"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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tatting While Traveling

I haven't posted for several days because I've been out of town. We had a big family gathering in northern California. It was fun, but I am glad to be back home.

I started this a few days before I left and finished it while flying/ waiting in airports.

It is, of course, the Flower Pot II again from Tatted Treasures by Jan Stawasz. I hope to get it stitched down onto some fabric in the next day or two. I really liked the all white version of the Flower Pot I that I made. The colored pictures are fun and pretty, but I really think that tatting it all in one color enhances the lacy effect much better. For this one I used ecru, and I'll probably put it on a dark green background.

I just threw this on the scanner with a piece of construction paper behind it so you can see it. One thing about these flower pot designs is the stems just kind of flop around till you sew them down, so laying it on the scanner like this doesn't always make for the best layout. I'll spread the flowers out more as I stitch it down.

You may notice that I changed some of the flowers. I mentioned when I tatted the color version of this that a couple of the flowers, while they looked OK in colored threads, did not appeal to me in monochrome. Therefore, I replaced them with other flowers from the book and rearranged the order in which they are placed.

I also made a very slight change to the vase. I lengthened the chains that lead down to the bottom section by several stitches, and I think it lies much better this way. When I made it using the original stitch count, I had to tug on those chains pretty hard and sew them extremely carefully to make the bottom row of rings lie in a straight line.

Most of my family spent a large part of this vacation doing wine-tastings in Sonoma County. This gave me a fair amount of tatting time. As far as I'm concerned, all forms of alcohol taste equally vile, and there's no reason to keep tasting it. Instead, I got a fair start on a butterfly.

This is going to be "Kirsten" from Adelheid Dangela's book Tatted Butterflies. I've got three rounds left on this wing, then three more wings to make. It's a pattern I've always thought was really beautiful, but I was put off by the long unworked thread spaces and the number of cut and ties. But sometimes you have to do that to achieve the look you want, so I decided to go for it. I also changed the antennae; I'll explain about that when I post the finished butterfly.

You still have a few days to submit names for the new pendant. I'll be announcing the winner on Friday.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Side Project

I'm still working on Jan Stawasz's flower pots, but I got momentarily distracted by a knitting project. I had actually promised a friend of mine a hat late last winter, but I didn't have time to make it before the cold weather was over. I figured now would be a good time to get it done, so she can actually wear it this year!

This is a slouchy style hat; I've got it displayed on a larger sized kitchen canister so it doesn't flop over itself in the photo, but it actually will be... not floppy, but just looser... on the head.

The pattern is the Barrymore Slouch Hat by Lisa Shroyer. It was quite fun to make, although it took a little longer than I was expecting. Every time you change from the light color to the dark color, you do one row of sl 1 kn 1, followed by a row of purl. This creates those neat little color blips and makes those rows stick out just a little bit from the surface of the hat. At the bottom of the ribbing, you add a row of single crochet. I've never crocheted anything in my life, so this was a new technique for me. Now that I know how, I'll probably use it to attach tatted edgings to things-- much faster than sewing!

In fact, I like this hat so much, I think I might make another one for myself. I'd probably put a 3D tatted flower on it instead of the buttons.

I finished Sherry's TIAS, too. It just needs a little blocking.

And please keep those suggestions coming for what to name the pendant. I've got some great ones so far!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Necklace Needs a Name

Remember this pendant?

With the help of two wonderful test tatters, Jeanne Lugert and Martha Ess, I have written the pattern for it. I will soon post it to my pattern page, where I will sell it and donate all the revenue to the New Mexico Brain Injury Alliance, just as I do with Angels in the Snow.

But first it needs a name, and that's where you come in. All my readers are invited to suggest a name for this pendant. You may suggest as many names as you can think of. I will select my favorite and announce the winner on November 1.

The winner will receive the following:

1. A free copy of the pattern
2. Two sets of the findings needed to make it (one in silver and one in gold)
3. A size 15 (0.5 mm) crochet hook, perfect for making a join with a seed bead
4. A packet of flexible beading needles, perfect for stringing beads onto tatting thread
5. A gift certificate to Artbeads, one of my favorite suppliers of jewelry-making supplies

Here are a couple of tips for suggesting a good title. First, it should be something creative, pretty, and descriptive that will grab people's attention. "Angels in the Snow", the title of my snowflake given to me by Linda Mageske, is a perfect example of this; just don't suggest something like "Tatted Pendant"-- that's boring. Second, don't send in color-based suggestions like "Blue Pendant"; I don't care for titles that imply a piece should be tatted in a certain color.

Make your suggestion by leaving a comment on THIS post. Remember to include a way for me to contact you if you're the winner. If your Blogger profile includes your e-mail address, that's good enough. Otherwise, please include your e-mail in the comment; you can format it as "yourname at e-mailprovider dot com" so the spammers don't pick it up.

Anyone is welcome to enter. As the suggestions come in, I will make a list of the titles separate from who suggested them to make sure my close friends don't get special consideration.

Here are a few others I've made:

And here's Jeanne's:

And Martha's:

As you can see, there are all sorts of possibilities for playing with color in this design. And in case you're not the winner, don't worry-- information on where to buy the specialized findings is included in the pattern.

So get cracking and send me some names!

Just to let you know, it may take me a little longer than usual to publish your suggestions. I normally use my phone to publish comments when I'm away from the computer. I'm not doing that with this post, because I'm copying all suggestions into a Word document as they come in, so it's easier to approve them only from the computer. Don't worry, it will be published eventually.

And PLEASE remember to include a way for me to contact you!!! If I can't get in touch with you, you can't be the winner, no matter how good your suggestion is!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

TIAS Day 9

It is definitely looking more and more train-like. Perhaps it will be a toy train for Christmas, and that's why Sherry said my color choice would be so great.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall Flowers Finished

Flower Pot I from the book Tatted Treasures by Jan Stawasz. Thread colors listed in previous posts.

Happy as I am with this outcome, I do have to say that those double picots are a right pig to sew down. You want a single stitch to hold the thread in place-- not too loose or it won't work, not too tight or it will pucker; not too large or it will be visible, not too small or it will make a compressed spot in the tatting thread; and in just the right place so it doesn't pull the picot out of its natural shape. I have to admit, I don't bother sewing down the inner strand of the double picot; I figure it's going to end up behind glass in a frame, so I'm not too worried about it being dislodged. I also don't bother sewing down the regular picots in a piece like this, for the same reason. If I were sewing the tatting to a garment or household item that would subjected to a lot of laundering, it would be a different story, but for something that is going to be protected in a frame, just a few stitches to hold the whole piece in place are sufficient.

Here's day 8 of the TIAS, which I posted on the TIAS blog a few days ago but haven't put here yet.

From this angle, it's a hair dryer, but that seems like a less likely guess than cuttlefish was. Or it could possibly be a ray gun or a megaphone.

Rotated this way, it's the shoe that the old lady lived in.

However, I think the most likely guess so far is, as several people have suggested, a steam locomotive. The tall part is the smokestack, and we have now started the front end. One person even specifically suggested The Little Engine That Could; that individual happens to be tatting in a light blue thread, just like the color of the engine in the book.

Then again, I was convinced for a very long time that Jane's goat was going to be a locomotive, so what do I know?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Autumn Flowers

I never seem to be able to put anything on the scanner straight, but here it is. I did the stems in Lizbeth 138 Leafy Greens. All the other colors are listed in the last post. I'm planning to mount this one on an off-white background fabric.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Flowers and TIAS

I finally had time to make the flowers of my current Jan Stawasz project. All that remains is the stems.

From left to right, the flowers are made from Lizbeth color 100 Falling Leaves; 694 Harvest Orange, 673 Terra Cotta (the same color as the vase), and 613 Golden Yellow Medium; and 612 Golden Yellow Light and 169 Autumn Apple Pie.

I think my double picots came out a little better this time around. A picot gauge would make them perfectly even, but I think they're close enough.

I've also got day 7 of the TIAS done.

All I can think of at this point is a cuttlefish, with tentacles to be added later. I do notice a couple of points that may be telling, except they're not actually telling me anything. The way this most recent part joins to the round section does not quite match the way the first chain came off of the round section, so we're definitely making something asymmetrical. And the only joining picot available at this point is the one on the last chain we made. Although we could also join at the bases of the rings, this does seem to indicate that the most likely direction for the next section will be down (in the perspective of this picture). Still, it doesn't really give me any clues as to what it is.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

TIAS Day 6

I'm starting to see things in it now. It all depends on how you rotate it.

Dachshund. Those two remaining picots on the round bit will be used to join the long part of the face.

Gingerbread boy. The picots on the round part will be for a lopsided hat.

Something with pointy ears on top-- either Hello Kitty or Batman (with a flower in his hair?).

Holly leaf with berry. Additional leaves to be joined to those two pesky picots.

Then again, Sherry said this colorway would be great. Unless she was being ironic (which I wouldn't put past her), a rainbow thread wouldn't seem to work very well for any of these-- although I think it would be hilarious to see a rainbow-colored flower-bedecked tatted Batman.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Poor Squijum

That's an IV site on his arm.

Don't worry, it wasn't anything too major. He just had his teeth cleaned. But for a cat, this is a much bigger deal than for us, because they have to have general anesthesia. Because of Squijum's past dental problems, this is something he will have to do every year. Luckily, he never has a bad reaction to anesthesia, and his generally sweet and friendly disposition makes it easy for the vet to do what she needs to do before he goes under.

I never did manage to get him to accept having his teeth brushed, as you can see in the "before" picture below. Look how yellow the back tooth is, and the gum below it is pretty inflamed. The vet did warn me this was likely; the corresponding upper tooth is the one that was pulled last year, so now this tooth has nothing to grind against.

I think the underlying problem is I couldn't find a toothpaste he could tolerate the taste of. You'd think they could make feline toothpastes in flavors that felines enjoy. I really would like to be able to brush his teeth. I've seen so many human patients with brain abscesses that started out as dental abscesses (and yes, I do realize that working where I work does lead me to always imagine the worst case scenario), and studies in humans also correlate good dental health with good heart health. I'm sure it can't be that different in cats; we are all mammals, after all. Gian, do you think you could have a word with him about getting his teeth brushed?

On the upside, his x-rays looked great, so hopefully we can avoid any more extractions. And the rest of his health is perfect.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

TIAS Day 5

I have no idea. I don't think it's a gourd anymore. We could be outlining the wing of a bird right now, but somehow I don't think that's right either.

I've been rotating it every which way trying to see something, but I'm not really getting anything right now.

Notice how mischievous Sherry looks in her photo on the TIAS blog?