"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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I Like It!

Here's the third large motif, this one tatted without mishap (I think). I really like the way these are coming together. The negative spaces between motifs are very interesting to me, and it will be even more so when the small motifs are completely surrounded by the large ones. I don't think I've mentioned the color yet; it's Lizbeth 606 Charcoal.

And here's the reason why I'm making this.

This formerly beautiful, and now sad and dejected-looking, pillow needed replacing. I really need a pillow behind my back because this recliner is just a little too big for me (I got a great deal on it used, so I don't care). But this one's lifespan is clearly over.

So I got a new pillow cover from The Slipcover Shop, in a plain lavender duck cloth that will be very durable.

And here's an idea of what it will look like with the tatting on it.

With two more row of motifs plus two rounds of edging, it should be just about the right size. I'll try to get a photo that captures the lavender color better, but I will clearly have to do it at some other time of day.

A friend of mine has loaned me an air purifier to see if it will help with Squijum's allergies. Let's hope it does, because the vet and I are running out of ideas.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

And Another

Another of the large motifs done. A little here and a little there, and eventually this doily will be finished.

After I had finished tatting this motif (the left-most of the two large ones), I realized that I had made one of the large rings too small by 3 ds. At first, because I was tired, I thought I'd just leave it and it wouldn't be too noticeable. But then my real personality took over and I decided that the missing picot would in fact be glaringly obvious, and in any case I would always know the mistake was there, whether anyone else ever saw it or not. So out with the scissors to snip that one ring; once the core thread was cut, I also pulled out the smaller rings on either side of it, so I would have a long enough thread to hide the ends; and I simply retatted that whole clover. I am definitely glad I redid it, as it would have bothered me forever. If you look extremely closely you might be able to tell which one it is because it looks ever so slightly bulkier where all the ends are tatted over or sewn in. But as long as you only look at it from the front-- and of course only the front will be visible once it's sewn onto a pillow-- I really don't think it's obvious at all.

One more large motif in this row, then two more rows, followed by two rounds of edging.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jan's Table Set

But not for a table, because it would only get covered up with all the junk that gets piled on the table. I hear some people use their tables for eating from, but that's just weird. The table is for collecting stuff, everybody knows that.

Anyway, I showed you the first two small motifs for this doily in the last post. Here are all the small motifs I should need, plus the first large one.

I think each of these makes a very attractive motif on its own, and the way Mr. Stawasz joins them together to make a larger piece is just astounding. The pattern is "Table Set" from the book Tatted Treasures. Mine will be slightly different from any of the pieces in the original set, as I am combining nine large motifs and four small ones to make a square, as opposed to the squares in the photo which consist of four large motifs and one small one. Mine is simply an extension of that. I'm certainly not making that massive 4-armed centerpiece thing; I don't have the attention span for it, or a place to put it. Also, I'm using size 20 thread instead of size 10, so it's a little hard to say what the size of mine will be as compared to the size of Mr. Stawasz's.

I had to make myself a little sketch of how all the motifs will be joined. Despite perfectly clear photos and diagrams in the book, I was having a hard time visualizing the joins just because everything is in one color. The real thing looks beautiful all in one color, but I do think showing the two motifs in different colors on the diagram would have been helpful. And lest you think I am hiding some latent artistic ability, here's my sketch.

Yeah. But it tells me what I need to know, which is which corner of the large motif should meet the corner of the small motif.

Now off to wind the shuttles for the next motif, and this time I'll put a lot more thread on shuttle 1!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Annalisa Finished, and a New Start

I was working on a crossword puzzle the other day, and one of the clues was "To make lace", and the word was three letters. Well, that one was easy!

I've finally gotten "Annalisa" mounted, and it is now proudly displayed in my living room. While I was working on it, I wasn't too sure for a while how I was going to display it, since ready-made frames are not usually square, and custom framing is expensive. But then I realized that just because the doily is square doesn't mean the frame has to be, and I remembered Flexi-Hoops. I first discovered them in a small, local craft store when I lived in Minnesota; since then, I have never found them from another US supplier. The link above is for a craft shop in the UK, which was able to ship them across the pond in a very reasonable time at a reasonable price.

The Flexi-Hoop consists of two rings that snap together like an embroidery hoop, but the outer ring is flexible-- hence the name-- instead of being adjusted with a screw. Thus you can use it as an embroidery hoop to work on your project, and then simply trim away the excess fabric and voila, it's already framed.

And here's the finished project, hanging in its new home on the door.

Throughout the course of working on "Annalisa", I was completely amazed at Iris Niebach's designing skill. I've tatted several of her designs before, and always marveled at them, but this was by far the most complex. I am astounded that a doily this intricate can be tatted all in one round; frankly, there aren't that many designers who could do it. Thank you to Fox and umintsuru for getting me interested in tatting this!

And I've already started the next doily, too. Ever since getting Jan Stawasz's book Tatted Treasures, I've been fascinated with his doily designs, especially the ones made of small motifs joined together. They all have such interesting secondary patterns where the motifs join.

While I was contemplating how to display "Annalisa", Carollyn suggested a doily could be mounted on a throw pillow. I happen to have one that is badly in need of replacing, so I thought this was a great idea. I thought a doily made of small motifs, as opposed to being tatted in the round, would be perfect for this because it can easily be adjusted to fit whatever size I need. And so I am using the basic pattern for Stawasz's "Table Set", but making a doily that will be larger than his little square placemats; mine will use nine of the larger motifs instead of just four.

These are the smaller motifs that go in between the larger ones. I decided it would be easier to tat them first. I have two more of these to make, then I start on the large ones.

Funny, I'm not usually a doily person at all, and now I'm making two of them in a row for my own home!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


"Annalisa" has actually been finished and blocked for about a week and a half now. I wanted to hold off on posting it till I had it mounted and framed, but every single day something has come up to keep that from happening, so I finally decided I'd better just show it to you as is.

First, here it is before blocking, taken from an odd angle to show just how badly the blocking was needed. It is one of those pieces that you have to bunch up as you work on it to maintain your hold, plus it was always folded up small in my tatting bag when I wasn't working on it.

Now here it is on the blocking board. I took this one because I can't seem to get a good photo of the thread, but when it's wet you can see even in a photo just how many colors are in it. Of course they aren't this intense when dry, even in person.

Finally, a scan of the blocked doily, with the fabric I intend to mount it on. Someday. Soon.

Depending on your monitor, you may be able to see the thread colors somewhat here. I was planning on ironing it after blocking, because it still wasn't quite perfect, but it turns out simply leaving it on the scanner bed for a week and a half, with Squijum sitting on the scanner lid every day (it can't possibly be comfortable, but he insists), worked just as well. With all these long chains, this is as good as it gets.

I have to admit, this was a tough one to tat. The diagram was incredibly complex and difficult to follow. When you successfully complete a project like this, it is wonderfully satisfying.

To recap, "Annalisa" doily, from the book Tatted Doilies by Iris Niebach, tatted in Olympus thread color M12, size 40.