Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gone, flitted away.

June has slipped through my fingers.

Remember when we were desperate for the first signs of Spring? It seemed like old man winter would never loosen his grip. Then Spring arrived and left again in a rush of adolescent heat.

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote the words "Gone, flitted away" in a poem titled simply, "Gone." The poem is often used in memorials but the words also suit slippery days like today.

Tatting Tea Tuesday
What tea befits a Tuesday that is gone, flitted away in procrastination and minutiae?

Sun tea! A homemade infusion of green and Lady Grey with a fresh slice of lemon.

I have had a paisley design on my mind, but it turned out to be more leafy than paisley. Here is a sketch.

It can be tatted all in one pass, but to do it I had to start with a chain. And beads (or Josephine knots) may be added, especially around the edges.

If anyone thinks this looks too similar to a leaf design they have seen elsewhere, please let me know.

This is as far as I got on the test tat before Bali fever took over. More on that later.

County Fair
Have you noticed that county fair season is upon us? Batatter finished her county fair project this week, and her Bellaluna Bat is a work of art!

Instead of buckling down to work on my fair doily, I spent several days winding off exchange threads and receiving lovely notes with coveted samples tucked inside. These tantalizing new threads have been calling, begging to be tried.

Envelopes have arrived from near and far.

This striking stamp from Australia caught The Sprout's eye as soon as I pulled the letter from the post box.

"Is that one for ME, mommy?" he asked. "See? It has a TRAIN on it!" And so it did.

Bali Ha'i
Then I heard the siren song of Heather, The Tarnished Tatter's Bali HDT in size 50. It beckoned, luring me like a sailor, calling me away to start Mary Konior's spinning wheel glass mat.
So many others have made this spectacular glass mat. The pattern can be found in "Tatting with Visual Patterns" on page 72. While I'm not that far along, I completely understand why people are so fond of this pattern. (Why is it called a glass mat and not a coaster?)

Bali colorway has a lush quality that reminds me of exotic sunsets. The thread has a bit of a soft hand, but so long as you don't unpick (retrotat, tonk) too often, rings close smoothly and hold their shape.

Goodness, for a post about time racing by, I have blathered on, haven't I? Time to put this post to bed.

Wishing you all more me-time to create something beautiful.

See you in July for more communi-tea!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Slow Lace

Interweave Press newsletters are great for inspiring provocative thinking.

The latest Handwoven newsletter, for example, got me thinking about "slow cloth" and consequently "slow lace."

It explains the slow cloth concept as being "a lot like the slow food movement. The point is not to do it fast, the point is a deeper, better, richer, fuller experience. Plus a better product."

Machines can, and do, churn out laces at a cheap price point. Computerized sewing machines are even making headway at turning out lace that vaguely resembles tatting.

But handmade lace is by nature slow, and therein lies the joy.

I find making lace to be gratifying and pleasurable. Winding shuttles allows me time to dream about the end product I have pictured in my mind. Passing the shuttle back and forth to form stitches and watching the lace grow is a rhythmic, meditative, and aethetically pleasing process.

My fledgling knowledge of needle tatting suggests that it also fits the model for "slow lace."

So to all those who shrug off tatting as impractical and old-fashioned, I would ask, "what do you do for pleasure?"

Hobbies take many forms. Potters throw clay onto a wheel and mold it under their hands. Painters use color and brushes and canvas to interpret what they see. Dancers interpret music and emotions visually with their bodies.

Manipulating fiber (in this case, making lace) by hand gives me many hours of pleasure and a marvelous, zen-like calm. It also exercises my mind.

Tatting is my Calgon. When a long soak in a warm bath is impractical, the rhythm, the pace and the pleasure of tatting can still "take me away."