Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gift Ornament Nine

Very traditional red and green with gold beads made in size 30 DMC Cebeliá. Another one copied from an ornament made years ago. This one is most probably not an original, but an adaptation of a doily or snowflake. With all the books I've got, I've been too lazy to sit down and go through them all to discover which ones I used to make all the old ornaments. If you recognize this pattern, please let me know. (This is a not so subtle attempt to get someone else to go through all those pattern books!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gift Ornament Eight

This one is made with red and white DMC size 80 with silver seed beads. Once again, this is a copy of one I made many years ago. I have no idea if the pattern is original or an adaptation of a published pattern. If you recognize it, leave me a comment.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gift Ornament Seven

Lots of frilly picots in blue variegated hand quilting thread backed with white cotton thread, gold beads, and gold-headed pins. It's a little busy, but fits the ornament well. I have no idea where this pattern came from. I copied it from an ornament I made years ago and don't remember if I made it up or adapted it from a doily center. If you recognize it, leave me a comment so I can give attribution.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gift Ornaments Five and Six

Lock chain ornament in yellow and red DMC size 30 tatting cotton on a yellow satin ornament. The top is the same as the pattern on this blog (September 25 post), except it repeats only 5 times because of the size of the thread. The bottom is a long stretch of lock chains between sets of rings. When it's hanging, it looks a little bit like a hot-air balloon. This one also went to a friend in England. Her favorite color is yellow, so I hope that's yellow enough for her.

Ornament Six is another of my first pattern, but this one is done in DMC size 80 orange tatting cotton with clear yellow beads, also fastened to a yellow satin ball. This one went off to Minnesota. Even though it's not traditional Christmas colors, this is one of my favorites. There's something so cheerful about primary, crayon-bright colors. The orange on yellow doesn't contrast very well in a photograph, though. It's probably my picture-taking ability (or lack thereof) again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gift Ornaments Three and Four

These two ornaments are both made from my first ornament pattern (well, the first one I ever wrote down, anyway). The green and red one is made with red DMC size 80 tatting cotton on one shuttle and machine embroidery thread in a variegated mix of bright colors backed with white sewing cotton on the other shuttle. There are red seed beads scattered around at the picot joins, and it's pinned to the ornament with gold pins. I was concerned about the variety of colors with the red, but decided it looked really good and made the cut to to be sent off as a gift. The blue one is covered with Signature machine embroidery thread in shades of blue backed with white sewing cotton. I know it looks yellow, but it's not. I'm just not much of a photographer. There are silver beads at the picot joins on this one, so I used silver pins through a silver bead to fasten it to the ornament.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Heather's Hand-Dyed Thread!

It really pays to read tatting blogs -- really it does. Know why? Because so many of the blog writers are so generous. I know this is true because I was reading Heather's blog the day she put up a photograph and offered her hand-dyed thread to whoever guessed closest to what it was. I suggested frozen mud. That was close enough to get me these:
Isn't that great? Talk about generosity. I was thinking some little samples or one skein. I've got six (yeah -- 6!) full-sized skeins of thread here. I'm thinking pigs for the size 10 "cotton candy" pink and dragons for the size 10 "blue jay" and "blue raspberry" -- I just acquired Karey Solomon's "Here Be Dragons". The size 10 "licorice" is going to become fall leaves, I think. I might do a frilly decoration with the size 30 cammo to "girly" up my niece's cammo pants. Even though Heather says the last size 30 is "over the rainbow" I'm thinking Christmas red, green, gold and silver -- so that's destined for ornaments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gift Ornament Two

Size 80 DMC green variegated tatting cotton and red seed beads -- very traditionally Christmas. This one started with the large rings at the top of the middle band. It looked too big so I added the row of small rings and chains at the top. The bottom band is more compact than the top one. After I got the wild idea to "celtic twist" the chains leading to the clover, I wished I'd done the same on the larger middle band. I made a second one doing just that, but the thread I used is an unfortunate greeny-yellow color and not nearly so attractive. That one didn't make the cut for mailing -- it's hanging on our Christmas tree.
I don't have a written pattern for this one, because every time I make it I change something. I like it, though, so need to get it at least diagrammed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gift Ornament One

Now that my gifts have wended their way across the oceans and been opened, I can show them off here.
First, a lot of split rings and some chains in variegated red and green quilting thread with a backing of white sewing cotton. This one also has red and green seed beads at most of the picot joins. The central band of split rings is not attached to any other part of the tatting -- it's just floating there. The pattern was accidentally adapted from another of my ornament patterns. Hey, I made it up, I ought to know how it goes. Nope. This worked out really well anyway -- once that central band was added.
The tatting is pinned to the green satin ornament with gold pins passed through a red seed bead. I used to lace the tatting onto the ornaments with gold or silver thread, but had a hard time getting them straight. Pinning works better for me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Doesn't look like I've been busy, since I haven't posted since September! I have been, though. Work (such an icky word, spit, spit) has been more work than usual, and I've been making Christmas gifts. Those I can't show -- don't want to let the cat out of the bag, you see. However, these two were birthday gifts for a friend who decorates her Christmas tree all in white. The first one is my lock-chain ornament cover with a different sort of bottom. Held up it looks a bit like a hot-air balloon. I was concerned about white on white, so I added gold beads. This one was made from 1 strand of Gutermann white cotton sewing thread and 1 strand of Signature polyester machine embroidery thread. After finishing I thought maybe it was too much color for her white tree. The second one is my first original ornament design. Wanting the design to stand out, I used size 20 Cebelia for the second one and added a very few silver beads. She likes them. I think they need COLOR!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lock-Chain Ornament Pattern

One person expressed an interest -- that's quite enough for me. Here's the pattern I created for the Design Challenge 2. Click on the image to get a larger size...or check the HBT file section or Etatters, because I'll post a .pdf file in those places.
[PS -- thanks, Jane Eborall for introducing me to lock chains. I'd never neard of them before your hippo TIAS]
Here goes (oh, and keep in mind, nobody's test-tatted this thing):

2 colors size 80 thread
Two shuttles

Split Ring
Self-Closing Mock Ring
Lock Join


- or p = picot
= double-length picot
—— = quadruple-length picot

lj = lock join
RW = reverse work
SCMR = self-closing mock ring
Sh = shuttle
SR = split ring

vsp = very small picot

Begin at SR A: [Sh 1] 4-4——4 / [Sh 2] vsp 5-5 (the vsp is used attach the final lock chain)

*Lock Chain : 4-3-3-3-3-3

Inner Ring B : [color 2] 6 (+) 6-6 (on subsequent Rings “B” join to free p of previous ring B, shared join with lock chain between Rings H and I)

Lock Chain : 3+3+3+3+3+4

SR C : 4+4-4 / 5 — 5 (to quad-length p of Ring A, after twisting the p 3 times)

Lock Chain: 6

SR D: 4-4-3 / 5

Chain: 6-6 RW

Ring E : 6+3-6 (to free p of Ring “C”) RW

Chain : 6-6 RW

SCMR F: 8+4 (Ring f 8-8) 8 (to free p of Ring “E”) RW

Chain : 6-6 RW

Ring G : 6+3-6 (to free p of Ring f – the ring thrown off the SCMR) RW

Chain : 2-2

Ring H : 6+8-4 (to free p of Ring G)

Chain : 2-2 lj to free p of Ring H

Lock Chain : 6 (lj to free p of Ring B) 6 (place size 30 thread or fine paperclip to create a joining space for Ring I) and continue with

Chain : 2+2 (join to free p on the Chain between Ring H and the Lock Chain) RW

Ring I : 4+8-6 (join to space created by thread or paperclip in previous chain) RW

Chain: 2+2 (to free p on Chain between Rings G and H) RW

Ring J : 6+3-6 (to free p of Ring I)

Chain : 6+6 (to free p of Chain between Rings F and G) RW

SCMR K: 8 (Ring k 8+8 [to free p of Ring J])4-8 RW

Chain : 6+6 (to free p of Chain between Rings E and F) RW

Ring L : 6+3—6 (to free p of Ring K) RW

Chain : 6+6 (to free p of chain between SR D and Ring E)

SR M : 3+4-4 / 5 (to free p of SR D)

Lock Chain: 6†

SR (A) : 4-4——4 / 5 (+) 5 (to free double-length p of Ring L)**

Repeat from * to ** 4 times and from * to † once; end with lj to vsp at beginning. Cut and tie ends, hide with magic threads

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I have been working on Sherry Pence's TIAS while I've been fiddling with Sharon Briggs' Design Challenge. (Aren't they nice -- to give us such interesting things to do?).
I had to start over after day five, because I got the colors backward. I suppose I could have cut day five off and just redone that -- but I decided I didn't like the colors anyway, and I was having difficulty getting the rings fastened to the sides of the block tatting on element two. The first set were done using Jane Eborall's new method of block tatting (the one on the right in each picture). I don't think I've quite got that mastered, so I did the second set using the more traditional method shown in Iris Niebach's Fantasia. Hmmmm...I still need a lot of practice. The two colored element three looks more like one and a half color. I also noticed that the "traditional" ones were a lot shorter than the others. I hope they work anyway. Those threads sticking out of the second set are not unhidden thread ends -- they are the ends of the hidden threads I haven't trimmed yet. I trimmed the ones on the first set and drat if I didn't pull one completely out and have to hide it in one of the pink rings -- since it was less than a quarter inch long and was a bit frayed at the end, I didn't really think it would stay hidden.
I do know what we're making -- although I can't figure out how I'm going to use fancy-dressed caterpillars.

Design Challenge 2 Revisited

I just couldn't leave this one alone. I was not satisfied with the green and yellow one (it might have been the colors). This pink and purple one is more like what I wanted -- that larger gap between the large rings and the attached small rings on the outer edge. It's made from DMC Cebelia size 30. I even wrote down what I did! It needs a diagram and the instructions transcribed from the pencil scribbles, but then I can share it if anyone is interested. It does make a peachy Christmas ornament. I made this red and green variegated one from DMC size 80 tatting thread. Right now it's just pinned on my testing ornament for pictures. I'm thinking it might look better sitting on the ornament sides instead of top and bottom.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Design Challenge 2

Sharon's second image from the Design Challenge proved to be quite a challenge for me. The first one I made is just over 1/6 done -- with weird threads sticking out here and there. I was trying to use extra long picots by wrapping specified numbers of times around my one little picot-gauge-dowel. Talk about stringy -- besides it was yellow. Yeah. I pulled that off my Aero-style shuttles with a satisfying zzzzinnnng. I was running out of thread on the shuttles anyway. It's sitting on the arm of the chair looking forlorn -- and I don't care.
Starting over with DMC size 80 with plain red on one shuttle and a red variegated on the other shuttle, I thought maybe beads would cover the deficiencies in those long picots. Not quite, the yarn stitch holders I used were way too big and left too much bare thread. At that point, I lost track of the challenge image and wandered off somewhere into the ozone layer. Oh, well. This one would no way make a 6-sided snowflake anyway. It's not even an attractive 5-sided star. Poor limp thing didn't even want to settle into any proper shape on the blocking board. But here it is in all it's oddness.
Stubborn (me or the motif? -- could be either or both), I started again with green and yellow size 30 DMC Cebelia. Instead of regular chains I made lock chains to separate the repeats so they wouldn't try to curve. A few other minor changes in ds counts and picot size resulted in what I'm calling my (ta-da!) finished design. Those knobbies around the edge are an ...ummm... embellishment (yeah, that's what) to the challenge image. The large rings at the top of the lock chains need to have a bigger picot for joining so they're not so stressed when blocked, but it's done. The only really nifty thing is that it's all done in one pass so there's only one set of threads to hide at the end. It bears a passing resemblance to the challenge image ... doesn't it?

Now I have to go dig out my threads and extra shuttles for TIAS 4 -- thanks Sherry!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rhubarb Crisp Milena

This is Iris Niebach's "Milena" from the book Tatted Doilies made in Yarnplayer's size 80 "Rhubarb Crisp".

Whew! This bit got dragged from pillar to post in the last few weeks, but finally got done. It only took me another week ...or was that two?... to get it blocked. The blocking was actually a damp cloth, the iron, and a bit of finger manipulation. It behaved well, didn't it? The first time I made this pattern (about 4 years ago), in size 30 white thread, I made an extra pair of rings at the outside of one repeat. I never noticed it until I tried to block it. It's sitting in a box somewhere. I tried it again while I was on vacation in blue variegated size 80 thread. However, I didn't carry the book with me, just kept looking at what was done -- and repeating the same mistake over and over after the second repeat. If I'd made the same mistake from the beginning, I would have finished it to see if it would work. It looked too weird though, so I threw it out in disgust. Determined to get through it at least once, this one has seen a lot of unpicking and redoing. This just isn't an autopilot pattern for me.

As for this beautiful thread, I think there might be enough left to make a pair of small earrings...maybe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I've added this new element but don't have time tonight to add in everything I read or scan or to which I refer on a regular or irregular basis. I've got to pack to leave town again!

Giving and getting

Sue, the amazing list-mom from Here-Be-Tatters organized a "Christmas in July" exchange. It had to have been a huge amount of work because there were so many participants. All those lovely things in the first picture are what I received from Irma from Chile. New things to hang on my tree this December, a towel which just matches my bathroom, the prettiest cut-work mat I've ever seen, and thread to make an edging for that mat or make more snowflakes or use for jewelry...such possibilities...a neck or vest ornament with a wooden holder, and, finally, a pretty blue satin bag covered with tatting in which to keep all my special things. Right now, it's holding all those tatted bits I don't have homes for yet.
The giving was just as fun as the getting, but after the loot I got, I feel like a piker! Maria, my exchange partner from Portugal, received those things in the second picture. (You'll note the absence of anything so large and pretty as the hand-towel and the mat).
Hey! When's the next exchange? I've got to get started!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

What to make with all this beautiful decision yet. I did use a little bit of the "Lazy Daisy" for a special project (but can't talk about that yet). This first picture is all cotton, and the second all silk. I left the silk picture really large. If you click on it, you can see how shiny and smooth they look. Both come from the Etsy shop of LadyShuttlemaker (Sherry Pence). I've got to get my hands softened up so I can touch the silk. Some of the silk will probably end up as jewelry, but I need to find some nicer and smaller beads for the really fine threads. That's all just in the thinking stage right now!

I also need to hunt up some more thread holders. I am considering rummaging in the basement (still with just a little bit of horror -- gotta get over that first) to find my embroidery thread winder and those little cards that fit in the sorting box. I should be able to act as the thread holder and convince one of my nieces she really, really wants to turn that little handle.

The collection of beautifully bright cotton thread, the Purple Punch and Rhubarb Pie are from Yarnplayer Arts on Etsy (Marilee Rockley). Isn't is pretty? I'm going to have to use those brights all together -- like a rainbow! But what sort of rainbow do I want to make??

I'll have two weeks to consider it, and a good place for inspiration. I'm leaving for Alaska on July 27 for a "land-tour cruise." I think that means "If it's Tuesday, this must be Talkeetna." There's just no way to see everything, but I want to try!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Round Tuit

Michelle over at HBT very kindly send me A Round Tuit. Wow! Thanks! (hmpf -- there go my excuses!)
Instead of actually doing those things for which I needed to get A Round Tuit, I've been admiring the nifty item and considering ways to embellish it for tatting purposes. Maybe like this:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Sharon Briggs issued a challenge in her July 3, 2008 blog entry, this stuff is my response. The idea was to use the either the blue or the white shapes in the first image to create a snowflake. The second image is the pattern I came up with. Just like war where plans never survive an encounter with the enemy -- first patterns don't survive an encounter with the shuttle. At least, mine don't. The yellow red and green thing is an attempt to follow the pattern I outlined. None of the "repeats" are the same, rather, thry are a succession of variations. I quit when it looked like something that I might be able to actually build on (and ran out of green thread on the shuttle). The fourth little image is the complete snowflake -- which needed some adjustments because the mock rings really needed to be closed better. (Looks like gaposis has spanned the oceans...) Finally, the last image is, well, final. I didn't write down the pattern, but one of these first days (as soon as I can find that ever-elusive round tuit) I'll make a diagram that actually shows what I did, instead of one that shows what I thought might work.

This was a fun challenge. Sharon is good at thinking up those -- keeps the tatting community on its toes (or firmly attached to our favorite tatting chairs) participating like mad. I don't know about other tatters, but these challenges are good for me. They keep me tatting, and for the first time ever -- designing (which I never thought I could do).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

July Snow

Jon Yusoff's new Tatted Snowflake Collection is a wonderful book. I like all these little snowflakes with clear directions and comprehensive diagrams. They work up so prettily in any thread. These use size 12 DMC Perle Coton, Coats Dual Duty Plus button cotton, Oren Bayan gold metalic thread, Gutterman sewing cotton and Signature machine embroidery thread, and Coats quilting thread. The largest is 3 inches (7.62 cm) in diameter and the smallest just half that. There are more in the book -- I'll get them all eventually. I've taken a break from them to work on Sharon Brigg's blog challenge (from her July 3, 2008 entry). I don't know if what I came up with looks at all like the original shape, but it's been fun getting where I am so far...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

And...One More Time!

There. I think I'm done with this pattern for a while. After fussing and fiddling to eliminate those three rounds of chains this is what I ended up with. The chains and I just couldn't get along -- they looked like a pile instead of elegant lace when I did them. However, I'm still not satisfied with the last round because it's too big. It required lots of finger manipulation to get it to settle down this flat. Made with DMC size 30 Cébélia, it measures 8 inches (just over 20 cm) in diameter. The big question now is -- what am I going to do with it? It's sitting in a pile with some other things about which I am undecided. I keep wondering if there is a home for purple and green doilies (or maybe just a "Home" for the people who make them). Given that minor worry, I'm moving on to something else. Maybe I'll revisit it again sometime in the future. I can see it now: I go up to the fence at the purple-and-green-doily-home and say, "Hi, doily," then wander away knowing it's doing well and is as happy as can be expected.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tag, someone else is IT!

Sapna tagged me to share 6 unimportant things about myself based on these rules:

1. Link back to the person that tagged you. [Yup, did that]
2. Post the rules on your blog. [Oh, yeah -- here they are!]
3. Share 6 unimportant things about yourself. [That comes after #4]
4. Tag 4 people at the end of your entry. [These lucky people are at the end, like it says]

Unimportant things...that's difficult. Everything about me is important -- most especially my modesty. Maybe I can think up some

1. I am a packrat. I keep all manner of unimportant stuff. I find a nice, memorable place for it (or a reasonably flat surface on which to stack it) then can't ever find it again -- or it turns out to really be unimportant so I forget I've got it. This results in stacks of things I can't bear to even think of looking through. Just as an example -- here's a bit of my desk:

2. I collect stegosauruses and frogs (which, in turn, collect dust) -- like so (and yes, I know that one is the Starship Enterprise, not a stegosaurus):
3. I don't mow my lawn, and haven't for thirteen years. No, it's not xeriscaped or zeroscaped or weedy. I have a lawn service.

4. I got on the music train via the way-back machine in the 1920s and got off in the early 1970s. Don't ask me about anybody making or pretending to make music since then. I don't know 'em -- except for Dana Owens.

5. I like mechanical pencils. I buy lots of them. If I see some in interesting colors I buy them. I don't care if they can be refilled or not -- I just buy them. This is part of my stock. I think I need more pencils.

6. I talk to all the other drivers on the road -- all the time. I tell them they have ugly cars or picked a bad color (like NO color: black, white, gray, "silver", various shades of brown or olive drab) -- my car is blue. Blue is a good color. Sometimes I tell them they are deserving of their ugly car because their driving is equally ugly. I tell them to get off my road if they can't drive. I sometimes even tell them their taste in music stinks (it doesn't fall in the 1920-1970 range), especially if their base is trying to blow the doors of my car. When there aren't enough drivers to talk to, I talk to the pedestrians. Mostly I tell them they have bad taste in clothing, or they need glasses to find the crosswalk. I tell them how creeped-out I am by their tattoos (they have to be done with a NEEDLE! -- another reason I shuttle tat). Occasionally, I do tell somebody they've done something right or they've got good taste in clothes. Nobody listens.

Now I want to hear some unimportant things about:
Jeff Hamilton -- the Bridge City Tatter
Clyde -- the MadTatter

Monday, June 16, 2008

Isn't She a Doll?

This is my punk Betty Boop -- maybe Batty Boop? With her bright green lipstick she really should have had shocking blue hair. I learned a lot doing this TIAS from Jane Eborall. For one thing when she says size 20 thread, she means it! So, poor Batty Boop has a balloon skirt instead of a nice neat bell. I could go get some 20 thread, or maybe I could just make her again using some smaller beads. But, I'll keep that in the thinkin' stage for a while. She deserves some unique time!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Bit of This and That

Marilee Rockley's "Dreams" again -- this time in purple DMC Cébélia size 30 with a button closure for my 12-year-old niece. As I had so much trouble counting to 5 to make a zig-zag chain, this one is made with spiral chains of 25 second half ds separated by small split rings. I put the beads on picots off the split rings. That seemed to work pretty well for keeping them on the outside of the chain. The drop beads are just clear teardrops, but they are what she liked best.
Using that same purple and some mint green Cébélia with some shades of purple and green seed beads I'm making another bald doily. I like the center of this pattern really well. It's when I get to those three rows of chians that I choke on it. They just don't work for me. This one is now in the "thinking stage" -- I figure if I think about it long enough, I can come up with something that will suit me, and let me use the outer row -- which I find very attractive.
Finally, I've got Jane's TIAS3 up to Day 9. Poor, sad thing -- I think it's waving me off with a little misshapen hand. I do believe the beads were too big and inconsistently sized. I'm not too certain about the colors either. That pretty pink button is starting to look orange to me.
Now, I have to leave town for almost the entire month of June -- and my little old laptop doesn't have any capacity for wireless or high speed internet connection. I'll have to see if I can catch up on the weekends -- either that or start over. That would work, because now I know where to put in at least one set of magic threads! I'm wondering if three strands of quilting thread might equal size 20 thread (since I don't have any size 20 this one's all done with size 30). Maybe better thread and bead sizing would get it to shape up a bit.