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"


  1. I really like them and it is funny to say you feel you need permission to make the colored ones, I feel the same way :) I also really like this last one #9 it needs a name huh.

    1. Colored snowflakes feel so weird, but only tatting in white gets boring...