Thursday, July 17, 2014

Exploring techniques, thread sizes

My first original cluny tatting design
Lately been playing with techniques that have long seemed mysterious to me, like clunies and maltese rings. Pushing myself to design with these skills helps bring them into my own little world, down from the "interstellar region" of things I've heard of but appeared to be distant and difficult.
My first original maltese ring design
I'm finding that I like maltese rings! They're really not hard. I will practice more as time allows. The blue thread is some of my hand dyed from the "Blue Streak" batch.
Size comparison chart of threads that I hand dye. The knitting worsted yarn at the right is for size comparison only
Someone asked about the sizes of my hand dyed thread, so here is a photo showing the threads next to each other, with a strand of knitting worsted yarn at the right for comparison.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Visiting Lace-lovin' Librarian's Summer Tatting Class

The class took place on Lace-lovin' Librarian Diane's porch. Here Diane is sewing a tatted motif designed by a young student onto a handkerchief.

The view of nature's beauty from Diane's porch is so peaceful! The weather was perfect, with a refreshing breeze.

To the trees! What a surprise to see this magnificent tree-house, built by Diane's husband, complete with slide. When the children are done with their tatting class, they get to take turns going down the slide.
Sue Anna and Diane with the Saori loom that Diane has been busy weaving colorful bags on. Notice the neatly shelved books? Obviously a librarian lives here :)

Diane showing us one of her shuttle cabinets where she stores her collection in style.

Some of the fancy shuttles in Diane's cabinet. I think she said the ones in this drawer were handmade by LadyShuttleMaker.

I am so glad to have been able to go with Sue Anna to visit Diane and her tatting class. The children are so enthusiastic about learning how to tat. Sue Anna brought gifts of a new tatting shuttle for each child, and I provided samples of hand dyed thread. After class, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at a local restaurant and were joined there by another tatting friend, Denise. All in all, a perfect day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The winners!

Since there were so many entries, I added another prize package of similar items, and drew 2 winners. They are Chere Edwards and Marion Bartley. Congratulations to the lucky winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway.
It was a wonderful surprise to me that so many people actually posted details about their random act of kindness, I wasn't expecting that - but the stories are truly inspiring! You are all so very kind, and helping to make the world a better place!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Random Act of Kindness Giveaway

 To be entered in this giveaway drawing, you need to do 2 things: leave a comment on this post, and do something nice for someone. The world needs more kindness.

The prize package includes 2 of my pattern books, a tatted bracelet handmade by me, an assortment of metal filigrees (aka "doodads"), a Sunlit tatting shuttle, a size 14 crochet hook, and a colorful assortment of hand dyed thread!

I'll draw a lucky winner on Tuesday, July 1.

Friday, June 27, 2014

MIdnight Oil and Elegance earrings

 Dark red shading to black is my Midnight Oil colorway in hand dyed thread. I've been advised that I should do a similar effect using dark blue, so I'll think about that. Meanwhile, I played with a sample of size 20, using a pattern that I hadn't tatted for years, the Elegance earrings from my Boutique Tatting book. Actually, many of my own patterns I haven't tatted in years, so...perhaps I've designed too many patterns? ;-)

Well, the "bread and butter" side of the business, hand dyed thread, keeps me very busy with dyeing, rinsing, and labeling, so there isn't much time left to tat. Probably a good thing.

I used a Swarovski 8mm round for the earring center, and a 9x6mm faceted teardrop for the bottom dangle. The dark gray are metal beads that I found at a local bead shop, Eclectica's. The pattern doesn't say how much thread is needed (I wasn't so detailed back in 2008) but just 1 yard on each shuttle is plenty for this pattern. It's tricky, but doesn't take long to do once you figure it out.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Trail and Melange Earrings

 This morning I tried out the new batch of "Summer Trail" hand dyed thread by making a pair of Melange earrings from my Beaded Tatting Finery book. The burgundy color glass beads with the warm pastels of the multicolored thread seem to be a good combo.

Does art, or artisan handmade, get old?

A topic that someone brought up at a meeting last night with local handmade jewelry designers, is that anything that hadn't sold in 2 years shouldn't be displayed anymore. I totally disagree with that attitude. To me, art is timeless. Especially an art piece that has taken a lot of time, care and skill to make, must necessarily fetch a high price, and art pieces don't sell that fast. If we only make simple, cheap things that fly off the shelves, what happens to genuine creativity? What's your opinion?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Funky polymer clay and tatting necklace

Finished! I'm happy with this mix of polymer clay beads and tatting - it's really funky :)

I made up the design as I went. The front of the necklace worked out fairly easily, with only a minor setback of one polymer clay bead breaking. Since I haven't done much with polymer clay, my sculpting skills are still very basic. But, the broken bead was quickly replaced, and I do like how the colors match my hand dyed size 10 thread (Mardi Gras). I also added Lizbeth #685 Evergreen Dark.

I was unsure of what to do with the sides, and my first thought was a quick finish with metal chains, but I wanted to keep an all handmade, organic theme for this piece. Corina Meyfeldt's post on Nina Libin's technique of beaded rings with one shuttle gave me an idea! So, I combined that technique with single shuttle split rings.

I like the results - especially how the colors blend - but next time I may use 2 shuttle split rings, because having 2 threads connecting the rings seems stronger than only 1 thread. Something that probably only matters if the project has some weight to it, as this necklace does.

In between the beaded rings and the front, I added some free-form tatting, using node stitch (sets of 2 first halves followed by 2 second halves). I like how node stitch chains are easy to keep straight, or curve in various directions. (Hmm, now I'm wondering if I should capitalize the names of techniques, such as Node Stitch - any tatting editors out there?)

Anyway, I like my necklace. In the future I may try something similar for the Etsy shop or the next art/craft sales event or exhibit, but if so will try to do a more refined job of sculpting the polymer clay.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dyer's log, "Stardate" 6.5.2014

Finished the mission of a new batch of hand dyed thread for this week, with the help of "number 1" (my husband, Jan). An invasion of tangles threatened the "promenade deck" (studio) but we straightened them out without needing to get out the "photon torpedoes" (scissors).

The "planet below" (kitchen) yielded a treasure of rare "geological findings" (polymer clay beads). When viewed under white light emitted from the "nearest star" (sun) they bear a striking resemblance to a previous batch of hand dyed fiber in my collection. The "ship's counselor" (muse) has recommended a creative course of action that will produce a calm, relaxing effect on my brain waves, without the risk of a holodeck malfunction. Future developments will be documented (I'll tat a funky, one of a kind necklace from these supplies, and show you the results later :-)