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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

100 years ago today...

Two sterling silver tatting shuttles were gifted on Christmas day, 1918:

The last initial is the same on both shuttles, which leads me to believe that these were given to two sisters. I wish I knew the story behind them. I purchased these on eBay in 2012, the year that I learned how to tat.

The first one reads "FEC 12-25-'18"

The second shuttle reads "M.W.C. 12-25-'18"

I thought these would be interesting to post today. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Blocking Snowflakes

I'm almost done making snowflakes for the year. These have been blocked and stiffened with Mod Podge Extreme Glitter. They are not attached to each other, just laid out on the table to form one giant snowflake:

I've been using a polar grid that I printed out from Inkscape to block the latest snowflakes. I placed each grid into a plastic sheet protector, to protect the tatting from the ink on the paper (and also to prevent the stiffener from sticking to the blocking surface).

I haven't been pinning the tatting because I don't know how that would work with a sheet protector, and I also don't want the pins to get stuck to the Mod Podge stiffener. The stiffener makes it so that I can push the tatting into place by hand and it will stay.

If you'd like a copy of the snowflake blocking template, you can access and print it HERE. I've also put a link to the template at the top of my Tutorials page.

I made a few of these snowflakes in smaller thread to see how big they would be. Here's a comparison with measurements listed under each snowflake:

It was pretty difficult to get the Josephine knots to close using size 80, so I won't be making any more in this thread. Size 20 works the best, and size 40 is alright too.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Three more

Three more snowflakes are fresh off the blocking board:

The pattern for these can be found in my Etsy shop by clicking HERE. Also, a reminder that my Etsy sale is ending tomorrow, and my next sale will be sometime in early June, 2019. If you want to visit my shop, you can do so by clicking HERE.

My blocking board doesn't have lines for a six pointed motif, which made things a little more difficult. Next time, I'm going to print out an appropriate polar grid (using Inkscape) and place it in a plastic sleeve to use as a blocking template.

These snowflakes have been stiffened with Mod Podge Extreme Glitter. The sparkle is very pretty in person but doesn't show up on camera unless the photo is blurry:

It's a multicolored glitter, similar to the AB color used in beads. I will be stiffening all of this year's snowflakes with the glittery Mod Podge and see how they hold up over time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Glittery Snowflakes and Etsy Sale

When the new Liz Metallic threads came out, I was excited to try them and potentially use them for snowflakes. I had high hopes for the Iridescent color, but found it difficult to work with and not as sparkly as I thought it would be. I ended up making a few snowflakes in Liz Metallic Silver but still longed for a white snowflake with sparkle.

I started brainstorming: Maybe I could mix Mod Podge with glitter and use it to stiffen a white snowflake? I wanted to do a bit of research online to see if anyone had done this before, and found that Mod Podge actually has a product with glitter already mixed in! It's called Mod Podge Extreme Glitter. I was able to find some at my local Michael's craft store:

I placed my snowflake on plastic wrap and used a foam brush to paint both sides with Mod Podge. I then blotted out the excess stiffener with a paper towel and laid the snowflake on a fresh sheet of plastic wrap to dry for 24 hours. I'm really pleased with the results! The snowflake is stiff (great for ornaments) and very sparkly. It's hard to capture in photos and seems to show up better on camera in low light:

More glitter shows up when the camera is out of focus:

If you have access to this product, I highly recommend trying it out. Maybe start with something small to make sure you like the results before using it on something that took a while to tat. The Mod Podge does add some thickness to the tatting, so be sure to blot pretty thoroughly after applying it.

This snowflake is one that I designed fairly recently. I started out with a small onion ring snowflake and extended the arms for a larger version. I took inspiration from Joëlle Paulson's Snowdrop pattern to extend the arms.

I named the above pattern Shimmer Snowflake, since it's my first project to use the glittery fabric stiffener. You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop by clicking HERE. I'm also having a holiday sale which will end on Tuesday, November 27. Everything in the shop is 20% off, no code needed. I noticed some other Etsy shops are having holiday sales as well so head on over to see if you can find any good deals :)

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.