Friday, December 07, 2012

I Hate Do Overs

When you're a kid on the playground and a ball slips out of your hand or you're balance is a little shaky and you stumble you can always do it over again. Do over is a favourite call for most kids.

Then there's the other kind of do over. You know the kind I mean. It's the do over where you've just finished knitting a sock and you have to do it all over again to make the mate, because as we all know feet come in pairs. So if you're tatting a baby bootie, cheer up, just as the first one is done, there's a whole new bootie to start.

Ears come in pairs too. So every earring you make means there's another one coming up. The same thing happens with mitts and gloves. I hate things that come in pairs because no matter how much I psych myself up, I know that a finished one isn't the end, it's only the middle.

I like working on a project and when it's done. IT'S DONE! Having to revisit a pattern makes me cringe. I made the butterfly that I use as my logo and stupidly gave it away. I have the pattern and more thread, but I just don't want to have to do it over.

I have a novelty bookmark that I did which was a free tatted tree with flowers at the base and a butterfly for a tassel made with several colours of size 12 perle cotton. Because it was freely tatted with random rings as leaves and a solid tree trunk made with several rows of chains, it would be difficult to reproduce it exactly. I'm rather fond of it because the trunk makes a nice straight side to fit into a book and the idea of a piece of tatting that's also a picture, just tickles my fancy.

The other day hubby was vaccuming and he decided to dust of my night table. I am not a neat person. My night table is covered with the usual flotsam and jetsam typical of a night table and bits of ephemera that even I have forgotten was there. I don't much care if the bits of thread and the odd bead gets sucked into the bowels of the machine. But since we had just had a discussion of "Did I have any white hair ribbons hanging off the dresser?", as something white had just gone down the tube, I was a little concerned when a similar exclamation was uttered as he ran the machine over the night table. The only thing I know for sure was on the night table, because I use it all the time and love it dearly, was a certain one of a kind bookmark.

When the unknown object had flown off the dresser and down the throat of the machine I didn't even bother to look, but when the same thing happened to the night table I had to check. The bookmark I had created with size 10 thread as a project for my beginners class sat proudly on the table, but the other original, took me weeks to make it bookmark, was no where to be found.

It's OK, I could make another...I hate do overs. If it's in the machine it's going to be in the middle of a very full bag of dust dirt and hair... It just went in, it has red flowers on it, it should be easy to see. Right? Maybe I could fish it out with a crochet hook.

Not only could I not fish it out with a hook, I couldn't see anything but grey dust inside. Even after I cut the bag apart I couldn't see anything but one big hair ball full of dust. I poked, I prodded, I turned it upside down. Then I got both hands in ripping things apart and came up with....a white shoe lace. I know what got sucked off the dresser. I tore some more. Then finally, I found this little grey lump. It kind of felt a little bit like it might be tatting, so I coaxed it out of this big ball of snarled hair. I still wasn't sure what I had, but after a bath with lots of hot water and detergent, I have my one of a kind bookmark back.

I'm so glad. I hate do overs.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Hanky Bonnet

There has been some talk recently about making a baby bonnet out of a hanky and some questions about a suitable edging. You can use any edging whether it's a really simple half ring edging, or a more elaborate edging made with several rows of tatting. Most commercial hankies are roughly 11 inches square and that means 44 inches of edging should be adequate. To make a hanky bonnet first tat the edging and attach it to the hanky like this:

Typically you wouldn't use a hanky with an embroidered flower in the corner, but that's what was handy, so I used it for this tutorial. Fold back about 2 inches on the front and stitch along the edge of the hanky where the lace is and it should look something like this:

Then fold back about 2 inches on the back, but stitch it about a half inch from the fold to make a casing. This will allow you to run a ribbon through the casing. When you tie the ribbon, it will gather the back of the bonnet shaping it.

Not having a baby head handy I stuffed it with a ball of thread to show you how the back looks.

To finish it off add ribbon ties on the front with optional ribbon rosettes or tatted motifs in the corners where marked with an X. Extra ruffles and nice on girls, but not as necessary for boys.

Depending on the size of the baby, you can make the bonnet larger or smaller by increasing or decreasing the  size of the folds. If the baby is a preemie, you may want to start with a smaller hanky.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Some time ago there was some discussion in Toronto about creating an afrocentric school. The idea was a school especially for black people that addressed black history and black culture in a way to engender pride in black heritage. I thought, and still think, that it's a really stupid idea because the curriculum in this specialized school is not what the rest of the population will be taught and when the children are re-integrated into the rest of society, they are going to believe that everyone learned the same things and it will be a bit of a culture shock to find out that the rest of the population doesn't share African roots. It makes much, much, more sense to me to bring the highlights of that heritage and those cultural issues into ALL of the schools so that everyone can be enriched by them. The children with African heritage can take pride in where they come from and the other children gain a greater understanding. Of course they didn't ASK me, and they went ahead and opened the afrocentric school and they are having some problems with it now.

Today they are talking about opening a gay, lesbian, bi, trans gender LGBT high school, (that has already been dubbed the queer school). Which has got to be a really stupid idea on so many levels. The thrust of the proposal is to create a safe place for students. Wait a minute, back up here. A safe place for students. So if you are fat and being bullied because of it, does that mean we need a separate school for fat kids?

The issue isn't that we need to create exclusive place for children and teens, the issue is that we need to teach tolerance and understanding of differences. There won't be specialized work places for people based of race, religion or gender, so it just makes a whole lot more sense to teach the younger generation growing up how to get along with one another. That IS one of the purposes of school. It isn't isolation we need, it's inclusion.

OK, I'm getting off my soapbox now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What makes a good pattern?

I haven't been keeping up with the blog, I have been tatting a little, but not a lot. I saw a comment the other day about Anne Orr's baby bootie, or as it's called in the book, Baby Socklet and Shoe. I've tatted it, but the design is a stinker, at least , in my opinion it is. It is pretty and it looks all right when it's finished, but it's one of those piecemeal patterns where you tat a piece and lay it aside, then you tat a different piece and lay it aside, then you connect the pieces together by doing yet more pieces. Pieces drive me nuts.

When people talk about a good pattern, or a nice pattern, or a "go to" pattern, They are often talking about very different things, but they use the same terminology. It must really confuse new tatters. A lot of people looking for something to tat for a christening often choose this pattern. It isn't especially difficult and if I remember correctly it takes about 11 hours to complete. I remember the number because someone asked me what I would charge for making them and I had to figure out the hours and I can't remember if that was for one or the pair, although I think it was the pair. What I DO remember is that having to do the bits and pieces really irritated me, so much so that I did my own version, following along the same lines, but working the whole thing in only 2 pieces. The Anne Orr bootie calls for size 30 and I used a size 50 in mine

One of the things I realized as I was finishing it off, is that thread doesn't stretch like yarn. I know. You'd figure that after tatting for all these years that I would recognize something as obvious as that, but I just didn't think about the simple things, like getting a non stretch bootie over a tiny foot. Happily, I remembered this vital piece of information just as I was working on the last couple of boot rounds and  instead of working around the top of the bootie in a circle, I stopped at the front and worked back over the row just done, which meant that if I had been doing front side/back side tatting it would have been a real nightmare because I would have had to do everything on the row backwards. I don't do front side/back side, so I just turned and kept going.

Is it a good pattern? Maybe. It's pretty enough and it doesn't have lots of pieces, but if  front side/back side is a major issue for you, you'd definitely hate this pattern.

If you are just learning to tat, a design that uses just simple rings and chains is going to be a great pattern, but if you are experienced, that kind of pattern will drive you around the bend with monotony. If you need something for a quick gift, you might gravitate toward something that has a simple design, but if you want to make something with lots of WOW factor, you might want something more elaborate. If you were making a gift for another tatter, you might choose something with lots of clunies, because you know that another tatter will appreciate the time that goes into them, but a non tatter might be just as impressed with something that just uses chains.

Sometimes your definition of a good pattern is neither how the finished lace looks, nor the techniques it uses, nor how long it takes to complete, but depends solely on how the pattern is written. Some people don't like using written patterns, and some people can't stand visual patterns.

Now and then, people will refer to a design as being their "go to" pattern and often that simply means that the pattern is their first choice to tat, just because they have it memorized and they don't have to go look for the pattern or refer to a page when they are tatting. That doesn't mean it's particularly pretty, or quick to tat, or well written, it just means it's memorized.

So what about you? What makes a good pattern for you? Is it the visual appeal of the design? Is it the way that it's written? Is it the techniques involved? Or is it something else? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The summer that wasn't

I have been tatting. Well, sort of tatting. I had an idea. It required a lot of tatting and a lot of fitting things in. The lot of tatting went all right. The fitting things together didn't so now it's stalled.

I tatted a picture. Actually I had most of the pieces done around Christmas time planning a gift, but my sweetie did a scroll saw piece instead, so I let it sit. Then we needed an impromptu birthday gift so I finished it off. I was trying for something Victorian and used dark red and gold with lighter blue accents, thinking I'd try for a mass of single ring flowers done sort of like babies breath but in navy, it didn't work. Or at least it didn't work the way I wanted it to and I opted for a 4 ring butterfly in navy instead. I mounted it in a shadowbox type frame that suited the 3D flowers, but it didn't look right so I changed the frame, re-mounted the flowers and ended up with this, which I'm still not happy with, but the recipient liked it and that's what matters.

This summer has been the pits. I picked up a summer cold AGAIN for the second year in a row. The cold was long gone, but I still felt totally lethargic. Then I started with the heart palpitations which really put a damper on things. I hate being sick. I hate going to doctors, they never have anything good to say. So I don't go.

Hubby has been working like a regular little beaver, churning out woodwork pieces to beat the band. He made a second work bench, replaced the wheels on the band saw and went to turn a round stool top on the lathe, only to discover that the motor was in the way with the lathe hung on the wall, so he had to make another bench for the lathe, before he could start. Then he made a stool that swivels for working in the garage. A second stool was made for a neighbor that helps him out from time to time. A third stool was made for me. Then he took our park bench apart to re-finish it.

I feel like a lazy sloth in comparison. An now that I have thoroughly depressed myself, I think I'll go lie down and read a book.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pet Peeve number 1

I was rummaging through a bunch of old tatted bits looking for something I know is probably in there. I didn't find it, so I'll have to keep looking. What I did find is the Inverted Heart Snowflake from my Tatted Flurries book that I tatted in Lizbeth Summer Fun. I like the colours, but the short colour changes make the design look like a dog's breakfast.

The dimpled rings are almost invisible in this thread, but here's what it looks like in a solid colour.
The design pops out.

Here's Summer Fun matched up with one of the colours in the mix, a plain pink. This is the anklet design, Hearts and Bows from my Summer Tatting book.

Here's the scan to give you a clearer picture.
Of course in this design the variegated thread is just used for the chains and it's a subdued background accent.

But here is the same colour paired with a solid turquoise and a solid pink for more than just chains.
I like variegated threads. In tatting it usually take a long time to transition from one colour to the next, but in the new threads like Lizbeth, the colour changes are faster and the results like in the first snowflake, just becomes a jumble of colours so that there isn't any gradual change, but rather an abrupt switch. This, to me, makes the finished piece look chopped up. Your eye jumps from spot to spot in one huge chaotic jumble of colour. Pairing the variegate with a matching solid colour, gives the design some continuity and the eye a chance to rest. I didn't care where the colours landed on the butterflies, because of their final purpose, but I have to say that in my opinion tatters need to take a step back from the variegated threads, so that they can be enjoyed more. That's just my opinion, feel free to disagree.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Summer Tatting now available

After a long delay, a book I was working on LAST summer, is finally ready. A minor injury made it difficult to tat or to use computer keyboard and mouse, then other things conspired to keep me from working on it including software which just refused to cooperate.

Summer Tatting is here, full of bright breezy summer designs for bracelets, anklets and necklaces. The book is available from my web site in both print and E-book format.

The E-book is available right now, the print book will be back from the printers soon. The pricing of the book, which INCLUDES shipping and handling is:

Canada     15
USA     16
International     18

The E-book which is available in PDF format and downloaded from my web site is:
All countries   14

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why does one job lead to ten more?

I wanted a little something to put on a hair clip and I started with a flower. I didn't like the way it was working up.

Then I was going through some old designs and found this butterfly so I thought I'd give it a try. Lizbeth size 20 in Summer Fun and Light Turquoise were used for the first one. I was looking for mostly solid coloured rings and variegated chains, but I found the Summer Fun has long stretched of turquoise with much smaller sections of the other colours. and when you use 2 matched shuttles and the only part of the thread you can see is turquoise, it's hard to keep things straight.

I needed 2 for 2 little girls, so I did the second one in Summer Fun and Light Dusty Rose thinking that I'd end up with pink where the other one had blue, but I started with the pink and should have started with the variegated, so I got pink chains instead of pink rings.
The butterfly fits on the hair clips, but, I don't really like the way that they sit. Too much of the clip shows.

Then I thought maybe if I glued a bead over the body onto the hair clip it would help to cover up the metal, but I don't have a large enough attractive looking bead.
A 3D flower would cover more of the hair clip and you don't have to think about which side is up. I like my butterflies flying up instead of down. A downward facing butterfly just seems wrong. When I laid the first butterfly down so that I could pick up my scissors to cut the thread ends, it happened to land on a new ball cap in basic black and I noticed how cute it looked. When the second one was done, I realized the 4 of them would fit neatly around the cap. So if I did 2 more, I could attach them to the hat and dress it up. I'm not sure if I like the design so I might try to tweak it a bit, but if I tweak it, it won't match up with the other 2, so I'll have to do 4 more and then they might not fit the hat. I finally opted to remove the partial row on the flower and fill the inner section with some large beads. It gave some sparkle and filled out the flower without doing more tatting.
 Once I had the hair clips sorted out I went back and finished the butterflies and like snowflakes, no 2 are alike, partly because of the variegated thread and partly because I started with different colours and partly because a switched shuttles at different places. I probably ought to do another in 2 solid colours so that I can see which colour goes in which place, but I think I'm done with this flutter.

Now that I have them done I could put them on my cap, but I was hoping they wouldn't sit so high on the crown. Maybe I'll just stick them on and have done with it. I don't mind sewing, it's just the fussing with it to make sure that it's dead centre, because it'll drive me nuts if it isn't. I have some light and dark turquoise edging that I goofed up on which can also be added to the cap, except that it's only long enough to go around about a quarter of the cap. That means I only make enough to go part way around and taper it at both ends, or I tat a lot more edging.
This started as a, wouldn't that look cute project which is rapidly taking on a life of it's own and hubby is already in the middle of one of those. He started out to make a stool. So he needed to cut 2 x4's to the right size for a seat. One of the wheels on the bandsaw has broken bearings so it doesn't roll easily. All of the equipment is on wheels so that it can be pushed against the wall when not in use and make room for the car to fit in the garage. So the bandsaw needed new casters. The set he put on the first time were welded on so he had to cut them off, make a new base and tap holes in the angle iron base to screw in the new casters. Once the boards were cut to size he drilled holes for dowels in each board glued and clamped the boards and made a solid piece for the seat that he could turn on the lathe.

The lathe is mounted on the wall to keep the floor space clear for the car, but when the square seat block is mounted on the lathe for turning, it hits the motor housing. In order to be able to turn the seat, he needs to move the motor below the lathe instead of beside it and if he wants to have full use of the lathe it really needs a table, on wheels of course, so that he can move it aside when it's not in use. So he had to build a lathe table and he had to build supports for the motor under the table that would allow the motor to move when the pulley is shifted to change speeds.

Why is it that doing one job often leads to ten other jobs that you really didn't plan on doing? Is it any wonder that nothing ever seems to get done?

Thursday, June 07, 2012


I received an email several days ago from a freelance write doing an article on tatting for a Canadian magazine. The email asked about young people tatting and I don't really know a lot of young tatters and I emailed back with that information and thought no more about it. Today I got a call from the journalist asking for more information. As much as I can tell them all about tatting, tatters on the internet, videos to show you how and the fact that many of us tat in isolation rather than in groups, what they (the magazine) really want to know is how relevant tatting is to young people. I recognize that magazines need to address the interests of their readers and more importantly to them, the needs of their advertisers. Consequently, the articles that get published are the ones that relate to the largest segment of buying public, which happens to be those under 30. High school students living at home and just starting to work, university students starting their careers and families with young children all spend money on both necessities like cell phones, cars, and clothing as well as recreational things like ATVs, sporting equipment and hobby materials. So while grandma might buy an occasional ball of yarn, what the money making machines like the magazines and their advertisers, want to know is what is junior spending his money on.

 I may be useful for providing historical and practical information about tatting, but they don't really want to talk to me, they want to talk to kids. Suddenly, I'm irrelevant and I resent that. Or is it, I represent that?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reading not blogging

I haven't been blogging. Could you tell? Last summer I fell and hurt my wrist so that I had a hard time using a shuttle or a computer mouse. Both things conspired to drive me crazy, since my usual pass times were severely curtailed. Needing an outlet, I renewed my library card and proceeded to drive hubby nuts driving me back and forth to the library because I don't drive. He wouldn't want me going by myself anyway, just in case something happened to me. He's such a gem.

My library bag will only hold about a dozen books, so it means making a return trip every couple of weeks. You should hear him groan every time he sees my bag parked by the front door. LOL Hubby's a do-er not a reader. His idea of reading is pouring over a technical manual and perusing schematics. For him, a trip to the library is an exercise in patience, but he does it whenever I want, I don't even have to ask him. I just leave my book bag by the door and as soon as he has the time, we go.

My book bag doubles as my craft bag and has tatting on one side. It's a basket of 3D flowers I did the basket and flowers for one of the newsletters and it's perfect for the bag. Surprisingly, no one has ever asked about it. I think most people must think the bag came that way.

All this extra reading means I've been using bookmarks more often. There's the book I read before bed and the one I read while cooking supper and then there's the book I'm not enthralled with that I might finish, or might just return unread.

So the other day while I watched a movie with hubby I decided I needed another bookmark. I wanted something kind of flowery that I could work up without thinking about it too much and I remembered a traditional edging one of the 25 Motif Challenge participants was doing. I've used a similar pattern for hanky edgings before so I had an idea of what it took. I used 6 small rings joined in the middle with short chains and 3 picots in between. Each flower shape is separating by a single ring.

I used some vintage size 80 thread in variegated red/green paired with a solid green. A crocheted chain with a modified flower shape on the end to hang outside the book. Here it is with the ends sewn in, even the ones from the break and the re-start when I ran out of thread. Not bad for a 2 hour movie and a bit of the news.
Of course, now that I have a bookmark, I don't have any books. It's time to go put my book bag by the front door.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'm thrilled to bits

My tatting web page is an off shoot of our company web site which is maintained by my wonderful sweetheart. Consequently he prefers that he does all of the maintenance on the pages. That's OK, he's the programmer, I'm not. At this stage, he's probably forgotten more programming than I'll ever learn. Unfortunately Meniere's makes him periodically deaf in one ear and gives him sudden violent dizziness of the kind that drops him to the floor. I guess that's why they call them drop attacks. One minute he's whistling and working happily away and the next he's on the floor. Really not fun if you happen to be up a ladder! At the same time he gets violent eye rotation of the kind observed in REM sleep, except that his eyes are wide open.

Have you ever seen a lizard rotate it's eyes in opposite directions? Ever wondered what things would look like if people saw 2 different images simultaneously? Don't bother trying to imagine it. We have 2 eyes focuses forward because our brains are equipped to process a single panoramic view. It's very disorienting to have multiple images flashed on our brains. Sadly, that's what my hubby has to deal with when he gets a Meniere's attack. Sounds and images are suddenly distorted, there is internal pressure from the swelling in his inner ear, his eyes won't focus on anything with each one doing an independent jig, all attended with violent dizziness and nausea.

So for a long time now he has worked on modifications to my web page, but since it wasn't urgent progress has been very slow, just because it was't a priority. Of principle interest to me, was a simple way to add a new book onto the web site without having to re-design the home page. When there was only one or two items he had blended graphics into the home page image and that worked out quite well, but then as new books were done there was no space to add them in. So he started developing a secondary page that could be added to easily. He not only created the page to display current books, but he programmed in functions so that new books could be added with multiple mouse over images and the page automatically handles the input for PayPal transactions. The web site calculates the pricing including shipping and handling, by picking up the data from the location information input from the order form and then passes it through to PayPal when the form is submitted. He built in a printing function so that people can  print a copy of the order before submitting it, so they know what they ordered.

Everything was working perfectly in Internet Explorer, but then we tested it in Chrome and FireFox and some of the functions didn't work properly, so he re wrote it to cover those little oddities as well. Finally, after years of working on it, in fits and starts it's done. YAYYYYY!!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Tis the season for people to be silly and sloppy about love. Love isn't about giving or receiving chocolates or flowers and it isn't about sex. Real love is what binds two people together so that what ever happens they would rather face it together. Love is when your spouse wakes up with morning breath or farts and it's enough to knock you over, but it's OK because the love you have for them overlooks those little things.

It's when they are sick and won't ever get better and you don't think of trying to escape the situation, you just accept that it comes with the package and having that package means more to you than anything else.

It's knowing that if you were sick or life dealt you a blow turning your once beautiful bod into something ugly, that it wouldn't matter. Your other half, really is another part of yourself and no matter how you look, they'll always see you as beautiful.

Love isn't a mushy feeling. Love is in it for the long haul, no matter what. It's give and take, share and care.

Of course that kind of depenable caring, sharing and loving does make for great sex.

Happy Valentine's sweetie I love you more every day. You're the greatest blessing God has given me and I don't know how you've put up with me all these years. I just consider myself lucky that you have.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Dear Canadian Tire

For years we have waited with anticipation for Thursday when the Canadian Tire flyer comes in the Newspaper. My husband's ritual is to separate out all of the flyers, then he reads the paper, browses through the other flyers and then carefully peruses the Canadian Tire flyer last. How he sighed over the titanium tap and die set. He was in raptures over the speed grinder. He positively drooled over the air compressor and the planer was almost an orgasmic experience. There seems to be no end of drills, routers, bits, screwdrivers, clamps, pliers, saw horses, drill bits and other tools both electric and manual that a handy man needs in his arsenal of repair tools. So over the decades he has patiently waited and carefully saved so that when these essential items are on sale he can pounce on the opportunities provided. So you will understand that his workshop resembles a Canadian Tire warehouse with every tool carefully stored in it's own little niche.

One of his more recent purchases was a scrollsaw, bought primarily because there are some jobs that can be done with a jigsaw, but they are done with greater ease and accuracy with a scroll saw. It was surprising when it was first plugged in, to find that it rattled so much that it walked across the table, suggesting that it was in some way out of balance, so we returned it to the store for a different machine. It too, walked across the table. We returned to the store and your most helpful staff agreed to plug in the other machines in the store so that we didn't have to make more trips just to plug them in and see whether they would sit still. We selected the machine that was the most stable and returned home.

Once we had a working machine, my husband discovered many lovely free scrollsaw patterns available on the internet and began a love affair with fretwork.

Lions, dogs, eagles and butterflies were soon appearing everywhere. After very little usage we noticed some metal bits sitting under the saw and were found to be pieces of bearings and a quick call to your service department resulted in replacement parts being sent to us the next day.

Sadly after this we had an endless list of things the went wrong with the machine. The bellows, a little rubber ball that is compressed with each stroke of the blade, puffs out a little blast of air to remove the dust from around the work. Except that the rubber has become brittle and cracked so that it no longer blows air. We called to see about a replacement part in October, but were told it might take some time as the parts were on order. No one likes to stop in the middle of a project so an aquarium pump was purchased and run at the same time as the saw to facilitate usage.

Then the light went out. You can't see under the saw arm without a light to illuminate where you are cutting. Again the staff was very accommodating and the replacement part was received. However, the light, which is at the end of the articulated blower arm has wires running through it which connect inside the machine. The replacement part received is an empty tube; no light, no wires. Another call resulted in the warehouse staff checking all of the parts in stock to find that they are all missing the light and wires. A special order had to be sent to China for new parts to be manufactured. My ever resourceful husband, jury rigged his machine again so that he could see to work and waited for the call back with news about his parts.

About this time the weather got cooler and he decided it would be more comfortable to work inside and he moved the scroll saw into the basement and made fittings so that the saw was connected to the vacuum cleaner. Sawdust in the garage is one thing, but sawdust in the house is a completely different mess. Especially when he's making the scrollsaw work in quarter inch poplar, then making the background frame to set it off nicely, staining it a dark colour and finishing it off by cutting a box out of solid one inch wood and adding a masonite top and bottom which creates more dust.We called again in November to see what was happening with the replacement parts and discovered that since we had told the staff not to send another empty tube without a light, that they had assumed the part was not required and nothing had been ordered. We asked for the parts again and requested a follow up call to let us know one way or the other. We were assured that we would receive a return call the next day. A week later we followed up again because no one had called back.

It was suggested that we just return the saw to the store for a replacement. We had already tried all of the machines in stock and had the machine that did the least amount of table walking which might have been caused by broken bearings and the ones on our machine had just been replaced. We had added an aquarium pump that gave better air flow and added a fixture to hold the vacuum hose, so we didn't want to just replace the machine and have to start again. We again requested the parts and asked them to let us know what was happening with them.

In the days before Christmas when hubby was scrolling some Christmas gifts the knob that holds the saw blade in broke. We again called for the replacement part and were informed that they would not be available until after Christmas. That's not good news when what you have half done is a Christmas gift that's needed in 2 days. The knob has a specific thread and just replacing it with a screw wasn't going to work. We called the store and when we told them our predicament they graciously loaned us the knob off the floor model until the replacement came in.

January rolled around and we didn't see the long delayed parts and made another call mentioning they previous tickets that had been opened for replacement parts. After the Christmas gifts were passed out several request came for additional pieces like the eagle my BIL fell in love with bat wanted a larger version of. That's when we discovered that the special order for the blower arm/light had not been placed. In fact, none of the replacement parts had been ordered, or they had been ordered and cancelled. I suppose the warehouse staff is terrific at sending out what they have in stock, but when their paperwork indicates a part that is essentially defective, they don't seem to have an efficient way of notifying the manufacturer and requesting a change.

After days of talking to various people, all of whom assured us that they would investigate and call us back without receiving a single return call, it was time to talk to a manager. We have a workshop full of Mastercraft products, we are very loyal (and lucrative) customers but 4 months is a long time to wait for things that you have been assured "are in the mail".

The parts are not currently, and may not ever, be available. Scroll saws are obviously not on everyone's Christmas list so while they sell the machines, they may not stock all the replacement parts. Not to be deterred by that, our resourceful manager scoured the stores and found one that had a floor model with all of the necessary parts and had them shipped to us post haste. The NEW replacement parts are still on order and will be sent if/when they are available. AND Both the manager and the representative who referred us to the manager followed up every day until the parts were in out hot little hands.

It took a while, but when it really came down to it you came through. Canadian Tire - you guys rock!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My hiatus from tatting has included reading lots of books including some about quilts. I get quilts as something that uses up scraps and usable pieces of fabric from worn out garments. I get quilts that are one of a kind works of art to be displayed. I get appliqued quilts. I get making quilts as a relaxing sewing outlet. It's the other 90% that I don't get.

I understand that each one is unique. I get that. I really do. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my mind around buying fabric just to cut it up and sew it back together just for the sake of making a quilt.

Maybe it's because getting neat precise points while machine sewing has always been an issue for me. I can do anything with needle and thread and for several years I made all my dresses. Points where things had to meet were always hand sewn first because just throwing pinned together pieces on the sewing machine never gave the results I wanted.

How is it that a leisure art based on cutting up perfectly good sheets of fabric and sewing it together again to make a sheet can be an industry? How can tatting do the same thing?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tatting on hold for fretwork

Last summer I fell while carrying groceries, tripping over uneven pavement assisted by some ill fitting sandals. I caught myself by landing with most of my weight on my wrist and some of it on my face. Afterward my wrist was sore. Too sore for tatting or using the computer mouse, so I spent a lot of time reading rather than tatting.

During this time my darling spouse took up fretwork also known as scroll saw work. After a few easy bits he searched the internet for something a little more interesting and found a lot of free patterns on line. This made it necessary for us to check out various hardware and building supply places for suitable wood. Meniere's makes him too dizzy for much travel and certainly not travel by himself, so I need to make myself available as a prop, just in case. I spent the fall mostly assisting in locating suitable wood and helping trim up larger pieces into usable stock. Here's one of his earlier bits.

Of course once the design is cut out it needs to be mounted or the silhouette effect is totally lost because you can see through it. That means more trips to find proper framing material. After several tries he settled on using thicker wood stock and adding a routed edge. Which, of course, added more work to making it.

Once he got started he found a lot of things he wanted to try. So, while it's usually me that goes crazy trying to tat more things as Christmas gifts than there are hours in a day to complete, this year the flurry of activity was left up to my other half. Which was nice for a change, but left me feeling somewhat like Christmas came and went without me.

He's also taken up fretwork of a different kind.

My sweetheart plays a 12 string guitar. He's never learned to read music so he just plays by ear. Recently he's been recording some traditional pieces that he can share on the internet. I thinks he sings and plays beautifully, but then I think he does everything well. So there you go, fretwork both carved and played.