Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm late! I'm late!

I've been working on my secret Santa gift but the last month has been a little hectic. After a good start I'm down to the wire because I feel it needs to go out this week. So, I will be fussing with it for a few more days and then out it goes.

I also received a sign from the gods to hurry up...I received a package from my secret Santa last Friday. Mmm, okay so this is earlier than I've ever received the package. I usually receive mine right before Christmas so its not difficult to wait. The brown wrapped package is currently sitting in the car because if I take it inside I'll likely open it. Actually, I'm considering covering it in catnip. This way when it gets ripped open before Christmas it won't be my fault. Darn drug addicted cats....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Odds and Ends

Every tatter has lots and lots and lots of leftover thread ends. This last week I've used a lot of mine up by making beaded snowflakes. The beads make it easy to hide the ends so you don't care if you have to use multiple threads. Here I used 2 pieces of thread and hid the ends under the beads. The basic pattern is R 4-4, 6 beads (size 10), *R 4-4-4-4, 6 beads, R 4+4*, repeat from *.
I got bored after awhile so I modified the pattern by adding beads on the outside rings and changing the ds count to 3. Naturally, since there's little structure to the snowflakes I had to stiffen them using glue.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do You See Something Different?

This is the last snowflake in this round for the doily I showed you a couple days ago. Do you see something wrong between A and B? Apparently I didn't until just now, when I was a little irritated that my center picot was too large compared to the others in the doily. I know, a little knit picky cause apparently I missed the BIG PICTURE DIFFERENCE! You know, the one that makes what should have been the last motif in the round unusable in this particular pattern. I'll have to make another, no fixing this motif.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Hmmm, what's different between these 2 pictures....

Still can't see it? Try counting the rings on the center round. 5 rings on the correct motif Exhibit B but I threw in an extra repeat on Exhibit A to make 6 rings. Sigh, this is why I don't do more complicated patterns. Sob! I was so close. Really, I'm laughing on the inside.


There's no pictures to share today instead I'm taking a moment to muse about packaging. You know, the stuff that comes around the stuff we give, receive or buy. There's something special about a nicely packaged object. I know that I have been persuaded to buy something stupid just because the packaging was cool. Many companies invest a lot of time and money into packaging so there must be something to it.
Why am I thinking about something so mundane? Well, I made some snowflakes, stiffened them (probably for the first time ever) and they looked pretty hanging up. Then I had a thought- would they look so pretty if I gave them in a plain old envelope? If I just hand them to someone without packaging the snowflakes are likely to get lost or dirty before they hit the Christmas tree. I need some sort of packaging but the plain envelope hides them and Ziploc bags just don't do it for me.
So I thought about it for a bit...
Aha! Guess what I have: self-sealing plastic bags! I stuck a snowflake in each one and I am amazed by how much the presentation is improved by a bit of plastic. I feel like its something you get from a candy shop. I think I'll add a ribbon and a gold sticker. Does this make the tatting more valuable? more worthwhile? No, but it might make someone else feel that it is.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


In the last couple weeks I have been working to finish my works in progress from the last couple of years. Mostly what happens is that I start with an idea, develop variations from there and then hit a road block. So I stop and start to work on something else. With one exception all of my WIPs are my own patterns and the road block is deciding what to do next.

This one I started and stopped 2 years ago. I really like the thread and the colors but I forgot that pentagrams don't fit together the way hexagrams do so into the UFO pile it went. However, I have picked it up again and have been working on it to finish this round. Afterwards I will do something to join it all together with an outside round. I have 2 more motifs to finish this round. If I was to make this pattern again, I would either remove the extra picots on the outside round or add more in other places. They don't really belong in a motif with no other decorative picots. The color of this thread really makes the motif look like a snowflake and is very pretty so I don't need to add extra picots. If I did the pattern in white I think that decorative picots would keep it from being too plain or stark. The magic number for this pattern is 8 so I could add more picots by making a picot every 4 or 2 picots. Many doily or motif patterns use 4 or 5 as the magic number i.e. picots every 4 ds with every ring or chain being some multiple of 4 ds.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Package arrived!

Being single and probably a little strange I buy myself a birthday gift. Since I was a student for many years this is usually a small gift. This year, I splurged and ordered one of Sherry's lovely shuttles as well as some silk thread.
I like this shuttle because the buttons on it remind me of the Borrowers and the Littles. The Borrowers is a child's book about little people who scavenge a living off the normals (us). The Littles is a cartoon based on the book. The buttons on the shuttle look like something they would scavenge.
The colors I ordered were Spring poppies and Granny Delicious in silk. The scanner doesn't show their colors very well so I skipped any pictures. The shine and the quality of the thread is very good.
Thanks Sherry, that package arrived in great shape!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Misdated Blogs

I'm not sure if anyone else is irritated by this but blogger always dates a post for when I started writing it rather than when I finish. I usually take a little while to write out my posts. Not for stylistic reasons (obviously) but because tone is such an issue with the written language. Its easy to for something to be read in the wrong way so I try to be very clear about what I'm saying. This means that I often think about something for awhile before posting. For example, the previous post was started last week but I didn't post it until today. I think the posting should be for today not October 30th. Its not going to end my world but I notice it anyways. I wonder, does this mean that I am missing postings on other blogs?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dresden doily

I think that my favorite doily of all time is the Dresden tatted doily by Roger aka Freedman. Its very simple to make and tats up quickly. I made 4 of them in 2 months a few years ago for a friend of mine. I altered it a bit by adding beads to the picots on the outside round and Nina Libin style bead leaves periodically on the outside round. I don't have any pictures of the ones I made and I couldn't copy the picture over from Needle tatting two but here's the address:
Take a look, its a very easy doily, you can make it as big as you like and it looks lovely when finished.

How do I assess the difficulty of a doily? Well, I take a kiss (keep it simple silly) approach to tatting so when I assess the difficultly level of a doily I look at a few aspects of the pattern:

1) basic techniques required- anything with plain old rings and chains I consider easy, start adding in split rings, SCMR, clunnys and you are looking at a different level of difficulty whether you are comfortable with advanced techniques or not. I'm very comfortable with many of these techniques but its just one more thing to think about. I recommend that if you are not familiar with a technique in a large pattern that you practice the technique first. It really sucks to finish a pattern and realise that there's a big difference in quality between the split rings or clunnys you started making and the ones on the outside round. However, I don't believe that advanced techniques alone make a pattern difficult.

2) length of repetitive elements- if you have to constantly consult the pattern because the repetitive element is too long to memorize then its more difficult. You have to keep stopping to check the pattern and you risk skipping a line. This is doubled when the ds counts within the repetitive element change. There's a UFO in my pile that initially looked very very easy. Just rings and chains. HOWEVER, its never going to be finished because the repetitive element is too long, the ds counts change every ring and I keep reading the wrong lines, making the wrong rings and then cutting it out. I'm very bitter about this pattern.

3) number of repetitive elements- when a pattern changes in each section you run the risk of making the wrong element. You tend to get a flow going so its really easy to miss a change or a transition area. If there's 1-2 variations its okay but more than that and it gets dicey. Of course these patterns are impressive once finished so are more than worth the time and patience. What's the difference between #2 and #3? Not a whole lot.

4) the lines of the pattern- huh? well, some tatting patterns go with the flow and curves of the rings and chains while some constantly change direction. This means that you may have to finesse a bit and the pattern may only lay properly once you pin it. It also means that tension may be an issue and you have to tat it very consistently. How annoying if everything is perfect except for one sloppy chain. I never, never, never tat anything without a picture.

This may sound very serious but its not. I'm just sharing one way to look at doilies based on my own experiences. I'm sure everyone will tell you something different and they'll be right. I've had alot better time doing projects once I figured these things out. I don't get frustrated trying to finish a long project in a short time. I also don't have the urge to hurt someone with a sharp shuttle when things go wrong. (my fault? no, never my fault- better to blame someone else) The Dresden doily rates low on all 4 aspects but it looks very nice when finished. Its a good first doily to make.

If a doily rates high in any one of these 4 it doesn't mean I don't do the doily, it just means that I don't work on the doily while watching TV or on car rides. Challenge and change isn't a big deal in a small motif but its a little more serious if its a large doily. There's nothing worse than finding a mistake at the end of a large doily or after hours of work. Believe me that I've done every stupid mistake possible... and some that didn't seem possible at the time. If a doily pattern rates high in all 4 categories then I try to get someone else to make it! That way I can see the results without pulling out all my hair!

However, in a final word there's nothing more beautiful than a well tatted doily, the larger the better. Some of the most beautiful works I've seen were simple patterns done well.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!
I love Halloween, its always fun to dress up. Sadly, I don't have children so Halloween has been a bit hit and miss the last few years. This is the first Halloween in my very own house and I'm excited about giving out candy. I hope to give out most of the candy I bought. I'm not a big candy eater and I don't want to start a new habit. On the other hand, I'm terrified of running out of candy- I don't want my house egged.

On a completely different note, my sister picked up this bag of thread for me for $5 dollars in August. I think there were over 30 rolls of thread in the bag. Some of the thread was damaged and broken due to rubber bands being used to hold the thread and it smelled. At a suggestion from someone in the threads of a tatting goddess group I put fabric softener sheets in the bag. This really worked well to get rid of the smell. The thread is pearl cotton in size 8 and 12 which isn't perfect tatting thread but works for me. I learned how to tat using mostly pearl cotton so I'm familiar its little quirks. Its very soft compared to regular tatting thread. Its great for everyday use. I made of couple of these thimble holders (left) one day at a seminar. The picture doesn't really show it but I really looks like an egg. I thought at Easter I could make a bunch for an Easter tree.

The pattern is basically a rosette made by increasing by 1 ds each section in each row and this forms a tube. I was in the middle of making a pink one when my friend started to giggle- she thought looked like a different sort of pink tube. She said if I was resorting to making pink lace penises then it wasn't healthy for me to be single anymore. I told her it was going to be a cosy (yeah like a tea cosy) for sex toys. Keep in mind that the bag is meant to hold something small like a thimble. This is how much was done on the pink thimble holder at the time. The thread I was using at the time was a variegated pink. My poor innocent thimble holder...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Black hats

Inspired by the onset of Halloween I picked up some black thread, orange beads and tatted. Any ideas what to do with these? I was thinking maybe bookmarks or sewing them onto something? I tried tatting a moon to sit behind the hat but I'm not sure that I like how it looks. I'm not sure its clear that its supposed to be the moon. I think there's a bat pattern around on the Internet that would look much better on the moon than my hat.As you can probably guess by the number of hats made, the hat is very simple to make. The only tricky part is that I used Martha Ess's folded rings to make the peak on the hat. If you are not aware of this technique she generously shares it on her website Tat's Amore. I've also used her method of notating the folded ring.

Beaded Witch's Hat Pattern

The hat is made of a fold ring followed by a series of chains. Sting 10 beads and wind about 6-8 inches on shuttle, CTM. All the beads will be used on the ring. All joins are ball thread joins.

R 3- (3 beads on picot) 1 vsp seta 6 setb vsp 1- (3 beads on picot) 1 vsp seta 6 setb vsp 1 - (3 beads on picot) 3 close ring with one bead still on the ring thread to get captured at the base of the ring.

Ch 4 + (between 1st and 2nd bead of 1st picot of ring) 6 lock stitch 6 + (to previous join) 6 + (at center in the space between chain and ring) 4 + (between 2nd and 3rd bead on 3 rd picot of ring) 6 lock stitch 6 + (to previous join) 6 + (to center) cut and tie.

Whew! Just remembered why I never write out patterns. So difficult to communicate something as simple as the hat.
For me, witches hats and pumpkins symbolize Halloween the best. I made one more hat but I think it looks more like a wizard's hat than a witch's. I think it would look better in purple with silver beads. What do you think? If I turn the picture around, it kinda looks like a monkey's face.
Sorry, one more question. Do you think that black hats are like black socks- they never get dirty?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tatter's best friend

When I first started tatting I used a metal shuttle with the hook on the end and for many years I wouldn't change. Why you ask? 2 reasons, the first is that I'm embarrassed to say I didn't immediately grasp how you got the thread on the post style shuttles. Please keep in mind that I was using a bobbin style shuttle where you removed the bobbin to wind it. The second reason I wouldn't change was that I was not entirely convinced that a crochet hook would be easier to use than the hook on the shuttle. It just seemed like it would take too long and was one more thing to carry around.
I can't remember why I finally started to use the post style bobbin but now I wouldn't change from my clover tatting shuttles. It seemed onerous at first to use that crochet hook- you have to drop the shuttle and find the hook and it seemed to take so long to do. Now, I don't notice at all and in a very unhygienic manner I keep the hook in a place I won't forget, my mouth. I know, it's gross- can you say orally fixated?
Why am I thinking about this? Because I'm filling in time tatting with my shuttle and hook thinking how much harder this would be if I just had the pick to do joins. Now, I'm sure that there are other tools some tatters use more but I would argue that some sort of hook is an essential tool for tatting. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Queen of Clunny

If you ever wondered why learn to clunny tat you should check out by Elisa Dusud. Elisa must be the Queen of Clunny because I've never seen anyone use them so much and with such ease. Personally, I've never really been all that thrilled about clunnies but Elisa brings them to a whole new level. If you don't read french don't worry, just look at the pictures! Its definitely worth your time. One the same note, do you think the plural of clunny is clunnies or clunnys?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

lost but not forgotten

I am just about to re-send my Summertime exchange package. It did not make it to Singapore so I'm trying again. I rarely have issues when tatting anymore but every once in awhile things go really wrong. Trying to remake this project was one of those times...what I ended up doing is not what I started doing. Here is the what I originally created and tried to reproduce but was waylaid by my overactive hands.
So the amulet bag is out and something else is in...thank GOD it worked out. In fact, I think what I ended up with is quite lovely. I can't share a picture here until my very patient partner receives her package but I will later. I can tell you that the theme is very similar just that my hands decided to follow a different pattern then my brain. I have a habit of tatting and reading which maybe the cause of the detour.

As a point of interest the major thing wrong with the bag above was that it tipped forward due to the daisy. IF I do the pattern again I will add something or change the handle placement to even out the weight distribution or maybe not...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Something a little different

We were cleaning out the junk that tends to pile up in the clinic. One of the things we found is a bag that Salima (other Chiropractor in the clinic) was going to take home and never did. It had been in a drawer since Christmas. When she opened the bag it had what I made her for Christmas-Tasbih (Muslim prayer beads) . She's Muslim so you may find it strange that I give her a Christmas gift but we don't think about it that way. I had forgotten about them but I'm happy to say that seeing them again I was impressed. The Tasbih have 99 beads with every 33 beads separated by a different bead and a bottom bead and tassel. Ideally the top bead has a certain shape to it but often people use a larger bead or series of beads.
The red and green Tasbih is made out of red fossil and green quartz. The tassel is green and gold. I choose those color because they are important colors for a big holiday. Semi-precious stones tend to be heavy and have smaller holes so they tend to break the thread holding the Tasbih together. This is meant for special occasions.
I'm not sure if it shows up but the next one has green glass beads. I used goldstone beads as the separators and put a red tassel on the top. These beads have larger holes and are lighter. This Tasbih could take a lot of abuse and not break.
I used smaller beads here to make a smaller Tasbih. Again the beads are glass so its lighter. You can't see it but the separator beads are polygons (does that work in 3-d?) and there is a band of gold on them. Green and White are the colors of the Aga Khan who is the the Ismaili's religious leader.
Anyways, I thought I would share this with you. I can't share any pictures of what I'm working on right now. Unfortunately, the summertime exchange package I sent never arrived at its destination. I'm trying to remake what I sent but it's not going well. It's taking forever.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

paradigm shift

Definition: a fundamental change in approach or assumptions

I think that I just experienced a paradigm shift in the way that I approach my tatting. It was my opinion that tatting has neither a front side nor a back side so I never bother with front sided/back sided techniques. Most people that I give my tatting to would have no idea which side was up or down so really front/back sided techniques don't apply. In fact, one of the charms about tatting is that there is no obvious front or back unlike say...knitting. Sure, tatters may notice the difference, but the average person won't. I also like the fact that I can just flip a doily if it gets a fleck on it.
However, today I voluntarily changed to front side/back side tatting for a pattern. Why? Well, some things by their nature have fronts and backs. Oh amulet bag. You have an inside and outside portion of the bag and you can't just turn it inside out and have the same thing. Another example is the rosette which by the nature of the joins looks different on the front than on the back. So, I have decided in these cases to use front sided/back sided techniques. This is a major change for me since it changes how I look at patterns and the double stitch. It also makes things a little more complicated. Crap!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wedding Jitters

I thought I hit publish on this note 2 weeks ago. Jessica's wedding has passed and it was lovely. She had her outdoor evening wedding on the nicest day of the summer...Lucky girl. The rest is the note I wrote 2 weeks ago:

My sister is getting married on the 23rd so I'm making her ring pillow. I have all of the elements done but I just have to assemble it. Every time I think I'm going to have a moment to work on it something comes up. Next week I'll be worrying about the tent and stuff so its getting a little down to the wire here...I think that I am going to be spending a few nights this week finishing it. The other thing I have to do is an edging on her hanky. I think that I need to keep it very simple, its too bad because there's some edgings that would be great! Oh well...time is short and the hanky was a late addition to the plan.

The ring bearer's pillow is a pre-made heart with lots of white machine lace that I stripped down to the bare pillow. If you've read some of my earlier posts you've read (heard) me whine about mignonette tatting. What I didn't say about it is that it works up quick and looks very frilly as an edging. So, I did black mignonette tatting for the edging. For the first round I did the rings every 1/2 inch or so and then sewed them onto the pillow. I sewed the stitches so the thread went top to bottom and Guess what? this angles the lace downwards. No, I'm not kidding. I did two rounds and no matter how I fluff it up, it wants to angle downwards. If I flip the pillow, the lace sits perfect, no downwards angle! If I wasn't afraid of damaging the pillow by ripping out more stitches I would cut it off and sew it on again. The lesson here is consider the direction of your stitches when attaching edging. I'm going to use hairspray to make it sit the way I want!

Special note after the wedding: The edging on the pillow looked fantastic when just sprayed but hairspray really doesn't stand up to a 4 year old boy's handling. So it was a little wilted by the time he went down the aisle. Pictures will be coming soon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Christmas in July

Here are the pictures of the package I received from Susan for the Christmas in July exchange. It was a lovely package... of course the chocolate that came in the package is long gone so no pictures of chocolate!
I really like the cute little tins that the earrings came packaged in. I forgot to include a picture of the Betty Boop tin.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Daisy, Daisy

My sister is getting married this summer and Daisies are her flower. So I made a few to go on the flower girl's basket (my niece) and to go on the ring bearer's pillow. I tried a couple of designs as you can see in a previous post but this is the one that worked. Unfortunately, its 3-d so it doesn't show up well on the scanner. Here's a quick look, better pictures will come later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I thought I posted this a week ago

I thought that I hit post for this a week ago...but I guess I forgot to post it.

This is the doily I was talking about in the last post. For whatever reason it started cupping after the 5th row. I'm talking a 90 degree turn. I suspect that it has something to do with that row of rings only. I don't tend to have cupping issues with my doilies.

I started to do the doily because it was a test tat for placemats that I was going to make for my sister in law for Christmas. Everyone needs placemats right? So, there I am tatting away when my friend Sal says to me: "you're not making that for me are you?" I said no, and explain about what I was doing. She says "do YOU like that color? does Linda like that color?" Basically, she thought the color was ugly but didn't want to say it outright. I think that's the point when the doily became cursed. The color below is not exactly accurate but its basically a lavender color. I never did make the sets because I realised that color maybe an issue here. What if I make something and they are never used because the recipient doesn't like the color? That's alot of work to sit hidden away in some drawer. Now, I will admit that its not my favorite color but I don't think its hideous. I have it sitting out in my house and it looks nice.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Round Robin Bookmark pattern

Tattingchic asked for the pattern for this bookmark. It took me a couple of days because I thought it was in a different book. Its from Tatting Doilies and Edgings edited by Rita Weiss on page 38 edging 6 and the pattern is actually on page 40. I did 5 repeats of the pattern for each side, joining in the middle picot of the chain. Each side I did separately and after the last repeat I took the ends from each side and made a spiral tail.

From the same book I've done the occasional doily on pg 13. While doing the pattern I made extra rounds by accident and wasn't sure the outside edging would still fit so I never did the edging round. Now, I'm pretty sure that I could have done a lot more rounds and the edging still would fit as long as there were even number picots (each repeat of the edging takes 2 picots). I didn't pay attention to the instruction and did a 5th round before I realized my mistake. There's no way I'm cutting out a perfectly good round so I did a few more rounds thinking to do the edging when it was bigger. In the end, I was too afraid to do the edging all around then find out it wouldn't fit so I declared the doily finished without the outside edging. My Aunt Erma has it and I wonder what I would think of it if I saw it again.
I also did the distinctive luncheon set doily but never got past the 4th rings only round. Why you say? started to cup after actually wasn't cupping so much as taking a 90 degree turn. I thought about stiffening it for the outside of a dish but decided to cut it back to the 4th round. I'm pretty sure that I left too much room between the rings, if you've read an earlier post you know I have issues with bare thread on ring only designs. I think it dates back to this pattern. I'm lazy and really hate cutting my work. Its actually one of my favorite doilies (or maybe coaster would be more accurate). I really need to scan this work because there's also another story about the color, maybe next post...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summertime Exchange hints

I signed up to participate in the HBT summertime exchange. I am really surprised at all the people who have already sent out their packages...I guess I need to get working! My package has a long way to go so I'm going to send it out soon. I am working on a couple things and I have already picked out most of the extra stuff to go with it. One of the things I've made already are some really simple magnets so ***** 's children can hang their pictures on the fridge.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

daisy tryouts

My sister is getting married in August and her colors are gold, white and black. Her favorite flower are daisies so she's using them in her bouquet. For her ring bearer's pillow we are using one that we picked up at liquidation world. It is heart shaped and had a lot of white lace on it that really wasn't her style. My sister likes things very clean and simple. So, I pretty much stripped everything off the pillow to the basic satin heart. Now, I am adding a black edging using the mignonette tatting style (yes, I know I complained about this type of tatting a few posts back) and I am making a daisy to go in the middle. I have finally figured out how I am doing it but I'm not finished. I thought I would share a few rejected daisies with you. The first one on the left didn't work out because I couldn't add more petals without it looking lopsided. The second on looks more like a daffodil than a daisy. The petals are too small on the third one. The last one is nice and is done using Helma Siepmann's style but wasn't big enough. The daisy that I'm going to use is still a WIP but I will show the picture when I'm done all 30 petals.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I've been tagged by singtatter (just learned how to make a link!)

Here are the rules:
1. Link back to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share 6 unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag 4 people at the end of your entry

6 unimportant things:

1. My grandmother had a terrible fear of snakes and taught me to be afraid of them as well. She used to put out moth balls to keep the snakes out of her garden. When I was a child I had nightmares about them being in my bed. Snakes aren't very big or dangerous in Canada so its silly to be afraid of a garter snake.

2. I love donuts. I can't stand the crappy donuts that they serve in most coffee shops (Tim Hortons) but I love the real bakery donuts.

3. I hate going to movie theaters. I know its a date killer but why go somewhere you can't talk and you can't see your date. I've never been to a drive- in- movie, but I would like to try it sometime.

4. My favorite movie is Zoolander. Its been a few years and I'm still laughing. I love Ben Stiller's jokes but it always takes me awhile to catch up. I'm too literal to get the jokes the first time but I giggle later.

5. I don't own a computer.

6. I love to read silly romance novels. Except now I realize that I'm older than the female characters. In fact, I'm the same age as most of the guys and I'm starting to question their judgment!
I'm supposed to tag 4 people...

Monday, June 9, 2008

What's on TV.

My mom and my sister are always giving me a hard time about having my tatting or crafts out in the living room or sitting room. I figure that's unfair since they have their major hobby (watching TV) taking up an entire section of their house. If they can have their hobby sitting in every room why can't I? The angel above is from the be-stitched web site, its very simple to make and takes little time but is so pretty.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summertime Goals

We've had the first truly hot day here in Ottawa so I thought that I would share some of my goals for the summer:

1.) Complete the TAT apprentice phase. I have thought about doing this for a couple years now but didn't really have the money to spare (even though its not expensive). Keep in mind that until last year the Canadian Dollar was significantly much lower than the USD. Naturally it required that I get more thread and I am waiting for the threads to arrive right now. Although I have LOTS of thread I have no size 20 cordonet thread. I have ordered flora thread size 20 from Handy Hands tatting.

2.) In January I bought a house that was basically gutted on the inside and with the help of my PARENTS (no, your children never grow up and stop depending on you) I am fixing it up. My goals for this summer is basically painting:

kitchen (2nd coat)- grey
trim- oxford white (inside and out, some are currently a very ugly green)
living room wainscoting and bathroom - beige/brown
bedrooms- unknown colors and probably wallpaper, in old houses you really don't have much of a choice.

3.) Vegetable garden- needs to be reclaimed from a very obnoxious weed

4.) running 5km 3 times a week, I also want to find a soccer league close to where I live

5.) Work on knitted lace. I am starting bobbin lace classes this fall and the teacher asked if I knew how to do knitted lace and I said yes. Apparently it makes a difference if you know other kinds of lace. I haven't done it in awhile so I need lots and lots of practice. I guess everyone is getting a lace scarf this fall. I'm doing some practice runs (the scarves) and then will start a doily... wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Finished round

This is the finished first round of the snowflake. As you can see it is a little lopsided. I don't think that I will do the outside round, instead I will used this for something else. I am going to do another version of this pattern but will change the picot size as well as the spaces between the rings. I may also add beads to hold the space between the rings constant. I think part of the reason I'm not crazy about this kind of pattern is that I usually don't need to block a piece. This style definitely needs to be blocked and stiffened.

I forgot to include this bookmark when showing you what I sent to Meme for the round robin exchange. Instead of doing a traditional tail off the top or the bottom of the heart I tatted around to the side of the heart and then did the tail. It doesn't show up in the picture but where it curves around the outside of the heart looks like little waves. If you do 4 hs and 1 ds it creates a curving wave effect.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stressful tatting

I find almost any style of mignonette tatting and any pattern with bare thread stressful. Why you ask? Well I hate the fact that the thread between the rings is never quite the same no matter how carefully I measure. I've actually done quite a few of these patterns but I use beads to get the spacing of the bare thread to appear consistent.

In ring only patterns the space between the rings is often not designated. For example, the snowflake above is from 24 snowflakes in tatting but it does not say how much space to put between the rings. This means there is a strong possibility that when I get the first round complete it will cup and I will have to start again.
I think of an easy pattern as one that will look nice with minimal skills. Although the only skill involved here is ring making, I also need to guess at the spaces needed between the rings to have the snowflake come out flat. This makes it a fussy pattern to do. I will probably work at mastering it simply because once I figure out the spaces between the rings it will tat up very quickly.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Round Robin Exchange

This is the bookmark I sent M. Eliana for April. I sent it out a few days late. I finished the bookmark part but felt it wasn't quite ready yet. I wasn't sure why...just it wasn't right. That weekend I went to the Hector Tatting seminar and found an Oak leaf charm at Debbie Arnold's table. In the fall, the oak leaves turn green and yellow which is the color of the bookmark. It just seemed to finish it off nicely. The thread is something I picked up at a needlework show a couple of years ago, I really like it. Its hand dyed silk but unfortunately, the person who dyed the silk stopped! I liked tatting with this thread and I loved the color combinations. At the time I bought it I had no money to buy more, in fact I shouldn't have bought anything. I wish that I had bought one of every color she had available.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I was camping on the weekend with my Sparks (girl guides). I guess if you sleep in a heated building its not considered camping. We slept on the floor and spent all the time outside so its as camping as things get at 5 and 6 years old. The Sparks made mother's day gifts since they were being picked up on Mother's Day. We also made necklaces and pipe cleaner wands. I thought they turned out really cute and the girls really liked them. Everyone loves making stuff with pipe cleaners. Here is the picture of one wand that got left behind. I have also given instructions on how to make one below.

Pipe cleaner Wand

pipe cleaners- assorted colors, some cut in half
foam stars (or you can make your own out of pipe cleaners)
2 pieces of ribbon
hole punch

Take a long pipe cleaner and wind the shorter pipe cleaners around it until the entire length is covered. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the foam star. Insert the end of the main pipe cleaner through the hole and bend it back towards the base creating a loop through the star. Finish the loop by twisting the tip around the base. Finish by tying the ribbon on the wand by pulling the ribbon through the loop and tying the ends together. If you wanted to add a little more you could use sparkles around the edge of the foam. This is a craft that any age can do, you can make it fancier by making the stars out of scrapbook paper.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Little bit of Spring

Today, the weather has been great here in Ottawa. Not too hot, not too cold at 19C with the sun shinning. I'm not a hot weather person but I am looking forward to my first summer at my new house. I have a porch that I'm planning on spending a lot of time in once it gets painted. Right now its the green equivalent of Pepto-bismol. I also have a backyard that I'm excited about.

This is a picture of that hanky I made for a Valentine Hanky exchange. You can't see them but there are gold beads in the edging. I originally started using a different thread but realised I was going to run out of thread. I changed to a thread that was almost a full ball. The yellow flower is made out of Altin Basak polyester thread. A lot of people don't like using the polyester thread because its so slippery that the knots come undone but the shine of the thread is beautiful when tatted up.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hana's Heart

These are pictures taken using my cell phone of the heart I sent Hana in the round robin. At that time I hadn't figured out how to use the scanner at the office. The picture quality is poor but you get the idea. The heart below is what I originally meant to send but...

...I had another day and some time so I added another round and got this heart. I really like how the last round change the heart's shape- it added a little asymmetry. Its a little more exciting this way. I have the pattern for the first picture (somewhere) but the last round I did free hand so I have no pattern. I think it was inspired largely by the work done by Marilee (yarnplayer). The colors aren't showing up here but were great! I really liked what came out of that last round. For some reason I was on a split chain and split ring kick. It also contained Josephine rings and a lock chain.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fastfood Nation?

Ugh! I am feeling a little groggy this afternoon, I blame it on the McDonald's I ate for lunch. I normally eat a homemade lunch but I had a craving for a big mac- big mistake. All afternoon I've had a gross taste in my mouth and my stomach feels like a rock. In addition, both the Big Mac and the fries were cold. I will not be doing that anytime soon. I need a quick infusion of something fresh.

I have been working on butterflies for my round robin exchange. It needs to be sent out in the next day or two so I need to finish. I have done a couple things but have not yet decided. I am going to try making a large butterfly tonight based on a few smaller ones I made as a trial. Here are pictures of the small butterflies:

I think that the first one can easily be made bigger. Its actually made in three parts and then joined together by the bug body in the center. The second has a frill in the center that you can't see too well in the picture. Its done in rounds and the concept that I used was a little awkward.

This third one is similar in style to the last one. I think the red and blue look really pretty together. Last night I was trying to make one that looked like a Monarch butterfly but it didn't workout the way I wanted. I think that I have to start at a different point. Tonight I am going to try to make a large one similar to the last 2 butterflies.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Soooo excited...

I am sooo excited to have a blog. Sharon Briggs posted the address for blogger if anyone wanted to start a blog and for some reason I thought I should use it. I love reading all the blogs that are out there.
I thought that I would start with some pictures. These are from Karey Solomon's class at Hector. I actually had to leave at noon on Sunday so I missed the class but I really enjoyed making the Dragon. If you like beads this is a great pattern. It looks way more complicated but its actually very straight forward. Having said that I made a mistake on both dragons. The good news is that they turned out fine anyways.