Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Musings on Artistic Expression

The Bead&Button Show is fast approaching and I'm looking forward to teaching my class "Shuttle Tatting Basics" which is sold out. The photo above with tatted earring in progress is the project for which the students will receive supply kits, in various color choices. Naturally, new beginners will likely not be able to complete the project in class, and that was made very clear in the advertising.

To make my pattern listings more clearly stated in my Etsy shop, I've added the word "shuttle" to "tatting pattern" in the listing title. I had previously assumed that "tatting pattern" on its own was interpreted as "shuttle tatting pattern", and that the word "needle" was added to a pattern title that included needle specific instruction. Apparently that was clear only to me, so I've added the word "shuttle".

Some folks wish I'd re-write my patterns with needle tatting directions but that would make pattern writing twice as much work as it already is. I know how to do needle tatting but it's not my passion. Be aware that Ankars is not my passion, either. I admire the work of others in those fields, and have given each method at least a perfunctory try, but it's just not me.

So, I'll keep doing my own form of artistic expression. Hey, I have a college degree in art - a dusty old one, but still :-)

The large secret "project" that I can't show yet will get done the later part of June.  I'll feel a lot better when it's finished and then I can talk about it! (Spoiler hint - it involves airplane travel.)

Saturday, May 9, 2015


The colorful flower is in the picture to show that it's a color photo, not black and white. There's only shades of gray in this hand dyed thread. I'm sure you'll find lots of creative uses for it! Now available in my Etsy shop.

This being Mother's Day weekend, the plan with my family is to go together to see the new Avenger's movie. That and we will eat out somewhere, nothing fancy.

Monday, May 11 is scheduled for a meeting of the Greater Milwaukee Tatting Guild. Attendance has been sparse these last few months, but should pick up now with the nicer weather.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Shake Rag Alley Tatting Class

2 students practicing double stitches, with me standing near

Here I'm showing another tatting student the basics

View through our window, showing the blacksmith workshop in progress

The "Potter's House" where our tatting class took place

Artistic hand painted picket fence on the grounds with birdhouse

Rustic gate

Selfie with the Coach House at Shake Rag Alley
The tatting class went well! The students were all eager to learn, and the springtime weather was gorgeous! Since Mineral Point is a good 2 hour drive from my house, I arrived the night before and stayed at the historic Coach House.on the grounds at Shake Rag Alley. It's really a lovely place to get away from it all - my cell phone had no service but there was WiFi in the building, so I could email my hubby that I got there safely. The buildings are very old but have been updated with modern conveniences like electric lights and heat, and my room at the Coach House was very comfortable with an antique iron frame bed but modern bathroom.

The area is known for it's historic sites and also for the many art and craft classes held there. At the same time as my tatting class was going on, the blacksmith workshop was happening nearby. The sounds of hammering metal were not distracting, I enjoyed it, along with the singing of the birds.

I have another tatting class scheduled there on August 1.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tourmaline is back

A freshly dyed batch of "Tourmaline" has been added to my Etsy shop! This color combination just seems so organic and goes with everything. It's one of my personal favorites!

Other news: my Shuttle Tatting Basics class on May 2 will be a "go"! Three students signed up, so my minimum is met, but there's room for more. You need to register NOW if you want to get a seat in the class, here's the link:

The class is in beautiful Shake Rag Alley at Mineral Point, WI. It's a wonderful place to "get away from it all" and learn a new skill in a peaceful, natural setting.

I don't have new tatting that I can show just now, but there is a big tatting project in the works that I will show when it's all done...spoilers! :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pictures from Indiana Lace Day

Tippecanoe Arts Federation in Lafayette, Indiana, the location of the Indiana Lace Day, April 11, 2015

Carol and her tatted Tardis doily - even more impressive in person!

Tatted Crystal Egg in the lace egg contest

Bobbin lace in progress by one of the Lacemakers

Lace-lovin' Librarian~Diane and Pat posed for a photo

 Artistic Easter eggs in a handmade basket

A bobbin lace project in progress, by one of the lacemakers
This was a wonderful event! I'm glad I came with Sue Anna. She did the driving - about 3 hours there and 3 hours coming back! Plus the driving I did from Milwaukee to Kenosha, which takes about 50 minutes. We had fun! Spring was noticeably farther along in Lafayette, with trees beginning to leaf out and magnolia trees blooming. In Milwaukee we only have crocuses and a few daffodils beginning to bloom, no leaves on any trees yet, and the grass is just starting to become green.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Craftsy's Sale

Through Sunday, April 12, Craftsy is having a "Get better at what you love to do sale". Hey, if you're a tatter you'll get why I'm happy that they put tatting in a promotional photo :)

Actually, there are wonderful instructors teaching on Craftsy teaching all sorts of classes, everything from fine art to gardening, weaving, cooking, sewing, etc. With Craftsy, you get access to hours of up-close, expert and engaging instruction in the comfort of your home. For example, I learned to make some wirework findings from Lisa Niven Kelly and Aga Kruk. They're 2 of my favorite instructors because they are so friendly and make learning a new skill fun. Start exploring the classes on sale using this link: 
(Since I'm an instructor on Craftsy, each time someone signs up for any Craftsy class from following the above link, I earn some $$.)

Wirework clasp I made, inspired by Craftsy jewelry making classes

Modeling the clasp on the finished bracelet

Tatted "Devotion" bracelet, my own pattern

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter greetings! Best wishes to all!

The bunny in the photo is handmade, very easy. I don't have a pattern, but here is how to do it:
The body is just 2 ovals, larger at the bottom (like a long egg). Sew the 2 ovals together, leaving an opening for stuffing, and turn right side out. Stuff the top (head end) with fiberfill, and then put in dried beans to give weight to the bottom third of the body. Sew the opening closed.
The ears are just one long piece: an ear shape on each end with a straight strip in between. Cut 2 pieces of the same fabric as  the body, sew, and turn right side out. Tie a knot in the straight part between the ears, and sew by hand to the top of the head.
Draw a face on the bunny with permanent makers. Cut a strip of colorful fabric, and tie around the bunny for a "bow tie". Finish with a small ribbon bow at the top between the ears. These bunnies can be different sizes for a whole family of bunnies :)

The egg in the photo is a satin egg from Handy Hands Tatting, with tatted lace pinned onto it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy International Tatting Day!

Tatting class at Tatting Corner November 2014

 The traditional activities of International Tatting Day, established some years ago by a gathering of tatters, are to eat chocolate and tat. Unfortunately this holiday has fallen on a very busy day for me, so no time for either - yet!

I did edit some new original patterns which I can't show yet...spoilers :) But, that's not really tatting, that's editing - typing in directions, re-sizing photos, checking abbreviations, etc. So much more work than actual tatting...whew!

Earlier this week I did finish a colorful pair of earrings and matching bracelet. Both patterns are in my book, Marilee's Beaded Tatting Finery. I got the purple wire that I had ordered, so I made a purple clasp for the bracelet.

Hand dyed a batch of "Gold Dust" thread yesterday (I tweaked the old recipe a bit) so will rinse that out today. I should have it listed in my Etsy shop within a few days.