Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beadweaving and Felting Fun

I have been wanting to learn more beadweaving techniques. I do use some simple ones, but I also felt a bit unknowledgeable about different types if threads, needles, etc. and though a good class might take care of that. WELL....The Bead Expo was here this weekend and I got to go! It was huge! I got to go bead shopping which I love - I just have to see beads in person before I buy - but best of all I got to take four classes!

My morning class was Beginning Peyote with Nancy Zellers. We learned tubular and flat peyote stitch and Nancy was a fantastic teacher. She spent the first hour talking all about threads, how to conditions them, what size to use, needles to use, how to finish projects off, and lots of other great beginner tips. It was a great start to my day.

In the afternoon I had a class in felting, "Felted Pod Brooch" with Gail Crosman Moore. I had absolutely no experience with felting (this class was in wet felting) and thought it was very interesting. I bought some wool to try to make some felted beads to use with my tatting.

I took another class with Nancy Zellers in the evening - this one was one of her kits and involved brick stitch - "Dragon's Treasure Bracelet" (you must go see the picture of her completed piece, it is gorgeous). I am totally addicted to brick stitch. When worked with delica beads it is so even and beautiful. I find it as relaxing as tatting! And it totally feeds those perfectionist, OCD tendencies I have. Here are the two beads I completed (only 19 to go LOL).

This was my Thursday. On Friday I just took and evening class with Rosita Pisarchick. I found this class, "The Best Beaded Cabachon" to be the most challenging and frustrating, but also to probably have the most practical application for my jewelry, as I have been wanting to do beaded bails on my tatting for a while now, and not use any metal at all (all fiber and beads). Rosita was a great teacher, I just had difficulty with getting the thing to look as "perfect" as I wanted it too. I know, I know it was only my first time! This is an imperial jasper cabachon in brown seed beads. It isn't finished, as you can see, because I ran out of thread as the class came to an end.

All in all, it was a great experience and great fun!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Well, It's Official

At the end of tax season this year I was offered a permanent full time position at the firm (for the last five years I have worked full time only during tax season and then sparsely the remainder of the year while I was busy with my craft shows). My first thought was "no way" because I couldn't imagine giving up all my shows and all that tatting.

But after praying about it and talking to my husband and family, we decided it was a good thing - an unexpected blessing I didn't even realize I needed.

First of all, I have two kids going to college in 3 years - yeah, twins, so all college bills come at one time - ick. Having a nice, steady income will be very helpful.

This year's shows, for the most part, have been really off. Everyone's discretionary income is getting sucked into their gas tank (and I don't see that changing any time soon) and it's an election year. Don't ask me why election years are bad for me, but they always have been. I'm doing ok with shows, but I'm stressed about the varying income, how much some of my shows are down, and my travel costs going through the roof.

And finally, my wrists are seriously showing the strain of 4-6 hours of tatting a day for 17 years. My eyes are not doing so well either, as I mentioned in a previous post. I'd like to do some designing, maybe write a pattern book, and tat for nothing but my own pleasure if I want. I've picked up my crochet hooks recently and remembered how much I love to crochet as well! With the business, I never have any time for anything but tatting jewelry.

So, I start my full time job September 2nd. Part of me is really looking forward to it - I love what I do, and the people I work for and work with are great. Part of me is scared to death (I haven't actually ever had a normal, all year long, full time job, and I'm 39). Part of me is really sad to say good-bye to being an artist *almost* full time.

Now, all of that being said, Elizabeth's Lace is not disappearing off the face of the earth. :-) I plan to cut way down on shows - from about 16 to 6. I still plan to sell online, where I can keep costs down and reach a large audience. I could never imagine not doing tatted jewelry; I love it - it's been a huge part of my life. But it's officially time to take a little break.

And now for just a little eye candy, for those of you that made it to the end of the post - you didn't think I'd leave out the eye candy, did you??

This is a vintage pattern...I shall have to go looking for the source, but I suspect I found it somewhere in the Antique Pattern Library. Then I sketched it in my book, but I forgot to write down where I found it. Duh. I'll see if I can figure it out. Anyway, this is done in one of Yarnplayer's threads (Tigereye), size 20, and the focal bead is a vintage style button. The button for the clasp is also very old-fashioned. I just love the way this turned out. It got lots of compliments at the show I took part in this last weekend.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Motif Twenty-Five!

I want to first of all say thank you to all the people who took the time to say such nice things to me about my grandmother. It really helped my get through a bit of a rough patch - obviously, it's still rough, but talking about it really helped, and receiving the responses I did helped even more. One person summed it all up by saying, "your grandmother will live on in every piece you create."

Well, I can't believe I made it all the way to the end...and it only took me 1 1/2 years! The final motif is based on the "Yorkie Dimple" - you'll find information on that here. Obviously, when you first look at a dimpled ring, it looks like a heart. So I just added a few picots, Swarovski crystals, and voila, it looks like a little heart with wings. I think it makes a sweet little earring.

Actually, I figure in the 1 1/2 years since I started this 25-motif challenge blog, I have made somewhere around 1000 pieces of tatting (this must be part of the reason I never seem to have any time to post). I was running the numbers the other day, and in the fifteen years I have had my tatted jewelry business, I figure I have made approximately 10,000 pieces of tatting, and sold about 9650 of them - I have approximately 350 pieces in my inventory at any one time.

It's no wonder my wrists are giving me problems. Chronic problems. This leads me to another subject I'll be talking about in my next post - I plan to keep the blog going, and I'd like to do another 25 motif challenge, although this time I really am going to do more designing of patterns - and I think I will have some more time to do that, as I'll explain in my next post.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

HBT's Christmas in July

I belong to the e-mail group "Here Be Tatters" and recently the list mom, Sue, organized a Christmas in July exchange (with secret partners) for any member that wanted to participate. We weren't allowed to open our packages until today and the wait was grueling for me!!

This was so much fun! I wanted to post some pictures of the things my secret sender (Betsy Evans) sent to me, and give an official thanks for all the wonderful items.

First of all, it came in this COOL little case, with a sweet little tatted cat on it, which I'm sure will come in handy for toting my tatting around - in fact, I've been planning on making up a "tatting kit" to keep in my car - and I think this little case will be great for that!

Then I opened up the case to find all the treasures inside. There were postcards so I got to see where Betsy lives - what a gorgeous area of the country it must be. A Whitman sampler of chocolate (I've eaten 3/4 of it already LOL) in a lovely tin which I will also keep for storage. A pattern for a tatted fan bookmark along with the fan tatted by Betsy in a teeny tiny thread.

It was pinned to the pattern with a coil-less safety pin to use with patterns that start with chains - how wonderful - I didn't even know there was such a thing! Also, a lovely bookmark of her own design in a plastic sleeve which I already placed in the book I am currently reading (I had some boring old piece of cardboard in it before - this is so much nicer). Blue Mill Hall seed beads which I will put to good use, as well as a sample of Lady Shuttlemaker's "Pensacola Beach" thread - YAY! There is also a beautiful embroidered thimble holder with plastic rings inside. Finally, TWO pairs of earrings in blue (my favorite color), one on metal rings and the other with little seed beads.

Thank you SO MUCH, Betsy. What a wonderful time I had exploring all the items and I will think of you each time I use something from the gifts!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Motif Twenty-Four

This is my own original pattern. I created it to be earrings to match my other cross pattern (motif twelve). I thought I would share the pattern here. I have spent the last who-knows-how-long remembering why I don't like to write down patterns. I cannot figure out how to explain things to make sure people can understand how to tat them!! *sigh*

I'm hoping most people will actually be able to tat it because of the picture. I'll put the written directions here, but please, please, please, if someone has some ideas of how to say something better or explain it more clearly, or if you find any errors while tatting it, mention it in the comments so the poor people trying to follow the pattern and make the cross can do so. I'm hopeless.

Mini-Cross by Elizabeth C. Zipay
(c) 2000

Two shuttles.
I use the method of "front-side/back side" tatting.
All joining picots on the chains are extremely small.
In size 20 thread, the cross is ~ 1 1/2" tall and 1 1/4" wide.

With shuttle #1
*R 3-2-2. RW
Ch 1. RW
R 2+(to last p of previous R)4-4-2. RW
Ch 1. RW
R 2+(to last p of previous R)2-3. RW*
Ch 2-2. Do no reverse work.

With shuttle #2, R1-1-1-1. Do not reverse work.
With shuttle #1, Continue ch 2-2. RW

Repeat from * to *.

Ch 2+(to opposite p of previous Ch)
2+(to next p of shuttle #2 R)2-2.RW

Repeat from * to *.

Ch 2+(to opposite p of previous Ch)
2+(to next p of shuttle #2 R)4-5-4.RW

Repeat from * to *.

Ch 4+(opposite p of previous Ch)
5+(opposite p of precious Ch)
4+(to next p of shuttle #2 R)
2+(to opposite p on third Ch tatted)2.

Attach to first ring. Finish off.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In Memory...

The grandmother that taught me tatting passed away on July 7th. She was 95 years old. She had not tatted for a number of years, after breaking one of her wrists, but she still loved to talk about it, remember how much she loved to do it, watch me do it and look at the work I was doing. She always said to me, "people pay you HOW MUCH for TATTING?!"

Here is a link to her obituary: My Grandma

She was such a sweet, wonderful lady. My husband always said, "she is such the typical grandma!" - she had the gift of hospitality, always wanting to make sure you had what you wanted or needed and she loved to have guests to wait on and fawn over. Her whole house was geared for entertaining - from the basement to the garage (both were complete with bars and plenty of seating and used for parties numerous times). She taught me crocheting as well as tatting and loved to play all kinds of games with us kids as well. My grandparents took us on bus trips all over the east coast - Disney, World's Fairs and lots of other interesting places. She loved to go to Atlantic city (and she was darn lucky there too - no wonder she liked it). When we got older, we played pinochle or penny games with both my grandparents - almost every weekend. And after I was married and had kids and lived far away, hers was still always the house that we stayed at when we came home for a visit.

I will surely miss her, but find hope and take comfort in the promise that we will be together again some day. I will be sure to bring some shuttles.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Motif Twenty-Three

I am almost done with the 25 motif challenge! It took me long enough. I've already decided to start again at one when done with these 25, in the effort to keep myself motivated to come up with new designs.

This one incorporates two of my original designs, a flower and a small butterfly. This is the second one I've done, although the first was in a different color scheme. I am already planning another one in yet another color. I like doing this pattern in the solid colored flower with variegated butterflies. The first one was a flower in sage with lavender beads and sage/lavender/gold butterflies. I'm not sure what color scheme I'll use for the next - I'll have to check my HDT stash! I've obtained one of Yarnplayer's coordinating mini-skein sets, so I may have to do a watermelon tourmaline color scheme; maybe a lovely plum flower with the pink/green/plum butterflies. I'm ready to whip out the shuttles!

Some designs are once and done for me. Either I don't like it once it turns out or the logistics of the design are difficult and cumbersome. This one I really enjoy doing, and to top it off - both this one and the previous one made in the other color scheme went home with happy customers, so this design is a definite keeper!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Just a little fun...

This little quiz was fun. I love Jane Austin, novels and movies. This quiz totally had me pegged - I AM Elinor Dashwood! Here's what it said: You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I promise I will return to the motifs in my next post, hopefully early next week. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

Well. I am still flying on cloud nine after my wonderful weekend. I was in Chantilly, VA for a craft show. I wouldn't normally say this, but thank goodness it was a little slow (crowd wise) at this show, so I had time to visit with everyone who came to see me.

That's right, I had some special visitors. In Chantilly, people still know what tatting is - and some of them have even actually done it! I met quite a few fellow tatters, which I will get to in just a little bit...first I want to say that when a fellow lace-maker, especially a tatter, buys one of my pieces, I consider that an extremely high compliment. That they think highly enough of my tatting to want to own a piece of it - well, it just makes my day, I can't really even express it in words. It is just pure joy!

So I met some tatters this weekend. One of them was a lovely girl who drove all the way from Richmond, VA to see my work in person. She had been on my website and on the blog, but when she heard I would be "nearby" she decided to take a trip, and I'm so glad she did! She was wearing some of her own tatted jewelry, a lovely black pendant and earring set - just beautiful! It looked great on her. My mom and I invited her into the back of my booth and we visited and talked shop for a while - such fun! She went home with one of my necklaces in Yarnplayer's "Watermelon Tourmaline" thread (great choice!), and the pin pictured here - I call it "Flora Victoria." I sure hope she starts her own blog to share her work with us. I never get tired of browsing blogs - how about you?

I also met a fellow tatter who has just about convinced me to organize all of my ideas and jewelry in book form, even if I don't publish right away. She talked to me for quite a while about wanting to preserve what I have spent the last fifteen years of my life on while I am still really involved in it. Of course, first I have to figure out those darn drawing programs...

There were other tatters, too - all of whom shared stories and talked shop with me. I never get tired of talking about tatting, and apparently, neither do other tatters! :-)

But when Kathy Nicklewicz walked into my booth on Friday afternoon, I could not believe my eyes. She held up a bag with a "Mercer, PA Victorian Days" logo on it and I knew immediately who she was. For those of you who might not know about Kathy, please see Sharon's blog post called "The Tatting of Kathy Niklewicz" from February 21, 2008. I had met this lovely lady back in the late 90s at a show out in western PA, which I mentioned in my comment on Sharon's blog. Little did I know that Kathy has internet access and has been paying attention to all things tatting on the net, and also remembered me from that same show! She made up her mind she was going to come and see me at a show and she and her husband traveled all the way from western PA to come and see me in Chantilly. It was soooooo wonderful to see her again! I felt like I was visiting with a long lost friend.

She brought pictures and stories and we talked and talked about the internet and all the wonderful things that are happening in tatting these days, as well as sharing life and family stories. I am so hoping she decides to start her own blog so she can get out her own life and tatting stories to share with everyone - and Kathy, if you are reading this - you better e-mail me with any questions so we can get you up and running in blog-world!! :-) I am hoping she will also decide to write a book and preserve her tatting legacy for all of us. She is a talented designer and master tatter and we don't want to lose her work and her lovely, unusual patterns.

You can see why I am still flying high! Thanks to all you tatters who made this such a wonderful weekend for me!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pardon me while I ramble...

I have noticed something for the last year or two that I have been muddling around in my mind and thought I'd report on it here. When I first started selling my tatted jewelry, most people I met - probably about 90% - at least had heard of tatting, and most of those knew at least one person who tatted, the most common being an elderly relative or neighbor or nun (if they went to Catholic school). I mean, my grandmother was the only person I knew who did it when I was growing up. It was also surprising the number or people who recognized it from crossword puzzles - "to make lace" - three letter word - "tat." At any rate, many did not know that the craft was still being done because they had not seen or heard anything about it for years.

That has changed. I would say that now about 50%-60% of the people I meet at shows have heard of tatting - again with most of those knowing about it because they knew someone who tatted. Now - it can depend on the show, it's location and promoters (for example, most people coming to a Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen show know what tatting is). It took me a while to process the fact, acknowledge that things were changing, try to analyze the reasons why, and figure out how I was going to adapt to this growing trend.

I think the main reason is this - this is hard for me to believe, because in some ways it feels like I just started yesterday, but I have been doing art/craft shows for the last fifteen years. In that time, a shopping generation has gone on, and a new one has come up - in other words, people that were teenagers when I started are now the customers I see in my booth. For them, even if they had an elderly relative who tatted, it was probably a great-grandmother, and they never knew her or saw it done, so they are not at all familiar with the technique. Also, because there are few of us out in the public as often as I am - people still don't see it being done, and although the internet is a nice thriving area for tatters to mingle, learn, and grow their craft - most people of this new generation wouldn't even know to search for it because they've never heard of it.

I think in the beginning I sold a lot of pieces simply because they were tatted, and the people who knew what it was were fascinated with this craft being used in a new way. Now I find I really have to be concerned about the design of a piece, have to watch color and style trends, develop my own particular "style," and my work has to sell because people like what it looks like on them, how it feels, and that fact that it is very unusual, rather than just because it is tatted.

When I started I enjoyed so much hearing people's memories about a mom or grandma who tatted. For them memories surfaced when they walked in my booth and they couldn't wait to share with someone else who knew what tatting was, since the never came across anyone else. I still get some of that, but it's much rarer today. Instead, I do a lot more education on the technique itself, introducing this craft to a new generation. For the most part, they are fascinated and eager to learn, and that is great fun too! Of course, I still share my own memories of my grandmother and how she taught me, and then tell them how it got started, show them how it's done, and encourage them to check out resources on the web if they are interested in pursuing it further.

So, that's my ramble for today.

And now for just a little eye candy! :-)

This is a pattern my grandmother loved to do - I've never seen it anywhere, so I think she just sort of made it up - she liked to just pick up the shuttle and tat away.

Please feel free to comment below on any interesting trends you've noticed while out in public with your tatting, or maybe hits or comments on your website, or what it's like being a tatter in your family or hometown.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Motif Twenty-Two

A number of years ago now (probably at least ten years), I purchased a book on ebay that had some very interesting patterns in it. Here is one of the links to it: DMC Library: Tatting (.pdf file) I'm fascinated by old books that have what I consider unusual techniques in them - often what you see in those older books in so similar, one book to another. This book stood out to me for a few reasons - one being that it used a lot of two-shuttle patterns - including things like josephine knots or rings thrown off chains, which wasn't all that common in other books I had (either from my grandmother or found at antique stores). It also combined tatting with some other things like crochet and netting.

The third reason was that this was the first time I came across what is known now as the "self-closing mock ring" - coined that by the Shuttle Brothers in their book introducing the technique in 1999. It is on page 32, fig. 16 - not only does the center ring look like a ring with rings on it - but the outside row also has what looks like rings with three rings on the the outside of them. I looked at it and thought, "how in the world...?" I think the instructions must have been pretty clear because I was able to do it relatively easily, as I remember.

I used it in a pattern for a round robin I was involved in at the time. I remember trying to explain how to do it - at that time it didn't have an official "name" that I was aware of - nor had I or any of the people in the round robin ever seen it before. I think I just called it a chain that was made to look like a ring (self-closing mock ring is really a much better name!).

Anyway, the book has a lot of other very nice patterns in it as well, and for those of you that didn't know it was out there - enjoy! Here is a pin I made with fig. 21 on page 32.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Motif Twenty-One

As promised, here is the butterfly from Rozella Linden's book, "Tatted Butterfly Garden." I had a very difficult time with the body. I did get it to work correctly - I think - but it came out a little too small for these wings. The head doesn't lay flat either and that bothers me.

I am very pleased with the wings themselves, though. I love the pattern - very realistic. The book suggested planning out the wings when using a variegated thread so that they would be mirror images of each other not only in the pattern but in color as well. I hadn't ever tried to do that before but it wasn't difficult and the effect is nice.

I think what I will do to "fix" this is sew it onto a filigree piece and sew beads over the body so it looks larger. Maybe I will post it again once I do that.

I will be sharing an antique pattern available on the web in my next post so watch for that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Motif Twenty


....that's the sigh of relief that comes when you've made it through another tax season. Obviously the deadline is not until Tuesday, but it always seems to slow down right at the end.

This is why I haven't posted in nearly a month! Just too busy to do any scanning or posting. I do quite a bit of tatting in the evenings when I get home from work in preparation for the busy show season, but never manage to get any of it onto my computer.

Here is motif number 20 - not my original design - but very different and unusual, I think. It was time consuming and tedious, because of there being so many chains, but I am very pleased with the results. I will probably turn this into one of my pin/pendant combinations - so it can be worn as either thing.

Thank you to Shay for posting the pattern, which can be found here. As soon as I saw this I just had to try it - I've got a lot of books, and I've seen a lot of different tatting patterns, but never anything like this.

Right now I am working on a butterfly from Rozella Linden's book "Tatted Butterfly Garden." The wings are made with Marilee's Watermelon Tourmaline thread - my FAVORITE color of all time! I am having difficulty with the magic butterfly body, though, and I am about ready to e-mail Ruth and get some help! It frustrates me to no end when I can't figure out something on my own, so I'll probably fiddle with it a little more. When I am finished with it, it will be motif number 21, so look for it in the next week or so.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Motif Nineteen

Here is an adapted edging pattern done in a very thick silk (about a size 10, and a little thicker than I really enjoy working with.) But I love silk for tatting - and the colors - yum!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Motif Eighteen

With 3" of snow on the ground I'm ready for spring already. That must be why I'm doing so many butterflies and flowers lately - I just can't seem to stay away from them! I haven't posted them all here, but I did one yesterday that's a little unusual so I thought I'd post it.

This one is an aqua flower - yes, my own pattern but a very simple one - with soft chartreuse butterflies on it.

Here is more of a close up so you can see the detail better. The chain is beads over thread with tatted rings in between - I like the look but it is a bit time consuming and requires planning ahead of time.

I had a lot of fun designing and executing this one - and this is one of my all time favorite color combinations as well, so I'm a happy camper. I really need to get some tatting done today, though, so ciao!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I have had a few people ask me if I am going to be publishing a book, so I wanted to address that - at this time, unfortunately, I have no plans to do that. My knowledge of programs to draw patterns, writing them out long-hand, or actually putting a book together is limited at best. Not to mention the fact that I have no time. Someday...maybe. For right now, though, I just love the tatting process, and I love making jewelry, so that's where my focus is.

If someone would like to recommend a program for diagramming patterns, I'd love to hear it. I can almost guarantee any book I write would only have diagrams and not be written longhand, because that's how I design and document patterns, by sketching - I never write them out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Motif Seventeen

I keep telling myself - "I will blog at least once a week, I WILL blog at least once a week!" It doesn't usually happen though. Tax season is here, and it's a little bit busy. Besides that, I have a show in 3 1/2 weeks (inventory! I need inventory!), and trying to establish a presence on Etsy is time consuming as well. Add to that a couple of orders and voila! No spare time.

Today it is icy and snowy in the northeast, and I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, so I'm home. No taxes today. I'm washing and blocking some tatting, and tatting some new things, and I though I'd do a post on the blog as well.

Just in time for Valentine's Day - a heart! This is a pattern I started using a while ago - it is a combination of some different patterns from the web - none of them are exactly like this, but they are similar (I mean, all hearts are a similar shape, so, when tatting, a lot of people come up with a similar way to arrive at that shape). As I've mentioned before, when adding beads, or transforming a piece of tatting into jewelry, there are some adjustments in stitch count or the way things are joined to help things lay better, or look a certain way.

I hope you can tell by the scan - this is no normal tatting thread. For those of you who are adventurous and like a challenge, may I offer to you "Petite Very Velvet" thread. It is made of 100% nylon and is hand-washable. It comes in about a dozen beautiful colors. Normally used for cross stitch, this gorgeous thread tats up about a size 10. When finished, it is a little bulky, but also plush and soft and beautiful.

This thread is not for the faint of heart. It is also not recommended for tatting beginners, those with little patience or anyone who tats very tightly. It will break fairly easily, rings will not close tightly sometimes, and don't even THINK about trying to make a ring larger than 3-3-3-3 with it. I cannot be held responsible for any screaming, tearing out your hair, throwing shuttles or any other act of severe frustration.

In some ways this is like the metallic thread, you have to be really good at controlling your tension, have oodles of patience, and know how to add thread very well. Small pieces are best, or pieces where there are few rings and a lot of chains. I am working on a full necklace in black, but I dread working on it.

I have one of these hearts myself (I actually have very few pieces of my own jewelry, mainly the ones I wear to shows) and I LOVE it. It is so lightweight and soft, and I get lots of compliments on it. So try it out! Or, if you'd rather not test your frustration level with this thread, I am putting this one up for sale in my Etsy shop - feel free to stop by!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Motif Sixteen

This is what happens when you start doing one thing and it goes wrong - you've already spent time on it, so you turn it into something else. I planned on doing the entire necklace in this pattern, but it didn't want to curve nicely and when I added that ring that's in the center there - that did it. It put way to much of a bend in the pattern. So I just stopped it short and added a twisted stitch/split ring chain instead.

This is some of Yarnplayer's wonderful hand dyed thread - this is from her first batch of "Rhubarb Pie" that I bought sometime last year. I just love it. You can get some some yourself at her Etsy shop -

Monday, January 21, 2008

Motifs Fourteen & Fifteen

It finally happened.

I've been doing about 10 art/craft shows a year for fifteen years. Without fail, one of the most common questions I got was - "do you use a magnifying glass??" In the beginning I would just smile broadly and said, "no, never!" Again, almost without exception, the customer would pause, give me a look, and say, "Just wait. You will."

About two years ago now I noticed I was having some difficulty seeing well, especially with the finer threads. When customers asked me the question, I smiled and said, "No, not yet."

Well, "not yet" has arrived. After taking about a month off of tatting I had an order for black earrings. I wanted to give the customer some choices, so I made four different pair, two of them in thread that claims to be size 80 thread but is really more like 90-100 (it's Anchor brand and I like it better than DMC tatting thread but I do think it is finer).

I could not see it. I tried to count stitches and couldn't. "I am going to be 39 in a few weeks - aren't I too young for this problem?!" - I whined. But alas, I had to use my magnifying glass. Fortunately I have a large overhead light that has a swing arm magnifying glass attached. It worked great. I actually used it for the entire two pairs, just holding the tatting right under the glass so I could see it perfectly. It worked really well, much better than I expected.

I had to laugh, though, when I finished the first earring and put the magnifying glass up I couldn't believe how small the earring actually was! I had gotten so used to looking at it under the magnifying glass my brain was telling me it bigger than it was.

So anyway, here are the two pairs of earrings made with the fine black thread. Incidentally, so far I don't seem to have a problem with any other color in the fine thread except black.

I know, I're thinking, "Just wait. You will." :-P

This is Rosemarie Peel's "Celtic Motif." It's the pair the customer ending up liking the best.

Based on a pattern called "beaded teardrop" by Betty Goetgeluck, I adapted this to better match a necklace pattern I like to use.