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)!