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Monday, November 5, 2018

Four Petals Magic Square

I haven't been posting much to my blog, but I have been tatting. I put together a new magic square pattern during October. It's something I sketched on my iPad back in May and had been meaning to design ever since.

The listing can be found in my Etsy shop by clicking here. I have proofread and test tatted this pattern myself so if you come across any errors or questions, please let me know.

The samples pictured above are tatted in Lizbeth size 40 thread, Autumn Spice and Ecru. If tatted in size 20 thread, the medium sized square would be good for a coaster. In size 40 it's a little small, so I placed a mug on the larger square for this photo:

This pattern did give me trouble in getting everything lined up right. I forgot how exact the center lines need to be when designing a magic square. In the end, I got everything worked out, but it took a lot of attempts:

In the photo above, the rightmost square is what I like to call an "inverted" square. If you are familiar with my Designing Magic Squares post you will recognize that term (see Part 4: Expanding the Square). For this pattern, however, I felt that the inverted squares didn't look as nice so I did not include instructions for them. The edge for the inverted squares would be the ecru edge pictured below:

Anyhow, I've probably gone into too much detail about that part! Now that this pattern is done it's time to get back to work on my table runner. I also should start making some snowflakes for the holiday season.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Table Runner, 4th Column

I've been working on my table runner in between other projects. I'm on the fourth column now:

There will be a total of five columns on this half of the runner. The next half of the runner will also have five columns and will be a mirror image of the first half.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Tatting from Norway

I recently received an email from Norway, from a tatter named Liv Strind, asking about using a few of my free patterns for their guild's upcoming magazine. Liv also attached a beautiful photo of her tatting, which she gave me permission to share:

This was made for a wedding book. I just love the combination of tatting, the colors, and the flowers in the background. The edging is from Sumie Tatting 2, and the heart is one of the patterns from my Etsy shop. Liv said the background flowers are from a basic, older pattern, and graciously sent me a PDF file with instructions on how she attaches the central bead. I've been meaning to learn more about adding beads to tatting, and the central bead is a technique that I haven't done before. I hope to give it a try sometime soon!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Metallic Tatting

Over the past month I've tatted a few things using the new Liz Metallic thread. The sparkle is so hard to capture in photos. I think it comes through a little bit when taking close ups of the tatting:

The snowflake is something I made earlier, when I was rewriting one of my Etsy patterns. It's made in Liz Metallic Silver. After that, I tatted the heart in Raspberry Pink, and the bookmark in Sand Dollar:

The Raspberry Pink color is pretty intense, though I don't think that shows up well in the photos. Here's a size comparison of three hearts. The top heart is tatted in Lizbeth 40, the middle heart is tatted in Lizbeth 20, and the bottom heart is tatted in Liz Metallic:

Here's the metallic bookmark photographed next to another bookmark made in Lizbeth 20 Pink Parade:

The tassel threads in the metallic tend to separate, but so far the tassel knot is holding up fine:

I do like the stiffness of the metallic thread, especially for snowflakes. I'm thinking of using it to make snowflakes for holiday cards this year. I will have to limit my tatting time with the metallics though, as they are much rougher to work with than cotton.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Bookmark patterns are in the shop

After many months of designing, writing, and testing, the bookmark patterns are finally available in my Etsy shop! You can click HERE to go directly to the listing.

There are more photos within the listing that show all of the designs. Thanks again to everyone who helped with the test tatting. If you test tatted these and did NOT receive the final version of the ebook, please let me know.

A few days ago, Etsy was having some issues that caused a delay in receiving instant downloads. It looks like it has cleared up now, but if you encounter any issues don't hesitate to contact me. I can send files for any patterns in my shop.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Revisiting my first Etsy pattern

While the bookmarks are out for testing, I've been doing a little more pattern writing and test tatting myself. I felt that my 2014 pattern "Ice Dance" was in desperate need of a rewrite. It was the first pattern that I put in my Etsy shop and I think my pattern writing has improved a lot since then.

The updated pattern contains new diagrams and full written instructions, as well as an easier variation of the original Ice Dance design. It is available in my Etsy shop. If you purchased the original pattern, please reach out to me so that I can send you the new file at no cost. I didn't want to harass everyone who bought the pattern before, so I only sent Etsy convos to the people who have purchased Ice Dance in 2018.

Also, if you accidentally purchase this pattern and realize that you previously bought the original, it's really easy for me to issue a refund. Just let me know.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Nearly there

I've finally finished up my bookmark patterns and they have been sent off to test tatters. Here's a photo of all of the bookmarks on the table:

It should only be a few more weeks before these patterns will be available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bookmark project update

I wanted to post an update on my bookmark project since I haven't written about it for a while. The diagrams are complete and there are two more patterns that need written instructions. I've also begun test tatting some of the patterns:

There's still several pictorials to make (some for tassels and some for techniques such as onion rings). I'll be working on this project through the month of August and will hopefully have patterns ready to send to testers in the beginning of September.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

More trefoils

I added some more trefoils to my table runner, and have just turned the corner of the third column:

After this, the fourth and fifth columns will taper downward, with the fifth column acting as a border. Then I will need to double the length of the runner to span the other half of the table. Here is how it will lay on the table:

As you can see, there is still a long way to go. I probably won't be finished with it until sometime next year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Final Two

Here are the final two bookmarks for my bookmark project:

They are both tatted in Lizbeth size 40 thread, the one on the left is done in Ocean Turquoise Light and the one on the right is done in Black. The design for the blue bookmark comes from my table runner, which is still a work in progress that I hope to get back to soon. The black bookmark is inspired by one of the Round Robin doilies on Craftree. I really liked the five petaled element that Martha Ess used in the doily center, and wanted to incorporate it into a bookmark.

In total there are 12 bookmark patterns for this project. I still have a few minor changes that I'm making to some of the patterns, and then I will be able to start diagramming them on the computer.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Two more to go

I made a couple more bookmarks this past week. Now I just have two more that I want to make before I start writing up and testing the patterns. The first one is tatted in Lizbeth size 40, Seagreen Dark:

The second bookmark is tatted in Lizbeth size 20, Caribbean:

I've been using the Amaziograph app to brainstorm some of the bookmarks. Here's my drawing for the first bookmark:

And my drawing for the second bookmark:

They don't always come out exactly like the drawings, but I find the drawings to be a helpful reference.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Flowery bookmarks and Etsy sale

Here's a couple of flowery bookmarks, made in one pass using split rings:

The yellow one is done in Lizbeth size 20 Pineapple Parfait, and the one next to it is done in Lizbeth size 80 Easter Eggs. I have about four more bookmarks that I'd like to create before I get started on compiling and testing the patterns.

I'm having an Etsy sale during the end of May (starting today, May 23rd and going until Thursday, May 31st). Everything in the shop is 20% off and the discount is automatically applied. If you miss this sale, don't worry, I'll be having another one at the end of November. But, if you want to save a few bucks and start on some summer tatting, head on over and take a look.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More Bookmarks

Here's a few more bookmarks I've made over the past couple of weeks:

I still have ideas for several others, and these patterns will be available as a bundle later in the year. Check back next week though, because I'll be having a sale on all of the other patterns in my Etsy shop. I'll probably start that around Wednesday, May 23rd and it will run until the 31st of May.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Inspired by Mary

These two bookmarks are inspired by Mary Konior's "Corn and Chaff," from her book Tatting in Lace.

Ever since tatting Corn and Chaff, I wondered how Mary was able to make these braid patterns. I finally figured out a way to do it, but find it easier to work with larger ring sets of three and four. It's basically a matter of balancing the curvature of the large ring, with the arch created at the base of a ring set. There's some trial and error in getting things to fit snugly.

Some interesting shapes can be made with these one shuttle patterns. Here's a version with pairs of rings:

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.