Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Practice Makes -- Improvement

I finally found a "folded join" tatting tutorial that I could understand and achieve success with. I've practiced and practiced, 6 whole little motifs in fact, and I feel reasonably confident. I still sometimes struggle, but I'm improving.

I'll test out my newly found skill by trying another small motif of a different style and shape before I return to the Snowflake Georginia that I was having so much trouble with.

The folding join tutorial is from Jon Yusoff's blog, "Tat-a-Renda".

The little bookmark is a line of six joined Jasmine Motifs from page 57 of "New Tatting" by Tomoko Morimoto. I'd link to Amazon but whenever I try it links to my actual account. Anyone know of a workaround to avoid that?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Further Instruction Needed

I've been working on a tatted snowflake. All was going reasonably well, right up until the end. I then encountered a couple of tricky joins that had me backtracking and retrying, repeatedly, and perhaps shredding my thread to the point of no return.

Those two yellow pin heads are at the locations that need to be joined. I'm now in the process of asking on various tatting forums for help. Are you surprised that there are several? I've been pointed in the direction of several YouTube video tutorials that should be helpful. Not as helpful as having a real life instructor sitting down with me to take me step by step through the process, but a step in the right direction -- I hope.

Friday, April 14, 2017

That's a Fizzle!

I've been doing a bit of experimental tatting over the past few days looking for an edging to add interest and perhaps a bit of length to a cropped, handwoven top. I started by trying out this edging.

10/2 mercerized weaving cotton

It's No. 17 "Shamrock Edging" from "Tatting With Anne Orr" done in 10/2 mercerized weaving cotton. I quite like the look but it was too delicate looking and shallow for the use I had in mind. No loss though as it was only a practice piece and it will be added, along with the pattern, to my collection of edging samples.

I thought maybe if I did it in a heavier thread, this time size 10 Cebelia crochet cotton, it might be large enough to use as an edging, but no, still not the effect I was after.

Well phooey!!

I was wondering at first why my sample looked so lopsided. Looking closer I finally realized that back near the top I made one "shamrock" with only one petal! D'oh. Mistakes in tatting are much, MUCH harder to remove and take considerably more time and skill to back out of than they do in knitting or crochet so this piece is being added to the scrap heap. Oh well, best I noticed at that point anyway because it was then that I discovered that it was not really working for my intended project. 

So Gene, this "squirrel" died before I ever caught it. Not sure what squirrel I'll chase next. Maybe I'll just go soak my sorrows away in the bathtub with a (moderately) good book. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fiddle Fingers

I give you another Ice Drop photo. It's either that or no blog post at all since my creative time has been taken up with tatting these little things lately.


I'll be back to the weaving soon. Or sewing. Perhaps crochet, knitting, embroidery or spinning? I never really know where the creative muse may be headed next.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Pile of Errors

For those who have been inspired to give tatting a try, and lest you think I've had no trouble learning, I give you this:

It's the pile of scraps and pieces I've been tossing aside when I've made failures I felt I couldn't back out of. Luckily my skills at "retro-tatting", as one Craftree forum member calls it, (that's meticulously picking out mistakes), have grown and that means less and less thread is being sacrificed to the scrap heap. I'm likely making almost as many mistakes, usually the result of a moment's foolish inattention, but now I spend ages picking the errors out rather than tossing the entire piece away in frustration. 

Just thought you should know in case you're giving this a try and judging yourself harshly based on your perception of my progress. Ha!

But for all those errors I do keep persevering. Tatting is challenging, fun, and occasionally there is a worthy end product. 

Sunday, April 02, 2017

First of Many Ice Drops

Ice Drops are a fun little thing to tat!

First Completed Ice Drop

They are formed around a "gem" that you can find in hobby stores or sometimes in the area of the aquariums in a pet store.

Tatted Ice Drop

Pretty little doodads with little purpose, they are sometimes done as Christmas tree ornaments, package decorations, back pack charms and so forth.

First Completed Ice Drop

Did I mention that they are fun to tat? For that reason alone you might be seeing many more of these.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Happy International Tatting Day

Yes, International Tatting Day is a real thing, even though the April 1st date of its occurrence might cause some to consider it a joke. I hope it's not implying that tatters are fools, because I've certainly caught the bug.

Who would have thought that such an old form of "fancy work" would be so engrossing?! There is so much to learn that I find it quite a challenge. 

Here's my latest project, off the shuttle. This is my "Blue Blanche" from the "Blanche" pattern by KimandI.

I finally got around to blocking it and taking a few photos today. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Another in the Making

My second tatting project is coming along well. This one will be a short necklace.

Next project well underway.

It's from the pattern, "Blanche", by KimandI. I'm naming this project "Blue Blanche" which is ironic since "blanche" is Germanic for "white". 

Monday, March 27, 2017

First Tatting Project

My first actual tatting project is complete and I deem it a success.

First tatted project.

It's a beaded bracelet using the "The Starry Night" pattern by "The Kim and I".

The Starry Night pattern by "The Kim and I".

I had to look up a few YouTube videos on how to add beads to tatting, and the turn to do the opposite side gave me some grief, but neither of those issues had anything to do with the pattern, which is excellent. It was just my own inexperience and learning curve. 

The Starry Night pattern by "The Kim and I".

This was a very good pattern and I'm sure I'll be back to the Etsy shop, TheKimandI soon!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

45 Years Later I Caught On

LOVE the new shuttles!

When I was about 12 or so my maternal grandmother attempted to teach me tatting with a shuttle. After an afternoon of me creating nothing but immovable knots we both gave up in frustration. Fast forward 45 years and something finally "clicked" and I got it! I credit the wonders YouTube and modern technology for finally bringing instruction that I could watch over and over until I understood that oh so important "magic trick" for flipping the stitches. It's the very first thing you have to learn and it is the stumbling block that prevents many beginners from ever going any further.

Perhaps you are wondering whatever made me try again, so many decades later? Chalk it up to not being able to pass up a freebie. Dover publications offered to send a new publication, "Tatting with Anne Orr", free of charge, in hopes that I would do a book review. I don't accept all such offers, only the ones that interest me and might interest my blog readers. This one interested me since I inherited my grandmother's bone tatting shuttle. 

The publication arrived and looked great, but I couldn't find Grandma's shuttle! I had promised to do the review though so I borrowed a shuttle. Within a day I was addicted and ordered a pack of plastic Clover brand shuttles of my own.

How was the book? It's a great pattern book, but not one to learn by. Really, to learn tatting you really need either one on one instruction or a series of great videos like I linked to above. Once you learn tatting though, this is a wonderful book containing over 50 edgings, 40 medallions, collars and yokes, doilies and more. 

I've started a little reference file for myself by making 3x5 sample cards. The intent is to eventually do a 5" sample of all 50 edgings. 

Not all of the edging instructions are perfect though. This one needs adjusting or,

worked as written, it curves into a medallion rather than forming a straight edging as pictured in the book. I have found that several of the edgings have been photographed face down too, so that the photograph is going in the opposite direction to what you will be working. Very confusing!

The other book in the photo, "New Tatting", by Tomoko Morimoto, is one that I purchased. It's got great, clear instructional photos, including help with that infamous "flip" that is so important. I'm not impressed though with the admonition to finish off by GLUING the ends! Seems sacrilege to me! Grandma would have been appalled. I'll continue to neatly and invisibly sew the ends in thank you very much.

Once I had the basics down I wanted to try patterns that had more advanced techniques Some required learning split rings. Seemed daunting at first, but once again with those YouTube videos I was able to figure them out. 

The next challenge was to learn to add beads. The video I watched mentioned using "strivers" made of paperclips to hold the beaded picots in position for later joining.

It took some wise advice from a Ravelry forum member to clue me in that I didn't need to leave the strivers in place. They are just needed until the picot is measured accurately, then can be removed. D'oh. Well, working without all those dangling paperclips sure makes it easier!

Now that I'm addicted to yet another fibre related hobby I, of course, craved some quality equipment. Luckily this hobby does not require nearly the expense or storage space of my weaving addiction.

handmade by David Reed Smith

I ordered these handmade beauties from David Reed Smith. They are, from left to right, 2.25" brass tipped shuttles in East Indian Rosewood, Figured Walnut, and Pommele Bubinga. The device at the bottom is a "reversible hook" in Kingwood.

I SO love having quality handmade tools. These are FANTASTIC!!

PS: All links are provided for your convenience. I receive no compensation for your "clicks".

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Handwoven White Tunic

That white warp I wrote about in February practically wove itself.

I had a compulsive desire to weave, weave, weave the entire time it was on the loom.

It only took about 2 days to weave the entire six metre length.

from the pompoms inserted at the very beginning, 

to the serendipitous evolving of a corded neckline trim, 

and beaded lace accents,

the warping, weaving, sewing and embellishing,

was a joy filled experience.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Tail End

One warp comes to a happy end (as evidenced by all the tail wagging)

Tail Wagging

and the next one has begun.

146 ends x 6m

That's an all white warp, 146 ends in a variety of textures, thicknesses and sheen. The warp is 6 metres long and destined to become an article of clothing.

5:15pm February 15, 2017

You'd think all that white would be boring to weave, but it's anything but!

Hard to stop! The pull of this warp is strong.

I'm finding the draw of this warp to be almost a compulsion. I'm in there weaving in every spare moment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

I finished weaving the red yardage and had a rare urge to do some crocheting.

Trixie received a Valentine's Day dress from my efforts. 

I used a pattern for a real baby dress as a jumping off point, but heavily modified it to have separate, contrasting ruffles and a channel for a pretty ribbon. Of course I also miniaturized the pattern by using size 30 thread and a 1.25mm hook. I then added a teeny, tiny crocheted heart

Flame never received any new clothing but he still worked hard to make a Valentine for you.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Surprise Ending

That there is another "warp as weft" cowl/scarf is no big surprise,

I enjoy weaving them and they are a good use for little bits of this and that in the yarn stash.

But when I wound the warp for this cowl I intended to weave a hat from the same warp. That is not how this warp ended. Although this warp made a pretty cowl with a light, spring like look, it just didn't seem right for the intended hat. I also had more than enough for just a hat.

When I cut the remaining length into three pieces and sewed them side by side they made a piece exactly the right size and shape to become upholstery fabric for my loom bench.

I backed the handwoven fabric with heavy fusible interfacing and padded the seat with 1" foam layered with a little extra in the middle.

It makes a super comfy and very inviting place to weave. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Aftermath

Ventured forth today to walk the dog and survey the storm damage around my neighbourhood.

Shocking how many trees sustained heavy damage.

The crews that attend to Townsend Park will be busy once the ice crusted snow clears a bit.

Some of the trees there will need heavy pruning or complete removal.

There isn't much left of the tree in the above picture!

But for now I don't think too many people will be walking the non-existent paths through the park. To step off the beaten track is to invite shin skinning! About 70 pounds (the dog's weight) seems to be about the limit before breaking through the very hard ice crusting the deep snow. 

My shins can tell you that one or two steps is more than far enough!

It's not just the parks of course. All around the neighbourhood there are downed trees and fallen branches.

Looks like some narrowly missed vehicles. 

Ice falling from overhead lines and branches must have been dangerous! Luckily now it's just crunchy shrapnel underfoot.