"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, February 27, 2012


Last time I showed you a single square of Mary Konior's "Masquerade":

I have now increased it to four squares, and the effect is quite snazzy (in my own opinion, of course!).

The pattern is from MK's book Tatting with Visual Patterns. It's one I've been wanting to make for a long time and just never got around to somehow. I love how new patterns are created where the individual motifs meet. Mary Konior's designs never cease to amaze me; most of them, including this one, use only the most basic ball and shuttle techniques, yet she was always able to come up with something new and different using these simple methods.

When you remember that this is going to be a coaster, you will realize that I must have used size 80 thread to make it small enough, and in fact it is just the right size for the square coasters I'll be using next. The threads are DMC 80 in colors 794 (the lighter blue) and 798 (the darker).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finished Coasters

More or less finished, anyway. I originally did a poor job centering the "Carnival" motif on its backing, so I tried pulling it off and redoing it. Needless to say, this rendered the adhesive on the coaster components useless, so I tried fixing it with glue. Didn't work. I was able to make it look presentable for the photo, but if I were to pick the coaster up, the cork bottom would fall off. I will have to get another coaster and do it all over. Since the coasters are sold in sets of four, I will also try to redo the "Alladin" one to center it better. Me and my perfectionism. Don't worry, the tatting is undamaged.

In the meantime, I have started the tatting for the next set. I think Diane will like this one.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Last One for This Set

This is the last in the series of pink and yellow motifs that will make a set of coasters. This one is "Alladin" from Jon Yusoff's first book of snowflakes, Tatted Snowflakes Collection. As you can see, a little bit of blocking is probably in order here, but overall it's not bad; Jon's patterns usually sit well without a lot of blocking.

The only change I made was on the outer round: I didn't switch shuttles for the rings, so they would be a different color from the chains.

Over the weekend I will attach them to a background fabric and put them in the coasters-- and then start another set. My idea is to make a few sets of coasters for this year's relief sale held by my parents' church. To me, this is a way of tatting pretty motifs that people can see a practical use for and therefore want to buy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Better Too Small Than Too Big

I determined that yesterday's motif from Teiko Fujito is too large by just a couple of millimeters. I'm planning to put these motifs in some of those clear acrylic coasters designed to hold needlework, and the motif is just a tiny bit too big to go in the opening without squishing the points. It's OK, though, because I had fun making it, and that's what it's really about, right?

I decided to replace it with Mary Konior's "Carnival" motif from Tatting with Visual Patterns. I had previously rejected this motif as being too small, but in this case too small is better than too big, since it has to fit in a limited space. Also, I was making the size judgement based on my previous experience tatting it in size 40; it is considerably bigger in size 20.

One more motif to go, which I have already picked out, and then I'll have to go to Jo-Ann's to choose a fabric to put behind the motifs in the coasters. I'm pretty sure I know what color I'm going to go with for that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Here It Is

OK, the guessing game was really just for the purpose of having something to post that day. It's not a particularly well-known motif, so I didn't really expect anyone to get it. There were clues, though, if you were paying attention. In another recent post featuring the same colors, I mentioned I was making a set of 6-pointed coasters. I photographed those six little flowers on the back cover of this book:

So anyone who owns the book could have easily found the motif. There are several patterns in this book where you have to tat some little flowers before starting the main part of the motif, but the flowers are different for each of them; therefore, there was only one it could be, Watson, and that is number 38.

On the spiral section, the pattern calls for slope and roll joins (which the translation calls "outer thread joins", a perfectly accurate description), in order to avoid the color blip at the join. However, I decided I actually wanted little blips of yellow there as a design element, so I went with lock joins instead. I did use slope and roll on the next to last round, where I did not want the color blips.

This pattern does have a lot of ends to hide. Not only do the flowers have to be made separately, but when using two colors it is necessary to cut and tie after rounds 7 and 8, as well as at the end. I was initially put off for that reason, but in the end I'm happy I decided to make it; I think it was well worth all the sewing in of tails I had to do.

For this particular set, I am trying to find patterns that have six points yet don't look like snowflakes. Given that I also have very specific size parameters, this is turning out to be more difficult than I had expected. In fact, this one may be slightly too big; if it is, I will just have to find another pattern. Otherwise, I have just one motif left to complete the set, and there is another from the same book that I think will work.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Two from Iris

I made a corrected version of yesterday's "Girandola" motif from Iris Niebach's Tatting Fantasia book.

This one has the right number of points. I'm also happier with the block tatting sections. I made a couple of little changes to what I did going into and out of the block tatting, and I think these parts sit better now. Both ways that I did it follow the instructions to the letter; I just interpreted the instructions differently.

I also tatted "Anemone" from the same book.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Farewell to Gina

I already gave my tribute to Gina in the previous post; however, today is the day when we've been asked to all say something about her. I will just add that there are certain people you can meet online and instantly know that you would like them just as much in person. Gina was one of these people for me. I never got to meet her in person, and that is something I will always regret. It can't be helped, though, and I'm sure Gina wouldn't want me dwelling on it. She would say, "Pick up your shuttles and tat something pretty," so that's what I did.

The pattern is "Girandola" from Iris Niebach's book Tatting Fantasia. I used Lizbeth colors 621 Dusty Rose Light and 612 Golden Yellow Light. Pink and yellow aren't really my colors, but I happened to see the two balls lying next to each other and noticed that they complement each other nicely, so I put them together.

If you're familiar with the pattern, you may notice that I seem to have lost my ability to count. It's only supposed to have six points. I didn't even notice that I had made seven until I was trying to line it up on the scanner. It looks just fine this way, but it won't quite serve my purpose. I'm making a set of hexagonal coasters, and to have one seven-pointed thing would, in my opinion, look wonky. Therefore, I shall put this one in my "grab bag" to share with anyone who wants a piece of tatting and make another. Gina would have found this amusing, I'm sure.

Think of Gina today. Remember her always cheerful and positive outlook on life, and her generosity and helpfulness to her fellow tatters. She touched many lives and will never be forgotten.

If you plan to send a sympathy card, please note that "Brummett" is spelled with 2 m's and 2 t's. I just checked my printout of the Gingerbread Boy pattern to make sure.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our Dear Friend, the Tatting Goddess

By now most people in the tatting blogosphere have learned of the death of Gina Brummett, the Tatting Goddess. She had been battling cancer for some time, although she only mentioned it once on her blog; that was in early January when she let us know that she was in remission. Less than two weeks ago, she was still stitching and taking watercolor classes. I just learned from Georgia Seitz that although Gina had been doing well, she caught pneumonia and died very quickly; her immune system was undoubtedly weakened from fighting the cancer. I am glad to know that it was quick.

Although Gina's blog posts lately have not been as frequent as they used to be, they were as cheerful and full of life as ever. Full of life-- that is how I will always remember Gina. She was always trying something new in her stitching and other creative pursuits. She breathed new life into old tatting patterns. She created her own patterns, too. I had the pleasure of tatting Gina's gingerbread boy pattern shortly after I started this blog. (I can't provide a link to the pattern right now because the bandwidth limit for the day has been exceeded. Apparently all the tatters are looking at Gina's patterns today.)

Gina was always so generous with her time as well. Other tatters have stories of how Gina encouraged them or helped them learn new techniques. When I, as a non-sewer, wanted a plain purse that I could embellish with tatting, Gina sent me one only a few days later, made with fabric from a skirt that had once been her mother's.

At the same time, Gina also sent me this lovely bookmark that she had made.

Although I never got to meet Gina in person, I considered her a good friend, having been readers of each other's blogs and exchanged many e-mails on tatting and other topics. She was an asset to the tatting world and will be greatly missed.

Georgia has the address if anyone would like to send a sympathy card; e-mail her at aktatter@aol.com.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nice Ornament, Terrible Photo

No matter what kind of lighting situations I tried, I simply could not take a photo without washing out the more delicate blues and greens in the Blue River Glades thread. To get a more accurate picture of the colors, scroll down to the previous post.

Pinned on a ball 3 inches in diameter, four of the Fandango motifs with four of the small connecting motifs fit just perfectly around the middle. I am very pleased with the result.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oh, All Right

Yesterday I mentioned I had a project that wasn't ready to show yet. Well, it's still not finished, but I've decided that since it won't be for several days, I might as well go ahead and show what I've got so far.

The larger diamonds are Jane Eborall's Fandango motif, which is a favorite of mine. The connecting motifs are just four rings the same size as the ones in the Fandango. The variegated thread is one of Lizbeth's new colorways, Blue River Glades; the solid is Wedgewood Dark.

As for what it's going to be, that's a surprise!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TIAS Day 12: Finished!

And here is the little blue goat, complete with all four legs. Do be sure and visit the TIAS blog to see all the different colors of goats that have been tatted over the last few weeks!

There are a couple of other things I've been tatting this week, too. However, one of them is not ready yet, and I can't show the other, so you'll just have to be patient.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TIAS Day 11

The front leg sticks out awkwardly at this point, but it should fall into place with the next join.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TIAS Day 10 and New Ornament

Here's day 10 of the TIAS.

Just two legs left-- probably!

I've done some other tatting, too. Several people have been putting hearts together to form larger motifs lately. Jane did it, and so did Jon. Well, Nancy Tracy included one in the January Be-stitched newsletter; you can find the pattern on her website here. I immediately fell in love with the negative space in this design and knew I had to tat it soon.

I used LadyShuttleMaker's "Marina" HDT in size 80. For the first heart, I did it just like the instructions say, using two shuttles. Then I realized that you actually only need the second shuttle for that clover at the bottom point, and the chain leading to that clover needs to come to a point anyway. On the first heart, I did a lock stitch immediately before the clover in order to achieve that point before making the clover with the second shuttle. On all the other three, I just used ball and shuttle, and a shoelace trick before and after that clover.

The motif is pretty as it is, but I decided to bling it up a bit for a Christmas ornament.

I used a variety of beads as I pinned it onto the ball-- clear Swarovski bicones, light turquoise faceted Czech beads, purple beads off an old necklace I got for cheap at a yard sale last year, and some bronze-colored seed beads. The ball is an irridescent metallic one that I got from Handy Hands.

I absolutely adore this colorway, and I hardly have any left.

I am determined to use every last inch of it. What would you do with this much thread?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Changes to Blog

I decided that the amount of stuff in my sidebar was getting way out of hand, so I figured out how to add tabs at the top of the page. You can now find the links to my tutorials and harp videos under those tabs.

While I was playing with that, I made the most wonderful discovery. You know how you used to be able to click on a picture, and it would take you to a separate page where you could enlarge it to full size? A while back, Blogger decided to inflict upon us that god-awful black page where you can scroll through all of the images in a post but can't enlarge them to see the detail-- and tatters want detail! Funny how they come up with ways to make things worse than they were before, and assume that everyone will want them. Well, it turns out that you can go back to the old way of displaying your pictures. Just go to Settings --> Formatting and scroll down to where it says "Showcase Images with Lightbox". Click the drop arrow, change it to "No", click "Save Settings" at the bottom, and you will rid yourself of that horrendous black screen and allow your readers to enlarge photos the way they want to. Not that I have strong opinions on this or anything.

TIAS Day 9

Yep, definitely a goat. And there was me, assuming it couldn't possibly be an animal because it started out square.