Sunday, December 28, 2014

VAT, really?

According to the Etsy blog, the New European Union Rules on the Sale of Digital Items threatens to make small businesses like mine international law breakers starting January 1, 2015, unless we collect Value Added Tax (VAT) based on the VAT rates of the country where the customer is located, not on the rates of the country where the business is located. Etsy does not yet have a system in place for accomplishing this. All this hassle coming at a time when my family is really depending on my Etsy sales to put food on the table.

I may have to put my digital patterns "on vacation" starting January 1, until there is more guidance about this in terms that are practical enough to understand. I really don't know what to do about my digital patterns for sale on Craftsy, either.

I'm hoping all the "hoopla" will blow over soon. Meanwhile, I've started tatting around a cabochon, a very pretty blue Druzy. I'm sort of following CM-Handmade's instructions, but not exactly. I guess I'm already an International Law breaker as far as following tatting rules are concerned (grin). The tatting police will be coming for me! I already met one at a Tollway Tatters gathering earlier this year :) She was very, very nice!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mixing it up

Music from "The Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky kept echoing through my head whenever I found time to tat this past week. Well, one reason is because I actually played some of that music on my cello in 2 concerts with the community recreation department orchestra this month. The other is that I was attempting to study some of the secrets of the Russian Ankars style of tatting from Corina's blog. Corina explains it very well.

My goal in learning ideas and techniques is to have more options to explore creatively. The brown earrings in the photo above are loosely based on the simple "Giddy" pattern from my Tatted Jewelry book, but I added more beads on picots and on the core thread, and wire-wrapped a charm to dangle from the bottom. The thread is 4 strands of polyester machine embroidery thread. So, I am mixing it up! I like the result, but controlling multiple strands of slippery thread is very challenging. I like working with my own hand dyed cotton best.

This week I also finished the blue necklace that features the dichroic glass pendant. It's the "Newcastle" pattern, also found in Tatted Jewelry. I used my own hand dyed thread combined with Lizbeth Wedgewood Dark. 

Craftsy has their classes on sale through December 25, so you might want to have a look using this link.

Hope your holiday season is safe and happy!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bead&Button show, Stardate, Newcastle

 Still needing finishing, the blue necklace with dichroic glass pendant is tatted in my own hand dyed thread Blue Streak with Lizbeth Wedgewood Dk in the outer round. The pattern is my original "Newcastle" from my book "Tatted Jewelry". The dichroic glass pendant is one I purchased from a local glass artist. To add a finishing touch to the necklace chain, I happily used my new wire wrapping skill to form a matching beaded spiral dangle, thanks to 2 Craftsy courses I've watched recently: Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals, and Clusters by Aga Kruk, and Make Your Own Wirework Findings by Lisa Niven Kelly.
 Big item received in the mail this week is the Bead&Button Show class catalog, and guess who has a tatting class listed in it? Yep, that's my name under "Shuttle Tatting Basics"! My beading friends encouraged me this past summer to fill out an application and submit a class, so I did. My class got accepted! It's quite an honor since the Bead&Button Show is the largest consumer bead show in the world. Online registration opens January 6, 2015.

New hand dyed thread batch just added to my Etsy shop is "Stardate". People have asked how I came up with that name; well, the colors just don't resemble anything natural to planet Earth, and I'm a Star Trek fan, so there you are :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

About the heart bracelet

The Belle Armoire Jewelry winter 2015 issue shows my original tatted jewelry set including necklace, earrings, and bracelet, but since the bracelet is modeled the sides aren't shown. So here's a photo of the complete bracelet.

I've done some experimenting with clasps. I like toggle clasps because they're easy to close. I know that a lobster claw clasp allows for more adjusting, but personally I have a terrible time trying to fasten a lobster claw clasp on a bracelet. So, I look for easier solutions.

On the white bracelet I discovered that the t-bar fits perfectly into the lace. So, the bracelet can be snugged up tighter by pulling the t-bar through the toggle loop, then hooked into the lace.

By the way, the wire wrapped toggle clasp on the white bracelet I made myself! I'm enjoying learning some basic wire wrapping skills from 2 Craftsy classes that I signed up for:
"Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals, and Clusters" by Aga Kruk
"Make Your Own Wirework Findings" by Lisa Niven Kelly

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Coming soon in the Winter issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry

Spilling the beans a few days early: a new, original pattern by me will appear in the Winter issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine! It will be on sale beginning December 1st. But, I'm so excited I couldn't wait anymore to tell you all!

There is a bracelet to match the necklace and earrings that is modeled in the magazine. I put a chain on the necklace for the magazine article. The ones pictured here have ribbon attached to wire connectors for a different look, using the same pattern.

The tatting pattern with in-progress photos and a diagram will be in the magazine, I realize that some of my blog readers are not familiar with Belle Armoire Jewelry, but it is a popular jewelry craft magazine here in the USA, and I'm hoping the article will get more people interested in tatting.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Photos from Tatting Days at the Tatting Corner

One of the classes in session, with me guiding the students through making the "Rotation" pendant

My dear husband Jan, ready to sell hand dyed thread and books

Lunch time! Delicious meals were provided on site, each day!

Show and Tell had several challenge categories for Tatting Days. Amazing work was on display! These photos only glimpse at a sampling, there was a lot more. So much talent!

I think we all had a wonderful time! The Tatting Corner is a tatter's dream store!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Getting packed for Tatting Days

The kits for the class that I'll be teaching (Rotation Pendant) are ready and the patterns are printed. I'll deactivate my hand dyed thread listings in my Etsy shop later today, since those will be coming with me to Tatting Days. Although Etsy now has their own card reader that is supposed to let you sell directly from your shop. it doesn't work on my smartphone. So, going with the Square card reader. My husband will be in charge of my vendor table while I'm teaching. Will try to remember to take photos at the event! Should be loads of fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Forest and shamrock

 The "Forest" batch is done and in my shop! I tatted a shamrock from it. Celtic knot center in the shamrock was inspired by the book "Celtic Tatting Knots and Patterns" by Rozella F. Linden. I still need the instructions in her wonderful book to figure out how to weave that Celtic knot! The rest of the shamrock is my design from 2009.

The Tatting Days in Indiana is approaching fast! I've been notified that the classes I'm teaching are filled, but there are many other teachers with a variety of tatting projects and techniques. So, if you're planning to head over to the Tatting Corner, the event runs November 6 through 8. I'll be there all day on November 7, and the morning of November 8. Maybe I'll see you there!

Friday, October 24, 2014

My teaching and show schedule

"Linnea" tatted bracelet
For planning ahead, here's upcoming events that I will be teaching or selling at:

November 6 - 8, 2014: Tatting Days at Tatting Corner, Greenfield, Indiana. I'm teaching the "Rotation" pendant. My husband will be selling my hand dyed thread and books.

April 18, 2015: Concinnity at Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I'll be selling my tatted jewelry.

May 2, 2015: Shake Rag Alley at Mineral Point, Wisconsin. I'll be teaching Beginning Shuttle Tatting.

June 2, 2015 (tentative date) at Bead&Button Show, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I'll be teaching Shuttle Tatting Basics, the project is filigree tatted earrings.

August 1, 2015: Shake Rag Alley at Mineral Point, Wisconsin. I'll be teaching Beginning Shuttle Tatting.

Well, that's what I've got on the calendar so far as tatting related events are concerned. Today's a nice warm fall day outside, so I'm off to go for a walk. Maybe dye another batch of thread later. Tatting Fool has a beautiful blog post featuring "Forest" thread, so maybe that one.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Knitty Gritty"

Hand dyed thread "Knitty Gritty"! It's an earthy combination of autumn-y colors, from dull green, brown, gold, rust, and another brown.

I used this color in one of my "Linnea" bracelets.
The colors of autumn are pretty, but I really don't care for the colder weather around here. Hoping for one more nice day yet to grill outside :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Assemblage greeting cards with tatted embellishments

 One thing leads to another, so I've been making greeting cards, with tatting on each as an embellishment. The main features are from digital photos, sometimes my own, sometimes purchased. I'm having a load of fun with paper, scissors, glue, and thread!

What I do to get pretty paper is open a blank document and insert a photo, and re-size it to cover nearly the whole page (my printer needs at least 1/4" margins) then print it onto cardstock weight paper. It can then be trimmed to the size needed, resulting in the picture covering all the way to the edge.

A document file is also how I print off other photos and clip art in a variety of sizes to choose from, for featured pictures and embellishments on the card.

The antique car photo is from JantasticPhotos, the steampunk digital paper is from TheArtBoxDesigns, and the vintage camera image is from GraphicVariete, all on Etsy.

Here's a shout out for Tatting Days Nov. 6 - 8 at the Tatting Corner - I'm one of the teachers there! My class is the "Rotation" pendant.

Friday, October 10, 2014

New original bracelet pattern with pearl tatting center: "Linnea"

It's done! Available in my Etsy shop and will be in my Craftsy pattern store as well. This is the pattern for the bracelet that caused such a stir on Facebook, and was the motivation to make my YouTube video about pearl tatting.

A challenging pattern to tat, because of the combination of unflipped stitches in the pearl tatting part, along with normal double stitches and reverse order double stitches (2nd half first, 1st half second) in the rings. It's all explained in the pattern, and diagrams with stitch counts are there, too.

Surprisingly, this design also demonstrates Newton's 3rd law of  motion by curving when only one side is done. It lies straight when the other side is finished, because at completion each side exerts equal and opposite forces. Sounds like rocket science? Yes, it is in a way, because a rocket flies by producing a bigger force than the drag against it :) 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Video: Pearl tatting, adding thread with Lark's Head knot, rings thrown off each side

My latest video shows how I do pearl tatting; there are, of course, other ways. I plan to link to the video in my new bracelet pattern, which at the time of this writing is still in progress.

Also shown in the video is the technique of adding on a new thread to the base of a ring with a Lark's Head knot, and tatting over the tail end. I put it in there because I use that technique in the bracelet, and I like it.

Just making the video has helped me to remember which side of the pearl tatting has the stitches in reverse order, to keep both sides looking the same. If this video helps someone else too, that would be wonderful.

Music is "Clear Vision" provided by SmartSound

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Prairie Dusk" hand dyed thread

 Several shades of purple, khaki, and orange, blended together in cordonnet sizes 3 to 80, plus embroidery floss. These colors have a subtle sort of "Halloween" association, but are not limited to that since they're just pretty. The batch is now listed in my Etsy shop.

The bracelet that I was working on this week is now finished and listed as well, though of course with most of my followers being tatters themselves, there is a great interest in the techniques and the pattern. In fact, pictures of the bracelet went "viral" on my Facebook page yesterday, with more than 9 thousand views! So obviously I need to write up the pattern, which I will do as time allows. I do think I need to come up with a variation that is similar but doesn't require the pearl tatting part, so more people would find it do-able.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New bracelet in progress with pearl tatted center

Still unfinished, it needs the thread tails sewn in, steam blocking, and the findings attached. This is a new design experiment with a pearl tatted center. Pearl tatting meaning a 3rd thread added, with unflipped stitches worked over it, alternating sides. The result is sort of a cord with picots on both sides, which I thought might be handy for joining other design elements to. 

So far I'm pleased with this design, especially the colors, which include my own hand dyed "Adventurer" for the center, "Stonehill Wine" for the 2nd round, and Lizbeth #676 Leaf Green Dk for the final round, all size 10. The beads include Toho 11/0 Round Andromeda MA #704 strung onto the thread, and over selected picots I used 8/0 seed beads in a slightly brighter but similar color.

The bracelet turned out a bit too large for my own wrist, so expect to see it listed in my Etsy shop soon. As for the design, I'll probably tweak it and experiment some more.

Hand dyeing a new batch of thread tonight!

Monday, September 15, 2014


For those who are looking for a neutral, camouflage, shaded khaki thread. This batch of my hand dyed leans just a wee bit to the olive side. I had in mind the image of an adventurer off on an expedition to an exotic locale, possibly with a military espy.

The earrings are tatted from size 20 of this batch. I added a brass corrugated bead and a gear for a steampunk style that an "adventuress" (female adventurer) would find pleasing. They almost look like they could be hiding some sort of mechanized ansible device (but they're not - they're only earrings)! Just fun!

Friday, September 5, 2014


So September has arrived, and in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area it isn't hard to find some leaves that have already changed color. The days are still warm and summery though, and I hope that lasts a while.

A new batch of "Sugar Maple" hand dyed thread has been added to my Etsy shop. That batch always gets "oohs and aahs," but I'm loving how many of the other colorways look good as autumn leaves as well :)
The pattern for the earrings is my own original "Small Maple Leaf."

My dear husband, Jan, has been getting loads of admirers and views for his own Etsy shop, and it's given him something to focus his own creativity on.

The Museum of Wisconsin Art will soon be putting some of my tatted jewelry on display in their gift shop. I'm excited to have my work included there! Also coming up on the calendar is Milwaukee Tatting Guild on Monday, September 9, and Tatting Days in Indiana at the Thread Corner the first weekend in November. Lots to do!