Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tatting Tea Tuesday in Review

Take one last look back at Tatting Tea Tuesday before we kiss 2009 and the aughts goodbye.

This photo has come to symbolize Tatting Tea Tuesday for me.  My favorite teapot. Yards of pretty edging and a lovely doily.

But what if THIS had been my favorite teapot?
I know it's supposed to be all Jules Verne goes gasket-y, but I still get a slight "I dream of Jeannie" vibe off it.

Tatting Tea Tuesday kicked off on June 2, with the posting of Chantilly Border edging from the May/June issue of Piecework magazine. I keep losing count as I scroll through the posts, but my best guess-timate is 20 published out of 31 possible posts. And you joined me for most of them, so hat's off  & big applause to you!

Along the way, you have shared my growing pains, successes, small peeks into life raising the smartest, most adorable, rough-and-tumble toddler a mother could ever hope to have, and born witness to my burgeoning addiction to hand-dyed thread.

Many personal milestones were achieved through TTT. My first successful snowflake, the completion of the partridge ornament project and my first blog giveaway

But most of all, Tatting Tea Tuesday opened a window into Tat Land where I found cherished new friends and was gifted with a lucky leprechaun named Ciarrán.

Thank you so much for contributing to Tatting Tea Tuesday in 2009. Your participation molded it into the fun communi-tea it has grown to be.

I have enjoyed every minute of the journey these past five months. Even more so because your contributions made it richer and more vibrant than I ever expected.

 Should Tatting Tea Tuesday continue in 2010?
Cast your vote in the blog poll at the top of this post.

NEXT:  A Ribbonwinner Comes to Tea

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day and a Big Thank You!

As the year winds down, I just wanted to share my gratitude for all the company, kind comments and emails you have contributed in 2009. I am overwhelmed and flattered when people take time out of their busy schedules to read what I write. The dialog is what keeps me actively blogging to share and learn. Hugs to you all!

During a recent shopping outing I found a darling little craft book called Pretty Little Felts - mixed-media crafts to tickle your fancy by Julie Collings. (Can you spot the tatting peeking demurely out of a photo in the author's latest blog post?)

Normally I don't buy craft books unless I am learning a new technique. (Okay, except for tatting books!) But this one had to come home with me.

Ms. Collings' book included a touching dedication.
"To my mother and grandmother who always made beautiful things with their hands."

Amazing photographs stopped me dead in my tracks. Staring back at me, big as life, was tatting! And not just a token smattering here and there. There was even a small doily that incorporated Coronation Cord. This type of cording hasn't been produced since the 1920's.

Call me crazy. I suddenly felt a kinship with this crafty woman. It is part of the reason why I have resolved to create more mixed-media projects with tatting in 2010.

May the new year be brimming with creative possibilities for you.

Happy Boxing Day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Tatting Leprechaun for ME? SQUEEEEEEEE!

Introducing Ciarrán!

Today's post preempts Tatting Tea Tuesday to bring you news of an unexpected surprise I received in the mail.

Neighborhood News: Begorrah! It's a Leprechaun
By U. Know Who For the News & Messenger

Two weeks ago, high-pitched squeals could be heard emanating from a local residence, according to authorities who were called in to investigate the disturbance.

The gleeful noise caught the attention of several residents, the home owner's two wily hounds and several small dogs around the neighborhood.

"It was like little barking bombs were going off all over the place, " said one neighbor.

"The last time we had anywhere this much commotion was when that Wendlend girl got a car with a big, red bow on it," said an onlooker.

Receiving a package is always cause for celebration at Silly Hat Central. And this time of year parcels have been known to arrive semi-regularly.

But the contents of this package — from Tatskool — was like hitting the jack pot o' gold! In it was my latest order of HDT plus a tantalizing, silver-wrapped gift that gave off a barely perceptible hiccup.

A hiccup?

As the parcel made the trip from Ireland, I immediately tore open the wrapping to find...

Ciarrán, latest in a series of emissaries from the Emerald Isle!

Ciarrán at teatime with new pals. 

"Where's the loo?"  he said as he sprang out of the wrapping.

Startled, I showed him to the powder room.

Later I found a crumpled up label inside the mailing envelope. I swear it hadn't been there when I first pulled out the contents. But there it was. And it said, "Not to be opened until Christmas."

It seems Ciarrán, the clever lep, had devised an escape plan during his voyage.

In addition to the boatload of HDT I had ordered, Ciarrán arrived with a skein of Vanilla Sky draped over his shoulder, an Irish coin in his grasp and a twinkle in his eye.

It didn't take long for him to make  himself at home. When he spied my crèche he leaped onto the back of a wise man's camel with an exuberant, "chugainn, ar aghaidh linn!" (Gaelic for Let's go!) and rode it into the kitchen!

Ciarrán riding bareback

Hand-picked out of seven applicants by Fergeal, Tatskool's assistant, Ciarrán will supervise my tatting travails and no doubt lead many roguish adventures.

Welcome Ciarrán! I am so excited to have you come live with me!
Now, it would not be an exaggeration to say I have been walking on air since his arrival.

You see, back in July when I first discovered Tatskool's blog and saw Fergeal, I thought, 'what a darling, wee doll.' And then wished for a blog mascot of my own.

Thank goodness I soon realized my ignorant error. Fergeal is no trifling sprite — he's the elfin head of a far-flung family!

From Oisin, the lep' who lives with Tattycat, I learned that Tatskool has been making and giving hand-stitched leprechauns to a few lucky recipients each year.

Her wayward progeny gather as they can to feast, celebrate and cause mischief; often during Tat Days. Reading that, my fascination grew into secret longing.

But life goes on and I reconciled myself to being a happy lurker on It's a Leprechaun's Life. Delightful tales of leprechaun antics dispelled any residual wistful feelings I may have had.

After reading about the trio of artful pranksters (Danny, Fergeal and Finian) who met at Palmetto Tat Days this past September, I determined to attend the 2010 Palmetto Tat Days to witness the faerie funny business firsthand.

And now I can take Ciarrán to meet up with his bretheren!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Motif #6 and Holy Holly Kaleidoscope!

Igoya, my twin sister, granted me permission to post this image. She created it from a photo of an ice-glazed holly bush in her front yard, using a software program called Kaleidoscope Kreator 3.

Does this image inspire you? It inspires me. Wouldn't it make an amazing tatted snowflake?

If you think this image should be made into greeting cards, please leave Igoya a comment at her Etsy shop or here.

First Snowflake

For Tatting Tea Tuesday, I'm working on partridges
and Wendy Durell's 4 Ring Snowflake while sipping Snowberry Tea.

4 Ring Snowflake
© 2009 Wendy Durell

This auspicious flake is the first one I have ever attempted that actually was completed in time for holiday gift-giving.

It was made using "Signature" thread from Japan. It is a long staple Egyptian cotton quilting thread that comes in several solids as well as variegated colors. The color is M07 - Pastels. It is pale enough for snowflakes, but would also be divine tatted up for baby.

I am counting this snowflake as motif number six (6) in my 25 motif challenge.

Wishing you all blissful me time to create something beautiful. See you next Tuesday for more communi-tea!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Secret Revealed: Ornaments

Today I sit down with a fresh-made pot of aromatic Tazo® Passion and Celestial Seasonings® Moroccan Pomegranate Red tea to work on holiday tatting projects and catch up on backlogged blog posts.

First things first, revealing the project I alluded to in my December 2nd post  — partridges for my purple-themed holiday tree. See one peeking coyly over her shoulder? Isn't she a beauty? I think the cardinal is jealous.

The idea was to create partridges and pears out of wool felt. For a pattern I started with a screen capture of the cartoon partridge from the 70's sitcom, The Partridge Family.  (The opening sequence with the theme song is available on YouTube.) From there it was easy to make pattern pieces.

Partridge Pattern Pieces

Here is a flat scan of the tatted wings. I added a few glass beads to give it some sparkle. Tatman's shuttle motif adds just the right je ne sais quoi to make this handmade bird stand out.

Partridge Wings with Tatting
Shuttle Motif © 2002 Mark Myers

What about the pears?

For these, I used a wool knit fabric the color of red Anjou pears. Then I added needle felted roving to add dimension. It was my first attempt at needle felting and it was a lot of fun to do. I made six of these last year and ended up giving them all away to friends who fell in love with them. So I made more this year.

Needle-felted Pear Ornament

The pattern for this comes from the book Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects, by Betz White, in case you want to try your hand at making them too.

I love how my Anjou pear turned out. Even if you've never needle felted before (like me) you can do it and it will look good! Plus the stabbing motion made with the felting needle helps relieve pent-up holiday tension. LOL!

My goal for 2010 is to showcase tatting in more mixed media projects. Wishing you all successful and joyful holiday crafting in the days and weeks to come!

Friday, December 4, 2009

How does tatting help you cope with life?

The other day I saw this in my Handwoven eNewsletter:

For Women Only: 
How Do Fibers Help You Cope with Life?
The University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, is conducting a research study to  explore the role of textile hand- crafts such as weaving, spinning, knitting, felting, and quilting in women’s lives. The research team says that, surprisingly, very few studies have ever examined the relationship between fiber crafts and mood. The survey is brief, and the study will run until the end of February, 2010. 

If you would like to participate, click here for more information and a link to the anonymous online questionnaire.

It is too bad that a separate tatting category isn't included in this research study, but there is a "lace making" category, as well as a place where you may enter in your own craft choice.

When I took the survey I typed in tatting.

Whether or not you choose to participate in the survey, how does tatting help you cope with life?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tatting, Interrupted

This week's Tatting Tea Tuesday post arrives a day late and maybe even a dollar short.

It has taken awhile, but The Sprout finally figured out how to delete an entire blog post while I was typing the final paragraph! Grrrr...

It is a testament to my love for him that I let him live.

I can't possibly recreate yesterday's post from memory, so here is the short recap. No tatting this past week.

Instead, I spent many hours researching household appliance reviews and the government's Cash for Appliances stimulus program. Clothes dryer is dead, dishwasher is dead, clothes washer declared dead on principle (it is over 12 years old). AND last evening we discovered a broken window that needs to be fixed before pumping more hard earned heating dollars (literally) out the window.

It has been a tough week.

But today I saw this Felt Holly Corsage on marthastewart.com and thought, "what a great start to a mixed media project for the holidays!"

Add tatted holly leaves on top of the felt and Voila!

(I know, we're all in the throws of Snowflake Madness or Tatted Gift Madness or whatever you are calling your holiday handcraft frenzy. Another project? No thanks.)

I plan to print this out and save it for next year. A nice, easy solution that actually reduces tatting tension levels!

Here is a sneak peek at a new holiday project I have allowed myself to start. It is related to a Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange. Hopefully, I will be able to blog about it in a few days.

Lavender Shuttle Motif
© 2002 Mark Myers

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Round 3 Complete

Done yesterday during Tatting Tea Tuesday, after switching tea flavors. Hee, hee! Italian Chamomile soothed me through the ring re-opening. After a short blog surfing break (you guys always make me feel better) I switched to Lemon Ginger tea and worked the final stitches and end-hiding bits.

What do you think?

Taking a cue from weavers, I think I will try pairing this wonderful HDT with black or a coordinating solid to bring out the beautiful colors.

Is it just me, or does the Sweet Heart get lost? Birgit's heart makes such a stable and attractive center. It just won't do to have it get lost in the kafuffle.

The gap between the bumps is not pronounced enough for my tastes either. I will rework the pattern to give it a deeper plunge.

A long, maybe even twisted picot connecting the bottom tip of round two to round three would be good too. Oh, the possibilities!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Heartbeat Away...

AUGH! It's frustrating to be so close and yet so far from completing this project. It is the project [original SweetHeart by Birgit Phelps, © 2003] I have been picking up (and putting down) since July.

The thread is Tatskool's lovely Rainbow Bright.

See that top ring there? The partially open one showing signs of an extended wrestling match? I am determined to reopen that ring. I have been working at it for over an hour now.

Not sure if my nerves or the thread will break first!

So it is time to unwind with a relaxing cup of Italian chamomile herbal tea and redirect my energies. Perhaps even write the instructions for round three and draw the diagram for this pattern.

UPDATE: Perseverence pays off! The ring is undone.

The jury is still out on whether this heart will have a pronounced enough gap between the bumps at the top, but I like the length of the point at the bottom. (That negative space around the tip is a bit floppy...some tweaking may be needed there.) And I'm not sure if the variegated thread is overpowering the design. Perhaps pairing it with a color-matched solid. Maybe black to lend a stained glass look?

Can you tell I'm one of those types who can go on indefinitely tweaking? LOL!

Moving on.

Sharon Briggs has said that once you start, you will find inspiration everywhere you look. Look at this surprising source of snowflake inspiration.

Image Source: Wegman's Garlic Naan
Tandoori Flat Bread Wrapper

Graceful little flake, isn't it? Because it is printed in a warm green, it reminds me of henna paste or an ivy plant. The dark green, bell-shaped bits could either be rings or Clunies. The dots could be joins or Josephine rings or nothing at all. The outlined edge could be large clovers or onion rings or dimpled rings or ...

Sharon, (if you are reading) you are a bona fide tatting genius!

Does this image inspire you? If so, please, please share. Would love to see where this leads you.

Wishing you all blissful me time to create something beautiful. See you next Tuesday for more communi-tea!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Hush Falls

Today's post is a culmination of tatting angst and a nod to the hush that seems to be falling over Tat Land of late.

Please join me as I pour a tall glass of "Iced Tea" by The Carpenters and fracture one of their best loved songs.

I know you were expecting to hear the tune, "There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)".

I had originally planned this as a Tatting Tea Tuesday post and it was my attempt at a tie-in. Yes, I hear the crickets...

I freely admit I am not as good at Tatting Tea tie-ins as Gina the Tatting Goddess. But I can fracture a quote (or a lyric) with the best of them!

There's a kind of hush,
All over Tat Land tonight.
All over Tat Land.
You can hear the sound of lacers mid-knot.

You know what I mean.

So listen very carefully
Get closer now and you will see what I mean
It isn't a dream

The only sound that you will hear

Are lacing shuttles [needles] clicking into high gear
Before Santa appears

What? More crickets?!? Y'all sure are a tough crowd.

Before you start lobbing rotten tomatoes, here is a fascinating PDF file. It is a tatting story that The New York Times originally ran on February 2, 1913. The title of the story was Tatting Rest Cure for British Brains.

Can you believe that under the headline it said this? "beats playing solitaire"  Oh sweet mercy!

I particlularly was amused at the spelling of the word doily : "d'oyley."

Another amusing bit was the term "toilet mat." Today, wouldn't a toilet mat be one of those fuzzy rugs that people use to accessorize their bathroom decor? I'm pretty sure that in 1913 they were referring to a lacy dresser scarf or some such.

Now, the next time you find yourself in the loo, the words "toilet mat" will pop into your head. LOL!

Remember — Tatting, it beats playing solitaire!

(To come full circle, it seems The Carpenters released their version of the Neil Sedaka song, "Solitaire" in 1975 and it reached 17 on hit charts of the day. As a kid my first LP was one of The Carpenters albums. Just more useless trivia...)

I know, I know...don't quit my day job.  Aren't you glad I shelved this topic in favor of dishing on HDT stash?

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's in Your Stash?

My HDT stash.

Please forgive this quick post, I have a couple of burning questions for HDT lovers:

Are you a HDT hoarder? A user?
How much HDT is in your stash?

Lately I have been feeling guilty reflective [They would take away my Unrepentant Thread Junkie membership card if I lapsed into feelings of contrition.] over recent HDT purchases. And my desire barely rational need to purchase more is getting stronger.

Don't get the wrong idea. I don't regret a single (or multiple) skein purchase. But I know I won't be able to use all this gorgeous thread in the pre-holiday hustle, either to make gifts or to shorten my "must tat" list.

Let's face it, I currently possess enough threads (not just HDTs, but total thread stash) to last multiple lifetimes. Yet I still must have more hand-dyed thread.

As radical and absurd as it may seem, HDTs don't always bring out the best in a pattern or design. Sometimes it is better to pair a variegated thread with a solid. And yes, there are times when only a solid color will showcase a design to its best advantage. But I'm no expert in making those weighty decisions. Still very much a novice!

Back to the pretty colors. LOL!

Looking over the photo, I see a shortage of rusty red or blue-blended colorways. (Excepting Tatskool's awesome indigo and blue skeins, of course.) There is also room for something deliciously creamy (maybe some Vanilla Sky?). Maybe some Helm's Deep...

See how easily I enable myself?

Could you help me assuage this wicked HDT craving?

Show me your HDT stash. Don't hold back. It will help me put mine into perspective.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Isn't this pretty?

Image Source: Functional Fiber Art Etsy shop

Isn't this a pretty little gift card holder?

Prairie - Keyring Card Pouch

A Kindred Spirit
The creator of this hand-made case hails from Auckland, New Zealand. And she lists HDT as well as tatting and lace among some of her favorite things.

How did I come across this cleverly decorated case? I stumbled upon it after window shopping the latest hook pen arrivals to LadyShuttleMaker's Etsy shop.

nzjo has a few different styles of card cases and other items in her Etsy shop, if you care to browse.

Although I paused at the price, I don't doubt that the cost is totally in line for a custom-made item. Especially if the needle artist is creating the tatting herself.

I'm putting one of these on my Wish List for Santa.

Dear Santa,
I've been an exceptionally good girl this year...I have kept my HDT purchases within budgeted limits (barely), blogged with discipline and kept my online and real life responsibilities in balance. If you could slip a keyring card pouch decorated with tatting and silk ribbon embroidery under the tree, I'd be ever so grateful.

Thank you, Santa!


You are welcome to use my hastily scribbled note for your own Letter to Santa.

And The Winner Is . . .

Carol from Carol's Little Treasures! Congratulations, Carol!

A special honorable mention goes out to Rayanna, who is a friend of Carol's and entered after reading about   the giveaway on Carol's blog. Rayanna, I will be sending you a special goodie in the package with your participation prize.

Carol and Rayanna, please send me your mailing address (you can use the email addy in the upper right corner) so I can mail out your prizes.

Thanks to you both. And to anyone who tried but didn't get your entries in on time, I will be doing it all again in early Spring to help dispel the winter blues. Same rules!

So start thinking about what types of tatting bits you'd like to see on a Teapot Tuesday card. Or a Think Spring card. Or a Ground Hog's Day card (hee, hee!). Or an Easter card. The possibilities are endless, really.

Friday, November 13, 2009

More Design Inspiration

Image reprinted with permission,
courtesy of Urban Threads.com

This machine embroidery pattern is one that I thought was cool. (No pun intended.)

Wouldn't it be lovely on hand towels for the holidays?

But I digress...I see a tatted snowflake in this pattern. Do you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dr. Mom's Mail Call

Today the post arrived with three (Count 'em, three!) packages for me!

Julie Beagle, our post-surgery pooch came home Tuesday night — so Dr. Mom has been administering meds, helping the hopped-up hound navigate stairs while she wears her e-collar, and policing the "no licking" law over her sutures.

Julie Beagle is doing very well and I expect a speedy recovery, but Dr. Mom sure did appreciate getting so many goodies in the mail.

Quit stalling, you say? Show me the goods, you say?

*drumroll*  Okay.

First wave of tatting goodies

In spite of the fact that you can count three items in this photo, it only documents two of the packages of note.

Package one contained two tatting books signed by Georgia Seitz from her Ribbonwinners series:

   1. Book 2: Tatting: It's Not Just Doilies Anymore!
         "Celebrate the Spring Holidays"

   2. Book Six: Tatting Talk
         "A Self-Imporvement Guide for Tatters"
            (Revised Color Edition 2006)

Now, I cannot tell a lie. This is the third copy of book six that I have purchased over the years. The first was printed in black and white. So when a color edition came out I bought it again. It is by far the most well-used tatting book in my tatting library. Initially a technique book, but frequently used for reference.

Why the third copy? A few weeks ago I thought I had lost my color edition of Book Six. I was panic-stricken. I was frantic. I felt like I had lost a loved one. (No, I am not exaggerating about this.) A dashed off a note, practically begging Georgia to sell me another copy. And could she please autograph it?

Well, if you've ever dealt with Georgia, you know how lovely a person she is to interact with. I've never met her in person, but boy-oh-boy, would I like to. (If I ever do, my knees would probably buckle and I'd drop to the floor muttering something unitelligible at the sight of her.) Of course she posted off both copies and wrote totally warm, charming notes in each one. And of course I found my second copy several hours after I sent her my frantic note. So now I have three.

If I ever set foot in her state of residence, I will call her and ask if I can make a detour to meet her. And upon arrival pass out on her front porch!  LOL!

Tatted Pumpkin Earrings

Package two contained Elizabeth's exquisite 100th sale giveaway prize! The tatted pumpkin earrings!! They are more gorgeous in person than the photo in her Etsy shop conveys. My photos don't do them justice at all.
They are drop dead gorgeous!

For those of you who have been salivating to really see how these beauties look, I couldn't leave you with the schlocky shot above. Here is a super-uber-close-up from my scanner. You can see the extraordinary brilliance of the Swarovski crystal beads, the polished detail of the leaves and the shimmer of the pearls inside the perfect, perfect tatting.  Thank you, Elizabeth!

As if all this wasn't enough, the July/August 1996 edition of Piecework magazine that I scoured the Internet for (and found on eBay) arrived too! This issue includes Armenian needle lace, a sample of Rickrack and Tatting from Nufashond Rick Rack Braid No. 37 (originally published in 1917 by The Narrow Fabric Co.), an article on coronation cord, and the much-coveted Icelandic knitted lace shawl article with pattern.

The lace guild ladies are going to go wild to see this magazine. Anita, the other tatting lady in the guild, and I have been trading emails on the topic of tatting and coronation cord lately, and the lace shawl pattern is also of interest to a few of my newfound guildies. It is a great issue!

She Did It Again

Martha Stewart gets me every time. Sometimes I swear her crafts marketing people can see into my brain.

This paper-punch set looks enough like tatting that it could be used for those darling little description cards vendors enclose with their Etsy or Ravelry goods.

See the small diamond made with the corner punch?
I'm thinking thank you notes, holiday cards...
Oh, the possibilities!

Punch Around the Page - One-Two Punches:
Loops Edge and Corner Punches

I don't get kick-backs of any kind from Martha Stewart Living. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Word on Wanda

IsDihara and Wanda on Tatting Tea Tuesday

It's Wacky Wednesday and I am tatting today, but I must share my excitement over meeting Wanda yesterday. You want to know how it went, don't you?

If I were to describe Wanda and her family in one word I would be at a loss. I can't pick just one. They were magnificent, warm, vivacious and completely charming. Uber-awesome! I could go on and on with the gushing praises. They were so great.  Totally lovely!

Wanda was tatting when I met up with her. Perfect! Her shuttles made it easy to pick her out of the crowd. She was so easy to talk to. I could have sat there next to her and talked the afternoon away.

Wanda's Butterfly

She brought me this adorable paper clip butterfly in my favorite color and she even bought me tea!

Wanda is to be congratulated for remaining mindful that it was Tatting Tea Tuesday. In all the excitement I had forgotten. Didn't even bring a camera or tatting project to work on. Silly me!

I encourage you to go visit Wanda's blog to read her post about our meeting and see more of her wonderful tatting. What?!? You don't have it bookmarked already? Tsk, tsk. *giggles*

Wanda, I do so hope we get a chance to meet again.
It was such a pleasure to meet you and your family. I cherish the butterfly. Thank you for making it an uplifting and all-out awesome Tatting Tea Tuesday.

Next — Wacky Wednesday tatting and more!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tatting Tea Tuesday With Wanda

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Lady ShuttleMaker's first random Mondo Monday Giveaway post is up. Don't miss it, it is a good one. And good luck!
This Tatting Tea Tuesday post was written in advance so I could meet with Wanda of Wanda's Knotty Thoughts and her family at a local mall to give her her giveaway prize. Color me excited!

This is the first time I will have ever met with a tatting blogger and I'm really looking forward to it. Those of you who have attended Finger Lakes, Palmetto, Hector or other tat days may liken it to your first time putting faces and voices to Internet names. Except that I only have one face and voice to match up. Wish me luck!

Here is a sneak peek of the Halloween blog giveaway prize I made for Wanda.

It is a quilted ball ornament made using fat quarters in candy corn colors. The tatting follows a pumpkin theme. Here is a close-up of the pumpkin vine edging.

I really like how the ornament showcases the tatting. And now that I know how it is done the next one won't take me as long. LOL! Gosh, I hope Wanda likes it too. (Crossing my fingers that she will...)

Please pardon my unpressed table cloth. I threw it on the table thinking,'it won't matter if I don't iron it, The Sprout is going to spill something on it in half a nanosecond anyway.' So, of course, it has remained stain-free for two days. LOL!

Now that I have confessed I feel better.

A Steeler Minute
How 'bout that Steeler game last night on ESPN? I'm not a huge sports fan, but I love me some riveting Steeler football. And last night my boys in black and gold got their game on! Poor Broncos. They played valiantly, but ultimately couldn't part the Steel Curtain.

Last but not least, I invite you to visit my twin sister's new Etsy shop, New Hands Soaps and Lotions. Her vendor name is IbtihaajGoya. She sells luxurious hand-made spa products made in small batches with scrumptious scents such as Honeysuckle Lemon and Lavender Litsea. Plus she makes the spa cloths herself! If you're a Steeler fan, check out her charming black and gold gift pack called Soap of Champions. Go Steelers!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I won! Elizabeth's 100th Sale giveaway

Image Source: Elizabeth's Lace Etsy Shop

Ohmigosh! I can't believe I won Elizabeth's 100th Etsy Sale giveaway.

She offered up a pair of her tatted pumpkin earrings (Aren't they gorgeous?) and I just couldn't resist entering. Just look at them, with their Swarovski crystal stems. But I never thought I'd win!

Thank you, Elizabeth! I will treasure these earrings always and wear them proudly for the remainder of this Autumn season and for many more to come.

(That is, unless my teen-aged niece talks me out of them...she is a talented and persuasive young lady. But I intend to keep these all for myself.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Secret Revealed! Plus, a Giveaway!

Halloween has come and gone and I realized that I had promised to share a secret I have been keeping.

Several months ago, Mothermark hatched a plan to add tatting to her Teapot Tuesday cards and approached me about creating the tatted bits for her cards. I am so flattered and even more excited! Let me tell you, it is NOT easy for me to keep a secret either!

The reason for unveiling this collaboration by Halloween was that I had sent her a photo of my Halloween teapot. I call it my Witchiepoo Shoe teapot.

I was expecting to show you my teapot and the card she created from it. Mothermark went on a card-making hiatus for about a month and when she returned she has been deluged with hundreds of birthday cards!

On October 27, she posted her first post-hiatus Teapot Tuesday card and it looks like the inspiration came from a haunted house teapot instead. Boo! Or maybe it is a teapot-shaped candle, that moon looks a bit waxy!  (Har har!)

One WARNING before you go over to her blog to see. I got a big, red malware warning when I clicked on her site. After reading over the diagnostic details, I chose to proceed anyway and everything worked out okay for me. But you may not want to take that risk.

Here is the link to her October 27th Teapot Tuesday post: Blacken White's Gettin' Color Tonight

Here is another photo of it, just because I like this teapot so much. (Though I wish I had turned on my Ott Lite to bring out the true beauty of the colors.)

What is that peeking out from behind the spout? Flowering teas? You caught me. I'm stone cold busted. I know some people think they are creepy, but I love watching them bloom while I wait for the tea to steep.

Pressing on! At some point I am sure that Mothermark will create a card using my teapot, and when she does I will be jumping with glee! Golly, I hope she wasn't waiting for me to send her tatting to go along with it. It never occurred to me to do that. D'oh!

Tell you what? Let's make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Ha, ha! In other words, turn my oversight into a GIVEAWAY.

Here are the rules:
1.  Tat a small snippet of edging or doodle or a mini-motif, something that would fit on a 3x5 card and post a photo of it on your blog. If you don't have a blog, send me a photo in an email attachment.

2.Then come back and leave a comment on this post, letting me know where to go to see your beautiful tatted creation.

3.  Entries must be completed and your comment posted by Friday, November 13th.

Everyone who participates will receive two sachets of flowering tea from me! Plus the winner will have his or her tatting sent to Mothermark to be used on a future Teapot Tuesday card!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tatting in PieceWork

If you haven't seen it yet (subscribers already have received their copies), the November/December issue of PieceWork magazine devotes its "Trimmings" section to tatted holiday ornaments.

It includes a five-pointed and a seven-pointed motif created from a modified lace centerpiece pattern. Jane Moody did the pattern modifications from a centerpiece in Clark's O.N.T. Crochet and Tatting Book No. 2, published in 1916.

A third pattern was used to create a tatted cover for a satin Christmas ball ornament. Jane Moody used pattern No. 515 from "Tatting by Adeline Cordet, Book No. 5," also published in 1916.

This issue focuses on the Crochet-Lace Challenge winners and contributors, but there is an article on "Pointed Lace in Crochet Tatting" from Weldon's Practical Needlework, Volume 10 and Link Pattern Lace from Weldon's Volume 12.

I do not get any kickbacks or compensation in any way from this magazine. Pure and simple, I am delighted that they have been including more tatting in recent months and want to spread the word.

If you go out to pick up an issue of PieceWork just for the tatting, please let Editor-in-Chief Jeane Hutchins know! She really does value feedback and we're seeing more tatting in this magazine primarily because tatters have asked for it.

Here is her email address: jeaneh@interweave.com

And to contact PieceWork magazine: piecework@interweave.com

The November/December 2009 issue hits newstands on November 3rd. Just in time for Tatting Tea Tuesday!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Something Witchy is Brewing

This past week a package of HDT arrived from Lady ShuttleMaker.

Doesn't this colorway just leap off the screen? I love, love, love the witchy progression of orange to yellow to green, back to yellow to orange and finally to purple.

This is a colorway that I have wanted for well over a year. Mind you, Tatskool's Bracken Crunch was pre-loaded CTM onto two shuttles, ready to work on this pattern and another set of loaded shuttles ready to test tat one of her lovely motifs from the Design_Tat course. But the call was too strong. It was the call of size 20 Witches Brew!

The pattern comes from page 53 of Georgia Seitz's pattern book, "Tatting on the Edge...and Beyond." It was first published in "Tatting Knots and Notes," a newsletter edited by Doretha Albee. The pattern is called "Doretha's Teardrop Edging."

So I must beg forgiveness from Tatskool for bumping her scrumptious thread and motif to play with this seasonal skein. The fun, Halloween colors just begged to be tatted into something fun in the days preceding All Hallow's Eve.

As it turns out, I didn't complete this doily any way.

All day Friday I was learning how to make bobbin lace.

My 1st Practice Piece
(linen stitch and half stitch)

This is the end result of my first lesson in Torchon. (Second lesson happens this coming Friday.) This practice piece looked a lot better while it was still pinned to the pillow. Clearly I need to learn the best way to remove the pins and free the lace...

But back to Doretha's Teardrop Edging. The pattern repeats 12 times before joining back to the starting point. Each repeat forms a small, rounded wedge that would make lovely beaded earrings or 3D flower petals.

It is late and my eyes have gotten heavy, so I must stop here for now. Watch for progress in a post to come. Happy Halloween to all. And to all, a good night!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tea Rap brought to you by Tatting Goddess

Oh Sweet Mercy! The Tea Rap by The Tea Cup Mafia that Tatting Goddess posted today is a riot!
Check it out over at Threads of a Tatting Goddess.

You really must go pay her blog a visit to catch this video. Just be duly warned, the language is GANGSTA (not PG-rated). I guess they told you, coffee snobs.  (Now the Diet Coke Crew needs a rap too!)

Star Tatting Cotton on EBay

So sorry to cheat you out of a Tatting Tea Tuesday post this week.

Illness has hit Silly Hat Central and I have been doing the Dr. Mom bit. Can you believe I came down with the first symptoms? Unbelievably raw, sore throat, intermittent headache and fatigue. And moms don't get sick days.

My winning prescription: Theraflu, lots of hot tea (that new teapot has gotten a lot of use) and a DH who took over when I needed to go lay down. What a good guy!

So far the rest of my household has had symptoms but are fairing well. The Sprout, however, has been exposed to flu so I have been watching him very closely with the pediatrician on speed dial and my finger poised over the panic button. Knock on wood that swine flu doesn't grace our doorstep before The Sprout gets his flu shot(s).

Oh, and my parents stopped by to visit on Saturday on their way to sunnier shores. Love them to come, but hate the last-minute "white tornado" frenzy before they arrive. It leaves no time to tat!


For the record, it has been ages upon ages since I visited eBay. But I just had to go looking for sellers auctioning off a stash of vintage Star tatting cotton. Ever since tatting the pumpkins I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. Success! I found one seller listing 39 items grouped together. And I won!

Perhaps my spools had been kept in impeccable condition or maybe The Star Thread Company was that good at making fine quality threads. Whatever the case may be, I have never worked with a thread, Lizbeth included (and you know how fond I am of it), that was as break-resistant and tangle-free.

The box arrived yesterday. Fourteen spools of tatting cottons, mostly Star, but Lily & Coats & Clark spools also thrown in the mix. Eight white spools, size 30. The threads are indeed in good condition, very clean and smoke/pet hair free. No stains.

There are several spools of pink in this lot. I am not a huge fan of pink, so I will most likely keep one spool and give the rest of the pinks away. Leave me a comment if you would like some pink!

Alas, my list of items that must be tatted ahead of this fun research project is long. So instead of loading up my new Aero-style shuttles and tatting away, I contented myself with fondling spools and pairing complimentary colors.

Once I get to where I can test my theory with the new spools, I will herald my finding from the (virtual) rooftops. Crossing my fingers that these threads are up to the same standard as my current Star stash.

Have you used Star tatting cotton? What do you think of it?

If you have never tried it, what is your favorite tatting thread and why?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Let's Tat!"

Thanks for telling me what you want to know about Angeline H. Crichlow's self-published book, Let's Tat!

Q: Who was Angeline H. Crichlow?

A: Okay, I admit, nobody asked that question. I just wanted to share a photo and some information about this lovely woman. This is the write-up I posted several years ago on my (now defunct) web site. It was originally submitted by Georgia Seitz:

Angeline Crichlow was an inspirational tatter. She was also a wonderful tatting designer and author of many tatting books.
Angeline lived in Carmichael, CA and was the fourth generation in a family of tatters. Sadly, she died in 1997.
In her hard cover book, Let's Tat, she tells of watching her mother tat and hearing tales of her great grandmother Margaret Robinson (1827-1890) tatting. Margaret Robinson was an immigrant of Ireland into San Francisco in 1854.
Some of Mrs. Crichlow's books are still available from her daughter Jeani Crichlow-Weick.
Although it is now out of print, Angeline's hardback book Let's Tat, is a must have. Let's all encourage Jeani to reprint it for the next generation of tatters.

Q: How did I acquire this book?

A: It all started with a comment made in Georgia Seitz' online tat class about how Angeline Crichlow was an inspirational tatter. Then I followed this reviewer's (Hope) sage advice.

Here is the review by Hope (pasted in from Georgia Seitz.com):

In the back of my copy, which is kept wedged between books because the cover goes soft and curly in humidity- is an email... and I know AKTATTER was blessed with knowing in person this lovely lady!!! because the letter tells of Georgia's learning to tat in 1979 in Sacramento California.
I still have the check where I ordered my books because she endorsed it.. have one of her volumes of poetry.. and adore this book ...and I feel so blessed to not only have the book & 5 of her small ones, but the memory of talking to her on the phone & a letter from her.
"Let's Tat!" is 352 pages, hard bound- and more special- printed and hand bound by a beloved tatter who wanted to share tatting with everyone. It is b-n-w with very good photos of the tatting, I was constantly amazed at all the techniques that she teaches and for me it was a book that I "read" practically from cover to cover- because it was so much fun. It was delightful because of her descriptions of the patterns- where they came from- and often memories that they evoked.
Page 91 is a particular favorite- Centipede Edging... the story about it is precious- taking us back to pioneer times & wagon travel. Her mother called it Centipede Edging- and Angeline was so fearful of centipedes that it was quite unpleasant to think about having this edging on her own clothing. This book is like a recorded history of tatting. If you can ever borrow one and spend time just reading it for pleasure - don't hesitate. and if you find a copy somewhere for sale- don't hesitate- BUY IT!!

So I bought my copy of Let's Tat from a seller on eBay. (And I paid a pretty penny for it too. But it is worth it. This book is a real treasure!)

Q: What more can I learn about this book?

A: In her July 1990 newsletter (TATtle TALES) Teri Dusenbury listed this book in her Top 10 Book Shelf Picks:

9. Angeline Crichlow's Let's Tat. A Books Publications. 1981 A wonderful book comprised of 5 generations of tatting women and the designs that they tatted in a one-hundred-year span. (Out of Print)

Just as an FYI--the Dayton Metro Library system lists this book in its networked libraries, namely the Burkhardt Library. If you live in or around Dayton, Ohio, or Burkhardt, check it out!

Lace-lovin' Librarian, would you be able to request it through Inter-Library Loan?

This was all I was able to find about this book online. (Thank you, Internet Creators, for making information so readily available and bringing us closer together. What did we ever do before you?)

Just one last thought on this topic before I close. Every time I review the information I have about Angeline H. Crichlow or flip through her book, my heart feels like it grows three-sizes bigger (kind of a Grinch-y comparison, but it works). That's how I know she is a National Treasure.

I think to myself, "Some day when I'm gone, I hope someone thinks of me this way." By 'this way' I mean with reverence for her legacy and kindness, and gladness that she was here on this Earth. There is no greater gift than to know that you mattered.

(If anyone is still reading, I want to be remembered like Edgar Allen Poe's mysterious midnight visitor. For details, read Oh Poe, How I Do Adore Thee.)

Cognac and roses, baby. Cognac and roses.

Come to think of it, that might be an awesome name for a custom-dyed thread.  (Hint, hint.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Praise of the Color Orange

There is no blue without yellow and without orange.
~Vincent Van Gogh

This Tatting Tea Tuesday is dedicated to all things orange: pumpkins, Orange Pekoe (or any other orange-scented or flavored tea), safety cones, tiger lilies, orange juice, Carnelian stones, kumquats and my brand new teapot!

This week I have been busy tatting doodles and pumpkins and working on adding a second round to the Sweetheart motif that Birgit Phelps designed in 2003.

I also have been working on finishing the two giveaway prizes from last week. But I don't want to reveal those just yet. Let's just say one of the prizes may arrive with an orange doodle or two.

So far, this one is my favorite.

Tatted Pumpkin by Sherry Matthews © 2004
Made using vintage STAR tatting cotton, size 70.
Green stem improvised from
Mary Maynard's Pumpkin Pattern

My Mondo Monday Giveaway prize arrived in the mail this past week! The mailer was packed full of Halloween-y goodness! With gorgeous thread like this I could tat a whole patch of pumpkins. Really sincere ones. Worthy of The Great Pumpkin!

"Autumn Orange," size 20, by Lady ShuttleMaker
and black seed beads for Halloween-y fun!

Isn't it superb? Honestly, my cup overflows with an embarrassment of tatting largesse.

But that's not all! I can't wait to share some of the goodies I got on loan yesterday from a new needle tatting friend named Bonnie.

Bonnie and I met at LacySusan's shop so she could partake of the trove of tatting riches (books and supplies) Lacy Susan has for sale (along with a vast array of bobbin lacing supplies).

Bonnie showed amazing restraint. Me? Not so much. (Unrepentant thread junkies disavow all knowledge of such words in their vocabularies.)

Look! A sneak peek of Tatskool's scrumptious new colorway called Bracken Crunch in a size 60, six-cord cotton. It is a member of the mouth-watering ChocoLime family of colors. Just winding it on the shuttles triggered a wicked Heath® toffee bar craving.

Along with the 2 purple Sew-mate shuttles pictured above, I purchased 2 Aero-style shuttles (They are the bulk shuttles, labeled "made in Germany." They do not say "Aero" on them anywhere.)

. . . a size 22 (0.5 mm) crochet hook for joining, a bobbin lace pricker, a pack of needles for the pricker, and two bobbin lace books.

The two bobbin lace books are both authored by Rosemary Shepherd:
1. Introduction to Bobbin Lacemaking
2. An Early Lace Workbook: Bobbin Lace Techniques before the Baroque

Quite a haul, if I do say so myself!

But I digress. Bonnie loaned me her copy of Contemporary Tatting: New Designs from an Old Art by Judith Connors. This is a lovely book that includes a pattern for a tatted "take anywhere" cup of tea. It is a darling teacup design that includes split rings. Can't wait to tat one up!

She also printed out a copy of a 3D cup and saucer 2003 pattern by Roger a.k.a. Freedman that had been posted on a needle tatting group site at msn.com. It includes a tatted spoon pattern! It looks as though msn.com has closed its groups site. So having a printed copy of this pattern is like hitting the TTT jackpot!

Since I can't show you this doozy of a tatted teacup find, here is another teacup and saucer pattern originally published in an old Workbasket magazine. Suzann Welker rewrote it so there are no cuts and ties. It involves split rings and split chains, but only short ones.

And just so you don't think ill of unrepentent thread junkies in general (or me in particular) I was not completely greedy. I promised to share my copy of Let's Tat by Angeline H. Crichlow and The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito (Lacis Publications) with Bonnie when I see her on Sunday, October 25.

More later, tatting friends! The hour is late and my eyelids droop. Want to know more about the tome pictured above? Ask and I will answer. (in my next post) Now it is off to bed with me.

As Fox so eloquently puts it . . . "Anon"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mondo Monday Giveaway

Each week the prizes get more enticing, and it couldn't be easier to enter. So what are you waiting for?

Head on over to LadyShuttleMaker's blog and enter for your chance (or chances) to win!

Oh, and reading the rules is a good idea too, because there are ways you can increase your chances of winning. (None of them too strenuous either.)

Now go, and good Luck!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Girl Tatting"

[Image Source: Philadelphia Museum of Art]

This painting by Pierre August Renoir currently resides in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The shuttle is small enough to be a tatting shuttle, yet, something about the way Renoir's subject is holding her hands makes me wonder. Is she tatting? Could she be knotting instead?

One of my favorite of Georgia Seitz' many memorable quotes is, "As many tatters as there are . . . that's how many ways there are to tat."

So I ask you. Perhaps you tat in a way that is similar to the method employed by the lass in this painting.

Georgia even narrates a wonderful teaser video for Palmetto Tatters called "Tatting Hands" in which she says these very words. It is a wonderful video. Look at all the different ways tatting is accomplished.

How do you hold the thread in your loom hand? Do you use your thumb and middle finger for "the pinch?" (I don't.) Could she be making a chain?

What do you think?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Split Chain Success!

Popping online to share a tatting success — I have finally conquered split chains!

Five years ago I learned how to make split rings an have become quite fond of them. But I have avoided split chains. That is, until a split chain was the only way I could tat myself out of a designing jam.

Remember these SweetHearts?

The colorful one on the left is in the process of getting an additional round. Can I just say, this HDT rocks!

And can you believe that it took me three days to figure out the split chain technique? Three exasperating days!

And I was following this excellent PDF tutorial:

The problem was working the stitches right-handed. I'm naturally left-handed and haven't tatted anything right-handed in oh, around 10 years. Awkwardness really slowed me down. But I got it.

Clever scrutinizers will notice the imbalanced threads. Round 1 uses size 20 cotton throughout, while round 2 uses size 40 in color Rainbow Bright HDT by Tatskool and size 20 in a deep purple-to-white variegated from Flora. The split chain really accentuates it.

In spite of the imbalance, I am forging ahead as a test tat of round two. The thread is such a dream to work with and the colorway too lovely to waste.

Better brush up on my right-handed tatting though, or else this blogger will be Ambitatterous no more! Can't have that now, can we?