Sunday, February 28, 2010

Copper Shuttle, Masquerade, and Did Someone Say Gold?

It was so awesome to see Canada win the Gold in Hockey today. And while Canada came in third in the metal count, we did win more Gold metals than any other country, in the history of the Winter Games. Which is freaking awesome too! I am proud to be Canadian, eh!*

I'm sure many of you had seen Sherry's metal clay tatting shuttles that she had for sale several weeks ago. I am happy to say that I am the proud owner of the copper shuttle.

Despite it's small size, it very nice to tat with. Once I got used to the size, I was able to tat quite nicely with it. Above, you can see my new shuttle being used to tat one of Mary Konior's Masquerade motifs. In case you are wondering, the shuttle easily holds 4 yards (2 of my arm spans) of size 20 thread. There was still room on the shuttle, so it probably holds about 5 yards. Here is the finished motif:

For this motif I used Lizbeth size 20 thread in colour #125 Seascape. See, I said you'll see this colour again. I hope to make this into a bookmark. I should mention that a slight, um, design variation occurred while this motif was tatted. But it shouldn't be a problem, so I won't say anything else about it.

Before I go tonight, I want to mention that I really hoped to get this posted earlier in the week. It's been a rough week. The store that I work at has been renovating since early January, and this week, the renovations finally got to me. So, between being frustrated, and dealing with upset customers, combined with difficulties sleeping-probably from said frustration, I didn't feel like tatting let alone posting. In case you're wondering, I'm currently enjoying day two of three days off from work. That's it for now. Tune in next time to see the completed Windmills doily.

* The correct word is "eh". I've seen several blogs using the word "aye" which isn't correct (that sounds more like Pirate speak-Aye, matey!). For the record, despite "eh" being associated with Canadians, I know exactly five people who use the term on a regular basis. Quite frankly, I find the term annoying.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Test Tatting for Sherry, Mary Konior's Rose Garden, and a Wee Bit More Maille

About a month and a half ago, I answered Sherry's (AKA LadyShuttleMaker's) call for test tatters for her new butterfly book. I enjoy testing other tatters new patterns, and was pleased when Sherry accepted my offer. I got to test two patterns, though the second one came a few weeks after I finished the first one.

This is Amberlynn. She was tatted with Lizbeth size 20 thread in colour #129 Purple Splendor (I think!). This is a really cool butterfly, and easy to tat.

This little guy (yup, I'm calling this one a guy) is called Swirls (see, it could be a guy butterfly...) was also tatted in Lizbeth thread. For this one, I used Lizbeth size 20, in colour #125 Seascape. I love this colorway as well; you will see it again. I really like these side profile butterflies, but my fingers were not as appreciative; all those joins in the top section of the wing were a pain in the but, er, fingers. As a side note, the slope and roll join was used in the top section of the wing. This was the first time I used the join, but I couldn't talk about it. Both butterflies, and many more, can be found in Sherry's new book "The Exquisite Collection of Tatted Butterflies II", available now in her Etsy shop. I'm thinking of buying it, and I'm not a huge butterfly person.

I took a small break from working on my Windmills doily to try a motif from my new Mary Konior book.

This motif is Rose Garden, by Mary Konior, from her book "Tatting in Lace". This is a very pretty motif. I think it would look even better in more than one colour, perhaps with the outer "leaf" round in a variegated green colourway. The scan doesn't do the motif justice. The centre rose is 3-dimensional. Some of you (I hope) will notice that the motif's outer round shares a striking resemblance to Mary's Masquerade motif. Thread Stats: DMC Cordonnet size 20 thread in white. The above three motifs will be motifs 18,19, and 20 of my Third 25 Motif Challenge.

Finally, I have a few samples of Vertebrae to show you. I mentioned last time that I thought that the weave would look good with another metal as the medium sized rings. Here is the result:

The sample on the left has brass as the medium rings and the right one has bronze as the medium rings. I like the way they both came out, though the brass rings are a little too big. How did that happen, you might ask? Well, apparently, someone (not mentioning names here, but he knows who he is) made a mistake, and ordered the rings in the wrong wire gauge. This mistake means that the rings are about 0.4 mm too big. That doesn't sound like much, but it is. Fortunately they do work, just barely. To be honest, the bronze rings aren't the right size either, but I figured they would be close enough. I'm currently testing a bracelet using these samples. I joined them together, and added more rings to make a bracelet with 6 bronze, 6 brass, 6 bronze and 6 brass vertebra. I will be testing this bracelet to see if my wrist will turn green. If all goes well, a bracelet using one or both of these metals (with stainless steel) will go into my shop, along with the other two. I have the new, larger clasps now, however, I need to wait for a sunny day (that I'm home for) in order to get some decent photos for my shop.

That's all for now. Hopefully, I'll have my Windmills doily completed for my next post (I only have a couple motifs to complete. Till next time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Quest Update, Quick Doily Update, and Introducing Vertebrae

As I mentioned earlier, I am on a quest to buy all four of Mary Konior's tatting books. Well, the two I don't already own, actually. I am happy to report that I now have three of her books. Thanks to AbeBooks, I was able to find a reasonably priced copy of "Tatting in Lace".

There are lots of really cool patterns in this book. Hopefully I'll get around to tatting a few of them to show you; there's even another pattern called Windmills. In case you're wondering, the book is from a seller in the UK. If you haven't heard of Abebooks, I highly recommend it. There are A LOT of tatting books available through this site (which doesn't sell the books directly, they allow sellers to post them to the site, and Abebooks handles the transactions). Of course, much like eBay, and Amazon, there are some books that are extremely overpriced, but some are reasonable.

I promised an update to my Windmills doily and I'll oblige, but there won't be a photo right now. Currently, I have five motifs left to finish on the second round. It is definitely bigger, and the pattern looks even more intriguing. I can't wait to finish the round and show you the results. I am thinking of making a third round after I'm done, but it probably won't be right away. I'm thinking of giving the doily to my Mom for Christmas or her birthday, so it can be put away for awhile.

I also took the time to try the Slope and Roll join that Miranda had mentioned in response to my dilemma of odd dots of colour when using variegated thread and shuttle/lock joins. I have to say, I'm very pleased with the results. You can see for yourself:

Look Ma! No dots of colour. I'd also like to show off a pleasantly unexpected, um, "side effect" of the slope and roll join:

Each join make a neat little bump that nicely recreates the windmill pattern on the backside of the motif. This could be a nice way to add interest to the doily. It would make a nice dual sided doily; one side smooth, the other textured. Thread stats: I used Lizbeth size 20 thread in colour #107 Tropical Fruit.

Finally, I have been playing around with chainmaille lately. I figured I'd work on a few new products for my Etsy shop. The first one is a bracelet using a weave called "Vertebrae":

This is a really cool weave. And it's very nice to wear; I'm, um, testing (yes, testing) the bracelet right now. I think the bracelet would look great if I use a different metal for the medium sized ring that is inside the large ring.I believe these medium inner rings have very little contact with the skin, so copper and its alloys won't discolour the skin. I think brass would look awesome. In case you're wondering, the bracelet above is made using stainless steel rings.

I also made another bracelet using square wire rings. You can see an example here:

The top bracelet is using the square wire rings and bottom bracelet is using the regular round wire rings. Both bracelets are made out of stainless steel. As you can see, I had to use larger rings for the top bracelet due the shape of the rings. The result is a thicker bracelet that would be ideal for the men. Though, there is no reason a lady couldn't wear it. I actually made the square wire bracelet awhile ago, but I've been waiting ages for a suitable clasp for it. My supplier has been out of stock for a while now, and just recently got some large solid stainless steel clasps again. Hopefully, I'll get these into my shop within a week or so.

That's about it for now. I will hopefully have my Windmills doily complete, or close to it by next week. I'll show a picture once I'm done. And perhaps I'll have some more chainmaille to show off. Till next time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All Systems Go! Plus a Little Tatting

Well, the new motherboard, processor, and memory arrived safely yesterday. After letting them warm up for a while (man, I really hate winter!), I tested, then installed them into my case. After a bit of tweaking, and a few setting changes, my system is up and running. As I expected, the upgrade caused Windows to lose Activation. Since the motherboard contains a large portion of a computers devices, Windows thought it was in a new computer. A quick call fixed the problem. As for an increase in performance, it does seem a little faster (which is expected), however I don't know if having a multi-core processor will make a difference. Though time will tell; I will have to check into some of my installed programs to see if they can take advantage of the dual cores.

Now, I feel kinda bad about not posting anything tatting related last week. I know it was beyond my control, but still. Since I am a fan of Doctor Who, I had to give Anne's TARDIS bookmark a go.

I found it very enjoyable to tat; probably since it is almost entirely rings and split rings. As you may know, I'm working on a doily using a Mary Konior motif that is almost entirely chains. I really like this pattern, though I have a small issue with it. It's size. Done is size 20 thread, my bookmark came out to be a little under 3 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide. It would be easy to lengthen it by repeating a couple of the rows, but that will ruin the proportions. A tassel or fringe could work, but it may not look right. I had also thought of joining two at the base, kinda like a mirror image. But again it might not look right. Anyway, it's a lovely pattern, and I plan on tatting it again. Thread stats: Lizbeth size 20 in colour #656 Dark Wedgewood. This will be motif #17 of my Third 25 Motif Challenge.

That's all for now. I plan on posting again towards the end of the week, but I figured I'd give y'all a quick update. Till next time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No Tatting Post Today

I've been a little unsure whether I should post about "The Incident" but I figured I should do a post anyway. Now, you are probably wondering what "The Incident" is. Let me explain. Well, it all began this past Sunday. I woke up about ten minutes before my alarm was set to go off. I got up (due to the call of nature, I believe), and noticed how quiet it was in the house. That's when I noticed my computer wasn't running; it was when I went to bed. I went over to the computer and pressed the power button. Nothing. It wouldn't go to the self tests that all computer perform before starting the operating system. My alarm goes off, and I have to get ready for work. [Ten Hour Intermission]

[Resume Story] After work, I began troubleshooting procedures. Several hours later, I was about 95% sure that the problem is a fried CPU (processor). This would be no big deal, except that the CPU model that my motherboard uses isn't made anymore. I'm pretty sure my motherboard can support a few other models, except I can't find the printed manual that came with the motherboard (I think it came with a manual anyway). I know I have a PDF version of the manual, but it's on the computer I'm trying to fix. I figured I could get a manual off the motherboard manufacturers website, however, it seems that they have discontinued their line of motherboards, and don't appear to have the manuals online anymore. So I opted to buy a new motherboard, CPU and memory (since, the memory that my old motherboard uses is an older type that isn't used much now).

As with everything in life, there are both positives and negatives about this unexpected computer upgrade. The positives are obvious. My new machine will have a 3 Ghz Dual Core processor while the old one had a 2.2 GHz Single Core processor. The Dual Core processor in short can process two sets of instructions at the same time while the single core processor can only process one set of instructions. The benefit of Dual Core is only useful if the programs I use can support and can take advantage of this feature. Now for the negatives. First of all, I'm a Windows Guy. Sorry all you Mac users. I have no use for the Macintosh operating system; it's pretty, but that's about it. Anyway, I upgraded to Windows 7 last fall (and I love it, BTW). This major upgrade will almost certainly cause my nicely activated Windows to lose its activation. So I'll probably have to call Microsoft and give them my sob story and hope they allow me to reactivate Windows. This is the only problem I have with Windows, but I understand why they have to do it this way. It is very easy to download a copy of the OS from various online sources.

I'm anxiously tracking my package and I can't wait for it to arrive. It's supposed to be here next Monday, so I have to get through the weekend and of course Monday itself. I'm really hoping I'll be able to get home from work before UPS arrives so I can get my package on Monday. I don't think I'll survive waiting another day. As you can see, I'm not cutoff of the the Internet and computers in general. I am writing this post on my laptop, though it's slow (I think my cell phone has a faster processor), and I have an iPod Touch, which can also browse the web. I'm currently using the iPod for my email, and I was going to write this post on it, but it didn't like Blogger's new post page. With any luck, next week this time (or there abouts) I can post from my newly rebuilt desktop, and if I hadn't said anything no one wouldn't have noticed. I'll post an update to the Windmills doily, and update about my quest to get all four Mary Konior books. Till next time (I hope!).

PS: Sorry for all the technical info contained in this post. I love computers and may get carried away.