Sunday, May 31, 2009

More Tatted Earrings and a New Book

I've been meaning to post for a few days now, but it has gotten so nice out, I have too busy to post. I guess I was getting a bit impatient last time. I can't confirm it, but I think Saskatoon was the national hot spot yesterday. The mornings aren't as cool as they were a few weeks ago. In fact it, has warmed up enough at night that I kicked out all the outdoor plants. This includes several cannas, calla lilies, and blueberries.

Anyhoo, I promised some tatted earring pictures. Here is the first one:

These are (of course) Marilee's Carnival earrings done in three strands of DMC embroidery floss with gold seed beads and round goldstone beads in the centres. The colours are somewhat washed out in the picture, but the earrings looked awesome (if I do say so myself) in person. The next pair is also a Yarnplayer design:

These are Marilee's Quidrille earrings; the pattern is available from her etsy shop. These were made using Lizbeth thread in size 20, colour #20-113 Jewels, along with some silver lined crystal seed beads for some sparkle. I didn't elaborate on my assessment of Lizbeth thread. It is a firm six cord thread that tats up beautifully. I find it to be similar to Flora, though in much nice colourways. If you love Flora, you will love Lizbeth. I'll add to my review if/when I find something wrong/exceptional to write about. Both these pairs of earring were given to my mom for Mother's Day, along with some other tatted/chain maille items. She loved them. I won't count this in the 25 Motif Challenge. I've made several Carnival earrings that I have counted already.

Finally, I mentioned a new book. Well, new to me. The book was published in 1946. Here is a photo of the cover:

I bought this booklet a few weeks ago at the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra Book Sale. There are a number of interesting patterns inside. As I mentioned, it was published in 1946, so I can't scan it to share yet. But don't worry, many of the doily patterns have been republished in other books, such as Traditional Tatting Patterns editted by Rita Weiss. If you have this book and perhaps some of the other Dover books, you have most of the patterns. I bought the book primarily for the edging patterns. No, really. I don't tat edgings, but I really liked some of them. I hope to turn some of them into bookmarks. When I have time.

That's it for now. I'll post again soon. I've made a few chain maille pieces lately that I would like to show. I'll leave you with a pretty plant picture. I'll tell you about it in the next post.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spinning Wheel (The Start of)

Again, I haven't felt like posting, but I don't think it is weather related. Actually, I don't even want to talk about the weather. I'm convinced (and I'm not alone here) that we are not going to have spring or summer. It kind of reminds me of fall right now. There are hardly any leaves on the trees right now, the grass has a greenish colour to it, but with brown undertones, and its pretty cool in the mornings still. It snowed last Thursday night, enough to make everything white for a few hours Friday morning. It may snow tonight and it is in the forecast again for Wednesday. It's wacky weather like this that makes me glad that I have many house plants (and outdoor plants masquerading as houseplants) to enjoy until the weather tuns nice permanently (well, till fall anyway).

Speaking of outdoor plants pretending to be houseplants, here is a quick photo of one that I am particularly fond of (I will get to the tatting, I promise!).

This is Ginkgo biloba, the Maidenhair Tree. While its not much to look at yet (I'm hoping it will produce a few branches), I love this tree. I'm also quite proud of the tree; it is starting to follow our seasons. Let me explain. I grew it from seed, that I planted November 2007. One seed germinated in December (same year). It grew (albeit slowly) for several months, then went dormant, only to begin growing again late fall. It lives on a window sill that get pretty cool in the winter, and last fall it went dormant, and began growing this spring. It's adapting to life in Saskatchewan. Now we can move on to the tatting.

You may remember in my last post, I mentioned that along with some Lizbeth thread, I purchased a round cloth doily so I could make the full size Spinning Wheel doily from Mary Konior's Tatting with Visual Patterns. You do? Good. Anyway, I started working on the doily, and thought I'd post a quick update. Here is my progress:

OK. It's not much, but thats not the point. I had planned on making the tatted edging then sewing it on. But, quite honestly, that seems like a lot of extra work. Now, I hope this decision won't come back to haunt me years from now. I know that some people don't like directly tatting edgings on things like hankies so they can save the lace if necessary, but I think this may be different. If anyone wants to provide reasons why this is a bad idea, by all means let me know. Now for a few stats on the doily. I am using Lizbeth thread (which is AWESOME!) in the Countryside colourway. The doily I'm using is 6 inches in diameter. It has 120 holes along the edge (yes, I counted them), there are a total of 24 repeats required for the tatting, which means that each repeat is "allowed" five holes (two for joining, and three unjoined). If anyone has done this pattern before, I'd love to see it and for anyone who hasn't attempted it yet, I urge you to try. It's actually pretty easy; the stitch counts are almost the same as the mat, each repeat is just longer.

That's all for now. I hope you like the tatting part. I might talk about the weather next time! This post ended up much longer than I planned. I'll try to post again soon. I have a few earrings to show that I made for my Mom on Mother's Day. Later.

Now playing: Chateau Neuf - Hopparen (The Jumper)
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Handy Hands Purchases, Tatted Chainmaille, and a Pretty Picture

It must be the warming weather, but I haven't felt like posting lately. In case you are wondering, my thumb has healed up nicely, and I'm able to tat again! I haven't done much tatting though, but I did manage a little.

First, I mentioned that I decided to order some Lizbeth thread from Handy Hands Tatting. I received it about a week ago. I'm almost embarrassed to say that I haven't tried it yet, but I will soon.

Here is a group shot of my purchases. As you can see I bought numerous balls of Lizbeth thread, as well as a ball of Omega thread (I love that colour!). There's also a "no point" Sew Mate shuttle, some replacement bobbins for Aero type shuttles (can't have enough of them!), a new (to me anyway) tatting book, and a round cotton doily. I bought the doily because I would like to attempt the full Spinning Wheel doily from Tatting with Visual Patterns; it requires a circle of fabric in the centre, and I am not skilled enough in the sewing department to make one myself.

The book that I bought can't be seen very well in the above picture. Here is a photo of the cover:

As you can see, the title of the book is "To Boldly Go Where No Shuttle Has Gone Before or Tatting Definitely Not For Beginners" by Anne Dyer. Despite the fact that the book was published in 1993, I hadn't heard of this book before. A quick Google searched provided only one relevant tatting link, located here. The rest are mainly Star Trek related. The book is full of very interesting tatting techniques including Square Rings (I have to try these!), and a variety of unusual chains. I'll show some samples of tatting that I make from this book once I find the time.

As you may remember, my last post was about my new interest, chainmaille. Well, Connie of I Tat Too mentioned that one of the classes held at the Palmetto Tat Days 2008 was about tatted chainmaille. I have the CD from Tat Days 2008 and I completely forgot about this. I had to give it a try:

This is a tatted Byzantine chain (actually, it's a Byzantine unit). Its a pretty cool technique, however I found it rather slow to make. Actually, the tatting was fast, but the threads have to be knotted and glued after each ring is tatted. I managed to tat six rings, then knot and glue all six to save some time. I'm not sure I would want to make a full size bracelet using this technique, but I think in smaller thread, a pair of earrings would be quite nice. The pattern calls for size 8 pearl cotton. I used Flora size 20 thread for my sample. You'll probably see this form of chainmaille again, as well some standard chainmaille designs.

Finally, I promised a pretty picture.

I think it is pretty anyway. This is a immature pitcher on my Tropical Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes x ventrata). I bought the plant about a year ago, and it finally decided to produce pitchers for me (well, for itself actually). The pitcher in the above photo is about a centimeter in length (perhaps a bit bigger, since this photo is a few weeks old). Perhaps once the pitchers are full size, I be able to create a tatted version. We'll see; I don't know how many tatters out there would want a tatted pitcher plant. I'll provide an update if anything comes to fruition with this idea. Till next time.

Now playing: Karl Wolf - Africa (Radio Edit)
via FoxyTunes