"Francesca" from Tatted Doilies by Iris Niebach has been a real challenge for me. I've been trying to work this pattern for very nearly five years. Ummmm...not constantly, mind. Every time I've started it I've gotten hopelessly lost somewhere before completing the second repeat. I've unpicked and re-tatted and decided that was wrong, too. I've unpicked and broken the threads. Finally, I've cut the bit off and chucked it out in disgust at my absolute inability to follow instructions. This time, I decided to outsmart myself. I scanned the pattern diagram then, using my PaintShop program layered the bit of the diagram over and over until I had a larger diagram showing the progression through three repeats. That seemed to work (not that this doily didn't undergo an ample share of retro-tatting) I managed to get clear around and actually finish! I used some of my new Lizbeth size 20 to work this pattern. The color is "Caribbean" and is actually much more defined purple, navy, and turquoise than I can get my scanner (or my limited ability with color brightening) to show. I probably should have dampened this one and stretched it out on the starch board before showing it -- but I just trundled it off to the ironing board for a quick press. It can go on the starch board later.
Tatting while listening to audio books is what I call relaxation. I get home from work, get dinner out of the way, then park myself in my favorite chair. I pick up my lap desk covered with shuttles, patterns, strings and beads, stick the earbuds in and say, "Checking out!" Nobody bothers me then -- until it's time to go ride the stationary bike, that is.