Sunday, December 30, 2007
It's about as simple a shuttle design as you can get and that's great because it's the kind of thing you can make quickly out of a business card. Or if you are teaching someone and you just need a short length of thread you can use the plastic tab off of a loaf of bread.
Flat shuttles are great for projects that take an enormous amount of thread or projects using huge quantities of beads. Their one big drawback is that the thread is on the outside of the shuttle and that means that it can easily get dirty.
Post shuttles are oval with a clam shape where the top and bottom sections called blades come to a rounded point at the front and back and the points of the blades touch at the tips. They may have a narrow point or pick or flat hook at the front used for joining. The thread is wound through the tips and around the post in the middle that holds the 2 blades together.
In switching from tatting rings to tatting chains you often have to shorten your thread which means re winding and when you switch back you need to unwind more thread. When working with beads the beads need to be added onto the shuttle by walking the shuttle over the thread and spacing the beads out along the length of the thread. Sometimes when you are tatting the thread instead of sliding over or under the shuttle, will slip through the tips of the blades.
Post shuttles can be made in a wide variety of materials and designs and can be very decorative making them a wonderful collector's item.
Bobbin shuttles have the same general shape as a post shuttle, but instead of a post they have a bobbin and the tips are closed in. The bobbin, in most cases, is removed for winding and depending on the type of bobbin and the type of sewing machine you have, they can often be wound on the sewing machine.
When you are tatting with a bobbin shuttle you can shorten the thread length by turning the shuttle sideways and rolling the bobbin with your thumb. Lengthening the thread is as easy as pulling on the shuttle until the desired length is reached. Beads can be added all at once as they will easily roll around the bobbin.
One of the great advantages to a bobbin shuttle is that additional bobbins can be purchased. With a post shuttle the only way to use the shuttle on another project is to finish the project of cut the thread off. With a bobbin shuttle you can change thread or change projects just by popping in a new bobbin. I always start my thread by using a slip knot around the flat shuttle post or bobbin so nothing comes loose until I want it to. Once you are finished with a project, pop out the bobbin hold the thread and let the bobbin drop. Then either throw away the scrap of thread left on the bobbin or rewind it onto the ball of thread. (Wind the thread around the ball and hold it in place by tightening the slip knot around the ball. That way it keeps the thread on the ball, and you always know the starting bit is a short end.) There's no need to waste precious tatting time doing little projects to use up the thread left on the shuttle as with the post shuttles.
I began tatting with an icky metal Boye bobbin shuttle, but it was all I had, so I used it. Then I bought my first English Aero shuttle and I was spoiled forever. A few years ago (when I was young and foolish), I would have said that anyone who doesn't like using an Aero shuttle is nuts. I have since learned that some people really struggle with the attached hook and some people find the 3 inch length from hook to end is just too long, but I have long fingers and I adore having an attached hook.
How do I love thee Aero, let me count the ways. I love the weight or rather the lack of weight. One of the irritations of using a heavy metal shuttle is that I find the weight of the shuttle will unflip the stitches and create knots when I drop the first shuttle to pick up the second shuttle. I also find that the metal shuttles can make the thread black if it gets caught between the bobbin and the shuttle. Constant use causes the bobbin to grind against the inside body of the shuttle creating powdered metal. Every time a thread gets caught between them the black metal filings come off on the thread. It usually washes out, but it's an aggravation I'll gladly do without.
I love that the Aeros have a knurled bump at the back that holds the bobbin for easy winding. The old Boye shuttles had a narrow stem at the end that the bobbins also fit over for winding, but the newer metal shuttles made by Susan Bates have a stem that is too wide to fit in the hole of the bobbin.
I love that the Aeros have an attached hook at the front that makes doing joins quick and easy. I don't have to look around for a crochet hook or keep trying to poke the thread through a picot with a point of pick. Each time I need to make a join I just grab a loop and continue pushing the whole shuttle through. Quick, neat and easy.
I love that the Aeros are made of a shiny slick plastic that the thread just glides over and that the shoulders around the hook are smooth and tapered. Everything about the Aeros makes for ease of use and fast tatting. With a craft that is anything but fast, every little bit of speed helps.
In recent years the manufacture of the Aero shuttles moved from England to Germany. The molds used to create the original English Aeros were destroyed and the German made Aeros aren't as good. The dimensions are the same and it retains the knurled knob at the back which holds the bobbin, but there are changes. The plastic isn't a smooth and it has more of a matte finish that does polish up after a lot of use. The bobbins aren't held in quite as snugly on the German shuttles and the shoulders around the hook are often cut off sharply so that the thread catches on it momentarily when in use. People purchasing the newer Aeros now made by Prym in Germany under the name Inox often wonder why older tatters rave about Aero shuttles. The newer shuttles just aren't as good as the old English made Aeros.
Even more recently other companies have created similar shuttles. In the picture above the original English Aero is on the right and beside it is the German Aero. Next to the German Aero is the white shuttle produced by Susan Bates and it is far inferior. To begin with the knob on the end is rounded and too large to hold the bobbin for winding. They might as well have produced a shuttle without the knob. The shoulders around the hook are like the German Aero, cut off sharply so that the thread doesn't glide smoothly over it. The bobbins either hardly move at all when the shuttle is new and it is hard to pry the bobbin out or the bobbins roll around freely. If the bobbin is too tight you can always use a worn out bobbin in it until it gets looser, but there have been reports of inconsistent tension with these shuttles. The finish of the shuttle is more like that of the original English Aeros and the thread does glide nicely over the surface of the shuttle. The bobbins do tend to wear more quickly with these than with the traditional Aero.
Another company that has made an Aero type shuttle is H. A. Kidd and Company under the Unique label. It's the blue shuttle and I bought mine at Zellers.Their shuttle is similar in style to the Susan Bates shuttle with the useless rounded knob on the back. The shuttle material is similar to that of the German Aero and it comes packaged with one extra bobbin. The unit I purchased did not seem impossibly stiff when I bought it as did the Susan Bates model, but it was a little bit stiff. All in all though it's not a bad little shuttle and I'd rate it as on par with the German Aero except of the useless winding knob.
Coats produces a similar shuttle under the Red Heart label (it's the red shuttle) and it's available in most WalMart stores, but it doesn't come with an extra bobbin. The winding knob on this one is as useless as the Susan Bates or Unique shuttles. The shuttle material is thicker, not as elastic and has a rougher surface than the other shuttles and the shoulders around the hook are cut off sharply and quite rough. It's a cheap and use able shuttle but certainly not the delight to use that the English Aero is.
I like all of these shuttles and I'd prefer to have several of these than to spend my money of more glitzy shuttles. I can use them, break them, give them away or lose them and it isn't going to cost me an arm and a leg to replace them. I take very good care of my Aero shuttles and when 2 of them got broken in the same week (I'd been using the same pair of shuttles for about 15 years non stop, so it was just weakness from excessive use), hubby filled in the end where it had broken with hot glue to brace it and I kept on using them.
I love the looks of the wonderful unique post shuttles, but when it comes to tatting, give me my Aeros.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I did 8 of the snowflakes in size 30 to go out to the family in their Christmas cards and my honey was in such a hurry to get the mail out I didn't have time for any more. I'm not crazy about the design, but there was this whole time warp thing, where my belief that I would be able to tat miles of lace in a day, smacked up against reality. I had actually planned on tatting angels for this year's cards but then there was, you know, this time warp thing. Maybe in the lull between Christmas and New Years this year I can tat some angels for next year and be ahead of the game. Just once when hubby starts doing the Christmas cards I'd like to hand him an abundance of tatted pieces ready to be tucked inside.
This design only took about 2 hours each and between shifting from room to room as different tests were done and walking around window shopping and having lunch during the mid day 4 hour break, I don't think I did too bad at managing 3 of them. I want to give these larger snowflakes to the neighbours and I'm having a hard time balancing between not leaving anyone out and possibly feeling offended and giving them to people who will think nothing more of them than a paper cut out snowflake. I always seem to end up the season thinking I wish I had a few more to give away. I've done 10 snowflakes now and I think I'll deliver these and then think about who I've missed...Maybe I should do a couple extras just in case...
Monday, December 17, 2007
Then I did up a quick drawing to experiment with making a tatted angel. I didn't want wings that went straight out so I tried for a more uplifted version.
It looks OK but the bottom is too straight and although it can all be done in one piece from beginning to end I thought I'd try another variation. The first inner bit with the large rings was too small so I added another row and zigzagged back with a second row. At that point I ran out of thread on the shuttle and got side tracked from what I had originally intended. Usually if I'm tatting something for the newsletter and it isn't quite right I already have an idea of what I want to do to fix it. I just re-load the shuttles and start again, maybe from a different point or with a different technique. I set this one aside thinking it was done except for the bit I had to finish where I ran out of thread.
Whatever I was thinking of, when I went back to finish it off for the newsletter, I realized that there was no way this design could be worked in one pass. Sometimes a project just has to be done in pieces and I can deal with that, but I don't like designs that could be worked in one go if they were designed better. I tatted a bootie pattern once that had 5 or six little pieces and it drove me nuts so I really try to avoid piecemeal designs if I can. So for this angel I had to start over.
Here's the new version that's tatted all in one piece. The wings look more like wings ad less like arms. The skirt isn't a straight line across the bottom and the use of smaller rings gives it more all over shape.
One of the other things I wanted to try was making a beaded ball. I wanted some droopy bits along the bottom and some different sizes of beads for some texture. When I went through my stash of materials the only kind of bead I had with a hole at one end that would let it hang was an iridescent blue/purple/black bead that had matching seed beads. Not exactly my first choice, but then a friend of mine told me that black was the "in" Christmas colour this year and she's done her whole tree in black and gold. So I thought why not and started tatting my beaded ball. The first couple of rows went quickly but then I had to stop and think of a beading arrangement that would accent what I had already done and use the beads I had on hand. Several attempts were discarded because they called for more beads that I had and since I couldn't remember where I had picked up the iridescent beads I had some additional limitations to deal with.
I put the beaded ball aside to handle some more pressing issues and when I can back to it I decided to go with something simple. Some heavily beaded double picots finished this one off nicely. The colour of the beads just doesn't show up in the pictures and after several tries with different background colours, I just gave up trying to get a good image.
The piece that I'm really excited about is this one. I tried to tat it a couple of different ways, before I hit on this design, but I'm tickled pink with the results. Tatted Ice Skates. Aren't they adorable? My physiotherapist asked if I made them for sale. Her daughter has taken up skating and I think she'd love to have the skates for her. My initial reaction was "no way" but since I had to sit down and tat another skate to make sure I had the instructions right, I just might do her a pair. It's one of those things where you have to do it in pieces because you need 2 of them.
By the way, for anyone who doesn't already subscribe to the newsletter, it's published quarterly and has 4-5 designs in each issue. Usually there is one larger item and several smaller items although sometimes there are just a bunch of medium size projects like this one. The newsletter is published in PDF format and is sent out by email. The cost is $21 Canadian and can be purchased through PayPal. That means that you can order it and have it in time for Christmas even if you order it on Christmas day. Here's the link to the order form if you want it. And here is the link to the main page
Now that all this is done I can get back to other things like updating the 25 Motif Challenge. I know there is a lot of tatting going on that I haven't blogged about, but I have been busy.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Mary want me to show her how to tat and as we all know, co-ordinating both hands in unfamiliar positions is challenging at first. In between the changing positions for that camera and pausing while Dusty, the macaw voiced her opinion, I botched up the explanation of how to tat. So instead of things being concise and coherent, it was more of "put this thingamajig through that spot there and pull that thread over here".
Congratulations Mary, you did it! I'm so sorry I made you cry.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Colour me, one happy camper.
I think when the show airs you'll be able to click on the links for current shows or archive of segments to see it online.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I don't have time to be sick, I have to clean the house, buy a new wardrobe and tat lots of fantastic things that will make lots of people want to learn how to tat and I have to do it all in 6 days. Piece of cake, right?
There's no point in panicing so I may as well just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
In September of 2006 he started going into a period of time where almost every other day he experienced at least some of the Meniere's symptoms, then in November 2006 when he was scheduled to see the specialist, it more or less cleared up. They tested his hearing and reported that his speech recognition was gone in the one ear and his hearing was down to about 50%. He can tell by the sounds he can and can't hear, what his level of hearing is at even before the tests are done, so that was no surprise. Other than that, he was fine -translate that as functional- from then until May 2007 when he started having repeated "drop attacks".
Drop attacks are what they call it when you are fine, and one second later you fall to the floor dizzy. I guess that's why they call them drop attacks. You don't want to be driving a car and have a drop attack. From May through to mid October he experienced 2-3 drop attacks each day. The attacks are so distressing that once he lays down, to keep from falling down, the stress is so great that once the attack is over he just falls into a deep sleep. It's just plain exhausting.
In mid October his hearing suddenly came back nearly to normal and the dizziness and drop attacks stopped. Praise God!
A few days later he noticed while eating supper that his lips were numb. A little while later the inside of his cheek went numb too. It was right before the weekend and there was a lot going on so we put off going to see the doctor for a couple of weeks. The numbness didn't progress any further, his speech wasn't slurred and his mental faculties all seemed normal. He had felt a bit like he was coming down with a cold so we figures it was viral and didn't worry about it.
The second he got in to see the doctor he was immediately referred to a neurologist and sent for tests. They seem to think he's maybe had a mini stroke. Everything's back to normal and the numbness has gone, but they've already scheduled him for a bunch of tests.
His Mom went into the hospital and no one in the family thought it important enough to give him a call. Just because he lives 300 kilometers away is no reason to assume that he doesn't care. He tried to reach her for 3 days at the retirement home and finally called the front desk. His sister works at the retirement home and they insisted that he should call his sister rather than just saying your Mom is in the hospital. GRRRRRR!
After a whole bunch of phone calls wherein every family member gave a different story, he finally called the hospital and talked to the nurse to find out what was going on. She was sick. they thought it was high blood pressure but her heart and lungs are fine. She had a bladder infection and they gave her an antibiotic (which caused her to hallucinate, but that's a whole other story). While she was in the hospital the kids sold her house and gave away all her treasures. She's too frail at 96 to go back into the retirement home that she had only been in for a couple of months and the family is going to put her in a nursing home. They don't know which one and it's doubtful if any of them will remember to call my husband and tell him where they have put his Mom when she does get out of the hospital.
Yesterday, just before we made the trek to the hospital for one of the many tests my sweetie has to have, I received I foot thick stack of paper from the lawyer in regard to the car accident 2 years ago. Pages and pages of stuff to review and information to dig out and commit to memory so that I can spout back the details when requested. Doesn't that sound like FUN?
And now onto some good news. I got an email the other day from CBC TV - that would be the Canadian national station sort of like the BBC is in Britain. The do a show called Living in Toronto and they thought it might be interesting to do a bit on - are you ready for this? - TATTING.
I answered their questions to the best of my ability, but one of the things they asked about was courses available in Toronto. Now there may be places in Toronto offering tatting courses, I used to teach tatting in our local Michaels store, but they weren't well attended and the store doesn't really carry proper tatting supplies and it just wasn't a great fit. Toronto is a big city and I am sure that there are tatting classes going on in various places that I don't know about, but I suppose that as tatters go I am as well plugged into the tatting community as anyone and I didn't know about them.
I'd like to teach tatting, but I'd like it to be a regular thing at a regular time that people know is available all the time. I can and do teach from my home, but people that you meet casually, in the doctor's office, in the line ups at banks, cash registers or walking down the street, don't know me and for all they know I might be an axe murderer. Let me assure you that I'm not, in fact an axe murderer, but would anyone believe me? I mean it's not that I look frightening or anything but then neither did Ted Bundy... Anyway, back to tatting. Folks feel better about going for lessons in a public place because it just seems safer.
The local library does apparently have conference rooms that one can rent by the hour. I'd need at least 2 hours at a time and I generally like to do 4 weeks of classes that works out to 8 hours at about $25 an hour. I'd hate to book 8 hours and have no one show up. My local corner of the world which is like a suburb of Toronto used to have yarn stores and fabric stores and craft stores where tatting classes would be a natural fit, but most of them have been put out of business by WalMart so I was wracking my brain cells, all 2 of them, trying to think of what I could do.
Being a resourceful person, I wrote to my City Yahoo group, (yes we have one to discuss things like keeping the city green and reducing landfill and other good stuff) I explained my situation and asked if anyone had any ideas. Laurie the owner of the Pottery Painting Place our local ceramics store did. They have a party room that they use on weekends but the rest of the time it's empty. She asked if I was interested. Do dogs bark? Of course I'm interested!!!!!!
Tomorrow I go to meet Laurie for a face to face and sign a contract. Although she didn't request any payment, the person who used the space previously gave her $2.00 for each student that turned up, which I think is more than reasonable. I have commercial space near to my home that I can get to easily where I can teach on a regular basis any time Monday to Friday. How awesome is that? I'm absolutely thrilled.
Now how do I go about getting students? I'm figuring a newspaper advertisement might help but 1 ad for 1 day in a local paper might not reach many people. We get the paper 4 times a week here in outer suburbia. It's delivered free and half the folks don't even read it, preferring instead one of the large Toronto papers.
I'm sure there is a creative (translation, free) method of advertising. I'm thinking that if I can do this swiftly, and have a class up and running next week (Yikes!) that I could go back to CBC TV and tell them that Yes there is a tatting course available in Toronto. That would get me city wide television advertising which would make tatting very visible, very fast. Can it be done?
Friday, October 26, 2007
First of all, click on the Basic heading to access your basic settings.
Scroll down until you get to Global Settings and make sure the compose mode is set for Yes so that you get the wysiwyg editor. Hey, I'm not a computer geek, so I want things real simple.
When you create a new post there will be a bunch of little icons along the top. The one that is circled in the picture above is the icon to click on to set a hyperlink. If you want a particular word or phrase to be click able, first highlight the word or phrase. Then click on the hyperlink icon.
That brings up the hyperlink window set to Type http:, and you can click on the little arrow to change it to an email link.
Enter the URL you want to link to. URLs always start http:// so make sure you copy the full link information from the address bar of your browser, or if it's one of your Favourites copy the address from the properties of the link. You are less likely to make mistakes if you copy and paste the URL than if you type it out. Paste the URL in the space provided. The example above shows the link for Jane Eborall's blog. Then click on the OK button and the text (remember the text you highlighted?) will now have a line under it showing that it's a link.
Note: If you are using the link from your Favourites, find the favourite and right click on it. That will open a menu with a lot of stuff in it. Go down to the entry that says Properties and click on it. That will open the Properties dialog and the URL is in the middle of it. Highlight the URL, right click and select COPY from the pop up menu.
If you want the link to really stand out you can also colour the text. Just highlight the text again and then click on the little colour box icon. It's the one to the left of the hyperlink icon. It will open up a menu with a lot of coloured squares. Click on the colour you want and now you hyperlink is a different colour from all of your other text.
To add links in the side bar begin by clicking on Template.
Which will display this screen
Select Add a Page Element which will bring up a menu page of items you can add to your blog. Select Links List by clicking on the button ADD TO BLOG.
This will give you another option in your Template called Links. Click on Edit.
Which will display a screen like this one where you can add, edit and delete links to be shown in your sidebar. Click on Add Link.
Enter in the URL that you want to add and a name that you want to show up in your side bar. In the example above it's Jane Eborall's blog and the name that is to be displayed is Jane.
Once the link is added it shows up on screen with the name you have given the link the words Edit, Delete and an arrow pointing down. Click on Edit if you want to change or modify the link. Click on Delete to remove the link and click on the down arrow to move it down in the links list, or on the up arrow to move it up in the links list. To add another link click on Add Link again and follow the same process.
When you are satisfied that you have everything set up the way you want it, Click on Save Changes. Now when you look at your blog there will be a links list.
Once you have added the LINKS element to your blog you can go in at any time and add to it just by clicking on Edit and entering the new URLs you want to add.
It's as simple as that.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Here are the rules which you must abide by if you are tagged.
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 3 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.
Seven random or weird things, hmmm, let me think. There's nothing weird about me, so it'll have to be random.
1. I've been a Christian for 40 years which is almost the same amount of time I'm know my wonderful hubby.2. I love cheese, I think I'd rather have a big chunk of cheese than a chocolate bar.
3. I'm a tea drinker, skip the booze, just give me a good cup of nice hot tea.
4. My eyes are a beautiful shade of green, but only when I'm really upset and crying, so the beautiful green is off set by a blotchy red face. I'll never make it in the beauty category.
5. I get motion sickness on carnival rides so I avoid them.
6. I tat everywhere, in the bathroom, walking down the street, waiting at the check out, on the bus, train, in the car, in my sleep and I don't think it's even a little bit weird.
7. I love cooking and baking and trying out new recipes and I've often printed off a new recipe from the internet and cooked it for dinner when we're having guests, even if I don't have all the ingredients at hand. (You have to be adventurous about some things.)
So many folks have been tagged now it's hard not to tag someone already tagged, so I tag
Sue because she's gone too long without posting.
Mary who spent so much time hosting the exchanges that she didn't get to enjoy the fun of blogging about what she was doing.
LaRae because like Sue, she hasn't posted for a while.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
When it was all done I, popped it out of the hoop and hand washed it in Ivory soap to get rid of the printer ink and the soiling from working on it, and slapped it down on the ironing board to press it dry. Out of habit from working with lace I sandwiched it between sheets of paper towel and applied the iron. Good thing I did. The lovely vivid turquoise thread bled like mad into the paper towel. I have a perfect imprint of the turquoise section.The butterfly is done, and now that I know that I could create all kinds of unique transfers just by scanning, cutting, pasting and printing, I'd love to embark on making a whole quilt of embroidered pieces. Unfortunately, I also discovered that my hands won't take the hours of stitching the would be required. So I guess I'm not going to get a one of a kind embroidered quilt, but I am going to be able to sleep at night without major pain medication. Just as well really. I don't have enough hours in the day to tat and embroider. I picked up a pair of pillowcases I may do as a gift, but I don't think I'll be doing much more than that. Now I need to think of something to do with an embroidered 8 inch square that has been embroidered in thread which might bleed when it's washed again.
I think I may take all of the suitable transfer images that I found on the internet and put them into a PDF file. At least then if I do decide I want to do another chunk of embroidery, they'll all be in the same place. I can always put the file into the PDFPick software and use the embroidered butterfly as the front cover to remind me of what's in it.
Monday, September 24, 2007
I have lost all of the contact information I had for Sharon or I'd just write and ask her for the details. Her mother didn't have a computer, so all of the contact we had with Sheila was through her daughter.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
There were 2 doilies, a snowflake, 2 pairs of earrings, a heart frame, 2 bookmarks, 3 3D flower designs, a motif turned into a V-neck collar, a chatelaine, an amulet bag, 2 edgings, a necklace, and a snowman family.
I can see my tatting progress each year because it's all recorded in the newsletter. I know how much I tatted, what kinds of things I've made and relatively how long they took. I know that none of them took more than 3 months because every 3 months there's another newsletter. I don't look back over the year and think, "What did I make this year?", I know what I made because it's all recorded in the newsletter. At least, most of it is. I tat more than what is represented here but this is a big chunk of it.
One of the benefits of the 25 Motif Challenge is that it give people an opportunity to keep a record of their own progress. A lot of people when they started out, didn't think that they could tat 25 motives in a year. Maybe for beginners it is a bit of a stretch, but piece by piece your skill and your speed improve and suddenly you realize that you are doing it, you are accomplishing that impossible goal of 25 Motives.
Over the last 5 years I have designed and executed an average of 19 patterns per Volume. It started out as a black and white publication that was mailed out 4 times a year. Now it is a colour publication emailed out 4 times a year. The subscription price when I started was $20 Canadian and 5 years later it's still $20 Canadian.
If you are interested in ordering the newsletter, or if you are interested in past volumes, click here for the order form. If you want past volumes, please specify. The pictures for the projects in each volume can be seen here.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I had envisioned the floral edging being flat, but a gross mis-calculation resulted in a bzillion more repeats than necessary. However, by the time I had completed about one third of the final row I knew that the only way to fix it was to cut off the last 2 rows and redo the penultimate row with single large outward facing rings to space out the floral repeats in the final row. This realization occurred at the same point at which I knew there were not enough hours in the day to cut off the rows and experiment with an alternate variation and still have it completed in time for her birthday. I tatted on with this gloriously full ruffle and completed it as shown.
Some time later my sister admitted that while she liked the ruffles, the collar was too large for any of the clothes she owned and that she much prefers her dresses and blouses with the neckline - at the neck. Consequently she wondered if the collar could have a piece cut out of it and made smaller so that the neck opening was smaller.
I did mention that there are several rows of mignonette, didn't I? It's really hard to hide short ends in the bare threads of mignonette. I was really loathe to try retro tatting 4 or 5 tiny mignonette rings to give me enough thread to hide ends and I suggested that a better alternative was to add more rows at the neck to decrease the circumference of the opening. It sounded like a good plan at the time and the collar was returned for re-working.
The first problem occurred when I pulled out a ball of thread to start working on it. The thread I had was a different dye lot. I know it's white, but there are shades of white and this collar used a bright white and the ball of remaining thread in my stash was creamy white. The little bit of the bright white thread I had was insufficient to finish the collar so I put the collar aside while I considered what to do.
The second problem was to design some inner rows that would bring the neckline up the required distance. I sat down with the drawing program and sketched out the existing pattern and several variations of inner rows to see what I could come up with....................The third problem was that everything I tried looked awful. A single row of ring and chain large enough to fill the gap was too big and heavy for all the delicate rows of mignonette. It made the lace look clunky instead of light and airy. Two rows of ring and chain either filled in too much of the neckline or not enough. Rows of chains didn't match the design and more elaborate edgings detracted from the elegant and lacy floral edging.
I put it away to think about how to resolve my problems of no thread and no pattern, which, when you think of it, are pretty basic problems. That was in Feb 2006 when I drew out the pattern of the existing collar to put it in the newsletter.
The other day I was rummaging around in one of my storage chests and I found a bag with some tatting bits and a ball of thread. Not just any thread, the thread, the thread that is the exact size and dye lot for the collar. I had put it away for safe keeping, so safe that I couldn't find it. Since none of my drawings had worked I figured I might as well just attach the thread and "wing it".
It worked. The collar now has a smaller inner circumference. There are 2 more rows of mignonette about half the depth of the lower rows and one top row of mignonette/small ring. It's still light and airy, the rows gradually and naturally decrease so that it lays flat and it looks like it was designed that way. I'm quite happy with the results.
All that's left to do is finish up the sides and modify the closure slightly. I still haven't decided whether I should stay with the single closure at the top or use 2. The original, and another at the new top. Either way, the collar is done now, and I can block it and send it back to my sister.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Thankfully the car door didn't do any damage to my hand. Rob's first word after finding out that my hand still moved was to ask if I'd be able to tat. It's good to see we have our priorities straight :-) So I am still tatting. Here's another wee peek at a bit of something going into the newsletter.
I know the picture is blurry, it's from the web cam and I'm too busy to go get the digital camera, but you won't guess what it is anyway.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
The first thread is Flora size 20 and it's a 6 cord thread that's nice and crisp the stitches slide easily and the thread doesn't fall apart if you have to undo and redo sections of your tatting. It isn't as well polished as some 6 cord threads so it has more of a matte finish. This is marginally the largest of the samples.
Monday, July 30, 2007
The headpiece I made for our wedding. Happy Anniversary honey, I love you more and more every year. Thanks for being mine.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
When the needle tatted piece is tatted very tightly on a fine needle, the end results look the same as a shuttle tatted piece which is worked in a somewhat loose manner, so that there is no apparent difference. The process of how the pieces are made is totally different and therefore the finished pieces may look the same, but they aren't usually.
With needle tatting the stitches are formed on a needle, similar to the way you 'cast on' stitches in knitting, doing knit one, purl one and then the threaded needle is pulled through the stitches. The finished lace however is only as fine as the needle you are using to make it. The typical method for doing this creates a "mock" ring. You can make a true ring, but most instructions you will see create a mock ring.
Mock rings are just chains formed in a loop and joined at the base. They are not as stable as true rings so they can lose shape after they've been washed a few times. If the work gets cut or torn the whole thing can unravel, so to stabilize it (make it keep it's shape) and prevent it from unravelling you have to tie a knot after every ring.
Needle tatting can be done making true rings which produces a sturdier lace that won't unravel if it gets cut. Remember that the thread has to be drawn through the stitches that are formed on the needle, so one of the drawbacks is that the thread can become worn from the friction of pulling it through the stitches and there is just so much thread that you can manage on a needle. Shorter lengths of thread are easier to handle, but result in more ends to hide.
Needle tatting is easier to learn, but the finished product is typically looser, floppier and more padded looking than the same piece shuttle tatted. The needle you work with has to have a big enough hole in it to put the thread through, but a big hole also means a fatter needle. Since the stitches are formed on the needle a fat needle makes fat stitches. Fat stitches aren't as tight or crisp looking as stitches formed directly on the thread.
Some designs can only be done with a needle because the design requires being able to get the thread into places where a shuttle won't fit. Stringing beads on a needle is certainly faster, so for making jewellery, people often choose to use a needle.
In shuttle tatting the stitches are formed directly on the thread so the work is as fine as the thread you are using and the finished piece generally looks crisper than a piece done with a needle. As mentioned a project which has been shuttle tatted loosely and one which has been needle tatted very tightly, will look the same. Rings are true rings that don't need anything to hold them in place. If shuttle tatting gets cut or torn it will only unravel back to the last whole ring. The thread you use is held on the shuttle and wrapped around the left hand then the shuttle is manoeuvred around the thread on your hand to form the stitch and by switching the tension between the right hand holding the shuttle and the left hand, the stitch is flipped or transferred to the thread on the left hand.
Co-ordinating both hands simultaneously to get the stitch to flip takes a bit of practice. So shuttle tatting is harder to learn, but the results are worth the effort. Using the same thread the needle tatted article will generally look puffier and more padded. Both finished items will look quite similar and the untrained eye would not see any difference.
Which method you use depends on your preference. People who do both use the method most appropriate for the project. You couldn't shuttle tat with yarn very well, but you could needle tat with it. Then again, with the size of holes you'd have in the rings a project made with yarn wouldn't be very warm ;-) People with arthritis who have a hard time flexing their fingers, find needle tatting easier on their joints. The same is true for any kind of hand/wrist/arm injuries. There is a place for both types and it's mostly just a matter of preference.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
hand-embroidery challenge. This is a poor scan of it still in the hoop and the bright turquoise blue is really much brighter.
I began by selecting colours and I was all over the map. I have no goal. I finally decided that I was definitely going to use the turquoise blue. I love the colour. I came in a no name batch of embroidery thread and years ago I bought the whole batch for that one colour. I haven't used it yet because A- it needed to be something special and B- it doesn't blend with any of the other colours I have in the Anchor and DMC floss.
Once I decided to use the blue I had to match other colours to it. I selected a darker teal blue and a very pale silvery blue that is almost white. I can work with a monochromatic palette, but I thought I'd add in another colour for some interest. My chest of embroidery floss has several hundred blended colours of thread from years of doing petit point pictures, but the only colour that appealed to me when laid alongside the eye popping turquoise, was an equally vivid yellow.
Then there's the body. I did it in black and added some pale blue highlights and I'm not sure if I love it or hate it. I used 3 strand of thread but I'm thinking that one strand would let me get in between the rows of split stitch easy so that the pale blue just peeks out in between the black.
I tat excessively and the repetitive motion causes pain at the base of the thumb. I have discovered, that holding a needle to embroider aggravates that already tender digit. Now I find that the pressure of resting the base of the thumb on the desk to use the mouse hurts too. So it looks like embroidering enough squares to make a quilt is going to be out of the question.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
When I'm teaching and I need to carry books, several types of thread, handouts and all kinds of paraphernalia, I use this large heavy duty craft tote. It has a couple of pouches on the outside and another zippered pouch on the inside and it's big and durable.
When I'm away from home and need to carry several projects to keep me busy I use this intermediate size bag which is roomy with a couple of pouches on the outside and a zippered gusset in the bottom that opens it up to be a little larger for when I over stuff it.
Notice a recurring theme here? All of these bags are basic black, that goes with everything. I never worry about being co-ordinated, I just always use basic black. Notice the jeans? They're basic black too. All of the jeans in my closet are black except for the blue pair with the ripped out knees I keep for painting in.
So here's my problem. Do I decorate one (or all) of these bags for the challenge? Heaven knows I have enough bits, pieces and half done laces to completely cover them all. The stuff I showed here was just a part of the collection. Or do I make the jean bag?
I obviously don't need another black bag, so I was thinking about making a back pack so that I had something to use when we go bike riding, except that bike riding is one of those times when I don't usually carry any of my tatting with me. Between needing to concentrate on riding and juggling the parrot, I don't have free hands for a shuttle. Carrying the parrot while wearing a back pack is an invitation for the bag to get chewed. Lace and bag alike are likely to get ripped.
Also, making a backpack out of this pair of jeans is going to be awkward because of where the wear spots are. I can do it, but it will mean taking it apart and salvaging usable bits to re-assemble. That makes for a lot of machine sewing and spending tatting time fussing with other stuff that I don't want to do.
On the other hand, since I started this ball rolling I feel obligated to go through the process.....What do you think? should I make a bag or go with an existing bag?
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I created it with a fold over closure and to keep it closed I added a see through dome fastener which doesn't show up in the picture. The pointed section could be omitted and it would just have an open top.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Sorry to burst the bubble of those who think that designers just "get it right" the first time. The truth is that sometimes it's just a lot of slow slogging doing it over and over again until you like the results.