Sunday, July 31, 2011

From Her Heart To Mine

In the mail yesterday...

With this gift came a request for anonymity.  I respect those wishes, while at the same time sharing this beautiful shuttle with readers of tat-ology who are familiar with The Cat.  

The little mother-of-pearl silhouette has Misha's shape and champagne colour, giving this gift such special significance.  I treasure this shuttle as well as all the thoughtful, caring sentiments that accompany it.  Thank you, dear friend.  

In the works is this new border...  
These socks for Mini-Boss are going to be so cute!


Now then.  Here is an admission:

ahem...  (I am blushing - but here goes...)  I compare my tatting to the tatting of other.  All the time.  I meticulously examine blog photos, especially those of tatting done by people whose work I greatly admire. Then, of course, I become unreasonably disatisfied and frustrated...

You know how hard I work at this stuff.  I am not a slacker.  I really, really try, and usually fall so short of my own expectations.  

This is not a ploy for pats on the back or admonishments of "Don't be so hard on yourself." Not at all. You know by now, if you follow tat-ology, the whole reason for my initiating the blog was to improve  my tatting, not to serve as a showcase to garner attention or compliments.  I  take the challenge of mastery to heart, and so I compare.  

Also, I have asked for help in my posts and so very much appreciate all the thoughtful and honest insights, helpful suggestions and constructive criticisms that so many of you have offered, taking time and effort to straighten me out on so many of my tatting troubles. 

Comparing my work to that of the most talented in Tat-Land is a great opportunity through which I have benefited with the improvement of my own stitching ability.

One of my favourite tatters is Jon, whose work I constantly analyze. Before I knew a snowflake from daisy chain, I was lucky enough to receive some samples of her work;  I have always had her exquisitely tatted motifs nearby to serve as examples of quality tatting. Her small motifs, several with beads, one on a carbone ring and a few snowflakes have been fondled and examined so many, many times over the past two years. They never fail to amaze, inspire and teach.   

 This brings me to  Rose Window:

Honestly, this little motif took me many hours to tat as I sweated buckets over each ds. The stitches are still too loose and the overall shape is wonky.  Once again gain I suspect that my using beads gets in the way of good tatting and adversely affects my focus. Stubbornly, I cling to adding beads, so this time, as an experiment, I tatted the same motif without beads.

The resulting motif is smaller, not as floppy as the first one, because it is not as loose. Surprisingly, taking into account that I used only Stardate - no colour in the chains - I find that I do not like it as much, even though I believe the quality has improved.  Go figure!

Lots of work, hours of tatting  and many words later, 
and I do not know what any of this proves.
And that is okay with me.
: )

Friday, July 29, 2011

Reflections Through The The Rose Window

This is Jon's Rose Window.  Unlike times in the past when I was driven to email Jon for help with her patterns because I could not figure a thing out, I was comfortable and loose-limbed (?!) tatting this beauty.

Again, I used the old Lizbeth twist and snag with yarnplayer's 'Stardate'. Light turquoise beads are from umintsuru.

I have had an epiphany about the way I always have stabbed myself when adding beads.  It seems to me that I was pushing the bead onto the picot with the left hand (I hold the shuttle in the right) , grasping the picot between the thumb and forefinger with a LOT of pressure.  Then there would be in automatic reflex that would counteract the first push, and in that moment the hook would work its evildoing.

For some reason, the other day I pushed a bead onto the picot with the RIGHT hand, and there was so much more control and no backlash.  Hard to describe, but I instinctively knew this was a safer movement to install a bead.  Whew...  I do hope I am correct in this assumption. Otherwise, I suggest stock options in BandAid.
I have had a brilliant idea!  Uh-oh, I hear you say!  Really, this is a beaut - I just now have to research places with which I am totally out of my field...  I will keep you posted if I can get off the ground floor here... : ))

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Blessed

Tatting has opened a whole universe to me - not just in an artistic way,  but in the realm of friendship.  I have met such wonderful women since I started tatting and tat-ology.  The harmony, generosity, affection and good will that exists between people, many of whom  I suspect must dwell on opposite sides of the religious, political, economic and social street from one another, never fails to astound and delight me.

Acts of kindness abound here in Tat-Land.  Another one occurred just a few minutes ago when I went to my mailbox.

You recall I tossed mt shuttles in the garbage?  Well, I tried to order one of my favourite shuttles  -  a pansy beauty -  from across The Pond, from LaCossette, my shuttle supplier par excellence - who informed me that "Pansy' was no longer available.  I was very sad to hear that. But...

Today In The Mail!

Isdihara, Thank you!
Thank You, LaCossette!

This  lovely plot hatched between LaCossette and Isdihara 
has made me a happy tatter!

I have already been tatting with this brand new baby, as it is the perfect pattern and colour for the motif I have just begun!

Perfect, nest'ce pas?

This is not the end of the mail delights!  I LOVE receiving mail from afar - it is a long-lasting happiness I still carry of my experiences as a youngster growing up in letter-writing times, who had 'pen-pals' for years.  There was always a thrill in finding envelopes with strange stamps, sporting evidence of other cultures and languages, addressed to me in the mailbox.

Today a letter with some lovely green thread and a pretty tatted motif arrived from ARGENTINA!  Thank you Monica!

It has been a good day.  Gian, however, is not impressed.  Do I see the emergence of certain bad-ass, Vader-like traits in the works here?  Hmmm...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Scrumptious Stardate

The pattern, 'Sahmura', is from Jon's new book; the thread is Altin Basik, given to me by Suneeti; the pink beads are from umintsuru,  the hand-dyed thread is 'Stardate', by Yarnplayer;

All mistakes
 - mainly in that there are only five points in this one - 
are mine!

Yes, I completely missed that last segment of the pattern, knowing that something was not quite right, but mystified till the end as to what the problem was.

The green motif is tatted in that rayon thread that I described in Monday's post.  The very skinny stuff. It is really kind of addictive.

Back to Jon's motif - tatting this pattern was a totally relaxing experience!  When do I ever use the descriptor 'relaxing' to describe my time with a shuttle? Well, it's true!  After the first time around, which I always seem to need, and figuring out that there are six points not five, my shoulders dropped about half a foot and the rest was all good.

Still perplexed by the countless hours I devote to the threads, tatting into the wee hours, absorbed by the double stitch so that I have at least halved my reading time to devote it to tatting, I question the validity of what I am doing.  "You think too much," were the words I heard growing up, over and over again.

As a life-long ponderer and armchair philosopher, not having a purpose or a plan attached to a course of action is unsettling, at odds with my usual modus operandi.

Usually my life strategies are pretty much goal-oriented.  After two, now almost three years of continual tatting, I would think that I would have either given it up or come to some kind of conclusion about this perplexing conundrum.

I need more Zen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Test Tatting Triumph!

Look at this!  
Sharon has been designing again,
and asked me to test one of her new patterns:


When I saw that pattern I was a bit nonplussed, thinking I had for sure bitten off more than I could possibly chew. Once I got going and took it one step at a time, I realized it was totally do-abe and that I could really have fun with it.  

So I did.  I picked the colours and the beads and in that dastardly heat set about to tat a fine choker.

The adding of the longer dangle of beads was a new trick for me, and adding the beads in the correct order is always a challenge.  After the fourth try, I got it right!

Unfortunately, (here comes an old chestnut...) I used an old ball of defective #20 Lizbeth that I had not had the heart to throw away. I had forgotten how disgustingly uneven the texture is and how there are knots and twists throughout. I really should not be using this thread, but if I toss the defects, I will eliminate a lot of good colours.  Grrr.

Also, the #20 Lizbeth feels as if I am tatting with straw!  It feels HUGE.  That is due to the fact that I am tatting something else with a rayon thread that Suneeti gave me that is so very fine that I am astounded I am almost finished tatting a motif with it that I will post soon. (It is as small as the stuff Snowy tats with!)  I think I am becoming addicted to threads that are smaller than #20.

Anyway, this  choker took only three days to tat, the band part taking the longest time.  It is a challenging pattern and the final result is very pleasing. Also, it actually fits very well.  It could be tatted on a finer thread and be worn on the hand, or it could be adapted for a foot, so it is quite versatile as well.

The new patterns should be available very soon.  Thank you Sharon for the neat opportunity!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Few Odds and Ends

In an effort to entice a family member to consider the 
art of lace-making, I will mail these tomorrow.

This stuff DOES work.  In the heat of the past few days,
 the consistency changed and it is perfect for tatting thread.

We are finally  recovering from that awful heat...
We are sooo tired!

Back to my projects....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Birthday Girl

I cannot believe she is five years old today.  
Where did the time go?

Suneeti gave me some beads a while back, wooden ones that she may have intended for The Boss, as it seemed they were a child's art toy, but they were perfect for this birthday necklace.

You know by now I am not big on the jewellery-tatting-thing, but this seems to be perfect for The Boss's big day.

The sign on the heart is for Aries and today is one that screams Leo, as does the Birthday Girl, but she will just find it a pretty design! It was fun to tat.

I have been working on a few other things that I am very excited 
about, but I cannot discuss any of them right now, and so I can only show you this! 

It is still a heat wave in TO.  Gian and I are melting...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Suneeti Sparks Stronger Skills

Yes, I am definitely seeing some improvement in my tatting. The stitches are noticeably  tighter and more uniform. Also, in that  I have no tattoos on my finger any more  (totally GONE: total waste of $$!) the picots look surprisingly wonderful!

You see, during our marathon visit, my friend Suneeti noticed that the first part of my ds was quite a bit looser than the second half.  I practiced and tested my method of tatting and she watched and commented. What a joy - to have someone right there in the flesh to provide solid  and immediate feedback!

The top  pattern was tatted in Olympus and Altin Basak, both about #30, I think.

The pattern is from this lovely book that I know I am going to enjoy - the contents are pretty straight  forward and do not appear to be difficult in any way.

On the right is Jon's little snowflake, which I posted a few days ago. It has also been tatted utilizing Suneeti's suggestion, and the stitches are the most consistent of any I have previously worked.


From Auntie To My Sis - A Treasure!

Before she came to Toronto for a visit last week, Sis asked Auntie if she had any old lace hidden away.  So Sali went on a treasure hunt through her cupboards and unearthed this:

At first we thought there was tatting here, but it is all lacework (about which I know zip!) and also some Irish Crochet.  There are a lot of clunies.

It is all very old as it came from a nursing home that was run by another aunt way back in the 1940's. A lot of ladies who retired to the home left very old things (some dating from the 1800's)  behind when they departed.

Sis will use these pieces in her "Crazy Quilt" stuff and I kept a few pieces to perhaps add into something tatted:

I cannot but think of the woman or women who produced these tiny lace treasure and imagine she would be pleased to see her endeavours appreciated by other women a number of generations away from hers. This makes me very happy.   : )

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hail The Hanky

This one hits the spot!  Thank you everyone for all the words of support.  It will be a while before I begin another, but you know what always don't you? Without fail?

Clear some space in your life, tie up old ends, complete projects, have some room to manoeuvre and unless you plan what is going to fill that empty place - wham - something unexpected will fly in from nowhere and gobble up all that lovely room - whether you like it or not!

At least what landed in my space from my Auntie's letter was a beautiful old, never-used, still with the French label attached hankie!  Sali, my aunt, friend and cheering section, sent this unbidden beauty my way!

I have some pretty, yellow #80 DMC, 
and sis just gave me a vial of opalescent Delicas...  
But, these are not for now!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ladytats Largesse

Ladytats!  Look what she sent to me.  She had offered me some thread and I was smitten with a ball of #80, a colourway that I had never seen before - great green variegated vintage stuff, I think.  So, I was looking forward to receiving mail from her.

Imagine my surprise when a BOX arrived in the mail containing all these amazing goodies: HDT, #80 almost matching thread!, a lovely Altoids tin and two other handy plastic containers, an old bobbin type metal shuttle with a spare plastic bobbin, a pretty bookmark, a postcard haling from her corner of Tat-land AND best of all the her very own pattern that goes with it!  WOW!  Thank you, Ladytats!

Of cours,e I had to try out that shuttle right away!  Not bad!  I like it.

A sharp pick (uh-oh!)  and a bobbin in one shuttle - great idea.  Why have they stopped making this type I wonder, as it works very well.  You can unpick and use the point as an Aero style hook as well. Obviously it was not produced for a reason - probably economic, but whatever, it is a good design.

LOVE the variegated#80 thread.  It tats up beautifully.  I have become a real fan of this stuff!

Ohhh, the little tins.  I am not one for decoupage or decorating things, however Suneeti gave me some wonderful Japanese paper that I pasted on the Altoids tin, which is large enough for a small project and two shuttles.  Love it.

I use regular glue, then coat it about three times with clear dollar-store nail polish.  Never thought I would ever buy the stuff, as nail polish does not exist in my universe, but it is great for covering Altoids tins! I use the tin CrazyMom gave me ages ago every single day.

See, there it is again: the generosity of Tat-land.  One does not have to look very far to find it

❄  ❄ ❄  ❄  ❄  ❄

One tatted goody to show you.  

#13 Motif Challenge
Jon's 'Floret'

I got to thinking how I am looking forward to Jon's new pattern book, and admitted that though I have tatted a few patterns in her first snowflake book, there are many I have not.  So, I thought I'd begin tatting a few of those before I cave (which,of course I will!)  and order that new gem when it is ready for distribution! Her patterns are such fun and are easy to follow - a real bonus for me.

The antics of
(the name stuck!)
have had me belly-laughing!  
I marvel at how he came to be here...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Cornucopia of Contributions

This is a pattern by Myra Piper - I do love her little purple pamphlet. As I was tatting it, and making the SAME MISTAKE over and over, ad nauseum, I relized how much of Tat-land resides in my work.

The tread is Karey Solomon's, the pattern is Myra Piper's, the beads come from Miranda, the yellow thread was sent to me by my pal Suneeti, and the green Delicas in the centre were a gift from myself to moi!

It happens a lot - the sharing not only of ideas, pictures, patterns and inspiration, but also of materials; the tools of the trade.  There is a lot of generosity in Tat- land.

A stunning example of this big-heartedness was evidenced a few days ago, when I received a surprise in the mail from LaCossette.  It was the shuttle, now gracing tat-ology's new header.

These are the words in the letter that was included, describing the shuttle:
...A totally safe, completely harmless, finger-friendly, hookless shuttle! Just for you....
Can you imagine!

She knew what had happened (several times, unfortunately, to my hands because of a  a few bad moves with the hook...) and she also knew I was taking a temporary, short break from the bobbin shuttles because of the ...ahem .... incidents, so she took it upon herself to make a shuttle she does not normally construct, (time-consuming and fiddly) and she made this special tool for me!

Thank you so very much, LaCossette!
I love this shuttle.

Last, but really first on the list of contributors to my happiness is Mother Nature herself (most probably a tatter in her spare time!)  

For decades,  I have photographed her works of brilliance, and in an ironic twist, come to really see the world only when separated from it by a lens devised by solely by human means. ( read: Canon : ))) 

Of late (the past almost three years of my new life as a tatter) I have begun to see tatting in nature everywhere:

It is always glorious, astounding and appreciated in every recess of my being!

The same cannot be said of the hanky.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

For Suneeti

This is the scrap of a hankie that disintegrated, given to me by Sali, my 96-year-old Auntie.

I realized the border, from The Tatter's  Treasure Chest, tatted in Karey Solomon's HDT, #30, was too heavy to go all around, so I finished it with a simple ring and chain pattern, in the ecru thread from Kelly, ( Coats #30), and added corners with Josephine Knots.  So pretty!  I am tickled with it.

How appropriate it was that the letter on the hankie was an "S", 
which stands for "special" and also "Suneeti" .
These words are interchangeable.

We had a lovely visit!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seeing Stars

I saw them all right: stars.  Lots of them, but they were not tatted! Haematoma.  Concussion.  My poor noggin!

This is the window in my kitchen - a casement window that opens into the narrow, galley kitchen and blends in with pure air.

 I never see it.  So, I have TWICE walked straight into it, and once stood up from a crouch , smashing the top  of my head into the lower edge.  Not pretty.  I still have a small, still-disappearing pea-like bump in the middle of my forehead after seven months!

Last night, after NEARLY walking into it yet again, in spite of paper strips I had hanging there as a warning, I had a brain wave (not gone yet!):

Brilliant!  These are really old motifs and I do not care if they get wrecked.  I notice them every time I approach the kitchen.

Tatting just catches my attention  - like magic!


Some of you had comments about Thread Heaven.  Take a look at the site.  I think it is supposed to be sort of waxy and hard - not a gel at all, as far as I can tell. I would not buy it again.

Jane's Small Motif and Fandango patterns have kept me 
busy and far away from the hankie!

(Nice beads, Suz?  Thanks!)


Almost forgot.
My sister reminded me of a trick we used to do
when beading embroidery - the old masking tape comes in handy!