Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seventh Day of December, Stuck on the Eighth

Well, due to a crazy amount of snowfall yesterday (the cold, slippery kind, not the nice tatted kind) the boxes are still sitting in our house, just tempting me to open them up and grab more tatting stuff...but I am holding strong!!

I finished The Seventh Day of December pattern from Lene Bjørn's "24 Snowflakes in Tatting" yesterday:
It was a tough pattern with all the onion rings, but very satisfying to tat. 

Shuttle or Needle? These rings are one of the many elements of these patterns that make me wonder how well a needle tatter could execute these patterns. I needle tatted for years and never attempted an onion ring. I'm notsayin it can't be done, but I am saying some of these patterns would be quite frustrating, especially for a beginner needle tatter. 

Speaking of frustrating...has anyone out there ever successfully made The Eighth Day of December?? This is the motif with all the beautiful blocks, and frankly the pattern that first drew me to this book, but for the life of me I can't figure out how tat it!

I have started this twice, once with two shuttles and then a second time with one (the pattern calls for one shuttle, but I prefer Jane Eborall's method of block tatting with two shuttles). After my first failure I figured the pattern had to be done with just the one shuttle, but this korning I made it to exactly the same place I had to stop yesterday:
It's hard to explain without showing the pattern, but according to the diagram, right how I am supposed to make a cloverleaf, then tat 4 more rows of blocked chains underneath the last 7 ds tatted above?! How do you tat chains underneath a chain? The picots will be going the wrong way, for starters, and it just doesn't make sense. 
Yesterday's mess is on the left--see the problem with the chains under the chains? Eventually that second block is supposed to attach to the first block's corner, opposite of the false picot from the ring. 

So, dear tatting friends, help me out. Take a peek at your copy of the pattern and let me know, how do I do this?! :)

In the meantime, I'm skipping it and going on to The Ninth Day of December. :) I have too much stress right now, I refuse to let tatting be part of it. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Fourth, Fifth and 6th of December...Finally Catching Up!

Packout is (almost) done, it's the weekend and I finally have time to tat!

I am still working my way through Lene Bjørn's "24 Snowflakes in Tatting"--after this weekend I am up to December 6!

The snowflake above is December 4, a nice flake that tatted up pretty quickly, which is good since I am so far behind!

The Fifth of December is another nice flake, but one that needs to be blocked out to lay nicely... And unfortunately all my blocking supplies are packed away in boxes like this:
So I improvised:
I finished the Sixth of December today:
This was a really fun one to tat, full of lock joins, shoelace tricks, false chains and switching shuttles. 

This is one of the reasons I would consider this book an intermediate tatting book, because it is assumed that you know how to so many of these skills without much explanation (lock joins and false chains aside--Bjørn includes an excellent "how-to tutorial on these, as well as how to do false picots, add beads (utilized only once in the book), ring on ring tatting (what I would call an SSSR + thrown ring), and chain on chain (block) tatting. Other inclusions are an explanation of symbols and list of materials needed (she suggests AIDA size 20 thread) with glass beads being one of the only suggested notions listed. 


Of course we are quickly winding down our time in Russia (less than a week?!) and last Friday was our goodbye party at the Consulate.

For my going away present, I was gifted this BEAUTIFUL Russian shawl:
And Chris received his very own Ded Moroz
Who very kindly offered to display some of this weekend's efforts:

On to the Seventh of December! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bye Bye Tatting Books and Supplies

(Packout starts tomorrow)

Until we meet again, sometime in the distant future (3 months or so), "in a land Down Under" 

Sniff!! :'(

Moving is the worst!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Handkerchiefs, Towels and a Pony

A friend and I went on an "I'm leaving Russia in 2 weeks" shopping spree over the weekend, and boy do I think I found some good stuff for a tatter. :)

First of all, amazingly, I found this:

I guess it's a Pony shuttle? I had never heard of this brand before (but thought the shape looked familiar, and I have been told by OneMad Tatter Fiona that it's like an Aero or Susan Bates).

Anyway, it's a shuttle and I got it in Vladivostok! Hooray! [I'm not going to mention that I usually really dislike shuttles with bobbins...oh wait, oops. :)] Before this all I had found were some tiny white shuttles that I actually think are meant for kumihimo, but work well for Celtic tatting, if nothing else.

Additionally, I picked up these beauties at an outdoor market next to the mall where I found the shuttle:
 Russian handkerchiefs for about 20 rubles (USD $0.37 each...the exchange rate is crazy right now)

I had to laugh, because these were also in the pile of handkerchiefs:

 Naturally I had to buy a bunch of these!! Hopefully I will be seeing all of these birds in just a few short months, maybe while I tat a border for one of these hankies?!

And then there are the towels...

The red, green and yellow one on the left is a traditional Russian pattern, the two in front have matryoshka dolls on them, the orange towel has a winter scene and snowflakes, and the towel with the green border says "Happy New Year" and shows Ded Moroz (something like the Western Santa Claus) with his granddaughter/helper Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden) giving a present to a sheep, which I believe has something to do with the Chinese New Year, something that is very popular in Rusia (2015 is the year of the Goat or Sheep, depending on what source you look at (it's about 75-25 Sheep to Goats represented in the New Year swag around here, in case you were wondering!!)

So, I have all this great stuff, now to decide what to add to it...

I am historically very bad at adding any tatting to anything I have bought to add tatting to, and I will admit that I am downright terrified to add an edging to a handkerchief...maybe 2015 will be the year of the edgings for me...maybe. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Third Day of December...Better Late than Never

I like this pattern.

In truth, I think everybody likes this pattern.

I think Lene Bjørn likes this pattern, because she made it the center of the cover of her book.
Illustrations: The book is filled with black and white illustrations, exactly as you see on the front cover--white snowflakes on a black background. Fortunately, each snowflake is pictured. Unfortunately, the book is half-sized, so the pictures of the snowflakes are only about 2 in x 2 in (6 cm x 6 cm). Thankfully the diagrams are really good, and the photos are for the most part unnecessary.

It's just so pretty!!!

The pattern is "The Third Day of December" and it is beautiful to look at and fun to tat!

It is also the third pattern in the book, which I am slowly moving through and enjoying every minute.

And, for the record, I did finish The Second Day of December, too. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Second Day of December...kind of

So. Yeah. It's not really the second day of December!

When I decided to do daily posts this month I totally discounted the fact that I am packing all my stuff up to move to Australia in 1 week and have no time for anything, least of all tatting. :(

So, here it is, the 4th of December, and I am hopelessly behind on this monthlong book review...

Here is what I have done so far of the second pattern of Lene Bjørn's 24 Snowflakes in Tatting:
"The Second Day of December"

So close, yet so far!!

Number of Patterns: There are 24 patterns in this book (amazing, right?!) and (Types of Patterns) all are snowflakes (obvs...see the title!). 

Type of Pattern Notation: The patterns are all diagrammed in black and white line drawings, and also have some short explanations of what to do to correctly implement the pattern. (Ex: The snowflake is made in 5 rounds according to the diagram...there are 6 ds between each picot). These explanations are very helpful, but not 100% necessary unless you are very unfamiliar with diagrams. 

Hopefully tomorrow I will have time to tat...we'll see! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The First of December (ish)

Well ok, technically it's the second of December, but I was away over the weekend and am only now able to post the first of what I hope will be 20+ straight posts, one per day, in a month-long book review of "24 Snowflakes in Tatting" by Lene Bjørn.

Each day I (hope I) will provide a tatted example of a pattern from the book as well as some pertinent information. (Like today I gave you the Title ("24 Snowflakes in Tatting") and Author (Lene Bjørn)!)

  The First of December, shuttle tatted in 30 Cebelia. 

Until tomorrow then... :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review #6: "The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito"

Many, many thanks to mb duke for suggesting that I review this book! This book has also been   reviewed previously by Krystledawne.

Title: "The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito"

Author: Teiko Fujito (English translation by Connie Prener)
Year of Publication: 2001 (Japanese) / 2003 (English)
ISBN: 1-891656-47-3
Number of pages: 80

Number of patterns: 101(!) 
Types of patterns: The book is broken into Motifs Worked with One Shuttle (18 patterns), 
Motifs Worked with Two Shuttles (28 patterns)Motifs Worked with Three Shuttles (4 patterns)Motifs For the Advanced Tatter (7 patterns), Motifs Inspired by Nature (19 patterns) and Edgings (21 patterns), as well as two bonus patterns shown on the back of the book.
Pattern 1 (Motifs Worked with One Shuttle)
All the patterns in the first four parts are either motifs or small doilies. The Motifs Inspired by Nature are flowers and leaves (surprising, right?), and the Edgings are made of flowers, butterflies, and other traditional-type edging patterns.
Type of pattern notation: Detailed diagrams which are colored to correspond with the photographic illustrations, so it is easy to see where you change threads. Stars, arrows and other symbols are used to point out specific elements of the patterns that the author wants to highlight or make sure you know how to do. The symbols correspond to a written notation somewhere on the same page. (Example: "----- Pass thread through here")
Pattern 59 (Motifs Inspired by Nature)

Illustrations: Each pattern is shown beautifully tatted in shiny, full-color splendor. (Seriously, the pictures in this book alone are worth the price of admission. The color choice on the motifs is inspired!)
Notions: Even though some beads and other doohickies are shown on the front of the book, there are none called for in any of the patterns. A few of the edging patterns incorporate crochet, but other than that, it's all rings and/or chains. The author doesn't even suggest thread sizes or types, so it's up to the artist to choose (I did all my examples in size 40 Lizbeth)
Pattern 13 (Motifs Worked with One Shuttle)
Shuttle or needle? Full disclosure, I didn't pull out the needle to work any of these patterns, but I think at least some of these patterns would be fine with the needle--the patterns are all written for the shuttle, and I can't even imagine attempting the patters for two or especially three shuttles with a needle--it was hard enough to keep the threads from knotting with the shuttle! Still, this book is so beautiful, I would suggest a needle tatter to at least try it, for sure the patterns for one shuttle would be manageable with the needle.
Keeping track of three threads at once isn't as easy as you might want it to be!
Other inclusions: Unlike many other books on the market, this one doesn't have the "how to tat" section, so if you are just starting out, this book may not be for you (but it will serve as inspiration!) Besides the aforementioned pattern sections, the book has a one-page introduction, table of contents and copyright page, and dedicates the final quarter of a page of the book to a very short biography of the author. Other than that, it's all patterns all the time (makes sense, 101 patterns in 80 pages, an excellent ratio).
Pattern 6 (Motifs Worked with One Shuttle)
Sorry it's so blurry!!
That said, some of the pages do include helpful tatting tips which are often both diagramed and explained (for example, the technique for the double-picot is given and shown in a drawn illustration.)
Skill level: Intermediate-Advanced This is definitely not a beginner's book--even some of the patterns for one shuttle are quite challenging, and require skills and techniques that most beginners just don't have, and which the author, for the most part, assumes the tatter has or will understand.
Pattern 19: (Motifs Worked with Two Shuttles)
Skills needed: Not explained in the book: shuttle-only tatting, split ring tatting, climbing out from one round to another, onion rings, two and three-color tatting, throwing off rings from chains and twisting picots. Explained in the book: lock joins (she calls this outer thread joining and devotes 3/4 of the last page of the book to the technique), perle tatting (she calls this the split stitch), and double picots.
Pattern 48 (Motifs Worked with Three Shuttles)
This motif uses onion rings, three shuttle tatting, rings only, thrown rings and lock joins. It's also SUPER FUN to tat!!
Price range:  In the US, you shouldn't spend more than $20 for this book; in the UK, you're looking at around £16. (Australians, I'd love to know which online stores you shop at for all your tatting needs!)
Availability: US: Lacis (the publisher), Handy Hands, Be-Stitched, Tatting Corner, Amazon. UK: Tatting and Design (Note: Amazon.co.uk doesn't currently have this book)
Personal Notes: Japanese tatters have a reputation for creating deceptively simple-looking (but oh, so beautiful!) tatting patterns, and this book does nothing to dispel that notion. Thankfully, this book has been translated into English, so those non-Japanese speakers among us can fully comprehend and appreciate the nuances of these magnificent creations. If you have wanted to try a Japanese tatting book and you're not a brand-new tatter (if you are, try New Tatting first) I think you will enjoy giving the patterns in this book a try!

Pattern 52 (Motifs for the Advanced Tatter)

Do you have a book you'd like to have reviewed? Let me know in the comments and, if I have it, I'll tat a bit and give you my thoughts! :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Three Shuttle Tatting

I am having a BLAST three-shuttle tatting in preparation for my next book review...

"The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito" is so inspiring; thanks for the review suggestion, mb duke!

Book review coming soon...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review #5: "Tatting: Patterns and Designs"

I have for you today another book review. Hope you're not too tired of these yet...I'll try to space them more evenly with other "just tatting" posts... :) Try being the operative word there! :)

Title: "Tatting: Patterns and Designs)
This is another Dover publication, and a "slightly abridged republication" of a Swedish book called Frivoliteter, so if you happen to read Swedish and have that book, you don't need this one, too...unless you want it, of course!! :)
Authors: Gun Blomqvist and Elwy Persson 
Year of Publication: 1988 
ISBN: 0-486-25813-0
Number of pages: 95

Number of patterns: 85 
"Chrysanthemum" Shuttle Tatted, Lizbeth 40
Type of pattern notation: Short notation with some abbreviations (ie: R 5-5-5-5. C7. R 5-5-5+5. Reverse work.) The patterns do give some written instruction when necessary, ie: "Repeat until the lace is the length required"

Types of patterns: This book has five sections of patterns, including Edgings and Insertions, Stars, Simple Patterns, Advanced Patterns, and Crowns. In the first section there are 8 edgings, 3 insertions, and 2 patterns that can be used for either purpose. One of the edging patterns is also labeled as a possible collar. The Stars section includes 45 patterns, only maybe two of which I would actually consider to be a "star," and the rest either snowflakes, flowers, or other small motifs. These patterns are organized in groups of 5 and are shown tied together to make a mobile, for which some basic directions are also given.
"Stars Mobile" Needle Tatted, Perle 8
The Simple Patterns section has 15 patterns, including a candlestick frill, mats (including one that is suggested to be a window screen, a collar and cross bookmarks. 
The 9 Advanced Patterns are all doilies
"The Miracle" Needle Tat
There are three patterns in the Crowns section, and all are 3D.
"Charity" Needle tatted, Perle 8 (The model is my beautiful mom!)

Illustrations: All patterns are illustrated with clear black and white photos of finished products
Notions: Each pattern suggests a yarn size, usually DMC 20 or 30. Beyond the materials needed for the mobile, no other notions are suggested. However, I did just add beads to the collar pattern and I think it added a little bit of something, if I do say so myself. :)
"Tendril" Shuttle Tatted, Cebelia 30 with 11/0 Czech Beads
Shuttle or needle? The book gives the ubiquitous shuttle tatting description in the front, but I have made many of the patterns (including all those in the mobile above) with a needle, so this book is appropriate for either method. I did find some of the patterns to be more challenging with the needle than the shuttle, however, especially those that need two shuttles to complete.
"Star No. 4" (pg 35) Needle Tatted, Perle 8
Other inclusions: The book begins with an Introduction which is actually a nice 5-page illustrated (with portraits of famous people with shuttles) short history of tatting. It then has a one-page suggestion for Tools and Materials needed, including a plug for DMC thread and authors experiences working with other materials and the shuttle. The 6-page Techniques section is well-illustrated with black and white line drawings of hands and shuttles, and includes information on Joining Rings, Joining Threads, Second Thread from Ball and [tatting with] Two Shuttles, as well as a section of Definition of Terms and Nature as a Model, which encourages the tatter to see nature as a design inspiration. There are photos of seeds and leaves scattered throughout the book to continue this theme.
"The Big Cross" Needle Tatted, Perle 8
Skill level: Beginner-Intermediate Some of the patterns in the book are quite, quite simple, but others are more tricky, including the 3 crowns at the end. However, every pattern can be achieved through simple rings and chains (no split anythings here) so this book is appropriate for someone new to tatting.
Skills needed: As far as I can see, the most "tricky" skills needed here are the Josephine knot, two shuttle tatting and, for needle tatters especially, leaving bare thread between rings (shuttle only tatters, I'm not sure you understand how much needle tatters tend to loathe "shuttle only" patterns...they are such a pain!!) 
"Star No 2" (pg 49) Needle Tatted, Perle 8
Availability: Although this is an older book, it is still available in the US from the publisher, Dover, as well as Amazon and Be-Stitched (although not through Handy Hands). The UK's Amazon and Tatting and Design also have the book. It is available in ebook, paperback and hardcover formats, depending on where you buy it.
Price range: $6-18 (USD), depending on the format and whether you buy new or used.
Personal Notes: This is definitely a book I would recommend to a newer tatter, as it is one of those books you can "grow with"...patterns that seem impossible early on become a happy challenge later in the game, and something to strive for as you improve your tatting skills. The patterns are clearly marked with Name, Purpose, Yarn (thread suggestion), Size (when tatted with suggested thread), Abbreviations and number of Shuttles, all very helpful in my mind!
"Star No 2" (pg 35) Needle Tatted, Perle 8
I especially love that it is available as an e-book for those who like that format, because it makes it accessible for all (even those of us who move all over the place al the time!) The physical book's size is also smaller than many tatting books (9" tall x 6" wide) so it is portable, even if you don't have it electronically. 
"Star No. 3" (pg 43) Needle Tatted, Perle 8
I just finished this collar over the weekend and I really like it!! I added a jump ring and a lobster clasp to make it a necklace.
So there you have it.

Anybody have a book they are considering procuring/would like to read a review on? If I have it, I will be happy to write something to give you more information before you buy! :)