Wednesday, October 18, 2017


A new batch of the orange, yellow, green, purple and black colorway "Spooky" has been dyed, dried, and listed in my Etsy shop.

On Saturday, October 21st, the Tollway Tatters will be gathering at the Hinsdale Oasis on the Illinois Tollway. Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sugar Maple

New batch of "Sugar Maple" hand dyed is now listed in my Etsy shop!

I managed to get outside for a walk in the woods today; Havenwoods State Forest to be specific. It really did wonders to calm my spirit. While there, I spied this milkweed. Something about the design intrigues me. The color, not so much. I'll think about it, until something else grabs my attention.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mad scientist mode!

 Here I am all decked out in my "mad scientist" gear, mwahaha! 😉
I only wear the mask when working with the dye in powder form to avoid breathing it in. When the dry dye is put away and I'm working with the liquid dye solution, I take the mask off. But, the rubber gloves stay on!
 Not much variation to see in the picture showing the skeins of thread being painted with the dye. That's because the batch is "Grayscale" (only shades of gray) and the dye looks darker when wet.
The hand dyed thread all finished! The flower is in the picture to show that it's a color photo.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hard and soft combined

 What started as an experiment to see "what if I put tatting inside wire weaving" seems to have gathered a following. So, I'll share what I've learned from doing this piece:

I used Parawire in 2 colors, "Army Green" for the three base wires in 20 gauge, and "Vintaj Natural Brass" in 28 gauge.

I had to start twice, because the first time I wasn't sure about the weave structure and made mistakes. Probably only another wire weaver would have noticed, but I did, so I started over to do it right!

When adding the tatting (see this previous post on that technique) I attempted to keep the wire weaving pattern as undisturbed as possible. In my earlier pieces my weaving tended to be messy at that area but it doesn't need to be. The tatting only needs to be caught with wire now and then, as if one were adding a bead.

Parawire, or any coated wire can be marred or scratched easily with tools such as pliers, so I did most of the shaping by hand. Serious jewelry artists usually avoid coated wires but since I'm breaking the rules already, why not have fun with the color choices? And, obviously, I'm not going to do any oxidizing or any other processes that would harm the tatting.

I do have some solid wires in my stash as well, such as solid natural brass which I used in the frame findings and jump rings on the earrings below. The solid brass will naturally patina or get darker over time, but that is okay.

Monday, August 28, 2017

New pattern: Heart Aglow

New pattern in my Etsy shop called "Heart Aglow".

The idea started as a motif or pendant that would be easy enough for new tatters. Then, I thought that the same pattern in smaller thread and beads would be good for earrings. My test tatter, Sue Anna suggested the bracelet idea, and so now there's a set of matching jewelry.

It's really a simple, one shuttle and ball pattern that grew into an 8 page tutorial! Easy level for tatters that know how to tat rings, chains, and joins, and good practice for tatting with beads. 

The instruction for tatting the basic motif without beads is also included. I didn't repeat the entire written directions since they're the same except without beads, but while designing it I wondered how to make the top more decorative without the bead there. After watching Usha Shah's video for Dot Picots string her innovative technique seemed like a very pretty way to finish off the top of the no beads version of the heart.

I also put this new pattern in my Craftsy pattern store. I think it's a fun heart to make, and I hope others will like it too!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse sale!

 Sale! 17% off all items in my Etsy shop with coupon code ECLIPSE until August 25, 2017. Or, just follow this link: 

Why 17% ? Because in my area the eclipse will cover all but 17% of the sun. Also, it's the year 2017 and I've had my Etsy shop for ten years! 

And, here's a picture of the fun last Saturday at Tollway Tatters! 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Designing a new pattern

Just to let you know that I'm working out the details on a new design that will become a pattern soon! The colors I'm working with for the first sample are in the photo above: Lizbeth numbers 188, 628, and 706. Decoupage shuttle by Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane.

On Saturday, August 19 the Tollway Tatters will be gathering at the Hinsdale oasis. I need to get my tie-dyed t-shirt out of the laundry to be ready!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Turquoise stone donut wire wrapped + tatting

A stone with shades of green and black as well as turquoise blue provided the impulse to seek out thread to match. I used my own hand dyed from the "Pond" and "Adventurer" batches to tat the little flowers, using the encapsulation technique described in a previous post.
 Having experimented combining tatting with wire wrapping for about a year or so, I'm finding that I like to use Parawire for the wrapping. Parawire is 99% pure copper with tarnish resistant, colored coating; lead and nickel free. It comes in several colors and gauges and costs much less than solid silver or gold.

Back of the pendant

The wire wrapping in progress
I've put this one of a kind pendant up for sale in my Etsy shop.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Encapsulation and the stone pendant

 In this pendant, I used a Mookaite Jasper stone with colors that went well with my "Knitty Gritty" hand dyed thread. Using inspiration from several wire-wrapping tutorials that I found in books and online I launched forth into wrapping the stone.

I tatted the flower motif separately. Then, when I got to the place in the wire-wrapping where I wanted the tatting to be, I wrapped the wire over the tatting. To clarify, I only wrapped the wire over the tatting in a few places, to catch it in place. I folded the tatting out of the way to continue the wire-wrapped pattern underneath. 

The methods I use for tatting the little flowers are Josephine rings (rings tatted using only the same half stitch repeated) and encapsulation (tatting over multiple core threads). Scroll down for the tutorial on these techniques.
Wire weaving in progress.

Catching the tatted motif in place, while continuing to weave the wire under the tatting.

The front side of the finished pendant.

The back side of the pendant.

 Here's a tutorial on the encapsulation technique that I use for the little flower motifs.

You need at least 3 threads. For this example I used a continuous multicolored thread on 2 shuttles plus a contrasting color on a 3rd shuttle. 

 The threads can be knotted together, but I like to get started without a knot. I pick up one of the shuttles with the continuous thread, which is the color that I want for the rings (flower petals), and tat a Josephine ring. I like to use the 1st half of the double stitch only, because it gives a tighter ring. But, the 2nd half of the double stitch can be used instead, for a looser look. The differing results are because the 1st half tightens the twist in the thread, the 2nd half loosens the twist. I usually put 9 to 14 half stitches in these rings, which must be closed carefully because the thread wants to kink.
After closing the ring, a short chain follows. Hold both of the continuous threads and the tail of the contrasting thread. The tail needs to be long enough to tension it along with the other threads for the multiple core of the chain. (Note: at some place along the "stem" of the flower motif the tail can be abandoned and cut off later. This is how I start the motif without a knot and no tails to sew in.)

 Wrap 1 unflipped double stitch over the multiple core threads. I used 2nd half first, 1st half second for this, but the other way around works too.
Pick up the same shuttle that you used for the first ring to tat the next ring. It is important to keep a main core thread sliding freely inside the chains for the flower, to be able to snug the flower up tightly when it's done. Only after the flower is closed, can any of the threads be used freely.

Follow each ring with an unflipped double stitch wrapped over the multiple core.

Use as many petals as you wish for the flower. Follow the last ring with 1 unflipped double stitch chain. Then, to close the flower and continue with a chain for the "stem", put the chain thread on top, leaving the multiple core threads below, between the 1st and 2nd rings.

Wrap unflipped double stitches for the "stem" chain. If you want the stem to curve upward, bring the wrapping thread under the multiple thread core, then tat first half, 2nd half. To curve the stem downward, leave the wrapping thread below the core and tat 2nd half, 1st half.

After a few stitches, pull the main core thread to tighten the flower. From time to time, also tug the other threads to keep everything nice and tight.

Continue the flower motif any way you wish, throwing off "leaves" and "buds" using any of the threads. To end off, the extra threads can be hidden inside the final rings, and the last ring can be a single shuttle split ring, leaving no tails to sew in. Have fun with it!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Knitty Gritty and Craftsy sale

New batch of "Knitty Gritty" just added to my Etsy shop!

My process is to first wind the thread (Lizbeth or DMC) into skeins, then put them into a soda ash solution to soak while I get the dye ready. I use Procion MX fiber reactive dyes for permanent colors. As the photo shows, I mix small amounts of dye in paper cups, then paint the dye onto the thread with a brush.

I wrap the painted skeins up in plastic to cure overnight, then rinse them out the next day. When they're dry, my dear husband helps twist them into pretty skeins ready to sell.

In other news, Craftsy has a sale through July 30 with over 500 classes under $20, including both of my tatting classes there! Click my affiliate link for the savings:  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mixed beading/tatting experiment

 This was my first time making a peyote beaded bezel. I had 12 mm Swarovski rivoli and wanted to learn how to bead around it. Deborah Roberti's tutorial Creating a Peyote Bezel is very detailed and easy to follow.
 I followed her instructions for the basic bezel cup to hold the rivoli. For the decorative outer row of beading, I came up with my own simple embellishment of alternating large and small "picots" of 5 seed beads and 2 seed beads.

 To add the tatting, I used a small crochet hook to grab the tatting thread (size 20) and lock join between the 2 beads.
Quite a bit of "ripping out" and trying again happened before I came up with a design that I found acceptable enough to finish the pair. The earrings are 1 and 1/4 inches wide, and weigh 1 ounce each. I'm keeping this pair for myself. Now that I've got the basics down, I expect other ideas for combining these techniques may occur!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sue's Blues II

 New batch of hand dyed thread is listed in my Etsy shop! I call it "Sue's Blues II" Named for a flute-playing friend of mine, and "II" because I've done it before, but I think it may be slightly different. I haven't found any of the old batch, so I don't know.
I've started a pair of earrings with it. Most of the blue shades in this batch tend to be "warm" blues. Sort of like fading blue jeans, but not exactly. The pictures are as close as I could get to the actual colors. Oh, and the earring is from my own "Quadrille" pattern.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Just chillin'

Teaching the Tatting Basics class at Bead&Button Show.

A pattern is emerging on the weaving loom.

 No tatting to show on this blog just now, but I've been teaching tatting. Still to come this week is the "Meet the Teachers" event at Bead&Button where I'll have a table display, and another class to teach on June 11.
This is not tatting, but it is lace, and it's given me an idea. I think it would be a fun thing to do on a t-shirt. Cut the shoulder and sleeve apart, finish the raw edges, then insert a piece of tatted lace. I've gotten as far as the idea and buying a t-shirt. Run with this if you want! You'll be done before me :) I'm feeling a bit tired, so just chillin' for now.