Thursday, August 31, 2023

There Really is No Place Like Home


Today my copy of Martha Ess' new tatting book arrived!  It is titled, Whimsical Tatting, and it is a delightful compilation of characters from The Wizard of Oz, dragons, an alien, an adorable puppy, and an equally adorable kitten.

Whimsical Tatting Patterns
by Martha Ess

I've said it before and I will say it again, Martha's patterns are 110% pure pleasure to tat. Clear instructions, gorgeous photos and diagrams - what's not to love?

A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others. – The Wizard of Oz

Dark Days on the Horizon 

My husband has asked for a divorce. My world has been thrown into chaos and uncertainty. Trying to find a lawyer. Beginning a job search after 16 years as a Stay-at-Home-Mom. 

The only things that are certain for me are:

  1. Navigating divorce proceedings will not be easy. 
  2. There will be many days ahead that outright SUCK. 
  3. I need to get everything Brody and I are entitled to/due for as long as possible to provide for Brody
I may not be able to blog for awhile. But I will try to keep tatting (I am officially adding tatting to the category of SELF CARE.  We all know what good therapy tatting is!)

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Beginnings: a Spring Napkin and an Easter Chicken

Renulek Spring 2021

   During the pandemic I resolved to tat patterns that I have "loved from afar" -- designs lovingly purchased but left to languish in the Land of To Do. It was time to take the plunge and work on my tatting list even if only by one or two To Dos. What better choice than a Spring Napkin?

Taking the Plunge!

   Renulek's patterns are perfection and while other tatters around the world were creating the 2023 Spring Napkin, I "took the plunge" to tat Spring Napkin 2021 (pattern sold on For round one I chose the warm yellows of Lizbeth 20 #180 Honey Drizzle. Marilee Rockley's hand-dyed colorway Roses is an elegant compliment for round two.

Round one and the start of round two

   Those who have attended zoom meetings for Tollway Tatters this year have witnessed the beginnings of my journey through this gorgeous pattern. Here is a snapshot of rounds 1 and 2 complete:

Today I dove into round 3 with Lizbeth 20 #676 Leaf Green Dark.  It is a straightforward, relaxing tat. Very soothing, with no direction changes!

   I am taking the time to enjoy this process and (fingers crossed) building the stamina to keep going once the work gets significantly larger.  Stay tuned!
   Just Chicken In: 🐔
   Spring Cleaning project #2 is a 3D Easter Chicken from this Polish magazine: 

 Issue No. 4 Moje Robotki 2008

         The pattern calls for size 10 thread and I chose a Lizbeth Limited Edition color for the body: Lizbeth 10 #9100 Arctic Evening.  It approximates the colors of a Swedish Isbar chicken.

Swedish Isbar Chicken

3D Easter Chicken - humble beginnings

head and neck

       The stitch marker indicates the first ring of each new round.  It helps me to climb out with a split ring at the right spot.

Completing round 6 tail section

   The complete pattern is only seven rounds, so I am almost done with the body. I decided to tat an additional section of tail feathers in a coordinating color for visual interest. Then round 7, and the comb, eyes, beak and wattle. Et voila! My chickie will be complete. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Aliens in Tat Land: A Closer Look

   This past January, Jane Eborall hosted her annual Tat It And See adventure. She works hard to design, diagram, and deliver an original tatting pattern in bite-size pieces for Tat Land to enjoy.  It is two weeks of creative battery-charging, energy-boosting, doldrums-banishing fun!   

   You can never tell where Jane will take you. Every stage of her game is fun, since it fuels my  imagination to run wild with crazy guesses. (I always try to work in a camel guess early on.) 

   Each new clue jump-starts my creative brain cells and helps me to see design possibilities. This year she had me guessing right up until the very end.

   Without further adieu, I present to you the first of my insinuation of aliens! Chief Blue Meanie from Outer Space!  He is tatted with Lizbeth thread, size 20, #707 – Sky Blue Dark. 

   You know that bittersweet feeling when you get to the end of a very good book? The end of T.I.A.S. each year is a bit like that. It is affecting, conquering new techniques; I have loved the camaraderie; I am delighted by the aliens, and yes, I am sad it's over for 2023. 

I will have alien #2, #3 and #4 to reveal in future posts.  Stay tuned, tatting friends!

“Everyone’s quick to blame the alien.” ~ Aeschylus

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.