Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Method to My Madness

Thank you everyone, for your warm reception of the embroidered crochet block in my last post!  I LOVE the idea of mingling tatting, crochet and embroidery.  That kind of cohabitation occurs often in crazy quilting, but I want to add it to clothing and household items.  In pursuing my dream of becoming a proficient tatter (and yes, I have ALWAYS wanted to tat, but didn't have any means to learn until the internet), it has also been my goal to use it in creative ways to embellish my sewing projects.  Not that you've seen me sew much in the last year.  Learning to tat, especially with small children, is all consuming...

I thought I would share what works for me, to combine embroidery and tatting.  The photo above is actually of a copy I made of an edging I tatted and the fabric I plan to use it with.  I made three copies to play with.  I used pencil to mark the embroidered stitches I am thinking of using because I plan to stitch with ecru thread which will match my tatting thread.  If I were planning to stitch with colored floss, I would have used a marker or colored pencil.  For this edging I plan to sew it on with straight stitches and highlight it with French knots - I love making French knots!  My plan may require a little tweaking when I begin to sew, but I think it helps me to draw it out like this to see if it will enhance or detract from the tatting.

I don't know if crazy quilters ever try this method, but I think it could be VERY handy for them to lay elements in place, make a copy, and then sketch out stitching ideas.

I'll keep you posted on my progress with this little project!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

There's ALWAYS Time to Dream

This week we laid a Pergo floor in what WAS our youngest daughters' room, but now has become our son's room.  In the process of laying the wood in the girls' room we realized that the only way we would be able to fit two girls in THAT room would be if they lived like nuns with VERY sparse furnishings and VERY few material possessions.  Our son's room was much better suited for two people, so we decided to swap rooms.  

And that is when I realized that I must be a COMPLETE pushover...  Nothing could drive that point home better than pulling EVERY LAST THING out of the deepest, darkest corners of their closets and into the light of day.  Shame, shame, SHAME on me... but I WILL be very popular at the Salvation Army...

Because of all my soul searching and wood laying this week, not to MENTION a trip to the doctor for a child with a double ear infection, there has be very little time for tatting or sewing... but I HAVE had time to dream... and these crochet blocks have played a starring role in my daydreams.  

A few months ago Fox was gifted these blocks along with some tatting, shuttles and books.  Many of the books featured crochet instead of tatting.  One in particular caught my eye because it was a book of edgings - I love edgings.  Fox knew that I wanted to learn to crochet, so she VERY KINDLY offered me some of the books and some of the crochet blocks.  I haven't tried my hand at crochet yet, but I have enjoyed looking through the books and hope to share a pattern from one of them someday. But right now I am SO excited about the blocks and have an idea in my head which is taking shape and includes these fabrics from my stash...

and some embroidery floss...

Thank you again, Fox!  I'm looking forward to putting these little beauties to use!

In tatting news... there's a poor tatted rooster named Little Mojo in desperate need of a tatted leg and picot claws... Don't worry Mojo - I'm coming!!! 

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Feel Good Mojo Coming My Way!

I am halfway through Day 10 of the TIAS and OVER halfway through with a wood floor we are putting down in one of the kids' rooms.  We may also be switching rooms for the kids, so I don't know who will end up walking on wood.  Perhaps I should have a drawing... but I don't think they would like that.  I'm enjoying the TIAS but not the flooring.  Wood working AIN'T MY THING, and I must admit to doing a happy dance when my husband announced the saw battery needed recharging.  I hoped it meant some good mojo was coming my way and as I gazed at my TIAS I became sure, because to my eye my little birdie looked much like Sherry's MOJO.  But now I see others' TIAS projects and am thinking my little MOJO is indeed...  a rooster.  If he is, I'm still going to at least NAME him Little Mojo!  

Gotta get back to work - why does that battery have to charge faster than something fun like an ipod?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Here is my Day 7 of Jane's TIAS.
I must admit that I am clueless...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Short People

One of my older brothers used to delight in singing the song, Short People, to me, or rather, AT me when we were kids.  It would really ruffle my feathers, although I must have liked it deep down... way, WAY down, because now I remember it quite fondly... unless he were to ask...

This piece of tatting is an edging from The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito.  It is #83, tatted in Cebelia #30.  It could quite possibly be the easiest piece of tatting in Tatted Artistry.  It will be my second motif in the 25 Motif Challenge.

I plan to use this edging for a pillowcase for one of the smallest heads in this house.  This little girl SHOULD have a pillow of her very own because she falls fast asleep EVERY time she lays her head down and it is IMPOSSIBLE to wake her up without making her sit up... except if you poke your finger in her eye and pry her eyelid open, but I think that is kinda mean (even IF she is made of plastic)... unlike my two-year-old, Baby Doll...

Other than THAT, Baby Doll really IS a sweet little short person, and I'm SO glad she's 'round here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm Winded, But I've Caught Up!

I had fallen a little behind on the TIAS and hadn't done Day 2 when Day 3 came out, and because Jane had mentioned picking up the pace, I thought I had best get my shuttle in gear!  So here are my Days 1 through 3.  I threw a guess Jane's way, but really... I haven't a clue...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stumbling Blocks

Until last year twisted picot joins, which are part and parcel of MANY wonderful tatting designs, were a MAJOR stumbling block for me.  Try as I might I could NOT complete any motif with that critical join without it becoming twisted and ending up a lumpy mess.  After many failed attempts I put my shuttles into a dark, dark corner of my closet and they didn't see the light of day for MANY years.  Then last spring I became interested in tatting again after reading many of the wonderful tatting blogs in cyberspace and I finally had my AHA moment when the twisted picot join became a building block rather than a stumbling block.

This is my first motif for the 25 motif challenge which I joined on New Years Day and is also the first piece I have made from Mary Konior's book, Tatting With Visual Patterns.  It is called Posy.  It is a wonderful motif made with just one shuttle and MANY twisted picot joins.  The thread is Lizbeth #663, size 20.  My photograph doesn't do this color justice.  It is deeper and shinier and I LOVE IT!

As I worked on this motif with its MANY twisted picot joins, I decided that I would like to try my hand at a tutorial on what else... TWISTED PICOT JOINS!  I welcome any input on the tutorial if anything seems unclear or changes need to be made.  I sure don't want to lead anyone down the garden path!

So here is the link to my first ever tatting tutorial (or you can just scroll down because it's the post before this one):  Tatting - Twisted Picot Join

Tatting - Twisted Picot Join Tutorial

There are many explanations of and tutorials on how to make twisted picot joins floating through cyberspace.  I have decided to add my own explanation because I believe that an AHA moment of understanding can sometimes take more than one explanation or a photograph that clicks with someone.  Perhaps this description of the twisted picot join will be helpful...

Here is a simple motif which is ready for its final join i.e. twisted picot join.  A is the picot by which the final ring will be joined to the beginning ring.  B is the stretch of taut thread between the pinch and middle finger which will be joined to A.  To make the twisted picot join the motif will be folded along the blue line to bring A into alignment with B.

To begin, I am holding the motif in the normal fashion.

In this photo the motif has been folded.  The back of A is now visible and has been brought close to B.

I have inserted my crochet hook into picot A from the underside.

Now I turn the crochet hook clockwise to put it into position along the taught thread at B.

I'm ready to pick up the thread...

And pull the taught thread through the picot to form a loop large enough...

For my shuttle to pass through.
Don't ask me WHY I used such a big shuttle for such a small motif!

My ring needs 5 more DS before closing.  I add these now BEFORE unfolding the motif.

After the ring's stitches are complete, unfold the motif and make sure the twisted picot join is in fact NOT twisted and that stitches are correct.  I'm ready to close this ring!

Here is my completed motif.  The final join is my twisted picot join.

Look Ma, no lumps!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

TIAS Day 1

Here is my Day 1 of Jane Eborall's TIAS (Tat It and See).  This will be a fun way to bust up the winter doldrums!  Jane gives wonderful, detailed instructions and her creative use of thread AMAZES me!

For me the most challenging aspects of Day 1 were hiding my beginning threads and split rings.  Tatting over my beginning threads isn't my strong suit, but if Jane says to do it - by golly, I'm going to!  She gave great instructions on how to accomplish this, but it also helped me to refer to Gina, The Tatting Goddess's video tutorial.  Sometimes I have to read about it, look at a picture AND see someone do it to figure a thing out.  Apparently I can be VERY needy!

That accomplished, I turned to the split rings and realized it had been SOOOO long since I did one that I couldn't remember ANYTHING about it other than making my hand look like a dead spider.  So I refreshed my memory with Jon's split ring tutorial and relearned what to do after I had my hand playing dead.

Now I'm looking forward to Day 2.  I have a feeling this will be QUITE fun and just hope that I can keep up!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

For a Child

Fox just posted a BEAUTIFUL piece of tatting which reminded me of some photographs I took of leaves after a spring rain.  I made one of them into a kaleidoscope and used part of that kaleidoscope for this poem which is one of my favorites.  It is by Fanny Stearns Davis.

I'm sorry, it's a JPEG and the resolution isn't the best, but if you click on it and then zoom in a little, it is readable (or just click on the author's name above for a link).  I made it years ago to put on a card for a baby shower.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolutions Made... More or Less

I don't ALWAYS make resolutions, but I pretty much ALWAYS break the ones I DO make!

So I'm keeping it SIMPLE for myself this year by resolving to just do SOME things more and SOME things less.  I figure that as a pretty well intentioned person (giving myself allot of credit here, I know), if I do the things I know I OUGHT to do more and the things I know I SHOULDN'T do less, I'll be a BETTER well intentioned person in 2010!  Is my more or less resolution a cop-out?  Probably, but it is more or less doable and I don't have the energy to carry the guilt of broken resolutions for the better part of a year (yeah, I break 'em THAT fast).

In closing, to support the validity of my 2010 More or Less Resolution Theory, let me offer an example of one of my MORE resolutions which I think we can all agree on:

In 2010 I resolve to USE MORE THREAD!!!
Happy New Year!