Sunday, October 3, 2010

Darn Scanner

My old scanner never had any problems with objects that weren't quite flat.  I just laid a nice piece of paper over them and didn't close the lid.  They turned out really nice.  Not so with the new scanner.  Flat things are OK but if I have too many large or thick beads, I seem to get a funny halo effect around the thick area.  I have played with the resolution, the brightness, the backgrounds.   Finally I turned off all the lights in the room and tried to scan.  That met with interesting results.  And a clear view of just how dusty my scanner bed was.  So I turned on the dust removal tool which removed the dust but now I see a fingerprint!  Oops.  I'll have to take care of that before the next scan.  This piece still needs to be washed and blocked and have a clasp added.

Integral to this necklace is the central polymer clay piece I mentioned in an earlier post.  I saw the artist's work online and went to go see her in person back in August.  What incredible detail exists in each of her pieces.  I love tiny work myself but this just boggles my mind - I mean, look at the clay around the edge that looks like a little ribbon woven in and out of the piece. 

This is a vintage pattern (circa 1924) from Priscilla Tatting Book No. 3 - one of my favorite old books. 

Back to the scanner issue - I really do not know what I am going to do about this because I'm not really crazy about the black background.  It's not terrible, and the detail is good, but I'd much rather have my pretty papers. I'm not even sure if there is a way of resolving the issue.  I know my old scanner didn't give me the halo effect unless I closed the lid, so I'm not even sure where to start trying to correct the problem.  I'm pretty bummed at the moment.  Anyone have any ideas?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


My scanner is here and I'm back in business.  Another learning curve involved, however, and one I have not had a lot of time to explore as school, work, and high school football season are in full swing. I'm not quite getting the results I want yet.

I am currently enjoying my pdf copy of Jon Yusoff's "Tatted Snowflakes Collection."  Tatted snowflakes have been around about as long as tatting itself - so you'd think we'd run out of really different and unique patterns.  Not so with Jon's book, predominantly because of the use of more "modern" tatting techniques like the use of two shuttles and split and mock rings.  Here is the first one I tatted, "Alladin."

I think the thread is "Treebeard" by Lady Shuttlemaker (I really should label my thread better).  I plan on making this into a necklace eventually, probably by adding a tatted/beaded chain of some sort.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Shuttle to Tat - Resurrecting an Old Pattern

I saw this really cool idea of Chris Hinton's to suspend a tatted motif in epoxy in order to create a shuttle with it - the important links are here (forum) and here (shop).

That reminded me I had designed a shuttle pattern way back in 1998 (I hadn't tatted this pattern in a while and had kind of forgotten about it). As I remember, back when the Tat Chat group was in existence we were trying to come up with a pattern for a "tatted shuttle" and this was my contribution.  I reworked the pattern slightly since then and have posted it here.  If you are interested in getting one of those cool shuttles and would like to use this pattern for your tatting, feel free.  There are also other  shuttle-shaped patterns available on their site.

Two shuttles, wound in the continuous thread method.  I use the method of front side/back side tatting.  In size 80 thread, the motif measures 2" x 1".

Pattern Key:
R          ring
Ch        chain
p           picot
+           joining picot
vsp       very small picot
lp          long picot
RW      reverse work

Shuttle #1
R1  6 p 4 p 2.
R2  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 6 vsp 2 lp 2 vsp 6 p 2.
R3  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 4 vsp 6. RW.

Ch 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2. RW.

R4  6 + (to last vsp of R3) 4 p 2.
R5  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 6 + (to 2nd vsp of R2) 2 + (to lp of R2) 2 vsp 6 p 2.
R6  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 4 p 6. RW.

Ch 2 + (to p of previous chain) 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2. RW.
R7  3 vsp 3. RW.
Ch 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 3. RW.
R8  3 p 2 p 2.
R9  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 3 + (to vsp of R7) 3 + (to 2nd p of R6) 2 p 2 p 3 vsp 3 p 2.
R10  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 2 p 3. RW.
Shuttle #2 
R11  3 + (to p of previous chain) 12 p 12 p 3. Do not RW.

Shuttle #1
Ch 3 + (to last p of previous R) 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2. RW.
R12  3 + (to 2nd vsp of R9). RW.
Ch 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2. RW.
R13  6 + (to 5th p of R9) 4 p 2.
R14  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 6 + (to 2nd vsp of R5) 2 + (to lp of R2) 2 vsp 6 p 2.
R15  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 4 vsp 6. RW.

Ch 2 + (to p of previous chain) 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2. RW.

R16  6 + (to last p of previous R) 4 p 2.
R17  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 6 + (to 2nd vsp of R14) 2 + (to lp of R2) 2 +(to 1st vsp of R2) 6 p 2.
R18  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 4 p 6. RW.

Ch 2 + (to p of previous chain) 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2. RW.
R19  3 vsp 3. RW.
Ch 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 3. RW.

R20  3 p 2 p 2.
R21  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 3 + (to vsp of R19) 3 + (to last p of R18) 2 p 2 + (to 1st p 0f R1) 3 vsp 3 p 2.
R22  2 + (to last p of previous ring) 2 p 3. RW.

Shuttle #2 
R23  3 + (to p of previous chain) 12 p 12 p 3. Do not RW.

Shuttle #1
Ch 3 + (to last p of previous R) 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2. RW.
R24  3 + (to 2nd vsp of R21). RW.
Ch 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 p 2 + (to 1st p of the 1st Ch) 2.  Tie off ends at base of first cloverleaf.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nothing New to Report (Tatting-wise, anyway)

I have no tatting to share because I have been very busy - my in-laws are up from Florida for a visit, I started school again, and I bought a new laptop.  My Dell laptop turned 4 years old this month and it was time to lay it to rest.  It has served me well but got quite cranky over the last six months or so and I was trying to decide whether I wanted to just wipe the whole thing by reinstalling Windows again (for the forth time), or go ahead and upgrade.  Plus the battery gave out about a year ago and so it has to be plugged in all the time. Kind of a pain for a laptop.

I shopped around and decided to go with an Acer Aspire.  I had some specific items I was looking for - namely, a keypad as part of the keyboard (for my bookkeeping and accounting), a power plug that doesn't stick out of the laptop by 3 inches (I will never understand why all laptops are not equipped with an elbow power cord.  I killed my previous Dell because the thing stuck out so far it kept getting bumped.  I mean, isn't the point of a laptop it gets moved around a lot and so you don't want things sticking out in all directions??   - but I digress.), and a nice large screen and good sound system because I watch a lot of movies and TV shows on my laptop while I am tatting.  The Acer has Dolby Virtual Surround Sound (really, really nice) and a 17.3" screen.  The Acer had all the things I wanted at a really good price.

So I spent this past week moving things over from my Dell.  I did manage to disable the Acer's DVD player twice, once because I installed a software program that was not compatible with Windows 7, and again when I tried to install my 7-year-old scanner - also not Windows 7 compatible.  Why it chooses to disable the DVD player I have no idea.  With the software glitch I was able to use a system restore point to go back, but the scanner killed the system restore too and I spent three hours surfing the web trying to find a solution that didn't involve resetting the entire computer back to factory standards - after I'd already moved over all of my data - and I finally found it on Microsoft's own website.  I had to go in a edit the registry but it's all working again now and I'm in the market for a new scanner.

I love the laptop so far; Windows 7 of course has given me some trouble but changing operating systems after four years always involves a learning curve.  Once I get a new scanner then I will be back up and running and able to scan some more of my tatting to share.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Not Quite the Way I Planned It.

Some ideas just do not turn out like you envisioned them.  This is one of those projects.  Over the weekend I visited the Eagle's Mere, PA Art and Craft Show to contact a particular artist who's work I was interested in combining with my own.  I'll share more about that in a later blog post when I actually get something put together.  Anyway, I bought a pair of her earrings and since I was planning on using only her handmade beads in my work, thought I might experiment a little with the really cool ear wires the beads were originally attached to.

I got out Jon Yusoff's "Tatting with Rings" to remind myself how to tat onto the wire and away I went.  I had a great time designing these and I love the way they look but unfortunately they are not practical.  In order to get them in your ears you have to be really, really careful that you don't squash the tatting as you manipulate the wire into your earlobe and as you are trying to fasten the ear wire as well (you end up having to hold your fingers right on the tatting itself as you put them on). So, while I don't mind and know how to take the kind of care necessary to wear these and enjoy them, the design won't work  for most customers.  For now, I'll just keep going and do some more designing with rings and wire.  These go in my own jewelry box to enjoy (yay)!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another One Down

I didn't do much blogging these past few weeks as I was finishing up another course in pursuit of my CPA license - Intermediate Accounting I.  Well, today I finally took my final exam.  I'm glad this class is over.  I had a much more difficult time with this course than the three that came before it - did fine on the homework, thought I knew what I was doing and then I'd get to the tests and it would all go downhill.  I still got a A in the class and managed to maintain my 4.0 average - but it was much more of a struggle this time.  Here's hoping Intermediate Accounting II is not quite so hard (along with Business Law II, it starts in a week).

I've had this thread, called "Magnolia", in my stash for a while without using it.  [Yes, I have entirely too much hand-dyed thread.]  This one is from LadyShuttleMaker.  It is a beautiful combination of a light lilac, creamy pale yellow, and ecru. Very subtle and just lovely.  She uses a high quality cotton thread which tats up nicely as well.  The pattern is from Occhi: Schiffchenspitze, a German book which has very clear diagrams and some unusual patterns.

I've wanted to try this pattern for several months and finally found some time.  I mark pages in books with paperclips to remind me to revisit certain patterns when I get a chance.  This is one round of a larger doily in the book.  The most fun was deciding how I wanted to add beads.  You see where the long bugle beads are - that's the kind of thing I find picot gauges to be very handy for.  

You can get the picots to be exactly the right length for these bugle beads so that the beads fit perfectly over the picots with no extra thread sticking out.  So far, I am very pleased with the way this project is going.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I ♥ My Mailman, #4

I thank God for Handy Hands Tatting.  They are one of my favorite suppliers for all things tatting, both shuttle and needle...books, threads, and tools.  Usually when a tatter who meets me at a show asks me where I get my supplies, I send them to Handy Hands.  They cater specifically to tatters, which makes them very valuable and fairly rare - especially with the extensive line of supplies they offer.

DMC has been discontinuing thread colors right and left, especially in tatting thread and Cebelia, which are two of the most common threads I use in my work - they have discontinued most of the colors that are my staple colors.  That's why I am so thankful Handy Hands is around - they have developed their own line of thread, Lizbeth, which comes in lots of sizes and colors, including lovely variegated shades.  My favorites (so far) are a nice deep orange, a lovely silver - seen here:

...and my newest aquisition, Spring Garden.  I played with it for quite a few days this week. I also did some bead weaving to match my heart pattern - little hearts made of beads!  

I have read on other blogs and in forums that some people do not like Lizbeth thread, but I have not had any problems so far.  I like it much better than soft threads like Caron Wildflowers and embroidery floss.  I also like it better than Manuala (too stiff) probably a little better than DMC Cebelia.  I still prefer DMC Cordonnet but of course you are limited to black, white, and ecru unless you find someone hand-dying it.

I also ordered a Japanese book, one of my weaknesses, I confess.  I love foreign books, but I especially love the Japanese books with all their glorious photographs and wonderful diagrammed patterns.  I just drool over the photographs especially - such wonderful staging!  ;-)  This book is called."Tatting Lace" (actually, that's the name of several of my Japanese books, I think) and it contains mainly beaded necklaces.  They are a bit too beaded for my taste, I really prefer that my tatting looks more like tatting than like bead work - that's a personal preference.  There are two lovely scarves which I cannot imagine myself making because they would take forever and be too monotonous - I have difficulty with repeating patterns and pieces that take more than 10 hours.  But the pictures give me different ideas about displaying my work at shows so I did get something out of the purchase.
Thank you, Mr. Mailman (and Handy Hands Tatting)!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday wishes to my twin sons, Ed & Eric - today is their 18th birthday! 

Aren't they handsome?  That's because they look just like their dad. 

I ♥ My Mailman, #3

There was a time when I was very envious of tatters who use post shuttles.  I do my share of lurking around on ebay, in antique stores, tatting supply vendors, and any other place that I might possibly run across nice shuttles. Some of them are really pretty; they come in lots of colors, lovely materials like bone, wood, celluloid, sterling silver. But let's face it - 99% of them are post shuttles.  I have collected quite a few nice decorative shuttles on ebay and elsewhere - but they are all post shuttles.

Here's the dilemma - I don't use post shuttles.  They are nice for collecting but for me they aren't  practical.  They take a long time to wind and you can't change colors easily.  I change colors all the time.  I'd need a million post shuttles with my million different color and size threads in order to work efficiently.  So I only use removable bobbin shuttles.  I have used Boye  metal bobbin shuttles in the past and I like the antique ones.  The new metal ones are complete crap.  But mostly I stick to Aeros.  I like them.  They have a built in crochet hook which I prefer, I can change colors often,  they are easy to acquire and are relative inexpensive.  But let's face it - they are BORING.  Dull gray, plastic, blah.  As a result, I had post-shuttle envy.

But no more.

Thanks to LaCossette on, no more plain gray shuttles - I can have pretty shuttles too!  I have been using mine for almost three weeks now and I LOVE them.  Not only because they are so pretty, but because the little bobbin-winding tail you usually find on an Aero-type shuttle (I never used it anyway and just thought it got in the way) has been removed.  This makes the shuttle smaller and it fits in my hand better.  Another thing I discovered after using these pretty little shuttles for a while is that I prefer the feel of these to the plain gray shuttle.  The decoration causes them to have a bit of a texture to them, and when I pick up a plain Aero shuttle after using one of these, it feels almost slimy it's so slick and smooth.

And - they are decorated differently on each side!

The only problem I have now is I'm having a hard time limiting myself to a reasonable number because they are all so wonderful!  So far I have (from the top going clockwise) "Oriental Jewel", "America", "Paisley", "Daisy", "Summer Meadow", "Black and White", "Regal Blue", and "Dapper".  But let's face it, I mean, how many bobbin shuttles do you really need?  You need a lot of bobbins, yes, but you don't really need that many shuttles.  I just can't seem to help myself, however.  I've had post-shuttle envy for so long I went a little crazy and bought eight right off the bat.  I have been trying to avoid her shop for now but have already hinted to my husband that Christmas is not that far off.

Thanks again, Mr. Mailman (and LaCossette)!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I ♥ My Mailman, #2

There are some tatters I am in absolute awe of, and Yarnplayer is one of them.  Not only does she create the most beautiful hand-dyed threads (of which I have many), but she creates lovely tatted jewelry AND she is a fantastic, and prolific, designer.  So far she has written numerous small patterns and TWO BOOKS!  Where does she find the time? I often wonder.  I have a hard time getting my original patterns written down anywhere, and I can't even imagine the descriptions, and the diagrams, and the tips & techniques, and the pictures (you know the problem I have with pictures) that would be necessary for a book.  

Oh, I imagine myself writing a book.  I have lots of ideas for a book.  Just not a lot of  time. Or motivation. Or a good camera for all those pictures.

Anyway, the second present my wonderful mailman brought me was Yarnplayer's new book "Up and Tat 'Em".  While my favorite pattern is her "Beguile Set," that particular pattern is going to require a little more concentration and time to make.  In fact, I need to obtain some nice rings to use in that pattern first anyway.  So instead, I started out with her "Five Petal Pendant."

 The piece on the right is tatted in a black DMC Cebelia, size 20, with round copper beads.  Can I say I LOVE her technique of adding a bead in the middle of a ring?  The book was worth it for that technique alone!  The piece on the left was tatted with Yarnplayer's own Watermelon Tourmaline thread (still probably my all-time favorite hand-dyed thread color), size 20, with her coordinating plum thread on the outer round.  Olive green Swarovski crystals compliment this thread beautifully.  This pattern was a pleasure to tat and I love the results.  I was having so much fun I decided to try "Belle" as well.

This one is tatted in size 20 olive green DMC Cebelia with navy blue/olive delicas, a Swarovski pearl in the center and crystal at the bottom.  Another lovely pattern with easy to follow instructions, great pictures, and a fabulous result. 

I highly recommend the book "Up and Tat 'Em", as I do all of Yarnplayer's patterns and threads.  Add this book to your tatting library - you will not be disappointed.

Thank you, Mr. Mailman (and Yarnplayer)! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I ♥ My Mailman

Today I start a series on why I love my mailman so much.  He brings me presents!  Over the last two weeks or so I have received some lovely things in the mail, which I will share with you over the next few blog posts.  I'll also share some of my favorite tatting vendors with you - some you are probably already familiar with, but perhaps some new?  And hopefully there are beginner tatters reading this blog who will be introduced to some great resources for all things tatting.

First up is a new vendor to me, Krystledawne.  She and her alter ego, Dr. Vonthreadmore (you can read all about the two of them on her blog), create some lovely hand-dyed threads.  As you may know, I am a hand-dyed thread addict.  I have more hand-dyed thread than one person should really be allowed, but when I saw her "Vineyard at Dusk" - well,  I just had to have some.  It is a wonderful combination of earthy tones and a lovely vibrant purple.  

I went looking for a pattern that would look like clusters of grapes to use with the thread and came across this pattern online, designed by Sparrow Kelley, called "Midnight Violets".  I thought it was a perfect fit for this thread, and the bracelet below is the result of the two in combination.

I made earrings to match, based on my long elegant earring pattern but adapted slightly to better match "Midnight Violets."

So, if you have a chance, visit Krystledawne in her etsy shop.  She is a little short on thread at the moment as she is also busy creating her tatted jewelry, but I know I will be keeping my watchful eye peeled for more of her beautiful thread creations.

Thanks, Mr. Mailman (and Krystledawne)!

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Pattern Available

I've managed to get another of my patterns written up and it's available for sale in my etsy shop.  This one teaches you how to do what I call "sewing" on a bead cluster with a focal bead (the sewing is done as you are making the lace with the tatting thread itself, so the bead work is still incorporated right into the lace).  It's one of my favorite ways to add beads, and while it is easier to do on small pieces, I will do it even when I've got a lot of thread to pull through the beads, because I really like the results.

I call this pattern "Flora" because it reminds me of a little flower. 

<-----------Look at this picture!  Another failed attempt at staging!  Why is it so yellow? you may ask.  Well, I told you I just can't seem to get the lighting right.  

Here's another example (below) of "sewing" on beads, but in the middle of a necklace.  As I mentioned, this method of beading on tatting can give you problems if your thread is really long, but the effect is well worth it, in my opinion.  A little bit of patience and steady hands will go a long way.

Anyway, if you're interested, pop on over to etsy and have a look.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why Must It Be So Difficult?

I am crazy for tatting, I love designing jewelry, and I the more I learn, the more I adore bead weaving - but I can't take good pictures of my work to save my life.  It's not just the taking of the pictures which I am bad at....I mean, they are really bad - blurry, too dark or too bright, not centered correctly, coloring is way off - you get the idea.  But I have serious problems with the staging of the item I'm trying to take a picture of.  By staging I mean creating a mood for a piece with props and lighting.  I have no eye or creative imagination whatsoever when it comes to that sort of thing.  Some people just seem to do that naturally - take a gander over at and you'll see what I mean - the front page is a plethora of staging at its finest.  

I've always had a problem with my display for art/craft shows as well...the other artists around me have displays that look like they belong in a museum and me...well, my display  just looks like it belongs in a flea market.  Sigh. 

I had a friend come over recently and take some pictures with his camera to see if maybe it was just my camera that was the problem - yeah, right - but these were the only two pictures  (and we took A LOT of pictures) that came out even halfway decent, and in the first one I just noticed that one of the earrings is flipped backwards on the ear wire, and of course it bugs me that the ear wires are not straight either.

As in most of my previous posts, I guess I will just continue to scan things on nice paper backgrounds.  At least that way they are clear and show the work well, even if I haven't managed to set any kind of a mood in which my work can really shine.

Thanks, by the way,  to all those who welcomed me back to blog-land - I'm glad to see there are some people who hung around! 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Well, hello!

It's been a long, long time since I posted - look at that last post - January!  Dear me. I'm fortunate to still have followers, I think.  Thanks for sticking with me, inconsistent as I am.  School, family, work, and life in general all conspire against poor ole Blogger. 

Although I am a busy person I still always find time for tatting.  Also, learning new bead-weaving techniques is one of my favorite things to do nowadays.  Here's a recent piece that combines both techniques.

Beaded leaves compliment this vintage pattern from "Lily Doilies & Edgings to Tat & Crochet" in Yarnplayer's gorgeous "Roses" thread. A picture of the entire necklace will reveal a problem however.

I've been wearing it myself (rather than offering it for sale) once I realized the mistake.  I will get around to fixing that wayward upside-down bead one of these days.  I do plan on remaking the necklace for sale and keeping this one, however, because while wearing it I fell in love with it.

In other news, the "Garden Afternoon" piece finally sold at my latest show - it looked so good on the lady who bought it that while I was a bit sad to see it go, I was comforted by the fact that it found a great home.  In my mind a piece is never really "finished" until you get to see someone wearing it.  All the work and time and creative energy and love you put into it is then - somehow - complete.

That's all for now, but hopefully I'll be a little more active in the days and weeks to come.  Thanks again for hanging around!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Picot Gauges

Does anyone else out there use picot gauges?  I've always wondered how important even picots are to people.  Now, let me say that I think that the best way to get even picots is practice, practice, practice!  I don't use picot gauges when doing regular tatting - I think they are way too time consuming and I've been tatting long enough that my picots are pretty even anyway.

But when beading, or doing a pattern where different sized, graduated, or larger picots are part of the overall design, I find picot gauges very helpful.  I created this little set out of heavy card stock and since I do a lot of bead work in my tatting and often use decorative picots in my work, I use mine all the time.

They sit with my shuttles, teeny-tiny crochet hooks and collapsible eye needles as one of my "essential" tools.  I have made a few of them to offer in my etsy shop, if anyone else is interested.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Missing Mary Konior

Is it possible to miss someone you've never actually met?  Somehow I think of people out there in tatting land as my friends even if we've never spoken.  After all, we do have something pretty substantial in common - we love tatting!  Designers are especially near and dear to my heart - so many talented people out there, and I feel like I know them through their methods, particular style and ways of designing tatting.

One of my favorites has always been Mary Konior, and so when I heard of her passing, I just had to pull out her books and peruse the loveliness within (they are quite well worn as I have perused them often in the past - but it had been a while).  Her designs are so neat, so symmetrical,  and very unique as well.  She had a very specific style, and I think it's easy to pick her designs out of a crowd.

Even though I never met her, I feel very strongly the tatting world lost a very special lady.  I am so thankful she left behind a legacy of her lovely designs for us to remember her by.