Friday, December 14, 2012

Вот эта да! It is hard to find time to tat! Motifs 11 & 12


Wow! Long time no blog...long time no tat!!

Chris and I are less than 6 weeks away from heading to Russia, and we have been SO BUSY recently! It is crazy!

Still, last Friday I did have a bit of time to sit down and bang out a couple of snowflakes...symbolic, of course, as we have not seen even one flake here in DC Land...

Also, I have like, three tatting books of snowflakes, and I made a few this summer for the Fair, but I have really under-utilized these books, so I thought I should remedy that...

Anyway, I started on the first one specifically because it had the small, close-together rings in the center...for some reason those are really pleasing to me. :)

The problem was...well, can you spot the problem?

I'll give you a's a problem with a repeat...

A while ago I was reading somewhere on the Internets about the question of what to do when you make a mistake...I can't remember where, but I think it was one of my followed blogs?? Anyway, many of us said we would rather cut our mistakes out than re-do the entire piece, and that is what I did...

Luckily I only made the mistake in one spot, so it was pretty easy to fix:

Pretty! I love those small circles in the middle!

And, since I was on a roll, I decided to move on and do another...this one went more smoothly; no "re-dos" needed!

 And that's about it...I have some other projects I want to work on/finish but my Russian test is SO SOON, I really need to spend most of my time studying...however, I have a feeling I will have PLENTY of time to tat once I get to Russia! :)


Monday, October 29, 2012

"Falling" Inspiration and Motifs # 9 and 10

Hello! I hope everyone is keeping warm and dry, especially those who, like us, are currently on the east coast...I've been assured that Sandy will get worse before she gets better....I guess the Federal Government felt so too because they cancelled class for today and I am taking my Russian-free day to catch up on some overdue tatting and blogging!!

After class most days I try to get out and take a brief walk with Pip to clear my head and give us both some much-needed exercise...this has been made all the nicer the past week as the leaves here have turned the most gorgeous colors!!

I had almost forgotten how much I love fall...the world turned brown in the fall in Honduras, but here it turns yellow, red, and orange...gorgeous!

The colors are not only lovely to look at, but also inspiring...When I saw the red leaf below I remembered that I have had Karey Solomon's "Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf" for far too long without attempting the leaves, so I thought I would break it out and give it a try.
I happened to have the perfect thread for the job--my mom and I went thread shopping when I was in Iowa in August, and she encouraged me to buy some pretty fall-colored thread as an inducement to give me some practice with size 80 thread.

So, here they are, motifs 9 and 10, the simple leaf and the acorn!
I have been attempting a few of the other patterns but success is proving to be elusive...sometimes I feel that some patterns don't lend themselves to needle tatting as well as others, and I haven't had much luck with some of the more intricate leaves in this book. Often authors include tips for creation that would help a shuttle tatter, but don't make much sense to me...

Oh well, it's fun to try, to practice...and thankfully I have plenty of thread! ;)

Hopefully Sandy doesn't cause too much trouble, but I am enjoying having the days off... As Ma from the "Little Houses" says, there's no great loss without some gain... :) I am happy to gain extra time for tatting (and blogging) even if it means all those lovely leaves will have been blown off the trees by the time the storm clears!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Taking a "Sick Day" to Find More Tatting

"Sniffle" "Snuck" "Snort"

Don't you hate being sick!?

I have been down all this week with a nasty cold...I told my husband earlier in the week we should have taken out stock in the Kleenex company, I've used so many...

Of course, I can't really take a sick day, since classes for русский язык (Russian language) are a full time job and missing a day due to a cold is not worth the headache of catching up (especially when you already have a nasty headache!), but I sure have been taking it easy in my "off hours"...mostly because I haven't had the energy to do much other than finish my homework and lay prone on the couch!

Since tonight is Friday and I have ALL WEEKEND! to do my homework, I decided to really take the night off and watch a movie...

I have been a sucker for old-Hollywood cowboy musicals since I was a kid...for example, I used to love babysitting for a certain family because they had a copy of "Calamity Jane," a great western musical starring Doris Day and the dreamy Howard Keel...

I also love to read about the "Wild Wild West," and one of the books on my reading short list is about the Harvey Girls, a movement led by Fred Harvey, restauranteur of the old West.

Unfortunately, my copy of the book is currently chilling in storage, so I will have to wait until I get to Russia to read it...but the 1946 movie version of the story (also called "The Harvey Girls") is available on iTunes, and so I decided to buy it and indulge in a little Hollywood musical romance with не толка (not only) Judy Garland, но и (but also) моя любимая актриса (my favorite actress) Angela Lansbury!!

Seriously, I love her! "Murder She Wrote" is my favorite TV show! I own all the seasons...

Anyway, why I am I telling you about all this?

Because there is tatting in "The Harvey Girls," that's why!

As I mentioned in my last post,  I have been on the lookout for tatting, just because it seems so little-known compared to knitting and crochet, but it pops up when you least expect it (and if you know what you're looking for)...

Anyway, even though in one song a girl sings about knitting, there are a few lovely examples of tatting in "The Harvey Girls," especially in this song, "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," which I found for your viewing pleasure on YouTube. Be sure to enjoy the tatting on the blue-dressed girl starting at the 2:00 mark!

That same girl has another dress with similar tatting in an earlier's wonderful!

I have also noticed something that looks a lot like tatting in Season 1 of Downton Abbey...see if you can spot it in this promo from PBS:

So the moral of this post is, tatting is out there! All you have to do is look! :)

Here's hoping you can avoid the ick this winter, and find more tatting!

PS: In case you were wondering, I have added another row+ to my frilling doily but have stalled out due to lack of time and desire to keep snot away from my lace! Hopefully I'll get back to business sooner rather than later...I have 17 motifs to go to reach my second 25! :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

No Time for Tatting...Plus Museums and Motif #8


Or, I should say, Здравствуй! (It means hello in Russian...or if you're among friends, Пяивет!)

I apologize for the lack of blogging lately...

You see, I have been quite busy the past two weeks, attending Russian language classes. And I have to tell you, learning Russian is TOUGH!! (If you really want to know more about about it you can click here and read more about my first two days of class.)

The class is 5 hours of in-class time and 1 hr of lab time each day, and at least 2 hours of homework each night. It's nice, but SUPER stressful...I'd like to say that I'm coming home at night and decompressing with tatting, but I'm honestly just too mentally tired to pick up a needle (or shuttle, since I can do that now, too. :)

I'm thinking I need to change that, though, because I miss tatting...hmmm...

Although I am very happy to have the opportunity to learn Russian, sometimes when I am really tired I think back to the glory days "BR" (Before Russian)...

...One of the lovely things about "not having anything to do" during the day and being within a 30 minute Metro ride of Washington DC is the access to all the museums...and so I decided to visit as many of the Smithsonians as I could, not only to soak up all the history and culture, but also to see if I could find tatting...

And after A LOT of looking I did! :)

Behold, two instances of tatting found in Faith Bradford's "Doll House" at the National Museum of American History:
Cute. Table topper!
(It's on the towels)
I haven't found ANY other instances of tatting in any of the other museums I've visited, but I'm going to keep looking...someday, when I have more time.

However, I had actually started a new project before "BR"'s another giant doily, but instead of my usual Perle 8/size 5 needle I'm trying something new and using the size 7 needle and size 30 thread.

Motif #8 is the small motif that starts the doily:

Notice I'm branching out in size but not in color...I love my ecru thread! :)
I started adding rows...


And then the doily started looking like a fluffy skirt or frill...not like a nice flat doily...

So I'll ask the question...what do you do when your doilies decide to be 3-D instead of lie flat? Do you iron and block between each row to keep it flat or do you wait until the end and hope it relaxes with moisture and a LOT of straight pins? Or, did I do something wrong? Is it a tension issue?

Something about this "doily" just doesn't seem right...

So that's where I'm at...I have A BUNCH of Russian homework to do this weekend but I hope I will be able to sneak a little tatting-time in between...we'll see! I had a nice run of tatting book-buying "BR" and I am anxious to test them out and find my next fun project!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Fair! Shuttles! Motifs 3-7!


Well, I have had a fun last couple of weeks! I was in Des Moines for the Iowa State Fair and Valentine, Nebraska for my little brother's wedding!

The Fair was AMAZING, as always, and especially fun this year because I received TWO ribbons on my tatting entries. Yay!

Last year I only received one Honorable Mention, so this was definitely an upgrade! :) I had five other entries, including these three snowflakes, motifs 3-7!

These are all three from "Festive Snowflakes & Ornaments For Needle and Shuttle Tatting" edited by Barbara Foster

While at the State Fair I re-visited all my favorite places, including the blacksmith shop at Pioneer Hall which is where I was re-introduced to tatting in 2009.

The wife of the blacksmith tats while he works and sells her tatting to anyone who passes by. In 2009 she was also nice enough to direct me to the Internet and the plethora of tatting sites awaiting me there...

Since I spent so many hours at the Fair this year I decided to take the time to learn something new: I took a class and learned something I have been wanting to know for a long time...Shuttle Tatting!!

This was from the first class (notice I am holding the shuttle all wrong!)
Yep, I finally figured it out! It only took two 2-hour tatting classes given by a tatting expert at the Fair, but I can finally run a shuttle!

 So, in honor of my finally learning this new skill, I give you motif #7, my first shuttle-tatted motif!

You will notice that the picots are VERY uneven and the tension is a little funky (especially on the picot at 3:00) but still, it's a full motif, shuttle tatted, by me! :) Hooray!

We found out what I was doing wrong when I was trying to shuttle tat before...I was trying to tat with my right hand...silly me, to assume that I should shuttle tat with my right hand since I am hopelessly right handed, but it is true, I need to tat with my left hand. Once I got that figured out, I was flying! :)

I also want to point out something to all of you in honor of my awesome mom...I made the tatted crown above, blocked and starched it, but my mom decided it needed something more than just to be set on a shelf, so she took it upon herself to cut, twist, sew and glue this beautiful holder for it:

 What a great mom I have!! :)

I also bought something before I left that was delivered while I was gone that will further help my needle and shuttle tatting habit, a lovely light to save my eyes in the dark winters of Russia. :)

I also picked up my "ribbons" form the other fair I entered my tatting in...

So that's what I've been doing the past few weeks...hopefully now that I am back in DCland I will be able to settle down and needle or shuttle tat something new and exciting...


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Motif #2...Plus We Play: What is it?


I'm slowly getting myself back into the tatting habit after taking a bit of a break after the "marathon tatting" I did to finish things for the fairs...I thought I'd do more tatting during the Olympics, but I just basically sit here with my mouth open in awe, and can't really do much else but stare in wonder.

So I haven't accomplished much tatting-wise, but here is my motif #2 for my second go-around at the 2012 25 Motif Challenge:
Hopefully you can tell that it's the letter "F" little brother liked my coasters so much he asked if I would make him and his soon-to-be wife a set of monogram coasters for their wedding gift...and since their wedding is in two weeks, I thought I'd better get to work! You can look for more "F's" in the future...


And now it's time to play a game: WHAT IS IT?!
I took a trip to a local craft chain store this weekend and picked up the supplies I need to make something out of all those ecru motifs I made earlier...

I bought:
-Clear thread
-Flower wire
-Measuring Tape
-Needle-nose wire cutters

My new project: What is it?

Go on, give it a guess...if you're the first person to get it right I'll send you something from Russia...not sure what yet, but it'll be something good, I promise. (You have until I finish it to guess!)

Happy guessing!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Finishing for the Fair, 25th (and 1stB) Motifs, and a New Place to Tat


It has been a busy non-tatting time recently, mostly because we've been spending our time researching and bidding on the place we want to go next...

Well, on Tuesday we got that answer...sometime this winter we will be moving to Vladivostok, Russia!
For those of you who don't know (and don't feel bad, I didn't know until I looked it up), Vlad is on the far eastern side of Russia, nearer to the Koreas, China, and Japan than to Moscow or St. Petersburg. Click here for the Google map.

I am really looking forward to tatting in Russia, but I have a few months of Russian training and other fun things first.

I also have the Iowa State Fair, which starts next Thursday and which I will be at! :) I can't wait!

All my tatting was turned in last week and I'll know how I did next Wednesday. One of the things I like about the Iowa State Fair is that they have a preview the night before the Fair begins where anyone who entered things can go see everything set up with all the ribbons and such.

Another thing I like about the Fair is that each item comes back with comments, things the judge either liked or suggestions on how to make it better. They don't judge the items live, so it's really nice to read those comments. I had a lot of "needs blocking" comments last year, which obviously led to my blocking experiments a few weeks ago, and hopefully I won't have those comments again.

At any rate, as I was getting myself ready for the Fair I also finished my 25th Motif!!!

YAY! I did it!!

And even better, I started on my 2nd round with Motif #1B, both of which I put into coasters to join the others. I also made a trivet to go along with the set. It was kind of fun to make something that I will actually be able to use, rather than just something pretty...if I have an issue with my fun hobby is that I don't ever do anything with the results...
The yellow is #25, and the blue is #1B!
So, hurray, I finished what I started, and I have August-December to try to get 24 more motifs in...I think I can I think I can!

I'm going to start looking into tatting in Russia, see if I will find fellow tatters there or just have fun introducing the art to an entirely new country! :)


PS: Just in case any of you who came over from the other blog, yes, we have changed the name...we are now "Vladi-What"!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Travel, Fair Tatting and Motifs 23-24!


I am so sorry it's been so long since I really posted...believe it or not, I've been super-busy Tatting All Over the Place (among other things!)
I tatted on a plane
My German/Spanish seatmate was kind enough to snap this shot for me...
 I also tatted across America, in the car on the way home from Atlanta...

(Don't worry, we were stopped at a rest stop when Chris took this picture)
...and also on the way to the Olympic Trials in Omaha (mom was quilting at the same time!)

Again, don't worry, Chris was in the passenger seat
I also tatted when we were waiting for the packers to show up...apparently I have bad posture or need to use bifocals when I'm doing intricate things!

The reason I did so much tatting (besides the fact that I just really enjoy it) is because it's Fair Season!

Yes, July and August is Fair Season in Iowa, and I wanted to make sure that I was ready...last year I entered in both our local and State fair and had lot of fun with it, so I decided to do it again this year.

Well, wasn't I surprised when I looked at our local fair's entry book and found that they had added an entire tatting section! You see, last year I had to enter things in the "other than mentioned' categories because, while they had separate sections for knitting, crochet, embroidery, and counted cross-stitch, they had nothing for tatting. When I brought it in they were very pleased to have something new entered, and so this year I guess they decided to create a tatting category. So of course I couldn't not enter!

Here are a couple of my pieces for the fair, which also happen to be my motifs #23 and #24!

Two more selections from Lyn Morton's "Tatting Patterns"
I'm also entering a few things in the State of the best things about being part of the State Department is that, no matter where you live in the world, you are still considered a resident of the US, in whatever state you choose as your home state...since home for me will always be Iowa, I get to keep my residency there, and so can enter things in the State Fair as well as the county fair. :)

One of the things I had to do in order to prepare for the fairs was to figure out this blocking thing. Thank you to those who gave me the blocking advice...I was still scared out of my mind when I started, but I think it worked out pretty well...

I started out with the small motifs like these...I wasn't sure where to begin, so I took some advice someone gave me and washed them, and then laid them out on the ironing board to be ironed and dry:
This one was especially needing some help...ok I admit it, blocking is AMAZING!!
 Once that seemed to be working I moved on to the larger items like the spring doily:
And then I got to the big white doily, which needed a LOT of help, and 200+ pins!
I started out putting the tatting on tinfoil, but I had to use a butter knife to peel it off... then I decided to put them on wax paper, and that seemed to work better and stick less:

Anyway, once I got into the groove I decided it was time to block...the crown.

Yes, I finally decided it was time to work in a third dimension, and I decided to start with a crown.

Before I blocked it, it looked something like this:
I had to put it on a cup so you could even tell it was a crown
I wondered what I should use to make it look more like a crown and less like a mother-in-law suggested a Styrofoam cone, but unfortunately the ENTIRE TOWN OF OSKALOOSA, IOWA was fresh-out...and then my mom suggested this fine bit of antique grandma's ricer!

It was PERFECT! Thank you Grandma!

I did the top part first, with spray starch:

Then when it was dry, I used heavy liquid starch for the bottom:
And then it was done!
Isn't my mommy the perfect model?
I also had fun taking this random picture:

So, there it is.

Blocking skill, check!

Also, in somewhat related news, here is the gift I made that I showed you the motifs but not the actual thing:
It's a piggy! I made it for my niece Norah, whose mother grew up around pigs and showed them at fairs, etc. FUN!