Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Another pattern progression for you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rough Draft--Part 3

The story thus far: I had failed at making a maple leaf, but thought the shape suggested an eagle. My first attempt to turn it into an eagle led instead to a baby bird. Now it's time to try to turn that chick into an adult eagle.

Again I let the shapes speak to me, to suggest what they wanted to be. I know it sounds funny, but it's hard to describe. Think of it as doing "free association" but with shapes instead of words.

I decided that the key to the eagle was to turn the wings upside down. I was very pleased with the next draft, despite a mis-start with the tail. From there, it was just tweaking for the final shape. Designers's trick: note how some of the birds have two different wing treatments. If it's not going to be a final draft, a piece doesn't have to be neat or symmetrical. By trying different things in the same piece, you can cut down the number of drafts. I once made a snowflake with 5 different points. Better to have one really ugly one than to make five separate ones before getting it right in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Rough Draft, Part 2

Those of you who guessed I saw a bird here were right on the money, so give yourselves a pat on the back. Actually, I looked at the first rough draft (the failed maple leaf, remember) and thought I saw an American eagle. I worked another draft, but it looked more like a baby bird than an eagle. But that's OK, a baby bird might be useful. Then it's just a few tweaks for shaping. Note how I begin working in cheap, plentiful "ebay ecru" and switch to the good thread as I get closer to the end.

I wonder if there's still an eagle in there somewhere.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Rough Draft

Sometimes rough drafts are really, really rough.
I was trying for a maple leaf, but this is just dismal, even by first draft standards.
But--I think I see a different shape hiding in there, trying to get out.
What do you think it is?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Motif Twenty-five+ Happy Halloween

Well, here I am, two days short of my one year challenge (I was a late bloomer). This has been a lot of fun and I expect to start over again. The Motif Challenge has been one of my favorite source of eye candy and I owe many thanks to Sharon for keeping us all posted on the many pretties to look at.
You see here Carol Amich's "Scaredy Cat" plus some odds and ends of my own devising destined for a future book.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Motif Twenty-four: Getting It Right

The motif in the upper corner is one of the small hearts from my book, Tat's Amore. Sometimes the hard part about designing is not coming up with the idea, but doing it over and over until it comes out right. Some of these have major changes from the one before and some are only one stitch different. Even after I thought I had gathered up all of these, I would come across another one. There may be still more lurking about.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Motif Twenty-three: Jane's Palmetto Frog

This is Jane Eborall's frog from Palmetto Tat Days. I had just exactly 32 red bugle beads in my mixed bead package, whew! The head is a little oversized though. My biggest beads for the eyes weren't the size called for, and I overcompensated a bit. This was quick and fun, and I'll make it again someday when I get some good beads.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Motif Twentyone--A Failed Attempt

I picked up some special varigated DMC embroidery floss at Hobby Lobby a while back. I forget its name, but it had very attractive soft colors. (I separated the floss into 2 ply to tat with it.) At the same time, I got some Bead Treasures beads which are like a batch of varigated colors--blues, purple, green, bronze--all together in the tube. The beads and the thread looked great next to each other. Unfortunately, I did not choose an appropriate pattern.
If you are going to be putting beads on picots, make sure the picots are not too close together.
The beads are bumping into each other, making it hard for the piece to lie flat, and overwhelming the delicate thread color. (It looks better in the scan than real life.) On top of that, my tension was not even, so one wing is bigger than the other. This was originally supposed to be for the Palmetto competition, but I was unhappy with it and left it at home. If I ever get around to the blue jean bag challenge, this would be a good piece for that.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Not a Motif

You may have noticed my blog entries have been few and far between. Here is why--I've been busy with this new book. It's finished at last! You can go to my website to find out more:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Motif Twenty--Jane's Gecko

Here is Jane Eborall's gecko, one of my favorite recent patterns. Look for it here: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~nickeb/
The thread is a Valdani pearl cotton. It's not as smooth and shiny as a regular perle cotton, but not as "matte finishe" as Caron Wildflowers. It's too bad the eye beads don't show up. When the light hits them, they sparkle with the same colors as the thread.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Motifs Eighteen - Nineteen: Bookmarks

Here are a pair of bookmarks I made for an exchange in June. (Yes, I'm still behind with my blog entries, but I'll be done with my new pattern book Real Soon Now and get back to normal.)
The one on the right is one of Jane Eborall's patterns.
The one on the left is the Maltese ring bookmark I will be teaching at the Palmetto convention. I started with an edging by Mlle. Riego and substituted different types of Maltese rings in the middle and decreased the number of little rings in the outer part. Maltese rings are not as hard as they look.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Motif Seventeen -- 3D Watering Can

Is a 3D object a motif? It had better be. I've been neglecting this poor blog of late. The watering cans and flower pot are a little something different I made up for the Palmetto TatDay with its flower garden theme this year. This will be the project in one of the classes I am teaching. The pink one is made in Cebelia size 10, the blue and brown varigated is Caron Wildflowers, and the tan is a vintage size 20.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Motif Sixteen--Small Doily = Large Motif

This is the Celtic Sugar and Spice Doily, pattern by Tina Neudorf from her book "Needle Tatting from the Heart". Tina has quite a few really nice patterns in this book, and you can make them with shuttles or needles. I used size 30 Omega thread.

I made this doily as part of the monthly tatting exchanges organized by Mary Donohue. The exchanges have a different theme each month, like bookmarks or butterflies. I think some people participate every month. Others, like me, join in now and then as time permits. I think it is a lot of fun to exchange a piece of tatting with your partner--often you get to see a pattern or type of thread that is new to you. You can more information about the exchanges on Mary's site at http://tinyurl.com/2lx368

Monday, May 07, 2007

Motif Fifteen -- Debbie Flork's Kokopelli

This is Debbie Flork's cute little Kokopelli which you can find on Jane Eborall's site http://www.e.n.e.btinternet.co.uk/
I chose it as a quick little motif to try out a new thread, DMC Quick Finish Senso Harlequin (a cotton/acrylic blend). It comes in lots of pretty varigateds. This is a really thick thread which reminds me a little of Lustersheen. I am happy to report that it is tat-able, but get out your big shuttles since an Aero bobbin will hold just 2 yards.
I usually avoid big threads, but I had been looking for something to decorate a shirt with that wouldn't take forever to put an edging around the neckline. Unfortunately,though the ball looked great next to the shirt, the tatted up piece seems to clash with it, so I'll have to find something else to do with it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Motif Fourteen -- A New Heart

This is the heart I made for the Hearts with Wings exchange last month. I wanted to experiment with using different "textures" in the same piece. The split ring lattice work in the center is a technique I learned from Mark Myers.
The silver metallic thread is Oren Bayan on a spool that I got from Lyn Morton at http://www.tatting.co.uk/ It tats very nicely. The blues are Cebelia size 30, shades 797 and 800.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Motif Thirteen -- Happy Presidents' Day

Here is Honest Abe Tatbead in honor of Presidents' Day. (Or maybe it's one of the Smith Brothers, but I don't know when Coughdrop Day is.)

This is, of course, based on Jane Eborall's wonderful Tatbead family. Check them out at http://www.e.n.e.btinternet.co.uk/beadpeople.htm

and more on her blog http://janeeborall.blogspot.com

These are a lot of fun to make.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Motif Twelve -- An old heart, redesigned

Here is an extreme makeover of a heart I designed a few years ago. This one is in DMC size 80.

Below, I'll describe some of the (re)designing steps.

This was the original. Some of my friends like it just fine, but I wasn't satified. I think the leaves are too large in proportion to the grapes, and that large green area seems unbalanced with the whole.

For the next attempt, I will add another row to the grape bunch and make it a little wider so that it occupies more of the heart interior.

Also, the lower part of the heart outline had been worked with 4 shuttles making 2 chains concurrently. I was trying for an over/under interweaving effect, but the payoff in effect wasn't worth the bother. I plan for split rings with a SLT in between for the next version.

I work the grape cluster and the heart outline in some old ecru thread. (That's a great use for the old partial balls that came in lots from ebay -- a tip I thank Jane for.) Then I turn to one of my favorite designing tools -- the Xerox machine. I tat a few leaves in different sizes and move them around on the picture like puzzle pieces to see where they can go, and then pencil in some stems.

I also experiment with some markers to work on the colors. The green foliage at the top needs more green at the bottom of the heart
for balance. I will replace the intertwining bit with green rings.

This is the actual ecru rough draft with two different versions of the stems. Remember rough drafts will be rough. You can try more than one thing on the same motif or round. There will be big ugly knots and loose threads.

For the next draft, I change to colored threads. This is showing progress, but not quite good enough yet. The curve at the sides is not smooth enough, which could be helped with changing the points where the leaves join. There is too much overlapping in the stem area which might just need blocking, but probably needs moving the placement of those little rings. What gradually dawns on me, and bothers me most is that the top is too flat and needs more cleft. After a deal of thought, I decide to omit the center ring of the upper row of grapes and pull the outline downward. Of course this will mean major changes to the leaf section.

So again, I tat the grapes and the outline and do the puzzle piece experimentation with the leaves. Since there's less space available, there are fewer possibilities, which simplifies matters. After one false start which I cut away, I make the version of the leaves and decide it will do.