Sunday, November 8, 2009

And the Winner is....!

Well, the winner has been drawn with a random number generator, and the winner is....IsDihara!!  Congratulations to you!  I will be in touch so I can ship these out to you - there's still lots of fall left to enjoy these little pumpkin earrings.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to comment and to spread the word.

And now, a little eye candy for your perusal - and to remind you of the next season that will soon be upon us.  These poinsettia earrings are an original pattern in a deep red DMC pearl cotton and have some very simple bead-weaving in the center to add some interest. 

Monday, November 2, 2009


I'm still swamped by life.  Trying to find time to do everything - and not managing very well.  But today I had a little "yay!" moment when I made my 100th sale on etsy, and I thought I'd celebrate and share my  excitement by doing ... a giveaway!  So, for anyone interested, I am going to give away a pair of my Tatted Pumpkin Earrings.  They may look slightly different than this picture, as I use slightly different colors of threads and various ear-wires here and there, but this is a pretty close representation.

So, having never done a giveaway on my blog before, I'm just winging it here.  Ummmm - you'll have to comment to enter, and make sure, if you don't have a blog, that I have a way to contact you.(leave me your e-mail address in your comment). If you mention my giveaway on your blog to help get the word out, leave a comment here saying you did so, and that will get you entered a second time for another chance to win.  I will ship anywhere and everywhere, so please, all feel free to enter.  I'll be announcing the winner this coming weekend, probably on Sunday evening, so check back then.

Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New Family Member

My husband was the first to see two little kittens in the front yard next door.  It turns out there were three all together - two gray ones and a black one.   Mom is a beautiful long-haired gray cat, but is a stray, very anti-social, and teaching the kitties to be the same.  She moved two of the kittens after we saw them, but after a night of pitiful meowing off and on, I finally went out and rescued the little black one who was very cold and hungry after a long night alone.  I'm not sure whether mom planned to come back for him, but I couldn't wait any longer to find out.  Here he is:

Oh yeah, he's a cutie.  He was very scared at first, hissing and meowing, but once he got some food in his tummy and a warm place to sleep and found out just how good petting can be, he is now purring and loving all the attention, playing like crazy and getting into everything.

My husband, who said I was only allowed to have two cats (we already have two we rescued from a shelter), seems to have gone all soft and mushy with this little guy and has said nothing about taking him to the shelter - he seems to be willing to take kitty in.

We are thinking of naming him Troy, after the Pittsburgh Steeler's safety, Troy Polamalu, who also has lovely long black hair. :-)  My family are pretty big Steelers fans and we think he looks like a Troy.  He certainly flies around jumping and getting into everything like Polamalu does.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Look What I Found

I had my first accounting exam this past Sunday - I got 100% on it! Yay! It helps to have worked in the industry for the past few years, but I did also study like crazy. I was so nervous as it was the first exam I had taken in about 20 years.

That isn't the most exciting part of the story, though.  After my exam I took a little trip over to JoAnn Fabrics in search of cabone rings.  Although I did find some of those, the real find was stitch markers (for knitting)  which come in even smaller sizes and are much thinner!  See the picture below - the top two ring sets are what I'm talking about, and the bottom rings are regular cabone rings (click on the picture to get a real close up view of the sizes).

OK, I know they are weird colors, but I'm hoping the tatting will cover that up.  I mean, in my taupe and brown pieces the rings are white, but the ring is well hidden by the thread so you don't notice the color difference. I haven't had a chance to try any of them yet, but will try to post some pics once I get to it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Pattern Available

Thanks everyone for the information about where to get cabone rings (see my last post and comments). It is so wonderful to have a community of tatters who jump in with help and advice. I will be near a JoAnn Fabrics this weekend and will check there to see what I can find. Also, have you seen Dawn Marie's tatting around a metal heart (click here!), huh? I know I've seen other shapes like that in some of my jewelry supply catalogs - squares, circles, ovals - I just have to find them again. Of course, I have lots of craft wire and could probably make my own if I was so inclined. Maybe I'll try that to start.

For those of you interested, I have a new pattern available on etsy - Tatted Heart Earrings. That makes four patterns I've managed to write down and make into .pdf files. If anyone is really interested in any of them (Cross, Hip to Be Square Earrings, Long Elegant Earrings, Heart Earrings) but don't want to become a member of etsy in order to purchase, shoot me an e-mail and we can work out something through PayPal or snail mail.

I want to add them to the ArtFire site as well, but haven't managed to get around to that yet. I still have other patterns I want to do as well. Someday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Book Review and Something New!

I've been wanting to try tatting with cabone rings for a while now. So when Jon Yusoff's book, "Tatting With Rings" came out last month, well, I just had to have it (click here to get yourself a copy!)! Fortunately it came just as I was leaving for a show, so I packed it up, hoping to have some time to play in the hotel room at night.

At the show it rained all day Saturday, so I had a lot more time that I thought I would (customers were scarce, as only ducks belong out in that kind of weather). I was SO glad I had Jon's book with me, I'll tell you. Here's what I did:

Jon explains everything very well and has wonderful diagrams so I caught on to the technique pretty quickly, and found it to be quite enjoyable. I love the little flower in the center of the ring, and the instructions were very clear and easy to follow for this technique as well.

For my second piece I did not add beads, but I did also tat a chain for a complete necklace:

I plan on doing some earrings next and maybe doing a little designing myself. I need to find a supplier for the rings (Jon did include some with the book, but not nearly enough for all the fun I plan on having with them), and I'd like to see if I can find some smaller ones too.

A hearty "thank you" to Jon for this lovely book!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ooooh - Pretty!

Is this thread gorgeous, or what? This is Yarnplayer's "Garden Afternoon" and just looks fabulous in this vintage pattern. I find this pattern to be extremely time consuming, and I worked this necklace over several weeks, one motif at a time.

PATTERN SOURCE: I should have mentioned this originally. For all of you who are interested in this pattern - I found it in "The Tatters Treasure Chest," page 77, edging #9074.

In other news, I FINALLY got new glasses, and I love them! Actually, I ended up getting two pair, one traditional bifocal pair, and one pair of progressives. I really prefer the progressives for now, although I do sometimes wear the bifocals at night while I'm tatting, especially with the finer threads. Anyway, as usual I find myself wondering why I waited so long. No more cricks in the neck from holding my head at a weird angle to peek out under my glasses so I can see what I'm doing!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Busy, Busy Life

It is true, I am terrible at keeping up with this blog! I really was trying to do better for a while, but inevitably, life gets in the way and the blog gets pushed to the back burner. Between teenager issues, work, the summer craft show schedule, and deciding to go back to school this fall, I've been swamped.

Yes, I have started online classes with a local community college. I already have a B.A. in Business Administration, but after working in the tax/accounting industry for the past five years, have decided I'd really like to be a CPA. I can see a demand in the industry as a whole and specifically in the firm I work for. So, at 40 years old, I'm back in college. I got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do at 34, so I guess I tend to do some big things a little later in life? Of course, I had my kids earlier than a lot of people nowadays (I was 23) so as they get older I find myself with some more time on my hands than I had when they were little.

I am currently tatting fall jewelry - in oranges, deep reds, leaf patterns, that sort of thing. I love Yarnplayer's Sugar Maple thread and also have some silks in variegated fall colors as well. What I will share with you today is my pumpkin earrings.

I found this technique of wrapping a pearl in tatting in a Japanese book called "Tatting Lace," and the pumpkins developed from there. I love this technique and have used it in many ways. Some day I'd like to create an entire string of tatted pearls, but I haven't managed to do so yet.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vacation in Vegas, Baby!

I just got back from a much needed vacation. Would you believe I haven't done any tatting now for almost three weeks?? Well, I can hardly believe it. I have no idea exactly how long it's been since I have taken that long of a break, but it's probably been almost as long as I've been tatting - which would be about 18 years. I did get to do some crocheting, and finished up one shrug and started another. I have to finish the second one by this weekend because it is to match a dress I am wearing to a wedding on Saturday.

We went to Las Vegas to visit my husband's sister and her family for two weeks. One of our nephews graduated from high school, so we got to see that, and we did other things there as well. We went to Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Laguna & Huntington Beaches in California, the Las Vegas Strip, all of the typical places to see while in that area. We had a great time but wow! did the time go fast. Here are some pictures I'll share -

This is my twin sons at the Hoover Dam. I'd share some pictures of the actual dam, but I'm deathly afraid of heights and tried to stay as far away from the edge as possible. I had the same problem at the Grand Canyon, obviously.

This is me, my niece, and my mother-in-law, with the Grand Canyon in the background. Notice how I am clinging onto them and leaning as far forward as possible. And we were nowhere near the edge in this picture.

Here is a picture of my sons and their cousins at Red Rock State Park. The boys had a wonderful time together, as they are all around the same age but have not gotten to see much of each other lately. My brother-in-law is a college football coach and their family has moved a number of times over the years. It was great while they were at West Point Military Academy and only about three hours from us, but that was when the kids were quite a bit younger.

Finally, here is a picture of my husband and I - we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on June 15th. Can you tell I am not amused? That's because the edge of the Grand Canyon (1 mile high, I might add!) is just about 10 feet behind us and he was making me stand there.

All in all, it was a wonderful, relaxing, fun-filled vacation!

Friday, May 29, 2009


I am completely obsessed with my tatting looking "perfect" - I hope that shows through in my work! Actually, it's not only tatting, I'm pretty much a perfectionist in every area of my life. This is good and bad, as with any personality trait. I tend to be a fairly slow, methodical tatter. This can be a bit of a drawback when selling your tatting because time is a big factor in cost, but can be balanced by extremely high quality, neat, perfect tatting which looks great in jewelry. You get the picture - it's a give and take.

Here's the thing - for years and years I made rings without ever thinking about the fact that the last ds in a ring sort of gets turned under when you close the ring. It makes the ring look a little uneven (like you are missing 1/2 a ds on one side) and the ring doesn't quite lay flat. I know what some of you are thinking - like, who's paying attention to that?! Well, I didn't for years either, until I started the "Tatting Proficiency Program" a couple of years ago. I read through the binder and saw them mentioning "posting the shuttle" - putting the shuttle through the ring before you close it with the idea that it would not cause that last little ds to turn under and semi-dissapear, and your rings would lie flatter. Not only that - but your rings will be easier to open!

Now I've never had a problem opening my rings, but I looked at a piece I had just made and - hey, how did I never notice that the last little ds curled under like that?! I could get perfectly round, flat little rings?! Well, who knew?? So I tried it. Sigh. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it didn't work well for me. Instead of curling down, now my ds curled up. The rings were a little rounder, but I really didn't think the jewelry laid as well with the ds curling up as when the ds were curling down.

But I could never look at my ugly, lopsided, uneven rings the same way again. Suddenly I hated that darn last ds! So I set about figuring out how to fix the "problem."

So here is the method I came up with: What I started doing about a year ago is making and extra half ds at the end of each ring. I do front side/back side tatting as well. So, if I am making a ring on the "front side," I do an extra 2nd half of the ds and then close the ring. If I am making rings on the "back side," I do an extra 1st half of the ds, pass the shuttle through the ring, (I do post the shuttle from the back side so that all rings are closed with the thread ending up on the same side) and then close the ring. With this method, I find that the last half ds just dissapears when you close the ring nice and snug and the ring looks perfectly even on both sides. The last full ds in the ring is completely visible and doesn't roll either way. The ring lies completely flat and has a nice even shape. Yay!

Now so far I've only shared this with one other person. I guess I thought for a long time that 1. This wouldn't work for anyone else but me or 2. Who else would care? But she found it very useful and solved her "rolling ds" problem as well, and persuaded me to share this technique with the tatting world. Thank you for the encouragement, Suzanne!

So, maybe you'd like to try this? Or maybe I lost you back at the second paragraph and you can't believe I actually care about this as much as I do. :-) Anyway, I wanted to share with those who are as obsessed as I am about "perfect" tatting - and I'd love some feedback for those of you who do try it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh, My Eyes

As a tatter, this is when you know your eyesight is failing.

1. You find yourself strangely drawn to thicker and thicker threads. Currently I am fascinated by size 10 - when I started I would never have touched anything thicker than a size 30. Of course, I still like size 80-100 but when I tat with it I have to...

2. Depend on a magnifying glass, bifocals, or develop ways to see up close like pushing your glasses so far up on your nose that you can actually look out from under your glasses and see the thread. Yes, I need bifocals. But it's been tax season, you know, and I haven't had any time to get a new prescription. So instead, I either use my magnifying glass or do the peeking under the bottom of my glasses thing (it really does work!).

I am still really annoyed that I am having this problem at my age - I'm only 40! Isn't that too young??

Here's a little spring earring pattern for you. It's nice for using up leftover thread on a shuttle (these are in Yarnplayer's gorgeous "Roses" thread and some DMC Cebelia in olive green.) You will need two shuttles and some seed beads. Thread 1 bead on Sh #1 and 8 beads on Sh #2.

R = ring
Ch = chain
- or p = picot
vsp = very small picot
bp = beaded picot

Sh #1. R 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1 vsp 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1. RW. Ch 14. Do not RW.
Sh #2. Bring 3 beads off the shuttle and keep them on the thread you wrap around your fingers to make the ring. R 8 bp (place the three beads in the picot and pull a 4th bead from the shuttle, place it next to the last ds made, and finish the picot) 8. Again, bring 3 beads off the shuttle and keep them on the thread you wrap around your fingers to make the next ring. Duplicate the ring you just did, but make this one 6 bp 6. Do not RW.
Sh #1. Pull the bead off the shuttle and place it next to the last ds of the first half of this chain. Ch 14.
Cut and tie ends to vsp. Finish off by hiding ends. Add earwires!

My next post will be about how I achieve flat, even rings in my tatting - if you are interested, check back in next week.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thread Obsession

Naturally, as soon as my body and brain got some kind of a break, I got sick. Looks like another sinus infection, and I'm trying to decide whether to just keep my annual checkup appointment which I already had scheduled for Wednesday morning, or trying to get in sooner so I can get started on the antibiotics. Meanwhile I'm taking Ibuprofin to keep the fever at bay and trying to get some things done. Naps are good.

My variegated thread drawer is getting out of control. I tried to open it the other day to put in the beautiful hand-dyed Magnolia thread I received from Lady Shuttlemaker. Well...I could hardly get the drawer open, it's so crammed full of variegated thread!

I can't imagine my obsession with these gorgeous threads waning anytime soon, so I obviously need a bigger drawer. :-)

In other news, I had a very nice customer interested in doing an article on tatting, so she did some of her own research on the net and asked me some questions, and here is the result. Click here to read the article. Very nice!

I am still working on more patterns for sale, in fact I listed another today - a fairly simple beaded earring pattern. For those of you interested in a book of my patterns rather than one at a time, are you interested in .pdf format or a hard copy that you can actually hold in your hands? Feel free to leave a comment on your preference.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tatting Patterns

Well, long time no blog. Another tax season behind me, and I can finally get back into all things tatting. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for my right thumb to remember it doesn't like long sessions of tatting any more. A couple of all weekend tatting marathons and I'm right back where I was at the end of the busy Christmas season - with general achiness in the pad at the base of my right thumb and major pain when I try to use that hand to grip anything. Tatting itself is not nearly as painful as the gripping is, for whatever reason, but it is still obviously the cause. I really must manage my tatting sessions better and take more breaks.

In order to take some more breaks but still be involved in tatting, I decided to start documenting and publishing some of my original tatting patterns. The first one I put up for sale in my Etsy shop is my tatted cross, which you can see in my blog post Motif Twelve. I plan on doing some of my regular motif patterns as well as some of my jewelry patterns, so keep an eye out if you are interested.

Friday, March 6, 2009

This is harder than it looks

I had a request for the Coral Reef earring pattern. I thought about just sending you all to the webpage where I found the antique book - but then it occurred to me that I'd like to write my own book of patterns someday...and just the other day I was reading on e-tatters about programs to diagram your own tatting patterns...the freeware program Inkscape was mentioned. Having never heard of this one - I've tried others and given up in frustration - I thought I'd download it (it's free) and give it a whirl. Good grief. There are so many different buttons and things and windows opening up all over the place and I didn't even know where to start.

At some point I figured out enough to open up a scan of the Coral Reef earrings and then open another layer over it. I started to draw objects on top of the picture itself, tracing the picture as I went - using freehand lines, ovals, dots for beads. The stitch count numbers came next. Finally I deleted the underlayer (the initial scan of the earrings), grouped all my drawings together and exported it as a bitmap file so it could be uploaded here. Voila! You see it there - and it only took me like 8 hours! No, I'm just kidding. It took me about 2 hours of trial and error, and I'm sure the next time will be easier (as long as I don't wait 6 months before opening the program again).

I hate typing up instructions longhand - and actually I much prefer diagrams when reading and tatting a pattern as well. But, for those of you who DON'T like diagrams, or if you don't use beads often and are unsure how those get added - here's the pattern for you (I hope you can read it as I'm also not so good at writing them longhand!):

Two Shuttles.
R = ring
Ch = chain
- or p = picot
vsp = very small picot
+ = joining picot

Load 6 beads on shuttle #1 and 4 beads on shuttle #2.

With shuttle #1: Pull up 6 beads into the ring you are going to make. In other words, the beads should be on the part of the thread that is wrapped around your fingers.
R 4 - (place two beads in the picot) 4 - (pull a bead up from shuttle #1, put it next to the last ds, made and make a picot around it) 4 - (place two beads in the picot) - 9 - (place two beads in the picot) 9. Close ring. RW.
Ch 7 - 3 - 3 - 3. Lock join to 5th p of last R. Do not RW.
With shuttle #2. Pull up 3 beads into the ring you are going to make.
R 3 + (to last p of previous Ch) 4 - (place three beads in the picot and pull the 4th bead from the shuttle, place it next to the last ds made, finish the picot) 4 - 3. Close R. Do not RW.
With shuttle #1: Ch 3 + (to last p of previous R) 3 - 3 - 7. Cut threads and tie off to vsp of the 1st R. Make another and you're done with your earrings!

And for those of you who could not read either the diagram or my version of the longhand pattern - here's the link to the book it came from. The .pdf file is down near the bottom of the page, under "mongraphs". The stitch count is slightly different than mine, and of course, it doesn't have the beads added. Have fun with whichever pattern you use.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I was cruising around the tatting blogs tonight and came across the exact same doily as the one I just fixed for my friend, except this one was tatted very recently, while the one I worked on was probably tatted about fifty years ago. It was tatted by Kelly Dunn and is posted as Motif #16 on her blog. I was so surprised to see it! She mentions it is from "The Tatter's Treasure Chest," which is of course a compilation of older tatting books from the 40's. I guess the doily I fixed was probably tatted from the original tatting book. :-)

Small piece of eye candy! This was a special order and is my own pattern, which I call "snowflake". I love these two colors together - sage & lavender.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coral Reef Project

Oooh...I love the colors in this thread. I purchased it from Pamela, it is a lovely high quality thread in gorgeous colors. Once in a while I like to pull out all my vintage books are just start cruising through them. So often I find so many things I never remember noticing before. I think this pattern looks pretty modern - but I found it in "Priscilla Tatting Book No. 2", by Julia Sanders. As I often do, I used just one motif for the matching earring.

In other news - I am mourning the loss of another vintage metal shuttle. I really like the early Boye shuttles - they are high quality and don't tarnish, not like the new metal ones...ick. The older Boye are a little dangerous with light color threads if you get the thread caught in between the bobbin and the shuttle. So, I use them only with the darker color threads, but I really like them because they have a removable bobbin (the only kind of shuttle I use) and they will hold more thread than Aeros (especially with beads on the thread). Between my grandmother and antique shops I managed to pick up about 6 of them but I am down to my last one. Eventually they all snap on me down at the base. I am constantly switching bobbins and I think after a while it's too much stress on that spot. Bah.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Black Lace Scallop Necklace

I finished working on the doily. It is just so fragile - I'm going to recommend that she avoid handling it too much and frame it as soon as possible. It really is not usable as a doily because of the condition the lace is in. I wish I knew what had caused the problem - whether it is the type of thread, starching method, how it was stored, etc. so I could avoid doing that to any of my own pieces! This particular doily has a lot of sentimental value to the owner so I tried to get it in as good a condition as possible so it can be framed and become a family keepsake. Hopefully she will be pleased with the results.

I was hoping to have finished something in LadyShuttlemaker's Peach Pandorea thread, but unfortunately I did not have any beads to match. I will have to go beads shopping! Instead, I pulled out Pamela's Coral Reef and have ideas for a necklace. However, with trying to catch up after missing a week of work, I didn't actually even get it started.

So instead, I'll show a different necklace I finished recently. This one is tatted with black thread and shiny black delica beads (a whole lot of them). It is a simple scallop pattern which I *think* is in the book "The Tatter's Treasure Chest" - up until now I have not been good about keeping track of where I get my vintage patterns from - but I'm trying to do better. I have so many books - they take up crates and crates. Anyway, here is the finished result. The little flower in the front is a lightweight acrylic bead made by another artist.

The matching earrings are a very simple basic earring I've been making from the very beginning of my business - I call it my "Tat" earring because it contains all of the most basic tatting construction in just 32 little knots - it has one ring, one chain, and one picot. I vary the pattern a lot with colors and beads, and I make a lot of these earrings. Again, the bead hanging down from the base is from the same artist as the flower on the necklace.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Well, I'm only a little late to the tatted heart posting party...finally recovered (for the most part) from the flu. This heart necklace was quite large - I made it so long ago (and never did make another) so I wish I knew where the heart pattern came from originally, but when I went back to look for it again I couldn't find it - if anyone knows, post in the comments and I'll add the information here.

The rest of the necklace is beadweaving with pearls, seed and other glass beads, made to look like hearts as well.

I have been tatting while having the flu - in short bursts between naps, sneezing and coughing, the chills and having the sweats so bad the thread gets all wet and you can't do anything with it. I also am currently working on fixing a doily for a friend. Her mother tatted the doily but it is very fragile - I'm not sure if it was treated with some kind of starch and then not stored well - but almost the entire outer row had "broken" off of the rest of the doily - in other words, the picots are broken so there's nothing to do but take a fine thread in the same color and sew it back together. Unfortunately, it is so fragile I've managed to break a few more picots while trying to work on it. I'm at the blocking point now - I've blocked it once but it needs to be done a second time.

Lots of wash to catch up on, and I have to go do some bookkeeping for a non-profit organization I volunteer for today as well - so I'm off!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Roses in Bloom

I found this pattern (the part at the front of the necklace) in a vintage tatting book. I thought the edging looked like flowers so I had in my mind how I wanted to use Yarnplayer's "Roses" thread and make it really look like flowers - unfortunately, the pattern wouldn't cooperate and I ended up doing it in two layers instead of just one like the pattern was written. So then I stopped it short and created the rest of the necklace afterwards. I still like the way it turned out, but I have some more ideas.

I need to tweak the pattern a little more to get better results. Unfortunately I have the flu and can't think straight, so I'm going back to sleep now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Back to Blogging

Hi everyone :-) I wonder by now if everyone has stopped even bothering with my blog as I have been gone for sooooo long. Work and my fall show season got the better of me, and I found myself with no time and no desire to write anything at the end of a long day. Even though it is now tax season, without shows I have a little more time to do things, and so I thought I'd resurrect the blog. I can't promise a post every day (what in the world would I talk about!?), but I'll definitely try to be more consistent than I have been.

Anyway, I thought I'd try out this new pattern by Yarnplayer - found here. How I wish I were as prolific and talented a designer as she is. How I wish I had the time! Fortunately for me, and for many of you too, I'm sure, we have wonderfully talented designers out there. I just loooove this pattern, and wanted to make earrings out of it the moment I saw it. Enjoy!