Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blue Streak and first cluny tatting

This batch has the "bluest" blues that I've dyed so far. The actual blue shades are difficult to capture in a photo. It varies from light to medium dark, cool to warm blue.

Something else that I've been working on these last few days, is learning to tat clunies, aka tallies.  I've known OF cluny tatting for many years, but never got around to learning how to do it. I just figured I didn't need cluny leaves. But, in case somebody asks me to teach them, I guess I'd better learn. To me, learning to tat a cluny feels like battling the final "boss" in a video game. If I get through this, I win! LOL ;-)

Not that it's the last technique I need to learn, heavens, no. There are a lot of tatting things I've never done yet. But, nothing seemed as intimidating to me as a cluny, therefore, with joy I'm showing off my very first cluny project. It's from a pattern by Stephanie Peters. So, off to practice some more, and maybe come up with a cluny design of my own in the new year.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas snowflakes, cakes, and a peek into my studio

 These snowflakes with the embroidered centers are some that I made years ago, and are my personal favorites. All embroidery and tatting done completely by hand, beads strung onto the thread and worked in place while making. I buttonhole stitched the edges of the fabric centers (the fabric is double, with embroidery on both sides) and attached the tatting to the stitching. Shown hanging on a real tree.

Also, I couldn't resist showing off my Christmas cakes! Dear husband "volunteered" me to make a dessert for a party where he works, so I made Jello Poke Cake. The cake that's been cut, with the cards in back is the one I made for the family The one with the holly leaves (made from gumdrops) is the one that went to the party.

My cello and I will be part of the music at church on Christmas eve, so have been going to rehearsals and sorting out music for that. Our instrumental group will be accompanying the choir for the Mass parts, and also we will be playing by ourselves during the prelude: Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming, Away in a Manger, and Ding Dong Merrily On High. I got the music scores for free from

So, all the hustle and bustle has kept me very busy, which explains why I haven't had time to add any new hand dyed thread to my Etsy shop lately. But, will get back to it after Christmas. The bottom photo shows a peek into my studio! See, I have some thread already skeined for the next dye batch. I do wind all my skeins by hand, which is a large part of the reason that hand dyeing thread is so time-consuming. Hanging on the wall are some of my original handwoven tapestries from the days when I was a handweaver (at the back is the original "yarnplayer" with cello, that was my first avatar).

I've been looking ahead to 2013, and one of my sons has advised me to make "expensive stuff with real emeralds and rubies". I'm not sure that's a cost-effective way to go, but I think the intention is to make art pieces with an air of prestige and "wow" factor that won't become patterns. I guess he sees how hard his mom works and wants people to admire, but doesn't want everything sold! 

My Studio

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tatted Snowflake "Marian"

New snowflake pattern added to my Craftsy store and also my Etsy shop. The reason for entitling it "Marian", well, it's in honor of someone and also I couldn't think of a different title.

As shown in the photo, the design works well for combining 2 thread colors. I choose some hand dyed to combine with white, for a traditional look with an extra "pop" of color. But, it looks nice with one color, too, and in that case there are less ends to hide.

The pattern contains in-progress photos and written directions in English, for tatting with 2 shuttles.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I've been closed captioned!

Screenshot of Shuttle Tatting course showing closed captioning
Even folks who aren't hearing impaired may find the closed captioning helpful, as I've been told my voice is very quiet in spite of the microphone. Some of the words in the closed captioning aren't quite right, but mostly they pass along the information okay. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Artisan Market

My table at Discovery World.

The view from my table. I'm across from the museum gift shop and the theater where the "Tesla Lives" show happens.

A "doo-dad" from Lace-Lovin' Librarian Diane, which I embellished with tatting.
Good sales of tatted jewelry items, and a lot of interest, too. Some folks stopped to watch and ask questions, or reminisce about someone they had known who tatted. The children (and adults!) love to watch a one-ring butterfly being made!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Discovery World Artisan Market - tatting at my table

Holiday Artisan Market coming up this weekend, December 1 and 2. 

I have a table in this event and will be tatting in between sales of my tatted jewelry and hand dyed thread. I may bring a few snowflakes, too. I have another new snowflake design and there's a sneak peek at it in photo at left. No pattern prepared yet, as I am busy getting projects finished for the show.

After this, the shows will be done for a while. Then I hope to have time to write up some more patterns, dye more thread, etc.

Went to the funeral of a cousin this past weekend, and so I have been reflecting on how short our time is here, and about making a difference in the lives of others while we have the chance. I don't know how much difference I make, but for sure you wonderful blog readers have made a HUGE difference in helping this shy tatter to feel that I have a purpose, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pointed snowflake with double picots

Here's the pattern for this pointed snowflake with double picots. It's made using one shuttle and the ball thread.

Mock ring in progress
Wind 2 yards onto the shuttle, leaving a continuous thread between shuttle and ball.
Start with a self-closing mock ring (a chain with a large loop left at the beginning):
3 --3 - 3 -- 3 - 3 -- 3 - 3 -- 3 - 3 -- 3 - 3 -- 3 (6 large and 5 small picots). Put shuttle though the loop at the beginning, and close the mock ring.

Lock stitch to form 6th small picot.
Lock stitch to form 6th small picot

* Ch 3 - 3 - 3 - 3.  Do not reverse work.

R 4, very large picot (about an inch or more when open), 2, join into the picot to form double picot, 4, close ring. Do not reverse work.

Ch 3 - 3 - 3 - 3. Lock join to next small picot of mock ring.
Double picot in progress

Continue in same manner from * until you have all 6 points of the snowflake.

Hints:  The mock ring (self-closing mock ring, or SCMR) at the center is made just like tatting a chain, with a large loop left at the beginning. It's also known as an open end chain. When you've tatted all the double stitches that you want for the SCMR, you just put the shuttle through the large loop, and pull to close. 

The double picot is really easy. It's just a large picot that you join into again farther along in the tatting. I like using a "down join" for these, followed by the 2nd half of a double stitch to complete the join, but any way of making a normal picot join (a join that slides!) will work. You can slide the double picot in its join to adjust how the 2 parts look.
1st point completed with lock join

Notice that the ring at the point is not a "floating ring". The difference between a floating ring and the ring at the point of this snowflake design, is that a floating ring would be made with the "ball thread" wound onto a 2nd shuttle in order to preserve a rounded curve for the chain. In this design, I wanted the pointed shape, so I used only the one shuttle.
In size 40 Lizbeth, the finished snowflake measures a bit less than 2 inches (5 cm) across. The finished size will vary depending on the size of thread used, and the working tension of each individual. 

Credit for the pretty shuttle in the photos goes to Lace-Lovin' Librarian Diane - she "blinged" it herself, and I was very lucky to receive it as a gift!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tollway Tatters at November gathering

 Tollway Tatters have such a good time! The people in our group all live some distance from each other, so we get together at a midway meeting point, which just happens to be a rest stop on the Illinois tollway.

I showed up "over dressed" this time because I forgot my tie-dyed t-shirt, our group's "uniform" :-) But, I was wearing tatting, so it was okay.

We brought along our tatting projects and many gifts were shared! Thread of many colors and types, shuttles, beads, filigree findings, and more. We also got to peek inside each others tatting pattern books. So many new ideas that I want to try now!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And the winner is...Lelia

Lelia is the lucky winner of 2 skeins of Summer Trail hand dyed thread!

The reason I entered "54" in the number generator even though there were only 53 comments, is because I received an email on Wednesday from another blog reader asking to be entered in the giveaway, who for some reason couldn't leave a comment on the blog post.

Also, I was sneaky this time, LOL! I didn't put giveaway in the post title because I wanted my regular blog readers to have a better chance of winning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Summer Trail" hand dyed thread

Summer flew by too quickly...

Psst...hey there, I'm giving away 2 skeins of this thread! Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win! I'll choose a winner via random number generator on Thursday, November 15. Good luck to all my wonderful bloggy buddies!

Monday, November 12, 2012

How I spent my weekend

Me with my tatted jewelry display
 Fun, fun, fun!!! The 2nd annual Jewelry At The Domes show held at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) was wonderful. You couldn't ask for a prettier venue, especially this time of year in Wisconsin when we are on the threshold of winter.

A set finished while demonstrating
Many people did stop to watch me tat, and to take information about the Shuttle Tatting course on Craftsy. Some people reminisced about how a relative had tatted years ago, others had never seen tatting before and asked what it was. Lots of remarks were heard about how pretty and different my things were.

I also had some sales - one woman waited patiently for me to finish tatting a Remembrance Ring because she wanted to buy it. I needed to borrow a sewing needle from a very kind beading artist so that I could sew in the ends. (The borrowed needle worked, but not as quickly as my own favorite, thinner needle with a longer eye would have.) Well, I guess I won't be forgetting my own finishing supplies next time, LOL :-)

I actually got a good amount of tatting done, which I'll be able to take my next show, the Holiday Artisan Market which will be at Discovery World on December 1 and 2.

During a break, I took a quick walk through the Domes and snapped some photos. Gosh, so much color inspiration...for future hand dyed thread, maybe?

Panorama view of part of the Tropical Dome

Cell phone shot of me with waterfall

Shoppers enjoying Jewelry At The Domes event

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tatting and Jewelry at the Domes

My display of tatted jewelry

Tatted jewelry will be included in the Jewelry At The Domes show at the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee this weekend. That's my table in the above photo, just after I finished setting up!

That's me tatting at Loominosity
Actually, I'm sharing a table with Jan Falk, felt artist. Since we are both "fiber people" our creations look very good together. One of her handmade felt flowers is shown in the promotional photo at the bottom of this post.

Photo at left shows me demonstrating tatting at Loominosity, the show which was held the previous week, November 1 - 4.

Outside view of one of the Domes at night
Other photos here show the Domes at night, as I was leaving from setting up, and the Kapok tree growing inside one of the Domes, which needs frequent pruning to prevent it from breaking the roof!

A busy weekend, and hopefully we will be educating a lot of folks about tatting as well as all sorts of handmade jewelry.
Kapok tree inside the Domes

2 of the Domes at night

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tatted Flower Choker

 The story behind this design is that I got the inspiration from a vintage edging pattern. It had the bottom part of the flower "petals" with the big picot-ed ring in the middle, and so naturally I thought a bead would fit into that ring nicely.

So, I grabbed some hand dyed thread from my latest batch "Gold Crimson", and because I wanted to get done with the project quickly, used size 10 thread. Now, size 10 does tat up quickly - BUT - it's a lot harder to get Swarovski crystal pearls (one of my favorite beads) onto it. The holes in the beads need to be just slightly bigger, argh! Still, I managed to get them on, using a size 15 crochet hook. I could have done it with a wide eye beading needle and a piece of sewing thread, too.
 The idea of completing the flower shape on top didn't occur to me until after I had the first side done. At first I had planned on doing something different so I had a picot in the middle of the short chain between flowers. Later, after a bit of experimentation, it seemed that putting more petals on top would make a cute flower. Because there are only 2 petals on top, with 3 petals on the bottom, repeating the motif tends to form a nice curve. A solid "Lizbeth" thread coordinated well with the hand dyed. I used the extra picot to make a Catherine Wheel join there, but the extra join seemed unnecessary to add stability, so on my next attempt I'm not putting a picot there.

I already have another one started, this time in size 20 thread. The first choker I made using only one shuttle and the ball thread, but the turns are tidier by using 2 shuttles, so that's what I'm doing now. There will need to be about 24 repeats in the size 20 thread; the size 10 thread version used 17 repeats. The first side flops around a lot until the second side is added to stabilize it.

Maybe a hand dyed would look nice on the second half of the brown necklace, hmm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Simply "Giddy" tatted earrings

 The pattern, "Giddy" earrings, is in the Tatted Jewelry book published by Annie's Attic. All of the patterns in the book were designed by me (yes, that's my name on the cover). The "Giddy" pattern has just one "floating ring" at the top made with 2nd shuttle, beaded picots, and starts with a bead inside a self-closing mock ring. Instructions are in the book.

I'm trying to get more tatted items made for several art/craft shows that are coming up; 2 of them are listed on the postcard at the bottom of this post. I'll be demonstrating tatting at the events, too.