Saturday, January 31, 2009

Here Be Dragons, er, Dragon (Overrun again...)

You would think that since Canada has such a cold climate during this time of year, dragons would shy away from us. I was wrong. Again I am being overrun by dragons (er, dragon). Here is my latest dragon visitor:

This is Karey Solomon's Dragonet from her book Here Be Dragons. Karey's dragons are really cool. The large quantity of beads can make them a pain in the butt to tat, but they are definitely worth it. Laura posted her attempt at the pattern, which inspired me to give the pattern a go. I purchased the book several months earlier. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I didn't have any problems with the pattern. OK, the head and the wings don't look quite right (to me anyway) because I think I made a join between the wrong beads. As you can tell, I made a slight variation to the head. I had a thread break and it was necessary to reattach the thread. It just so happened that the break was in the right spot. Partly because I didn't want to hide the ends, I left those two at the lower jaw to give a dragon a beard, thing. I found the pattern relatively quick to make. This is probably due to all the beads in the centre of the body. I did most of the dragonet in a single evening; finishing it the next day or so. Unfortunately, this is the only bit of tatting I have accomplished since my last post. Karey's Dragonet is motif #20 of my Second 25 Motif Challenge. I used Flora size 20 thread in colour #219.

Since I have reached #20 on my Second 25 Motif Challenge, I have decided to work on some UFOs for my final motifs. I am starting to get several piling up, and I want to get them finished.

This past Wednesday (January 28) was my Birthday. I decided I was going to take a trip to a local knitting and needlework store after work (yes, I had to work on my Birthday). The store is called Prairie Lily Knitting and Needlework Shop. For such a small store, there is a lot of stuff packed into it. While I didn't have a lot of time to spend their, I did find a few threads that are suitable for tatting. And here they are:

These are, of course, pearl cotton. The top two are Valdani Pearl Cotton, size 12. I love the colours that the Valdani threads are available in. The bottom three are DMC Pearl Cotton. The first two are different shades of blue, and the third is a minty green colour. The two balls of DMC blue cotton were a given; the other three just spoke to me. I'm not sure what I will make with them, but I will find the perfect project.

These are DMC Pearlescent Effects embroidery floss. I really like using floss for small projects since they are available in a wide range of colours, textures, and fibers. The picture makes it hard to tell but the one on the right is a minty green while the one on the left is white.

My final purchase is a thread that I haven't used before. And here it is:

As you can see in the photo, this is Wildflowers thread by Caron. I haven't used this thread before, though I know some tatters just love this thread. This thread was not calling out to me; it was shouting. Very loudly, I might add. In case you're wondering, the thread colour is called "Nefertiti" (#008).

That's about it for now. I'm hoping to get some tatting done over the next week or so, but I somehow doubt that will happen. I recently bought a new crochet pattern book, and have been drooling over many of the designs. But I will post about it separately. Until next time.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Golden Celtic Snowflake & Beaded Christmas Tree Earrings

I redid Ruth's Celtic snowflake recently. I really like this version:

Sparkly, isn't it? For this snowflake I used Oren Bayan Metallic thread in Gold (#032). I love this metallic thread. I have tried many metallic threads over the years and this one is by far the best. This particular snowflake was tatted for someone very special and will be mailed to them today (hopefully). Who is this special person? I won't say, but I'm sure we will all hear about it when they get it. This is motif # 19 of my Second 25 Motif Challenge.

Finally, I am going to show another gift I made my mom for this past Christmas.

I thought these earrings were really cool and figured my mom would love them. I got the idea from my favourite bead store, Beadfx. While they don't have step by step instructions on how to make them, this page will give you a general idea. They aren't hard, actually. Here is a much better photo of them;

The top bead is a bit too big, but I used what I had. Well, that's it for now. I am working on another tatted project which should be complete by tonight. I'll post a picture of the completed motif in a day or so. Later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Miniature Quantiesque Snowflake & a Crocheted Afghan

I made Jon's Quantiesque Snowflake again. Here it is:

I think it looks better than my first attempt, but I'm sure some of you may disagree with me. Obviously, you can't tell how big the snowflake is from this picture. How about from this picture:

The fancy coloured Canadian quarter is the same size as a US quarter. Bit of background info here: the coin is a circulation coin that the Canadian Mint released in 2004 to commemorate Canada's 117,000 war dead. Back to the tatting. For this snowflake, which went to my last Round Robin partner was tatted with size 80 thread. DMC size 80 thread to be exact, in colour numbers 93 (variegated blue) and 520 (white). Sorry Jane, I couldn't allow myself to tat the snowflake in one solid colour. Maybe the next time. Using size 80 thread is quite an accomplishment for me. In case you haven't noticed, I tend to use size 10-50 thread for the most part. I really don't like working with the really fine stuff. I think the biggest reasons why I don't like the really fine threads is that, 1) it can be difficult to see the individual double stitches, 2) it can be hard to hide the threads when done, or when new ones have to added in, & 3) retro-tatting can be very difficult, see #1. In order to hide the ends (and I had 7 to deal with, 4 in the outer round alone; don't ask, please), I either worked over the ends as I went, or used Magic Threads. But in the end, I am happy with how it came out. The second photo shows both Quantiesque snowflakes side-by-side. This is motif # 18 of my Second 25 Motif Challenge. This is not the last snowflake that you will see. January is still a snowflake tatting month. It's also my Birthday month; only 2 weeks to go!

One of the Christmas gifts that I made this past Christmas was a crocheted afghan for my Mom. Here it is:

Ahhhhhh! I don't know why blogger rotated this photo. It doesn't appear this way on my computer. Well, if you tilt your head to one side, it should be OK. Oh, and ignore the adorable black splotch that somehow got on the afghan. I spread the afghan out on my parents couch and left to get my camera. I was only gone for a minute or so. Every picture I took had this mysterious black splotch on the afghan. This one is the only one that would be rated G, the others are more like PG. I think I may be in enough trouble with Tattingchic with the mermaid and turtle fiasco to post the other pics. Those pictures showed the cat, um, grooming, um, himself. Let's leave it at that. Here is a closeup picture to show the texture of the aghan (I cropped out the black splotch):

The afghan is made from a pattern called "Speed Hook Shell Afghan" by Lion Brand yarn. Pattern located here. Please note, you need to be a member to get access to the free pattern. However, I recommend joining if you enjoy crocheting or knitting. The afghan is made with Lion Brand's Size S (19mm) "Speed Hook". This thing is huge. For reference, each 5 double crochet (treble crochet for my British audience) shell is about 4 inches across, and nearly 2 inches high. On my monitor, each shell in the full size photo is roughly life size. I believe it took about 7-8 hours to complete each afghan. I made two of these afghans; the one pictured used the Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick Yarn that was recommended in the pattern. The second afghan used two strands of a much cheaper worsted weight yarn (each strand was a different colour blue, this gave the afghan a denim look). The second afghan went to my grandmother. I, as usual, forgot to photograph it.

That's it for now. I have a few more non-tatting items to show you. Now that the Round Robin is coming to an end, I'll be able to work on other tatting items soon. Au revoir.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tatted Snowflake, Crocheted Bookmarks, and an Orchid Photo

Before I begin, I hope everyone had a good New Year's. Mine was alright; I had to work New Year's Day, but it wasn't that bad. The store was fairly quiet, and I'm not complaining about getting double time pay for several hours of the day. I'm not one to make resolutions for New Year's. I mean, if I don't make them, I can't break them, right? However, I will try to get the patterns I designed (Male Betta, and the Venus Fly Tat) written out and diagrammed. Actually, the Betta is partially written, and the VFTat is diagrammed. I also would like to design more patterns. I have many ideas I'd like to see come into reality; some flora in nature, some piscine (the Betta needs more friends) and a special project. I would also like to mention that January 1 was the first anniversary of my blog. I really appreciate having all of you reading my blog, and especially everyone who leaves comments. Thank you so much for visiting.

Here is another snowflake made for the Snowflake Round Robin.

This is Lenore English's "January Reflections" snowflake. I love this pattern. It is probably my favourite snowflake of Lenore's, though the others are close behind. For this flake, I used DMC Cebelia size 30 thread in colour # 797. This is motif # 17 of my Second 25 Motif Challenge. Jon's snowflake from a few posts ago was # 16.

I didn't get any tatting done over Christmas. For several days before I was crocheting bookmarks like crazy. I wanted to make some different looking bookmarks and they had to clearly masculine for the guys and feminine for the ladies. For the guys I chose crocodiles:

And for the ladies, turtles:

I know, turtles can be masculine as well, but not as much as crocodiles. They are all made with size 10 crochet cotton in a variety of colours, brands, and ages. They are all lightly starched so they hold their shape. I'm sure you're wondering, "Where can I get these awesome patterns? I really need to know!". Well, they are from a talented crocheter from Australia called Crochetroo. You can buy the patterns from her Etsy shop. She has a number of patterns available, as well as some finished items. I highly recommend the patterns to all you crocheters out there.

Finally, I have an orchid photo for all you plant and orchid lovers out there.

This is Paphiopedilum spicerianum 'St. Albans' x self, HCC/AOS, a tropical Lady Slipper orchid. This is my first Paphiopedilum to flower. I was so excited to see the bud forming early in December. I can't wait for the other four Paphs to flower, whenever they decide to. Before a Paphiopedilum can flower, it must first grow an offset, since once a plant flowers it cannot grow anymore (the flower stalk comes out where the leaves usually grows). This plant grew two offsets within a couple months of me getting it. As long as each of these offsets grow their own offsets and so on, I could end up with a large plant sending up multiple flowers each year. I can't wait for that day to come.

That's about it for now. Oh, before I forget, I have a request from all of you who live in a warm climate. Could you send some of the heat up here? We are currently -40°C, -52 with the wind chill (that is, how cold it feels when the temperature is combined with the wind; a wind chill temperature doesn't have a C or an F behind it because it is calculated and not an actual measured temperature). I have more stuff to post, so it shouldn't be too long before I post again. Until next time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year and will get lots of tatting done.

I will try to have a regular post tomorrow, but who knows if it will happen. We have a snowfall warning right now, and that may affect tomorrows activities. Take care, and have a safe New Year.