Wednesday, November 23, 2011


After hankering after a Pop-a-Bobbin for a year or so, I have finally treated myself to one! I tried for the cherry, but while I navigated first a surprise request from Etsy for me to create an account before they would send me to Paypal and second the chore of remembering my Paypal password, someone else bought the cherry. Fortunately I am just as excited about the walnut and I was able to snag that. It came quite quickly and I loaded it up as soon as I opened the package and tatted this little motif.
This shuttle is so smooth and light and cries out to be held, and it flies back and forth like a song. I'm not going to tell my family how much it cost; they would never understand how addicting it is to tat with a finely crafted piece of wood instead of plastic. I do love Clovers, but they don't even compare.

Friday, July 01, 2011

How to tell that the Canada Post is no longer on strike

I present my evidence in the form of a lovely package from Fox! Here definitely are good things coming in a small package. In just one envelope, a little bag of rings and filigree to tat on, a pretty piece of tatting, and a big spool of the thread she was generous enough to give away. I have obscured the tatting a little in the picture, as Fox wanted us all to know it was tatted a looooong time ago and she doesn't feel it meets her standards now. But I couldn't bear not giving at least a glimpse of it, as I personally love it and the colors and beads keep drawing my eye back to it and my hands creep over to touch it again. The thread also is making me very happy. As soon as I unwrapped it I started itching to get it on the shuttles and before the day was over I had finished this Small Motif of Jane's.
It felt kind of wrong tatting something with Fox's thread and not putting beads on it! But I don't think I have any beads small enough for this thread yet. Still, it was meant to be a connection anyway, for just a day or two after I finished it what should pop up on Fox's blog but a familiar motif! I would be more surprised if I didn't know we had both taken our cue from Miranda, whose rendition is what put the Small Motif in my mind anyhow. This isn't all I've tatted with this thead by any means! I've done another small motif and am starting on an edging, and all in the space of a week. I'm definitely enamored. It tends to fuzz up a little with too much handling, but that is all right with me, because I like the way the colors flow on this thread and I have been really hankering after small thread sizes the last month or two. It is just perfect for me right now. Thank you, Fox!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Effective Advertising

I was in Michaels the other week for an unrelated purchase, but couldn't resist checking to see if this location sold tatting shuttles. I'm always jealous when I hear about other tatters casually going to Hobby Lobby or JoAnns and picking up tatting shuttles or Lizbeth thread. There aren't any Hobby Lobbys around me and my JoAnns seem to have never heard of tatting. The best they can do is huge balls of size 10 thread, advertised as for crochet, with maybe a brief mention of tatting in small print on the label. Sometimes there are balls of size 30 mercerized thread, but only in ecru or black. This time, I still had no luck with shuttles, but I was very excited to find size 80 thread, in a color other than white, black, or ecru, and most amazingly of all, clearly labeled "Tatting Thread". In fact, I was so excited that it was labeled specifically for tatting that I decided I needed it and bought it straightaway. Thread manufacturers should take note: It is such an ego boost to find tatting recognized in a store that if they advertised their mercerized thread for tatting, sales would jump! Well, among tatters.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Small Portion of the Reason I Love Garage Sales

Look at those lovely beads! I went garage saling today, on my way back from an appointment. For an investment of two hours, a tad extra gas, and $17 total, I gained an assortment of possessions including a coffee table, bookcase, glass bowl and vase, salad spinner, six or seven books, cards with extra envelopes, a picture frame (watch this space to see it united with some tatting!), a board game, some shirts, a ball of 100% cotton yarn, some scrapbooking materials, pretty ribbons and gold wrapping paper. These seed beads were only $1 per vial and will look gorgeous in some tatting as soon as I decide what patterns to showcase them in. But my absolute favorite part of the haul was two small square apothecary jars. I saw them and loved them and said sternly to myself, "What will you use them for?" Fortunately, thanks to Diane, I was able to immediately think of a great use for them and so earned the right from myself to bring them home.
See how pretty with balls of thread inside of them! I am really happy. This is also functional, since, to fill the smaller one, I didn't transfer any balls of thread from other containers, but scooped them up solely from the litter on my desktop.
In other news, I have chosen a pattern for a wedding doily for Elisa and her fiance and am steadily working it up. I will show it to you all after the wedding, which is only two weeks from today! By my calculations, I'm about halfway done, although it is made up of motifs, so I will have a little leeway on how big it is, and if I grow desperate in the days before the wedding, it may end up a little smaller. I would like to make it as big as possible, but it is definitely stress-relieving to have options.

Saturday, May 07, 2011


Remember the doily I made for a wedding present? Well, another one of my friends, Elisa, is getting married now and I am searching for the perfect pattern to make for her and her husband. I want something intricate that will be fairly large when made in smaller thread (40ish) but not too frilly or girly. It also needs to be gorgeous and in Elisa's style. (I realize these last two are highly subjective!) I am kind of thinking of something square or rectangular or diamond-shaped, rather than round. Finally, it needs to be a free pattern or from a book I already have. I've got no time to wait for anything to ship, as the wedding is June 4th and I am not Superwoman. (This, sadly, rules out anything by Jan Stawasz, even though his doilies are almost exactly what I'm looking for.)
I'm afraid I'm setting way too high of a standard for this pattern and that I'll never find one in time. So I thought I would ask you all for advice. Suggest anything, even if you don't think it matches every one of the criteria. It may lead me to something perfect that on my own I would have ruled out without looking at it.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Tatting in the Skies

Guess what? It's no problem to bring small scissors into an airport nowadays! At least, not this past weekend. I breezed through security both on the trip out and the trip back -- less than five minutes from start to finish. No line, no bag searches, no backscatter x-rays. The thing that took the longest was dumping my things in bins to go down the belt into the x-ray machine. After I was free to tat as I pleased throughout the trip, and here is what came of that. I love this pattern so much. Isn't it funny how the first row of it looks so very different from the complete two-row cross? Yes, that unfinished one on the right is the same pattern! Speaking of two rows, I tried split-ringing out of the first row on these to avoid some of the ends needing to be hidden. Not sure I prefer it this way, though -- The split ring on each is definitely a different shape than the other ones and to me it sticks out and looks wrong. Can you find the split rings? What do you think?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Meeting the TSA

I'm flying tomorrow! Call me crazy, but I always enjoy airports. I haven't flown in several years though, and while I've flown since I learned to tat, I haven't flown since my tatting bug got so bad that I can't imagine a trip without a shuttle. I've been poring over the guidelines for clearing security and deciding what I'm willing to risk. Here are the things I've decided to bring.Wish me luck! And if you have any tips on clearing security with small metal objects of the tatting trade, please let me know.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is Risen!

Hope you all are having a wonderful Easter Sunday. I thought a tatted cross suited today, since the main reason for today involves a cross. In fact, that is why crosses became something to wear or hang in your homes. Have you ever thought about what it must have been like to do this in the early years? A cross was the instrument of grisly executions -- it would be something like an American wearing an little model electric chair on a chain around his neck. When you think about it, that really is what the cross means. It tells of a horrible death, full of greater pain than we can imagine --physical, emotional, and spiritual. But the cross is also empty, and that tells of a greater glory than we can imagine. As the angels said to the women at the tomb, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, He is Risen!" And in His resurrection from the dead, we too are raised. We are sown perishable and raised imperishable, and since that great pivot of history, every Sunday is Resurrection Sunday. Christmas may be the most widely celebrated Christian holiday, but surely Easter is the most glorious.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Blast from the Past

Just now I opened up one of the decorative boxes sitting on my bookshelf and I found this little doily. I hadn't even thought of it for several years, and I made it even longer ago. I must have been about 14 or 15. It's from the very early stages of my tatting, when I had four humongous balls of size 10 crochet cotton in hunter green, navy blue, maroon, and white. I never tatted with any other thread. In fact, I STILL have four humongous balls of size 10 crochet cotton, because, people, those things LAST. They're each about half depleted right now. Of course, now I also (almost always) tat with other threads.
This doily was my first Celtic tatting. I remember it being a huge deal that I needed four shuttles for it. That was back when my only shuttles were the metal Susan Bates shuttles that my grandmother bought for me at JoAnns. The JoAnns in my town wasn't big enough to carry them. I was a little intimidated by the idea of Celtic tatting, but I loved the design enough to attempt it. That seems so long ago now, but with this little bit of the past in my hands, I still love the design, and I would still do it again. I know you all understand the feeling. We tatting addicts must stick together.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Largesse from the Queen of Bling

Several weeks ago (just how many I am ashamed to say) I got a package in the mail. I ripped it open right away and look at what was inside. A glittery Mardi Gras bag! If you are saying right now, "Oh, that is not the best part," you are very right. Inside there were three balls of thread and the star of the show, a shuttle blinged by the Queen of Bling herself! This is LaceLovin' Librarian's Spring giveaway. Because, of course, there are only so many blinged shuttles one person can have, so she has to give some away. .... Just kidding. Every tatter knows there is no such thing as too many shuttles! However, I don't think any of us would vote that Diane stop giving them away.
Look at that pretty dotted pattern on top of the formerly plain green Clover shuttle. She even put glitter on it, for that true bling-y sparkle. The balls of thread and the pretty bag are just the right complement for this shuttle. The threads are vintage size 70, which makes me happy, because I like that size and enjoy tatting with bits of history. It really tickles me that the thread colors match the shuttle colors! How sneaky. I am really loving the color changes on the variegated green. I can't pick my favorite between the dark winter green or the bright springy green or the fresh kelly green. When St. Patrick's Day came around and I wanted to tat shamrocks, I knew just where to go! Here is the shuttle and the green thread in action producing dimpled-ring shamrocks.

If any of you are jealous of my awesome new shuttle, don't stick around here -- go straight to Diane's site and enter her new giveaway.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Everybody's Irish Today!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My family and I love this holiday. I am cooking corned beef and cabbage and potatoes for our dinner, my mother made soda bread, and my sister has baked a pale green cake with a darker green four-leaf clover shape baked into it for dessert. We are all wearing green, on pain of pinching. Mine is a kelly green sweater. My brother's is a shirt he swears is green but that we all think is brown. We can't pinch him, though, because he is convinced of his right to slap us back. (That is what you do when you are wrongly pinched on St. Patrick's Day, because you really are wearing green.)

Like a large number of tatters, I've made some of Gina's Lucky Seven shamrocks and one of Sharren's Irish for a Day shamrocks to celebrate the day. Sharren's name is so apt! I love how everyone wants to be Irish, whether they are by heritage or not. Ireland is just so loveable. I've got a little Irish way back in my family tree, but it is so far back it doesn't even have anything to do with my sister's Irish name. My parents just named her Bridget because they liked the name. And we just celebrate St. Patrick's Day because we like all the "Irish" things associated with it. So Irish for a Day describes American people very well, and it is also a great shamrock pattern. I loved the Lucky Seven shamrocks too. They are so simple and work up so quickly.

Next up: I'll tell you what's special about the shuttle and thread I used for the shamrocks. For now, I'll leave you with the Doxology from one of my favorite hymns, St. Patrick's Breastplate.

I bind unto myself the name
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One,
and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation;
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

As Promised

I hereby present to you the very first beaded tatting I have done!

Beads are wonderful for beautifying any piece of tatting, but there is one use for tatting in which they are nearly essential. Earrings. For earrings they are not only beautiful but also functional, as they add some much needed weight to what would otherwise be a few yards of knotted thread hanging from your ears and flipping about in the wind. So when I decided to make some earrings for my friend Heather for a Christmas present, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to finally make my first piece of beaded tatting.
Here they are with one still on the shuttle. I was looking for big and bright and paisley-shaped, and while I didn't find a full on paisley design, Mary Konior's Curds and Whey turned out even better. I really love the shape two repeats of this design makes. I picked out which picots I wanted pink beads on, strung all the beads onto my shuttle, and started tatting and it was as easy as pie. A very satisfying introduction to beads. To space the earrings a bit more away from the ear, I tatted a spiral chain with just one half stitch repeated over and over till I got the length I wanted. Actually, to get the smooth finish at the top where it attached to the earring finding, I tatted the chain backwards, kind of like a split chain works. These were so fun to make. Here they are all finished. They have been mailed and received, and Heather proclaims them "exquisite." I was going to say my bead story has a happy ending, but actually I think it has a happy beginning!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


In my, so far, short blogging career, I've been lucky enough to win not just one, but two, giveaways, and remiss enough not to post about either of them, even though they both thrilled me. Right when I won, I didn't seem to have words good enough to describe them. Then after two or three weeks when I started being about to write it down, I felt guilty about posting late and kept holding off every time I thought about it. No more! Here are my lovelies put down in photos and words for you.

I chose the title of the post because what these two giveaways have in common is beads. First, Sally of Tat's Heaven had her 100th post and celebrated by giving away shuttles to two lucky winners. I still feel that luck; it's lasted all the way since August when I saw my name in the announcement of the winners and squealed at my computer screen with joy.
Just look at that gorgeous shuttle tucked away inside its decorative box. This shuttle taught me that my favorite shuttle material is wood. I've still a soft spot for the solidity of metal, and a plastic Clover can fly like anything, but there's just nothing like wood. I kind of need more wood shuttles. (Pop-a-Bobbin, anyone? Just as soon as I have some money to spare!)
Besides my glorious shuttle, there was a pretty tatted butterfly bookmark and of course the box. At first glance, you might think there are no beads in this giveaway lot at all, but look carefully at both the box and the butterfly. Sally has adorned the butterfly with green sparkly seed beads, and the stylish green and gray tatting on the box with two colors of gray beads. I've spent ten years tatting and looking at tatting in books, but all the descriptions of adding beads had left me cold till I saw these.
I saw no point in beads before. Tatting was tatting and beautiful on its own. All the beads I saw only seemed to me to detract. Then I met this box. I would never have thought of putting the colors on this box together, but they worked perfectly, and the beads worked even better. As soon as I started admiring this box I knew that it was no longer a question whether or not I would start tatting with beads. It was only a matter of time before I did.

For all that, I managed to take enough time getting around to it that Bree's generous giveaway came around before I had even progressed to buying myself some beads. Bree was writing tutorials for people just like me -- who wanted to use beads but hadn't worked up the courage to sit down to it yet. And she didn't stop at tutorials! She put together five lots of beads for five winners, and I was lucky yet again.
Look how many beads I have! There are big and little, green and pink and hazel, plain and shiny. She generously included a hank of variegated thread too, running through blues and greens and yellows in one thread. I broke out the rich pink sparkly seed beads for my VERY FIRST beaded tatting ever (again, in ten years!) this December. But! I'm going to make you wait till the next post to see it. Come back soon, with your bitten fingernails, and admire. Please do admire, because I am inordinately proud of it. And it would never have come about without Sally and Bree. Thank you both, so much!