"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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Next Bit

Here is the next piece of Ineke's star pattern, done in "Undersea Garden" and Lizbeth color 633. I forgot to mention I'm doing this in my favorite, size 80.

As you can see, this bit is just like the last bit except the points are longer.

Because these parts are not attached to anything in the center, they don't really achieve this shape on their own. Here's what it looked like after I tatted the first round.

The second round of chains gives it some stability, but still doesn't force it into shape. Here's what it looked like with the second round, after I tugged it into shape as much as I could.

Blocking, using Sherry's square template, was really the only way to make this piece and the one from the previous post do what they are supposed to. It only took a few pins, and look at the difference it made.

Incidentally, yes I did cut and tie between rounds here, only because I was using two colors on round 1. On round 2, I didn't want the lock joins to show, and I felt that slope and roll joins so close together would have made it look less smooth, so my only option was to change the shuttle thread.

And speaking of those joins in round 2, the space at the base of each ring was of course way too small to get the point of my shuttle in, so I had to use a 0.5 mm crochet hook. You see where I'm going with this, don't you? Yep, I pulled a Fox.

The hook sort of slid under the callus I have on that finger and was very difficult to extricate without doing further damage. Luckily, I did not bleed any more than this, so once I washed it off I was able to continue tatting.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Here is the next round of Ineke's star pattern.

No, I didn't forget to attach it! The assembly comes later. This is Lizbeth color 663 Bright Turquoise Dark. This bit is not that visually interesting on its own, perhaps, but when it's all put together....

Georgia has just let me know that the quilt for the Tat Days scholarship fundraiser is done. You can see it at http://www.tatdaysscholarship.info/index.shtml.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Now that the sale stuff is all sent off, I am ready to tat something for myself, and to make use of my new Ineke Kuiperij books. I'm starting off with the very first pattern in Kerstallerhande 2, a star mobile. I have completed the center already.

This is an attractive motif by itself, but it's going to be really spectacular when the whole thing is done. It's working up faster than I expected, too.

This is LadyShuttleMaker's "Undersea Garden" HDT, with Mill Hill seed beads. The beads look black in the scan, but they're really a dark teal. I love the way this thread works up!

So, I tatted a little bit this summer...

I didn't realize how much until I saw it all together, packaged up for the sale.

It's going in the mail to my mom today, but not like this. I sorted it into envelopes of similar items with suggested prices to make her life easier. Here it is thus tamed, and in a smaller box:

I had a helper, too, but he wore himself out.

So if there's any chance it could be feasible for you to get to central Georgia the third weekend of September, there will be tatting there! Lots of other great stuff, too, and all for a good cause. Here's the sale info again, just in case anybody can make it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Final Ornament

Another one from The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito. This is motif number 50.

The threads are Yarnplayer's "Snowflake" and DMC color 794, both size 80.

I had to break out the picot guage for this one. I eyeballed the normal picots like I always do (although I would have had an easier time making the thing lie flat if I had made them a little smaller), but for those long picots on the sides of the rings in the center, and the even longer ones on the chains in round 2 that are joined in two places, making them all exactly the right size was of the utmost importance for proportion and overall appearance.

If I were to do it again, I might also lengthen some of the chains by just a couple of stitches. I have not previously had any trouble with patterns in this book not wanting to lie flat, but this one was a real bear for me. The tatting itself was no trouble, but after it was done I had to stretch the outer round with my fingers, press it under a book, block and lightly stiffen it, and then, while the stiffener was still a little damp, put it back under the book (with waxed paper to keep the stiffener off the book). It does lie flat now, although some of the rings look kind of stretched.

That's it. I'm done tatting for the sale. I have just a few earrings left to label, and it should all be ready for the mail by Wednesday. After that, I'm going to start a piece for myself from one of Ineke's books and get my threads and beads back in order.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Glass" Ornament

This is Motif 24 from The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito. I thought that, turned vertically like this, it resembles certain types of glass ornaments, like these. I tatted this in blessed size 80. The first round is Majestic color 850, and the third round is Lizbeth color 632. The second round is LadyShuttleMaker's "Undersea Garden". Alas, this was a limited edition colorway and is no longer available, although she does have a couple of other colorways that are very similar. Who says Christmas ornaments have to be in Christmas colors?

As I was blocking this one, I realized that if you turn it sideways it looks like an eye; you would tat the first round in black, the second in whatever color you want the iris to be, and the third in white.

I have just one more ornament I'm going to tat this afternoon, and then I need to get everything for the sale packaged and labelled. Fortunately, this task is already about half done. I should have it all in the mail to my mom by the middle of next week so that she'll have time to sort and price it all.

With each item, I am including one of these:

Spread the word any way you can, right?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


These two ornaments are both from the book Christmas Angels and Other Tatting Patterns by Monica Hahn.

My posts from the last couple of days notwithstanding, I seldom use this book. One of the reasons why is that I always have to change something to make the pattern work. On the star, I actually did not change anything, but only because I couldn't tell what the problem was going to be until I made the final join and got a massive cupping effect. At that point, I wasn't going to re-do it; I just blocked the living daylights out of it and stiffened it a bit, so now it lays flat. If I were to do it again, though, I would make the center smaller by a couple of stitches per ring and chain. The threads on this are Lizbeth 613 Golden Yellow Medium in the center and LadyShuttleMaker's "Old Saint Nick" on the outside.

The other ornament is called "Knobby Snowflake". Of course, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that it is not actually a snowflake at all, as a snowflake by definition must have 6 repeats. It's still an attractive design, though. The directions for the second (red) round of this one were just plain weird. This round is done with one shuttle; at the top of the chain where you start the clover, she tells you to reverse work even though the clover is on top of the chain. Then you come back down with the stitch caps of the chain facing the stitch caps of the previous chain. In other words, you are basically forcing the chains to curve in the opposite direction from what is natural for them, which would result in an awkward-looking line. Instead, I simply did a shoelace trick before and after each clover and allowed the chains to face away from each other as they normally would. (Using a second shuttle for the clover would not be the best option in this case, because then the chain would be one continuous curve instead of coming to a nice point like it does.)

This will be the last size 20 I use for a little while. I'm going to give my hands a break.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Three Crosses

Considering the sale is being run by a church group, I figure crosses should go over pretty well.

On the left is Mary Konior's "Small Cross" from Tatting with Visual Patterns. I made it in Lizbeth color 651 Medium Blue and LadyShuttleMaker's "Diablo". Yeah, that's right, I made a cross out of a thread named after the devil, and I live in an area where lightning is common in the summer. My inspiration for this color combination? Well, you know, in MK's diagrams the rings are red and the chains are blue.

In the middle is Mary Konior's "Large Cross" from the same book. If I had used the same size threads, the "large" cross would indeed have been bigger than the "small" one; however, I used size 20 for the first one and size 80 for the second one, so the relative sizes of the two crosses are reversed. The threads for this one are Tatskool's "Antique Bronze" on the shuttle and "Cloves" on the ball. It was nice to use size 80 thread after all the size 20 I've been using lately. I find that size 20 puts a strain on my hands and I have to take breaks more often, whereas I can tat with size 80 all day long. This pattern gave me a bit of grief, though; I got 3/4 of the way through it before I realized that the reason it wasn't lying flat was because I was joining the clovers on the long arm in the wrong place. At that point, the easiest thing to do was to trash it and start all over, painful though it was to discard hand-dyed thread.

On the right is a design that has been published in various forms by many different people; you could say it's one of those "traditional" tatting patterns, like Hen and Chicks, except that I don't know if this one has ever been given a name. I got the pattern from the book Christmas Angels and other Tatting Patterns by Monica Hahn. I did have to make a change to the pattern. Hahn had the chains in the corners the same length as all the others, which resulted in their being all smooshed on top of each other. I shortened these chains by several stitches and put just 2 picots on them instead of 3. I should have just put one picot on these chains, as they still overlap just a little, but it's OK as it is; in any case, it's way better than it looks in the book. I used Lizbeth white and Krystledawne's "Twilight Grape". I love the colors, but I must say it was a sore trial going back to size 20.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Challenges

I recently acquired a second harp student. This is nice, as it gives me a bit of extra money each month. Next month I'm planning to get a smartphone; this month, however, I blew the wad on tatting books.

That's right, I got six of Ineke Kuiperij's books. And yes, they are written in Dutch, and no, I don't read Dutch. Between the diagrams and online translators, I should be able to manage. I do like a challenge.

Friday, August 12, 2011

August Snow

I just made three snowflakes for the sale; I just need to add hangers to them.

I've tried to stick with reasonable colors for snow on these. I figure most of the customers at the sale (other than the people running it) probably won't understand the concept of tatting for its own sake; they will want it to "be" something. And if it's going to be a snowflake, then it probably shouldn't be bright purple.

This is "Angels in the Snow", done in LadyShuttleMaker's "Icicle" HDT. This is a terrific colorway if you don't feel like tatting in plain white but still want to convey the idea of winter. It may not be totally realistic, but it gives the snowflake some depth while sticking with the colors that people associate with snow and winter.

Another way of adding a little depth to your snowflake is to pair the white with a very pale solid.

This is my "Crazy Daisy" pattern, done in white and Krystledawne's "Fairy Faint". I've mentioned before that this colorway does not scan or photograph well; it is so light that it's hard to get it not to look white. I think you can see it a little bit, but you'll have to take my word for it that this flake looks way better in person.

On a tangent, I hope that when Dr. Vonthreadmore returns from her travels, she will dye a few solids, because "Fairy Faint" is one of my all-time favorite colorways, and I'm almost out of it.

Finally, there's really nothing wrong with a plain white snowflake, is there?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cat and Bird

You are a carnivore. Tigers do not eat cereal.

Or maybe the eating of the cereal was just a detour on your quest to find the magical treats that you are certain can be found in the bottom of the box. Note that the bag containing the actual cereal has now been discarded. And yes, I live in an apartment, so I don't get to choose the linoleum.

As long as the little carnivore doesn't eat any tatted birds, I'll be happy.

This is, of course, my own cardinal that I designed last December. When I made it then, I did it in size 80 to fit on the satin ball; this time I did it in size 20 to hang on its own. Lizbeth 613 Golden Yellow Medium, 604 Black, and 671 Christmas Red.

This is the only one I've made since the original, although several other people have tatted it. What I don't understand is how, in typing up the pattern, I failed to mark all of the ring to ring joins in the oval that makes up the body, AND nobody told me about it! Obviously everyone figured it out, but if anybody wants an updated, accurate version of the pattern, you can drop me an e-mail.

UPDATE: Better yet (quicker and easier for both of us), you can simply go to the My Tatting Patterns page of this blog (http://www.tattingfool.blogspot.com/p/my-tatting-patterns.html) and scroll down to where it says Free Patterns. There you will find the link to download the cardinal pattern.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Just Like the White Winged Dove

From now on, I will only tat abstract motifs with meaningless names, using thread colors that also have very boring names.

Not really, of course, but I am getting kind of sick of getting songs stuck in my head based on what I'm tatting. Does this happen to anyone else?

The white winged dove in question is Jane Eborall's.

I think this is one of Jane's prettiest patterns, and they were fun to make. If you look closely, you will see that I have stuck with my policy of not making two identical items for the sale, although it is harder to do this when realism limits the color choices. The top dove uses Miyuki Delica seed beads with a "silk luster" finish, in linen color, and Lizbeth Dark Evergreen for the olive branch. The bottom one uses Miyuki Delica "Ceylon" seed beads in pearl white, and Lizbeth Christmas Green for the branch. Both use Lizbeth White as the main thread, with 3mm round black beads for the eyes.

I made up my own thing for the olive branches. For each dove, I made the branch first, and as I was tatting the dove's beak, I made an alligator join over the stem of the branch. The branches are thus directly attached to the doves and have no risk of becoming separated.

There is one thing to note if you decide to make this pattern. I don't know about anyone else, but I never read a pattern all the way through before I start it. Therefore, I didn't realize when I started the first one that, except where Jane specifies "vsp", all picots will carry a bead when joined-- not just the long beaded picots, but the normal picots too. Until I figured this out, I made my first few picots a bit small, so getting the beads on them with enough room for the join was a little tricky. After breaking a few beads, I started making the picots longer.

I have to send everything for the sale to my mom by the end of this month, and there are so many more things I want to make!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fandango Revisited

Jane Eborall's Fandango Bookmark:

I used Lizbeth colors 142 Turquoise Twist and 632 Medium Purple. I like the way it came out, although I was a little disappointed in the Turquoise Twist; I would have preferred a more gradual change from dark to light and back.

As usual, I made up a tail; this one includes all the same stitches as the last one, with the addition of a couple of small single-shuttle split rings; on these, I carried the other shuttle through as a second core thread in the first half of the SSSR. Naturally, I finished it off with a Fandango Motif.

Amazingly, this time I managed to do the Fandango without getting that god-awful Queen song stuck in my head again. However, what I am tatting now has got me stuck on yet another song...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Black Magic

I've got to stop tatting things that will get songs stuck in my head. This time it was "Black Magic Woman" by Santana.

The pattern, of course, is Mary Konior's "Black Magic" from Tatting with Visual Patterns. Thanks to Jeff for illustrating how fabulous it can look in a variegated thread; I might never have done this if I hadn't seen his posts. I used Lizbeth color 644 Boysenberry Dark on the shuttle and Lizbeth 137 Berry Burst on the ball. It was sheer luck that the colors worked out so symmetrically, but I do love it when that happens.

For the tail, I wound a second shuttle and tatted a combination of zig zag chain, split rings, and Victorian sets, ending in a motif that matches the bookmark. To make this motif, I transitioned out of the tail at a point where the variegated thread on shuttle 2 matched the solid on shuttle 1. This allowed me to unobtrusively turn the center ring of the motif into a split ring, making the split at the last set of stitches. I then climbed out of it with a mock picot and continued tatting around the center ring as if it were the one of the ends of the bookmark. Wasn't that clever of me? (She said very modestly.)

I actually finished this bookmark several days ago, but couldn't get it blocked until today. I can no longer block anything on days that I have to work, owing to Squijum's pin-munching habit and the fact that there is no longer anyplace in the apartment that he doesn't know how to get to.

When I switched to this new background, I had to go back to a 2-column layout. Does anyone know a way to get a 3-column layout in Minima template? Also, does anyone have any idea why my Google Translate gadget has disappeared? It's still there, right under the Search This Blog gadget, but you can't see it (or at least I can't). Any help would be appreciated!