"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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Finished Drape

When I first introduced the music stand drape, some people mentioned they didn't know about different kinds of music stands. So I'll start with that. There are various styles of music stand that are portable-- i.e. you can fold them up and put them in a bag to take with you to a gig. I own two of them, and as previously mentioned, they are both hideous. My favorite is the Peak stand, which is very solid and sturdy. The only problem is, from the side the audience sees, it looks like this:

Industrial plastic is not the impression I like to convey with my harp.

Then there are the folding wire stands, which are lighter weight, but flimsy.

This one belonged to my sister before me and must be about 30 years old. I don't use it much because I can't put anything too heavy on it. There are newer designs of wire stands that allow for more adjustment and are slightly stronger, but they don't look any better.

For those who were wondering, here's how the drape goes on the stand; it's very simple.

With a wire stand, it works better if you add something to create a flat line at the top. When I used to use that stand regularly, I just set these on it:

They are simply two pieces of corrugated cardboard, covered with a gray satin just in case a corner of them should peek out from behind the drape. But I don't take this stand to gigs anymore, so it's no longer relevant.

There. Now you know way more about music stands than you ever wanted to if you don't use them yourself. On to the tatting. You can scroll through my recent posts to see the progress of making the Square Elegance motif and Christmas Tree Edging, both designed by Frivole. Here they are finally sewn onto the drape.

Oh, you wanted to see the drape actually hanging on the music stand? Well let me tell you, I took literally dozens of photos of that, with different types of lighting, from different angles, using different camera settings, with and without the flash. Here's the best one out of all of those.

Sometimes I wish I could hire a professional photographer for my blog. I can't, but this does give you a pretty good idea of what it looks like. Just enough embellishment to catch the eye, without being distracting. It ended up looking exactly as I envisioned it, and I am very pleased.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 9

Day 9 of the TIAS is here, and I now find myself in agreement with those who think it's a pair of scissors.

Also, I have finished the music stand drape, but I'm not happy with any of the pictures I've taken yet. I'm going to wait a little while for different light and see if I get anything better.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 8

Here's Day 8 of the TIAS.

I don't know if this is another sticky-out bit, or if we're now starting on the main body of the whatever-it-is. I also have no wild-eyed new ideas today. I do notice that the last ring tatted has no joining picot on the side, but I don't know what that means.

As for the music stand drape, I got the first side of the edging sewed down on Friday, but I got distracted yesterday and didn't finish it. It will be done soon, though.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 7, and the Edging Finished

Remember at the start of the TIAS, when I was concerned that my button might be too big? Well, today was the day it became clear that it is.

I will carry on for now; but if I ever decide to tat another Venus fly trap (because that's definitely what this is), I will be more careful with my button size.

And I have finished tatting the edging! It is nearly impossible to photograph, though. I tried taking pictures of it on the actual drape that it will be attached to, but the satin is too shiny. I ended up having to use a purple t-shirt as a background, as the best color to let the light gray thread show up well. And then I can't seem to get the whole thing in one in-focus shot. This was as close as I got:

And here are the stats:

Pattern: Christmas Tree Edging by Frivole (with the clovers on each end and the corner slightly modified because I wanted different bead patterns there)
Thread: Lizbeth color 605 Silver, size 20
Beads: Miyuki Delicas in gunmetal color for all of the normal repeats; for the two ends and the corner, I added Miyuki Delicas in silver and clear Swarovski bicones
Size: 12 1/4 inches along each side (each side being 15 repeats long, not including the corner); 7/8 inch wide

As soon as I finish posting this, I shall commence sewing it and the Square Elegance motif onto the drape. I hope to get it done by tomorrow evening, but I'm not a fast sewer at all. And then there will be the new challenge of getting a decent photo of the finished product...

I'll leave you with a close-up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 6, and Edging Nearly Done

I finished Day 6 of the TIAS this morning, but was too tired to photograph it, so here it is now.

My thinking on this has evolved since Day 5. However much it might look like rabbit ears (if you turned it the other way), I don't think Jane's devious mind would give us something so obvious right from the beginning. On the other hand, she might start with a distinctive feature of a less obvious animal. Therefore, these are the tentacles of a cuttlefish. That's my story and I'm sticking to it-- at least until the next segment is released.

On the third hand, though, the last time I guessed a TIAS was a cuttlefish was Sherry's, which turned out to be a locomotive. Wanda thinks this one is a plant of some sort, and it's true, I can see either a Venus fly trap or some sort of orchid in here too. Jane says no one has guessed it yet, but sometimes she's devious in what she says, too.

On the edging front, I have made some progress, though not as much as I would have liked, what with having to go to work so I can buy tatting supplies (and food).

I am about 3/4 done, actually, and I hope to be done with the tatting part by tomorrow night. Of course, then comes the sewing on part, which, for me, is not so fun.

I figured this was a good time to stop and take a picture because the shuttle needed to be refilled anyway. I've actually gone through two full shuttles already; since the pattern is mostly rings, it uses a lot of shuttle thread, and not as much thread fits on the shuttle with all the beads.

When I was first starting it, I had no idea how many beads to load on the thread, because I didn't know how long each repeat would end up, and therefore how many repeats I would have to do. (It turns out, 15 repeats per side, plus the corner, for two 12-inch sides). So I just kept adding beads until I had about a 10-inch length of them on the thread, and hoped that would be enough. As I wound the first shuttle, spacing the beads along the way, I found that the shuttle was full after I had only wound about half the beads onto it. I therefore cut the thread and set that shuttle aside, and wound another shuttle, spacing the beads in the same manner. Filling this shuttle used up all the rest of the beads, so I kept it attached to the ball and started tatting; this actually worked out nicely as the other shuttle was already ready to go the first time I ran out of thread.

Each time I ran out of thread on the shuttle, there were still a few beads left, so I just set these aside in a small bowl, figuring I would need them eventually. After using up all the thread on both shuttles, I knew how many more beads I would need-- 47 (because the last repeat will have a different beading pattern that will use two fewer pre-strung beads)-- and I actually didn't have this many in the bowl. Remember, these were from the original 10 inches of beads that I strung before I started. No problem, I've got plenty left in tube.

I pulled a couple of yards off the ball and cut the thread there; this is a good technique when you have to refill your shuttle in a ball-and-shuttle pattern, so you don't have to join on a new ball thread as well. Refilled the shuttle with the necessary number of beads, and I'm ready to go.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 5, and More Edging

Jane released Day 5 of the TIAS today.

One TIAS participant, Maureen, wants it to be a rabbit every year. This year, I think she may have finally gotten her wish. I still haven't ruled out the Chinese dragon, though.

On the edging front, I've made really good progress.

I'm only edging the two sides, so having turned the corner means I am more than half done.

As with the first repeat, I changed the beads on the corner, adding Swarovski crystals to match the ones in the Square Elegance motif. I added even more beads to the corner repeat than I did to the first one, partly for the purpose of adding weight, and partly to create a focal point in the center. This ring is also therefore somewhat larger than the others; whereas in the original pattern the corner clover is identical to all the others. The final repeat will, of course, match the first one.

These close-ups are mainly to show the beads, of course, but they also show the construction details a little bit. I rarely make patterns that call for leaving a bare thread space between rings because it's so hard to keep it consistent. In this case, though, the unworked thread is such a short length that it's not a problem; moreover, I really like how the lock joins to the bare threads create the illusion of the threads being twisted around each other for a unique look. It's worth mentioning again that this is the Christmas Tree Edging designed by Frivole.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Day 4, and Edging Started

Day 4 of the TIAS was certainly quick to tat. I happened to have similar colors showing on both threads, so my lock chain is not quite as striking as some people's undoubtedly will be, but I'm betting there will be more lock chains later.

At this point, the wing seems too narrow for a bat. Perhaps it's not a wing at all. Perhaps it is a Chinese dragon holding a pearl in its mouth. Time will tell.

I also made a good start on the edging for the music stand drape.


The pattern is Frivole's Christmas Tree Edging. Since I'm not making it to look like Christmas trees, I used all one color, the same Lizbeth 605 that I used for the Square Elegance motif. This also allows me to skip the shoelace tricks and do it with ball and shuttle instead of two shuttles.

I made a tiny change to the first clover, and will make the same change to a couple of others later on. I wanted different beads at the two ends and on the corner, but I didn't want to have to figure out how many repeats that will be and count the beads as I was stringing them (I would have been infuriated if I had miscounted). So to avoid all that, I used the technique where you string the beads on a long picot and then join to that same picot a couple of stitches later (and made a normal beaded picot underneath that); this meant making the ring larger by two DS. All the other repeats are as written, and once the whole thing is made and sewed down it will all make sense.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 3

My aged computer has become increasingly recalcitrant of late, but this morning I was finally able to get online long enough to print out Day 3 of the TIAS. I still see no reason why it couldn't be a bat, as long as the wing doesn't get any longer. I suppose it could also be a hand plow.

This is actually the only tatting I've had time for since the last post, but I do plan on starting the edging for the music stand drape today.

And look-- my computer actually let me stay online long enough to finish typing this! Good computer! Now please, please, please will you let me publish it?

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Smaller Project

In my last post, I mentioned that there was a smaller project I wanted to tat before I start the last round of the doily. Here's the story. Many years ago, a group of local harpists, myself included, decided that all music stands that are practical to take with you from your home to a gig are completely hideous. The plain black Manhasset stands that are standard for orchestras look just fine, but they are too clunky to bring with you easily(orchestras just store them in their performance space), especially when you also have to carry a harp around. There are a variety of portable music stands that work really well, and all of them are ugly, in our collective opinion. A seamstress in the group therefore devised a cloth drape that can be hung over the music stand and make it look nice.

I've had a few of these drapes over the years. I recently realized that the problem I had with all of them was that they were velvet or velveteen, and no matter how I stored them it was impossible to keep the cat hair off of them. Now, I'm sure we can all agree that there can be no finer adornment than His Lordship's beautiful and elegant fur. Nonetheless, one does occasionally wish to decorate with something else. So I asked the above-mentioned seamstress to make me a drape in satin, and she did. It is currently just plain black satin (and much in need of ironing, but that's my own fault), but it will soon be adorned with tatting.

This is the Square Elegance motif by Frivole. She particularly likes square motifs, and I particularly like squares "on point", so I chose this one for the music stand drape. The thread is Lizbeth color 605 Silver (which is really a light gray). The doodad in the center has Swarovski crystals on it. They look turquoise in this photo, but they are really clear; they just refract the light in such a way that they occasionally look this color, and sometimes purple. But mostly they just look colorless and sparkly. The idea is to have something that will look elegant but not over the top, and go with whatever decor happens to be at the gig.

I apologize that this is not a good photo (did I mention the drape needs ironing?), but it gives a rough idea of what it will look like sewn down. I also plan to make an edging along the bottom. I think that the beads in the edging, along with the doodad in the motif, will add a little weight to make the drape hang really nicely.

I only need about two feet of edging, so it shouldn't take too long. Then it will be back to the doily. Oh, and don't forget the TIAS!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 2

I knew I'd have to give up on the unicycle theory pretty quickly. What we are tatting is clearly a bat. The button is the body, and this is a wing we're working on now. And a colorful flock of bats they will be, too!

And here's the doily with the round I showed yesterday all finished.

I'll give it a good going over with the iron before I start the final round. This will happen sometime soon, but there's just one other little thing I want to tat first.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Design Variation

Remember this doily? Goodness, it's been longer ago than I thought since I last posted about it. I actually have been working on it off and on over the last few months. Each time I did a little bit, I would think, "Well, that was so little, it's not worth taking a photo and posting it yet." But guess what? Little bits add up! Today, I worked on it for a good long time in the waiting room at the garage (new front and rear brakes, and when I got the bill I remembered what I used to like so much about not owning a functional car). I am now just a few rings away from finishing this round, with just one more round left.

Funny thing about this. As I was making the last of those inward-facing points, I noticed it looked a little "off". I double-checked it against the pattern, and my stitch count was correct. So I looked at the previous repeats, and discovered that I had made every single one of those clovers wrong!

The first and third rings of that clover should be 6-6-3 and 3-6-6 respectively, and I made them all 6-9-3 and 3-9-6. Can you believe it took me to the end of the round to notice that? So of course I did what any sensible person would have done; I picked out the "correct" one I had just made and did it over "incorrectly" to match all the others. As long as they all match, it will look right. So now no one knows there's a mistake except you, and you're sworn to secrecy, OK?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 1

Here's Day 1 of this year's TIAS.

My button is closer to 1/2 inch than the 3/8 inch Jane recommends. Hopefully this won't throw it off by too much. The thread is Lizbeth color 158 Niagara Falls.

At this point, my guess is a unicycle, although I'm sure that will change with the next installment. With each day's release, I always wait till I've tatted my own and thought about my own guess before I visit the TIAS blog to see how others have tatted it and what they are thinking. So now that I've done my bit, I'll just toddle over there and check it out.

I always forget, too, how very little tatting is involved in each day's bit. It is nice to have such a small thing to look forward to in between other tatting (not that I've actually done any other tatting since the last post, but I mean to).

UPDATE: Oh fer cryin' out loud. I read the directions, I looked at the picture, and I still did it wrong. It's a good thing I did look at the TIAS blog, or I might not have caught it until way too late. And I'm glad the lock stitch chain is only 4 stitches, as those are a bugger to unpick. Here's the corrected version, both rings joined to the same hole on the button.