"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, November 26, 2013

Hat Finished-- With Tatting!

There's nothing classier than taking a picture of yourself in the mirror and posting it online, right? It was the best way I could come up with to show off the hat, though; putting it over a kitchen canister just wasn't going to work.

The pattern is the Barrymore Slouch Hat by Lisa Shroyer. The yarn is Mirasol Sulka in colors 211 Black Pepper and 242 Blackberry, and it feels fabulous!

One thing I really like about the pattern is it has hidden internal ear flaps. These are a bit challenging for a beginner to make, but who hasn't wished for an extra layer over the ears on a windy day? I did deviate from the pattern this time around by not making the button band, but that was only because I didn't have enough of the black yarn left.

And of course, instead of a decorative button, I made a tatted flower.

It looks a little bit messy here because I didn't trim the stamens till after I had it sewn onto the hat. The pattern is Jane Eborall's Lotus on a Button. This was a fun pattern to make, but I'd say definitely for experienced tatters. The tatting itself is easy, just rings and chains, but the way it joins to the button is kind of tricky.

I made the flower using a silk thread from the local yarn store. This thread is intended for needlepoint, and is in fact not that nice for tatting. It's more like a raw silk, not the nice shiny smooth stuff; it's a very loosely twisted, slightly fuzzy 2-ply, similar to a perle cotton. But of course I could see all that before I bought it, and actually I wanted that slightly looser, coarser look for this particular piece, to go better with the yarn. The brand is called Vineyard Silk; the colors are C-101 Chalk Violet (inner petals), C-001 Petal (outer petals), T-811 Landscape (leaves), and S-535 Tinsel (stamens).

The button I used was a purply-gray mother-of-pearl button that happens to go nicely with the colors of the hat and the flower; I used it because it was what I had in my stash that was the right size and shape for the pattern, but really a plastic button would have done just as well since you can't see it by the time all the tatting is attached.

Because the thread is so coarse, ordinary seed beads as per the pattern didn't work. Instead, I used 3mm beads pre-strung on the thread and 2mm beads on the joining picots. Since I had to use larger beads, I also used fewer of them than the pattern called for.

Here it is up close on the hat. I love the way it turned out!

Much to Squijum's delight, I recently invested in a swift and ball winder. I haven't had a chance to try the ball winder yet, but I used the swift to wind the skeins of silk thread onto floss bobbins. It is way easier than looping the thread over the back of a chair, once you get the cat out of the room! Yes, I do have the audacity to think this is a tool for me instead of a toy for His Lordship. I don't know where such thoughts come from.

And I don't need to hear about the dust on my bookshelves, or my unmade bed, thank you.

Besides, this is what His Lordship does when I try to make the bed.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Appropriate Use of Time

So, Christmas is coming in just a few weeks. I have things I need to tat for presents. I have things I need to knit for presents. I also need to finish the Kirsten butterfly (even though there's no deadline on that one). So what do I do? I start a hat for myself.

A few weeks ago, I made this hat for a friend. I said at the time that I enjoyed the pattern so much I wanted to make another for myself. I guess I just couldn't wait.

I decided to splurge on the yarn this time, too. It's a merino/ alpaca/ silk blend, and is quite possibly the softest thing I've ever felt in my life.

You may notice I'm using double point needles here. I prefer a circular needle for knitting in the round; I find it far more efficient and easier to control my tension. I generally don't switch to double points until I've decreased to the point where I have no choice. (Yes, I know about the magic loop trick, and I've watched videos, but it frankly boggles my mind.) So anyway, I had started this hat on a circular needle like I always do. Then the other day, my sweet, adorable little boy...

...pulled it out of my knitting bag and was playing with it. I was in a hurry to get to work and didn't look too closely; at the time I thought all he had managed to do was pull a little yarn off the ball. I just stuffed it back in the bag and left.

When I got home from work this morning and got it out to work on, I found that he had actually been far more interested in the needle.

Strong jaws he's got. Hence the double points even though I haven't started decreasing yet.

Apologies to all my tatting friends who don't knit; I know your eyes must be glazing over. I promise a tatting post soon. Although I can't post everything I tat right now either, since I will also soon be using my time more appropriately to make presents.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What to Do?

So, all you knitters out there, what do you do when you've finished a project and you have this much yarn left?

It's just enough that I'd hate to waste it, but what can I possibly make with it?

And no, you don't get to see what I made-- at least not till after Christmas.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Well, no, it's the start of the next butterfly wing, but with all the ends hanging down, it looks kind of like a jellyfish.

With most patterns I work the ends in as I go so I don't have to deal with them all at the end. The third round of the butterfly wing, though, consists of separate groups of 4-ring clusters. Since each little bit is so small, I found it more efficient to do all the tatting first, then all the sewing. It does seem annoying to have so many ends to hide, but if you think about it, each pair only takes a couple of minutes to sew in, so it's not that bad.

I can't believe Squijum slept through having this many loose threads dangling.

Just so you know, in addition to the ongoing butterfly, I will be starting my Christmas presents in the next day or two, so I may have fewer posts over the next few weeks. It doesn't mean I'm not crafting, it just means I can't show everything I make!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sad Butterfly

Sad because it only has one wing. It will get better, but I have to say, it is taking longer than I expected.

I am happy with the way this wing turned out, even if it did take a while. Part of the reason it took so long was because in the last mignonette round, I noticed that I had joined one ring in the wrong place and had to unpick a couple of other rings to get to it. By the time I had done this, I had handled the thread so much that parts of it were becoming discolored-- yes, my hands were clean! Even some of the previous round was discolored, so I ended up cutting out the whole mignonette section and redoing it. Between that and having numerous ends to hide, this is a project that is requiring great patience. Only three wings to go!

In DMC size 60, this is about 3 1/4 inches across so far. Since the top wings will be slightly wider, this means the finished butterfly will measure more than 6 1/2 inches across.

I really like the lacy look of it in all white. I've also seen a really stunning version that somebody did in colors. (Would the person who made that one please speak up? I'd love to have another look at it, and give a link.) When I first started this, I had visions of making a second one in color, but I'm not so sure now. I haven't ruled it out, but it won't be any time soon. By the time I finish this one, I will be ready to move on.

Oh yeah, the pattern is "Kirsten" from the book Tatted Butterflies by Adelheid Dangela.

UPDATE:  I found the colored version mentioned above. It was made about three and a half years ago by Steph. Go check it out!

Monday, November 4, 2013

All Green

Today's post is brought to you by the color green.

First Jan Sawasz's Flower Pot II, tatted in ecru and mounted on a green fabric.

I already showed the tatting a few days ago, before it was mounted, so I won't spend a lot of time on this one, except to say that I think the ecru and dark green go really well together.

Then I did another Jeweled Waterfall Pendant.

This is Lizbeth color 681 Pistachio Green Light, with purple beads (yes, those are purple, although they look pretty blue on my monitor). Would you believe I never thought of doing it in a single solid color thread until I saw the lovely pink version Martha tatted during the test phase? As soon as I saw that, I immediately started thinking of other solid colors that would look nice by themselves. It turns out I thought of a lot of them, although I may not have time to make as many as I would like. It's kind of an addictive pattern, but there are so many other things I want to tat and knit right now....

One thing I am finding is that if you choose to use a bicone bead at the bottom instead of a teardrop, it is helpful to add an extra pair of seed beads on that same picot to give it a little more dangle. It just hangs better that way.

I've also made a little bit of progress on the butterfly I started in San Francisco, but not enough to show yet.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Big Announcement

Here it is... the moment you've all been waiting for... (of course you have)... the winner of the pendant naming contest!

And the winner is Eve, who suggested the name "Jeweled Waterfall". Eve said, "It is as Beautiful as a wonderful Waterfall out in South Dakota named Bridal Veil Falls that is in the midst of the Black Hills of SD. That falls is surrounded by color the year round Not just the normal spring summer and winter and fall colors but the unique colors of the rocks of the Black Hills that sparkle like gold and silver in the sunshine." Well, this makes me want to visit South Dakota!

There were lots of wonderful names submitted, and I had a really hard time choosing. Every time a new suggestion came in, I thought, "Oh yes, that's what it looks like!" In the end I chose "Jeweled Waterfall" because it suggests the cascading shape of the pendant, and because the jewels can refer to both the beads and the possibility of making it in all kinds of color combinations-- and, of course, because it is simply a beautiful name. It makes me think of the spray off a waterfall catching the sun and making a rainbow.

So congratulations, Eve, and thank you for submitting such a beautiful title!

And here is the most recent one I made.

This is Lizbeth color 180 Honey Drizzle, with findings in antique copper and beads in blue and antique bronze. The color combination was inspired by Umi & Tsuru, who made a similar colored pendant here. I really like the way the Honey Drizzle looks with the blue; the two colors set each other off perfectly.

Now that the pattern is complete with title, it will be available for sale for $4 US. I will get the PayPal button set up on my pattern page shortly; if it's not there when you look, just check back soon. It will definitely go up today.