Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Mailling We Will Go (Off Topic)

I mentioned in my last post that I "discovered" a new art. When I say discovered, I mean that I discovered its existence, but you knew that. Before I go any further, I'd like to mention that I won't be tatting for a week or two. I cut myself at work, again. This time on my thumb (left hand), which makes tatting very painful. Especially with the size 80 or so thread I was trying to use. The last time I cut myself, the cut healed in about a week, so I'll be back to tatting in no time (hopefully). Anyway, enjoy my new art!

It all started a couple weeks ago when I was browsing Etsy. I had just purchased the book and thread from Marilee and I was just browsing some of the other stores. Well, that's when I found these:

These are stitch markers, made by Etsy seller Faking Sanity. These are made using the technique of chainmaille (or chain maille, chainmail, chain mail, maille, whatever you want to call it). I was fascinated. For those of you who don't know what chainmaille is, chainmaille is the technique of weaving metal rings (jump rings, for the jewelery makers out there), to make sheets or chains of interlocking rings. By the time I received my stitch markers, I had a couple basic weaves (that what chainmaille patterns are called) down pat.

This is the first weave that I learned:

This is called Byzantine (make sure you click on the picture to see the weave better). This is a pretty easy weave to learn, and is the same as the stitch markers. I'm not sure what the metal is that the jump rings are made of. The signs at Michaels listed them as silver, but I think they may be silver plated at best. Probably silver coloured. Not sure how to tell though. I guess I'll be Googling later. Anyway, I plan on making this chain into a bracelet, perhaps for myself (I'm not sure about it yet). I don't think I want to give it away as a gift if I don't know what the metal is.

My next piece of chainmaille is one that is common in making the chainmaille armour that the knights of Medieval times would have worn.

This particular weave is called European 4 by 1 (European 4-1, Euro 4-1). This weave was a little harder to learn, but still one of the easier ones. I would love to make a belt and/or a watchband using this weave. I had been talking to Sharon about making a tatted belt and watchband (for myself) but I think I like the chainmaille approach better. Of course, I may try the tatted versions just for kicks though. I like the idea; I'm not sure about the execution. The belt and watchband aren't the only guy friendly chainmaille options for me. I bought a new wallet in January, which has a metal ring attached to it. I would love to make a chain for it, to clip to my pants' belt loop. There are many other guy friendly chainmaille uses out there.

I'm also fortunate that just a few kilometers out side of Saskatoon's city limits there is a major chainmaille supply company called The Ring Lord. I haven't ordered from them yet, since I wanted to see if I liked making chainmaille before order a bunch of rings. I should note, the TRL has the best prices among the various chainmaille suppliers out there. And I can arrange to pick up any orders I place with them, which is nice. I don't really want to pay $10-$20 for shipping within the same city. Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading about my new art. Hopefully I haven't bored any of my tatting (and non-tatting) friends out there. I'm gonna try to make the next post tatting related, but we'll see how my thumb is. Till next time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spinning Wheel Mat Complete (It's about time!)

I finally finished the Spinning Wheel Mat that I showed towards the beginning of April. I finished it last week, but I just haven't felt like posting. I did make one mistake on it, but it isn't important enough to say anything else.

This is a much better scan than the preview one I did earlier. I'm not sure if I mentioned it earlier but the thread I used is Valdani pearl cotton, size 12, colour #M13 (Americana). Like I said before, there a few intermediate colours in addition to the three main colours that are visible in this scan. I'm going to have to make more of these; I really want to make the pattern again in size 80 thread. Probably won't be HDT since the only HDT I have is Yarnplayer's Fern (I think), and I'm not a big fan of green unless it is on (or is it in?) a plant. Perhaps I will try some King Tut thread. Out of curiosity, does anyone know how big a Spinning Wheel mat would be made in size 80 thread?

I finally purchased Marilee's (AKA Yarnplayer) book, "Boutique Tatting". The designs are pretty awesome. I will have to make a few of them once I get a few other things finished. I also purchased a skein of her "Cobalt" thread from Marilee at the same time, and she sent a sample skein of "Soft Blues" thread. How did you know that I would like that thread! Thanks Marilee. Oh, and I finally bit the bullet and ordered some of that Lizbeth thread that everyone seems to be using lately. It had better be good thread; I ordered nine balls of it. To make the order worth while, I HAD to order other stuff! I'll maybe show what I got once it gets here, which hopefully will be at the end of the week. And finally, I "discovered" a new art that I just had to try, which has eaten up some of my tatting time. I tell you about it next time (and I'll show some photos as well). Till next time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Orchid Post (Very OT)

I have finally gotten around to writing up "The Orchid Post". These are mainly orchids that either are currently in bloom, or in a few cases, just finished blooming. I will hopefully have some tatting content in my next post (but I'm not promising anything). Work has been pretty busy, due to Easter, and I went to my parents for a few days as well. Don't tell Sharon, but I also have my homework for Design-tat to finish (it is about diagramming tatting patterns, which is what I have been waiting for). So, it shouldn't take too long. I'll post the diagram here as well when I have it finished.

The first specimen in the list is my newest orchid.

This grand plant is a Cymbidium orchid. While it is difficult to tell in the picture, the plant is nearly three (3) feet tall. This is by far my largest orchid. Here is a closeup of a flower:

As usual, blogger did its random picture rotation thing with this picture. Each flower is large, about 5 inches in diameter. The care of the orchid sounds pretty easy, so I hope I don't kill it.

The next orchid is one I have shown before, though there is a difference with the flower that I didn't notice before. The is Phalaenopsis 'Salu Princess', one of my first orchids.

This flower looks pretty much like any white Moth orchid flower. However, this time the flowers were blushing. See:

The flower has a pink stripe on the uppermost petal. I am very pleased that the plant did this as it now makes it different from the other white Phalaenopsis that I own. I like different.

Here is another Phal (it's a NOID unfortunately), but it is still pretty.

This next Phal is, again, a NOID, but nonetheless it is my favourite. I have shown this orchid previously, but I love it so much it deserves another mention. The flowers on this orchid are thick and wax-like. Because of this, the flowers last a very long time.

This is another NOID Phal that is currently flowering. It is another new addition to my orchid collection.
Finally, here is Phalaenopsis 'Lemon Tree', or at least that's what it's supposed to be. The picture of the plant that I saw shows the flowers as being all yellow, with just the lip being white. But, it's still pretty.
As I mentioned earlier, my Hibiscus has started flowering again. The flower's are huge on this thing. I love it. I think I need a few more of these plants.

The last picture of the evening (er, night) is, well, unrecognizable. This is Cypripedium reginae, a North American native orchid. I found an article online about growing Cypripediums in pots, and wanted to give it a try.

I'll provide updates on this plant as it grows, and perhaps, flowers. I think I should mention, that I acquired this plant legally. I was assured when I purchased it that the plant was lab-grown. That's all for now. Hopefully I will be able to get some tatting done. Later.

Monday, April 6, 2009

International Tatting Day Tatting (Yeah, I know...)

I probably should have posted this on International Tatting Day, but I didn't. I'm glad to see that so many tatting bloggers posted about how they spent International Tatting Day. I, of course, was one of the poor tatters who had to spend ITD working. However, I did get some tatting done. Of course, chocolate was involved. I decided to use some of the Valdani pearl cotton I purchased on my birthday, to make, of all things, one of Diane's favourite patterns. At least, I think it's one of her favourites; she's only made, like, a million* of them.

Do I really need to tell you what this will become? I'm sure Diane knows. OK, in this state it may not be obvious. This is the start of Mary Konior's Spinning Wheel Glass Mat. The thread is Valdani Pearl cotton size 12, colour #M13. I wasn't sure about this colour at first, but I noticed while working with it that the colours blend together forming intermediate colours, which I like the effect of. I'll show the final result once I'm done. I just wanted to show that I have been tatting.

I also received my final thread sample from the thread exchange I blogged about a few posted ago. This is from Beverly E, of WA, USA. She sent two samples of a very nice looking rayon thread called Lola.

I can't wait to try this thread. It is a thicker thread, but I'm sure it will tat up beautifully. Thank you Beverly.

And finally, I still plan on posting a bunch of photos of my currently in bloom orchids. I have been waiting for another one of my Ladyslipper orchids to open its flower, but it wasn't meant to be. I come home yesterday to find that it had dropped its unopened bud. The wake will be held tomorrow. On a positive side, my hibiscus started flowering, and I awoke to an absolutely gorgeous flower this morning. So, I guess it's not a total loss. Until next time.

* number exaggerated. I lost count on how many Spinning Wheels she has made.