"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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Combining Knitting and Tatting

You knew that had to be coming, didn't you?

There's a baby coming at my workplace. The mom, dad, and one of the grandmas all work there, so it feels very much like a family event. It's going to be a girl, and the grandma is getting her a lot of very girlie stuff in hot pink. Here's how I decided to do my part:

The butterfly is Jane Eborall's "Painted Lady Butterfly" in Lizbeth size 20. The colors are Black, Purple Iris Dark, and Niagara Falls. I was originally going to use just the black and the Niagara Falls. When I looked at the pattern, I realized I would have to change it a bit, tatting the head and body separately. Doing them as split rings all in one pass, as Jane wrote it, works great if you're just using one color of thread, but not so much with two colors. So I tatted the bodies and heads first in black. Then I was going to do the wings in black and turquoise, but I happened to see the ball of purple thread next to the ball of Niagara Falls and noticed how well they complemented each other (and also the black ball got taken by Borrowers sometime between finishing the heads and starting the wings). I think this color combination ends up looking really good. I'm also happy that the color changes on the Niagara Falls thread worked out to be pretty symmetrical on the butterflies. The "Painted Lady" pattern also works well on the booties because it is wider than it is tall; a taller butterfly wouldn't have fit, while a narrower one would have gotten lost in the sea of bright pink.

The pattern for the knitted Mary Janes is here. I have to admit, mine didn't come out shaped quite as nicely as the ones pictured on the pattern, but they're pretty good for a beginner. There was obviously quite a bit of shaping involved in knitting these, so I got to learn a lot, too. The pattern says they're for 0-6 months; seeing them completed, I'd say they're definitely going to be closer to the 6 month end of that range.

A couple of other co-workers had babies about six months ago, and I feel bad for making something for one person and not the others (just because I didn't know how to knit back then, what kind of an excuse is that?). So I'm going to knit them each a hat with a tatted animal on it. Except for a brief cold snap, it's been a pretty warm winter here, so I think I'll make the hats a little larger for them to wear next winter.

I've been slacking on reading the tatting blogs recently. I will try to correct that this afternoon. Looking forward to seeing what you've all been doing the last couple of weeks!


  1. These are absolutely adorable! I think they are very nicely shaped. And the butterlies are so cute! They're sewn on perfectly. Tatting and knitting CAN go together, but it's sometimes tricky to get that 'strech' in the tatting.

    The only real problem with knitting for babies and children is that they grow so quickly. It's a good idea to make the hats 'bigger'. I often wonder what has happened to all the baby/chilren's items I've made over the years, some of which took a good bit of time to make. At least I have photos! And it's always special when the recipients send a photo of their child wearing the item!

  2. Quedaron muy tiernos los zapatitos :)

  3. SOOOOO cute! Well done, Miranda. These are perfect for the little one, but you should now make things about 3 times as big for the little girl! They grow out of this stuff at an alarming rate!

    You could practice your knitting skills on a pattern for a one year old - lots of time to knit it and you could tat the motifs along the way!
    Fox : )

  4. What a great idea! The tatting looks great on the sides of the Mary Janes.
    Keep a lookout for those Borrowers, they can be very pesky!

  5. I love this! The butterfly is adorable on the mary janes!