"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Deadline Approaches...

Good news: Today is much sunnier than yesterday, and upon holding yesterday's snowflake up to the window, I found that the metallic thread does retain most, if not all, of its sparkle despite the lemon juice treatment. Yay!

Today's flake also has sparkle, this time from lots of seed beads.

This is Jon's Rings Only Snowflake with Beads. I printed this pattern out a long time ago, but for some reason I never made it till now. I'm glad I finally did. It's a pretty little design that's lots of fun to make.

I used Lizbeth size 20 in white, with Miyuki delica seed beads in pearl white.

If you want to make any snowflakes for Sandy Hook Elementary, remember that they need to be there by the 12th, so you'll need to get them sent off soon.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Working with Doubled Threads

Here's the latest snowflake, "Angels in the Snow"; see sidebar at right for pattern information.

You can't tell in the scan, but I used a doubled thread for this one. The main thread was DMC tatting thread (size 80), and I wound it onto the shuttles with a Coats and Clark metallic thread. The metallic is also white, so all it does is add some sparkle. It's a very fine thread, so you have to have really good light to see it; unfortunately, it's cloudy today. But I know it's there.

As metallic threads go, this Coats and Clark is pretty nice to tat with. As I said, it's very fine, so you definitely want to double it with a cotton. But it's very smooth, not excessively stretchy, and doesn't kink up like some metallics do. If you just want to add a subtle sparkle to a piece this would be a good choice.

When I wind a doubled thread onto two shuttles CTM, I always find that there is some difference in the lengths of the threads between the shuttles, no matter how carefully I have measured them and tried to wind them together.

I deal with this by simply cutting the slack thread halfway between the shuttles.

I then start tatting as normal and tat over the tails of this one thread.

This way, at least one of the threads is CTM, so I only have one pair of tails to cover instead of two.

As I was working, I found that a small section of the cotton thread was slightly discolored, just enough to look dingy compared to the rest of the snowflake. I went ahead and finished, and when I was done I soaked the flake in a baking soda solution. That didn't work, so next I tried lemon juice, on the theory that if a base doesn't work, try an acid. Well, the lemon juice got rid of the discoloration, but I'm afraid it took a little of the sparkle off the metallic thread. Or maybe it's just the clouds today; I'll check again later when it's sunny. Now I know what works on a cotton thread if I ever have the discoloration problem again; but if there's also a metallic thread involved, I'll either cut that section out or start over, depending on where I am in the pattern. Live and learn, and the snowflake looks fine regardless.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

And Another

Today's flake is the "Criss-Cross Snowflake" by Frivole.

I often think that Frivole's snowflakes look more like real ones than most tatted snowflake patterns, and this one is no exception.

I used Lizbeth Blue Ice, number 163, in size 20.

I want all these snowflakes to be as close to perfect as I can possibly make them, so I've been using LadyShuttleMaker's very useful blocking template to block each of them. When using a template, you can get multiple uses out of a single print-out by covering it with waxed paper before you put the tatting on top of it. That way the template stays reasonably dry and doesn't get all wrinkled the way wet paper does.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


So fcddddddddddddddd=]]]]]]]]]]]]]]][-p

-- says Squijum

What I was intending to say was that so far, I seem to be putting blue accents in all my snowflakes for Sandy Hook. Makes me think of Diane. :)

This one is Jon Yusoff's "Quantiesque". It's such a pretty design, and this is the type of Celtic tatting that even a beginner could manage (although with this particular pattern, you do have to be comfortable with two shuttles, but it's all just rings and chains). You make the first two rounds separately and insert the one into the other, then add the third round to hold it all in place. Much easier, and in my opinion, more enjoyable than the other kind of Celtic tatting, where you have to weave a long chain around itself to form a Celtic knot. Well, to each their own, but I think we can all agree that Jon's design is gorgeous.

I used Lizbeth size 40, in White (601) and and Wedgewood Light (655).

I've also started a new knit, this time for myself.

Don't worry, I'll straighten out the curl in a couple of rows. And although there is a knitted hat in my near future, this is not it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Snowflake for Sandy Hook

The National PTA is asking for donations of snowflakes for Sandy Hook Elementary School. They want to have the new building they will be using all decorated for when the students return. If every tatter could send in just one snowflake, that would be a lot! And of course, they want flakes in all sorts of media, so tell all your crafty friends! They need them by the 12th, so you'll need to send them off by the first week of January. Full details can be found here.

One thing, if you're going to do this. The plan is to decorate the school as a "Winter Wonderland", so the snowflakes need to look like snow; in other words, white, with maybe some silver or blue accents, but not rainbow colors. In Tatland, we have a tendency to call any 6-pointed motif a snowflake, even if it's tatted in green and purple. Nothing wrong with that for yourself; but if you want other people to recognize it as a snowflake, you should probably use snowflake colors, don't you think? Otherwise, it's just a motif.

I've made one flake already, and hope to do several more.

This is Frivole's "Regal" pattern. I used Flora size 20. The larger beads have tiny little bubbles in the glass, which gives them a nice sparkle if you see them in person. The seed beads are Miyuki Delicas.

This is a beautiful pattern in many ways, but my favorite part is how she changes the direction of the chain at each JK. I think this makes for a very elegant, flowing line.

I'm planning to make as many more as I can. I don't know how they plan to display the snowflakes, so I think for each one I'll put a length of thread through a picot. That way they can use this as a hanger if they want to, or they can cut it off if they don't need it.

I hope you'll all join me in making at least one snowflake!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last Hat Done

This is the last hat for Christmas. I still want to make one for myself, but that can wait. The yarn is Berroco Borealis, color 5025.

Now I'm going to work on snowflakes for a while.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Squijum's Presents

This post is really for my mom, so she can see her grandcat playing with the toys she sent him. Yeah, I know. We've always spoiled our pets in our family, but we've never given them Christmas presents, till now.

And no, there's not usually this much trash on my floor; I just got a lot of packages in the mail yesterday.



He actually plays much more enthusiastically when the camera's not on, but there you have it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Carrying on with Caps

I finally finished the green hat last night, just in time to get it in the mail. It won't get there before Christmas now, but that's OK, the recipient is not really particular about celebrating Christmas actually on the 25th.

Isn't it sweet of Squijum to guard it for me?

This is my first textured knit, so I'm quite proud of how it turned out. It uses bamboo stitch, which is actually pretty easy to do, and also kind of fun. It also makes the hat a little thicker and more cushy. The pattern is here. The yarn is called "Calmer" by Rowan Yarns, but I couldn't find a color number on the label.

At the last minute, I decided to make one more hat.

This one will be in plain stockinette, and the yarn is a bulky weight, so it should go pretty quickly. I've already finished the ribbing and started on the main body of the hat. Thanks to Kathy for warning me I would need to cast on extra loosely for ribbing! I'm not even using a pattern for this hat. I just knitted a small swatch to find the gauge and multiplied the stitches per inch by my desired circumference to determine how many stitches to cast on, rounded off to a number that will be easy to decrease evenly when the time comes. I've been reading the online knitting instructions, you see.

And since this is still a tatting blog, I will let you know that I am planning to make as many snowflakes as I have time to do for Sandy Hook. Thanks to LadyTats for letting us know that they want snowflakes!

Finally, and I'm very sorry to have had to do this, I have turned word verification back on for my comments. I hate Blogger's new style of showing the words just as much as you do; they are often so blurry that I can't read them and have to try several times before I get it right, and I assume others have just as much trouble. But since I turned it off my spam comments have reached an intolerable level. I want comments, but only from real people who are actually reading my blog!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Working on the Hat

I'm about halfway done with the second hat, and hope to finish it up this weekend.

The light is better today, so I got a much truer representation of the green this time. The sharp-eyed among you may notice that I've switched from a circular needle to double pointed needles. I felt like it was getting stretched too much on the circular. I don't know why; it was the same length of needle as I used for the last hat, and the hat is the same circumference. The dpn's feel a little awkward to me and are definitely slower to work with, but the tension feels much better.

You may also notice that the ball of yarn is not nearly as neatly wound as previously. Naturally, I try to secure all my yarns and threads before leaving home, but sometimes I just don't do it quite thoroughly enough. I came home from work the other morning to find that a certain feline had unwound the entire ball during the night. But you can't get mad at this face, can you?

I'm not sure if I care for the diamond center on this new background. What do you think?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Headway on Hats

I actually finished this on Friday, but I didn't get around to taking a picture till today. After much trial and error, I found that the best way to take the photo was to put the hat over a medium-sized round kitchen canister.

The pattern is called "abc hat- Alison's Beginner's Cap".  It was very easy to make, even for me.

I did have a bit of frustration at the end. I had completely finished it, including clipping the yarn end short, and was admiring my work, when I found that while weaving the yarn end into the last row of stitches, I had missed one stitch. It hadn't started to ravel yet, but it soon would. I started trying to unpick the woven-in yarn end to get back to that stitch and pick it up. Well, you can imagine how well that went. The yarn just got increasingly fuzzy, and the little fuzzies actually started forming knots, and I ended up with even more stitches coming unraveled. I ended up frogging back to before the first decrease row, cutting the now unusably frayed yarn off, and and knitting the whole crown over. And you can bet I was extra careful finishing it off the second time!

I've also made a good start on the second hat.

I've been having a really hard time photographing this yarn accurately. I ended up using the foliage setting on my camera, and then played around with the colors on the computer, but I still don't have the green exactly right. It's not quite this bright in real life.

This one is called "Bamboozled", so named because it is done in bamboo stitch. I chose this pattern mainly because I wanted to branch out from just knit and purl, but I also think it's a good match for the yarn (I chose the pattern before the yarn). Since the yarn is just a cotton-polyester in a light worsted weight, it's not particularly warm, but I think the sort of waffle texture of this pattern will give it more insulating power. And the texture also adds interest to the solid color. Of course, it does also take a little bit longer, but it still should be done in plenty of time.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


My first hat is almost completed.

I have just a few rows left, but it's getting a little too small for the circular needle, and I want to try double pointed needles. Wouldn't you know, the yarn store had every size of double points in stock except for 7, so I had to order a set online. They should be here tomorrow, and I'll be able to finish.

The yarns are Brae Tweed, a blend of sheep wool, llama wool, and bamboo. This hat is for my sister, and this shade of green will be a near-perfect match for her eyes. The pattern is here; it's very easy for a beginner.

I'm finding that my stitches are much more even in this yarn. The slight elasticity of the wool makes it much  more forgiving than the cotton yarn I'm using for the scarf-- as I'm sure any seasoned knitter could have told me if only I'd asked.

While waiting for the new needles to arrive, I'll go ahead and start on the next hat tonight. That's assuming the gauge works as expected and I can use a size 8 needle; if I have to use a 7, then it will have to wait until the first hat is done.

I had to go back to the yarn store for this next hat; I thought I had all the yarns I needed, but then I remembered the person I'm making it for is vegan, so the wool blend I had chosen wouldn't be appropriate. Naturally, they mostly have wools in stock this time of year, but I did find a nice cotton-poly blend in green, which also happens to be the recipient's favorite color.

The wool blend I had originally chosen is a beautiful shade of blue, so I'll use it to make myself a hat.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Looks Like Spring

Inspired by Fox's recent addition of tatting to finished brooches, I purchased this on Etsy.

It's lovely as it is, but everything needs a little tatting, doesn't it?

I knew it would need a very special thread, but as I looked through my HDT collection, I realized that any variegated or even ombre thread would be too distracting. However, LadyShuttleMaker's "Weeping Cherry" colorway did make me realize that a pink thread would go well with the blue. I'm not normally a pink person, so I probably wouldn't have thought of it otherwise. I decided that a solid color silk thread would be ideal for this piece, so I ordered one in pink and one in cranberry to see which I liked better-- see the previous post.

I ended up choosing the pink.

There is not a particular brand name on the thread, or if there is, it's printed only in Japanese. I ordered it from Superior Threads, which has a very nice selection of silk threads. This is the buttonhole silk #16; I found it tats up about like a size 40 cotton. It is color number 150, Pink Fluff.

I found the silk a little bit challenging to work with, but not too bad. I definitely had to slow down to keep my stitches even. The thread is so smooth and, well, silky, that the rings closed almost like magic; however, I did have to give each ring and extra little tug to make sure it was fully closed. I also found that this thread prefers slightly longer picots.

This is going to be for my mom, either for Christmas or her birthday, which is Dec. 26. I think it feels more like a birthday present than a Christmas present.

With its lilies of the valley and the soft colors, I think the brooch looks like spring. Now here's some winter stuff.

The scarf is about 1/3 of the way done.

My stitches are still not completely even, as you can see from the way the basket weave pattern is not always quite straight. I do think I'm improving, though.

The scarf is going to be a gift, but not necessarily for Christmas. As I was thinking about what to give various people, it occurred to me that I could make some hats. I think I'm ready to try knitting in the round. So I picked a couple of easy patterns from Knitting Pattern Central (Did you know there's also a Tatting Pattern Central?), and off I toddled to the yarn store.

This afternoon I shall get out my new circular needles and see what happens...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Something to Look Forward To

I'm mainly focused on knitting the scarf right now, but my next tatting project will involve one of these two threads; I haven't decided which yet.

I have tatted with silk thread before, but it was a bit heavier than this. I'll be interested to see how this tats up. Dad, you will kindly not show this post to Mom. Thank you.

Amusingly, these two little bobbins of thread were shipped in this box:

One would think an ordinary envelope would have done just fine, and been a lot cheaper. Squijum appreciates the wad of paper that was stuffed in the box to fill it, though.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A More Manageable Size

I decided to make the next tree medallion pendant a bit smaller.

It's still pretty long vertically, but I'm OK with that; horizontally, it is barely wider than the medallion itself. For a pendant, I think this makes for a better visual balance.

The thread is Lizbeth color 168 Latte Foam. The seed beads are a very dark purple and a very pale green. The teardrop is also dark purple, and the two round beads on the drop are a sort of greenish beige that is like a darker version of the color of the medallion. It looks really good in person.

This is my own design, except I did stick with the idea of encircling the medallion with a double row of split rings, which I borrowed from Jane's sequin motifs.

Having completed half the tree pendants, I am taking a break to work on my knitting, which I haven't done for a while. I'll probably show some progress on the scarf in a day or two.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Well, Maybe

I finished the pendant from the second of the Sherry's tree medallions. I had already started it before I thought about how big the first one was, so this one is also quite large, roughly the same size as the first, in fact.

This one was always going to be for me, so I'll wear it as a pendant and decide how I feel about its size. Having put it on, I realize that although it is certainly larger than anything I normally wear, I have definitely seen other people wearing pendants this big. So maybe it's not so bad, it's just not my usual style. In any case, I now feel OK about selling the other one as a pendant.

The pattern is Jane's Sequin Motif Version 2, again made with ten repeats instead of six to fit the medallion. The thread is "Fancy Fields" from Tat-ilicious.

Forgive the terrible lighting, but you can at least see how it looks on a person. And not being able to make out the color or the tree on the medallion makes it look like a smiley face!

You know, if I were smart, I would have gone into the cat toy industry.

This had twice as many feathers on it when Squijum and I first started playing with it, about five minutes before this photo was taken. Two minutes later, it lost another feather. And the manufacturer knows perfectly well that I will buy another one the next time I'm at the pet store, because he loves it so much that even just a few minutes of enjoyment is worth paying for it multiple times. I do wish they would come up with ways to make these things more durable, though. I mean, their target audience has claws, for heaven's sake!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tree Medallions

In keeping with my arboreal theme of recent weeks, I've decided to finally make use of some medallions I bought from MadMadPotter (the other alter-ego of LadyShuttleMaker) a while back.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of them all before I started adding tatting. If you want to see better pictures and/ or get some for yourself, there are more in her Etsy shop, linked above.

One reason I took a long time to actually use these is that I wasn't sure how I would join the tatting in a way that would be stable, since they only have two holes. But then I took a closer look at Jane Eborall's Sequin Motifs and realized that the same technique of putting a double row of split rings around the central "item" could also work with these.

This is a variation of Jane's Sequin Motif Version 1. Because Jane used a 7/8 inch sequin, and the medallion is 1 1/8 inches, I had to increase it from six repeats to ten. I actually prefer this, because I really didn't want something that would look like a snowflake. I used Lizbeth size 20, color 136 Autumn Spice. Although these aren't really "my" colors, I'm very happy with the way they look with this medallion.

Now I need your opinions. Given the size of the medallion, I should have thought about this earlier, but I didn't. I intended to make this as a pendant, so I tatted a jump ring into it at the top. The finished size is 3 inches (nearly 8 cm) across from point to point. Since it has a jump ring, clearly I have to make it into something that hangs. So the question is, would you wear a pendant this large, or would it be better maybe as a suncatcher? I'm open to other ideas as well.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Yet Another Leaf

This is the sassafras leaf from Karey Solomon's book Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf. The thread is "Diablo" size 80 from LadyShuttleMaker. For once I made the stem more or less as Karey wrote it, too.

This is Squijum after yesterday's attempt at tooth cleaning.

He's so sweet, he still wants to cuddle-- I don't know if you can tell, but I'm sitting in the recliner with my feet up and a blanket, and he's sitting on my legs-- but notice how he carefully keeps his mouth pointed away from me. Poor thing, he doesn't know we're going to try again today.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Today's leaf is the horse chestnut, once again from Karey Solomon's book Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf.

After googling images of horse chestnut leaves in autumn, I decided that the clear, vivid hues of Tatskool's "Gina's Tequila Sunrise" HDT (formerly known as "Flame Lantana") would be perfect. I used size 40 for this one. One of the many nice things about this book of Karey's is that she shows each leaf full-sized as tatted in size 20; this allows me to estimate the size of thread I will need to achieve the size of leaf I want for a pendant. And as always, I added beads because a necklace should have beads, don't you think?

The links in the above paragraph and in yesterday's post go to Tatskool's blog. I wanted to link to her shop, but unfortunately some sad person with nothing better to do has hacked her shop site so that some people's security settings (mine included) will block the site. I've talked to her, and she's going to have her son take a look at it, but it might not get completely fixed till she sees him at Christmas. In the meantime, if you are interested in her beautiful threads, you can contact her through her blog. Seriously, hackers, can't you stick to the big corporations that can absorb a loss of sales, and leave private individuals alone?

The pattern calls for ball and shuttle, but the first round made more sense to me with two shuttles, so that's what I did. Since I had two shuttles anyway, I used Catherine wheel joins on the second round to join to the floating rings for a smoother outline. (CWJ's are much easier with two shuttles.)

Once again, I did my own thing for the stem. There's nothing wrong with the stems on all these leaves the way Karey wrote them; I just like coming up with different ways of doing things, especially when I'm adding a bead or finding to the end. In this case, I used the shuttle with the bead on it to make a longish loop with the bead at the end, and then lock-joined back to the leaf. Then I used the two shuttles to pearl tat, using this loop as the core thread. I left the end of the loop uncovered so the bead could hang freely.

Squijum had his follow-up check at the vet yesterday. His mouth is fully healed, so his daily oral hygiene regimen starts today. I wonder how he'll take it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back to the Leaves

I really hope people like these leaf pendants at the sale, because I'm having a great time tatting them! Today's is Karey Solomon's oak leaf from Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf.

Unlike the pattern, I made the stem first, as this seemed like the easiest way to add the bead. I simply put the bead on the thread before winding the shuttle, and used it as an anchor point for starting with a chain. I started with a lock stitch so the chain wouldn't be tight up against the bead; it needed a little loop of thread to be able to hang freely. Then, like I did on the Tammy Rodgers maple leaf, I used a combination of balanced double stitches and regular double stitches to create a thickening of the stem near the bottom. I made a mock picot at the top of the stem before the first ring to allow room for the several other chains that would need to be joined there. This time I think I made the stem too long. One of these days I'll get it right; until then, just call me Goldilocks.

I also made a mistake; on round one, I added an extra picot to one of the chains near the top, which meant that I had to add an extra chain in round two, resulting in the leaf being asymmetrical. I think this is OK, since leaves in nature are never perfect either.

The thread is Tatskool's "Gingerbread" HDT in size 80. All the beads are my own addition. Oak leaves don't turn the vivid reds and oranges that some trees do in autumn, but I think the subtly changing browns can have a beauty all their own.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shamelessly Stealing Frivole's Idea

A couple of weeks ago, Frivole suggested the idea of a necklace made from Heidi Sunday's Pumpkin Vine Edging. I added a few beads and findings, enlarged the central pumpkin for a focal point, and voila!

Like Frivole, I ordered several of Lizbeth's autumnal colorways, both variegated and solid. Like her, I rejected the Bright Orange as being too loud. Everyone's been using the variegated Autumn Spice colorway to tat pumpkins lately. It does look pretty, but really? Pumpkins are solid orange. I decided to go with a light version and a dark version. The light one uses colors 696 Autumn Orange Medium and 138 Leafy Green, with gunmetal-toned chain and findings. The dark one uses 694 Harvest Orange Medium with 167 Jungle Greens, and antique brass-toned chain and findings. Also like Frivole, I opted to make the rings in green as leaves on the vine; in the original pattern they are orange to represent smaller pumpkins, but that was just too much orange for me.

While trying the necklaces on, I realized that this edging would look terrific around the neckline of a crew-neck t-shirt for fall. Too bad orange is not my color!

You know what's really yummy? Pumpkin oatmeal. Tear some dried apple rings up into small chunks and throw them in the pot about 5 minutes before the end of the oatmeal's cooking time, so they can reconstitute. Then when the oatmeal is done cooking, stir in a couple of spoonfuls of pumpkin puree, some cinnamon, and some maple syrup. (For heaven's sake, use real maple syrup!) I could eat this all day long!

Squijum, on the other hand, is far pickier. At first, he thought that his mouth-healing diet of all canned food was the best idea I've ever had. Now he turns up his nose if the can I open isn't the flavor he was hoping for!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mallorn Leaf

"There lie the woods of Lothlorien!" said Legolas. "That is the fairest of all the dwellings of my people. There are no trees like the trees of that land. For in autumn their leaves fall not, but turn to gold. Not till spring comes and the new green opens do they fall, and then the boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden, and golden is the roof, and its pillars are silver, for the bark of the trees is smooth and grey. So still our songs in Mirkwood say. My heart would be glad if I were beneath the eaves of that wood and it were springtime!"
J. R. R.  Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Here is how I've always imagined the leaves of the mallorn trees in autumn.

The pattern is Jane Eborall's leaf. I had a problem with the tension, though. Jane's seed beads must have been smaller than mine, because the first time I made it, the long beaded picots were way too long for the outer chains and it wouldn't lie flat. I ended up having to use the instructions for the medium leaf on the inside and the large leaf for the outline. The thread is Lizbeth 170, Pineapple Parfait.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another Maple Leaf

I realized that I forgot to talk about how I tatted the stem of the maple leaf in the last post. Here's the picture again so you don't have to scroll down.

The pattern calls for ending with a simple chain for the stem. I didn't do it this way for two reason. First, I don't care to end with an unattached chain if I can avoid it because then you have to hide both ends in the same chain, and I can never manage to do this without looking sloppy. I want to hide each end in a different ring or chain. Second, I needed a way to attach the finding. So I left a short length of bare thread and made one DS over the finding just like you would over a plastic ring; this basically amounts to making an "up" lock join followed by a "down" lock join (it's also the same movements you use to make a split chain), and is much more stable than simply making one lock join to the finding. Then I used encapsulation technique (which also uses similar shuttle movements to a split chain) to cover the bare thread and work my way back to the main part of the leaf. I was then able to hide each end in a separate chain.

On to today's leaf. This time I made Tammy Rodgers' maple leaf for the first time.

In this case, I started with the stem (and I think I should have made it a little longer, but it's OK). I made the first few stitches in balanced double stitch, also known as double double stitch. Then I made a few stitches in half BDS, where I did the first half stitch like normal and the second half as for the BDS; this was inspired by a comment made by Sharren on Isdihara's blog. Then the final few stitches of the stem before starting the main part of the leaf are normal double stitches. This resulted in a thickening at the far end of the stem like you would see on a real leaf, although it's hard to see in the photo.

The thread is "Autumn Medley" by LadyShuttleMaker in size 80, and obviously I added beads.

In all honesty, I like the way Karey Solomon's maple leaf looks better. However, Tammy's leaf is also very pretty and much easier to tat; it could even be done by a beginner. And isn't it neat to see how two completely different methods and styles can be used to tat the same thing?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Maple Leaf Pendant, Doped up Kitty

I got the next in my leaf series done.

This is the maple leaf from Karey Solomon's book Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf. I really like the way it came out in Yarnplayer's size 80 "Sugar Maple". As you can see, it's going to hang at an angle as a pendant. I like that, too.

I highly recommend this book of Karey's if you enjoy tatting shapes from nature. I've made many of the designs in it, several of them more than once, and they are all lovely. Karey really took the time to capture the shape of each leaf and get the stitch count just right. She also explores a number of different techniques; this one uses roll stitch at each of the points.

Poor Squijum had to have a tooth pulled on Thursday. He is very young for such a thing; the vet said that when cats get periodontal disease at this young an age it is usually genetic. They gave him a narcotic that is supposed to last for three days, so he spends a fair amount of time just staring into space...

He also keeps rubbing my legs and demanding to be petted (not that that's a hardship for me, of course!) and giving much harder head-butts than usual. All this is basically the feline equivalent of a person high out of their mind going, "I LOVE YOU, MAN!!!" And needless to say, he is thoroughly enjoying his current diet of all canned food!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumn Necklace

I'm generally not a fan of seasonal jewelry. It's usually much too cutesy for my taste. Moreover, I don't care that much for autumn colors-- on trees and flowers, yes, but on things to wear and decorate my house with, no.

But I decided that in tatting, seasonal jewelry can actually look elegant, and I don't have to wear it myself. The annual relief sale held by my parents' church is at the beginning of fall, so I bet that autumn leaf pendants would sell well there. So right now while I'm in the fall mood, I'm going to make a few fall necklaces and save them for next year's sale. Here's the first one.

The pattern is the hackberry leaf from Karey Solomon's book Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf. To my knowledge, I've never seen a hackberry tree in my life, so I have no idea whether they turn pretty colors or not. However, I think it's a generic enough leaf shape that it doesn't really matter. The thread is "Knitty Gritty" by Yarnplayer, in size 50, and I added a few seed beads. I just bought some satin ribbons in fall colors for these necklaces; I'm going to use a kind of amber colored one for this one.

I'm pretty excited about this autumn necklace series, and I hope to be able to do another one tonight. I don't know if I'll be able to, though, because Squijum is at the vet getting some dental work done today, so he'll need lots of extra attention and cuddles tonight.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another Pendant, and More Knitting

Yes, this is still a tatting blog!

This is an adaptation of the "Melur" pattern from Jon Yusoff's book Tatting with Rings. Obviously, I didn't tat over a plastic ring for the center; instead I used split rings to move from one trefoil to the next in round 1. Aside from that, and the addition of a few beads, it is exactly as Jon wrote it.

I originally wanted to do something different with this doodad. As with the last Swarovski embellishment I used, this one has 8 little holes in the back that I intended to work with. That didn't work this time because the outer petals of this embellishment are filled with filigree, and there wasn't enough space to manipulate the thread to join to those back holes. I was therefore forced to choose a pattern with six repeats that I could join only to the outer petals of the doodad.

The thread is Yarnplayer's "Midnight Oil". I used some dark gray iridescent seed beads between split rings on round 1; the beads I used to join round 2 are also Swarovskis, so when I get this outside in the sun, it's really going to sparkle.

I'm still working on my knitting, too.

This is the start of a scarf. You can see from the fact that the lines aren't straight that I'm still figuring out my tension, but it's getting better.

I actually haven't worn a scarf since I got old enough to refuse, so this one is going to a friend who won't mind the imperfections.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Knits

Knitting has definitely become an obsession. Don't worry, I will always be a tatter, but lately it's all about the knitting. I have completed my first two dishcloths, and although they are far from perfect, I am quite proud of them.

This is the first one I did, in a simple garter stitch. You can see my stitches becoming more even the farther along I got. This looked on the ball like it was going to be a self-striping yarn, but it turned out to be a bunch of different solid colors tied together; there was a knot at each color change that I had to work around. This was OK too, as it gave me practice joining a new yarn and working in the ends.

This one is in a basketweave design, using this pattern. I miscounted row 5, so the basketweave pattern is messed up at the bottom, and if you look very closely you'll see one or two other wrong stitches. Again, though, you can see improvement as I worked my way through it. I think it's really cool that even a beginner can do textures like this just by mixing up the knits and purls. In fact, I am so enamored of the basketweave look that I have started a scarf in it.

It is International Balloon Fiesta week in Albuquerque. Most years, at least one day out of the week the winds push the balloons right up my street. Today was that day for this year.