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!