Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sun Tea

Although I ENJOY reading everyone's Tatting Tea Tuesday postings, I usually do not have anything myself to offer.  I LOVE tea, but only ICED tea... preferably Lipton with no sugar or lemon (shudder).  On special occasions, I OCCASIONALLY make my iced tea with bottled water rather than tap.  LET ME TELL YOU that in a tall clear glass filled with ice, it sparkles like the sun!

And today being the national... OK, maybe just local... yes, yes quite possibly just in my own home, HOLIDAY that it is, SUN tea would be the order of the day (if the sun were actually out)!  Because yesterday was the winter solstice, today is the first day of many that we will gain an additional minute or two of sunlight and that is cause of great celebration and rejoicing to me every year!

I could not be described as a sun worshipper (this pasty pudding doesn't tan well) or outdoorsy type, but apparently I need the sun to be out there even when I am not, to promote my own happiness and well being.  I become grouchy, sullen and unproductive without my sunshine.  So in my home we could call this RETURN OF GOOD ANN DAY, although that seems to promise allot, so maybe it should be RETURN OF A HIGHER PERCENTAGE POSSIBILITY OF GOOD ANN DAY.  It's a mouth full and will make for a very expensive banner, but still it IS cause to celebrate!  So in answer to the Tatting Tea Tuesday question, "How many extra minutes of sunshine will you take with your tea, one or two?"  I would answer, "TWO PLEASE!"

My tatted sunshine today is a rendition of a pattern by Jane Eberall.  It is part of her Sun, Moon and Stars Mobile.  I say it is a rendition because it was not done perfectly.  I did not have small enough beads for my sunshine to have a sunny smile.  My beads produced a joker-like grin not suitable for the large orb that heats the earth - that kind of grin would produce fear of accelerated global warming.  My execution of the pattern is a little clumsy and the pattern is intended to be placed in a large ring,  but I am quite pleased with my patch of sunshine and am now even MORE excited about Jane's upcoming TIAS project in January!

Oh! I forgot to mention.  Those really ARE the clouds I saw in the sky last night a little before dusk.  Today they have melded together to obscure the blue but the sunshine still manages to filter through so I am happy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Caring and Sharing

My daughter did not CARE for the last picture I posted and asked me to please SHARE another picture so she wouldn't have to keep looking at it on her reader.  She didn't care for that picture because she doesn't care for Party Pizzas because she doesn't care for meat.  I, on the other hand, had grown tired of it because I kept getting HUNGRY looking at it!  It is our very own version of the generation gap...

So I rushed, or perhaps sauntered, maybe even just schlepped outside this morning and photographed a snowflake I made last night, and truth be told, MANY nights before, because I tat slower than Christmas!  It is Jon's Quantiesque Snowflake done in a size 20 Lizbeth thread.  It was a pleasure to make!

If I sew more quickly than I tat, you will see it hanging on my tree soon...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yum-yum! Party Pizzas!

One of our holiday traditions is to make a bunch of appetizers on Christmas Eve and munch away.  My mother-in-law always made Party Pizzas and they are a favorite.

They are very simple.  Spread cocktail bread (we like pumpernickel) with tomato paste.  Sprinkle on some ground oregano.  Top with browned Italian sausage and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees until the cheese melts and browns a little.  Yum!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Off-Roading and Misquoting

With the flurry of tatted fall leaves which has been fluttering through cyberspace in recent weeks, I wanted to create one of my very own so I ordered a copy of "Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf" by Karey Solomon and set my cap for the Oak Leaf.

That was SOME TIME ago!  This is the first piece I have tatted which wasn't either an edging or a motif created in an orderly fashion around a central axis.  The pattern meanders a bit, IN FACT it felt like I left the pavement and went off-road tatting!  I got stuck a couple times and had to call in a new shuttle to pull me out, I spun my wheels unpicking mistakes and by the time I pulled back on the highway I was running on fumes.  It WAS a fun ride though, even if there were times I doubted I was headed in the right direction, and I'll take this pattern for another spin sometime.

It is no secret that I like collages.  So I had allot of fun poking around a website called Polyvore recently.  People go there and make a collage about pretty much anything.  Allot are about fashion or actresses but there are some about things such as sewing, quilting and crochet.  To search the site, click on the arrow to the right of "Search for Products" in the toolbar at the top of the page.  Select search by sets.  Then you can type in whatever interests you and see if anyone has made a collage of related items.  I even tried colors and found some fun inspiration!  I made my Garbo pun after seeing a version on this site, but I couldn't find it again when I went back to look for it.

A FINAL NOTE:  APPARENTLY Garbo never said, "Leaf me alone." or even, "LEAVE me alone."  She said, "I want to be let alone."  But I already knew she had been misquoted in some form or fashion because I attended Looney Tunes University as a child and it was there that I took an intense, fifteen second,  Garbo 101 course.  It was a TOUGH final.

Th-th-th-That's All Folks!  Cue the music...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grab a Tissue

Gift of the Amazon
by O. Hank

Ten more dollars to free shipping.  The husband stared at the Amazon cart.  How he needed that shaving cream!  His beard was unmanageable without it.  But the cost of the cream was ten dollars short of what was required for free shipping!  The fees would HAVE to be paid... UNLESS?

Perhaps there was another in the household who could HELP him reach his goal - perhaps his own dear WIFE?  He appealed to her, explaining his distress over the exorbitant fees looming.  How great his relief when she rushed to his side at the computer exclaiming, "There, there love, I will do what I can to help!"

In silent wonder the husband watched as his bride (oh, throw me a bone here) scanned the book listings, her tiny white fingers (gonna need another bone) tapping the computer keyboard.  At last she turned to him, her eyes glowing with triumph, "I will add tatting books to your order!  Two will cover the margin, but I will add a third so there is no question."

"You would do that for ME?" he cried.

"Yes, my darling and I would do it yet again, should you need me!"

Days later, when the order arrived, the (relatively) young couple sat in quiet companionship.  She enjoying her husband's smooth shaven jaw and he reveling in being able to flip channels with no utterance, save the flipping of the pages of some REALLY GOOD TATTING BOOKS.  And together they savored the sweet taste of FREE SHIPPING!

The End

Friday, November 20, 2009

Meet the Grandparents

May I introduce my grandma and grandpa?  My mom's parents.  When you're little you love them just because they are your grandparents.  When you grow up you see them as people.  My grandparents were such NICE people who gave me many good memories.  Too few of Grandma since she died when I was pretty young.  Even so she had a large role in shaping me.

This photograph was taken the year I was born and is how I remember Grandma.  When I look at this picture, I think of church because Grandma and Grandpa are wearing their Sunday best.  They sat together in the same pew every week at church.  Our family was one or two pews behind them usually.  I remember how worn my grandparents' Bible was...

According to Mom, when it came to crafts Grandma was a bit like Will Rogers.  She never met a craft she didn't like.  I remember her being a very INDUSTRIOUS person (although my brain had not met that word back then).  She was always busy with something - the house, the garden, the chickens, cooking, sewing, canning.  I'm sure the list could go on...

I remember eating fresh peas from Grandma's garden, the smell of the root cellar where she kept her canning, drinking well water from a blue speckled ladle (so cold and good!), playing with Grandma's button box when it held HER buttons, seeing stacks of her quilt blocks, making a shadow box together with a picture of a deer and straws, a basket she made of greeting cards crocheted together and HEAPING with family photos, and watching Grandma tat...

To me, Grandma's hands FLEW while she would tat and visit with Mom and as much as I would stare at  them, I could NEVER unravel the mystery of tatting... the lace just seemed to appear from nowhere.  Mom told me that Grandma learned to tat from a woman she worked for when she was young.  Mom had asked Grandma to teach HER to tat, but Grandma couldn't explain how with words... by then it was just something she did without thought.  So Mom said, "Well slow down so I can SEE what you are doing."  But try as she might, Grandma just COULDN'T slow down enough to show Mom without messing herself up!

I WISH I could have learned to tat from Grandma, or at LEAST have the memory of her TRYING to teach me!  Somewhere along the way, Mom gave me a couple of Grandma's shuttles, still wound with thread and a few of her pieces of tatting.  For YEARS I would look at these things and wonder...  It wasn't until the advent of the internet that I was able to find instructions and teach myself the basics of tatting.  It made my mom happy when I learned and she would be happy that I am working to expand my knowledge.  

And tatting makes ME happy because besides being an enjoyable pastime with BEAUTIFUL results when done well, it has provided me with a lasting connection to my grandmother.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Good Dr. Was Right

The good Dr. (Seuss) was right... UNslumping yourself is NOT easily done.

I've been in a bit of a tatting slump lately.  Things have been busy, I've been sleepy, and I've either MISread, MISinterpreted or MISapplied the instructions to the patterns I have chosen to try.  I've been doing alot of unpicking and/or SNIPPING.  For all my effort, I have nothing to show but this dot...

I made my dot because one of my FAVORITE kids' books is "The Dot" by Peter H. Reynolds.  The story begins at the end of a little girl's art class and finds her sitting at her desk staring at a blank piece of paper.  Her teacher encourages her to, "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."  Frustrated, she jabs her paper and makes a dot.  Her teacher then surprises her by saying simply, "Now sign it."  When she goes to her art class again and finds her framed dot hanging on the wall, she is inspired... and the story goes from there...  I REALLY enjoy that book!

So here is MY dot to remind ME to keep trying and see where it takes me... and I signed it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Lovely Gift From A Kind Friend

Not long ago my blogging friend, Martha, mentioned in an email that she had found some things while reorgainizing her sewing room which I might like...  IMAGINE my surprise when I received her package in the mail and unwrapped this BEAUTIFUL, tatted, camisole yoke!!!  I had ACTUALLY been pondering how long it would take to make one of these lovelies since TATBiT posted a scan of 15 Tatted Yokes & Camisoles.  What a coincidence!  The yoke is in WONDERFUL shape and the tatting is VERY nice!

Martha enjoys buying vintage items such as patterns, fabrics, quilt blocks and edgings which she uses to create new masterpieces or complete the project envisioned by another.  She has an eye for possibilities and the patience to complete intricate work.  Her blog, Q is for Quilter, is one of my favorite places to visit.  I love looking at her vintage books and seeing what new project she is tackling!

So I plan to take a cue from Martha and use this yoke for a project when I find the right pattern and fabric.  It may take a while because I want it to be just right, but I plan to enjoy the journey.

But wait!  Martha's generosity didn't end there!  She looked through her stash of Work Basket leaflets and found several with tatting patterns which she sent to me - SO nice!  Looking through these WONDERFUL issues makes me want to take up new crafts!  However, the tatting patterns are REALLY nice and I think they will be fun to try so I will resist temptation... for now.

I especially like this doily,

and these edgings.

And of COURSE, I always LOVE to look at the ads.  This one caught my eye.

I don't know which I would enjoy more, my hobby bringing IN $20 each day or the extra 4 hours this ad seems to promise... would it be TERRIBLY greedy of me to want BOTH?

Thank you Martha!  You are VERY kind and I am enjoying planning how to put these gifts to use.  I am also ABSOLUTELY convinced that your sewing room must be a WONDERFUL place!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hello Friends!

Each episode of Baby Doll's FAVORITE program, Yo Gabba Gabba, begins with a greeting from DJ Lance Rock, "Hello friends!"  I don't ACTUALLY say it aloud, ESPECIALLY in public, but SOMEtimes when I pick up a sewing needle or tatting shuttle I think to myself, "Hello friend!"

This week I was excited to bring three "friends" together for a play date - tatting, sewing and embroidery.  EVERYBODY played nice and the result was this jumper for Baby Doll.  During the winter she will wear it with a pink turtleneck and pink leggings.  Then next spring she will be able to wear it by itself.

The jumper was made from Simplicity pattern 3662.  The shoulder straps button in the back and the bows at the side allow for fitting.  The jumper is fully lined and could probably be constructed to be reversible.  I made my own piping for the bottom hem so it would match the pink I used for the motif.  It was an easy pattern and I would definitely consider making it again.

You probably recognize the motif from my last post.  I have wanted to add a motif to a little skirt or jumper for some time now and when I found this one I thought it would be PERFECT.  I had originally planned to sew it on subtly, but somewhere in the planning process I VEARED off course and decided to stitch it on LOUD and PROUD with embroidery floss matching the colors of the fabric.

Afraid that the motif would be STRUGGLING for attention on that field of dots, I decided to give it its OWN stage which I created by first setting a green circle into a larger pink square using a technique I found on Dioramarama.  It worked WONDERFULLY!  Then I embroidered my tatted motif on,  cut the pink circle to the size I wanted and appliqued the WHOLE shebang to the jumper.  Because the jumper is fully lined the LOVELY back side of my embroidered work is not visible.

I tried it on Baby Doll and she seemed well pleased because APPARENTLY you need a colorful dress to dance along to numbers like "Hey, Won't Somebody Come and Play?" and I'm pretty sure she will be reflective for any night time walking.  Safety first!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If You Go Down in the Woods Today...

You're sure of a big surprise --- but not because of picnicking teddy bears!  OH NO, the woods I wandered today had tatted motifs CLINGING to the trees like monarchs in the woods of Mexico!!  There were THOUSANDS of them in a STUNNING array of colors, shapes and sizes!!!    

OR... it COULD be that I was actually just traipsing through my soggy backyard where there are a COUPLE of trees... and quite possibly this was the ONLY motif hugging either of them and then ONLY for the space of a shutter's blink... a girl can dream though... and if you're gonna dream, you might as well make it a DOOZY!

For this motif I used Cebelia #10.  It is the "Pink Coaster" pattern from Big Book of Tatting by Darlene Polachic.  An ant kindly climbed aboard for size comparison purposes... I "thanked" him later...

SURE it looks like a quiet, demure, unassuming motif NOW, but I hope in the coming days to release its inner wild child!  Wish me luck...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wrap It Up, I'll Take It!

I'm stringing beads for my latest take-along project!  I'll be using a #20 Lizbeth thread and some  SPARKLIER THAN THE PICTURE SHOWS beads to make a very simple edging of rings and chains.  I like to keep an easy-peasy project with me when I'm out and about.  I am SHAMELESS about pulling a piece of tatting out to complete even a SINGLE ring when the opportunity arises because I have learned not to count on too much quiet tatting time at home... You would not BELIEVE the interruptions which have occurred while I have typed these few lines!  REALLY.  So here's to long lines and packed parking lots... I may make a few poor gift choices for Christmas so I can enjoy some quality time returning them!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Leave Her to Heaven?

Should I just let this one go or throw good thread after bad in an effort to salvage this misfit motif?

It is SUPPOSED to be Celtic Flower from Celtic Tatting Knots & Patterns by Rozella Linden using Lizbeth #20 thread.  I like the pattern VERY much and was excited about making it with some new thread.  Unfortunately after careful thought and planning, I went and mixed up the threads I was using and ended up with too much solid green and not enough variegated thread showing.  The spoke motif (solid green) which is woven into the flower motif (variegated) was a little twisty, so I didn't snug the stitches up as much as I should have which resulted in the spokes being too long, and one ring into the final round I can tell they will not lay flat with any amount of coaxing.

What to do, what to do...  I'm thinking I will get the motif a room in Tat Limboland where it can reside until I feel like snipping off the final round and retatting the spoke motif in another color yet to be purchased (because I NEED more thread - really, really I do).  And I SUPPOSE I believe in second chances... especially when you bring thread into the picture...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Can Neither Confirm nor Deny...

that a T.A.T. Apprentice binder is currently in my possession.  I am however at liberty to discuss the grass...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Wheels of Time Go 'Round and 'Round...

(click to enlarge)

All through the town!   Is it just in MY part of town where they seem to be spinning like a roulette wheel?

At any rate, I was FINALLY able to keep my date with the crochet hook and put an edging on my tatted edging.  At first I was a little edgy MYSELF (apparently I'm NOT a natural with a crochet hook) and kept pulling my stitches so TIGHT on the first row that I couldn't WEDGE the hook between threads to add the second row!  After a few practice runs I decided to forge ahead and while it is BY NO MEANS perfect, I am happy with the result.

This is an edging I found through the Antique Pattern Library.  It is Plate II, Edging #8 of Dillmont DMC Library Tatting.  I looked for its year of publication but was unable to find it.  Many of the patterns in the Antique Pattern Library are from the second or third decade of the twentieth century so I imagine shuttles flying to create this pretty little edging in the teens when the WHEELS OF TIME was published and my grandmother, who raised peonies but did not tat, sat for her portrait, or the twenties when this copy of NEEDLECRAFT was posted to a Miss Cora Boyer, who perhaps is SOMEONE'S grandmother and seems to have taken VERY good care of it.

(click to enlarge)

Although there were no tatting patterns in this edition of NEEDLECRAFT, I did enjoy looking at some of the crochet projects and a little embroidery.  I was especially drawn to the ads because they made my imagination run amuck  thinking about what life may have been like in THOSE days...  Did Grandma and Cora enjoy the "All-day Energy" they got from quick Quaker Oats even back then?  Would Fels-Naptha and a good scrubbing have gotten my clothes cleaner than my Tide?  Was Cora a girl who pored over "The Letters of a Young Bride" or an older, BUT NOT OLD, woman like myself who may have considered touching up her hair with some sage tea?  Either way I'm sure her life was very different from mine and I couldn't help but be thankful to be living in this day and age with computers and access across the miles to others who enjoy the same hobbies.

I wonder... if I had been a beginning tatter in THOSE days... would the tidbits of advice found in the section entitled "What Other Needleworkers Have Found Out" have helped?  I guess just like how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, "the world will never know."

(click to enlarge)

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's The Details That Count

A stylized shot of what's currently in my hands... I've a few details left to add. I'll have to pick up a crochet hook and act like I know how to use it for its intended purpose... that shouldn't be so hard... right?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Growing into Green Genes

If plants had post offices, the walls would be PLASTERED with posters of my smiling face, because I am a KILLER and I'm SURE my offenses have been grievous enough to "plant" me FIRMLY at the top of any leafy community's Ten Most Wanted List - IF they had one...

Both of my grandmothers and my mom had vibrant green thumbs.  Dad's mom had a cutting garden with BEAUTIFUL, FULL peonies.  We would pick a couple and put them in a glass and they smelled WONDERFUL!  Mom's mom had a big vegetable garden.  I remember eating fresh peas from her garden and LOVING them!  Pretty sure those are the only peas I consumed until adulthood.  Mom also told me she had raised moon flowers which bloomed at night.  And my mom always had flowers - iris, shasta daisies, mint, periwinkles, carnations,  dusty miller, petunias... and more whose names I have forgotten.

I told Mom a few years ago that I was HOPELESS and killed everything, so I would just enjoy taking pictures of them instead (hence the many pictures of flowers on my blog).  Mom said that she hadn't been very good with plants until she got older and that maybe someday I would enjoy gardening.

So in an unusual turn of events, this summer I became interested in the flowers my husband planted in the spring. They were almost gone when I began watering them (he had been working more hours and wasn't getting to spend as much time in the yard).  Not only did I bring them back to BLOOMING GLORY,  but I kept two pots of purple petunias alive despite temperatures which SOARED into the 100's daily!  My family is shocked and I am shocked!  but I don't think Mom would have been... and perhaps I am FINALLY beginning to grow into my green genes!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Remnants of the Past

My mind wandered further than usual this week as I stitched. It traveled back to a time before my time - the 1930's and 40's. I was transported by some lovely, lively vintage fabric scraps Martha at Q is for Quilter generously shared with me. I found there to be a lot of "scope for the imagination" as I hand-pieced six of them into blocks for my bow-tie quilt.

I've always been curious about that period of time because that's when my parents grew up. Mom used to tell me about dresses made from feed sack fabrics. Her older sister would get first pick of the fabrics and usually ended up with the pretty ones. Mom didn't say it in a grudging way, she just always told me how pretty my aunt was. My dad served in WWII, as did my father-in-law (those are the latter's pictures above). I can't even BEGIN to imagine what it was like for those two boys to be plucked from the farm and sent overseas to war. The world beyond your own must have been more mysterious in those days with no 'round the clock coverage or "to the minute" updates. I think they used to watch the news reels projected on the town hall in our little home town which seems to have been more of a boom town in those days.

I also love movies from that period like "It Happened One Night" and "Dark Victory". Since most are in black and white, as are family pictures from that time, it's hard to tell how colorful the decor was back then. I look at these fabrics and think maybe there was an abundance of color, perhaps as a distraction because times were hard. Anyway, that's the trip I've been on this week in my head as my "self" sat stitching in the standstill traffic of the carpool line at school. Thank you Martha, for giving me the ticket!

I LOVE the fabric Martha chose for me! These are just the blocks I have finished. I am all excited now and looking forward to making more of them into blocks. They will add so much personality and fun to my quilt! Martha often sews with vintage fabric and creates beautiful, colorful quilts that put a smile on your face! She is currently working on an embroidered ABC quilt which showcases her talent for stitchery. It is ADORABLE!

And here is a close-up of my grandmother's tatting. This is an edging or perhaps collar (it seems the right size) which was probably made in the 30's or 40's. I may be biased, but I think it is beautiful!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And This Heart of Mine Will Be Free...

IF you don't consider the stuff I had to BUY from Handy Hands to GET it!

Hmmmmm? Were you expecting some deeper thought or sentiment? I'm sorry, these days I only have time for shallow thoughts and deep breathing as we plunge into back-to-school mode.

I was VERY excited about making my first motif with clunies last week and wanted to do more cluny tatting. So I ordered a booklet, Cluny Tatting Designs by Joy Botchlet. It has been YEARS since I ordered from Handy Hands, so to stop there would have shown more restraint than I possess. Therefore it came as no surprise to me when I chucked Celtic Tatting Knots & Patterns by Rozella Linden, a couple more colors of Cebelia #30, and a GIGANTIC, "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves" shuttle made by Tatsy into my cart! When I pick up that shuttle I know how Baby Doll must feel when she gets hold of one of my clovers - like I got the WORLD by the tail! Hope it tats well for me, cause I'll look pretty silly just sitting there holding it with a big, goofy grin on my face!

Anyway, Handy Hands threw in a sample of Lizbeth #40 in Grape Pizzaz with my order - nice! Then, in the catalog, I saw the pattern for this heart - very nice!! It is called Clover Leaf Heart and is by Mrs. J.M. Blackman from Modern Priscilla 1917. It was an easy, fun heart to tat - nicest part of all!!!

Now, my only remaining question is - IF my heart is INDEED free, will it STILL be free if I order the mini hook set and celtic shuttle I ran across while WORKING... on my FREE heart?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Make It One For My Baby, and One More For The Road...

And it was a LONG, LONG, LONG road home from Disney!

The first day in the car I tatted during Baby Doll's naps. She's a little obsessed with shuttles, hooks and thread. I totally get it, but apparently I'm stingy so I had to wait until she was SOUND asleep before I made my move. I made two more motifs from Minitats by Patti Duff. #51 in blue and #7 in white, both with a few beads added for fun. It was a SWEET tatting day!

But on Day Two, somewhere in Mississippi, the unthinkable happened... Tatting became VERY contrary and troublesome, and after a bout of huffy breathing, I banished it to the darkness of the bag for the remainder of the trip. It sounds harsh I know, but I HAD to stand firm.

So how did I fill the remaining hours in the car? By singing along obnoxiously to elevator music with my husband, both of us ignoring groans from the children, and keeping my hands busy working on my Baby Bow Tie Quilt.

I have been working on this quilt for some time and have about 200 blocks done. The blocks measure 3.5" square. I have about a third of the blocks I will need for a twin size quilt. I enjoy making them and pick up fat quarters of 1930's reproduction fabrics here and there to add to the mix.

Tatting and I made up quickly after we got home and I made this motif with cluny leaves designed by Stephanie Peters. I liked making it SO much I ordered a book with more cluny patterns!

I think the tatting motifs and quilt blocks make handsome pairs!

A while back, a friend suggested I not use some fabrics for my quilt because they didn't look good together, but I want a scrappy look and believe in the end that they will all "go." And that reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books:

"And then while you're livin' your life, it looks pretty much like a jumble o' quilt pieces before they're put together; but when you git through with it, or pretty nigh through, as I am now, you'll see the use and the purpose of everything in it. Everything'll be in its right place jest like the squares in this 'four-patch,' and one piece may be pretty and another one ugly, but it all looks right when you see it finished and joined together."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Happiest Cluny Leaves on Earth

If Disney World is the "Happiest Place on Earth" then these must have been the happiest cluny leaves on earth!

Last week we loaded up the family and went to Disney! A good time was had by all and in between the rides and shows I even squeezed in a little tatting time!

One afternoon I sat on a bench in Hollywood Studios and practiced cluny leaves with a view of a giant Mickey sorcerer's hat,

and a sleeping Princess Baby Doll,

while the rest of my family took in a movie about Mr. Disney.

Now mind you, these were not my first cluny attempts! I had two days of intermittent practice during the car ride TO the happiest place on earth. Before we set out on our trip I had printed Mimi Dillman's excellent tutorial on cluny leaves which I found via Tatting Chic. Tatting Chic has a great list of tutorials and she adds to it all the time. The photographs in Mimi's tutorial helped me out immensely and after a few (I don't care to count) awkward attempts, I started to get the hang of it. It's still touch and go as to whether I will turn out a nicely shaped cluny or a dud, but the odds for a good one are getting better. The next step will be trying to incorporate them into a pattern... We'll see how that goes...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm Mixing Up a Lovely Batch of Lemonade

You can just tell that Barbie feels ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS with her slender neck and shoulders DRAAAAAPED in jewels and lace! I mean, doesn't that radiant smile say it all?

Do you hear something... sounds kind of like crickets chirping...

Barbie's lovely necklace is an original design by Patti Duff from her book Minitats, 69 Petite Motifs. It is #23. I actually have a much coveted EARLY copy of this book which suggests a variation of #23, dedicated to every girl's friend, Barbie. MY COPY says that for this alternate design, you should pick rather LARGE beads - don't be afraid to go out on a limb - you WON'T regret it... much.

But the MOST IMPORTANT difference in the instructions for this motif in MY COPY is that it clearly states that the final picot join is ENTIRELY OPTIONAL and goes so far as to say, "Oh, don't worry your pretty little head about it!"

Yes, I'm SURE I hear crickets now...

Oh well, anyone for a glass of lemonade?

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Pieces are Falling Into Place

The pieces of this puzzle called tatting are beginning to come together for me. It's very exciting for me to be able to look at patterns and understand where they begin, where they are going and how each ring, chain and picot fit into the finished piece.

Although I am not a speedy tatter, I have been making fewer silly mistakes, am beginning to gain confidence, and am becoming willing to stretch my hand further out to pick up new pieces to fit into the puzzle.

No doubt it will take me quite some time, if ever, to get the full picture of tatting, but then that is part of its allure...

The Riddle we can guess
We speedily despise -
Not anything is stale so long
As Yesterday's surprise.
- Emily Dickinson

I am still enjoying working out of Patti Duff's book, Minitats 69 Petite Motifs. The blue motif is #8, yellow is #22, and pink is #55.

Credits: The Tigger mosaic puzzle was completed by my oldest lovely daughter. These puzzles come with a poster of the completed work which acts as a sort of map in piecing it together because the tiny pictures comprising the mosaic are used repeatedly. That she finished it and two others like it is a testament to her perseverance, patience and perhaps boredom...

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Tatting Has Bling

I have admired beads added to tatting by others for some time and thanks to LadyShuttleMaker's awesome tutorial I finally gave it a try myself. She explained it in a way that I understood easily and I was so happy when I closed my first ring with beads. I was VERY excited!

I'm almost half done with this little motif, but I thought I would adopt my husband's college football philosophy and post a picture before I complete it. He always says of his favorite college team at the beginning of each season, "I'm going to get excited now, because they may break my heart later." Sadly he's usually right. Hopefully things will go better for me and my sparkly little buddy...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sometimes My Mind Wanders...

When I'm sewing or quilting, sometimes my mind wanders... and that's usually no big deal. But when I'm tatting and my mind wanders off somewhere, it often results in snipping threads, rewinding shuttles (I get why tatters have so many now), and tucking a little snippet of rings and chains away because throwing it in the trash right then seems... mean. I'm just not competent enough yet at tatting to afford an idle brain.
My mind was wandering as I made this little heart because I had just finished listening to Austenland, an audio book by Shannon Hale. I enjoyed it because it made me laugh out loud a few times. That is unusual for me, I am a smiler or chuckler when I read, or in this case, "read". Not surprisingly, Austenland revolves around Jane Austen and her books. Which made me think of Pride and Prejudice, which made me think of BBC, which made me think of Colin Firth and then this poem which I liked as a teenager, LONG before Mr. Firth threw down any looks as Darcy...
The Look
Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.
Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.
- Sara Teasdale
Is it any wonder then that I had a few false starts in making this heart? But I found a way to compensate for my wandering mind and constant interruptions (OK, frequent interruptions). A magnetic board. Don't know why I didn't think of it before. I used one of these ALL the time during my 1980's cross stitching days!
I found it to be handy, not only for helping me keep my place in the pattern, but also for keeping my threads tidy when I have to lay my work down. I simply pinned the threads from each shuttle down with a magnet so they wouldn't twist. I could also pin unfinished rings down and pick up where I left off with no problem. Baby Doll is a climber so I have to jump up a lot!
Even with the false starts this was a fun heart to make. It is #69 from Minitats, 69 Petite Motifs by Patti Duff.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bless Their Hearts...

My two oldest kids INSISTED on staying late at their music lessons so I could have some tat time in the car today. Baby Doll did her part and fell asleep and Groovy Girl laughed as I followed Jon's instructions (which are WONDERFUL) for tatting split rings. She thought it was funny that I was trying to make my hand look like a dead spider. Jon's tutorial was SO clear I was tatting my third split ring when the kids came out of their lesson! I'm very excited! I found a pattern years ago which I really liked and which called for split rings - I think I will pull it back out and give it a whirl!

Here is some visual evidence of my previous foray into tatting. I made this tote for my mom about eight years ago. The pictures aren't so great. I took them with my old camera rather hurriedly so I could mail the bag to her.

I used a bulls eye quilt block. The bag took me quite a while to make, because I took my time with it and enjoyed experimenting with different embroidered embellishments. I had just gotten ELEGANT STITCHES by Judith Baker Montano and there were beautiful illustrations which made me want to branch out from my trusty stem stitch and lazy daisy.

In the bottom left corner I stitched the first letter of Mom's name with french knots and flanked it with wheat because my family farms wheat. I added a gold thread to the floss to make the heads of wheat shimmer.

In the bottom right corner I stitched a spider web complete with spider. I read that traditional crazy quilts often had webs for good luck. There are little clear beads on the web to look like dew. Apparently I am obsessed with dewy webs!

I don't remember where the tatted motif patterns came from. It's been too long. I do remember pulling my ends to the back of the block and tying them off.

I used the same fabrics from the quilt block to make some piping and edged the bag with it. I enjoyed making the bag and think it turned out well, but more importantly, Mom liked it a lot.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Threads for Baby Doll

I think Baby Doll will look SO SWEET in her new dress... if I can only get her in it... she's going through her naked phase (thankfully she still keeps her diaper on MOST of the time). Really, who can blame her? It hits 100 here most days. This would be a much bigger problem in January!

The pattern is Simplicity 3508. I have made it once before and decided to modify it slightly this go 'round. I shortened it a little and added a ruffle to the bottom.

I tatted my own lace for the collar.

And I made my own bias tape.

All in all, making the dress was the easy part, getting it on a clothes-resistant squirmer will be the REAL challenge!

UPDATE!!! June 27
Baby Doll was EAGER to put her dress on this morning and has worn it ALL DAY LONG! I see more mommy clothes in her future...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Worlds are Colliding

I present the wonderful worlds of tatting and Adobe, together at last...

I got this idea from a post by Tatting Chic where she compared bloggers to butterflies, flitting from post to post. I enjoy flitting very much and have gotten unwitting advice on projects I have worked on as well as ideas to dream over.

My butterfly is #210 from The Complete Book of Tatting by Rebecca Jones.

As a personal aside, I feel much like the heroine in an old fashioned melodrama at the point in the story where she says to the hero something along the lines of, "No, I never got your telegram! Oh, if only I had KNOWN! How much time we have wasted apart!" Only I'm saying it to my tatting shuttle...

You see, last night I figured out that eight years ago when I first picked up a shuttle to try to learn to tat, I fell victim to the faulty assumption that words have meaning. When I tried to do motifs that required a twisted picot join at the end I winded up with more than a twisted join, more like a twisted mess. I would read and reread my beginning tatting book (which shall remain nameless) and do it just as the words on the page SAID to do... The picture didn't mean as much to me, because my thread was too fine to see an itty bitty join. Until last night, when my hero beckoned to me from the shelf where he sits...

Good looking fellow, huh? Mr. MAGnificent helped me realize the words didn't match the illustrations and as a result my butterfly's twisted picot join laid flat and my butterfly is a thing of beauty instead of the stuff of nightmares.

And now we will live happily ever after.

The End