"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Challenge Continues

The "Tat This!" challenge is gathering strength. Diane has completed round 2. We have also been joined by Geraldine, who not only posted her round 1 yesterday, but she must also have tatted all night, because this morning she already has her round 2 up. Finally, check out Sharren, who is already on round 3!

The neat thing about this challenge is that each person is coming up with something slightly different. Diane made a couple of extra repeats to make her first round lie flat, so her doily will probably end up slightly larger than the others. Diane and Geraldine both have stitch counts in round 2 that make the picots on the chains appear offset towards the clovers (even though I think they have the same number of stitches at both ends of the chain-- it's something to do with the difference between the clovers and the single rings), but I think Diane's look a little more offset and Geraldine's a little less so. Sharren noticed that in the fabric print, the 3-ring clusters appear to have smaller circles in the middle, so she made an SCMR with three rings coming off of it instead of a normal 3-ring cluster.

I expect to see even more variation in round 3. When you look at the fabric print, you can't tell the difference between bare thread and thread worked into double stitches-- look at the thickness of the lines representing the picots compared to the lines representing rings; they are the same. This means that the lines in round 3 could represent either chains (with a shoelace trick before and after each outer ring) or bare threads. Sharren decided to be really unique and go with zig-zag chains!

It's not too late to join the challenge! There are no deadlines and no wrong answers, so why not give it a try?

Monday, July 30, 2012

First Out of the Gate

I've had one definite taker on the "Tat This!" challenge so far, as well as a couple of others who may try it. Lace-Lovin' Librarian Diane has completed her first round already-- go Diane!

In case you missed it, the challenge is to try to tat this doily based solely on the picture.

Scroll down for more detailed photos.

Part of the challenge, of course, is that the first round is partially obscured everywhere on the fabric. However, one of the pics I posted yesterday does give a good idea of what it looks like; and by counting the number of repeats in the second round, you can infer how many chains you need in the first. Or you could just do like Diane did and keep going until you have enough repeats to lie flat; in this design, however many repeats you make in the first round will carry through to the subsequent rounds without screwing up the math.

Any other takers?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Another Ornament, and a Challenge

For the latest ornament, I went back to white.

The edging pattern is Mary Konior's "Curds and Whey" from Tatting with Visual Patterns, and the little rings are just 1-2-2-2-2-2-1. I originally wanted to alternate the little rings with the beads on the same row, but I ended up with an odd number of repeats on the edging, so the math didn't work out. Putting the beads and rings on separate rows looks OK, too. I randomly remembered that I had these ribbon roses on hand, too; I did actually buy them for something in particular, but I now have no idea what it was. Since the red was a good match for the satin ball, I decided this was as good a use for them as any.

Now for the challenge. Yesterday I showed a fabric I found with tatted doilies printed on it. It's a simple, three-round pattern, all simple rings and chains. Monica suggested a "Yes-U-Can" style challenge for people to try tatting this doily. So I now present the "Tat This!" challenge. Tat this doily based only on the print on the fabric. You can make some minor changes if you want to, but it should be recognizably the same doily.

This picture shows the whole thing.

This one gives you a better idea of the first round.

 I have to say that I myself probably won't be doing this, at least not right away, because I have so many other projects floating around in my head right now. However, if you want to participate in the challenge, put pictures of what you do up on your blog, and leave me a comment with your blog address so I can link to it; if you don't have a blog, you can e-mail me your pictures and I'll post them here.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that Jess went to the trouble of finding this fabric on Jo-Ann's website yesterday. The link is http://www.joann.com/premium-quilt-fabric-flee-market-dollies/zprd_11556677a/.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Have You Seen This Fabric????

I was in Jo-Ann's today and saw a fabric that caught me totally off-guard.

I almost missed it because I wasn't looking for pastels or anything dainty looking. Luckily, I happened to glance at it again and realized what the print was. Needless to say, it was then impossible not to buy any.

I took a picture of the end of the bolt, too.

It's blurry, but it should be enough info for a store associate to help you find it, or I'm sure they would have it online. Amusingly, it should say "Flea Market Doilies", but the label was presumably printed in China and actually says "Flee Market Dollies".

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rhapsody in Blue

The thread is "Sue's Blues" by Yarnplayer; the pattern is "Asters" by Mary Konior, found in Tatting with Visual Patterns. I pinned a row of beads in between the two rows of tatting. I wasn't sure how this ornament would turn out, but I'm very pleased with it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tatting Gets Good Press in Canada!

Just in case there's any tatter who hasn't seen it yet, here's a link to the article on tatting in the Canadian magazine Maclean's. How awesome to see tatting written up in a mainstream magazine! And who would ever have thought that tatting and Lady Gaga could be mentioned in the same sentence? Thanks to IsDihara for the link. And a huge congratulations to my buddies Fox and Jeff for being mentioned in the article!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

Well, not that different, I guess. It's still tatting on a Christmas ornament, but it is a completely different look from the simple white pictures of the last two days. This is (a) not representational tatting, and (b) completely blinged out in comparison with the holly and the angel/ cross ornaments.

This is Karey Solomon's "Chinoiserie" motif from her book Make Many Merrily. The thread is Olympus size 40, color M14. There are no beads tatted into it, but I added a lot of them when I attached it to the ornament, by putting the beads on the pins. I don't know if you can see it in the photo, but the ball has iridescent threads running over it too, so the whole thing is very sparkly.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More in White

I liked the simplicity of the white thread on a colored ornament so much that I decided to do it again. This time I used Anne Bruvold's SSSR Angel and a small cross of my own design.

 If you have extremely sharp eyes, you may notice that the inner rows of the angels' skirts are each too long by one ring compared to the pattern. Here's what happened. I made the two angels, but didn't notice right away that I had made this mistake on the second one. I knew it wasn't sitting right, but figured I would just fix that when I pinned it down. Then I put them next to each other and realized that the first one's skirt was shorter and wider; that was when I started looking more closely and realized I had actually made a mistake on the second. I decided that, next to the cross, the longer skirt looked better, so I tatted another angel with the same "mistake" and used this pair for the ornament. The other, correctly made, angel will stand on its own.

It should be noted that you can't make the angel with this extra ring unless you are planning to pin it to something, because the skirt really doesn't work; the extra length of the middle two rows pushes it all out of proportion and it has to be held down to keep its shape. If you just tat it as written, of course, it works just fine.

As I have done in the past, I tatted these angels using normal split rings instead of SSSR's. You have to add a second thread eventually anyway to tat the body, so to me it makes more sense to start with two threads CTM; this gives you fewer ends to hide in the long run.

The cross is just three SCMR's followed by a row of split rings; each ring has a total of 12 stitches.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


When I do what I call "representational tatting"-- in other words, tatting that is supposed to represent something from the real world, like a flower or an animal-- I usually like to use colors appropriate to what I am making. This time, however, I decided to go with simple white. The dark green background of the satin ball visible in the negative space is obviously appropriate for holly leaves, but mainly I think this tatting is more of a silhouette, and I like the effect.

The holly leaf pattern is motif number 69 from The Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito. The pattern said to use three threads, but to be honest, I couldn't see why. I just used ball and shuttle, and I think it looks just like what's in the book.

The berries are just very tight spirals around very small rings-- make a ring of 1-1-1-1 and chain around it for two or three rounds.

I've ordered replacements for the two balls of thread that Squijum appropriated; they're really not salvageable. But you know how it is, if you just order two balls of thread the shipping costs almost as much as the thread, and that just seems silly. So I also ordered several balls of size 80, since my Lizbeth collection is very heavy on size 20 and light on size 80. Yeah, I spent more money just to make the shipping charge seem more reasonable-- and the online stores know we'll do that every time, too.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Two New Ornaments

After a long hiatus, I finally feel like tatting again. I've made two new ornaments, both from Jane Eborall motifs.

The first is the OctoStarFlake. I used Lizbeth color 157 Raspberry Frappe, and black, white, and gold seed beads.

I love the way Jane uses beads to make an extremely simple motif look very elaborate. I did make one mistake on this one-- can you spot it?

The other is the new Roundabout Motif. The threads are Lizbeth 163 Blue Ice and 654 Navy, with pale blue beads.

A few of the things that look like beads in the photos are really the heads of the pins attaching the tatting to the ornaments. Also, the Blue Ice thread didn't photograph as well as I would have liked; it has a lot of white in it, so between that and the light reflecting off the beads and pins it got a bit washed out. This ornament looks really nice in real life, though. As always, Jane's use of color in her designs is really stunning; the lock stitch chains make for a totally different look.

Squijum knows what tatting thread is for, too.