August 27, 2009

Ooooohhh goodies!

What is this box of loveliness you might ask?
This week when Gram came, she had brought her friend Vivian for company on the drive. Well, I guess after showing her some of my jewelry and other tatting, she was "quite taken" as Gram put it lol. So soon after they returned home, she came back down the driveway and delivered this batch of threads to be sent my way. I believe Viv does some sort of weaving herself, so this must be from her stash.
I'm hoping for some assistance from the blogging community at large, maybe you can help me decipher the sizing system on these spools.

On each there is a set of number that look like this. Some say 70/3, some say 30/3 or 60/3 like the pink one above. The larger numbers seem to indicate smaller threads just like tatting thread is sized.....and I am thinking that the /3 might mean 3 ply? All are follwed by a number indicating the length of thread on the spool, and are of the brand "Zwicky". I looked around online a bit, and didn't find much information on this thread, its' possible that it is no longer made.

Anywho, this was my big happy surprise today. Not that I'll have time to play with it of course! I just put one darling down for a nap, and of course now the other is beckoning from the bassinet. Such is life!

August 25, 2009

A little lace of old.

Had a lovely afternoon with Gram today. She came all the way down to visit us girls and talk tatting! We had lunch at Applebees, thankfully both little ones were on their best behaviour. (that of course came to a screeching halt upon arriving home lol) While Gram was here I pulled out these doilies to illustrate the necessary skill of hiding ends. We are not 100% sure of the origin of these doilies, they are most likely from Checkoslovakia back in the 1940's. My Great grandfather was sent over there during WWII, and some of the people there sent gifts back after he came home, for a number of years as I understand it. Well, I spotted these in Gram's china cabinet and petitioned her for posession of them. She of course obliged, on condition of receiving a pair of tatted earrings. (speaking of which, I shall have to mail them now Gram, I forgot to pack them with you before we left for lunch! Serves you right for not coming back to the house to stay longer. :-) Anyway, the doilies are intriguing. Both are heavily starched, done in what seems to be a crochet cotton, maybe size 30 The larger of the two very well demonstrates the traditional method of tatting a motif, in which the ends are simply tied and cut and left to dangle. No wonder vintage patterns have so many rounds..... they didn't bother with the painstaking process of end-wrangling that the newer techniques provide. I count at least seven rounds for the smaller doily. I can't ever imagine voluntarily tatting a pattern without climbing out of at least a few of the rounds. Most of us nowadays with more evolved tatting sensibilities would either choose a different pattern or heavily modify it to minimize the
number of ends that require assistance. In the larger piece, each of the outer motifs is tatted in two rounds and then attached separately. Can you imagine? :-)
To finish off my day today, I received some goodies in the mail. First, a flat screen monitor for my computer that I scored for $48 at auction, and another mystery box from Grandpa in NY- more books for Ivi and ANOTHER 40 copies of Workbasket! I think they have a large collection that is working its way to me a little at a time. I'm fine with that :-0

August 24, 2009

You'll never believe it.

Well, I went to the lace group on saturday!

I almost didn't make it. I have been busier than is healty for me lately, and I haven't been getting good sleep....and I've even been forgetting to feed myself a few times. All of this becomes a concern because I'm nursing the little one, and her nutrition is dependent on my well-being. Anyway, Saturday morning I woke up to get ready to go to the lace group and I was really dizzy and felt nauseated. That made me mad. This was the one thing all month that I had wanted to do for myself....... so I got madder and showered and ate and left with no makeup on and hair wet and frizzy. This was not going to keep me from my "me time"! Heck no! Dear Husband had agreed to keep both little ones for 4+ hours during my escape, so I had to take the oppurtunity! Thankfully, after driving and settling in there I felt better and was able to enjoy my time there.

Gwen Coen was there, and one of the first people I met. She told me to pull up a chair and made a spot for me at the table. Most of the group does bobbin lace, and it's a pretty informal meeting. after two hours of doing lace projects or whatever, the president came up and talked about business and upcoming events. I don't remember at what point it was during the day, but I did ask Gwen for some help with the infamous rolling ring question. First thing I asked about was posting the shuttle. She wondered where I had picked up the term "post the shuttle" as it is not in the TAT workbooks anywhere. So I showed her my dilemma. I dropped the shuttle through, closed a ring and then showed how I could count the tops of the stitches after the last picot. If I pulled any tighter I explained, the stitches would roll inward, and I would visually lose that stitch. But if I left it looser I would end up with a gap at the end of my ring. She looked at me liek she wasn't sure of what I was talking about, and pulled the ring a bit tighter so there wouldn't be a gap. I then tried to explain how the stitches rolled inward, so we both counted the stitch tops again. To her, you could still see all the stitches. There ends up with what appears to be the top of the final stitch at the end of the ring. To me, after much fiddling and analysis, it looks as if what she sees as the final stitch, is actually the back of the previous stitch rolling forward to take the place of the actual last stitch. She still didn't really get what I was explaining, so in the interest of tatting goodwill, I asked if I was just thinking too much about it--to which she heartily agrees. Can you believe it! The whole reason TAT has you drop the shuttle through has nothing to do with the appearance of the end of the ring. I guess they do it just to get the thread to the back of the work for the next element. She was perfectly happy with my rings. Go figure. We went on to have a jovial time, and she helped me a bit with project 5 of phase one (fellow TAT participants will know what I'm talking about.......split rings ugh!). Also, I sold three pairs of earrings. Hahaha the last people I thought I'd sell tatting too was tatters ROFL! So I made enough for the membership fees to join the Puget Sound Lacemakers, and they granted me access to the lending library.

All in all it was fun. I totally did not even think about packing a lunch, so I was pretty hungry by the time we were done. It was exciting to see others tatting ...I've never met another proficient tatter in person before! And I got to see some bobbin lace in action. There is a beginners class at next months meeting, and I might do it just for the experience, but I don't think I'd take it up seriously.

So. How shall I continue to close my rings after all this you might ask? I think to be sure I'll at least post the shuttle. Suzanne has had some intriguing ideas about controlling that roll. I might also continue to add the first half stitch before I post and close. Just because I want to. The moral of the story is to not fear the tatting gods and do as you please. Because tatting has grown in so many different directions, there is no such thing as the perfect technique (which annoys me a bit. I like to be perfect :-) Just do what makes you happy, odds are that people won't even be able to tell- tatting can be such small work that something that is obvious to me tends to hide in finished work.

August 19, 2009

Tatting has a new home.

Too bad I don't have a new home! Lol! It's been a heartbreaking week. I had to mourn the home we were buying. One of the leinholders on the Short sale we had made an offer on decided to up the asking price by $27,000, 30 days after our initial offer. They are out of their minds....anyway, My tatting has a new home!
I don't know if you can read the fine print above, but this fabulous basket was originally sold as a diaper caddy. It has served it's purose as such, for the past three months or so. I kept wipes and dipes and nursing supplies in it, because our diaper table is in the room where DD1 sleeps and I didn't want to wake her at night. Lately however, I've not been using it as much so I decided to repurpose it into a tatting tote.

I really wanted something that I could just grab and know that I had all my supplies in. Previously I would have gone through tatting corner like a tornado deciding what to pack in my smaller sewing basket, and it all had to cram in there and was never organized. This way I have everything. You can see how it stays neat and tidy! there are little pockets around the outside that hold scissors and pliers, ruler, pens, hooks. etc, as well as the tin for needles and little doodads.

The big box I usually store seed beads in is now full of the larger contatiners, and I've put a supply of my most used colors into this wonderful box I found at Joann. It holds 30 tiny jars that you can remove one at a time.

This other side has room enough for several balls of thread, probably 7 or eight. I usually work on small projects, so it's nice to have a variety of colors available. The red pencil box holds all of my Etsy inventory, each piece in small baggies. It's nice to have them around to refer to, I should just print out cards with the pattern info though. That's on the someday list.
So, tatting corner is much more clean now. The big basket follows me around the house wherever I need. And I'll be able to take all my goodies to the Guild this weekend! Do you know how excited I am for this? First of all, it's four hours out of the house without kids. I love my kids, but mommy needs a little freedom every once in a while. I was going to a concert this week, but Steven Tyler of Aerosmith decided to fall of his stage poor fellow, and had to cancel part of the tour. Poo. So I hold fast to the knowledge and hope that I'll finally be able to meet some other tatters. Maybe I'll even treat myself to a latte on the way.

August 16, 2009

Blog discussion continued.

good news folks! I'll be meeting up with Gwen from TAT this weekend...... I've decided to venture out to the local lace guild. Puget Sound Lacemakers gets together once a month and Gwen says she will help me practice on the 22nd. So, maybe there is some trick to posting the shuttle that I'll be able to unravel!

One question was asked in the comments, and yes I do reverse the process entirely when tatting on the backside.

I would love it if someone would tat a sample like I did, just to compare. I guess part of me wonders if my tension or something I do differently has an effect, or if my observations are universal. In the end I do tat for myself mostly, and I change even more of the techniques when doing my jewelry. Tatting is such a facinating art---with the invention of the internet, new techniques and concepts from around the world are at our fingertips. It does make it all the more hard for us to all agree on what is "standard" however, now that there are so many options and ideas! There is no wrong way anymore......although I did run into someone who insisted that a medallion I had designed for a necklace was done backwards. I tried to explain the whole concept of frontside/backside and all the new tatting innovations, she just looked at me and told me that the backside was supposed to be the front and it's good that I know for next time. lol!

August 15, 2009

Blog discussion: On closing a ring

A few weeks back I put out a challeng to my fellow tatting bloggers. Many participated and I really enjoyed the whole process. So, I thought I might call on my bloggy friends again for a discussion of sorts. The topic? A very basic principle in tatting-

Proper closing of a ring.

There seem to be several methods used. Some just close the ring and go on tatting, and then of course there are the camps that insist you "post" the shuttle (pass the shuttle through the ring to the back of the work) before you close the ring. Then there are a few of us that I've come across that have spent time analyzing and fiddling to find the perfect personal method. The desired end result would be, I believe, a ring that closes and stays flat, without distorting the stitches. I have tried a few things and this is what I have come up with.

I tried every method I could come up with. I tat frontside/backside, (work stitches in reverse order whenever tatting on the back side of the piece), so I think that the results might be different if I had tatted the chains traditionally. Here is the lowdown on each ring. From left to right

  1. Normal tated ring, no modification before closing.
  2. Posted the shuttle before closing
  3. add one first half stitch and post
  4. add first half without posting
  5. add one second half stitch and post
  6. add second half without posting.

These are my initial observations.

  • Ring one rolls outward slightly after you tat the chain that follows.
  • Ring two rolls inward and half of the last double stich is eaten up in the process.
  • Ring three lays perfectly flat, and all stitches are visible. however it leaves a tiny "bar" at the bottom of the ring
  • Ring four rolls outward even more than ring one
  • Ring 5 rolls inward in an unacceptable manner
  • RIng 6 rolls outward only slightly, but adds the appearance of an extra stitch.

My typical method of choice is currently number 3. I find it leaves the rings flat and undistorted. My one concern is about judging. If I entered a piece would that little "bar" on the bottom of the ring be unacceptable?

So what do you think? what method works best for you? Perhaps you'd like to tat up a sample and share your observations. I did a simple pattern of R 4-4-4-4 CH 4-4 here. Tell us about your particular preferences and method of tatting. I'm curious to see what might happen if I didn't do frontside/backside, whether that would affect the rings in any way. Also, what about when rings are next to eachother? Would there be reason to change to a different ring-closing method when doing a cloverleaf? It seems to me that what you tat after the ring has some bearing in this discussion, because different elements might put tension on the close differently.

Anyway, I'm in a strangely analytical mood right now. I think I'll work up a few different samples if I can get some time.....however I think it would be best to use a solid color next time. If you would like to join the Blog-discussion, come back and comment with a link to your post, and maybe like back to this one. That way tatters down the road can come back and have access to all of our input. I will do another final run-down post like I did with the last blog challenge when we are all through.


August 6, 2009

ummm....tatting coffee thursday?

In the fine tradition of Tatting Tea Tuesday, I find myself with two little ones napping at the same time....(Almost as rare as the full solar eclipse...:-). I never manage to join in the fun on tuesdays, usually I'm still trying to recover the house from the weekends, so today being thursday, with time available, I'm going to buckle down with my homework from the design Tat group. I really want to keep up this time, last time around I fell behind somewhere around my due date lol. So I'm off to take part in the spirit of Isdahara's Tuesday tatting, even though I can't stand tea. So Tatting Coffe Thursday it is!!!