Monday, July 25, 2016

Back from IOLI 2016 Convention

That's me wearing a vintage Tat Days shirt, showing a tatting technique in one of the classes I taught at IOLI convention 2016.

Koala from Australia
 When a lot of lacemakers get together, it's guaranteed to be an interesting week! In one of the tatting classes that I taught, I met a lovely lady from Australia who gave everyone in the class a soft toy koala! The cuddly critter can grab onto things, so in the photo at left he's clutching my scissors.

Sue Anna winding lace bobbins
Sue Anna provided the transportation for the 2 of us all the way to the convention in Indianapolis and back home again. She took a bobbin lace class in Bedfordshire lace. She had a lot of bobbins to wind, so shopped in the vendor area for a bobbin winder. She bought one that she liked, then happily wound the rest of her bobbins and was all prepared for class!

Sue Anna's tatted "Amoeba"
 Sue Anna also took my "Amoeba" tatting class. I really like the orange and purple contrasting colors that she chose for her motif. This design provides a lot of opportunity to practice Catherine Wheel Joins! Comments that students made during class gave me ideas on how to make the pattern a bit easier to understand, so I'll add those improvements before I put the pattern into my Etsy shop.

I wore my Planetary Society shirt one day, and boy, am I glad that I did! It attracted the attention of a woman who actually used to work with Carl Sagan! In case you haven't heard of Carl Sagan, he wrote and hosted the TV Series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. A short biography and video featuring his "Pale Blue Dot" quote can be seen at this link.
Me with Jules

Prize package with knitting by Lelia
 There were many raffle prizes given away. I was lucky to win this beautiful prize package containing a hand knit "bottle dress" including a bottle of dishwashing liquid, a hand knit dishcloth, a blue and white ceramic mug, and pretty notepaper.
The vendor room, stocked with lacemaking supplies!

 The dinners at the convention, as well as restaurants nearby, offered yummy choices! I only took one food photo, of the luscious chocolate cake dessert at one of the convention dinners. I wish I had taken a photo of the incredible rhubarb pie that I was served at Shapiro's Deli in the mall nearby. It was so good!

Being around so many people doing bobbin lace, I couldn't resist buying a beginner's bobbin lace kit and a book of bobbin lace jewelry patterns. I kept telling myself that I don't have time for yet another craft, but well, if you're a creative person you know we just have to find time to play with new toys :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Off to Indianapolis for International Organization of Lace Convention

Since I'm going to be in Indianapolis all next week, only digital patterns are in my Etsy shop. That's because I won't be home to ship anything.

I am teaching 3 classes at the International Organization of Lace Convention. You can see more about the convention on the I.O.L.I. website.

I'm going with Sue Anna, and she's doing the driving, bless her!

Behind the scenes: I am frantically trying to finish another "Cool Circles" necklace to show my class. I had to send the original to Annie's publishing because it's going to be in a book. And, wouldn't you know, I discovered that I had miscounted the seed beads in part of it. I hope the corrections will get into the book before it's printed! I'll have to hand write the corrections on the pattern sheets that I'm giving to the class at I.O.L.I.

I don't have a hat for Hat Day but I will wear a grouping of my tatted flower hair clips as a fascinator. Gotta go finish that necklace!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tollway Tatters

Five of us were able to come to the Hinsdale Oasis on the Illinois Tollway for a day of visiting and tatting! From left to right, Sue Anna, Marilee, Diane, Sue, and Doris.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~Diane showing off her impressive stack of doilies, all made this year! Most of them were the "Spinning Wheel" pattern by Mary Konior, but there were other patterns, too. Robin Perfetti designed the one that's on her hand in the picture.

Diane's colorful doilies, aka glass mats.

Beautiful handmade shuttles! The website where the artist sells them is shown on the cover of the box.

Sue is making so much progress on the Renulek Spring Doily for 2016! It's in size 80 thread, incredibly dainty.

Doris, a new tatter, successfully completed her first flowers!

Sue Anna finished test tatting my "Cool Circles" design in "Pansy" hand dyed thread. It's a new pattern that I'll be teaching at the I.O.L.I. convention later this month. Didn't she do a beautiful job?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New hand dyed thread "Raspberry Sorbet"

A new dye batch just added to my Etsy shop has bright raspberry and other red to pink shades in it. I wanted something almost as intense as some flowers I've noticed recently, such as these shrub roses. I like the results, and I think it's a keeper! 
Dye being hand painted onto the thread.

Dyed and cured thread in the rinse bath.

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.