Thursday, June 9, 2016

Being Different at the Bead&Button Show

 My favorite remark that someone said to me at the Bead&Button Show "Meet the Teachers" event was "I've been looking all around and seeing similar things over and over, but at your table I'm finally seeing something different! Marvelous!"
 Well, encouraging comments like that are what keep me going! Bead&Button Show is a very, VERY big gathering, and sometimes being someone who does something different from the mainstream can feel a bit lonely. The few other "fiber" people there voiced similar laments. But, hey, my tatted jewelry drew "oohs and ahhs", curious questions, and stories of long ago relatives. People did love the hand dyed thread and bought some even though they weren't sure what they would do with it :)


 Some people who bought my hand dyed thread last year stopped at my table to show what they had made with it! A bead crochet necklace using clear crystal beads that allowed the hand dyed colors to show through, and a bead crochet bracelet with some areas without beads to feature the thread.

 The show and classes take up the Wisconsin Center convention facility in downtown Milwaukee, as well as 2 hotels plus some classrooms at the Milwaukee Technical College. The event lasts 10 days.
One of the students in the tatting classes that I taught, proudly showing off her very first tatted earrings!

It's not done yet! Friday, June 10 I'm going back to do some shopping :)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Another "Garden Afternoon"

The thread dyed well, although some of the size 10 in this batch didn't get much of the yellow. The dye colors do tend to run together while they are wet, but serendipity is something I consider part of the charm of hand dyed thread.

My tatting basics class at the Bead&Button Show has 2 people signed up - both of them from overseas; one is coming from the other side of the planet, literally. Golly, I sure hope they didn't travel all the way to Milwaukee just to take my tatting class! Seriously, I'm hoping that it's just one of the many engaging activities they will be enjoying at the event. I live only 6 miles from the convention center hosting the show, so that's why I applied to teach there. 3 people have signed up for the advanced class.

Pendant is my original design, shuttle is from Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane

So, of course I had to practice the project for the advanced class in order to be ready to teach it. I gave it a try in red, white, and blue, and I like the result. So much so, that I don't think I'll show the students this version! They'd complain that I didn't put those colors in the kits! Well, unless they read my blog or look at my Etsy shop they won't see it. People who sign up for live classes are usually not online followers.

I'll list the pendant on Etsy when I finish some earrings to match. Oh, and the pattern for this pendant will be included in a new book that should be out later this year. The pattern uses curled rings, folded rings, and tatting a ring around a bead.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lilac Sea and B&B


I finished a new batch of "Lilac Sea" hand dyed thread and added it to my Etsy shop. I also finished a pair of earrings from it, using my "Devotion" pattern. Amazing how combining different thread colors and bead colors can change the look of a design!

The Milwaukee Bead&Button Show is approaching quickly and I have to admit I'm feeling stressed over it, what with all the reminder emails coming from the organizers with lists and charts and times and places and rules and what-have-you. I still have to pack the kits, but will finish that shortly. B&B is much different than teaching at a tatting event, a local shop, or at a nice arts and crafts school like Shake Rag Alley. There is so much going on at the B&B show and it's so expensive that expectations run very high. Not really a relaxing event in which to learn a new skill, in my humble opinion. Oh well. Here's the photo of the pendant I'm teaching in the advanced class, done up in 2 different color ways:

I call this design Dazzling Debut. The pattern will be printed in a new book that is expected to come out later this year.

I'm also teaching a beginner class, Shuttle Tatting Basics. Every class at B&B requires a project, so here it is, though most likely beginners won't finish it in class:

They do get the kits, though, and learn the basic skills that will last them a lifetime, if they continue practicing at home! As the old saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More mixed media experiments

 Way out there, I know, but I enjoy the results so far. I do the tatting first, then wire wrap it onto the metal frame which I make myself. Those Craftsy wire wrapping teachers whose lessons I watched probably never expected somebody would use those skills to add structure onto tatting :)
 Actually, I like designing unique things that others aren't likely to do or copy. It frees me up from pattern writing and seems more like "real art" - one of a kind, original, and all that.

My tatting class schedule is getting really full now that spring/summer activities are gearing up. I enjoy teaching but the advanced tatting classes are especially a lot of work to prepare and we're expected to promote them on social media as well. Bead&Button Show and IOLI are coming up fast now, and I need to package kits and prepare in-progress samples. The patterns are all done and test-tatted, though.

I'm also teaching a beginners tatting class at Midwest Beads on May 14.



Wire wrapping the tatting onto the frame.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Silver tatted pendant and "Stonehill Wine" hand dyed thread


 For this pendant, I combined tatting with a metal frame that I made myself from argentium silver wire. I chose argentium silver because it is tarnish resistant, and I like how it looks with the blue colors in this free-form tatting of hand dyed thread. The tatting is simple: random Josephine rings and normal tatted rings, with the "stem" made using encapsulation technique. I wire wrapped the tatting and a few beads onto the frame after the tatting was done.

New batch of "Stonehill Wine" hand dyed thread is now listed in my Etsy shop!

Next class coming up: I'll be teaching more beginners how to tat at Shake Rag Alley on May 7. It's a pretty and relaxing place to visit! For planning ahead, at the same location I'll teach an Intermediate Tatting class later this year.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tatting pattern "Fantasy Flower" now in my Etsy shop

 This is the pattern that I taught at Finger Lakes, but upgraded to 3 pages. At Finger Lakes it had only 2 pages with less photos. I realized while teaching, that more in-progress photos were needed to show the process, since people buying the pattern online wouldn't have me there to demonstrate how it was done.

The pattern is for sale in my Etsy shop, as well as my Craftsy pattern store.

It's a one shuttle and ball thread pattern. 3 colors of size 10 are what I used, but someone in my class at Finger Lakes used size 20 for a daintier flower. A needle tatter successfully followed the pattern there, too.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Wonderful trip to Finger Lakes tatting conference

Tatting classes in session! There were a lot of people there, and the hall was filled! I was thrilled to meet so many tatters. Some faces I recognized from other tatting events.

There were tatting vendors lining 3 walls with tatting treasures! This photo only shows some of the products displayed by one of them.


An entrepreneurial genius, Sharon, brought her swift and ball winder and offered a winding service for hand dyed thread. Several vendors, including me, sold our hand dyed in between classes.


The food was all home cooked, and absolutely delicious! We also had brownies and ice cream!


My classes were the largest I've ever taught, about 15 students each. The project of a 3D flower wasn't finished in class, but the photo above shows one partially done.


The Finger Lakes area has a lot of natural beauty. This is one of the breath-taking waterfalls.

After the Tatting Conference, my husband Jan and I visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. A fabulous vacation all around!

Jan in front of the Baseball Hall of Fame

Me at Mickey Mantle's locker.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Preparing for Finger Lakes Tatting Conference


The Finger Lakes Tatting Conference is next week, and I'll be teaching there! The "Fantasy Flower" is the project that I'm teaching.

I'm currently preparing step-outs, or samples in various stages of completion, to help the participants understand the structure of how the flower shape develops. There's about 15 people in each class! Mostly all experienced tatters, so I've been told. Even so, a very large class for tatting.

I've been experimenting with the live video craze on Periscope, but with dismal (blurry, pixelated) results. I've tried better lighting, but that didn't help. So, I've come to the conclusion that the Internet speed available at my location just isn't fast enough for live broadcast. I'll continue to make regular (not live) videos instead.

Looking forward to meeting many tatters at the Finger Lakes Tatting Conference!