / "Tatting for Pleasure" Beginner-Intermediate All the patterns in "Tatting: Basic Patterns" are one shuttle and ball, and are simply a series of rings and chains. "Tatting for Pleasure" has some simple patterns, but also has some more challenging Celtic patterns which will be fun for beginners to grow into.
"Applique Flower" from Tatting for Pleasure 
Skills Needed: Most of the patterns in these books can be achieved with just one shuttle and a ball of thread, or two shuttles with two colors of thread. The Celtic patterns in "Tatting for Pleasure" are definitely daunting for anyone who does not have experience with Celtic or entwined patterns. A couple patterns call for thrown off rings or Josephine knots, but these and pretty much every other skill needed are shown or explained in the book.
Price Range: These are small booklet-sized publications. Prices range from UK Pound 4.50 (US$ 7) to over $20, depending on where you can find it.
Small Celtic motif from "Tatting for Pleasure" 
Availability: The easiest (and cheapest, that I can find) place to get these books would be the author's own website, LACET Publications, but one or the other can also be found at or Handy Hands.
Personal Notes: I bought "Tatting for Pleasure" a long time ago, when I was just starting out in needle tatting, drawn in but also quickly overwhelmed by the amazing Celtic border shown on the front of the book. Having now become fairly well versed with the shuttle, that pattern, and the other Celtic patterns in the book no longer present such a challenge.
Size 40 thread still makes a teeny-tiny motif (this is an Australia 50 cent piece)
As a self-proclaimed Olympics fanatic, Tatting: Basic Patterns' Olympic rings drew me in, but I didn't really do much with the book once I got it. It's funny what appeals to us in the books we purchase.
"Circular Motif" from Tatting, Basic Patterns
Now, after having spent some time with these books, I'm interested in looking more into Ms. Peel's other books, some of which are already out of print and/or selling at ridiculous prices. I'm specifically interested in "Tatting with Beads"...anybody have a copy they'd like to swap or sell? :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Better than Ugh

Handkerchief, take two!

Thanks so much for all your lovely tips and encouragement. 

Almost perfect. 

I used the suggestions to pin down the handkerchief and stretch the lace to make it work:

I'm nice the handkerchief and lace were stable, I sewed with clear (plastic) thread:

Finally done. Phew!

Hooray. Never again. (At least, never again when I can't tat directly onto the handkerchief!!)