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.