Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Conundrum (Kind Of)

Well, I have finished the next round of the Stawasz doily but have run into kind of a conundrum. 

The photo in the book shows the completed doily encased in plastic, used as a hot plate for a cup of coffee. I did a hot plate a few years ago, and have a few empty ones left that I was going to make and give as presents...someday.  

And guess what, after round 4 the unfinished doily fits the hot plate pretty much perfectly (ps: please ignore the strings, I have been making this doily using up half-filled shuttles so there are a lot of places I have had to add thread)...

The problem is, there are still 3 rounds left to finish the doily. And I am using smaller thread than Mr. Stawasz called for, so his hot plate must be larger than mine! :)

The conundrum is, of course, whether to continue on and finish the doily or to leave it as-is and give the hotplate to someone as a gift. 

As an anal perfectionist (and one who likes to finish things once started), I am pretty sure I already have an answer to the conundrum--I will finish the doily, considering it a practice piece, and then make another, better one as a gift...someday.

That is what I will do, but it is awfully tempting to snip the theads and leave it, I think it looks so nice...

But then I wouldn't have finished my first Jan Stawasz doily, and that would be a conundrum in itself. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Growing Up" in Tatting

One of the things I love about tatting is the progression I see in what I can do, and what I will try to do. It's like growing up, tatting-style. 

It has been just over a year since I started shuttle tatting and I can really see the difference in what I can achieve now--my picots are more uniform, my tension troubles have eased, and I no longer am intimidated by small thread sizes, adding thread to a shuttle that has run "dry", or Jan Stawasz patterns. 

Well, ok, maybe the Stawasz patterns still make my heart go thump, but more in a "Let's do this!" way, rather than a, "Yeah, right" manner. 

Not that his patterns aren't incredibly challenging, because they totally are. And not that I have mastered his technique, because I totally haven't. But, I did successfully complete my first Stawasz pattern and am on my way to my second:

The first Stawasz pattern: Christmas decoration from "Tatting Theory and Patterns". 

A messy work in progress: "Doily" also from "Tatting Theory and Patterns". Four rows to go!

I find his patterns so satisfying to work. They are so...solid, but so delicate at the same time. I have his second book on order and can't wait to add it to my ever-growing collection. 

Oh, and speaking of my ever-growing tatting book collection, I got another book in the mail today that I am pretty psyched about...I have a bunch of Russian tatting books (because, you know, I live in Russia) and someone offered to swap one of my books for a Japanese book:
Hoorah!! A new language to tat in!!!!!!!

This was such a satisfying experience, if anybody out there has tatting books they want to swap, just let me know! :)

In the meantime, I'm goin back to Stawasz-land! :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Small Somethings and the Iowa State Fair

Oh, hello:

After the "Ferns" I decided to slow down a bit and give my brain a rest. I kind of putzed around with a couple of patterns that didn't amount to anything, then remembered I needed to make a couple small gifts:

Today was my boss' last day at work, and she is quite a reader, so I decided to make her the small flag above (the larger one below was one of the first things I shuttle tatted when I taught myself last summer--it's fun to see how far I've come in a year!) The large one was done in Perle 8, the small in size 30 Cebelia and the pattern is from "Tatted Bookmarks". 

I also made this little motif, which is the first two rounds of a doily with the word Summer in the title from the booklet Doily Delights. I made it for the nice lady who picked my tatting up from the Southern Iowa Fair when my mom wasn't able to. 

Speaking of fairs, I am very pleased with how I did at the Iowa State Fair this year, and I hope you won't think I'm bragging if I share...

I entered seven things and got 3 blues (First Place)

1 red (Second Place)
Two whites (3rd Place)

And 1 pink (4th Place)

This was the first year that I have entered all categories and the first year I have gotten a ribbon for everything I entered! And, I was only one of two tatters who got blue ribbons--the woman who won Best of Show won four of the categories and I won as Chris says, I was the first loser at the. Fair this year! :)

Anyway, thanks for your patience with all that...I love entering in the Fairs, the ribbons are just icing on the cake. :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fikkert's Ferns-Updated

If you are part of the Tatting group on Facebook you might have seen that a couple of us are working on (read: struggling with) Ben Fikkert's pattern "Ferns" from his book "A Tatting Adventure". 

"Ferns" is the pattern shown on the front of the book and includes quite a few Josephine chains and is deceptively hard and incredibly inclined to pucker, curl and do everything but lay down and play nice!

Here is the doily 2/3 of the way finished:

And here is where I am now, not much further along (but still quite curly):

I am working on the final round of the doily (eight identical leafy inserts connecting the eight fern fronds) and having a bit of trouble. The other lady who is working this pattern has been having tension troubles  with the Josephine chains in the first stages of the doily (her theory is that is has to do with Mr. Fikkert tatting more loosely than she does). I didn't have that kind of problem in the early rounds, but I am definitely struggling with these final inserts! 

Those "rings" on the lower part of the insert aren't rings, they're part of the chain that is apparently too long for the space it is in. And before you ask, yes, I did actually follow he pattern. I checked. Twice. 

So I'm not sure what's going on here, but I'm going to shorten the chain a bit and see if that fixes the issue...

And hopefully it does because, frankly, I'm ready to move on from the Ferns! :)


Check out the insert on the far left... Hel-lo success! :)