Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Under construction

View of the road construction work through my front door

Dump trucks and digging machines are the sounds of summer this year. I sure hope the UPS man finds a way to deliver the box of white tatting thread that I ordered from Handy Hands, or I won't be able to continue my hand dyeing business on Etsy! I'm totally out of thread! Yes, I know I should have ordered before the supply got so low, but all of my focus previous to this point was on preparing for the class that I was teaching in Colorado the 3rd week of June.

The class seemed to go pretty well, even though I had a lot of projects to demonstrate and many topics to try to remember. You'll find out more about what I was doing in that class in a few weeks - spoilers! ;-)

Since that's now behind me, I've started experimenting again, to try to come up with a new design. Photo at left shows I haven't done much. The way my brain works, I have to tat a pile of messes before something with possibility appears. Then, I go from there.

I plan to try to submit an intermediate tatting class besides a basic tatting class to Bead&Button Show for next year. The projects, including patterns, are due by mid-August! They expect projects to be astounding, so we'll see if I can come up with anything that would be accepted.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Remembrance Tatted Ring Video

In response to popular demand, I've made a video of tatting the "Remembrance" ring. Hope this helps to clarify how it goes together. I used size 20 thread, which is a little difficult to see well on camera, but that's the thread size I use for these rings. Oh, and you can download the free PDF pattern HERE.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Vintage pattern reversing chains

 One of my Etsy customers had a question about a vintage pattern from "Old and New Designs in Tatting" by LaCroix, Sophie T., c.1910. The pattern #1143 is very pretty, easy to tat but a little hard to get started and explain. I gave it a try in my "Pansy" hand dyed thread, and had to think for awhile before I figured out how to do it. The picture in the book has the lace turned the opposite way from how it is seen while tatting it, so that made it seem difficult. Also the written pattern has mistakes. So, here is my version:
 R 4 - 4 - 4 - 4. Reverse work.
Ch 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4. Reverse work.
    *R 4 - 4 - 4 - 4. Turn only the ring over. Bring the ball thread up into position to tat the following chain.
Ch 4 + 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 (joining first picot of chain to middle picot of previous ring). Reverse work.

Continue in the same way from * for length desired. End by tying the end of the last chain to the middle picot of the last ring.
The reason I didn't do a "shoelace trick" at the base of the ring is because the thread positions do not need to be crossed or switched there, only the ball thread needs to be brought up so that the chain can proceed in the reversing direction. That was what seemed right to me, at any rate. The reversing point between the chains does not lie perfectly flat when using ball and 1 shuttle, but is sufficient. It could be made perfectly flat by using 2 shuttles, but a description of the 2 shuttle version will have to wait for another time.

Trip coming up! Sunday, June 21, I'll be leaving on a jet plane to travel to Denver, Colorado. I'll be teaching a class there for a few days. So, Friday, June 19 I will de-activate most of my Etsy shop except for the instant download patterns, since I won't be home to do any shipping. I'll re-activate the rest of my shop by June 26.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Flash sale with coupon code

Rarely do I ever have a sale, so this is the opportunity you've been waiting for! Just enter the Coupon Code:


into the coupon code area of the checkout form when making your purchase from my Etsy shop, to receive 15% off! The coupon expires on June 15, so hurry!

The discount is good on any item from my Etsy shop, including digital patterns, books, hand dyed thread, and tatted jewelry. But you need to enter the code JUNE15 at checkout, and it is only good until June 15, 2015.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mixed Media Earrings: Tatting, Beads, and Wire Wrapped Dangle

Both of these pairs of tatted earrings are based on my own "Giddy" design (found in my book, "Tatted Jewelry"), but I embellished with added touches. I wire wrapped the beaded dangle at the bottom, and also made the earwires myself. 

The colorful pair is from my own hand dyed thread (colorway: "Summer Trail", size 20) and the brown solid is Lizbeth #691.

Tatting, of course, is something I've been doing for many years, but wire wrapping is new to me. I'm still in the "wasting lots of wire" stage, but making progress, I think. Classes on Craftsy that I enjoy include "Make Your Own Wirework Findings" and "Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals, and Clusters". (Disclosure: as a Craftsy associate, I earn a little bit of money when people sign up for Craftsy classes by following my links.)

The Bead&Button Show in Milwaukee has already started. The class that I'm teaching on June 2 is "Shuttle Tatting Basics" - sold out, but...

...another tatting class that I'll be teaching on August 1 at Shake Rag Alley has 3 seats remaining as of this morning. The formal classes at these prime venues can get pricey, but don't forget, the Greater Milwaukee Tatting Guild meetings are a fun way to learn in person for free! 

Here's a photo of a version of the Bead&Button Show class project using a metal filigree center, in progress from my own hand dyed "Stardate" batch. This thread is currently in stock in my Etsy shop, but going fast!

Bead&Button Show tatted earrings in various colors

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.