Thursday, April 17, 2014

So many thanks

Thank you to all who support creative arts. I have had a strange week, starting with the "Monday from the twilight zone...."

Seriously??? 4 patterns from the same designer on a magazine cover without asking permission??? I still don't know what I should say, but Corina Meyfeldt has written a very good post on her blog, explaining how copyright violation hurts the artist and ultimately hurts everyone.

Well, it snowed here and Easter is this coming Sunday. I don't have any pretty Easter egg tatting to show you - since I volunteer for church music, holy week is the busiest week of the year. Actually, I "volunteered" to play cello to accompany the choir - I got "drafted" to sing in the choir. No, not both at the same time :)

The enigmatic photo at left is just a peek at my current tatting for a "secret project". Not saying more just now, except that the issues with design theft have made me realize that sometimes it's good to have friends in high places.

Greater Milwaukee Tatting Guild meeting was this past Monday the 14th, but only one other person showed up (probably due to the snow). The 2 of us had fun together, but didn't bother to take pictures. I had to leave at 5:15 for a music rehearsal.

Happy spring to all who live in the northern hemisphere, and to those "down under", happy fall!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Photos from Concinnity Convention

That's me with a minion :)

My dear husband Jan, helping with my display of tatted jewelry.

Another view of my display.

My tatted belt in radiant orchid.

The  tatted high collar grabbed a lot of attention from passersby.

View of my rack of tatted earrings from my table, with shoppers in the background.

More shoppers at the Concinnity vendors area.
Concinnity was great fun! My tatted jewelry got lots of admirers, and even some sales! People did take my fliers about the Greater Milwaukee Tatting Guild, so I'm expecting the guild membership to grow. I also had business cards out for the Etsy shop, and Craftsy cards. A few folks remarked that they remembered a grandmother or other relative who used to tat. To the young people this was an entirely new craft they had not heard of before (different from tattooing), and they made remarks like, "Awesome!" and "So cool!". My dear husband, Jan, took breaks from assisting me to attend some of the convention presentations, including Real Victorian Technology, World's Fair, Practical Airships, and 50 Years of Dr. Who. Next time I really will have to teach him how to handle sales alone, so that I can get away to attend some of the fascinating presentations myself!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Radiant Orchid, Corsage HDT, Concinnity projects

Radiant Orchid

Getting my costume ready for Concinnity 2014, using some of my new hand dyed thread in Radiant Orchid. This solid is the Pantone color of the year 2014, and makes a nice accompaniment to my multicolored dye batch, "Corsage". The cool bow tie is for my dear husband to wear - he'll be assisting me at my vendor's table this year. The bow tie was easy to make following the instructions that I found at A Beautiful Mess.

I'm tatting a belt (using design from the previous post) to accessorize my black steampunk outfit. I'll also add a plum color "airship jacket" that I purchased on Etsy, and am in the process of tatting a coordinating large flower for my hair.
You can see in the photo below, where I'm posing with a very tall "alien" in a striped suit, the basic black outfit that I'll be wearing. The plum jacket and my Radiant Orchid tatted accessories will really improve it, I think.

In addition to steampunk, Concinnity is sci-fi, gaming, fantasy of all sorts. It is an incredibly fun experience! I'm really looking forward to it, on April 5 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

An "alien" buddy from another world, and me!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Steampunk tatted belt

Size 3 thread makes big, bold tatting
 Motivated by a desire to wow the visitors to my vendor's booth at the Concinnity Convention, April 5, 2014, I have come up with a tatted belt. I used size 3 Lizbeth thread, and worked at the design until I was satisfied that it was sturdy enough. I used metal beads, antiqued copper wheel buttons, and satin ribbon lacing in the front for my little attempt at steampunk detailing. The belt ties like a sash with ribbon in the back. The ribbon end feature saves the work of tatting an entire length of a belt, and also makes it one size fits all.

First attempt had a structural flaw... folded when pulled - not good for a belt!
My first attempt didn't turn out, so I had to cut it apart and do over - yes, that happens a lot when designing! You don't want your belt to fold over or curl while you're wearing it. So, I changed how I added the beads. Instead of putting them over picots in the exact center, I moved them to picots set at an angle. I got the idea from a TV show that was explaining architecture. The strongest structural shape is a triangle. So, I added picots at an angle for joining the chains, thereby forming a sort of triangle. It works! The belt is nice and sturdy now.

I used big shuttles to tat the belt with, since size 3 thread gets used up very quickly. I wouldn't recommend working with size 3 for beginners, other than for when they need something big to see how the double stitch is made when they're first learning. Size 3 requires more physical effort to work with. But, I feel up to the challenge and wanted to design something suitable for the bold look of big tatting.

I sometimes get asked about needle tatting. Well, I do know how, but I like the firm product produced by shuttle tatting, since most of the time I don't need to bother with any stiffening. I also just simply enjoy the process of shuttle tatting and I appreciate its Victorian roots. If time allows in the future, I may design something specifically for needle tatting, but for sure it won't be anything conventional and won't be shuttle tatting convertible.

Need to figure out a bow tie next....

The finished belt shown on black

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Winners!

The winners of my Extremely Very Early Spring Giveaway are Chiara Milleidee and Sara of Saras handarbetsgomma blog. Congratulations to the lucky winners!

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments, I enjoyed reading them so much! Truly tatters are some of the nicest people in the world! I wish it were possible to give everyone a prize :)
Oh, I guess I could point out my free patterns page for that. If you didn't notice the "Free Patterns" tab at the top of my blog, here's the link:

By the way, the photo of the snow was taken this morning, showing that as of today, still very little sign of spring here in Southeastern Wisconsin. The winners were chosen using a random number generator after I deleted some duplicate comments. Morning temperature here was 16 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Extremely Very Early Spring Giveaway

Very little sign of spring today where I live, but to give it a little push, I'm having a giveaway!
The giveaway prize is my new book plus 3 skeins of hand dyed thread!
I'm giving away 2 of these prize packages on March 5.

For a chance to win, leave one comment on this post to be entered in the giveaway. Two winners will be chosen at random on Wednesday, March 5. Be sure there's a way for me to contact you if you win, either a blog I.D., or an email address.
Readers of this blog from outside of the U.S. are welcome to enter this giveaway. The package will be marked "gift".

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mardi Gras and 1800's Tatting

On Saturday I listed Mardi Gras hand dyed thread in my Etsy shop

This morning there were questions about 1800's tatting patterns in my Craftsy class, which required some research on my part.

A wonderfully detailed article about Mid-19th Century Tatting written by Virginia Mescher posted on the website of Georgia Seitz provided me with many of the answers that I was looking for. 
Then, I challenged myself to decipher the Lily of the Valley pattern in The Royal Tatting Book by Riego, written in 1867. I think I've figured it out, as seen in the photo above - though, of course, tatters of that era would have probably used white or ecru colored thread. The longer picots at the top will be joined to a crocheted heading later.  Perhaps another day I'll have time to write the pattern out in modern tatting terms; it's really a pretty design. 

If you like antique tatting patterns, one of many sources is the Antique Pattern Library, run by the non-profit group New Media Arts, Inc.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bright greens

New batch of hand dyed thread, Bright Greens. The flower hairclip is tatted from the same thread.

A reminder that I hand dye in small batches, and preparation begins with winding the thread into skeins. For those who aren't familiar with the word, skeins are big circles of thread, a form that prevents tangling and provides maximum surface area so the dye can reach all of the thread.

Then, I prepare the dye, and paint it onto the thread using a brush. I wrap it in plastic and let it "cure" (the thread and dye react together for a while). Then, I rinse the thread, let it dry, and twist the skeins so they'll look pretty to sell.

Since it's just me doing all the work, each batch is small, unique, and when it's's gone.