Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Torrential Typhoon = Time to Tat!


I feel a little bad...everyone all over the world is talking about how hot it's been, it hasn't been so much hot, but very, VERY wet!

Part of that, I guess, is Vlad in the summer...and part is typhoon season in Japan! (A typhoon, by the way, is exactly the same thing as a hurricane. As the National Ocean Service says, "The only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs." It's a very similar thing to Jane's brooch/pin conversation from the other day.)

So, we lived through Hurricane Sandy in DCLand last summer, and now have survived our first typhoon!
 Unfortunately our balcony didn't survive totally unscathed...thank goodness for empty jars that can double as rain-catchers!
I don't actually mind the rain, especially because it gives me the chance to wear these:
So much rain!!
Of course, it rained ALL day Saturday and ALL day Sunday, and then Monday morning looked like this:
Go figure.

Anyway, all that rain made the idea of going out a little I stayed inside and practiced my shuttle tatting on a gift for my littlest brother:
Recognize this? It's part of the Corner Bookmark from Tatting by Cathy Bryant
I think this might be my "comfort" or "go-to" tat, at least for a while. It's challenging, yet repetitious, and I've been fairly successful with both the needle and the shuttle. I also think it's probably pretty adaptable, but I haven't tried that yet.

This is one of my first real tatting requests, which for me is pretty exciting. I've had one other request that I can remember, but even that was general "I want a necklace" rather than specifics...

After seeing the bookmark I entered into the fair, my sister-in-law asked for a bookmark exactly like the one I entered (which I already had made) and my brother asked for the bookmark in black and yellow, which I made last weekend:
 This request was actually harder to fulfill than it should have been...not physically harder, of course, but emotionally my world, black and yellow DO NOT belong together (black and yellow being, of course, the color of the dreaded Iowa Hawkeyes...boooo!! I would much much rather have made the bookmark in cardinal and gold, the lovely colors of the Iowa State Cyclones...yaaaaay!! or even the blue and white of both my alma mater, Drake University(!), and his, Creighton University(¡).

 Of course, he wasn't asking because of the Hawkeyes (as he is a sensible Cyclone fan) but for Vanderbilt University where he is working toward his I guess that's ok. :)

Anyway, all that rain gave me plenty of time to finish his bookmark, which is awesome, because I'm seeing him in just over a week! :) YAY!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Practicing With False Plaits and First Fair Ribbons! :)

 Well hello!

 I finally got back on the tatting train this week, practicing the shuttle motions with false plaits. I'm pretty sure my chaining skills are pretty solid I suppose I need to make a whole bunch of trefoils now to practice my ring skills! :)

 Anyway, here are my false plaits:
 The pattern is 8 ds of one color, rw, 8 ds of the other color, then holding both shuttles 1 ds, rw, 1 ds, then repeat until you have the length you desire. Then start all over and do it all again, until you have two strands of the same length.

Of course, I ended up with some tension troubles and funky twisting going on:
Eh, oh well. :)
 My strands of false plaits ended up really long, almost a yard each:

Next I weaved the strands together by laying one strand on top of the other (opposite colors together)
 and pull the top strand through the bottom strand, over and over and over to make a braided effect...
 Good times!

Of course, the tension troubles made some of the circles want to twist, so at a certain point I let the same side colors twist together, making one side all white and one side all blue:
(split colors on the left, braided on the right)
This seems like such a nice cord, I decided to make something usable; a new lanyard for my ID badge at work, which is why I made the strands so long!
Actually, as I went along I noticed that it kind of reminded me of the friendship bracelets I made when I was a kid--the ones where you make the 4 and slide the knots up...which now that I think about it, making those 4s was like making an un-flipped half of a double stitch...

Whoa. Mind blown! :)

Anyway, that's that. I have a couple of gifts I need to work this week, so hopefully I'll have something more interesting to show you soon!

I also had some good news from Iowa this week...I won some ribbons at the Southern Iowa Fair!

One of the joys of being with the State Department is that, while we live most of the year in other parts of the world, our official residency and address for all the important things (voting, taxes, and Fair entries) remains in Iowa!

So, I still get to enter my tatting in the Fairs! :)

I just have to get creative about how I get the work to the Fair...this year, since I'm still in Russia right now, I mailed it to my awesome mom and she took it to the judges!

Here are my ribbons!

Tatted jewelry: Blue (It's the brown bracelet I designed a few months ago)
 The colored bookmark in the corner is mine as well--and also won blue! (This was my motif #7--the opposite side is the same pattern tatted in cream to make a corner bookmark-the pattern is from Tatting by Cathy Bryant). Actually, I guess this was up for the overall best of show prize, but it didn't win. Eh, you can't win them all! :)
 The pillowcase edging (motif #14) showed up as well, and also won blue! Unfortunately you can't see it very well in the picture, but I will upload another picture of it in a few weeks...

Amazingly the baby bib also won a blue ribbon...I guess they really do judge the tatting and not the applique technique! :) Thanks again for the great TIAS pattern, Jane!
 And, of course, there's The Big Doily. Another blue, and again this year, I need to point out how AWESOME MY MOM IS!!!

 I sent her the doily folded into quarters, but she was told that this Fair prefers doilies to be mounted, so my mom cut out some cardboard and re-blocked the doily for competition...and unfortunately will have to un-do all that work before the next Fair!

She is so great!!! XOXO Mom!
The red ribbon was for the mobile, which was in an "other than mentioned" needlework category and lost to something I can't remember (mom told me) but I'm sure was really great. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of that right now.

I was also really glad to see that someone else had entered some tatting this year!! The category was new at this fair last year because two years ago I wanted to enter some tatting but there was no tatting category...but then they created the category the following year! Last year I was the only entrant, but you can see that someone else entered in the first fair photo above (on the white plate.)

Yay! Tatting is picking up in Southern Iowa! :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Sad Lack of Tatting (But Plenty of Sewing Machine Time!)

Ah, well, I knew it wouldn't last.

I did so well, for a little over a week, of tatting every day...and then came The 4th of July (and the 6th, and the 11th!)

This year we celebrated the Independence Day that wouldn't end, and that took up most of Kristen's time and energy for the better part of the week, mostly because of this:
Over 120 feet of patriotic fabric!
 You see, I was in charge of decorations for the Consulate's Official 4th of July celebration (held, of course, on July 11...). The venue was two-leveled, with the bottom level holding the top up with square pillars...someone (me) decided it was a good idea to cover these pillars, and when the originally-ordered pre-made column covers were found to be out of stock, someone (me) decided it was a good idea to just order millions of miles of fabric and have someone (me) cut, iron, and hem them...

4 hours later, 14 column covers emerged!

 And, I have to say (in my opinion) they made the venue look really, really nice!
Other decorations were not so labor-intensive on my part (thank goodness) in their creation, but it all took a few hours to put up...
Sadly that's all I have to show for the past week...

Oh well, there's always tomorrow. :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

New Russian Book and a Ring Question (Motif #23)

 Well, it makes sense that, living in Russia like I do, I might pick up a few Russian language tatting books...

 What doesn't make sense is that I would buy them on eBay and have them shipped to our address in the States to have them sent on to Russia...which is the story of the new book I got this past week!

 Even though this is a Russian publication, it's not available to buy in Russia! I had to order it from the Ukraine! :)
I really wanted it for the vest on the front, but I thought I'd try out some of the smaller motifs first. :)
Motif #23!
 If you haven't seen a Russian tatting book before, the patterns are...different (and in this case, if you look at the actual stitch/picot count in the picture wrong!) Вот (look):
к means ring, д means chain, п means picot...and rings 1.1 and 1.3 need two more picots than the pattern calls for! :)
 I was glancing through the book and noticed patterns calling for split rings and other types of two-color tatting I've avoided over the years...

 I only had a little more blue thread on a shuttle so I decided to practice until it was gone, and ended up making a funny little house and a decent string of split rings...

Here's a question that's been bothering me a bit since I started with the shuttle:

When you are finishing a ring (split or otherwise) do you pull the shuttle thread out on top of the inside thread?

Or do you drop the shuttle down through the ring before pulling it tight?
 Or does it matter? :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July! (Motifs 21 and 22!)

Happy Fourth of July!

In honor of the big holiday (and the relative "ease" of two-color tatting with the shuttle) I decided to make a pattern I've been avoiding for a while, Dee Powell's "American Flag" bookmark from Tatted Bookmarks.

  I'm not sure if it's because I used the shuttle, or what, but this pattern was not as easy as it looks! It was rated "intermediate-experienced" and I agree! You can tell especially at the top that I had tension troubles, and if you look more closely at the blue part, you can see the picot problems. Le sigh.

(Patriotic) Motif #21!
 Here is a somewhat closer view:

Still. All shuttle tatted.

I have also been craving buttercream frosting recently, and decided to use some buttercream colored thread to make the other bookmark on the page of Tatted Bookmarks, "Candle", also by Dee Powell.
Motif 22
It could do with some blocking, but the picots are relatively even (and all eyeballed).
 I'm still not sold on the shuttle, but I'm working on it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More Messy Motifs (#s 16-18) + a MOBILE (and Motifs 19-20)

Well, I've kept on with the shuttle the last couple days and made a few more messy motifs. I'm still working from Easy Tatting:
Motif 16--ick
Motif 17--slightly less ick
Next I decided to take it up a notch and make a multi-level motif:
Level 1
Level 2--What's with the paperclip you ask? I can't quite figure out what to do with the first strings, so I put the paperclip in the knot so that it can become strings so they can be hidden...(yes? Is this what I'm actually supposed to do?)
Level 3--Motif 18
I'm clearly still having picot problems (see level 2 for a hideous example) so when I started tatting the third level I decided to use Fox's suggestion of marking my finger (which Margaret reminded me of, thanks!) to try to work on this issue...

I don't think it 100% worked, but I do think the final level is slightly better in picot uniformity...
So we'll see.

Anyway, I also forgot I had some other needle tatting motifs laying around from sometime last week:
Motif #19--Valerie Square from Eliz Davis' website
Motif #20--Tatting Box' adorable cross pattern

These two were made specifically to finish a project I hinted at WAY back in August of 2012 when I decided to play "What is It" and then never actually told you what it is...

 I also asked people to guess what I was making based on a recent purchase, and Margaret and God's Kid both took a guess...and God's Kid was right! (And since you both waited so patiently I will send you BOTH something fun from Russia, although I might wait until I get back to the States to mail it...sometimes things sent from Russia take longer than necessary to get to where they want to go...)

As a refresher, here's what I asked way back when:

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

 And the answer is...It's a mobile! :)

 It was in taking this picture that I realized a few more motifs were needed to make this mobile truly "awesome", so the cross went under the big motif on the top, and the square went in the middle/under the four motifs in the second row.

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of that currently, but give me a month and a half and I should have one...

So, there you go, a little shuttle, a little needle.

Tatting is so fun!