That was the question going through my mind as I tatted Jane's Snowsettia pattern. Two pairs of shuttles attached to the work at once? You fiend, Jane! The ones that are dangling tangle worse than IV tubing and monitor cables on the way to a stat CT scan... ummm, OK, no more hospital references. But the shuttles did tangle a lot. Working little sections at a time and interlocking them as you go? Mad genius. A pattern that can represent two completely different things depending on what colors you use? Pure genius. You know I love you, Jane.
What I can say for sure is that brain cell #3 must have called in some of his buddies to work overtime on this one. Usually I can intuitively understand a pattern from the diagrams and a quick scan through the written directions. Not this time. I had to just start tatting, reading every word of the instructions, and trust that all would be well in the end. It was, of course, but I really didn't understand what I was doing until about halfway through. Then I had to make a couple more to make sure I really had it.
Yarnplayer in size 40, doubled with a Coats and Clark metallic silver machine embroidery thread, and Lizbeth size 20 in White. Mill Hill seed beads; I'm not sure of the color name, but they're clear, slightly iridescent, and silver-lined. The Coats and Clark thread I used is pretty nice as metallic threads go. It's nice and smooth, not too stretchy or brittle, and holds up well if you have to untat. It's very fine, though, so it's best if you double it with a cotton thread. Even though it's so fine, doubling it with the size 40 resulted in nearly the same size tatting as the size 20.
Since these are Christmas ornaments, I stiffened them. I don't normally do this, but I've got a lot of tatting hanging in my windows and have found that if it hangs long enough, any motif will eventually collapse in on itself if it's not stiffened. I used Aleene's Stiffen Quick. I've tried other stiffeners, but this is the one I keep coming back to. I laid waxed paper down on my blocking board first, to keep the tatting from sticking to it, then put another sheet of waxed paper over the hanger threads (the tails from the second pair of shuttles, left long and tied in an overhand knot) to keep the stiffener off of them, thusly:
And in case you were wondering, I haven't lost track of what time of year it is. The hospital I work at has a craft fair fundraiser every November. I always plan on donating some tatting, but they send out the reminder e-mails in October. By that time, I've got so much else going on that I don't have time to make anything else for the fair. This year I've remembered in advance, so I'll be making a few things here and there for this event throughout the year, with plenty of time to do other stuff as well. It won't all be Christmas stuff either, but I figure that's mainly what people will be looking for in November. Jane is one of the designers who have generously given me permission to use their work for this fundraiser.
Finally, thanks to my dad, who found the quilt shop I mentioned in my last post. It's called Mrs. S Fabrics. You would think my search for "quilt shop dillsboro nc" would have turned it up, but it didn't. Anyway, it's a nice little store and you should definitely stop in if you ever take a vacation to Dillsboro.