I'm tired of winter-- hence the new background. As part of my effort to pretend it's summer, I tatted Karey Solomon's hummingbird, from her book Make Many Merrily.
The thread is LadyShuttleMaker's "Marina" in size 80. I'm not sure if she's still making this colorway-- I hope so, because I don't have much of it left.
This is a fun pattern to make, what with the floating chain beak and block tatted wing. As you're tatting it, that block tatting looks alarmingly straight, but it develops this nice graceful curve as you add the feathery chains at the back.
This is not the first time I've tatted this pattern. I first made it several years ago for my grandparents. Now that they have both died, it has been given back to me.
In this version, I used rayon machine embroidery threads in turquoise and green doubled with metallic threads in silver and gold, and let me tell you, that was NOT a fun combination to work with! The rayon by itself was no problem-- the flowers in this picture are the same type of thread, and they were easy-- but combine the rayon with another thread with completely different characteristics, and it becomes a nightmare.
Moreover, when I made this one, as you can see, I made alterations around the beak in order to change colors. I made the beak in advance, in plain black cotton, and set it aside. I started the bird using two shuttles in the turquoise/ silver threads, and when I got to the beak, tied it on-- sorry, I can't remember exactly how-- then cut off the second turquoise/ silver shuttle and replaced it with the green/ gold shuttle. In the block tatting section, you can see that one turquoise/ silver shuttle is still there. The bead used for the eye is sewn on later, when I sewed the bird to the fabric.
If I hadn't been so determined to make it in these colors, I probably would have given up; it was much easier making it the second time around, not only because I was using ordinary cotton thread, but also because I used the same thread throughout-- an advantage of tatting this particular pattern in a variegated thread.
And as an example of the difference thread size can make, here are the two birds together:
I'm planning to put the new bird on one of those little organza bags, but I need to tat a few other things to go with it, so it could be a while.