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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tatting Inspiration

Are you inspired by other tatters? I am, far too many to talk about in a single post. From antique patterns to modern, online publications to professionally bound books, Etsy shops to blogs...there is so much to look at to gain inspiration. Today's post will be about my venture into tiny tatting, and why I chose to use such small thread on the Stawasz Mega Doily.
Elena Koval's doily (left) next to mine (right)
If you are a member at InTatters and have been following the Stawasz Doily tat-along, then you have probably seen Elena Koval's finished piece, completed a few years ago. She goes by the username monedido, and you can find her blog here: Little Jackdaw's Nest.

Last year, I had been spending a lot of time on eBay looking for rare tatting books. Unexpectedly, I came across a listing for one of Elena's finished doilies (for an extremely low price). I had been admiring her work on InTatters and jumped at the opportunity to own one of her pieces. I knew she tatted using size 80 threads and really wanted to see her work in person.

The pattern is called Buttercups from Ben Fikkert's A Tatting Adventure. Isn't it pretty?
As I worked on other projects, I would occasionally take this piece out to admire the intricacy of Elena's tatting. Small threads seemed off limits to me, but the thought of trying them out was never far away.

In truth, I tried out Lizbeth size 80 on a bookmark, only a few months after learning how to tat. It looked ridiculous in the pattern I chose, but more importantly, I had no idea how to hide the ends. I have never been able to succeed in the magic thread trick, and my sewing needles were too big to fit through the tiny thread. So, I abandoned the thought of tiny tatting for over a year.

That is, until September of last year, when I found another tatter at the Waterford Fair. (Click here for her website). As I was looking through her craft booth, I noticed a piece done in very fine thread. I asked how she hid the ends, and she replied "with quilting needles."

Now, I admit, I know next to nothing about sewing...including needle sizes. I didn't even know there were needles small enough to fit through size 100 thread. So, off I went to the local craft store, new information in tow, and looked through the display of all of the sewing needles to find the smallest ones. Instead of using quilting needles, I decided to pick up a pack of "sharps" because they looked smaller. I went home and tatted samples in Lizbeth size 80 and DMC size 100, and low and behold, the sharps worked! I was ready to begin my tiny tatting adventure.

I began with a series of snowflakes tatted in size 80 DMC tatting thread. Once I got comfortable with this, I decided it was time to go for the size 100. Here's where I am now: my Stawasz Mega Doily next to Elena's doily on a folding chair:
The rounds have gotten long enough that I have to use large Clover tatting shuttles to hold the right amount of thread to finish. These shuttles are great, and I've been meaning to post a review of them on my blog. The little bit of tatting in the upper right section of the doily is there because I decided to change the stitch count. More details on that when I finish the round. Until next time...


Madtatter80 said...

Very beautiful, I feel it is true lace when you use the tiny threads and did you make both of these? not sure. any who they are just beautiful wonderful to see. Great post!

Robin Perfetti said...

The doily with a touch of pink and green is by Elena Koval (monedido at InTatters). She's made some really impressive pieces, and sometimes you can find them for sale on eBay, all very reasonably priced :)

Margarets designer cards said...

Your doily is looking lovely, well done for trying the pattern. The buttercup doily looks beautiful, I don't use the very thin threads size 80 or lower my eyes would not manage it,

Jenn said...

Both are gorgeous! I can't imagine tatting with thread that fine! Smallest I have tried so far is #40. One day I might try #80 :).

Frivole said...

I'm a big fan of Elena's work too. How lucky you are to own one of her pieces. Your Jan Stawasz doily is going to be fabulous (well, it already is!).

Jane McLellan said...

I'm glad Elena's doily went to a good home. I like your comment about fine thread not necessarily being right for a bookmark. But for big doilies, it works wonderfully, making them a more reasonable size, as well as pretty and delicate.

Kathy Niklewicz said...

I can' believe I haven't commented on your blog before this, as I've been astounded at your progress in tatting in such a short time, and you didn't even know what tatting was, two years ago! (I recall that I learned of your blog through Frivole!) And you are already designing wonderful patterns! Plus you are introducing us to the possibilities of modern 'designing' software! I presently have two laptops - one with 8.1 and one with Vista(!) - and two Android tablets. I'm very excited about these new 'apps', as I've been waiting for 'drawing' software to become 'easier'! Your tutorial is amazing in itself!

And I'm in awe that you are doing Jan's doily in size 100 thread! It's looking fabulous so far! It makes me weak In the knees just thinking about it! I also can't believe Elena is 'parting with' her tatted pieces! My mind is boggled! Also, that's a good tip about the quilting needles, not that I plan on using size 100 thread soon! I pretty much hang around size 20 these days, although unfortunately I'm not doing as much tatting as I'd like.

Robin Perfetti said...

Thanks Kathy! Sometimes I get stuck in my own bubble and have a hard time seeing the progress that I've made. Instead I'm always looking for things I can improve or looking at others who have done it better. Your comment helps give me some perspective :)

I couldn't believe it either when I saw Elena's piece on eBay. I snatched it up right away!

GraceT said...

I missed this post until now! What an inspiration, to be able to lay Elena Koval's doily next to yours! :-)

Robin Perfetti said...

I know! You cannot imagine my excitement when I found her work for sale on eBay :)