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

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Those Drapes are STILL Hanging Over My Head..

... LITERALLY! And that is SO much better than figuratively! With some help from my husband, I got them up and we are both very happy with them. These were the easiest drapes I have ever made and are my favorite by far. I used a tutorial by Shelley at 7 Layer Studio for tab-top drapes. I had never seen drapes made this way. Using tabs gave them a polished look and was so easy! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I used black out fabric from Joann's for my lining. The weave of the black fabric was loose enough that it looked TERRIBLE if any light shone through it.

And I did make one change in constructing the drapes, mainly because I wanted to use my serger. I cut my fabric panels the size I wanted and then cut the lining to the same length but 1.5 inches narrower in width.

With right sides together I serged the length of the panel on both sides. Because the lining is narrower, the main fabric folds around to the back (about a half inch on both sides). With right sides still together, I centered the lining fabric, making sure the same amount of main fabric was folded over on both sides (and finger pressing the side seams toward the lining) and serged the top of the panel. I dummied up a small panel below.

Here is a close up of the top corner of my dummy panel after the sides and top are serged.

I turned the panels inside out and reached WAAAAAAY up to the corners at the top (these were REALLY long drapes) and used a purple thang to push out the corners. You don't have to have a purple thang, but I tell you, I have used mine a lot! Then I just pressed the drapes from the back side, flipping the seam toward the middle and steaming it a bit to make the edges crisp. My fabric was pretty sturdy stuff. I had to watch the black out lining though, because it can discolor with too much heat. Here is my dummy drape after being turned and pressed. The top edge is actually shown at the bottom of the picture.

My panels were 26 inches wide. I added five tabs to each panel. I cut the tabs out of the black out lining so they would blend. I cut them 4.5" x 6". Serged each one lengthwise. Turned them inside out and pressed them flat so the seam would run up the back. I didn't worry about finishing the edges because the lining doesn't fray. I spaced them evenly on the back and sewed them down.

I could hardly contain my excitement when I slipped the drapes on the rod! (but I had to because it was 1 am and sleepy-time people aren't into home decor) Shelley's tabs are BRILLIANT!!! Such a simple way to make an elegant window treatment! And this is coming from someone who hated and feared window treatments before!

So now we have freshly painted walls (my husband picked gray, I was skeptical at first but really like them now), new drapes... and a really old quilt on the bed. It TOTALLY doesn't go. Have no fear though, I've already got a plan bouncing around in the space between my ears...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gomer Says...

This is my fourth tatting project of the year. Not really a project so much as just playing around. I had thought about putting an initial on a bookmark and tried the alphabet in THE COMPLETE BOOK OF TATTING by Rebecca Jones. That is where my "H" came from. I made up the rest. It may not look like much, but for me, venturing forth on my own is a BIG step! I follow recipes to the letter, and only recently (because I have started sewing with a serger) have I DARED to deviate from a pattern's instructions.

Another tatting first for me is that THE COMPLETE BOOK OF TATTING only has tatting diagrams, no written instructions. I would have been completely lost looking at some of the patterns in that book before, now I kind of understand them!

I also picked up a new skill, the capture join. It's not really a join at all, it is just a way of securing a chain between the ball and shuttle thread. I used it six times in my "Hey!" When I did it well, you don't notice so much, but I kind of messed up on one of the joins in the "y" and didn't snug the stitches up to the join tightly enough. Actually, come to think of it, I did that on purpose to illustrate - yes, that's the ticket, on purpose...

So now I can tat in cursive... I'm sure it will come in handy at some point... I'm going to have to think on that a bit though...

And now, Mayberry etiquette demands that when Gomer says "Hey!" you must appropriately respond, "Hey to Gomer!"

Our next discussion topic will be the proper evening cut off time for airborne rock messages and folding techniques for keeping the rock and paper together during impact for a successful delivery.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It Happened One Night

My bookmark is finished. I changed my plans for it several times and finally decided to complete it by backing it with a purple polka dot fabric and pinking the edges like these bookmarks.

Tonight promised to be the perfect night to curl up with a good book, i.e. it was supposed to rain. So I pulled out my copy of The Quintessence of Beauty and Romance, one of Mom's old books I adopted as a teenager. I thought I might read Night Bus, the story It Happened One Night was based upon.

But it didn't rain, and the kids didn't go to bed, so I don't think I will READ, read tonight. I will just stick to "reading" an audio book and try to get some things done around here. Problem is, the bookmark doesn't work as well with audio books...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Got 'er Done!

My kids are lucky to have SUCH nice teachers, so I wanted to do SOMEthing for them at the end of the school year. I saw this idea from Martha via Craftpad and decided to give it a try. It went together so easily, was fun to do, and for once I felt no need to add extra embellishment. Color + texture = happy crafter! I filled the bags with goodies (OK, maybe FILLED is an exaggeration) and sent the kids off with them for the last day of school. Mission accomplished!