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: 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! :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review #4: "Tatted Snowflakes"

Title: "Tatted Snowflakes"
Author: Vida Sunderman
Year of Publication: 1995
ISBN: 978-0-486-28303-6 / 0-486-28303-8
Number of pages: 32

Number of patterns: 40 
"Little Ring Snowflake"
Type of pattern notation: Long notation with abbreviations (ie: R of 5 ds, p, 5 ds, lg p, 5 ds, p, 5 ds, cl r; rw). The patterns are very detailed, including giving information of how much thread to wind on the shuttle, where strung beads will be (shuttle or ball thread) and some picot spacings. There are also four diagrams spread throughout the book, but they are only labeled for where to make joins.
Types of patterns: The book is called "Tatted Snowflakes" for a reason--all 40 patterns are snowflakes. All but one are 2D (you can see the one 3D snowflake in the middle of the cover above).
"Whirlaway Snowflake"
Illustrations: All patterns are illustrated with a black and white photo, which is helpful. For the most part, the photos are clear, but sometimes the colorless beads are hard to see in the photos. There are five color photos on the front and two on the back, as well.
Notions: Each pattern is helpfully listed with suggested Materials, which in different combinations include thread sizes 10, 20 and 30 and ribbon floss, beads, crystals, a bell, ribbon and/or glitter and glue.
"Beaded Snowflake"
Shuttle or needle? The patterns are written for the shuttle (one or two shuttles are called for in the  materials section of each pattern) but I have done a few with the needle and found them challenging but workable. If you are ok with working with two needles or leaving spaces with the needle you should be fine with these patterns.
"Star-Shaped Snowflake" (Needle Tatted)
Other inclusions: The book starts out with an Introduction with 3 illustrated (black and white drawings) pages of "How to Tat," including sections on shuttles, thread, how to tat, picots, reverse work and joining. There are also two further pages with details on fold-over joins, the square knot, using two shuttles, the continuous thread, correcting mistakes, finishing ends, laundering snowflakes, blocking snowflakes and working with beads. None of these last are illustrated (with the exception of the square knot) and although the text is very detailed, for a true beginner I think it would require a bit of imagination to fully comprehend/utilize. The final page of the introduction includes ideas for Decorating with Snowflakes, Abbreviations used in the book and helpful, reproducible Blocking Diagrams for five and six-sided snowflakes.
Some patterns need a lot of this "Unique Snowflake"
Skill level: Beginner-Intermediate None of the patterns are specifically "rated," and some are quite simple, but others include multiple cut/tie/hides or other more advanced skills, which are not always fully explained in the patterns.
"Pinwheel Snowflake"
For example, to make the chains all face the same way in the Pinwheel pattern above, those chains without the join needed to be tatted somewhat "backwards" (unflipped stitches made 2nd half first, 1st half second), something the pattern completely left out. 
Skills needed: Tatting with beads, using a picot gauge, two-shuttle tatting, SLT, Josephine chains, ability to adapt pattens "on the fly"
"Small Loop-Stitch Snowflake"
"Large Loop-Stitch Snowflake"
Availability: Although the books is a bit older, it is still readily available both in paperback and digitally!! In the US you can buy it directly from the publisher, Dover Publications, or from, and in paperback only from Be-Stitched and Handy Hands. also carries both formats.
Price range: Digitally $4-8, Paperback $6-10 (US Dollars)
Personal Notes: Although this book isn't maybe as visually grabbing (being full of black and white photos and using the long notation) as other snowflake books, the patterns included are more than worth the small price you will pay to own them. This is a book you can grow with--not all of the patterns are "doable" for very beginning tatters, but some are, and the more you learn, the further in this book you can progress. To me, if you're going to own just one snowflake book, this is the one to get.
"Ruffled-Star Snowflake"

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Book Review #3: "Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments"

Title: "Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments fo Needle and Shuttle Tatters"
Author: Edited by Barbara Foster (published by Handy Hands)Year of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 1-883432-16-2
Number of pages: 24Number of patterns: 18
Type of pattern notation: Short method (ie: R 4-4-4-4 cl rw) and colored and fully labeled diagrams. Some patterns have notations with specific directions for shuttle tatters.
Types of patterns: As you will have guessed from the introduction above and the title of the book, most of the patterns are snowflakes (14 of the 18 patterns listed are labeled as snowflakes), the other four are simply called "motifs". The snowflakes are all numbered, but there doesn't seem to be any type of progression in the patterns--for example, Snowflake 1 is a simple one shuttle/bare thread patter, while snowflake 2 has rings and chains and lots of fluffy picots.

(Left) "Snowflake 1", Above) "Snowflake 2"

Of the four patterns that are labeled motifs, at least one could be a 15th snowflake, and one is shown attached to a satin-covered Easter egg. The third motif is somewhat circular, and is shown attached to to a satin-covered Christmas ball, and the fourth is an oval shown making a simple mat.
Illustrations: All of the patterns are pictured tatted in white, with a pretty blue background on the page with their pattern, and all are also shown in variegated colors, attached to satin covered Easter eggs or Christmas balls, either on the page with patterns or on the last page of the book labeled "additional examples". When I first received this book, I found these extra pictures to be very helpful, especially because it is easy to always make snowflakes in white--it's nice to see multi-colored snowflakes shown in a book, it feels like permission to branch out from traditional snow colors.
"Motif 2"
Notions: Beyond the thread needed for tatting (all the patterns are shown in size 10 or 20 Lizbeth, this being a Handy Hands publication, after all,) and the aforementioned satin-covered balls and eggs (as well as the pins needed to do the attaching), this book doesn't show (or advocate) the use of beads, metal rings or other often-suggested snowflake accouterments, even though I find the patterns lend themselves to beads especially.
"Snowflake 3", with beads added
:Snowflake 8," with beads added
Shuttle or needle? The title says "For Needle and Shuttle Tatters," and I feel that designation is appropriate. Handy Hands patterns are traditionally written with the needle tatter in mind (their logo is a tatting needle, after all,) but in this book, directions for the shuttle tatter are included where necessary (mostly directing the shuttle tatter to SLT, something needle tatters do after every RW). I have done these patterns in both needle and shuttle, and have found them to be equally nice to tat in both ways:
Needle Tatting ("Snowflake 5")
Shuttle Tatting ("Snowflake 5")
Other inclusions: The book starts with a 3/4-page description of the ideology behind the book (and lists a few suggestions of what can be done with the patterns held within) and a 1/4 page ad for Handy Hands. The second page begins with a short list of the "Abbreviations" used, as well as an explanation of the SLT and a reminder about when to and not to rw. It also has a "Pattern Legend" showing the shapes and colors used to denote rings, chains, picots, etc, and a "Table of Contents" well as a 1/4 page ad for Lizbeth thread. :)

Skill level: Beginner The patterns are individually labeled as Beginner, Beginner-Intermediate and Intermediate, but I really would call only one or two anything beyond the beginner level. Most of the patterns can be made in one pass, and all involve nothing more challenging than rings and chains.
A truncated "Motif 1" (It's supposed to have 8 "arms," not 5--also, I think this should be called a snowflake, not a motif)
Skills needed: These patterns don't utilize particularly difficult tatting skills--no SCMRs or split rings here (unless you decide to climb out from one round to another, and there are only a few opportunities to do that, anyway, as many of these patterns can be done in one round AND with one shuttle/needle and ball.) One of the features I love in this book is that each pattern begins with the method to be used (Ring and Thread/Ring and Chain), as well as what you need to complete the pattern (Shuttle and Ball/One Shuttle). The SLT is about the toughest thing about these patterns, and that's only for shuttle tatters. And, I guess there are a few places where you have to make two rings face opposite directions, and two with some twisted/joined threads, but those are the ones I would put in the beginner-intermediate range. Additionally, I have found that a few of the patterns don't lay well, so some blocking skills might be useful, as well.
"Snowflake 4"
Availability: Although I didn't find the book on the UK's Amazon, it is readily available on the US version, at Be-Stitched and of course, Handy HandsTatting and Design does have the book, and I'm sure it's available elsewhere, if you take the time to Google it.
Price range:  $12-$18 (US Dollars) Frankly, I think this book is slightly overpriced, considering the small number of patterns you get, and the fact that one pattern is used twice, just with the threads twisted instead of laid out straight. There are three other easily-obtained snowflake/holiday books on the market (reviews coming soon!) with more patterns and a smaller price tag. Still, these patterns are quick and easy, which is a good thing for those of us who may find themselves with a need to make a few snowflakes at this time of the year.
Personal Notes: To be honest, I probably wouldn't have bought this book for myself, given the ratio of pattern to price, (what can I say, I'm cheap!) but my mom wanted tatted snowflakes so she bought the book for me. That said, it is a nice addition to my collection, and I have used the book many times over the years, and really, that's what is important.
"Snowflake 9"