Thursday, March 30, 2023

No Foolin' -- International Tatting Day 2023

    Sue Bradham, this post was published with you in mind. You are a loyal reader -- I am blessed to  have you in my life and I am grateful that you are not the only one. Thank you for inquiring if and when I would return to blogging. As of April 1st I am rededicating myself to blogging about tatting more regularly. 

   It’s the tradition in France to play practical jokes on friends and announce "Poisson d’Avril!" when they discover the joke. Often, the prank is just a paper fish taped on the back of your friend, when you pretend to give them a pat on the back. Très drôle, non?

  Did you know that April Fools' Day is also International Tatting Day? I decided to draw attention to this tatting holiday two days early in the hopes of encouraging more participation. This year I will be attending a lace guild meeting as well as frequenting a yarn shop that promotes tatting!

   In 1582 AD, the Council of Trent switched from the Julian to Gregorian calendars. This declaration meant that the new year was celebrated on January 1st. Before then, as you might have guessed, the new year was marked on April 1st. It’s quite understandable that some people would go through their life unaware that the change had been set in motion.

   It would not be hard to imagine people celebrating the new year incorrectly on April 1st for some time after the declaration. And we even know that these people were referred to as “poissons d’avril”, or the easily caught fish of April, in France. It’s a fairly clear accusation that a person who’s been a bit slow on the uptake should be mocked on April 1st. In fact, we even know that people placed paper fish on the backs of anyone who made such a mistake.

   April Fools’ Day is a day of celebration of unpredictability. We tatters celebrate our beloved lace-making art on this day, International Tatting Day. Unlike the unfortunate folk of old, who were not aware of the calendar change, tatters anticipate with glee and prepare projects for our special day!  

   It is also customary to indulge in delicious chocolates in the shape of fishes. Who doesn't like to join in on the chocolate-fish fun?


   While very few tatters associate April 1st with fishy pranks, every one of us embrace efforts to bring a smile to the faces of our friends and family. And eat chocolate in any and all shapes or forms! 

I typically tat a small fish on this day. If an unwitting target is found, I attempt to tape a paper fish on said target's back and declare "Poisson d'Avril!" My kid (who, after 14 years or more of his mother's thinly veiled ruses) is wise to this trick. If all else fails I can trick the dog!  Hee, hee!

   Poisson d’avril – April fish – is what French people say for ‘April Fools’ day’-- so in two days I hope you embrace the day, eat delicious chocolate (whether or not it is fish-shaped) and tat to your heart's content! 

A French April Fools' Day prank on the kitty:

Monday, January 9, 2023

We Still Do -- 19 years!

Nineteen years ago today, I said, "I do," to my husband, Todd Parent. He proposed to me in 2002 on a beautiful beach in Nags Head, North Carolina. It feels simultaneously like yesterday and a lifetime ago. 

I married him because I knew he would keep my laughing when I got too serious; because his blue eyes were clear, bright and keen, the bluest I had ever seen; because his lips were eminently kissable, and because I knew I could love him to the end of my days.

White lilies, red roses, red mini carnations,
alstroemeria, purple statice and assorted greenery

I was delighted when an unexpected bouquet was delivered this morning. I shouldn't have been surprised, except that I NEVER get the date of our wedding anniversary right. Never. Todd has always tolerated this failing with grace.

Nala, inspecting her gift

Nala was fascinated with HER colorful new bouquet, blithely posing with the largesse. (She is a cute little dickens, isn't she?  I hope she doesn't knock it off the table...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Strawberry Heart with a Celtic Top by Birgit Phelps


Don't let this juicy gem fade into antiquity. It is getting harder and harder to find. Save the pattern. Tat one today!

Strawberry Heart with a Celtic Top by Birgit Phelps

Monday, September 5, 2022

Still Working on a Snowflake

"Silently, like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall, each one a gem."  ~ William Hamilton Gibson.

I have been working on a mixed media snowflake for several months now.  Like a delicate snowflake, ideas for it have come and gone, melting before I can turn them into reality. I can only presume that other designers have a clarity of focus - or a process - that enables them to progress more steadily, but this has always been mine.

Mixed Media Heart

I began with an article from the Online Tatting Class (founded by Georgia Seitz) that I had shared in August 2003 called Mixed Media Heart. It was a heart my mother found at a flea market in Florida in 2002. My parents had only just begun their 19-season-long winter treks to sunny North Florida. This heart was found after rummaging through a box of crocheted lace doilies. Haven't we all enjoyed a good rummage through the doilies, looking for tatted treasure? 

Carolyn Groves wrote a pattern for the heart from the photos I sent to Georgia. Thank you  again Carolyn for your excellent work! 

Georgia's original post begins with "There is an old saying that needleworkers should not mix their media."  I believe that old saying is wrong. Throughout history artists have excelled at combining mediums as suited their vision. The 2003 heart mixed tatting with thread crochet. I wanted to reshape it into a snowflake with my own creative vision. With any luck it would be a gem.

Round one combines six tatted rings, chains with decorative picots, and a crocheted chain across the top of the picots to add texture and dimension. 

The decorative picots in round two mirror the technique in round one. A single shuttle split ring bridges the gap nicely, but I needed two threads to tat the next chain. See the problem? Several faltering attempts later (see photo below for the most hopeful of the discarded attempts) I changed the plan again. 

Here is an Instagram photo of a pretty snowflake combining tatting with Turkish needle lace. It is my inspiration for round three, if I can recreate the needle lace. Wish me luck!

"I wish I could press snowflakes in a book like flowers." ~ James Schuyler.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Brownies in a Pie

 Brownie cravings are real. My sister gifted me this gorgeous, ceramic pie "plate" at Christmas. It is the deepest pie dish I have ever seen, which makes for X-treme crave-bustin' brownies.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Memorial Day Designing

Hellooooo!  May 30th is a holiday weekend in my little corner of Tat Land. A few years ago, I spent some time creatively and ended up with a tatting design doodle.

Let me say up front that designing does not come naturally to me.  I often look to nature or vector graphics or marketing labels or trash or anything I can find to get me started. (Even then I struggle, sweat, curse, cry and give up most of the time.)

Apps called Make-a-Flake and Snowflake Creator are two sources for inspiration. Here is an example of a snowflake I created with an app called Make-a-Flake:

The interesting part for me is whether to attempt tatting designs from the negative spaces or the positive ones? A question for all you accomplished tatting designers:  is it okay to switch back and forth between negative and positive space when you replicate a drawing?  Or should someone like me stick to one or the other?  I would love you hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

DORIS is Ready for Her Debut

Three years after Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was officially declared a pandemic and the world went on lockdown, me and mine choose to continue to wear masks and go about our daily routines as best we can.

 A model of coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2

Lockdown was a great time to dust off my old Tatters Across Time binder (2005) and begin improving my proficiency.  Alas, I continue to struggle with one assignment -- the old way of tatting dimpled rings -- and have put the project in "time out" until I tat a satisfactory sample.  This muddled mess is my latest attempt:

In January 2022, Jane Eborall resurrected her beloved T.I.A.S. (Tat It And See) and I joyously joined, albeit several weeks later than everyone else. If you have never taken part, the fun of T.I.A.S. is in not knowing what you are tatting. The pattern is split up into small bite-sized pieces and released every few days.

DORIS (the dragon formerly known as DURANTE)

You wind on some thread, tat a few rings/chains and wonder as the design emerges. This year's mystery did not disappoint. Right up until the end participants were uncertain what they were creating. Once I had gotten to the snout stage, I dubbed my "whatsit" a platagon (platypus-dragon) named Durante. Now I marvel at how close my guess actually was.  Isn't he darling?

For those who like to know, Durante is made with 20 Lizbeth® #716 Maple Syrup.