Custom Pages

Friday, April 20, 2018

Ready for Spring

I'm ready for the temperatures to stabilize so I can plant a vegetable garden in the back yard. The poor plants have been sitting inside under grow lights for months, as I wait for the freeze warnings to dissipate. In the meantime, I've tatted a flowery bookmark in bright spring colors:


This bookmark is made in Lizbeth size 40 thread, Coral Splash and Leaf Green Medium. The design is something I came up with earlier this week. As I was tatting this, I couldn't help but think that it is reminiscent of the Priscilla bookmark. The placement of elements is similar, however this pattern uses self closing mock rings while the Priscilla bookmark has regular rings. 

I have some other bookmark designs that I am working on as well. Between bookmarks and the table runner, I will be plenty busy with tatting for the rest of the year.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

100 Trefoils

My table runner is up to 100 trefoils now. It's about 20% of the way finished:


In the photo below, you can see the end of the table runner in the bottom left corner. This will hang over the edge of the table. I'm tapering it to give it more visual interest. The tapering is hard to see right now, but will become clearer as I progress with the design.


Here's a view from further back to get an idea of how the project will sit on the table. As you can see, there's still a long way to go:


Earlier this week, I received my order of Liz Metallic thread. I got Rose, Raspberry Pink, Sea Foam, Silver, Sand Dollar, and Gold Dust:


I thought it would be fun to make a flowery bookmark with metallic thread, and that's why I bought the Raspberry Pink and Sea Foam. I'm still not sure what I will make with the other colors.

I also wanted to continue my thread size comparisons for the Liz Metallic. In my last blog post, I found that the Liz Metallic is noticeably larger than the size 20 Lizbeth. At the time, I didn't have any size 10 thread to compare it to. Well, a few days ago, I managed to find some size 10 Red Heart crochet thread while I was out shopping. I still don't own any size 10 Lizbeth, but am hoping that the size 10 Red Heart is close enough. Here's how the three samples stack up:


The Liz Metallic is right in between the size 20 Lizbeth and the size 10 Red Heart. I'd call the Liz Metallic a size 15, if such a thing exists? 

One final thing before I close out today's blog post. In my last blog post, a few of you said I should submit my color idea for the Liz Metallic thread. Here's an update on that. In response to my suggestion to add a black metallic to the available colors, I was told that Handy Hands is not taking any color suggestions for the Liz Metallic. I was reminded several times that the thread is a metallic (and not a cotton) and therefore they cannot make any color they want.

I also took the opportunity to ask if Handy Hands is planning to expand the metallics to a smaller thread size in the future. The answer to this is also no.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Liz Metallic samples

Yesterday, I finished tatting up the samples of Liz Metallic thread that Diane sent me. I wanted to try the more muted colors in the gold and silver range. Pictured below, top row: Iridescent, Sand Dollar, and Gold Dust. Bottom row: Silver and Frappe.


Here are my overall thoughts about the thread. Firstly, it sparkles a lot more in person than the photographs will show. However, it is slightly less bright and less sparkly than the Oren Bayan gold and silver thread I talked about in my previous post. This is only noticeable if you put the two samples side by side, and is not something I can capture very well in photos.

The Liz Metallic is a really strong thread. It's six cord, and thick. I cannot break it with my hands. (The Oren Bayan is only 3 cord, and I can break it with my hands, though I had no trouble with breakage when closing rings).

When compared with cotton threads, the metallic thread is stiffer and rougher. I tat a little more slowly to compensate for that. I tried five different colors, and four of them were easy to work with. The exception is the Iridescent color, pictured below:


The Iridescent thread looks and feels different than the other metallics. It's not as sparkly, and has more of a pearl look. As for feel? Well, I can only describe it as gummy or gluey. It doesn't have any residue or anything like that, but the thread gets stuck, especially when closing rings. There were a few times I didn't think I'd be able to close the ring and had to put a lot of force into it. Due to the difficulties, I cannot recommend this color for shuttle tatters. If you are a needle tatter, it might work because the stitches aren't as tightly wrapped onto the core thread.

All of the other colors tatted just fine. Rings were easy to close, and some of the metallics slid better than a cotton thread. For these, it's really up to what colors you prefer. I like Silver, pictured below:


I also like Sand Dollar (pictured next to Iridescent for accurate color representation):


Gold Dust is okay, but has a slight greenish undertone to it. I still ordered a ball of Gold Dust so I could finish my motif:


Frappe is a cross between silver and gold, and also has a slightly greenish undertone to it:


Lastly, I'd like to mention the size of the Liz Metallic thread. It is supposed to be comparable to a size 20. However, when I tatted a sample in Lizbeth size 20 white, I saw that it is not the case:


This star motif is from the doily on the cover of Jan Stawasz's Tatted Treasures. As you can see, there is a pretty noticeable size difference between the Lizbeth 20 white (above left) and the Liz Metallic Iridescent (above right). I don't have any size 10 thread to compare this to, but I would guess that the Liz Metallics are somewhere between a size 10 and a size 20. (Just for reference, the other Liz Metallic samples I tatted were exactly the same size as the Iridescent sample pictured above).

Overall, I found the Liz Metallics to be enjoyable to work with and a fun alternative to cotton thread. I ended up ordering six different colors and I'll have to figure out some small projects to make with them. I think this thread has a lot of potential. I'd love to see it in a smaller size in the future, as it might be more suitable for jewelry. I also think a black metallic would be interesting, though I don't know if they have any plans on expanding their color line.

If you have any questions about my experience with the Liz Metallic thread, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Testing Threads

Over the past few days, I've been testing out some different threads. Linda sent me some Turkish thread and Diane mailed me some samples of the new Liz Metallic thread. I also decided to try out Aunt Lydia's Metallic crochet thread, which I found locally.


I tried the light blue Altin Basak first because I thought it was the prettiest on the spool. It is wound with a strand of silver thread which gives it a sparkly look, but unfortunately I've heard that this thread has been discontinued. A close up photo shows the sparkle well:


This thread is a little difficult to work with, due to the fragility of the silver part. The blue thread is strong, but I did break the silver strand when I wasn't paying attention to closing a ring. It was easy enough to weave back into the next ring though. The woven silver thread makes it bumpy when closing rings, but not too bad. Size wise, it's a little smaller than Lizbeth 20, which is why my six pointed snowflake turned into a seven pointed motif. The central beads which usually pull it together turned out to be a little too big in this case.

Next, I tried size 10 Aunt Lydia's Metallic crochet thread, because it was the closest thing I could find to the Altin Basak locally. There is a very big difference between the two threads, and I wouldn't recommend using the Aunt Lydia's. It's too large for my taste and the silver strand has a tendency to bunch up when closing rings, making the task nearly impossible. Here's a side by side photo of motifs tatted with Altin Basak (left) and Aunt Lydia's (right):


Linda also sent me some metallic Oren Bayan thread, which I was pleasantly surprised with. From the look of it, I thought it would be difficult to use and that I wouldn't like it. However, it was easier to work with than the Altin Basak, and the colors are nice too. First, I made a little flower motif in silver, and because I liked the thread so much, I made a rosette snowflake in gold:


You do have to tat a little more slowly when using the metallic thread, as the stitches need to be carefully slid into place. The thread is much stiffer than cotton, so it tends to kink when stitches are formed. It makes for a very solid snowflake, which keeps its shape well. The thread is strong and did not break when closing rings. Rings close very smoothly, and the stitches slide more easily than they would with a cotton thread.

Yesterday's mail contained samples of the Liz Metallic thread from Diane, which I was eager to try. I tatted a motif with color #327 Gold Dust. Since it was only a sample, I didn't have enough to complete the motif, but it was plenty for me to understand the look and feel of the thread. Here it is next to the Oren Bayan snowflake:


It's really difficult to photograph the sparkle. If you scroll back up to the second photo in this blog post, you can see the sparkle a little better (though the color is too yellow).

As for tatting, the Liz Metallic feels very similar to the Oren Bayan Metallic. It is strong and the stitches slide with ease. The Liz Metallic is thicker (around size 20), while the Oren Bayan feels more like a size 50. The Handy Hands website mentions that the colors may bleed, but I didn't notice anything on my hands after using it. I think the Liz Metallic is a tiny bit easier to use than the Oren Bayan, maybe because the thread is thicker and it doesn't kink when forming stitches. However, I still had to tat a little slower than I would with cotton thread.

I'm going to continue testing the samples of Liz Metallic that Diane sent me, and I'll write more about them later. The Sand Dollar color looks promising, and so does the Silver. The Iridescent color is a little confusing as it looks more like a shiny rayon than a metallic, but we'll see when I tat something with it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gifts from Linda

Earlier this year, I received a message from Linda Williams asking about the doily I had been working on. We got to talking and she emailed me some pictures of Ice Drops that she had made, some with a sparkly light blue thread (I mistakenly thought it was blocked with glitter glue at first). The thread is Altin Basak, and unfortunately it is being discontinued. Linda surprised me by saying she could still get a hold of the thread, and generously offered to send me a ball. Well, I wasn't expecting all of the other goodies that came along with it!


She sent a ball of the sparkly blue Altin Basak, and some spools of gold and silver Oren Bayan thread:


I also got a couple of Ice Drops which I will be hanging on my Christmas tree this year, and two pretty bracelets:


The silver bracelet has a magnetic clasp which I love. It snaps on and off so easily. If I ever start tatting jewelry, I'll have to look into those magnetic clasps. I didn't know they existed!

Lastly, she sent me a few cards, both of which say "Happy Birthday" on the front. Coincidence, or did she know it was my birthday a few days ago? Thank you Linda, for all of the wonderful gifts.


It was great timing as I had just come back from a birthday trip to Breaks Interstate Park to find Linda's package in the mail. The park has wonderful scenic overlooks of the Appalachian Mountains, but photos fail to capture the feeling of actually being there:



While at the park cottage, I got a little more tatting done on the table runner. Here's what it looks like now:


You can see more of the pattern emerging, though the finished runner is still a bit of a mystery.