Thursday, December 30, 2010

My tatting video

This 4 minute video shows tatting a ring, picots, reverse work, tatting a chain, and joining 2 rings. The way I hold my shuttle is comfortable for me - each individual will tat in a slightly different way. (This video was made using an old camera, so the picture quality is poor, but might still be helpful for someone learning to tat.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to tat - the 1st half of the double stitch

For the way that I tat, I like the shuttle wound counterclockwise, with thread coming out the side that is away from me.

If starting a ring, wrap thread all the way around left hand.
Thread is wrapped around left hand and pinched between thumb and forefinger (if tatting a ring). The right hand, holding the shuttle, lifts the shuttle thread up, out of the way...

...shuttle goes under both threads...

...under both threads ...

...under both threads - sliding the shuttle all the way under the thread that is on the left hand. Once it is past that thread...

...come back now, over the left hand thread. It's okay to let the thread from top of right hand slip off at this point, since you are still going under that right hand thread.

Almost done - now comes the flip...

Make the flip happen by relaxing the tension on your left hand (bring your fingers down, slightly closing left hand)...

...and pull the shuttle thread tight - to the right.

There is the 1st half! Bring your fingers back up on your left hand to tighten the tension. Keep the shuttle thread tight. See how the shuttle thread is the core over which the stitch slides.
These photos are just a rough attempt to show the classic method of shuttle tatting. In actuality, I hold my shuttle in a slightly different manner - but it forms the 1st half with the flip, all the same.  
The 2nd half is shown on another post; to see the 2nd half, click here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A pair in blue and gold

An example of my free "Carnival" tatted earring pattern made in Lizbeth cotton size 20 color #656, Wedgewood Dark, with 6mm Swarovski crystals in Dark Indigo AB2X, and 4mm Turquoise AB2X, with size 10/0 24 karat gold Delica seed beads. These were my personal creative choices this time around - the pattern looks good in many, many different thread color and bead combos.

The Handmade Jewelry Club liked this pattern so well they featured it on their website! I'm happy that tatting is gathering more interest and sparking new ideas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Layered Ring Christmas Tree

I got the pattern done, and listed it for sale as a pdf file in my Etsy shop. Both the basic and the beaded versions are included in the pattern.

The basic concept of the tree is pretty simple, just one shuttle and ball of thread, but the pattern was a lot of work to finalize and write up. There is not a diagram with this pattern - it was just too hard to draw one that made sense with the 3 dimensional effect of this design.

I ran out of time to make more and better models of the tree, which in size 20 thread makes a nice size for earrings. Busy, busy with Christmas preparations - making cookies, wrapping gifts, practicing cello for the concert and Christmas Mass, and DH just volunteered me to bake 2 kinds of bars for his office potluck...but, it's all good fun!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Working on a new design

While fooling around with tatting the other night, I think I stumbled onto a cool idea for a Christmas tree design. I'm working on preparing the pattern. The photo is just a sneak peek at the start!

When finished, I'll add the pattern to my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Better the 2nd time

"Fall Afternoon" - the Garden Afternoon colors dyed over ugly thread
Occasionally I do have a color experiment that turns out darn ugly - but, no problem, I can overdye :-)
I just can't repeat the unique colors that result, so that batch is OOAK (one of a kind).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Artisan Market at Discovery World

 Here's how my yarnplayer booth looked at the Holiday Artisan Market at Discovery World, on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Sales were a bit slow, but I made plans for teaching 2 new tatters, and my tatted atoms were enthusiastically approved for the Discovery World museum gift shop.

I tatted earrings while sitting at my booth, and someone bought the pair I'd been working on! Here's a photo of them taken while in progress. I was using my Carnival pattern in my hand dyed size 20 thread from the Stardate batch.

The event continues on Sunday, Dec. 5th.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The winner - and a free pattern for all

The winner of the truckload giveaway is Hattalahutta! 

And, everyone receives an early Christmas gift of a free pattern!

To download my new, original tatting pattern (in pdf format) for "2-Way Star" -- click here.

Hattalahutta, please send your mailing address information privately to my email yarnplayer(at) - replace (at) with @

Monday, November 29, 2010

Truckload Giveaway

This giveaway package includes a 10 skein assortment of my hand dyed thread, a copy of my latest book Up and Tat 'Em, a new 2-pack of Clover plastic tatting shuttles, a new size 12 steel crochet hook, a new size 16 (0.4mm) steel crochet hook, and a brand new toy dump truck (in its box) suitable for ages 18 months and up.

Now what you have to do to have a chance to win this fantastic prize package, is to leave one comment on this post. You don't need to put your contact info if you are going to check back here on Friday, December 3rd to see if you've won. I'll choose a winner using a random number generator on Friday, December 3rd between 12 noon and 1 pm central standard time.

Hey now, if you already have a toy dump truck (or any of the other items in this giveaway), I betcha there is somebody near you who would love to have it (nice gift!)

International readers are welcome to enter this giveaway. If you win, the package will have a customs form marked "gift" and the contents as plastic toy, cotton thread, needlework tools, book.

Friday, November 26, 2010


 Very subtle shades of beige to white, which I hand dyed with Pro MX Reactive Dye.

 Actually, to some folks it may just look like "dirty thread", which to be perfectly honest was my own personal reaction to it as I watched it dry. Anyway, I started an earring with it (Grand Aura from my Up and Tat 'Em book) and I think it will work nicely for the antiqued look.

I will be tatting earrings this week, since my earring display rack has room for 40 pairs, and so far I only have 28 finished. I want a full display for my booth at the Holiday Artisan Market at Discovery World, which is coming up December 4 and 5. So, I will be busy getting ready for that this week.
BTW, the organizer specifically asked if I would be demonstrating tatting. She said, (and I quote) 
"It’s always so much fun to watch you do your thing, so that would be great if you can."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Evergreen" tatted necklace in hand dyed thread


"Evergreen" seemed like a suitable title for this necklace. The hand dyed thread it is tatted from will indeed stay these greens and not fade.

Something I noticed is that the Lizbeth thread  size 10 is thicker than the Anchor Artiste size 10 that I used to make the Newcastle necklace (the one with the bottle cap). So, this necklace is slightly larger.

 This past week I also dyed some Pizazz thread in bright orange to red to burgundy. The color is so bright that the camera could barely capture it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The green necklace in progress

Using ideas from the previous necklace, but this one will be one-of-a-kind as well. I'm happiest when I'm just making it up as I go! The thread is size 10 from my hand dyed "Forest" batch. I'm thinking I may surround it with a lighter solid green, with maybe some silvery-color glass beads. (I've learned to avoid both silver plated and sterling silver metal beads - they tarnish, and I don't see any practical way of polishing them when they are all worked into cotton lace.)

Later, I'll get to dyeing a batch of "Pizazz" which is reds and oranges. The white thread is prepared and waiting!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It grew around a bottle cap

Nearly a year ago, I bought a bottle cap pendant from the seller in the booth next to mine at the Discovery World Holiday Artisan Market. I told her at the time that I'd tat it into something.  
Well, now I have!

I added some gears into the necklace by joining into them with normal joins while tatting.

By fiddling around with the ring, I discovered that the tatted ring could be easily maneuvered to lie under the gear, so the gear would be prominent on top of the tatting.

I decided to call this design Newcastle because that was written on the other side of the bottle cap.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Into the dark, mysterious "Forest"

Apparently I haven't made this batch for a very long time, because when I looked it up in my dye "recipe" book, the amounts I had scribbled down for how much dye, water, etc. were very small. That was back in the day (2007) when a batch for me was maybe a dozen skeins total. In this batch I dyed a total of 58 skeins. That's pretty much the maximum amount I can work with at one time.

By the way, there is still some Snowflake left, too. At some point in the future I plan on dyeing a batch of Pizazz, which is sort of a bright red and orange. And, then more Sue's Blues! And, I have an idea for some neutrals, too.

So many colors, so little time!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Split ring jewelry finding

The thread goes through the metal ring twice
 For security, I like to attach a split ring finding instead of a standard jump ring to my tatted jewelry. The "split ring" I'm referring to here is the coiled jewelry finding (not a tatted split ring).

I recently acquired some black split rings that I really like, but I discovered that I can't use my special split ring pliers to open them because the force of using the tool scratches the black coating on this particular finding. So, I unwound my shuttle to string them onto the thread. Not a big deal, since at that point the tatting is nearly done, anyway.
So, before starting to tat the ring that I want the finding on, I unwound the shuttle, and strung the metal split ring onto that thread. Then, wrapped the thread around my left hand, and put the end of the thread through the metal split ring again. After doing that, the thread was wound back onto the shuttle. When tatting resumed, the metal ring dangled from the tatted ring.

A previous post about this subject is found at:
"Wondrous Window" pendant from "Up and Tat 'Em" book

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Loominosity show

Handmade jewelry by various artists
This years's Loominosity was a group exhibit and sales event covering 4 days, organized by two guilds: the Wisconsin Handweavers and the Loose Bead Society.

Some of my tatted jewelry was in the sale, and I demonstrated tatting on Saturday.

Later that afternoon I was surprised to meet Sue Anna of Sue Anna's blog! She is an absolutely wonderful lady! (Tatters are such nice people!) Not only did she make the trip to come see me at this event, she brought gifts! Thank you, Sue Anna!
Sue Anna's gifts - shuttle and tatted bookmark
Sue Anna and Marilee

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tatted necklaces, upcoming shows

Two art/craft shows are coming up for me, so I'm trying to finish more things to display. "Celeste" is a new necklace design I came up with last week. It occurred to me that tatted connectors would be a fun thing to try. I joined the necklace parts with jump rings, short pieces of chain, and ribbon for an eclectic arrangement. The connector design seemed suitable for matching earrings.
The first show is Loominosity in New Berlin, Wisconsin. I'll be participating as a member of the Loose Bead Society, and I plan to be demonstrating tatting with beads on Saturday, October 30.

The other show is the Holiday Artisan Market at Discovery World, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 4 and 5. I'll have my own booth at that show, so I am working hard to complete enough unique tatted jewelry for a well stocked display.