"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, November 27, 2012

Something to Look Forward To

I'm mainly focused on knitting the scarf right now, but my next tatting project will involve one of these two threads; I haven't decided which yet.

I have tatted with silk thread before, but it was a bit heavier than this. I'll be interested to see how this tats up. Dad, you will kindly not show this post to Mom. Thank you.

Amusingly, these two little bobbins of thread were shipped in this box:

One would think an ordinary envelope would have done just fine, and been a lot cheaper. Squijum appreciates the wad of paper that was stuffed in the box to fill it, though.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A More Manageable Size

I decided to make the next tree medallion pendant a bit smaller.

It's still pretty long vertically, but I'm OK with that; horizontally, it is barely wider than the medallion itself. For a pendant, I think this makes for a better visual balance.

The thread is Lizbeth color 168 Latte Foam. The seed beads are a very dark purple and a very pale green. The teardrop is also dark purple, and the two round beads on the drop are a sort of greenish beige that is like a darker version of the color of the medallion. It looks really good in person.

This is my own design, except I did stick with the idea of encircling the medallion with a double row of split rings, which I borrowed from Jane's sequin motifs.

Having completed half the tree pendants, I am taking a break to work on my knitting, which I haven't done for a while. I'll probably show some progress on the scarf in a day or two.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Well, Maybe

I finished the pendant from the second of the Sherry's tree medallions. I had already started it before I thought about how big the first one was, so this one is also quite large, roughly the same size as the first, in fact.

This one was always going to be for me, so I'll wear it as a pendant and decide how I feel about its size. Having put it on, I realize that although it is certainly larger than anything I normally wear, I have definitely seen other people wearing pendants this big. So maybe it's not so bad, it's just not my usual style. In any case, I now feel OK about selling the other one as a pendant.

The pattern is Jane's Sequin Motif Version 2, again made with ten repeats instead of six to fit the medallion. The thread is "Fancy Fields" from Tat-ilicious.

Forgive the terrible lighting, but you can at least see how it looks on a person. And not being able to make out the color or the tree on the medallion makes it look like a smiley face!

You know, if I were smart, I would have gone into the cat toy industry.

This had twice as many feathers on it when Squijum and I first started playing with it, about five minutes before this photo was taken. Two minutes later, it lost another feather. And the manufacturer knows perfectly well that I will buy another one the next time I'm at the pet store, because he loves it so much that even just a few minutes of enjoyment is worth paying for it multiple times. I do wish they would come up with ways to make these things more durable, though. I mean, their target audience has claws, for heaven's sake!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tree Medallions

In keeping with my arboreal theme of recent weeks, I've decided to finally make use of some medallions I bought from MadMadPotter (the other alter-ego of LadyShuttleMaker) a while back.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of them all before I started adding tatting. If you want to see better pictures and/ or get some for yourself, there are more in her Etsy shop, linked above.

One reason I took a long time to actually use these is that I wasn't sure how I would join the tatting in a way that would be stable, since they only have two holes. But then I took a closer look at Jane Eborall's Sequin Motifs and realized that the same technique of putting a double row of split rings around the central "item" could also work with these.

This is a variation of Jane's Sequin Motif Version 1. Because Jane used a 7/8 inch sequin, and the medallion is 1 1/8 inches, I had to increase it from six repeats to ten. I actually prefer this, because I really didn't want something that would look like a snowflake. I used Lizbeth size 20, color 136 Autumn Spice. Although these aren't really "my" colors, I'm very happy with the way they look with this medallion.

Now I need your opinions. Given the size of the medallion, I should have thought about this earlier, but I didn't. I intended to make this as a pendant, so I tatted a jump ring into it at the top. The finished size is 3 inches (nearly 8 cm) across from point to point. Since it has a jump ring, clearly I have to make it into something that hangs. So the question is, would you wear a pendant this large, or would it be better maybe as a suncatcher? I'm open to other ideas as well.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Yet Another Leaf

This is the sassafras leaf from Karey Solomon's book Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf. The thread is "Diablo" size 80 from LadyShuttleMaker. For once I made the stem more or less as Karey wrote it, too.

This is Squijum after yesterday's attempt at tooth cleaning.

He's so sweet, he still wants to cuddle-- I don't know if you can tell, but I'm sitting in the recliner with my feet up and a blanket, and he's sitting on my legs-- but notice how he carefully keeps his mouth pointed away from me. Poor thing, he doesn't know we're going to try again today.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Today's leaf is the horse chestnut, once again from Karey Solomon's book Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf.

After googling images of horse chestnut leaves in autumn, I decided that the clear, vivid hues of Tatskool's "Gina's Tequila Sunrise" HDT (formerly known as "Flame Lantana") would be perfect. I used size 40 for this one. One of the many nice things about this book of Karey's is that she shows each leaf full-sized as tatted in size 20; this allows me to estimate the size of thread I will need to achieve the size of leaf I want for a pendant. And as always, I added beads because a necklace should have beads, don't you think?

The links in the above paragraph and in yesterday's post go to Tatskool's blog. I wanted to link to her shop, but unfortunately some sad person with nothing better to do has hacked her shop site so that some people's security settings (mine included) will block the site. I've talked to her, and she's going to have her son take a look at it, but it might not get completely fixed till she sees him at Christmas. In the meantime, if you are interested in her beautiful threads, you can contact her through her blog. Seriously, hackers, can't you stick to the big corporations that can absorb a loss of sales, and leave private individuals alone?

The pattern calls for ball and shuttle, but the first round made more sense to me with two shuttles, so that's what I did. Since I had two shuttles anyway, I used Catherine wheel joins on the second round to join to the floating rings for a smoother outline. (CWJ's are much easier with two shuttles.)

Once again, I did my own thing for the stem. There's nothing wrong with the stems on all these leaves the way Karey wrote them; I just like coming up with different ways of doing things, especially when I'm adding a bead or finding to the end. In this case, I used the shuttle with the bead on it to make a longish loop with the bead at the end, and then lock-joined back to the leaf. Then I used the two shuttles to pearl tat, using this loop as the core thread. I left the end of the loop uncovered so the bead could hang freely.

Squijum had his follow-up check at the vet yesterday. His mouth is fully healed, so his daily oral hygiene regimen starts today. I wonder how he'll take it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back to the Leaves

I really hope people like these leaf pendants at the sale, because I'm having a great time tatting them! Today's is Karey Solomon's oak leaf from Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf.

Unlike the pattern, I made the stem first, as this seemed like the easiest way to add the bead. I simply put the bead on the thread before winding the shuttle, and used it as an anchor point for starting with a chain. I started with a lock stitch so the chain wouldn't be tight up against the bead; it needed a little loop of thread to be able to hang freely. Then, like I did on the Tammy Rodgers maple leaf, I used a combination of balanced double stitches and regular double stitches to create a thickening of the stem near the bottom. I made a mock picot at the top of the stem before the first ring to allow room for the several other chains that would need to be joined there. This time I think I made the stem too long. One of these days I'll get it right; until then, just call me Goldilocks.

I also made a mistake; on round one, I added an extra picot to one of the chains near the top, which meant that I had to add an extra chain in round two, resulting in the leaf being asymmetrical. I think this is OK, since leaves in nature are never perfect either.

The thread is Tatskool's "Gingerbread" HDT in size 80. All the beads are my own addition. Oak leaves don't turn the vivid reds and oranges that some trees do in autumn, but I think the subtly changing browns can have a beauty all their own.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shamelessly Stealing Frivole's Idea

A couple of weeks ago, Frivole suggested the idea of a necklace made from Heidi Sunday's Pumpkin Vine Edging. I added a few beads and findings, enlarged the central pumpkin for a focal point, and voila!

Like Frivole, I ordered several of Lizbeth's autumnal colorways, both variegated and solid. Like her, I rejected the Bright Orange as being too loud. Everyone's been using the variegated Autumn Spice colorway to tat pumpkins lately. It does look pretty, but really? Pumpkins are solid orange. I decided to go with a light version and a dark version. The light one uses colors 696 Autumn Orange Medium and 138 Leafy Green, with gunmetal-toned chain and findings. The dark one uses 694 Harvest Orange Medium with 167 Jungle Greens, and antique brass-toned chain and findings. Also like Frivole, I opted to make the rings in green as leaves on the vine; in the original pattern they are orange to represent smaller pumpkins, but that was just too much orange for me.

While trying the necklaces on, I realized that this edging would look terrific around the neckline of a crew-neck t-shirt for fall. Too bad orange is not my color!

You know what's really yummy? Pumpkin oatmeal. Tear some dried apple rings up into small chunks and throw them in the pot about 5 minutes before the end of the oatmeal's cooking time, so they can reconstitute. Then when the oatmeal is done cooking, stir in a couple of spoonfuls of pumpkin puree, some cinnamon, and some maple syrup. (For heaven's sake, use real maple syrup!) I could eat this all day long!

Squijum, on the other hand, is far pickier. At first, he thought that his mouth-healing diet of all canned food was the best idea I've ever had. Now he turns up his nose if the can I open isn't the flavor he was hoping for!