Monday, December 31, 2012

HAPPY 2013

The tatting technique I'd like to try in 2013 is _______.
(comment with your answer)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

All the Pretty Ponies

Just had to post again to say thank you to Marilee Rockley and Sharren Morgan for crafting the perfect headline for yesterday's post (much better than the one I chose, which expressed an underlying tone of angst).

And to share today's pony, tatted in the car.  This is tatted in Lizbeth® 40 Autumn Apple Pie #169.
I had plenty of time to finish this pretty pony, but no paperclip. So it will be finished at home later tonight.

I will also try to share a "herd" photo.
These horses are tatted using Ineke Kuiperij's Horse pattern from her Chess Set booklet (on a paperclip). The booklets are available for purchase from Riet Surtel-Smeulders.

Earlier this fall, I saw a Yahoo tatting group post from Riet over at Bengelblog called "Horsing Around with Ineke's Paard." The linked PDF file credited Bobbie Demmer with showing a horse to Katharine Buckner, Pam Freck and Riet at the end of 2011 Tat Days.  Today when I looking in the Yahoo group files, I did not see the 'Paard' file.  It might have been taken down because it had gotten corrupted.

Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful comments!  They help me so much to keep a caring perspective about this art form and not give in to petty thoughts and pressures.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Don't spare the horses...AUGH!

Two more horses
tatted in the car.

AUGH!  Instead of working on my Gingerbread Boy, I have been tatting more horses on paperclips.  In addition to the first one, I have completed #2 in Lizbeth® 40 Pink Cocoa #166 and #3 in blue and taupe HDT from Shuttle Lab Trends  (size 20, I think).

Here is a photo of the thread.  I have lost the label, so I don't know the name or the size.  AUGH!  Hope Bates created any chance, could Hope -- or another reader -- fill in the blanks?

HDT from Shuttle Lab Trends
Just as I was hiding the ends on horse #3 I get a call from my LYS asking about Lizbeth® threads. The shop owner was placing an order before leaving for holiday break. What threads did I want to have on hand for the January tat-along?

I responded, "Any size 20 variegated thread that looks vaguely "horsey."

Palomino -- golden, yellow or tan
Bay/Chestnut/Roan -- reddish-brown to brown or rust to dark brown
Pinto -- brown and white patches of color

Plus, Pink Cocoa #166, Sea Shells #114 and Autumn Apple Pie #169.

Even though I am sure someone will want to tat "Black Beauty," I asked not to have black on hand.  It is simply too hard on the eyes unless tatting under a very bright light.  Shop lights are good, but not bright enough for black thread.

Après moi, le déluge
And then the shop owner dropped the bomb...could I tat up more samples?

I wanted to scream, "No!" (Why didn't I say no?)

Shouldn't I be completing projects (Gingerbread Boy, felt partridge, heart to send to JB) already in progress rather than starting something new?

CrazyMom suggested that the shop owner (who both needle and shuttle tats) create the additional samples herself.  What a wonderful suggestion.

But I opened my mouth and out came the words, "Well, these don't take very long to make, I can make another one for you in Autumn Apple Pie."  AUGH!

So, horse #4 is in progress using Lizbeth® Autumn Apple Pie. I am sure that Lizbeth® Sea Shells will also make a pretty, pretty, paperclip pony. And Lizbeth® Pink Cocoa is the stuff of little girls' dreams.

It's a good thing we have so many scrumptious threads to choose from, with hand-dyed threads on the top of this Unrepentant Thread Junky's list, followed by drawers of lovely Lizbeth®

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tatting Tea Tuesday - Pink Cocoa & DIY Daleks

Starting off Tatting Tea Tuesday by finishing my second (IMHO adorable) horse on a paperclip.

Ineke Kuiperij's Horse (on a paperclip)
Thread: Lizbeth® 20 Pink Cocoa #166
Tatted by Is'Dihara

Why did I stop so close to the end?  Some sorting out was required.  My threads are facing the wrong way to continue making the second through fourth joins to the paperclip.  If I pressed on I would end up with twisted stitches. 

As for the rest of Tatting Tea Tuesday, it is time to make the Daleks! (With the requisite tea and chocolate covered pretzels, of course.)

Crafty felt Dalek project in progress

I found a tutorial on Craftster for three-inch (7.62 cm) felt Dalek badges and decided that it was a moral imperative to make holiday Dalek ornaments.

Armed with my faithful purple X-acto blade, a steaming cuppa and a tub of treats, I'm ready. 

Tea-for-One in a lovely purple
This is a more color-true photo of the Tea-for-One teapot.  Steeping inside is a yummy mint tea.

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Finished Lace Mat

2012 Norma Benporath Lace Mat Tat-Along
Completed December 7, 2012
Tatted by IsDihara

It is done!  My work on Jon Yusoff's Tat-a-long for The Lace Mat by Norma Benporath is complete.   The gradient yellows give the mat a cheerful look, like lacy sunshine!

Update:  I forgot to mention that this lace mat measures 6 3/4 inches (17.145 cm) in diameter.

The threads I used are:
  • Rounds 1 and 2:  Lizbeth®40 Pinapple Parfait #170
  • Round 3:  Lizbeth®40 Honey Drizzle #180
  • Round 4:  Lizbeth®40 Honey Drizzle #180 & Lizbeth®40 Gold #611

Thank you, Jon, for sharing this vintage treasure from "down under" circa 1930s. It has been such a pleasure to participate in the tat-along. 

FYI - a tatting blogger expressed her fear of losing clovers which she had tatted separately while adding them to round four.  That is exactly what I did -- lost clovers.  Twice.  No idea where they have gone, perhaps the same place as missing socks? 

Since they never turned up,  I tatted replacements.  And I made a mistake with them that (to me) stands out glaringly in the photo. But I wonder if anyone else noticed before I sent you looking?

The perfectionist in me wants to cut them off and redo, but if it is really a case of "nobody will know from the 14th row," I won't trouble myself to correct the mistake.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meet 'Elfy'...from Elf on a Shelf

On Monday, Nancy from 'New to Me' blog posted about a darling new addition to her home: 'Oli'...from Elf on a Shelf.  He was already up to mischief on the ride home!

As it happens, we are also pleased to introduce a new addition.
Meet 'Elfy'...from Elf on a Shelf

Meet 'Elfy'

Elfy arrived three days ago. He was so excited he couldn't sit still! Sprout fed him treats, checked on him regularly and thoroughly made Elfy feel welcome.

Here is Elfy on day two.

This precarious perch instantly cemented the friendship between Ciarrán and Elfy, who insisted on helping choose the location for day three.  (And showing Elfy his skateboard.)

See them both beaming gleefully from the top of the tree?  The poor star was relegated to the bottom:

Thus far they haven't gotten into my stash of threads, but I am certain it is only a matter of time.

Update:  Little did I know that The Blogess would be jumping on the Elf on a Shelf bandwagon.  You don't want to miss her doozie of an "elfin mischief" snapshot:  Elves are assholes

Ashley over at Lil Blue Boo compiled a photo shoot of elf antics: 18 Elf on a Shelf Ideas
[Spoiler: Love the image of her elf photocopying his bottom, hee, hee!]

The Huffington Post even covers the shelf-ish shenanigans in this column by Abbie Rumbach:  The Elf Went for A Drink

Enjoy all the impish roguery as you tat today and now I must go prepare for tonight's prank.  Will it be marshmallow bath time, tin foil Viking hat or (the horror!) formaldehyde elf in a jar?  Choices...

Addendum:  Tatman gets in on the impish roguery via Facebook!

For those who don't use Facebook, let me explain that Mark did not create this naughty elf image.  He was sharing a photo that a girl named Kelly posted.  But his comment is priceless. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Oh Christmas Weed, Oh Christmas Weed...

The Christmas Weed
(not cannibis)

This weekend I discovered a 20-inch (50.8 cm) weed on our back patio. Trying to get Big Daddy to "get in the spirit" of lawn care, I added a lone Christmas ball and made an announcement.

"This year, instead of putting up a Christmas tree, we are going to have a Christmas Weed," I said.

He laughed, saying it looked like a Charlie Brown tree. 

Now, if he would only cut the grass...

Update:  As it is now Monday and the weed still lives, I offer up a fractured song lyric.

Oh, Christmas Weed, Oh, Christmas Weed,

How Grinchy are thy "branches."

Oh, Christmas Weed, Oh, Christmas Weed,

As cuddly as a cactus.

Pernicious as a dandelion,

Will you be here past Christmas time? 

Oh, Christmas Weed, Oh, Christmas Weed,

How Grinchy are thy "branches." 

Do you have a Christmas weed (not cannibis) just waiting to be trimmed?  Share a photo!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lace Mat - Moving Right Along

Round four of Jon Yusof's Lace Mat Tat-Along is progressing.  Now that those long chains (round 3) are out of the way I am having more fun. And I am pleased with the color progression.

The trefoil bits are attached as I go. Doing it this way allowed me to keep tatting while waiting for the Lizbeth threads to arrive to the Handy Hands warehouse from China. 

Otherwise I would have tatted it all in one pass.

This mat is a bit of a challenge to photograph. The golds in the second image are more true-to-life but the lighter threads are overexposed. Zooming in on the same photo yielded the first image.

Here is a scan. 

Please pardon all the loose threads.  The ends are "hidden" but I tend to not trim them until I have done a final steam press and/or blocking. See how the colors look different in all three images?

I am tatting more on round four of the Lace Mat today instead of the Gingerbread Boy. Variety keeps me from getting too bored or frustrated.  Looking forward to sharing "tidied up" images.

À tout à l'heure, mes amies!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tatting Tea Tuesday - Bungled Boy Restart

Tatting Tea Tuesday starts off with a sigh of relief, as my bumbling, stumbling start on the Gingerbread Boy Tat Along has been hurdled.

Sometimes "modus operandi" can get in the way of good pattern instructions.  Assuming that I was tatting the head first (even after reading the instructions through three times) was my first mistake. The next stumbling bumble was not paying attention to which shuttle to use.

These are common sources for tatting frustration. If you have had trouble getting started, there is hope:  Wendy over at Umi & Tsuru blog has created a pattern supplement to help.

From this point forward I will always think of Wendy as a Heroine of Tatting Adventures, right up there with Auntie "Mac" and her Flying Shuttles.  Thank you, Wendy!

My goal for Tatting Tea Tuesday is to complete the Central Body motif while sipping a steaming, grande-size mug of Spearmint tea.

Oh no; I used Starbucks-style "latte lingo."  Dave Barry lowered the boom on this in his "Ask Mr. Language Person" column in October, 2004:  Latte Lingo 

Or you can read the text of Mr. Barry's column as it was posted here.  The New York Times and a few other newspapers published the column too. All in all, a very amusing read.

Raising a spearmint-infused pint to wish you a Mega Grandissimaximo Giganto de Humongo-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong Tatting Tea Tuesday. See you next week for more communi-tea!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Motif # 19 - Horsin' Around

Horsing Around with Ineke Kuiperij's Paard

Earlier this fall, I saw a Yahoo tatting group post from Riet over at Bengelblog called "Horsing Around with Ineke's Paard."  The linked PDF file credited Bobbie Demmer with showing a horse to Katharine Buckner, Pam Freck and Riet at the end of 2011 Tat Days.

The clever trio of tatting sleuths discovered the pattern was taken from the "Knight" piece in Ineke Kuiperij's Chess Set book.

And what a cute, cute, cute horse it is!  I immediately added it to my "must tat" list.

Motif 19 - Horse on a Paperclip
Here is my first attempt, tatted with Lizbeth® 40 Spice Cake #182. For the eye I used a black bead from my stash.  My best guess for its size is either 4mm or size 6/0.

Two shuttles wound CTM are used for this and (don't hate me) but I did not pay attention to where I started in the color progression. I just picked up and started tatting. Normally I would have chosen the starting point, but I was thinking, 'It is only a test tat.'

Not only was it a very successful test tat, it was pure pleasure to tat and was completed in about an hour.  Pardon the pun, this spurs me on to create a few more horses on paperclips.

Thank you Riet, Katharine and Pam, as well as Bobbie Demmer for sharing such a fun project!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lace Mat Progress

Norma Benporath Lace Mat Tat-Along
Round 3

Hurray!  Round three is complete. The Norma Benborath Lace Mat is looking graceful, even before blocking. 

Here is a photo of it pinned onto a round blocking template.  Hmmm, it might be time to print out a new one  (judging from all the pin holes).

Many thanks to LadyShuttleMaker for offering these free printable templates on her blog.  They are so handy!

Today (Veteran's Day in the USA) will mark the beginning of round four.  I have tatted all eight finishing clovers separately so they are ready to attach as I tat. The finishing clovers are tatted in Lizbeth®40 Gold #611 and (crossing fingers) will draw the eye outward to the edges of the mat.

So far I really like how the Lizbeth®40 Honey Drizzle #180 complements the first two rounds. (Lizbeth®40 Pineapple Parfait #170, for those who like to know).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tatting Tea Tuesday - Election Day & Carpool Trauma

Since Tatting Tea Tuesday fell on Election Day, Sw4nkyL4c3r and I decided to spend a few hours together tatting. Tatting is always more enjoyable when done together and what a pleasant Election Day treat!

Sw4nkyL4c3r and I drove over to her mom's house to sit with her bed-ridden stepfather, so that her mom could go vote.  Her stepfather is in the late stage Alzheimer's so Mamma Sw4nkyL4c3r rarely interacts with ambulatory/vocal adults. I believe our visit was a welcome respite for her. And it was a lovely tat-n-chat at her kitchen table.

Before long it was time to pick up The Sprout from Kindergarten. What should have been a calm carpool routine was quite unexpectedly interrupted.  I was walking around the van to buckle The Sprout into his car seat when very loud wailing rent the air.

What happened?!? The Sprout bonked his nose unexpectedly on an armrest in the car while showing off for his 4th grade carpool buddy. There was no swelling, no blood, no mark at all.  But you would have thought The Sprout's nose had been ripped off his face.

The most alarming part was watching the him punch himself in the nose repeatedly while huge tears streamed down his face.  He was crying so hard I couldn't understand him.  All I could do was hold his punching arm, maneuver him so I could examine his face and try to hug away the hurt.

He continued to cry the whole way home. The 4th grader looked very sheepish the whole time, so I suspect she may have had something to do with the incident, but she didn't own up to anything.  And The Sprout didn't tell on her, so I cannot say for sure what her role might have been.

I was at a loss for how to deal with the situation.

Once The Sprout was sufficiently calmed, I took him to a book fair and bought him some new books. It was a school fund-raiser so I didn't think it was spoiling him too much.

There were no nose-bonking or wailing relapses for the rest of the evening, but I wonder if I should be speaking to a doctor of some sort about The Sprout's punching himself in the face?

Any more seasoned moms out there who can comment on this type of behavior?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Deep South Staples

 Or how to survive in a southern kitchen without a can of cream of mushroom soup

By Robert St. John

Oh Sweet Mercy!  Have I chuckled a hearty chuckle while reading this cookbook. 

Growing up north of the Mason-Dixon Line*,  I am often surprised and amazed by colorful Southern sayings. They are an endless fascination for me and I mean no disrespect whatsoever. Truly.

For example, I heard this said the other day while waiting outside of The Sprout's school. 

Tennessee mom said, "Anyone who's ever had their heart blessed knows how true that is...."

Georgia mom nodded knowingly.

BAM! Just like that I was confused. It took me the better part of 15 minutes of silent reflection before enlightenment finally came. 

'Is this a twist on the "Bless your heart" comment?' I thought to myself. 

But by then I had lost the thread of the conversation and couldn't test my hypothesis in context.  I still don't know what "anyone who's ever had their heart blessed" means.  

But enough of the exasperating example. Let's get back to the cookbook.

Published in 2006, the author states that the recipes included were traditional preparations of the Deep South that were handed down from grandmothers and great-grandmothers. They were often written on the backs of old cancelled checks, notepads, garden club programs or church bulletins.

Chapters are organized by occasion: Cocktail Parties, Funeral Food, then Breakfast, Salad and Soup and a grin-inducing essay on Vienna Sausages.  Main Courses follows with an essay entitled, "The Great Possum Predicament."  All chapters are peppered with cooking tips.

As you may well have surmised, it is the cooking tips and essays that had me giggling. 

There is a separate essay on sweet tea!  In it the author explains how the tea gets sweeter as you travel deeper into the South. That rule works for women too, he writes.  

I imagine a few readers may be nodding their heads in agreement.  The following short passage had me laughing out loud:

I hate sun tea. It's a scam. I imagine sun tea drinkers also are dog beaters and jaywalkers. Sun tea is weak. [...passage snipped for brevity...] The same guy who invented the Pet Rock invented the sun tea jar.  He was a dog beater. 

[...snipped again...] Don't beat your dog for fear that someone will call you a sun tea drinker...
This cookbook was a perfect choice for riding out Hurricane-turned-Superstorm Sandy. Cabin fever?  Not me.  I had good food, tatting and this anecdote-rich tome to dispel cooped-up feelings.

Luckily, we never lost power and suffered no wind damage.  We came through unscathed. Plus, my amusement meter reached level 10 at various points throughout the storm.

And a reward for those who read all the way to the bottom:
Funny Southern Sayings - Meaning of Southern Expressions 

I may never completely understand Southern expressions, but the journey is never boring.

* the demarcation line representing a cultural boundary between Northeastern (Yankee) and Southern (Dixie) United States

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gingerbread Boy Tat-Along

Now that the Halloween candy-fest is past, it is time to scare up some après-ghoul tatting.

Gingerbread Boy Tat-Along
Anyone up for a Gingerbread Boy tat-along? One of the things I have wanted to tat for a long time is our dearly departed Tatting Goddess, Gina Brummett's, Gingerbread Boy.

Gingerbread Boy (click on link to download pattern from Gina Brummet's blog)

While you consider, here is Tatskool's post showing three good-enough-to-jump-out-of-the-oven gingerbread boys:  Gingerbread Boy!

And just so we all remember, in a later post Tatskool shared that one of her tatting lassies found a discrepancy in the pattern.  Read all about it here:  More About the Gingerbread Boy

Jeff Hamilton (Bridge City Tatting) shared his 2009 Gingerbread Boy and it looks FAB (even though he says he made a mistake or two with the pattern) in a solid brown:  Gina's Gingerbread Boy

Miranda (Tatting Fool) shared her Gingerbread Boys earlier this year, shortly after our beloved Gina's death.  Two delicious tatting treats, one with white icing and the other with green.

If you are interested in joining a Gingerbread Boy Tat-Along, leave a note in the comments.  I will make a list and start watching your blog (if you have one).  No worries if you don't have a blog.  You can still join in!  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fretting over Flop

Norma Benporath Lace Mat Tat-Along
Round 3 in progress

Having already griped over the liberal picots in this otherwise graceful design, I turn my attention to the really long chains in round three.

Nineteen tatters are listed on Jon's blog as participating in this tat-along.  Several of those tatters have already completed this project and posted their lovely results.

So why has no one mentioned their experiences tatting the long, floppy chains in round three? Surely I cannot be the only one to approach them with prejudice.

EDIT:  Oops, I stand corrected. Tat-ilicious Jess had a fair amount of success with tatting her chain stitches unflipped, using the second shuttle.  I will give that clever trick a try.

My dislike for long, floppy chains can be traced back to my participation in the 2009 Design_Tat online course. The class discussed my long floppy chains at length (see the picots?). It was a great learning experience.

Determined to overcome floppy chain syndrome, I reworked the assignment.  The "onion dome" shapes were lost in the process of retro-fitting stability into the design.

EDIT: Two bits of wisdom I took away from that particular lesson were "don't retro-fit stability into a design" and "designing takes patience and PERSEVERENCE."  I guess an unexpected thing I took away from that lesson was a (perhaps unhealthy?) dislike for long chains with regularly spaced picots.

Ever since, I have avoided long floppy chains, especially ones with lots of decorative picots.

But I digress!

If no one else was willing to tackle this issue, I was going to give it a try.  Substituting the Double Double Stitch didn't work because the resulting chain was too long. Adjusting the DDS stitch count was a bit problematic because of all those picots, so in the end I decided to just tat it as written and forget about stabilizing those floppy chains.

But I can't stand it. It is driving me crazy!

Those of you who have finished the doily, does your doily stand up to the flop test?

Gentle tatters, I ask for an open discussion of long, floppy chains.  Help me to learn how to use them advantageously and without prejudice.  Whaddya say? Will you weigh in on "flop?"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lil' Black Border Revisited

Maybe because Jane from South Africa is tatting an edging?  Today I have been thinking about the Lil' Black Border pattern I learned to tat back in the 1980s.  (And a slew of other projects...)

Alas, too many tatting To Dos are already queued to start an edging. Unless, of course, it is Be-stitched's Tatted Holly Edging.

There is also Tatman's Back to School Apple, Gina Brummett's Gingerbread Boy, Yarnplayer's Small Maple Leaf earrings and a paperclip horse designed by Ineke Kuiperij.  (The design comes from her Chess Set booklet.) The paperclip horse was shared with the Palmetto Tatting group by Pam Freck, Katharine Buckner and Riet Surtel-Smeulders.

See what I mean about distractions?  *whine* But I have Norma Benporath's Lace Mat to finish. And at least one more charity project snowflake to complete before November 3rd...

Hand-dyed threads (HDTs) are whispering too. 

It is not "4-Eva," not Fancy Fields, not Blue Tango...

All these HDTs are vying for attention. Oh, good grief!

Maybe I'll tat a football instead:  Tatman's Superbowl Shuttle & Pattern

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scheduling FAIL

Dear Readers,

I messed up a scheduled post last weekend and at least one eagle-eyed tatter (Michelle from Tela Magistrae) saw it go live for about 45 seconds. There may have been others...

When the scheduled post published yesterday, it failed to show up on blog rolls.  I am sorry for this inconvenience and hope you will scroll down a bit and check out the Tatting Tea Tuesday post.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tatting Tea Tuesday - ♥ from Postie ♥

Ooh, it has been a good week for post.  Look at what my "Twistin' Postman" delivered.  And yes, he did ring twice.

New Tatting Bags and Shuttle Pouches
from Jane Eborall

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  I just love, love, love these new bags! JaneE is so generous.  She even included one of the square tatting bags designed by Anne Bruvold. 

This fabric might not appeal to everyone, but I really fancy it. (bought it ages ago) It has been languishing in my stash closet waiting for the perfect project. Wouldn't you agree that this was it?

Size comparison

My original orange bag is starting to look worn from me taking it (literally) everywhere. The new, round bag is taller for those times when I am teaching and need to use a tatting needle. (Not very often, but it pays to be prepared.)

Not one, but TWO matching shuttle pouches

What a luxury to have matching accessories!  Two shuttles from my collection are included for scale.

The same shuttles at the bottom of the new tatting bag.  Don't they look small? 

Of course, one very eager elf leapt right into the square bag for an impromptu game of hide and seek with his knitted pal, Arthur Dent.  Don't panic, Ciarrán, but he's getting closer...

Not sure if the giggles permeating my kitchen are of the tiny, elfin variety or from The Sprout.  Either way, we're greatly enjoying the parcel from across the pond!  Thank you, Jane!

But that's not all.  This box arrived two days later.  Just a little box...

But sometimes the best things come in small packages, as Ciarrán will attest.

Honey Drizzle, Elderberry Jam and a few other Lizbeth®40 new Fall colors (not all of the them).

These will tide me over until the size 20 threads (and size 3) and new Aerlit® shuttles arrive.

Hoping you have time to indulge in lace-making endeavors today and can enjoy a cuppa tea too.  See you next Tuesday for more communi-tea!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two Novels: Ruinous Lace & Night Circus

I have been sitting on the fence about reading this new lacy novel, leaning one way and then the other; not quite ready to jump.  Reviews have been intriguing and so I lean forward, almost deciding to read.  Then I read between the lines of "point of view of the dog" comments and pull back, hesitating.

The Ruins of Lace, by Iris Anthony

I'm a dog lover and a sentimental. There are hints (inklings) in reviews that the dog portrayed in the novel may be mistreated.  If said canine is abused or worse, put to death, for the sake of lace, I will be emotionally wounded. Perhaps even scarred.

And so I checked out this book from the library instead:

The Night Circcus, by Erin Morgenstern

Whooo-boy!  Has it been a fantastic ride so far: imagine tripping down a magical lane with a rare Victorian Circus as the venue and two competing illusionists driving the plot.

Having fallen under its spell, I worry that elements of parental cruelty found in early chapters of this book may ultimately lead me to or over the ruinous edge. The two illusionists are bound in a pact. Will they ultimately outwit and escape their fate? Or be doomed to a duel to the death?

The descriptive passages in this book are, to me, captivating and engrossing. Those who prefer dialog to description may not relish this book as much as I.  That said, it is a superb distraction from The Ruins of Lace, by Iris Anthony.

If you enjoy fantasy novels, I would say read the reviews and consider The Night Circus.

As for The Ruins of Lace, I'm still sitting on the fence. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Calling all Pattern Sleuths SOLVED

Does anyone know the source for this heart pattern?  It looks so familiar...

Corazón perfumado
By Corazón Frívolo

I have so far eliminated the following antique patterns sources from my search:

Antique Pattern Library:
 1.  Beeton, Isabella. Beeton's Book of Needlework, 1870 (the tatting chapters)
 2.  Beyer's Handwerkboeken Serie H. 40, Frivolité met Afbeeldingen., 1920
 3.  Bucilla Blue Book No. 3, Original Designs in Tatting, Novelty & Filet Crochet, 1916
 4.  Priscilla Tatting Book, 1909
 5.  Dillmont, Therese. de, D.M.C. Tatting, 1920
 6.  Endrucks-Leichtenstern, Eleonore.  Schiffchen-Spitzen, Die, 1920
 7.  Farnes, Emma. [B] Alphabets in Crochet & Tatting,
 8.  Fitch, Mary E. [4] Crocheted Yokes and Tatting, 1915
 9.  Hayden, Hazel. Round Yoke in Tatting, 1916
10. Hees, Marie Antoinette. Old and New Designs in Tatting, Book No. 5, 1916

Note:  Several of these antique pattern books include four-ring elements, but I have so far been unable to connect them to the ring-and-chain work seen in the heart sachet.

Thank you to everyone who looked and thought and sleuthed along with me. Kathy Niklewicz commented that she could "'almost positively' say that it's Teri Dusenbury's very popular "Regal Heart" pattern from her "Hearts" book." And she was right! It is even pictured on the front cover.

Incidentally Kathy, I also tatted this heart back in the 1990s. I was intimidated by split rings and never attempted any of the other hearts from this book. (That's why it looked so familiar.)

Thank you, thank you for solving the mystery!  I am adding this pattern to my holiday ornament To-Do List, since it looks so sweet adorning a felt heart.  And I will add beads.  (Fox, you saw that coming, yes?)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tatting Tea Tuesday: Motif 18 - Maple Leaf

A damp, Autumn chill descended upon my corner of Tat Land over the weekend.  After several gorgeous week days with temperatures in the 80s (30 degrees C) I was downright cold.

So I put the kettle on for some Chocolate Chai tea, donned my favorite Pashmina and set about tatting leaf samples for a Tat-Along being hosted at my local yarn shop (LYS) on October 14, 2012.

Motif 18 - Maple Leaf
Tatted by IsDihara 2012

The pattern is the Maple Leaf Motif from the February 1975 Workbasket which has been diagrammed and adapted by Tammy Rodgers to include a stem.

I have tatted it with Lizbeth® 40 Falling Leaves #100 for the rings and Lizbeth® 40 Victorian Red #670 for the chains. The stem is pearl tatted.  I quite like the look, but will add an extra core thread next time to give the appearance of a sturdier stem.

If your thoughts have turned to tatting leaves, there are loads of great patterns from which to choose.  Georgia Seitz has a great page pulled together, Notes on Designing Tatted Leaves.

Karey Solomon has a booklet for sale called "Tatting Turns over a New Leaf."

Jane Eborall shares her Beady Leaves on her online pattern pages.

Our dearly departed Tatting Goddess, Gina Brummett, posted this leafy image on her tatting blog on January 10, 2007, with the following words:

"A "delphinium" from Tatting Collage by Lindsay Rogers becomes a Christmas or Evergreen tree with green metallic embroidery floss."

Gina's leaves from October 31, 2010 (maples, oaks, celtic and miscellaneous, small leaves) are truly inspirational.


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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lace Mat Lag

Norma Benporath Lace Mat Tat-Along
Rounds 1 and 2

With round two complete, the Norma Benborath Lace Mat has been put on the back burner.  Why?  Because the thread color I chose for rounds three and four has not yet arrived from China to the Handy Hands warehouse.

The lace currently measures 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in diameter.  Rounds 1 and 2 are tatted in Lizbeth®40 Pineapple Parfait #170.  I would like to continue rounds 3 and 4 in Lizbeth®40 Honey Drizzle #180.

My progress for this Tat-Along may be behind many of the other participants, but no worries. It is not a race. When the new Honey Drizzle thread arrives I will carry on.

Norma Benporath Lace Mat Tat-Along
Rounds 1 and 2

While the rhythm of this pattern makes it enjoyable to tat, the repetitive picots on all the chains (IMHO) make this lace look old-fashioned. Some people really like this look.  I am not a fan.

If I were to tat this again, I would remove the picots on the chains of round one and omit all but the joining picots in round two.

Adding beads to all those decorative picots would certainly "sparkle up" this mat.  Not sure if it would make me happier. What say you, bead lovers?  Does this need a dose of bead love?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adventures of Auntie "Mac" and Her Flying Shuttles

Oh Sweet Mercy!  Have not been able to conceal the big, gaping grins every time Anitra Stone's husband and his pre-caffeinated story time creation popped into my head.  I first saw it on Anitra's Facebook page:  a status update that looked like this:

The amusing puns set off all sorts of happy thoughts in my head and I have been enjoying them all while working on my weekend tatting.

Wouldn't it be divine if a series of short one or even three-panel cartoons  (think Bill Watterson's Calvin and  Hobbes) evolved from this idea? I would be doing this dance if that happens.


And this cartoon panel animation, saved with the file name "pounce," seems ever-so-much fun. It mirrors to a tee the boyish antics that erupt at my house on weekends.


Any writers or sketchers out there (Tatman? or maybe even YOU?) who would give this a go?  Think of how much fun it would be to read about this in a tatting newsletter.

If anyone is interested in exploring the idea of Auntie "Mac" and Her Flying Shuttles through words or sketches, please be so kind as to contact Anitra Stone and her husband.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Light and Lacy in Yellow

In spite of the long list of post-Tat Days projects, I couldn't resist joining in Jon's Tat Along to make the Norma Benporath Lace Mat.

My rationalization? It is perfect in-car tatting for after-school dismissal. Yesterday I had planned to start round two, but got caught up in an utterly diverting chat and didn't tat a double stitch.

Jon's post from September 12, The Lace Mat, gives great historical details about this pattern, but I will try to sum up (so that I can remember in the coming years).

On March 16, 1938, The Queenslander newspaper published this pattern under the headline "Tatting for Busy People" giving Norma Benporath a proper byline.  (Yay!)

The National Library of Australia (NLA) granted Jon permission to rewrite the patterns it has archived to preserve the designs and make them accessible to current tatters.

Jon included a few handy notes for folks eager to start the Tat Along. I was curious about bullet number three in particular:

Here is what my round one looked like before I flattened it out with a quick shot of steam. (After first pinning the lace to my ironing board, or course.)

Thank you Jon for being so wise as to include this note. I would surely have abandoned the work had you not advised me to not panic.

Later this afternoon I will begin round two for Tatting Tea Tuesday. Imagine me with a travel cuppa of chocco-strawberry decaf with a splash of chocolate soy milk. NPR playing on the car radio. Happily tatting along. The sunny yellow thread juxtaposed with the soggy, grey skies.

That is how I plan to banish the rain and continue dreaming of Indian summer.

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tat Days, Episode 2

The One With Swag and Shameless Name-dropping
This post focuses on cool stuff I received from even cooler people and the many tatting celebrities I had the pleasure to meet (and heckle or lure into hijinx).

When I got home, I emptied the contents of my "welcome" goodie bag (where I had also stored my purchases) and this is what was inside.

What you don't see is the gallon-sized zip-top baggie filled with all sorts of tatting treasure. Like a tiny fairy shuttle and a needle case and an emergency tatting survival kit, and a bookmark sleeve. Truly too much to mention it all. Double what you see and you have a good idea of my loot haul.

Can you believe there's more?

I was the blushing recipient of some incredible gifts. (Still blushing.)

These pretty beaded posies were a gift from Marie Smith who, rumor has it, made 100 to hand out. Was not able to confirm the rumor (I was too busy admiring the exquisiteness.) but I wore this proudly on my name tag.  Thank you, Marie!

The inimitable Erin Holloway made this brooch for me after I groveled at her feet the previous year, begging for a similar brooch to the one I had failed to win in the silent auction. You can see why! Isn't it gorgeous? Sometimes groveling (and being willing to match the winning silent auction donation) pays off.  To say I will cherish this always doesn't even begin to express my joy. Thank you, Erin!

Truly, I felt like the Belle of the Ball wandering around Tat Days with these two knockout accessories.

No amount of thanks can match Louine Teague's thoughtfulness in creating this tea wallet.  I was, and still am, so touched that she made this in honor of Tatting Tea Tuesday. See the teapot closure? This beauty will come with me everywhere.  Thank you, Louine!

In addition to the multiple beads, threads and other goodies showered upon me by my Tat Days roomie, CrazyMom, I was the gleeful recipient of this stunning bookmark tatted in Gina Brummet's Tequila Sunrise (one of Tatskool's superb HDTs) and a lovely forest green. Thank you, CrazyMom!

CrazyMom also gifted Sprout with a Spiderman Pez, which he couldn't wait to open. It took him all of 15 seconds to load it and start gobbling candy. A special Spiderman Pez tooth-brushing session promptly followed.

This item was the first one I received. It was a gift from my tatting guild mate, friend and carpool buddy.  She made it after hearing that my county fair entries did not garner any ribbon love this year. It meant so much to know that she was inspired by my tatting and thought it was ribbon worthy.  I wore this proudly and with a whole lot of gratitude.

Anita also gifted The Sprout which made him very, very happy. It was one of those cotton cloths that are compressed into a tiny, tiny package so they will "grow" when you open them.  Of course, Sprout spirited it away before I could take a photo. Thank you, Anita!

One last gift came from the irrepressible Hegla, who I believe secretly doubles as one of Santa's Helpers. There were bead jars, a frame that showcases tatting from both sides, a pretty notebook and four LEGO-esque building kits for the Sprout. Plus more bead-sharing and a yard of Coronation cord. Thank you, Hegla!

It's hard to be humble when you're surrounded by such a wealth of tatting riches, in talent, generosity and largesse. Sharren Morgan expressed it so much better than I ever could in her post We Had a Blast (from the Past).  I cannot thank everyone enough for all the effort put into the numerous and mind-boggling gifts we received at Tat Days.

Recounting all the goodies makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning. It is a good feeling.

After an intermission we'll dive into Shameless Name Dropping. Go refresh your drink, grab a snack or do what you need to do. I will wait. 

This paragon of tatting has so many fine talents, auctioneering being but one, she deserves her very own name-brand chocolate. White chocolate, of course.

Georgia Seitz

This clever gent permitted me to tease "da udder brudder" through text messaging for the better part of a day. File under "Look Ma, a Shuttle Brother!"

Randy Houtz

Let the record show that Randy was spotted dancing a jig when he thought no one was looking. Here Randy is plying his shuttle during a class.

Lastly, an article written about The Shuttle Brothers called "Men Who Tat"

Marilee, the Yarnplayer, and Sue Anna (of Tollway Tatters fame) traveled from the Prairie State to join the frivolité. Both were sheer delights to be around: charming, funny, insightful and in possession of secret stashes of HDT. What more could an Unrepentant Thread Junkie hope for? I was in heaven for so many reasons.

Marilee and Sue Anna

Ah, Nina Libin.  I am in such awe of her design talent and her patient teaching style that I flock to her classes. But this year I was treated to being in classes with her as a student as well as a teacher. She is incredible. Amazing. I accomplish things in her classes I never thought I could.

Go take a class from this wonderful woman. I hear she may be teaching in the Fingerlakes region of NY in Spring 2013. 

Nina Libin

I was surprised by this next celebrity tatter because I had been chatting in the reception area with her for several minutes before realizing to whom I was speaking.

Her name tag read "Sue F"  (or maybe Sue K?) and it wasn't until she had a flash of recollection about the name "IsDihara" that we figured out we "knew" each other online.

I recall Susan said something vaguely resembling, "Oh, I know! You're the tatter who wrote me, asking for permission to use my pattern combined with some other one, a fleur de lis or something."

And I said something like, "Oh my God, you're Susan Fuller?!? THE Susan Fuller who designed Heart's Desire? That's one of my favorite heart patterns."

And before you could say 'Bob's your uncle' we were talking a blue streak. Tat Days is the BEST!!!
IsDihara, Hegla, CrazyMom and Susan Fuller

Sadly (thankfully?), that is all the photos I have for today, but hopefully the long trek to the bottom of the post hasn't been too grueling.  Go stretch your legs, flex your tatting muscles and meet me back here in a day or so for Tat Days, Episode 3.

Thank you for reading!