Friday, October 2, 2015

Fair Feedback

I always love getting feedback on things I tat. Good or bad, it doesn't matter--it's just nice to know what people think...

Overall I agreed with pretty much everything the judge said about my tatting, which is always nice. :)

Yep, that corner definitely puckered.
What is particularly funny about this is that at the other fair the judge's comment was that I'd attached it too tightly to make it easy to remove for washing :)
My Best of Show entry!
Not sure what they mean by finer thread since it was made with size 20?
I really did work hard to make that fringe even! :)
Every year I get a comment about needing to pull out the picots. I probably need to learn that lesson.
Overall, happy happy :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

State Fair Time -- Purple Might Be My New Favorite Color!

OK, so please forgive me for what may seem like bragging, but I'm just so pleased!

It's Fair time again and this year I finally achieved a long-held goal: BEST OF SHOW for tatting at the Iowa State Fair!! :)
The basic pattern is made in size 40 Lizbeth, and came from a pattern in "Workbasket" magazine. I added the flowers at the ends and middle of the necklace, and used the basic pattern to create the earrings and bracelet. The flower is actually a snowflake pattern from an Italian Christmas book, "Natale con il Chiacchierino Ad Ago" by Alicja Kwartnik.

This was my only blue ribbon this year, but I also received a 2nd place (red) on my bookmark,
my set of three Christmas Tree ornaments (far left)
and the small Rose and Thistle doily (far right)

I also got third place (white ribbon) for my stupid and frustrating handkerchief edging (I am SO excited to see the written feedback on that!) and fourth (pink) on that white collar.

All-in-all, happiness abounds. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book Reviews #8 & #9: "Tatting for Pleasure" and "Tatting"

Hello! I've been extremely remiss both in updating my blog and posting book reviews in general, so I decided I would make it up to you, my faithful readers, by giving you TWO BOOK REVIEWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! Enjoy :)

Title: "Tatting for Pleasure" and "Tatting: Basic Patterns"
Author: Rosemarie Peel

Year of Publication: 1998 and 2009
ISBN: 1 874688 08 7 and 978-1-874688-11-2
Number of Pages: Both books have 32 pages--however, the patterns start on page 1 and end on page 32, so every page in these books counts!
Heart pattern from the title page of Tatting for Pleasure
Number of Patterns: 14 in "Tatting for Pleasure" and 18 in "Tatting: Basic Patterns"
Types of Patterns: Throughout the books you will find various Edgings, 2D Flowers, a 3D Flower, Small circular motifs, a Bracelet, Earrings, a Bookmark, Horseshoes, a Fan, Celtic Motifs and Edging, and a Butterfly.
Type of Pattern Notation: Both books have short notations with abbreviations (Ch 3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3, RW), as well as numbered diagrams AND, for many patterns, additional diagrams which look like hand-drawn pieces of tatting (black and white only in "Tatting for Pleasure", two-colored in "Tatting") which you can use to count the individual double-stitches.
"Alexandra" from Tatting: Basic Patterns
Illustrations: Both books have full-color front and back covers with images of many of the patterns held within. "Tatting: Basic Patterns" also has full-color images on the front and back inside covers, and very cleverly has a picture of a tatted bookmark that looks like it could be pulled out and used as a real bookmark. It makes me smile every time I see it. "Tatting for Pleasure" also has black and white pictures of some of the patterns. While, as far as I can tell, all the patterns inside are shown in photo-form, not all of the photos are next to the patterns. However, Ms. Peel has very helpfully pointed out where the pictures can be found on the page with the pattern.
"Rose" from Tatting: Basic Patterns
Notions: "Tatting: Basic Patterns" includes just two patterns that use beads, and just one other pattern calls for anything besides a shuttle and ball of thread (a fan base with 3 in. sticks). "Tatting for Pleasure" also has patterns with beads, and one with a fabric covered button. Most of the patterns call for two shuttles.
"Button Cover" from Tatting for Pleasure
Shuttle or Needle? I feel comfortable saying that any pattern in either of these books could easily be achieved with the needle, even though all the patterns call for a shuttle.
Other Inclusions: Both books begin with a page of well-described abbreviations used in the books. "Tatting for Pleasure" also includes a page about Shuttle Preparation, detailing one and two color tatting and illustrated directions on how to achieve the Reef Knot to attach two thread ends, an insert about the Reverse Stitch, and another page about Bead Work.
"Tatting: Basic Patterns" has diagrams and directions for Lock Joins, Rings, Reverse Work, The Join, and Getting Rid of Ends, as well as excellent explanations for adding beads and an ingenious way to climb out from the middle of a chain without having to implement a split chain (thus avoiding a two-colored chain if your shuttle thread is a different color than your ball thread.) Page 27 if you happen to have a copy of the book.
Skill Level: "Tatting: Basic Patterns" Beginner / "Tatting for Pleasure" Beginner-Intermediate All the patterns in "Tatting: Basic Patterns" are one shuttle and ball, and are simply a series of rings and chains. "Tatting for Pleasure" has some simple patterns, but also has some more challenging Celtic patterns which will be fun for beginners to grow into.
"Applique Flower" from Tatting for Pleasure 
Skills Needed: Most of the patterns in these books can be achieved with just one shuttle and a ball of thread, or two shuttles with two colors of thread. The Celtic patterns in "Tatting for Pleasure" are definitely daunting for anyone who does not have experience with Celtic or entwined patterns. A couple patterns call for thrown off rings or Josephine knots, but these and pretty much every other skill needed are shown or explained in the book.
Price Range: These are small booklet-sized publications. Prices range from UK Pound 4.50 (US$ 7) to over $20, depending on where you can find it.
Small Celtic motif from "Tatting for Pleasure" 
Availability: The easiest (and cheapest, that I can find) place to get these books would be the author's own website, LACET Publications, but one or the other can also be found at or Handy Hands.
Personal Notes: I bought "Tatting for Pleasure" a long time ago, when I was just starting out in needle tatting, drawn in but also quickly overwhelmed by the amazing Celtic border shown on the front of the book. Having now become fairly well versed with the shuttle, that pattern, and the other Celtic patterns in the book no longer present such a challenge.
Size 40 thread still makes a teeny-tiny motif (this is an Australia 50 cent piece)
As a self-proclaimed Olympics fanatic, Tatting: Basic Patterns' Olympic rings drew me in, but I didn't really do much with the book once I got it. It's funny what appeals to us in the books we purchase.
"Circular Motif" from Tatting, Basic Patterns
Now, after having spent some time with these books, I'm interested in looking more into Ms. Peel's other books, some of which are already out of print and/or selling at ridiculous prices. I'm specifically interested in "Tatting with Beads"...anybody have a copy they'd like to swap or sell? :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Better than Ugh

Handkerchief, take two!

Thanks so much for all your lovely tips and encouragement. 

Almost perfect. 

I used the suggestions to pin down the handkerchief and stretch the lace to make it work:

I'm nice the handkerchief and lace were stable, I sewed with clear (plastic) thread:

Finally done. Phew!

Hooray. Never again. (At least, never again when I can't tat directly onto the handkerchief!!)

Sunday, July 5, 2015


I have decided I don't like doing edgings. 

They're just not worth the hassle!!

Here is an edging I have been working on for WEEKS--three rounds, no corner in the pattern so I had to make it up, finally finished...


Except now I'm trying to attach the @)&@;)&:! edging to the "/$):@"-$:!;@! Handkerchief, and it's );@"(@)/?!! not working very well. 

You see, it's a little snug. Not too short, jus too snug. And I could' see it while I tatted it because it was three rows and you tat the inside row last. 

So I tried to sew it on today, and totally had a stupid gap at the corner!!

So I had to cut it off and now I've got it pinned out to stretch it a little. 

And I guess I'll try it again tomorrow. BLAh!!

I'm pretty much over it. 


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Traveling, Tatting

Hello from Nepal!!

Tatting, Peanut Butter M&Ms, room service and The Mentalist...if only my husband were here, life would be perfect! :)

More later!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Quietly Tatting


Amazing how time flies. Welcome to May, I guess. :)

So I've been quietly tatting down here, not doing much of consequence, but playing a little and trying to empty some shuttles. 

So let's see...

Today I did this:

Which looks like this on the back side:

The blue/pink/purple rows are size 40 Lizbeth, the white row is size 20 Lizbeth. The pattern can be found here:

I have also met up with another Canberra tatter(!!!!!!!!!!) and we have both been working on a Jan Stawasz pattern from "Tatting Theory and Patterns". 

So far I've accomplished just a little more than this:
  ...but not much more!
I think it's going to be pretty when I finish it. :)

Hm, what else? 

I've been playing on eBay and bought a couple dozen issues of "The Workbasket", which is pretty awesome. I love looking through all the old ads, recipes, and of course the tatting patterns!
The issues span from 1954 to 1992, so there is a lot of depth, and it's very interesting to see the change in the interests the "Workbasket" editors assumed their readers had...and what people thought was fashionable through the years!

Other than that, it's same old, same old. Not a complaint, just an observation. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Poppy for ANZAC Day

I've been reading all the chatter about tatted poppies over the past few months (and I know many of the Australian tatters contributed to this amazing!!! display highlighted by Fiona T) and noticed there was no one poppy pattern anyone has come up with...

So, in honor of ANZAC Day, I've come up with my own, very imperfect but meant in honor, Lest We Forget...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Well, predictably after finishing that massive doily, I've had a hard time settling down to anything specific. 

My brains are turning towards the Fairs this summer, but also wandering around all the patterns I've been seeing while focusing almost solely on pineapples, so it's been rather odd here. 

Anyway, I've settled on a couple of tester patterns, neither of which are terribly pretty, but have been good practice for new or challenging skills. 

This is a very poor execution of Mark Myers (aka Tat-Man's) Pattern Edging #1, which includes a zig-zag chain in the middle.
I was playing around with the outside rounds, trying to figure out the appropriate combinations of rings, chains, joins and's not pretty, but it's something. 

I actually had another zig-zag chain all made, but it got a little weird...when I started making the outside rounds, the chain started slipping and spread out to unusable proportions...lest I go crazy (I have no patience today)I decided to move on to something else...

I have so many handkerchiefs I've got to start edging them. Georgia Seitz sent me a couple Ila Frost edgings that use block tatting, another challenging skill I want to work on. 
This motif was actually made by continuing "Block and Clover Edge" around for an extra clover and two extra blocks--again it's not perfect, but it did give me some insight into block tatting. 

Both of these skills need a lot more work, and neither of these smells are perfect, but not everything has to be exactly right as long as you learn something from the process.

Right? :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Reveal

So, are you ready to find out what I've been working on for the past months (almost exclusively, I might's been a labor of love, I tell you!)

I first referenced this project on February 7, a full 2 months ago, and at that point I'd been working on it for at least a week, so this has been a long time coming!!

The decision to make this doily came on an early morning train trip to Dulles Airport to meet my brother and sister-in-law when they came to visit us in DC. I wanted to start a project that would end up being over 12" wide, and I wanted to make something fun.

I Googled "big doily" and eventually found my way Georgia Seitz's wonderful BellaOnline site's listing of large doily patterns. After a couple clicks, I found my way to Pineapple Heaven by Dorthea Albee, and immediately fell in love, not entirely with Dorthea's small version, but with the large black and white picture next to it (pictured below) and here.

After perusal of the pattern, I realized that the large doily, the one with the lovely pineapple points, was not the pattern listed on the page, but that the old-looking black and white picture was nice enough (and could be enlarged enough) that I could figure out the stitch count on my own.

Sketchy, Kristen...

I know, I hear you thinking this...and you are right.

Let me be clear, I feel VERY strongly that copying online patterns by reading the stitch count is super-sketchy and NOT OK, but I promise you I began this exercise with an assumption that the black and white picture, which was not the pattern on the page, was an out of print photo which had obviously inspired Dorthea's pattern but had no extant pattern, and with full intentions of waiting to publish anything specific about the project until
     a) the doily was done, and
     b) I had verified with Georgia to make sure I wasn't infringing on anyone's copyright if I shared my worked out version of the pattern on my blog, because I also feel VERY strongly that selling out-of-copyright patterns is not cool, unless maybe you've done a significant amount of work to update the pattern or re-published it in a book or something, but even then...blah. Just copying and selling an antique pattern is lame, IMHO. (Bwahaha, just ask me and I'll tell you, I guess.)

Anyway, that is what I did. And Georgia did give me very kind permission to provide you with my version of the pattern, but also had a surprise for me...

Guess what, I did a whole bunch of guessing for nothing, because of course the big doily was also Dorthea's pattern, and Georgia has that pattern in her amazing library of pattern amazingness...of course!

Moral of the story, ask first, save yourself some work. Hahahahahahaha!!!

I compared what I worked out with Dorthea's original pattern, and to be very honest it would be silly for me to provide you with my pattern because it was so, so similar to hers, so if you want the pattern, chat with Georgia. I promise you, it's worth the time, and it will probably take you way less time than it did me, because you won't be working it out as you go along. :)

Not that I think this was a wasted effort, because I truly did learn a lot from making this doily, especially about adapting an older pattern with updated techniques (ie: climbing out from round to round) AND this is my first project tatted entirely in frontside/backside tatting...also I am just so in love with pineapple patterns. Beautiful.

But still. Don't assume something is without a pattern until you ask. :)

And don't copy patterns from the Internet. Or sell antique patterns.

ANYWAY...Diatribe over.


So, are you ready for this?

If you would please disregard the many loose threads, here is the finished product I have been working on for many, many weeks:

Isn't it BEAUTIFUL?!

I will admit, I got really sick of the project about 3/4 of the way through, mostly because of the color and because, while almost 30 of the rounds could be done by climbing out and up, the 20 points around the edge had to be done individually and I don't love doing many tiny motifs...I avoid them whenever possible.

However, now that it's done, I love it again, more than I loved it when I saw the original picture.

So, what should I do with it, now that it's done? (Besides cutting off all the threads--that will be done once I decide what to do with it, and re-block it to iron out the last issues.)

Right now, I'm thinking about mounting it on a pillow. Not either of the ones below, of course--these are just for sizing purposes.

The top pillow is 18x18 (inches), the bottom is 14x14. In the big picture above, the black part of the frame is 15x15, the wooden part of the frame is 16x16.

What do you think? Do you like the pillow idea? What size of pillow do you like best? What color background, dark or light?

Right now I'm thinking navy blue 18x18...

Anyway, there you have it. Mad props to Muskaan and mb duke for their guesses about it being either Teri Dusenbury's beautiful Forever Young or one of Camelia Lambert's amazing could have been either, but it's not, it's Dorthea Albee's Pineapple Heaven and it was lots and lots of fun (and work) to create!