Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Terrible Tatting Day (+ TIAS Day 9)

Oh hello.

To borrow a phrase from a book I never really liked when I was a kid, I'm having a "Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Tatting Day".

Seriously. Yikes.

I know it's only (way late) January, but seriously, time passes really quickly, we're looking at more travel later this spring (for those who are wondering, my husband is a diplomat with the US State Department, which is why we're in Russia and why we travel so much--you can follow that adventure here), and Fair entry time is just a few months away!

So, I need to get to work on some stuff. I've chosen what I want to be my next victim, loaded my shuttle with some beautiful ercu size 80 Lizbeth thread, and...promptly broke the thread two times in three starer motifs. Tension troubles or...??
 Seriously. Grrr.

Clearly that wasn't working out, so I decided to move on, for the time being. I saw on Facebook that Jane's Day 9 was posted (apparently we're halfway there, fellow TIASers!) so I decided to move back into the realm of size 20 thread.

Two words (well, letters, really). SS. GAH! :)

 Well, despite getting all "switched" around (bwahaha), and having to un-tat half of today's pattern more than once, my finished "motif" matches the diagram on today's pattern, but I'm still not at all sure what the heck this is going to turn out to be!

So. I'm a little done with tatting today, but to steal another phrase from somebody else, "Tomorrow is another day to tat." :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tatting in Thailand (Motif 4) and TIAS Day 8

So, Thailand is really a lot warmer than Russia.
Three days in Thailand (see the map to the right--8th new country in the past year!!) with an average temperature of about 80 degrees (all-time low temps according to people who actually live there) were heaven compared to this chilly, snowy Vladivostok...although it is nice to be back. :)

Those three days were so crazy-busy I didn't get much tatting done, but I did manage Motif 4:
Подвеска (Pendant) from "Фриволите Рукоделие" by Животовская Е. В.
It doesn't look quite right, but close enough. Russian patterns are sometimes kind of weird to follow...
I also kept up with Jane's TIAS--here is Day 8:
 I'm seeing windmills:
Maybe?? :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

TIAS Day 7

Since I'm far away from my computer in Thailand, I've decided to try out the Schedule function of blogger for my TIAS Day 7 post...

Jane was nice enough to send me the Day 7 link so I wouldn't get behind while I was gone, but I promised I wouldn't put up the picture until after she put it hopefully this works out! :)

Anyway, here is my Day 7:
I still have no about a hint, Jane? :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TIAS Day 6 and Traveling Again

Here is my Day 6 for Jane's TIAS:
Once again it doesn't seem to be turning the way Jane's diagram shows, but I'm sure it will eventually get there. I still have no guesses...lack of imagination, maybe?

I'm writing this in the lull that comes between the time when you are frantically packing your bags and when you leave for the airport...yes, we're off on another (very short) trip, but I think this will be the last for a bit (March or April, probably). I have to stay home through February so I don't miss any of the Olympics!!

Speaking of the Olympics, here's something fun:
This is me (in the maroon in the back) running at the Iowa State Track and Field Meet in 1999 against Lolo Jones (navy in the front), a fellow Iowan and 2-time Summer Olympian who just qualified for the US Olympic bobsled team! (And, not to brag or anything, I actually ended up beating her in this's hard to tell, but she is starting to grimace in pain, because she's just pulled her hamstring and is about to drop to the ground in agony, thus allowing a slow, chubby 9th grader to pass her, poor girl. Clearly she overcame that particular disappointment.) Anyway, so next month we'll both be in Russia! (Albeit on COMPLETE opposite sides of the country (and continent) but still...same place.  :) Funny how life is, sometimes!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stealth Doily and Cluny Leaves

Bwahaha, I'm so sneaky. ;)

Here's my "Stealth Doily"...
Motif 2: Celtic Sugar and Spice Doily
 Look familiar? :)

Of course it does! It's (theoretically) the first thing you see every time you visit my blog...

Except, of course, it's not, because this is the new, shuttle tatted version!

I've actually been working on this for a L-O-N-G time, like, since August or something, but I FINALLY finished it over the weekend. (I kept not taking it with me when I traveled, so then I'd get involved in other projects and not work on this one...)

I call it the stealth doily because I purposely didn't put anything about it on the blog because I wanted to wait and unveil it just as I did above, as a visual comparison of needle and shuttle tatting. It's the same pattern, the same thread, just two different methods of tatting.

Discuss. :)

This doily was, in its own way, almost as much of a pain as the tulips...

Firstly, (well, kind of lastly) I ran out of shuttle thread TWO RINGS before I finished it...ugh!

So, I improvised a shuttle with some pre-wrapped travel thread:

And, of course, there were a few tension issues again...especially after completing the maroon split rings:

 and then again with the tan final round. Of course, that was nothing a few pins couldn't fix!
 This is a doily written for a needle tatting book...I wonder if any of the tension troubles were because I was shuttle tatting this pattern, or if I just really need to work on my tension control?

 After finishing the stealth doily I decided to try something new, something I've been wanting to try for a while: Cluny Tatting!

And here are my first attempts:
Motif 3: A Small Motif using Cluny Leaves
Clearly this is a skill I need to work on, but I do think I improved as I went around the circle (my first leaf of the motif was the small one with the long purple tail, and then continued around counter-clockwise to the last one right next to it.)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

40 Badly Blocked Blue Tulips (Motif 1) and TIAS Day 5

Did you know that there really are blue tulips?

According to a quick Google images search, there are!

A fun fact to go along 40 (Blue and (badly) Blocked) Tulips!
I think this is actually Motif 1 of my 25 Motifs for 2014?
Overall I really liked tatting this pattern...but BOY was it a pain to block!
What with all the thread stretching and then the tendency of the tulips and circles to overlap, this doily did not want to lay flat! Also, there is a mistake...I can see it, can you? :) I'll give you a hint: it's blue
 Of course, I'm not sure what I expected from a pattern of tulips...having grown up with Pella, Iowa with their ostentatious Tulip Time Festival as a major school rival, tulips are not my favorite I was not totally surprised when a pattern of tulips turned into kind of a headache...

Oh well. It's blocked, done, and I can move on... :) Hooray!
Ok actually I can't totally move on; I really, really want to iron it too, but we STILL haven't gotten a new iron. You wouldn't think it would be that hard, but it's turning into a bit of a saga. Shopping in Russia is kind of hard, apparently. :)
I also have my TIAS Day 5 completed...I can't wait to see what this thing actually ends up being!
Teeny, tiny Day 5!
 It's a three day weekend for me here in Vladivostok (in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day...I love living abroad and getting to celebrate both US and host country holidays!) so I should have plenty of time to tat...but we're also still hard at work ranking countries on our bid list and getting ready for another trip later in the week, so, we'll see.

Oh! Another fun is the one-year anniversary of our arrival in Vladivostok! Yep, it's been a whole year! Crazy! :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

TIAS Days 3 and 4

Well, 40 tulips have been accomplished but not yet ironed or blocked...this week has been busy since we started school again after our 3 week winter break! Starting back has been particularly exciting because the school moved into a brand new facility...and here's the coolest part:
Why yes, there is an airplane outside that window!
Yep, the school I volunteer teach at has an AIRPLANE outside...!
I'm not sure why, but that really makes me happy :)
So, there has been more lesson planning and less tatting happening this week...also I found a really good book that I'm into, so I've been reading a bit more too...

Anyway, I have kept up with Jane's TIAS, here are my Day 3 and 4 offerings:
Day 3--no clue!
Day 4...Mary?
From the moment I saw the diagram for Day 4 all I could think about was that it looked like a kneeling Mary in some of my nativities that are, I'm happy to admit, still up all over my tree is still up, too...technically it's still the Christmas season in Russia, so I'm milking it for all it's worth! :)
This is a small puzzle nativity that I brought back from my trip to Germany last fall
Speaking of Christmas, I received a very nice gift card to Amazon from my parents-in-law (what do you get the person who lives in Russia?) so I've ordered some new tatting books...not that I guess I NEED more tatting books, but...I'm anxiously awaiting their arrival anyway! :) Yay!! :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

24 Tulips (so far) and TIAS Day 2

 It never get a few days off...and then you get sick!

Or, at least, it never fails for me...maybe it's a way of punishing idleness... :)

Anyway, we had a really nice, REALLY lazy 8-day New Year's holiday, and mine actually extended to 10 with two sick days this week (it's just a cold, but a particularly nasty one and not one I decided to share with my colleagues). Between the sniffling and coughing and chain-drinking tea I've managed to get myself pretty far along in "Forty Tulips" (warning...the tulips need some blocking!)
24 and Counting! :)
If you're not sure exactly what I'm talking about, here's a closer view of the tulips...
It's the blue things...ok, I don't know that I see tulips there either, but my husband said he did, so what do I know? :)
 This was the same doily I was having tension troubles with last time I blogged...thankfully a good dunking and some tough love with stretching and pinning made it lay flat as a pancake:
It's amazing how different the colors look when wet!
 I was a little concerned about how enlongated the rings of the variegated trefoils got in the last row above until I took a closer look at the picture of the doily in the book:
Totally, nbd
I'm really enjoying this pattern, particularly because I think it is the most challenging pattern I've ever completed...the last row (the tulips) use two shuttles, and you have to constantly switch which shuttle you're using to make it turn out right. It's actually been a good pattern to work on while not feeling well because it hasn't gotten boring or mindless, and takes my mind off not feeling well. :)

I've also continued with Day 2 of Jane's TIAS:
Mine didn't turn right...
 I'm guessing it's the back end of a helicopter...I bet I'm wrong, though! :) I'm very proud, though, I've never joined on the second half of a split ring...but I got it right on the first try! :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 2014! TIAS Day 1!

Well, here we all are again in 2014. How delightful!

We have been off work since the 1st and don't go back until the 9th (Thank you Russian New Year and Christmas celebrations!) so I've had a lot of time to do, well, not a whole lot, really...I've played a lot on the computer, read a (very) little and tatted almost less...

Before the holidays I bought a copy of Ben Fikkert's "Floriade"and then ordered some thread on black Friday that is...not exactly what I expected it would look like...

Anyway I found a pattern called "Forty Tulips" in "Floriade" and decided it was a perfect use for Confetti and it's accompanying colors...

Of course, I've done a terrible job documenting the progress, but here's where it stands today:
It's almost literally standing...tension troubles, anyone? Yikes! (Too bad Santa didn't bring me an iron.)
I've had a little bit of help with the tulips...Pip has some visitors this week and they have been oh so helpful!
Charlie modeling rounds 1-3
Sanchai overseeing round 6
I've also started Jane Eborall's TIAS (Day 1 was posted today!)
 And Sanchai "helped" again...

 Pip, as you can see, is nowhere to be seen, poor boy. He's been so used to being an only child I think it's weird for him to have siblings...

Lucky for him, Sanchai goes home tomorrow and Charlie early next week, so I'm sure he'll be back to normal in no time. :)

And I can't wait for TIAS Day 2!