Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tatted Coaster & Random Thoughts

Before I get in trouble for not posting in a while let me explain. I haven't really done anything. OK, that's not really true. I guess I just got really busy. Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. While I haven't decided on the colour (dark blue may be out since I already have a "normal" tie in dark blue, and I still don't want to use a variegated thread), I am considering using size 10 Cebelia (Thanks Fox!!!) for the tie, though I do want to test it first. I want to mention that I don't normally tat with size 10 thread, it feels like I'm tatting with rope. Size 20 would simply take too long, I'll post the sample I made to show you... if I can find it. I think the Michaels here sells Cebelia size 10 (only white and maybe ecru) so I might stop in and pick up a ball sometime. Even if I don't like the thread, I can crochet with it so it wouldn't be a big loss. I am taking advantage of Fox's Thread Exchange to obtain samples of size 10 thread that I want to use for the tie. Of course, I'm finding other threads I want to trade for as well. If you want to see what I am offering, please see this post.

I haven't done much tatting over the past week or so. However, I can't post to a blog with tatting in the name and not post any tatting so I pulled out a couple shuttles (Pop-a-Bobbins, of course, one is new, but I don't have a photo yet; next time, promise) and whipped up the following:

This motif is called Interlaced Medallion and is from Judith Conners book Creative Tatting with beads, shuttle, and needle. The book also goes by the name Tatting Adventures with Beads, Shuttle, and Needle, at least in the US, anyway. This was a nice motif to tat, however it needed my undivided attention to keep track of which chain to overlap where. I also need four arms to keep track of the two shuttle threads and two ball threads. However, I could not grow two more arms so I ended up placing the unused shuttle and ball in either my lap or on my desk. I also goofed (as usual, it seems) and didn't/couldn't overlap the final chain (top of the photo) correctly. I guess that proves it truly was handmade, right Eliz? For this motif I used Lizbeth size 20 in colour numbers 656 Wedgewood Dark and 603 Ecru. As you can see, the completed motif is partially prepared to be mounted in an acrylic coaster. I didn't hide any ends; I just poked a few small holes in the adhesive cardboard disk you see above, and pulled the ends through. You can see the finished coaster here:

I really like the looks of tatting inside one of these coasters. I had planned on making one of Mary Konior's Spinning Wheel coaster in King Tut to place inside, but I haven't made it that far. I'm not sure if it will be small enough in King Tut, so it's been on the back burner. I probably should buy another coaster, though I don't know if I can get them locally anymore. I had bought this one from Wal*Mart, however, the one I bought it from moved a few kilometers to the city's outskirts and became a Supercentre (which wouldn't normally bother me, except they are now my store's main competitor; ironically, they were less of a competitor when they used to be across the street from us). Anyhoo, I need to buy more of the coasters.

That's about it for now. I am working on another crochet project from the Crochet Dude's book (click on the "Crochet Dude" label on my left sidebar for previous posts about him). I'll post when it's done. I've also been working on some more chainmaille. I made a few more bracelets today. I finished a copper Byzantine bracelet and a tri-metal Jens Pind Linkage bracelet. I used aluminum, copper, and brass for the JPL bracelet. Hopefully I'll be able to take photos for them tomorrow. I also hope to redo my Etsy shop header and avatar tomorrow. My current ones looks like I spent 5 minutes making them (I think it was actually 10 minutes, but who's counting). Hopefully those changes will take effect tomorrow, so feel free to stop by in the next day or so if you want (the link is in my right sidebar).

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll get around to posting again in a few days. Till next time .... assuming the mosquitoes don't carry me away!**

** In case you're wondering what I meant by that, apparently we have something like 10 times our normal amount of mosquitoes here in the Bridge City due to the large amount of rain we've been having over the past month or so.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Tatted Tie, Part 1-The Need For Advice

This will be the first of several posts related to my Tatted Tie. As I mentioned in my last post, I had to modify my original idea in order to make the idea work. Here is the first attempt:

As you can see, the basic idea was for me to tat four groups of four rings. The bottom four rings on each group of 16 could be made a little larger than the others to allow me to widen the tie. The next group of four motifs, I'm calling a "Tie Unit" could then be made larger (using the same stitch count as the last four rings on the previous tie unit, with the exception of the bottom four rings). This could be continued until the tie was the length I wanted. I'm sure some of you might notice an obvious flaw with this idea. By the time I got to the bottom of the tie, the rings are going to be huge. Another problem is the thread itself. I used a size 3 "fashion crochet" thread to make this sample. I didn't like tatting with it. It is a 2-ply thread from what I can tell, and it is soft. It's also too thick for my tatting tastes. What you see above was made with two Aero bobbins worth of thread, which I think was about 4 yards between the two shuttles. This version was scraped and I modified the drawing I made.

The result of the redesign was this, Tatted Tie, Mark 2:

The Mark 2 is similar to the Mark 1 with a few exceptions. Each Tie Unit now varies in size as work progresses, and the rings stay the same size. The tie is widened by simply adding the equavalent of one motif to each row of the Tie Unit. I'm not sure how often I will need to widen the Tie Units in order to make the tie the correct width. I have a hunch some math will need to get involved. Depending on how many increases will be needed, I may be able to increase the width every 6 or 8 rows. We'll see. I used some size 10 crochet thread for the Mark 2 tie. I used about 8 yards of thread between the two shuttles. And no, I don't plan on using a variegated thread for the tie. In case you're wondering, both versions of the Tatted Tie were completed tatted using regular and split rings and each was tatted continously. Oh, and when the tie is finished, I plan on outlining the tie with chains to finish it off.

Now for my need of advice. I need help with the choice of thread. I think I'm going to stick with size 10 thread. It is the best compromise. Anything larger than 10 and I don't like tatting with it, and size 20 and smaller would take forever to tat. I know that 6-cord thread is generally the best choice for most tatting. Would it be good here? I was thinking buying a few balls of Lizbeth size 10 for the tie, but I have heard that some people don't like how stiff the thread is in this size. I haven't used a 6-cord size 10 thread before so I can't comment. Another thing I'd like your opinion on is colour choices. I really don't think I'm going to take more than one (or two) ties. I would like the tie work with as many other colours as possible. What would you recommend? Black? White? Dark Blue??? I'm open to two colour ideas as well.

That's all for now. I am going to have to get ready for bed soon. I have training tomorrow at 8 am at our chain's second location. Which is located on the other side of the city. Which is going to be fun getting there since Construction Season is in full swing here, and I know there are detours galore over there. Wish me luck. Till next time.

PS: I changed my blog layout today. I hope you like it. If there are any problems, or you don't like something, please let me know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Little Bit Country, And a Little More Tatting

I see I'm getting back in the habit of not posting regularly. I'll have to try to post more often, again. Though, I do have enough stuff for another post later on in the week. I have a few things to show you today, but I want to do a quick update on the work "issue". I guess my letter had an effect. I have been assured that the issue(s) will be fixed. Apparently, management doesn't want me to leave, and they appreciated my hard work and dedication. Too bad they didn't mention that until I threatened to leave. I'll try not to mention work during my posts for a while.

I'm sure many of you are aware of the knitting/crochet site Ravelry. I joined about a year ago, but haven't done much with the site since. However, I have started using the site more recently. I added a few projects to my profile (there's a link to my profile on my sidebar as well, if you want to visit). One project was the Renegade Dawg hoodie I posted about earlier. The Crochet Dude himself saw the hoodie and liked how it turned out. I was also browsing patterns and found a cowboy hat I really liked. Of course the pattern was in a book, so I went looking on the Saskatoon Library's website to see if the book was available. It was, but in a different library. Last fall all the library systems in the province began to merge into one large province wide library system. Which is nice, since there are a lot more books available to us now. Anyway, the book arrived mid week, and I picked up some yarn on Friday.

So last night, with the book, yarn, and a hook in hand, as well as a few beers (hey, if Jane can have her wine, I can have my beer) I started working on the hat. With some finishing this morning, this is the result:

This is Felted Yeehaw Gentleman (my manly version of Yeehaw Lady by Dot Matthews) from Debbie Stoller's book Stitch'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. That's the actual name of the book. Well, actually, I think it's a series of books, websites, etc, mostly for women. Though there is supposed to be a book for men too. I'll have to look in to it. Anyway, I like the way it turned out, though it is heavy, and pretty hot too. The hat needs a band or something though as well; I'll have to see what I can do. Since I wanted to felt the hat, I used some wool yarn, Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool to be exact. It may not be noticeable to you, but the hat needs a shave and trim (well, so do I, but not till I have to go back to work; I hate shaving) since the felting process made the surface kinda fuzzy. My beard trimmer works surprisingly well for this (and for me!). I should mention, for anyone wanting to try this pattern, the book has a number of errors in it. The designer has posted corrections on her website that do help. But I still had some stitch count issues (as did others). I wouldn't recommend the pattern for beginners, despite the encouragement from the author of the book. You should have the ability to alter patterns on the fly just in case you run into problems. Now that it's made, I'm not sure how much I'll actually wear it. I have wanted a real felt cowboy hat for a while now, and plan on buying one, once I have enough money. I want to get a good, high quality hat.

Now for the tatting part of the program, er, blog post. You may remember Jon's Fold Over bookmark I posted a couple posts back. I remade it after posting last week. Here it is:
I used Lizbeth size 20 in Black for this one. I was feeling kinda dark after my last post. If you look at my first attempt and this latest one, you'll see that there's something not quite right about it. I goofed on several chains. The four large chains in the main body of the bookmark are all four double stiches and one picot too short. fortunately the error works. I also goofed on the smaller fold over part. I made four chains too long. Strangely enough, it too still works. So, I guess I made a variation of Jon's bookmark. I forgot to remove unneeded picots on this one. I'll have to make another one sometime.

I've also been working on my Tatted Tie idea. I'm currently on Version 2, since my original idea didn't quite work. I'll post about it mid week or so. That's all for now. Till next time.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Little Bit of Tatting

Sorry for the delay in posting. Life kinda got in the way. I wasn't feeling good for a few days, and then I had an "issue" at work yesterday that has me questioning if I want to continue working at that store. I had planned on posting yesterday but instead opted to write a letter to the store manager and my supervisors. But it not worth talking about here. Onward to the tatting!

I didn't get as much tatting as I had hoped, though the motif was quite large. Anyway here it is:

This is Fan Coaster from Rosemarie Peel's book Tatting With Colour. I bought this book off of eBay a couple of years ago, but haven't tatted anything from it till now. There are a number of cool looking motifs in the book that I will have to get around to tat. For this motif, I used Lizbeth size 20 thread in colour #s 656 Dark Wedgewood and 611 Gold. The finished mat is about 4 3/4 inches in diameter. I really like this pattern and I think I did a pretty good job tatting it. Until the end. It was going good. I had to open three rings due to me joining to the wrong picot, and I did so successfully. I have opened rings in the past, but not three successfully in a row. However, when I got to the last ring, I missed making one picot and three double stitches. I probably should have opened it and fixed my error, but I wanted it done and decided to leave it. It's not that noticable, the ring in particular is just a little smaller than the others. This motif is #25 of my Third 25 Motif Challenge. I don't think I'm going to do the challenge again. At least not right now. I really want to work on some of my WIPs (or rather (WISPs). And I want to work on my tatted tie idea. Thanks to some inspiration from Sharon, I have an idea on how it may work. I'll share later. I need to try it out first. The idea is currently just theory.

I'm not sure how much tatting I'll get done this weekend. I probably will work on some chainmaille. I decided to try Etsy's Showcase feature to promote my shop. I'll be in the Jewelry - Bracelets section beginning midnight June 11. I don't know if it will help, but Etsy claims that all shops that use the feature get more traffic and have more people favoriteing them. That could mean more sales in the long term. I guess we'll see. Till next time.