Tuesday, December 31, 2013

С Новым Годом! (Happy New Year!) Two Final Motifs of 2013!

Oh, come on, you knew the self-imposed tatting break wouldn't last long, right?! :) (Although I have read 2.5 books in the past two days!) :)

Plus it would have really bothered me to stop at 59 motifs...so, I did one more, plus one to grow on. :)
Motif 60
I didn't follow a pattern for this one, but nor can I claim it as my own design, as I've seen large mats made up of this kind of thing; it's simply small flowers made from thread leftover on shuttles...this is all 5's, but next time I think all 6's would be better, as this cupped really badly (you can tell it's all stretched out from trying to lay flat)

Not satisfied with this as my final motif of the year, (really, it's not worthy) I decided to try a pattern that has been catching my eye all month, "Ten-Pointed Snowflake" from Christmas Angels and Other Patterns by Monica Hahn.

I didn't tat this before now because I wasn't sure about the Josephine chains (spiral chains to some of you out there) in shuttle tatting.

I was actually quite fond of the Josephine back in my needle tatting days, so I was disappointed when I tried it with the shuttle--with the needle it was so nice an curly, but the way I originally saw to do it with the shuttle (make a number of the first half of the stitch, then an equal number of the second half of the stitch) looked like a wavy mess.

So, like so many other things I'm interested in learning...I Googled it...and gosh darn it if good old Lady ShuttleMaker didn't have an amazing tutorial right there on her blog!

And so, following her carefully written (and illustrated, thank you very much!) directions I was able to complete my FINAL MOTIF OF 2013!! :)
Motif 61-That's all, folks!
Yep, it's the last...it is currently 11:41 PM of December 31 here in Vladivostok.

(Funny, because it's only 4:41 PM in Moscow, 12:41 PM in London, and my parents in Iowa are still sleeping (at least I hope so, they're both on Christmas break!) at 6:41 AM...heck, it's just 2:41 AM in Honolulu!)

SO, I'm out of time for tatting in 2013...luckily 2014 is right around the corner and I have a lot to strive for improvement...2013 set the bar high!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's celebration (ours was pretty low-key...Chris is actually already asleep and I'm writing this sitting in bed next to him...I'm going to wake him up at midnight, though) and an even better 2014!! I can't wait to see what we all achieve in the coming year!

Thanks for all the comments, compliments and encouragement this past year...it's been amazing! :) :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Day Late...or so

Ok, so I didn't QUITE make it...

But, here is Motif 25! (#59 on the year!)
This is Eileen Stafford's snowflake "2000", and took a bit longer to finish than I anticipated...but it's done now, just a day (or two) late. :)

So, that's done. Phew.

I'm considering taking a tatting breather until the New Year in favor of things I've been neglecting lately like reading books, cleaning the house, and and folding laundry (although stopping at 59 on the year might bug me, I might have to do one more motif to hit an even 60...we'll see. :)

I know there is a new TIAS to look forward to in the coming days, so for sure any breather won't last long, but I keep track of how many books I read each year and my 2013 totals were way down from previous years...as an avid reader that makes me really sad...

Oh well, here's to balance in the New Year! :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas! (1 Motif Left!)

I'm just going to throw this out there, having lived in a Christmas-celebrating country all my life, it is weird to be in a place where it hasn't been all-Christmas all-the-time for the past month or so...not bad, just different. I am really looking forward to celebrating the New Year Russian-style next week! :)

Last night I watched "A Christmas Story" for the first time (yes, I know, it's a classic, how could I have not seen it before...sorry!) and managed to finish three more motifs!! :)

The first is LadyTats' Threes Snowflake, which is currently on the tree but photographed on my leaf pants from last night...Isn't it pretty?!
Motif #56 on the year and #22 on the way to 25 by the 25th
You will notice I reverted to white thread...we have no snow on the ground here (sniff!) so I'm making my own white Christmas!

Next I trolled the Internets for some other quick patterns and found Tattypatty's The First Christmas Snowflake of 2012
Motif #57 on the year and #23 on the way to 25 by the 25th
And, full disclosure, I made a second "cheater motif" (although Tattypatty does say about the above motif, "This is actually the center of the large snowflake, but is a snowflake in its own right"...I just finished it off with a second layer of pretty to make another snowflake:
Motif #58 on the year and #24 on the way to 25 by the 25th
So, it's Christmas Day (in Russia, still very much Christmas Eve in Iowa and many other parts of the world) and I'm one short of my 25 by the 25th. Chris and I have plans for the day, but I will do my best to squeeze out one more, small motif before midnight to complete the 25 by the 25th challenge! :)

Also, I have to say a VERY big thank you to Carollyn for the wonderful gift that arrived in Vladivostok yesterday (Christmas Eve) and waited patiently under the Christmas tree until I opened it this morning...I love my new handmade shuttles, and I'm told the rabbit, which was made by her husband, is made with woolly mammoth bone, which makes it extra-special!
Also the box is actually like a small book and Santa's suit is fuzzy! :)
So thank you to all of you for following and reading my blog this year, and for all the comments and encouragement!! I hope you are all having a blessed day whether you celebrate Christmas or not, and I wish you all the best in the New Year! :)

(And hopefully I get one more motif done, dusted, and on the blog before the end of the day!) :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ugh. 21 done with 1 Tatting Day until Christmas!

I'm so close!

I have just two more motifs to show you, motifs that were actually completed on Sunday night (this being Tuesday the 24th, already)...I didn't get any tatting done at all yesterday because of work and the hubby's big 3-0 celebration :)
The Santa on the cake is a family tradition...since this was his first birthday celebrated away from his parents I decided to continue the tradition as well as I could... :)

Anyway, I have two more motifs done...and I'm still 4 away from 25! With just 7.5 hrs until midnight!!

The first is kind of a cheater motif, but I'm that desperate, and *technically* it is its own motif, the Large Loop-Stitch Snowflake...(it just also happens to be the Small Loop-Stitch Snowflake from the other day, with one final row added on.) Tee hee.
Motif #55 on the year and #20 on the way to 25 by the 25th
 Thanks to LadyTats for the idea to add another round!

I also attempted my first doodad tat, courtesy of the very talented Fox...This is supposed to be her Athalia pattern, but it's just all kinds of wrong...

Motif #55 on the year and #21 on the way to 25 by the 25th
 Well, the top part is right, but then I accidentally made the second large ring 5-5-5-5-5-5 instead of 3-3-3-3-3-3, and even worse, I forgot to use the short chains instead of the longer 3-3-3 chains after each ring. Sigh.

Friends should not let friends tat distracted. :)

Oh well. I can always cut it off and try, try again. :)

I am interested to know, however, if I did the attachment to the doodad correctly? (Here is the back, does that look right?)
So, I'm not totally giving up, but maybe I'll have to make 25 by the 25th...in Iowa, not in Vladivostok! :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Slow and Steady...a Russian Ёлка and a Canadian lady (only 6 motifs left until Christmas)

Happy shortest day of the year...whoo hoo! :)

This has not been a particularly good week for tatting...I think I need to pick less complicated patterns or something, because I've been tatting at a snail's pace...Of course, I also have two jobs and have had a busy first half to the weekend so I guess it's kind of ok.
If anyone needs any more reasons to love my husband, here he is dressed up as Ded Moroz for the Consulate holiday party!
Anyway, I do have two more motifs to show you.

The first is a cute little Russian Ёлка (tree)...the Russian's don't actually put up Christmas trees, they put up New Year's Trees, since New Year's comes before Christmas in the Orthodox tradition...also more people celebrate New Year's than Christmas because religion was outlawed in the country for many years...this ёлка is from the book Макраме Фриволите by Любовь Чурина.
Motif #52 on the year and #18 on the way to 25 by the 25th
 This motif is actually really, really tiny, mostly because I tatted it with size 80 Lizbeth thread:
(This is how it stacks up next to a Sunlit shuttle...)
And that is  full-sized candy cane there on the right :)
After that I decided to try out something a little larger, and realized I hadn't done anything with the HDT Fox sent me over the summer, so I decided to put it to use with one of her pretty patterns, Abigail:
Round 1
Round 2: Motif #53 on the year and #19 on the way to 25 by the 25th
Yikes. Only #19!

At the rate I'm tatting I'm not sure if I'm going to make my 25 by the 25th, but I'm sure going to keep plugging away at it! I have another of Fox's patterns printed and ready to go, and another snowflake in mind...and I still have 3 days to go!! :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Motif 50!!! (and 51, too)

Woot. I did it.

Two 25 Motif Challenges completed within a 12-month span...and with a few days to spare!

Whoo hoo!!

Motif 50!!!! (and #16 on the way to 25 by the 25th)
This is the Whirlaway Snowflake from Tatted Snowflakes. It's tatted in size 30 Cebélia, and is totally the wrong color for a snowflake, but I liked it well enough to put it on the tree anyway... :)

Also, because my husband is out for the evening and I have time on my hands, I decided to try another snowflake from the same page, the Small Loop-Stitch Snowflake:
Motif 51 (and #17 on the way to 25 by the 25th)
This does not look quite as nice as the version in the book, most likely because it hasn't been blocked or ironed (we are currently iron-less, hopefully Santa will bring me a new one), but I live in hope that a little TLC will fix it up...also, again, it's not at all the right color for a snowflake, but oh well. I live in Russia. Anything can happen in Russia. :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another Snowflake and Another Thistle (Motifs 48 and 49)

I'll be the first to admit it, this snowflake is a little punky:
Motif 48 (#15 on the way to 25 by the 25th)
 This is 5/6 of the way to being Snowflake 1 from "Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments", but it didn't quite make it...partly because I was running out of thread on my shuttle, but mostly because I didn't make the first long picot long enough and I couldn't fit another ring...oops :)

Oh well, it's another 5-point star/snowflake hybrid, nbd.

Then, because I had a little green thread left on the shuttle, I decided to make the other thistle motif (practically the same as before, but slightly less complicated) from "Mastering Tatting."
Motif 49!! (#16! on the way to 25 by the 25th)
I am actually very proud of this motif, because it is the first that I've finished without twisting the final picot!! I've been trying to figure out how to do this since I started shuttle tatting, and with patience and a little help from Jane Eborall I finally figured it out!! I've been trying to do the folded join and it just hasn't worked out for me...but Jane's way of avoiding the folded join did the trick...today, anyway. :) Thanks Jane!

The photo of this pattern in the book actually shows the thistles uncut, but I liked the frizzled look from the first thistle motif that I decided to frizzle this one too...

And now I need to take a moment to brag on my amazing husband, because he VOLUNTEERED to frizzle a few of the thistles for me. WHAT A GUY!! :)
I love my husband! :)
You can tell this is my husband because the thumbs are normal :)
So here are my frizzled thistles, with special thanks to my favorite guy. :)

So now I have two empty shuttles...and lots of threat to choose from...What to tat, what to tat? :)

Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Back to the Snowflakes (Motif 47)

Oh well, at this time of the year, you know snowflake tatting is inevitable...

At least I switched books this time :)
Rounds 1 and 2 of the Knobby Snowflake from "Christmas Angles and other Tatting Patterns"
I almost stopped here out of laziness and because it was late at night, but we were binge watching a tv show and my husband started another episode, so I decided to finish the motif for real:
Motif 47 (#14 on the way to 25 by the 25th) done in size 80 DMC
 Pip is clearly impressed with my tatting skills ;)

I haven't decided yet what today's motif will be...time will tell, I guess :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Scottish Thistle (Motif 46)

I decided it's too cold outside to make another snowflake, so I thought I would bring some summer to Vladivostok with the Thistle Coaster from "Mastering Tatting."

Fox sent me some of the Lizbeth "Scottish Thistle" thread, which is something I would never have bought for myself but really, really liked working with, especially with this pattern...it just goes to show you, it's fun to break out of usual color patterns.

Here is the pattern after I finished tatting:
Motif 46 (#13 on the way to 25 by the 25th)
Once you get to this point, the pattern says you can leave the large picots be or you can cut and fray them...

I was a little hesitant to try the fraying because I liked the way it looked with the big loops, but I decided worst case scenario I could always re-tat it...
Frayed - Cut - Original
This was the first time I've purposely cut and frayed tatted picots, but I really, really like the way it turned out!

So there you go, a little summer color in the dead of winter...

Now back to tatting, I have 12 more motifs to make before Christmas! :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Snowing...Blue Snowflakes (Motifs 43-45)

Well, unless I basically quit tatting for the rest of 2013, I'm going to finish two 25 Motif Challenges this year!!! Amazing!

This has turned out to be one of those weeks where all I want to do is tat...consequently, my output has gone up. (Go figure) :)

And, since it's that time of year, my chosen subject has been the ever-popular snowflake...

Except that mine are blue, because I wanted to clear one of my shuttles and pink snowflakes just seemed weird.
Motif 43 (#10 on the way to 25 by the 25th)--It's a somewhat poorly executed rendition of the Unique Snowflake from the book "Tatted Snowflakes."
I say it's poorly done because all those spaces are supposed to be 1/4"...and they are clearly not...I did use the picot gauge, so I'm not 100% sure what happened...oh well, it's my husband's favorite of the three, so that counts for something, I guess... :)

So that one wasn't really good enough for the tree, in my opinion, but the next two were...
Motif 44 (#11 on the way to 25 by the 25th): Beaded Snowflake from "Tatted Snowflakes"

Here is where I went slightly awry in my plan to get the blue off the shuttle, because this pattern caught my eye and I actually had to add more thread to make the second round, which is made with one continuous chain...oops. :) Still, I think it turned out pretty well, and it was nice to work with beads on chains (another shuttle tatting first.)

So, once again I had a lot of blue thread on the shuttle (I always seem to be over-filling my shuttles) so, too bad, I had to make another ring-only pattern...
Motif 45 (#12 on the way to 25 by the 25th): 5-point snowflake based on Snowflake 3 from "Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments"

This was supposed to be a 6-point ring-only snowflake with lots of empty space in the middle, but I decided to add beads...and skip one of the points, partially because I didn't have enough thread to finish the last point, and partially because I didn't really have enough space to crowd in another point...I'm going to make the pattern again without the beads to see how it really looks, but I do like this a lot, too...it's kind of a star/snowflake hybrid, which is cool.

So that's that...there are 12 days to Christmas, and I have 13 motifs left to do to get to 25 by the 25th...that's just one motif/day...I can totally do that, right?! :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

One New Country, Two Tatting Classes, Three More Motifs and Four Sunlit Shuttles! (Motifs 40-42)

Well, we're back.

That was a very rough, very fast trip home, but I'm glad we went...

Partly because I picked up yet another country (Japan--my 5th new country in the past two months, phew!), but most especially because we got to see all our families and meet our newest niece, Gemma...
The pink bib worked! (And was HUGE on my 6 lb+ niece!)
 I did a little bit of tatting while I was home and in the air...as per usual...
Motif 40 (#7 on the way to 25 by the 25th...yikes!) This is Perfect Quilter and DMC 80 threads combined.
Ok, so it was a very little bit...to be honest, that's about all I achieved on the trip...I was mostly too exhausted to even lift a shuttle.

 Understandably (I hope) I was pretty down after returning (and jetlagged!!) but a small package from Canada perked me up considerably on my first day back at work...four Sunlit Shuttles from that amazing Fox! Thank you again! :)
And they are great! As a semi-converted needle tatter I don't have a ton of shuttles and all my Clovers are full, so it was a very, very timely arrival! :)
 Suitably cheered and fully rested I started on one of the Shuttlebirds Weekly Challenges (I've been getting the e-mails for months but this is the first one I've completed)...
And yes, the thread matches the shuttles...I like it that way. :) It's the Tatted Roman Cross in size 30 Cebélia, and is Motif #41 (and #8 on the way to 25 by the 25th).
 As a thank you (sorry if this spoils the fun, Fox) I decided to make a Thank You mignonette AND practice a new skill at the same time:
BEADS! (Motif 42 on the year, #9 on the way to 25 by the 25th)
It took a couple tries but I managed to add beads from the shuttle. Amazing.
 Finally, I taught my second tatting class (needles, not shuttles...it's easier, I think)--it was actually a reschedule class, originally we were going to have it the Sunday I left for the funeral, but my students were patient and we had a nice time making holiday motifs this past weekend.
 So that's that...just under two weeks until Christmas and I have 16 motifs to go to get to 25 by the 25th...it might take a Christmas miracle to pull it off, but stranger things have occurred! :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Russian Snowflake (Motif #39)

Well, winter has officially arrived in Vladivostok!

So, since there is real snow on the ground (and in the air a couple days ago) I decided to make a снежинка (snowflake)...
Motif #39 (#6 on the way to 25 by the 25th)
 Pretty! This one's headed out to someone in the US...hope it doesn't melt on the way. ;)
It's more of the DMC size 80 thread... it's amazing how long that size 80 thread lasts on the shuttle!
 I actually had some very sad news from Iowa this evening...my last grandpa passed away today. So, I'll be leaving on a jet plane here in a few days...nothing new for this weary traveler! Silver lining? I will get to meet my newest niece, celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and my nephew's 3rd birthday! Still, it's never fun to go to a funeral, especially when it's for someone you love.

Oh well, it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all...I think someone said sometime in the past. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A New Shuttle and Motifs 36-38

So, a month or so back I participated in Wicked Nothings' Shuttle Exchange...and today I received my return package...and I am so excited and thankful!!!!! :)
Look at all this great stuff! :)
 Many thanks to Vicki for the beautiful wooden shuttle (my first-ever handmade shuttle!!) :)
How amazingly adorable is that! Vicki said it was made by Ontario local Norm Reid...it's awesome! :) The thread is "Picking Raspberries" by Karey Solomon, and is really, really nice! I can't wait to tat something with it!
 Vicki also sent some examples of her own gorgeous work! It's hard to tell in this picture, but the motif on the left has gold glittery thread though both the black and mustard-colored thread, and the motif on the right is all sparkly! Lovely!
Vicki also included this sweet little blue travel box, some doodads, beads and some ready-made picot gauges ;)
Thanks again, Vicki!! :)

I have also been doing some holiday tatting in preparation for teaching my second tatting class this weekend...and somehow I've managed to make three motifs in three days!

This was my first one, and it was a pain to make!!!
Motif #36 (#3 on my way to 25 by the 25th) It's the "Little Ring Snowflake" from Vida Sunderman's "Tatted Snowflakes", tatted in size 80 DMC...this one makes me giggle because hopefully there are never 'yellow snow' flakes in the sky ;)
 You can kind of tell that the white thread in the middle is slightly discolored...there was a lot of tugging and pulling to make this one work out...not sure why, but there it is. Ick.

Last night I followed with another snowflake, this time all white:
Motif #37 (#4 on the way to 25 by the 25th) More DMC size 80...This is "Snowflake 5" from "Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments" edited by Barbara Foster. The weird discoloration on the "butterfly" at 2:00 is water from our broken iron... :)
 Finally, tonight I worked on this, a bell:
Motif #38 (#5 on the way to 25 by the 25th... 1/5th of the way there!!) This is Lizbeth Wedgewood Dk (#656) size 80...I have to admit, I am consistently amazed at the quality of Lizbeth thread. Needless to say, the issues I was having with the DMC earlier in the week were virtually nonexistent with this thread! The motif is "Cloverleaf Bell" from Monica Hahn's "Christmas Angels and Other Tatting Patterns."

 I actually added two chains to the pattern to avoid a cut-tie-hide (reducing the pattern from 4 rounds to three, a win in my book.) :)

So there you have it...back on the tatting wagon once again! I'm looking forward to teaching my second class this weekend...it will be basically the same people attending, and we'll be working on holiday-themed motifs...we'll see how it goes! :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Three New Countries! Hooray! (+Motif 35)

Yikes! It has been WAY too long since I last posted...travel does that to me, unfortunately :)

Anyway, as the title of this posts suggests, I've picked up three new countries (as reflected on the map to the right)...Germany, Austria and Slovakia! My first tatting inroads in Europe!

Sadly, while I practiced the craft here and there, I didn't complete much, just...
Motif 35 (#2 to 25 by the 25th) I can't seem to figure out where this motif is from, if you can ID it I'd appreciate it...its made from DMC size 80 thread
This is a perfect quilter edging (thanks again for the thread, Diane!) based off of the corner bookmark pattern that I so love. I have absolutely no plans for this edging, it was just something to keep my hands busy on the planes and trains of Europe.
 I had a wonderful time on my trip (you can read about it here and here), but I was quite disappointed that, no matter how many craft shops or bookstores I visited I never did run into anyone who knew a thing about tatting, occhi, or any other translation of the word (and I asked in English, German, Spanish and Russian)...

I tried to visit a textile museum in Heidelberg to see what I could see...
 But it was closed!!! Darn!
 I even struck out finding any thread until my LAST night in Vienna, when I found this...
I'm not 100% sure what this thread is made of (sign makes me think linen, but I don't speak German and Google translate isn't helping much)...I will be interested to see how it tats up. It seems to be similar to size 40 thread, but not soft at all...we'll see. It's a mystery!
 So, that's that. I'm glad to be back and hope to get back to tatting sooner rather than later...I've got a long way to go if I'm going to make 25 motifs by the 25th of December! :)