Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sea Shell Pattern available on my web site

I noticed on Facebook that people were looking for the pattern for the Sea Shell I designed in 2008.

I wanted a recognizable sea shell and doodled around until I found a suitable design. In one rendition I was doing joins in between doublestitches because the rings had to be so tiny. Itsy bitsy rings and some really fiddly work, but it looks like a shell and it still holds it's concave shape although you could block the life out of it to make it lie flat. It's designed to cup just a tiny bit. Anyway, when I saw folks wanted it, I posted it to my web site. It's on my web site now at http://www.rsbriggs.com/ in the Free Patterns at the bottom of the page.

Note: Click on the Legend link on the right for an explanation of the icons used in the pattern.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Web site update with free patterns

We have just made a change to our web host and it was time to update the web site. The demos are still there but everything else will eventually get changed out. One major change is that the free patterns on my blog have been brought into the web site so they are all easy to find on a single page. Some of the images are huge, but that was to ensure that the numbers on the diagrams are readable.

The web site is available from www.tattedlace.com or from our main site at www.rsbriggs.com/slb


More will be added as time permits.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tatting? What's that?

As you can see by the sad dearth of tatting content, or any content for that matter, I have been busy with other things. Not necessarily fun things either.

We have decided we'd like to move. Well we decided years ago that we wanted to move, but we haven't found a place to move to yet. Luke 6:38  says Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. We  have hit the running over point. With all of his great organizational skills my dearest has run out of places to put things and the only solution seems to be a double car garage. Unfortunately, the budget doesn't allow for such a thing in our current location and to improve the sale value of the house we have been working on some over due maintenance and upgrades.

Each little job we did created several other jobs in an ever expanding cycle. Some time ago we had a leak in the bathroom upstairs the made it's way down to the kitchen on the main floor. This required fixing the leak re-caulking the bathtub and repairing the damaged floor. When we came to re-tiling the floor we needed to put down new sub flooring first. Then we discovered that the flooring didn't extend all the way under the vanity, so we had to build up the existing floor to a consistent height before laying down new sub flooring which raised up the floor one quarter inch. Of course the sub flooring meant that the toilet was no longer flush with the flange and a new flange gasket was installed to compensate. Once that was done the tile was laid, the room was painted and we could move on, except of course that the door had to be cut shorter.

Next we tackled the kitchen where the leak had resulted in several water stains on the ceiling and a soft spot where the drywall has disintegrated. A spot that looked about 3 inches across resulted in a square foot hole needing to be cut in the ceiling to bring it back to solid drywall. My amazing hubby cut a very precise drywall patch that was so tight, not even a razor blade would fit between the original ceiling and the patch. Then it was taped plastered and sanded, and sanded, and sanded. Sanding something over your head is a lot of hard work, not to mention dirty and dusty, and it's even worse when you're dizzy all the time like my sweetheart, so it was a job we took turns at. When we got that sorted out we painted the whole kitchen, but of course we had to remove the wall paper border first. Just one more little job.

Then in a fit of enthusiasm I decided to strip the wallpaper off the master bedroom which took about a week of soaking and scraping. The mirror tile came off easier, but left behind a glue-y mess and missing chunks of drywall that required giving the whole wall a skim coat of plaster that needed to be sanded and sanded and sanded ... and you get the idea. Eventually it got down to bare walls that were painted and we took a breather.

That was when we noticed the new tile in the bathroom was lifted up and thinking that we had set the tile incorrectly, we carefully pried up a corner added more adhesive and some heavy weights and hoped it would hold.

A week later we noticed water coming up between the tiles. This is NOT a good thing. After kicking around several options we lifted off the toilet, pulled the vanity back out and pulled up all the tiles where the water was coming out. It turns out the we didn't need the extender that we used under the toilet. It had raised the toilet up too high and water was leaking out between the flange and the gasket. Of course soaking the sub flooring made the plywood separate so the sub flooring had to be replaced and of course so did the tile. Which kind of put us back where we started when the whole "fix up the house" project began. Only worse, because we had to clean off all the old stuff first and just to add a little more challenge the plastic nuts that hold the taps onto the vanity cracked off. The taps were new this summer and both of the nuts broke at the same time. What are the chances?

We THINK this time we have it fixed properly, but we noticed a water stain on the ceiling in the garage which is below and to the side of the wall where the bathroom is...

I haven't done much tatting. I haven't had much time. And when I've had time my hands have been swollen, my wrist have been sore and my thumbs have hurt from scraping and sanding and painting. Then the other day when my hands had just about gotten to where I could tat again I was trying to rub a tea stain out of the dish cloth after washing dishes in very hot water and I rubbed all the skin off my knuckles.

For the entire Christmas season I tatted 2 snowflakes, one which I gave away before taking it's picture and the other I noticed a mistake in right after I hid the ends. So, there's no tatting here and it doesn't look like there will be any, any time soon.

I think I'll just go curl up with a good book, it's easier on my hands.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Look at all the threads to play with

I recently received a wonderful package from Terry Wynn. No. Seriously. A really, really wonderful package. Terry has found that she can't use the really fine threads now and she decided they should go to a good home.

See this glorious palette? There are over 75 balls and partial balls of vintage threads. In addition to the typical vintage J.P.Coats, Coats and Clark, Lily, and Star Tatting cotton, there are brands like Bucilla and Collingbournes "Texazilk". The last couple are names I have seen in ads, but not in thread before this. All of these vintage threads are size 70, 80 or just labelled tatting thread.

There was also a ball of Lizbeth size 80. One thing I noticed, is that the vintage threads came mostly in spools of 60-75 yards, but the newer Lizbeth is 185 yards. I like larger spools of thread for when you're planning on making a nice wide edging for a hanky or a delicate doily in fine thread. Running out of thread for a project is not something that makes me happy. I know from experience, that a wide hanky edging will use up the greater part of one of these small balls of thread. Partial balls mean that you have to play mix and match with the colours to make sure that you have enough thread.

You'll also notice that Terry included a couple of lovely shuttles with the package. The one with the stripe is a wooden shuttle and the cream coloured one is a bone shuttle. I haven't had a chance to try out either of them yet. I feel so blessed to have received these treasures and I'm already into making the thread into lace.

What I did first was grab a couple of the balls of thread and make this bookmark as a thank you for Terry. I think it turned out rather well. The whole thing was done with one variegated thread in mauve/white/green and one solid thread in mauve. It's worked all in one pass, right down to the tassel. I got to the end of the bookmark, tied a knot, then did a crochet chain to the end. The left over thread on the shuttles was used to make the tassel, so there were no ends to hide. I used my, "adding in new thread" technique to both hide and secure the starting ends, so all I had to do was snip them off when it was done.

Making the first one was so much fun. I did another one as a birthday gift for my sister. For that one I use a solid deep blue with a variegated blue/white/yellow.

Now that it's done I've selected a yellow, orange and a variegated yellow/orange for the next bookmark. These are all partial balls and I figured it would be good to use up the littler bits first.
I have the other batches of thread kept separately. I know some of them have labels that say they are the same brand, same colour, and same dye lot... but they aren't. See the 4 balls of burgundy thread in a column in the lower middle? They are all labelled Star Tatting Crochet, they all say ART. 25 and SHADE 130, but you can see in the picture that the bottom 2 are lighter than the top 2. I figured that since all of these threads came from different sources, there was a better chance that 2 pinks or 2 greens from the same source would actually BE the same colour.

That was a good idea in theory, but I know from playing mix and match holding one colour against another, that I've already put the odd ball in the wrong box. My solution for this problem? TAT FASTER!!! LOL

Saturday, March 29, 2014

New bookmark

The other day hubby was reminded of the bookmark I'd made for him and wondered what had happened to it. That bookmark was made in a 3 strand Opera thread size 20, which is soft enough that it's OK for a regular book, but too thick for the typical onion skin pages of a Bible. So I made him another one is size 80 thread.

I looked through my stash and noticed that most of the colours are pastel and not very masculine. The best I could do was a solid black with a variegated black/white. I had in mind a centre row of 4 ring motifs to form a column of diamonds in a solid colour with an outer row to finish it. The black, black/white combo was too somber, so I went with a centre row in white.

I entertained lots of possibilities for the outer row, but in the end settled on an understated row of black rings and a variegated black/white chain.

I finished it off with a lock chain in the variegated thread with a couple of diamonds and a tassel that used up the unfinished bits of thread on the shuttles.

Hubby seems happy with it and doesn't seem to mind the lack of any eye popping colour. If I'd had a bright robin's egg blue (his favourite colour is blue) I'd have used that in the middle, but the washed out pale blues I have just didn't have enough punch.

Edited to add:
Here's the pattern for anyone interested. I haven't proofread it, but the rings are all 5-5-5-5 and the short chains are 3-3-3-3, the long ones are 3-3-3-3-3-3. Let me know if you find any errors and I'll fix it.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Variegated thread edging

or Pink hanky, part 2. You may have noticed a duplicate posting about the trials and tribulations of tatting with variegated thread. That's what happens when hubby is trying to hustle me out to the store and I don't pay attention to what I'm doing. What I meant to post was this part about the finished hanky.

When I finished the first row and started the next round I used up that left over bit that had been wound around the ball and of course when it ran out I had to join in new thread, but fortunately the splice happened in the long pink section.

One thing I wasn't thrilled with was that in the section where the green pooled and I had green on top and bottom, it pooled again on the second row. There's not too much that can be done about it except maybe ripping it out and starting again. Thankfully, I missed out on the perfectionist gene and I'm OK with letting it sit.

All of the angst over how to handle the corner turned out to be a non-issue. I just repeated the same thing on the second row and it worked perfectly. I had started the second row at the green bit and when I came around to join into it, I just happened to hit another green bit, so there wasn't any need to adjust it at all.

I was also pleased with how the thread colour complimented the pink embroidered flowers. So I guess it was a success after all. I have a few more hankies to add edgings to, but right now I'm working on a bookmark which should be finished today or tomorrow.
Edited to add: One other thing I thought I'd mention, The 2 rows of edging took almost an entire ball of size 80 thread. I have a full ball of the same thread and the ball that I used looked to be the same size. I was down to the cardboard core when I finished. There's enough left to make a bookmark or something, but that's about it.  

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Are you a shuttle hoarder?

I noticed a thread on InTatters in regard to shuttles. Some people have a lot of them. Some people start out with a couple and then they seem to multiply like rabbits. Some people have hundreds of shuttles. There are times when you are making a project that you need pairs of shuttles for working different parts of a design so it's not that difficult for a serious tatter to require 6 or 8 shuttles.

I can see, when you are learning to tat that you need to try out different types of shuttles. You might love large shuttles, or you might have small hands that need a smaller shuttle. You might try out a post shuttle without a hook and then find that working with an attached hook is easier. Or you might use a shuttle with a hook and find that it gets caught in every stitch. So you try out a few varieties to see what you like.

If you fall in love with post style shuttles you will inevitably acquire a few more since pairs of them will be attached to projects and half full shuttles will require emptying. Bobbin style shuttle are emptied by popping them out and letting the thread unwind so fewer shuttles are required.

Some connoisseurs will want to have one of every kind, just because they are collectors. They will haunt antique stores and flea markets looking for that unique shuttle to round out their display.

Then there are the hoarders. They can't pass a rack of shuttles without buying one. Or 10. If there are shuttles available online, they need one in every colour. Decorated shuttles are bought for every occasion, in fact occasions are invented for excuses to buy more. There are shuttles all over the house. There are some by the comfy tatting chair and a few on the computer desk. Every craft bag a purse has some stuffed in it. There are some stuffed down behind the cushions and peeking out under pillows. There are boxes stuffed in cupboards full of them. Some are hiding out in drawers, some dangle by a thread from pockets. The cat chases others under the sofa, and the dog has left teeth marks in one or two. The hoarders never saw a shuttle they didn't like.

Better watch out, there might be a hoarder near you. Maybe it's time to go count your shuttles.