"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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Ones for the Sale

These are really the last ones. I need to mail them off today. I'll spend the rest of the day packaging and labeling, and probably get to the post office just before closing time.

Last year, I made two of Jane Eborall's doves for the sale. They never actually made it into the sale, because my mom has the advantage of being in charge of the crafts section, so she sometimes picks stuff out and buys it before anyone else gets to see it. Nothing wrong with that, but I really liked those doves and was hoping other people would get a chance to see them. So I made another three for this year.

I used Flora size 20 for all of them. The olive branches, top to bottom, are Yarnplayer's "Forest" HDT, Lizbeth 138 "Leafy Greens", and Lizbeth 167 "Jungle Greens". The beads are Miyuki Delicas; the ones on top have a "silky luster" finish in white, the middle ones are also silky luster in a pale gray, and the bottom ones are a darker gray with an iridescent finish. I try not to make two items the same.

Now off to write labels!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More Foxy Doodads

I'm almost out of time before I have to send everything off to my mom for the sale. I did get a couple more pendants made, though. The pattern is Fox's "Evelyn", another one that makes use of a doodad in the center. They both cupped a bit, the first one because the doodad I used was slightly larger than the specified 3/4 inch, and the second because I used size 50 thread instead of size 40. I felt this was OK, because it enhances the flower-like appearance of the first one, and on the second the cupping simply continues the contour of the doodad. I also experimented a bit with different ways to put the beads at the junctions of rings and split rings; neither method I used was what Fox described, and they both look a little different. It just shows how many different ways there are to add beads to tatting.

On this one, I used a square filigree doodad in antique brass finish, and Krystledawne's HDT's. The variegated is "Of Berries and Fairies", and the other two threads are the matching solids "Fairy Faint" and "Wineberry".

On this one, I left a long space of thread from shuttle 2 between the split rings. When I did the outer round, I added the beads as I made the joins in these spots.

This one uses a round silver doodad with a center cutout and holes around the edge, and the thread is "Midnight Oil" in size 50 by Yarnplayer. I've always wanted to make some jewelry in this colorway, so I'm glad to have finally gotten around to it. I just noticed a little bit of cat hair at the bottom, so I'll have to get it off before I mail everything.

This time, I added the beads to the shuttle 1 thread as instructed, but I still didn't do it the way Fox said. I put a bead on the circle of thread on my left hand, but did not move it up when making a stitch at any point, so when I closed the ring that bead ended up at the base of the ring.

In each of these, I added a closed jump ring by joining to it in the place of one Josephine knot. Since this made the jump ring parallel to the tatting, I then added a split ring finding to the jump ring, so that the pendant will hang right from the cord.

I've really enjoyed working with these doodads. I've always liked seeing when Jane adds a doodad to her tatting, and umintsuru has sometimes done it too. Thanks to Fox and Diane for inspiring me to join the fun!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Diane, Fox, Krystle, and Sherry

These are the four people whose ideas and "stuff" came together to make these pendants.

The centers are a gift from Diane, from her Doodad Double Dare. The pattern is Fox's "Athalia". The purple thread is "Twilight Grape" HDT from Krystledawne, and the red is LadyShuttleMaker's "Diablo".

The threads are both size 20, which made for rather large pendants, approximately 2 1/2 inches (6.3 cm) on the diagonal. They are lightweight of course, being lace and all, but for looks I will have to use fairly substantial cords to hang them from. I probably should have taken Fox's advice and used size 40, but I really wanted to use these colors, and 20 was the size I had. A lot of people like big, chunky jewelry though, so I think maybe these will sell.

I made the purple one first using the main instructions; for the red one, I used the alternate directions that make the large rings just a little smaller. This only altered the overall size by a tiny bit, but it did change the look somewhat, as the insides of the larger rings can be viewed as an extra negative space that isn't there in the other pendant. I don't think I have a preference between the two; I'm glad Fox gave both sets of directions.

To add the jump rings that make them into pendants, I simply threaded the jump rings like beads onto the ball thread and slid them into place between two chains. I used closed jump rings so there's no danger of their coming undone. I never use open jump rings anymore; if I need to add a finding that can't easily be tatted in like this, I use split rings, which are much more secure. (Note: I'm not talking about tatted split rings here; the split rings I mean are the metal findings that look like miniature key rings.)

Have you ever noticed how most of the photos I take of Squijum show him sleeping? That's because it's almost the only time when he holds still. Otherwise, the photos are a bit blurry.

I did manage to get one good clear shot of him wide awake, though.

Friday, August 24, 2012


The dragonfly earrings I made last year were very popular, so I wanted to make a lot more for this year's sale. Unfortunately, I'm running out of time, and I was only able to make four pairs. I have to get all the stuff sent off to my mom next week, and there are still a few other things I want to tat, plus I need to get it all packaged nicely.

Starting at the top left and going around clockwise, the threads are Yarnplayer's "Leafy", LadyShuttleMaker's "Helm's Deep", Yarnplayer's "Twilight Zone", and LadyShuttleMaker's "Wildflowers". The pattern is by Jon Yusoff.

I'll try to get started earlier for next year's sale, so I can get more of these made.

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Find!

Out doing some shopping yesterday, I came across something exciting. I saw one of those sidewalk signs that point you to a store just off the main road, and followed it to a yarn store that I never would have known was there. It made me glad I walk everywhere, because I wouldn't have seen the sign from a car.

I didn't expect they would have anything for tatting, but there were a few balls of Finca pearl cotton. I bought one in teal and one in a sort of terracotta color. I also picked up a nice fine crochet hook (0.6 mm), because a tatter can never have too many of those.

But the best was their collection of used books that they loan out like library books. Here's what I found.

This is a classic, and I can't wait to get my teeth into it. Elgiva's other book was one of the first tatting books I ever bought, and I still re-read it periodically. I'm sure this one will be just as educational.

I've also had a new entry in the "Tat This!" challenge. Sirena Sea is a new tatter who is lucky enough to be learning from her grandmother, and this is her first doily. She did a beautiful job, and I look forward to following her tatting progress. Do go to her blog and look at her shuttle collection, too!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Unbreakably Beguiling

After my disastrous experience with embellishments the other day, I pulled out what was left of my stash of doodads and selected all of the ones that could work with the "Beguile" earring pattern. I found four, so that's how many pairs of earrings I made.

First, the one made with the same thread I was trying to use before, "Helm's Deep" by LadyShuttleMaker. I think what upset me most about the broken doodads was the loss of so much precious HDT.

This time I used a hammered pewter circle with a bronze-tone finish for the center, with beads and findings to match. No way these things could break just by having tatting joined to them.

The next pair also uses a LadyShuttleMaker thread, "Hosta Leaves". This is such a lovely, soft combination of green and lavender.

These earrings use wood centers, but just plain circles, fairly thick, completely unlike the fragile things I tried to use before. The beads are a very pale lavender in a satin finish. I usually prefer to connect the tatting to the earring wires with split/jump rings; I think they hang better that way. In this case, though, the best color of wires I had on hand for this thread were these niobium ones, and I didn't have any split or jump rings to match. There's nothing worse than mismatched findings, so I just attached the wires directly to the tatting.

Next up is Yarnplayer's "Stardate" thread. This colorway is also essentially green and purple, yet it is in a way the complete opposite of the one above. I find this a very exciting colorway.

This thread is size 30 instead of 20, so I used it with a pair of slightly smaller doodads. The beads are a very dark gray, almost black.

Finally, I used Krystledawne's "Of Berries and Fairies", another favorite colorway.

These doodads are just like the first ones, but with a silver finish. The beads are a very pale blue.

This is a nice pattern in that it is very easy tatting that only takes an hour per earring, yet the embellishment in the center makes it look very special. I also like that you can make that top ring that it hangs from as an SSSR so that you don't have to hide the ends.

I almost forgot to say that the pattern is by Marilee Rockley, from her book Up and Tat 'Em. There are also matching necklace and bracelet patterns which are a bit more complicated.

Friday, August 17, 2012

And Nothing to Show for It

I could cry.

I really wanted to make Marilee's "Beguile" earrings using these cool laser-cut wooden things as the centers.

This one has eight places around the edge where you could join, perfect since the pattern has eight repeats. As I was making the first earring, I ran into a major snag.

A tiny little piece broke off the edge as I was trying to make a join. The whole thing thus became unusable.

I didn't have a spare like this, but I did have a pair in another design.

These aren't quite as cool, but still very attractive and unusual; and if someone hadn't seen the others to compare, they wouldn't know what they were missing. These have ten joining places, so I figured I would just do an extra two repeats and make the rings a little smaller so they wouldn't be crowded.

And then...

I am determined to make these earrings, but I will have to do it with metal embellishments, as these wooden ones are clearly not designed to have tatting joined to them.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Flowering Quatrain

This is the "Flowering Quatrain" bookmark, designed by Joelle Paulson, aka Frivole. I modified the instructions ever so slightly in order to make the flowers a different color (it's actually pale yellow, not white). Frivole designed it to be tatted all in one pass, with a row of split rings up the middle, and then the outer round is tatted around the strip of SR's. In order to make the SR's in alternating colors, I used double core SSSR's instead. But to make the outer round all one color, as I wanted, I had to cut and tie and start over fresh. The easiest way to do this, I felt, was to cut both threads, not just the yellow, and begin the outer round CTM. I chose to do just one corner for the end of the tail.

The threads are Lizbeth 654 Navy and 612 Light Golden Yellow. This was another color combo I discovered by accidentally seeing the two balls next to each other.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cross Bookmark

This is Mary Konior's "Large Cross" pattern. Last year, I made it as a Christmas ornament; this year I decided to make it as a bookmark. I do need to block or press it a little bit; you can see a couple of spots where it doesn't quite lie flat on the scanner.

There was no random happenstance in color selection for this piece. I think that this pattern looks particularly good with a variegated thread for the rings and a solid for the chains; this emphasizes the cross shape in the center while adding visual interest to the outside. Once I had chosen the size 80 HDT for the rings, I had to pull out every size 80 solid I own to find just the right one for the chains. The HDT is from LadyShuttleMaker; I think it's called "Flower Child". The solid blue is Majestic color 847.

The double tail is nothing original; lots of people have done things like this on cross bookmarks. Each of the small crosses consists of SCMR's and SR's, with the final ring of the second one made as a double core SSSR to hide the ends. I just did a 1/1 zigzag chain between the two small crosses, joined in the middle to the main cross.

The next time I make this pattern, I vow to pay attention at the corners so I don't have to keep untatting!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sweetheart Bookmark

This is the bookmark from Jon Yusoff's Sweetheart Set. I'm not much good at making tassels, so I used one of my improvised tails instead. The threads are Lizbeth colors 618 Dark Magenta and 605 Silver. I was surprised at how much I like this color combination; sometimes just seeing balls of thread randomly lying next to each other can give you ideas you never would have thought of otherwise.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fandango Bookmark

Here's Jane's "Fandango" bookmark. The threads are Krystledawne's "Of Berries and Fairies" HDT and Lizbeth color 651 Medium Blue. The Lizbeth is a near match for the blue in the HDT-- they have so many shades of light blue, there had to be one that was close-- but if you look very closely you can see the difference; Krystle's blue is just a little bit clearer and richer. But, hey, close enough.

The tail is a combination of split rings, double core SSSR's, 1/1 zigzag chain, and lock stitch chain. I was going to put a "Fandango" motif on the end, but I realized it was long enough without that.

I still need to block it, as you can see from the curvature at the right end.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This will be the last of the ornaments on satin balls for now, because this is the last satin ball I have. I'll have to order some more for next year, because I've really enjoyed making these.

This motif is "Abigail" by Fox. I used Lizbeth Christmas Red and Christmas Green, size 40. Wild and crazy idea, isn't it, using Christmas colors on a Christmas ornament?

All of the beads were pinned on afterwards. That's one nice thing about putting the tatting on a ball; I can decide later where I want to put beads. And if you're tatting something by Fox, you just have to add beads somewhere, don't you?

I've really enjoyed tatting these two motif's of Fox's, and I'm glad that she seems to have been bitten by the designing bug. I like how she does different things in the outer round instead of having it the same all the way around. This makes it much more interesting to tat, as well as to look at. I particularly find the negative space in this motif very appealing. Also, I like how Fox's patterns give the total number of picots in parentheses after each ring and chain; it never occurred to me before how much easier that would make counting. I'm going to start doing that when appropriate in my own patterns now.

On to other things now....

Monday, August 6, 2012


This is Fox's "Maeve" motif. You can see it before I put it on the ornament at Fox's blog.

The threads are Lizbeth 656 Wedgewood Dark and 633 Purple Dark, and "Vanilla Sky" HDT by Tatskool. I love this colorway, but I can never manage to photograph it well, no matter what kind of lighting or background color I use. This is pretty close, except that the pinks are maybe just half a shade darker in real life, and the areas where it looks blue are really a little more purplish; the underlying problem seems to be that my camera doesn't recognize the color periwinkle, which is really what it is.

I pinned it on the ball with some pink seed beads off a necklace I bought at a yard sale and cut up. I was going to put other, blingier, beads around the perimeter of the motif, but once I got this far I realized that anything more would be overkill.

I really wish you could see this ornament in real life!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Well, maybe somebody will like it...

I'm not so sure about today's ornament.

The motif is from Anne Orr's Classic Tatting Patterns. It's called "Large Round Medallion with Cross in Center"; well, you can't fault her for accuracy.

This is a motif that I've always been drawn to; I really like the negative spaces in it. However, I've never made it before and had no idea how big it would turn out. Even in size 80, it's almost too big for the ball. Also, I don't know how Mrs. Orr made it lie flat, because I ended up with a ruffle around the edge even after blocking. But since it's consistent all the way around, I hope that it looks intentional.

The five 4-ring clusters that make up the cross are each tatted separately. I could have updated them with split rings, but I chose not to; I couldn't see a way to do it entirely without cutting and tying. However, I did update the two outer rounds by using a split chain and split ring to climb from one round to the next. Did I wind two shuttles just for that one split ring? Absolutely not. Since I was using an HDT on a floss bobbin, I just used the floss bobbin like a shuttle. It's not a convenient shape for it, but for just a few stitches it works.

The thread is the one thing I'm really happy with in this piece. It's Tatskool's "Gingerbread" in size 80. I have to admit, I'm not usually a huge fan of brown, but this colorway has a sort of glow to it; it looks really nice against the dark green background, too.

Anyway, since everybody has different tastes, I'm hoping somebody will like this poor ornament better than I do.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Magnolia Blossom

Coincidentally, at the same time I was finding out that the doily on the fabric was Nancy Tracy's design, I happened to be tatting another of Nancy's patterns.

This is Nancy's "Magnolia Bloom". I did the center in LadyShuttleMaker's "Magnolia" HDT, which really is the perfect colorway for it. The HDT is size 50, and for some reason I don't have any size 50 white thread in stock, so I went with size 40 for the petals. I tried to compensate by tatting the center a little bit looser and making the picots a little bit longer, then I used my normal tension and made smaller picots on the petals. It seems to have worked out fine.

What do magnolias have to do with Christmas, you ask? Not a thing, they bloom in June (at least in Georgia where I grew up). But it's a very pretty design that captures the spirit of a magnolia flower beautifully, and it's going to be sold in Georgia, where magnolias are always popular. When I was a kid, we had a magnolia tree in our backyard. It was never much of a bloomer, but it was the best climbing tree ever, with good sturdy branches low enough for a kid to get to which continued almost all the way up to the top. There are frankly not many things I miss about living in Georgia, but that tree is one of them.

This is the first time I've thought to put a 3D piece on one of these satin balls. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Update on the Copyright Issue

I just heard back from Nancy Tracy. She doesn't mind the "Tat This!" challenge, since no one is trying to claim her idea as their own or make money from it, and she says she is interested to see what people come up with. On that note, Geraldine has finished her third round.

Unfortunately, it seems that the fabric manufacturer has violated Nancy's copyright, as she had never seen or heard of the fabric before. I really hope that she is able to get this resolved and get paid for her design. Until that happens, I don't feel right about owning the fabric, so I will be returning the piece that I bought.

Copyright is important. A person who comes up with their own original design deserves to get credit for it, and if someone wants to make money off of somebody else's design, the original designer deserves to get paid. If a designer offers to share their work that is fine. But nobody has a right to take somebody else's design without permission.

A New Development to the Challenge

Last night, reader Frances pointed out to me that the doily on the fabric print is actually the first three rounds of Nancy Tracy's "Mom's Pink Doily", found here. I issued the "Tat This!" challenge on the assumption that the doily must have been a vintage pattern, because surely the fabric manufacturer would have chosen something in the public domain. Well, that's what I get for making assumptions.

I think that the readers who have taken up the challenge have each found their own ways of doing things enough that there may not be a copyright violation. Certainly none of us intended to violate copyright. On the other hand, I did say at the beginning that what people come up with should be "recognizably the same doily". I have contacted Nancy to ask how she would like me to proceed; I will let you know as soon as I hear back from her.

I hope the fabric manufacturer is compensating Nancy for the use of her design!

In the meantime, Diane has finished her challenge. Her version differs from Nancy's in that she made 10 repeats instead of 8, and she used chains instead of bare thread spaces in the third round. Also her stitch counts are different.