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Thursday, July 31, 2014

What's in the box?

Do you have a place where you store your completed projects? I've been putting all of my small motifs into an acid free photo box that I purchased at a local craft store. Since I've only been tatting for a few years (and have taken month long breaks in between), I don't have many items in there yet:

One of the patterns I've made a lot of is Mary Konior's Corn and Chaff from Tatting in Lace.
I first saw this pattern on Frivole's blog, and liked it so much that I found the book through Interlibrary loan. At the time, I was still very new to tatting and found this pattern to be perfect for practicing making rings. It's also a one shuttle pattern so it travels well.

I used Lizbeth size 20 and made the edging into bookmarks, many of which have been gifted. I also found it a great way to preview the different colors of thread.

Eventually, I did find Tatting in Lace, and paid around $30 for it. I don't remember if it was from eBay or Amazon:
It's a difficult book to find, as it's been out of print for many years. However, if you live in the United States, go to your local library and ask them about Interlibrary loan. I've acquired a copy this way and I've also seen someone else post about it on their blog.

As for current tatting, I am taking a small break from the Stawasz Tat-along. I've been so busy apartment searching that I've had a really hard time keeping up with blogs and the tatting forum. Everything is in place now, so hopefully I will have some Mega Doily progress photos to show next week.

Friday, July 25, 2014


I've seen these bunny shuttles popping up on other people's blogs and wanted to join in! I received these adorable tatting shuttles last week from Carollyn. (Click here to access her blog)

I purchased one at a time because I couldn't decide if I wanted one or two...but after receiving the first bunny, I knew I had to have a second to complete the pair. Especially because I am a rabbit owner, and wouldn't you know it, I had one light colored and one dark colored rabbit myself?

Ronnie is no longer with us, he passed away in 2012 of congestive heart failure at 7 and 1/2 years old. This is my favorite picture of him, taken when he was around 3. He was such a nice little guy, so well behaved for his nail trimming:

He had a very happy (and humpy) personality. He was a retired breeder bunny and was so excited to be in a home rather than a breeder cage. I remember when we first got him, his legs were very wobbly from lack of exercise. He took every opportunity to come out of his cage, and despite being neutered, was always running and buzzing in an attempt to "court" me. He was so full of energy and never slowed down, even in his final years.

Billy, our other bunny, is a little old man now. He is 7 and 1/2 years old and has slowed down a lot from his younger days. His favorite activities are tunneling under blankets and looking for someone to pet him. He will go around the apartment (sometimes to inanimate objects) and put his head down waiting for pets. Here he is, sitting with the bunny tatting shuttles. Notice both real bunny and wooden bunnies are in the "pet me" position:

When he was younger, Billy would run around the apartment and dance on the bed. He was a bit of a YouTube star, though I believe most of the videos have since been removed due to copyright infringement of the background music. I stopped checking my YouTube account years ago, though I heard that one of the videos reached 1 million views before it was taken down. Here is a photo of him from 2009 performing one of his trademark "binkies"

On the tatting front, I received my copy of Moje Robotki from Poland on Monday. Thanks to Karen, Maureen, and Grace for setting up the opportunity to purchase the magazine! I now have a crystal clear copy to work from, so no more mistakes from misreading blurry numbers :)

I am a little more than halfway done with Round V, but have been taking a break to let my wrist recover. If I tat for more than an hour a day, I find my fingers and wrists start to hurt. Whenever this happens, I put the tatting down for a few days to give myself a chance to recover. How do other tatters produce things so quickly without becoming injured?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stawasz Tat-along: Round IV

Round IV of the giant Stawasz doily has been completed:

I've been spending most of my time messing around with Round V, which is a much larger round, with 12 individual motifs. When I began the round I had the wrong stitch count written down, so I had to cut off three motifs (roughly six hours of tatting). Better to cut off toward the beginning than further in!

Here is where I'm at now. You can see the motifs I cut off at the bottom, and I've almost gotten back to where I started:

I had a few other mistakes in the motifs that I cut, so I was glad to start fresh. I had been tatting rather quickly in an attempt to keep up with the others tatting this pattern, but in doing so I realized that I needed to slow down. 

My normal tatting speed is on the slower end. I get enjoyment out of making sure each ring and chain is in its proper position, and like to put the tatting down somewhat frequently to flatten it out and see how it's progressing. I used to crochet slowly as well. I could crochet fast if I wanted to, but that defeated the purpose of it being relaxing, and made my arm more prone to injury.

I did learn something from tatting quickly and making a few mistakes. After two years, I've finally gotten the hang of opening closed rings. I think I know the tricks now: 
1) Pulling the thread in the correct direction from the last picot, 
2) Using a pair of tweezers to get a good grip on the thread that is being pulled, and 
3) Using the right brand of thread.

I could never open a closed ring in Lizbeth size 20 or smaller, even when I knew what to do. The Lizbeth thread doesn't glide as easily as DMC. So, I was a little scared when I made a mistake in DMC size 100...I thought I would never be able to fix it. 

To my surprise, opening a closed ring in DMC is easier than undoing stitches in this thread. It is so smooth and glides so easily, that it is no problem at all to undo mistakes. So, if you haven't tried this thread out yet, I highly recommend it!

Friday, July 11, 2014

More Books by Angeline Crichlow

For the past couple of weeks I have been making posts about Let's Tat, a 353 page hand bound tatting textbook written by Angeline Crichlow. Many of you know about this book and have had the opportunity to see it for yourselves when Fox generously loaned her copy to travel around the world. Some of you probably know that Angeline also produced paperback tatting booklets which were bound by a ribbon. You can view the covers of these booklets by clicking here.

But did you know that Angeline also created hand bound poetry books? I didn't, until I stumbled upon an eBay listing while searching for Let's Tat. I decided to bid on them because part of what I like about Let's Tat is the fact that it is hand bound. The poetry books share the same quality:

I was the only one to bid on the listing, and because they were rather cheap, I did not read the description very carefully. The title said that the books were miniature, but the photos looked normal. I assumed the books were just slightly smaller than an average book, similar to the dimensions of Let's Tat, but with a lot fewer pages.

So, I was a little confused when I received a parcel in the mail that was much too small to hold two books. Hilarity ensued when I opened the package and was met with these:

The surprise made getting these books all the more worthwhile. Here they are next to Let's Tat. Look how much smaller they are!

The little burgundy book's title is almost completely worn off the cover, but it reads "Poems." Oddly, inside of the book, the title is listed as "Excerpts." It contains drawings of flowers intermixed with poems:

The light blue book has "Lullabye" written on the cover, but on the inside it is titled "My Baby." This one contains no pictures, just poems:

I think these tiny books are pretty neat. How about you?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tat-along: Stawasz Mega Doily

I'm joining the tat-along of the huge Jan Stawasz doily at InTatters. It's been difficult to keep up with Rachael and Grace, but here I am with three rounds completed:

This is tatted in DMC Cordonnet Special size 100 white. It's my first time using such a small thread, but it's a lot easier than I expected. DMC is very smooth so all of the rings glide closed effortlessly. My size 15 mini crochet hook works really well for joining very small picots.

So far, the doily measures 4 inches across. Here is another photo for an idea of it's size:

I honestly thought it would turn out smaller than this. It's too bad DMC stopped producing size 150. I wonder what that would have looked like...

You can see the completed doily at Karen Cabrera's blog or at Elena Koval's blog. I've linked the relevant blog posts to their names above.

Jan Stawasz didn't name this pattern, so I'm copying Elena's idea of the "Mega Project" and will be calling this the "Mega Doily." I'm rather uncertain if I will be able to finish such a large project, but I will give it my best shot!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Doily of Triplets

Here's another one from Angeline Crichlow's Let's Tat. This one is called Doily of Triplets:

I used Lizbeth size 40 white and green coral sea. The color scheme is inspired by tatting from Elena's blog.

As I read through Let's Tat, I was intrigued by the details that precede this pattern:

How neat to be tatting something from over 100 years ago. I'm glad that Angeline decided to preserve her grandmother's pattern in this book.

If you live in the U.S. and would like to see Let's Tat, you might want to give Interlibrary Loan a try. Last year, I was able to borrow the book through Interlibrary Loan, even though there is only one copy available in the country (at the Paxton Carnegie Library in Illinois). I like to use a website called WorldCat to search for book availability, and bring a print out to the reference desk at my local library.

When I inquired about Let's Tat, the librarian told me that they don't normally do requests if only one copy of a book is available. I explained to her that it wasn't a big deal if I didn't get the book, but that I thought it was worth a try. After all, if I didn't try, then I would have no chance of getting the book. She agreed to put in the request for me and I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call a few weeks later saying that it had arrived!

I even took some pictures before sending it back:

As you can see, mine was the only due date listed on the back of the book. I often wonder if anyone has checked it out since then:

I was so impressed with the amount of care that went into making Let's Tat (and the fact that it was hand bound by Angeline herself!) that I embarked on a daily search to find a copy for sale. A year later, I am pleased to finally own one:

Don't you just love the gold handwritten binding?