Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ITD Redux & Mixed Media bookmark

International Tatting Day Do-Over
Two weeks ago I made several attempts to tat for myself on Tatting Tea Tuesday but ended up spending most of my day wrestling with my aging desktop computer. Of course I managed to eat chocolate.

Today is the day I have chosen to have an ITD do-over. Serendipity struck when Paris Breakfasts shared loads of lovely red store fronts, shop windows, cafes...even chocolate fish!

Photo reprinted with permission
©2010 Paris Breakfasts

See? I don't make this stuff up. In France they celebrate April 1st with chocolate fish.

For my do-over, I loaded a fish-shaped shuttle with size 10 hand-dyed bamboo thread from Heather, The Tarnished Tatter. Having never tatted with bamboo, it was tantalizing to think of the lace possibilities this new fiber might bring.

Fish-shaped shuttle with size 10 bamboo HDT.

Heather's Etsy shop describes this thread as VERY soft and perhaps not suitable for tatting, but very nice for crochet and other uses.

It is very soft, but in that dreamy bamboo way. This would be incredible for knitted, crocheted, embroidered or woven baby projects. It works for tatting, but is not as crisp as some other threads. 

For the record I am a size 10 hater. So I was reluctant to try this. But as soon as I saw that it was a bamboo thread my inner fiber fanatic took over. I love knitting with bamboo blends because of the softness and renew-ability of bamboo.

Wouldn't it be grand to try a 6-cord cotton/bamboo blend? What are the chances that thread manufacturers would give it a test run? (That dreamy softness must be having an effect on me.)

Heather sent me more scrumptious HDTs in size 50 (my fave-o-rite thread size!) as a thank you for test tatting swans for her latest book. (A really good book, by the way. Full of fun "doodles" like a whale, swans, even a baby dragon hatching from an egg!) So I have more to try and more to show.

But this post is getting rather long, so I will save it for another day.

Mixed Media Bookmark
Time to pull out a cherished mixed media bookmark that I have carried with me since my adolescent days. (Back when rocks were soft and dirt was new. LOL!)

Felt Mitten Bookmark, circa 1975

My twin sister and I made dozens of these to sell for a Horsethief Days festival sidewalk sale when we were 12 or 13 years old. What is significant (besides being cute) is that the bookmark looks as fresh and new today as it did the day it was made.

My grandmother tatted all the lace – yards and yards of lace edging for us to decorate these felt mittens. She tatted in front of the television, her hands flying back and forth amazingly fast. I can still hear the click-click-clicking of her shuttle.

It only took her a few weeks to tat all the lace we needed. For me to tat the same amount today would take a month or more. I still recount stitches more than once before closing a ring or finishing a chain. I still slow down to make sure each stitch is uniform and there are no gaps. In short, I obsess.

Because I have collected vintage threads by the hat box full, I can tell you what thread she used – Star tatting cotton in shade #176. (a lovely variegated combo of white, yellow and lavender).

 Well, I have run out of time and must take The Sprout to his swimming lesson! See you all later tonight!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Reason for Lace?

Posing Daylillies' question for open discussion:

Is it possible for tatting to have more relevance for today’s lifestyle?

I, for one, have been asked to defend tatting many times. Daylily makes some good points and raises a good question at the end of her blog post - A Reason for Lace?

Jennifer, who authors the blog My Tatting, posts a lovely photo of the Ring of Tatters demo table from the Harrogate Lace Fair 2010. Some of the creative items on display may surprise and inspire you.

Aside from jewelry, what sort of tatted item is more relevant to today's lifestyle?

Check out this breathtaking tatted wedding snood.

There is no denying the artistry in Tattyhead's Bridal Headband.

Tatting  makes the mag circuit thanks to Elizabeth Zipay, who authors Elizabeth's Lace: Tatted Tales: Unique Lace Jewelry

A needlework sampler is considered to be "old fashioned," but this tatted alphabet sampler, made my mimizuku, is exquisite and would make a timeless piece of framed art.

As often as I have defended tatting, not a single person has walked away convinced. Usually the looks on faces seem to say, "just as I thought, old fashioned."  That makes me sad.