Friday, September 27, 2013

Unsought Treasure! My Mom Rocks!

My mother, who is amazing, by the way, is taking part today in a huge garage sale at her church. They have been setting up since last Thursday and it started yesterday and finishes today. It's quite the production.

I helped her with set-up on Monday of this week and had a lot of fun. I met a woman there whose cousin Eleanor is a tatter (since retired, I believe). We discussed what she has made and what I have done, as well as newer uses for lace; it was a lovely chat.

I didn't bother looking for anything for myself while I was there, wanted to work more than shop. Imagine my surprise a few days later when I received this text from my mother:

For you my dear!!!!!!

I called her immediately, thanked her, and started asking about the threads.  Seems she had worn her Ripple Necklace to a church function and it had gotten some notice. One of the women who had spoken to mom about it saw the box of threads (with tatting shuttle, Susan Bates) and brought it to my mother's attention!

She has high hopes for me, that one does. She asked if she had done well and I couldn't stop thanking her. She is looking forward to my creations, especially with the goldish thread. It's Texto-Syltex and I'm not sure if I will be able to use it. There's quite a bit so I'll have to find a good home for it. I am open to suggestions.  Of course, I'll know more when I have the thread in hand and, let me tell you, my fingers are itching to get hold of that box. I don't know when I will see mom next, but I really hope it's soon!

With all the thread I have now, I'll have to tat for quite a while before I need to buy more...

TIAS Day 2 and 3

After getting my tatting stuff back, I was more confident with the TIAS. And then I saw the lock join on Day 3. Luckily, they provide a link so I was able to learn THAT. Sheesh, like I need more stuff in my head. I jest, because it probably just pushed out something else that I no longer use, you know, like long division.

Without further ado, I give you Day 2:

And Day 3:

Still have no idea what it is, but we'll find out eventually, eh?

Flakes on a Plane! (Part deux) (motifs 1-4)

Meant to be published on Monday. Yeah, it's been that week!

I had the pleasure of being airborne again this past weekend which called for tatting of snowflakes. I accomplished two before I decided to move on to other projects.

While waiting for my flights, a gentleman next to me commented, "If my mother were here , she would love that. She would be knitting right now." I smiled and he watched me tat for a while.

First plane was mostly empty and I slept a bit before tatting. Second plane was full and I had a young girl going off to college next to me. She was trying not to be obvious until I said, "Go ahead and stare, it's fine with me." She was very interested in what I was doing. I showed her the basic knots and set us a challenge. I told her I bet I could get her tatting before we reached our destination. She declined graciously, but continued to watch as I tatted away. I finished my second snowflake (Birgit's Small Star, size 10 white and green):

I moved on to the cross I have been working on for Pastor. Done in Aunt Lydia's size 10 Victory Red is Crazy Mom's Cross:

I made it a bit smaller per his request. We'll see what he thinks when I give it to him this week.

I moved on to another project as we neared our destination. It is a bookmark From Janette Baker's Learn to Tat. I am working it in Lizbeth Size 20 Black to eventually become a bracelet.

Saturday was spent travelling from one wine-tasting to another with my husband and his co-workers. His company had us out for a spouse weekend. With our spouses travelling as much as they do, it was nice to have some downtime with them, do something fun, and be in the company of other spouses dealing with the same issues. It was a wonderful, energy-renewing time.

It also left me with time to tat. It was either chat endlessly, sleep, or tat and chat. Of course, I chose the latter. The first option would be too annoying, the second, too anti-social. The third option was social and productive at the same time! I had a few people ask me about it and one knew what it was because she had seen it in Europe during a school tour. Everyone seemed to agree that it was pretty darned cool. I like that in my first "corporate wife" outing, I was able to impress others and make my husband proud. At least, that's how I'm reading it. They could all right now be recalling that crazy chick who played with string all weekend...

Despite feeling the effects of the wine-tastings, I was able to tat a bit on the plane on Sunday. This morning, I finished my bracelet (the tatted part, at any rate). Worked in Lizbeth size 20 black:

I went out and bought new clovers to tat the T.I.A.S. that starts today. As I was telling my father about it last night, I said I hoped it didn't have anything I couldn't do. His response was basically, if it does, then you just get to learn THAT now. So, of course, I look at the pattern and it has mock rings and split rings right there in the first piece. I am not allowing myself to look at other people's work until I do my own. But this does mean I'll be hitting up YouTube tonight.

If you need me, I'll be splitting hairs and mocking my rings...

Monday, September 23, 2013

TIAS Day 1

So, I saw this post about a Tat It And See. I decided to sign up for it, thinking the challenge would be fun. As the first day drew near, I began to wonder. Would I be able to do it? Would I have the requisite skills? Would my tatting be up to par? Would I have the courage to put it out there for all to see?

After looking at the first bit of the pattern, I had new questions. How the heck do you make a split ring? What is a mock picot? Do I really have the time and brainpower necessary to do this? Will all the big kids laugh at me? Do I have enough chocolate?

So, off I went to Janette Baker and her Learn To Tat book. I did a few split rings:

And then it was off to google climbing out with a mock picot.

Armed with a little bit of knowledge and relatively no experience, feeling very confident and having a few pieces of chocolate, I wound my shuttles with DMC Cebelia size 20 white and dove on in.

Here is the result:

I do not know when the next piece of the pattern will come to us, but I will update my blog and the TIAS site as often as I can.
For those of you interested in joining, here is the link for the pattern.
Stay tuned!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Motif Number 25!!!!!

I have finished my first 25 Motif Challenge!

At least I think so.

Basically, when I did a slew of butterflies earlier this year, I didn't count them all. So, I kind of picked and chose from what I did after that.  Somewhere I posted about tatting 17-20 and I have counted up from there which makes this one #25!!! (If I've miscounted, well, there were about 30 butterflies, so...)

I am proud of myself for what I have done so far. I know that there are many of you out there who have done far more. I hope to be able to keep up with you all someday. In the meantime, I'll be happy with what I have accomplished in the nine months I've been tatting.

Once again, worked in size 10 Aunt Lydia's green and white, I present to you Birgit's Small Star!

The next UFO I have to complete is the cross I've been working on for some time. So close, must get back to it.  The deadline on that one is growing near...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Presenting the Bonnet!

At long last, I have finished Merry Higby's NIN Baby Bonnet worked in Aunt Lydia's size 10 white. After I finished round four, I was intimidated by the idea of the medallion in back. I tatted a few other things while I worked up the courage to attempt it.  As I worked through it, my fears left me, and I was able to tat it pretty quickly. As I may have mentioned before, I tat pretty tightly so it is smaller than intended. I am going to make a concerted effort to loosen up a bit and see how it changes what I make. The result will most likely be a softer, more pliable bonnet. It is supposed to fit on a softball; it doesn't. So, here it is on my daughter's Bitty Baby doll.

Even with my tight tatting, I had a to make a lot of shuttle changes. I can only imagine how many thread ends I'll have to deal with on the next one. Now to upsize it and tat for an expectant mother I know. Sheesh! But a lovely pattern and a great organization. Thanks, Merry Higby!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nimble thimble, nimble shuttle?

As I may have mentioned before, I met with the Nimble Thimble quilting group near my home. They are a sweet bunch who are very interested in my tatting. I am working on some designs for them that I hope to have ready to make soon. In the meantime, however, one of the ladies brought in a few balls of size 10 crochet thread for me to use. I am so excited. I have promised to use the thread only for the work I do there (as I have promised the school thread for use for their projects), and keep it there; as a result, I have no picture at this time. Oh wait, I do.

At my last visit, one of the women brought in a shuttle and some thin gold thread. I agreed to TRY to teach her to tat but said that we wouldn't be using the gold thread anytime soon. She laughed and said it was for me to use for anything else if I wanted. Whew, I could just imagine the frustration of trying to learn on size 70(?) shimmery gold thread...

Either way, I am officially a member of the group now and hope to have something to show for it soon. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I figure it out. Who knows???

Art Imitates Life

Some time ago, back when I was in 7th or 8th grade, I decided to make chocolate brownies. I got out the box of mix and gathered my ingredients. I was very careful, repeatedly checking the directions for proper measurements and instructions.  I poured the batter in the pan and put it in the oven which I had preheated properly. Something didn't look right, too runny. I couldn't put my finger on it.

I called in my older sister and explained the situation. I opened the oven the show her the batter and she asked to see the directions. As I held up the box, insisting I had followed it to the letter, she started to grin. She asked if that was the box of mix I had used. I replied that it was.

She gently pointed out that it was unopened.

Which meant I had completely forgotten to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Which meant it lacked a great degree of substance.

Which explained the runniness and bright color of the batter.

All of which earned me a place in the oral history of the family, a dubious distinction at best.

Why am I sharing this very embarrassing moment with you, gentle readers? Because last night I made this:

As I approached the last ring, I wondered why it was so hard to manage. I looked at the picture and realized my mistake. I had failed to join the six picots that hold the thing together.

Which meant it lacked a great degree of substance.

Which explained the floppiness and sloppy nature of the finished form.

All of which I now share with you, gentle readers, my tat-family.

As I did with the brownies, I went on the finish the star, with a great deal of chuckling and head shaking.

Some things never change.

I have learned that if you can't laugh at yourself, everyone else will laugh at you. I'd just as soon you laugh with me.

If you need me, I'll be making bricks without straw.

2013 Tat It And See

I just joined the 2013 Tat It And See project! I'm very excited. I'm also a little frightened. My mind is swirling with visions of twisted picots and split rings. It will be a challenge, but I think I'm up for it. I'll be posting both here and on the TIAS site so please forgive the repetition. I'll try to make it interesting.

If any of you dear readers are also participating, perhaps we can offer mutual moral support, an emotional gift exchange, if you will. (Although, I'm sure you won't need it nearly as much as I will!)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Expanding The Empire!

So, this has been one heck of a weekend! At first, it was a "weekend of beauty" what with getting my hair cut and colored (I know, you all thought it was naturally this luxuriously rich honey tone), and my nails done (pedicure gift from my mom, thanks mom!), but it turned into so much more.

It went like this. Early to the nail studio, I decided to walk around the town square. First antique store I entered had three shuttles for sale, one black celluloid post that I couldn't identify and two Susan Bates bobbins. I noticed that the post shuttle points didn't close and mentioned this to the proprietor. It didn't stop me from test driving the thing and I didn't buy it, but I did leave a small ring on the thread for her display purposes.  I am not used to bobbin shuttles yet but I checked out the Bates' anyway. The bobbin wouldn't move on one (I think it might have been the wrong size) and the other looked in rough shape. I told her that if someone gave time and effort enough, they would be willing to fix and use all three, but I wasn't that person. She understood and tried to make a deal on some crochet thread. Late for my appointment, I bolted.

Afterward, while waiting for my mom to come by and run errands with me, I continued my walk around the square and found myself in the Old Green Shutters Antique store. There I met the proprietor (and tatting collector) Carey. She informed me that she had just sold all of her shuttles (a bowlful, as she described) to a customer. I could only imagine. We spoke a bit more, she looked at pictures of my work, and encouraged me to try to market some items. I thanked her and went on my way.

Our errands included a trip to the grocery store, Joann Fabrics, an office supply store, and Costco. The skies opened while at the grocery store, and the line was so long to cut fabric at Joann that I sent my mom to the other places while I waited. By the time she returned, I had cut fabric, introduced two customers to the joys of tatting and found Lindsay Rogers' book Tatting Collages! I was sooo excited. I skipped out to the car in the pouring rain and we headed back to rescue my father from the clutches of my daughter.

As we neared home, I turned to my mother and declared with a grin, "My car is still back at the nail studio!" We laughed about how very blonde we are and tried to figure out the best way to get me back into town. Upon our return, my father was unscathed but offered to drive me back to my car. I requested a bit more time to roam the square which my parents were happy to oblige.

I stopped back in to Old Green Shutters because I wanted to show some actual work to Carey. She restated her interest and again encouraged me to market my work. She also mentioned that she had a friend down the block who is a tatter. I immediately headed out.

That was how I met Ginger. She is a kind soul who hails from my hometown. And she is a tatter. She loved my work and encouraged me to listen to Carey. Oh, remember how Carey said she sold the shuttles to someone? That customer was Ginger. I was happy to meet the recipient of such largesse. We talked for over an hour before I realized that I had to get back home.

I shared with my parents all the exciting things, the new tatting book, the new friends, and they were very encouraging. My father turned to me and said, "Who knew you'd come out here this weekend and expand your tatting empire!" Really, who knew?

And now, I get home to find that my eBay purchase of thread arrived earlier than expected! A wonderful weekend indeed!

I actually managed to get some tatting done as well. Here is a small star by Birgit (I don't know her last name) worked in size 10 white and green.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Christmas in August!

This post started over a week ago. My how time flies...

With the school year about to start, I decided to reclaim my possessions from the spare classroom at school. I run a crafts afternoon once a month there and had left some of my supplies and other PTA stuff. I hadn't counted on the fact that they would be using that room as an active classroom this year. So, I walk in to find nothing where it should be. Yes, I know I should have gone back sooner, and I had meant to, I really had. But the summer just got away from me. I was able to track down my bin of remnants but am at a loss as to where my collection of pinking shears has gone or my PTA files, for that matter.

Funny thing is, though, when I opened my remnant bin, there was a bag with about seven balls and two cones of thread in it. They aren't full by any means, and I have no idea what size the thread is, but they are now mine!

I have decided to use the thread to make snowflake or star ornaments for our Christmas market at school. I've spoken with the organizer and she thinks it's a great idea! I hope to tat one up before school starts so she knows exactly what I'm talking about. So far, I'm thinking the Leal Morgan Snowflake pattern in red or green or ecru. Or a star pattern I found (I'll post the pattern designer when I have something to show). I'm looking for something simple that tats up quickly since I may need to make quite a few of these.

Upon closer inspection, the balls appear to be size 10 and the cones may be as well. One of the coned  threads is sort of fuzzy so I don't know what I'll do with that. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments, please!

I just received my first catalog from Handy Hands and I'm quite excited! The Lizbeth color chart is quite convenient and I know I'll use the matching reference guide (not so good with the color matching). I've perused the sample newsletter, made a note to subscribe, and am about to dive into the catalog itself. Hooray!!!! So happy to see that in my mailbox!

Just back from a quick trip to visit my parents. I am fortunate enough to see them fairly often and I never fail to feel refreshed after a visit. This was particularly fun because we staged a little fishing derby. My parents, daughter, and nephew all headed out with our fishing poles yesterday. My nephew was determined to catch fish for our dinner. As you might expect, it didn't turn out quite as planned. In the end, I cleaned fish for the first time in years and he had some tasty pan fried fish bits from the two fish he managed to land. (note, grapes are for scale)

My parents and I were more interested in the fishing so as the kids hung out of the deck we fished for the better part of today. Mom and I managed to land a little 10 inch bass. I say we because she left her rod lying on the dock next to me while I fished and I happened to land the thing. It had taken the hook far too deep to survive and since it was a fair-sized fish I decided to cook it rather than release it. My fish-cleaning skills were better today (with the aid of a proper filleting knife) and it was deemed quite tasty by the consumer.

My last act of my visit there was to work with my father to re-rig a number of fishing poles we found in the basement.  This was a completely unplanned activity; I found him down there and couldn't resist.  We stood there, side by side, at the old tool bench, tying leaders and attaching weights and bobbers, while reminiscing about fishing in Canada and tying our own lures years ago. We worked very well together; he checked the reels and selected the proper materials while I tied the knots. I credit my tatting for making my fingers a bit stronger and more dexterous.  It was a lovely time and I will cherish it as he slowly slips away.