Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tatted Lace Pattern Collection for May is out

I finally got the May TLPC newsletter out, which means my work is done and now I can play. The 2 designs already shown are a hatband for a sun hat and some flowers to spiff it up. I bought the hat last year and didn't get around to doing anything with it. Here's the hat with the tatting attached. Unfortunately it was really hot out when hubby and I were doing this so we didn't stop to take another shot of it with the flowers in the sun. There's a different picture on the web page but you get the idea anyway.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Another Tease

This is another pattern that will be going into the newsletter. I initially did it in white but I thinl the variegated will look better. You can see the finished piece in the newsletter when it's up later on. The link to the newsletter is on the sidebar. I have some more diagrams to finish and some ends to sew in, pieces to block and photographs to take before I can get this baby put together and sent out.

Then I get to start all over again!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This is me at the computer, can you tell? The face in the way is Dusty and like all pets she thinks she's human.

I've been tatting until my wrists are sore, but nothing much to show until it's done. I just decided today that I'm going to leave the square motif as it is, or at least if I do a finishing edge it will be something simple that can be worked up quickly. I'm coming up on my self imposed newsletter deadline and I need to publish rather than complete so things aren't going to look as spectacular as I'd hoped.

I posted about it previously under "Square Play". So do I cut off what I've done, or only cut out the offending part of 3 rows of tatting and piece in 3 alternate rows in 4 places. Let's see, that would mean for each cut out section, 2 ends at the beginning and 2 ends at the end of the old thread (4), 2 new ends of the new thread added in (2), for 3 rows (6x3=18) and there are 4 sections that need to be cut out (18x4=72) Do I want to hide 72 ends or just start from scratch? Which do you think would be faster? Re-design and re-tat 3 rows around a 5.5 inch square base, or re-design re-tat 4 sections and hide 72 ends. Hmmm, think I'll cut it off and start over as that's sure to be faster, especially since one of my other projects was done in size 10 thread and already has a bzillion ends to hide.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Best laid plans- and all that jazz

When we started the 25 motif challenge I had anticipated designing some motives and morphing them into hearts and butterflies during our one year trek. I began with the best of intentions, and designed a few little motives and sketched out how they might be transformed into hearts and butterflies. October I was in a mad rush to get the tatting done for my brother's 50th wedding anniversary, followed immediately by the mad rush to get the November newsletter completed. Then there was the Christmas rush. See a pattern here?

I posted a couple of pictures of some motives I had done and then there were the Christmas snowflakes sent out to my siblings, all 8 of them and about a dozen simpler beaded snowflakes that were given out with gifts. One of the motives I created went onto the red shirt as a V-neck treatment. There were 9 of them. The square motive that is currently in time out, isn't a complete project yet but the 4 motives are complete.

Here's a couple more that I have done. I had an idea that the one on the left might lend itself to becoming a butterfly, but when I added the rings for the body it stopped looking pretty so I gave up on it.

Then there the motif from the V-neck shirt that I worked on converting into a heart. Why is it that the lace in my head just isn't as pretty in reality? I'm not even going to try to tweak this design into some semblance of respectability. It's as done as it's going to get.

Wait a minute, that's 25 motives. No hearts, no butterflies, just the same motives done a bunch of times and all of the lace for 3 newsletters.... and a whole bunch of hours spent blogging the fun everyone else was having with the challenge.

I want to explore what can be done with square motives, but then there's the Tatting Treasures from Trash denim bag challenge. Some days I think I have the attention span of a gnat.

There you have it. I did plan on 25 new designs, but what I accomplished was tatting the same designs a lot of times. So I am officially giving myself permission to move on to the bag challenge. It wasn't what I planned to do, but it's done. All of the designs for the May newsletter are giving me a hard time and I want need to be giving it all my attention.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Bits and Pieces with Purpose

See this jumble of thread? Want to know what it's all about? I was interested in the comments made by a woman who had inherited a workbasket which contained some pieces in various stages of completion. She was comparing 2 pillowcases and noted that one used a very fine thread and another used a very thick thread and she wondered why her aunt would have worked the 2 pieces so differently.

It made me stop and think of what someone might make of the collection of tatting supplies and half completed bits that I have. Since most of what I do are new designs, I have a lot of trial bits and pieces done with crappy thread because I was just trying something out. I've kept piece of things I did when I first started tatting and bits of edgings I was trying out, sample motives I tatted up and pieces of threads I tried out.

I wonder if they would know that this lump of pink and blue is really a place mat that I stopped working on because I got tired of rows of the same old stuff and the store quit selling the thread so while I might be able to complete it, colour matching might be a problem.

This piece was an early attempt at doing a treatment for a V neck. I had the idea of making the lace as an inset and trimming away the fabric to fit it in. What stopped me was that doing the first side was easy, making the second side to match meant counting stitches for every little section and the more I worked on it the less I liked how it was looking.

And what about these blue flowers? They were intended to be appliqued on a tablecloth or place mats, but when I picked up the balls of thread I didn't notice that the size 8 perle cotton I thought I had bought, was actually size 5. They'll never get completed.

Here's another failed designing attempt. A small 5 sided motif intrigued me and I wanted to see what it would look like bigger, so I played around with a one shuttle border. It doesn't lay flat and not amount of blocking is going to improve it.

Here's some bits and bobs that have no use. Gold and pearls on an ear wire so this was obviously and attempt at an earring that went wrong. How do you like the mutant 3D daisy? The doily is from an old crochet magazine that included a couple of tatting patterns. Way back when I didn't have any tatting books a friend gave me this pattern. You will probably recognize it from several old publications. The aborted doily is incomplete because in my opinion anything with floppy bits on it's perimeter doesn't deserved to be tatted.

That's just a smattering of the fragments, snippets and incomplete pieces from the bottom of my workbasket. What about yours? What do you think people will make of your leftover bits? Do you think some distant relative will scour the internet looking for thread to match an incomplete piece that you put aside in disgust because you hated working on it? Will all of your treasured pieces from round robins and exchanges show up in a bulk lot of "vintage tatting" on ebay? How about a useful way to keep and use all of your little bits? How about using your cast off bits and incomplete pieces, your mistakes and your ugly trials and turning them into something useful, durable and educational? How about dressing up an old pair of jeans and recycling them into a craft bag? How about (drum roll please!) another challenge!

Here's the idea. Just like the 25 Motif Challenge you can work at your own pace. Take an old pair of jeans, cut off the legs and sew them along the leg end to make a bag. Add a handle, you can use the leg pieces sewn as a strap or do something else, it's up to you. Then decorate the bag with all your old scraps and bits or use the pieces from your 25 Motif Challenge. If you don't like the colour of your old bits you can do what CQers do and dye them any colour you'd like. Here are some ideas from an embroidery challenge to get you started. If you don't have a pair of jeans you can cut up, there are a lot of yard sales or thrift shops where you could find something suitable.

If is sounds like something you want to try let me know either by e-mail or by leaving a comment. For this challenge I will set up a separate blog and each participant will be added as a "Team Member". Blogger allows blogs to have team members so that each person can add their own pictures and comments. That will make it much easier for me and it's why I'm willing to handle another challenge. Your regular Google account will let you access the blog to update your progress. At least, I've been told it will, I haven't done it yet.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Square play

Here are some square motives that I have done. and they all have possibilities.
This one is a simple 4 ring base with a ring and chain border and with a little playing with the photo it could be assembled to look like this.

Or this.

Either way it's going to leave some big gaps between motives.

Here's another one that I was working in a strip until I fell out of love with it. The gaps between are too big again.

I've been playing with another square I designed and I want to turn this one into something more than just a square motif, but I don't have a lot of time to play around with it. The design is fairly solid, at least solid for tatting. I used very tiny rings so that I didn't have really wide open spaces, but at the same time the long chains in the corners allow for some negative space to attract the eye.

The intersection of the corners is pretty, and I thought I'd try to invert the shape to reproduce the effect on the outer edge.

Sort of like this..... See the problem? To get outward facing curves I need to tat it from above, which I could do, if I worked it first and attached it using a separate row, repeating the corner sections as shown here. But you can see the problem, I'd have to work 3 rows before the joining row and I'd end up with points at the intersection of each pair of motives rather than a straight edge.
After some consideration of how I might do this weird inverted tatting, I thought I'd just repeat the corner arch instead.

Which created it's own set of problems. These 4 rows worked around 4 motives took about a week of tatting. (We were doing income tax, which didn't leave a lot of brain cells or tatting time.) It's ruffled. Badly. Another row may make it flatten out, but I doubt it. And now that it's on there I don't think I like the idea after all. The only solution is to cut it off and start over.

An edging without a corner is only half a design. A motif without an edging to finish it off is likewise incomplete. The next time you see this motif it will have metamorphosed into something different.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Toying with Squares

Way back when...I used to do a lot of crochet and I remember seeing lots of things created with crocheted squares. Not just granny squares, but beautiful, gloriously lacey squares. Trouble is I can't find anything in my old pattern books. OK, I admit it, I didn't look really hard, digging through a file cabinet full of old books, magazines and leaflets just doesn't appeal to me. I spent last week doing the accounting in preparation for doing the income tax, last weekend helping hubby replace the spark plugs and wires on the car, Monday helping him clean out the garage and Tuesday sorting through it all again at the recycling depot. More wasted tatting time looking through books just wasn't going to happen.

Searching the internet is something that my bruised and battered body CAN handle and along the lines of interesting things you can do with a square I found a couple that I'd be willing to try reproducing in tatting. Here's a Bolero
The layout shows how to position the squares so it would be easy enough to convert this to tatting.

Or how about this very open shrug?
It's nothing more than a short scarf laced up with ribbon to form arms. I could do that in tatting. without much trouble, although I think I'd like a little more back to it for warmth. If it's done in little squares it's easy to add a short row or two along the back.

Then there was this one.
Very open, and very easy to reproduce in tatting.

Or there is this idea of square motives used to embellish a T-shirt.
This one reminds me of the rose motif in my last post.

I could see any of these reproduced in tatting. Except that tatting usually isn't done with yarn, and cotton doesn't stretch. I have added tatted motives to sweatshirts and T-shirts without any problem but if the finished product needs to stretch it has to be made with yarn or another type of flexible elasticized "thread". Needle tatting would be more appropriate for that type of project.

I need to do some major thinking before I attempt a project like this. The newsletter keeps me pretty busy designing and the 25 motif challenge takes most of my blogging time. I've already decided that I'm going to try to tat a bookmark to send each of my 8 siblings on their birthdays. I'm not sure that I can do it. I'd like to design new ones, but I may just go with something simple like this one I designed a couple of years ago for the 5 girls in the family and then create something more masculine for the 3 boys.
Nothing like jumping into a whole pile of work is there? 20 new patterns a year for the newsletter, while tatting 8 bookmarks on top of the 8 snowflakes or whatever I decide to do for Christmas, on top of tatting for the 25 Motif Challenge and blogging for the challenge blog and I'm still thinking of taking on a major project! I must be nuts. would be nice.