Sunday, June 23, 2019

Old Salem

I recently spent a lovely day at Old Salem, in Winston-Salem, NC.

It's a living history museum, with many buildings to visit, and employees in period dress costume to explain.

Salem was founded in 1753 by Moravian settlers.

You can't go in all of the buildings, because a surprising number are still private homes!

My favorite was the Joiner's Workshop.  Ben showed us a yarn winder he was building. Small kids got to use wood planers and hand drills to work on wood.  Bigger kids like me got to try our hand using a pedal driven lathe.

The coffee pot is the emblem of Old Salem.  It was once an advertisement sign for a tin working shop.

Pretty gardens, too.

I did not expect to see anything tatting related, but I spied this kit in one of the gift shops!  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Down Picot Dimple Ring

Or, One Heart, Many Friends

I was working Karey's Sonata Heart Pattern, pictured above, with several of my own adaptations.  (The pattern is in her book "Make Many Merrily" and earlier appeared in Tatting Times, though I have mislaid the issue number.) It seemed so unusual that there was a picot inside the dimple of the heart shaped rings. I thought instead of hoping the picot will poke out in the right direction, why not use a "down picot" to make sure it will point down.

The "down picot" is one of my favorite techniques, and I learned it from my friend, Jane.  To do this, you make 2 first part half stitches, leave a space for the picot, make 2 second part half stitches, and then pull the picot forward and down.

Dimpled rings are notoriously hard to close, and I thought of my friend, Sue, and her "Dimpled Yorkie Rings."  She closes the rings in two steps, by pulling on the core thread within the dimple.  Click HERE for a video of it, shared by another friend, Sherry P.

Here's how I did it, and please forgive the awful pictures.

Begin your dimpled ring, including the down picot. Before making the join, open up the ring around your hand as wide as you can to have enough thread there to finish the ring.

Make the join, and tat the rest of the ring.

To get a hold of the core thread, insert a hook down through the picot, and up through the space below the join.

Pull out a loop of the core thread.

First pull on the left side of that loop, so the two halves of the ring meet at the bottom, and the first half of the ring has the right amount of tension.  It may take a little practice to get used to finding the not-too-loose, not-too-tight spot.

Then pull the shuttle thread until the core thread loop is reabsorbed. 

By now, your down picot is probably cowering somewhere on the back of the work.  Find it and pull it back into position. 

Notice that the picot fills up part of the space inside the heart ring.  If you want to add a down picot into a pre-existing dimple ring pattern, you may want to decrease the stitch count inside the dimple so it doesn't stick too far down.

When did the dimpled ring originate?  I used to think it was in Mrs Beeton's "Book of Needlework" 1870, but on closer examination, this pattern is actually all chains.  She changed directions by using a picot followed by a half stitch, followed by a reverse work.  Does that remind you of someone?

Sunday, May 05, 2019


It's good to have a take-along project.  Something to be useful during otherwise wasted time, like waiting rooms, or riding the bus.  Mine, when I remember to bring it along, is an edging from one of Tina Frauberger's books, wide enough to look impressive, but works up faster than you would expect. (You can find her books on Georgia's Online Archive of Tatting Books in the Public Domain, click here.

Of course, at the end of the bus ride, I found a mistake in the very first thing I did that day.  3 rings and a bunch of chains later, unpicking so many stitches would frazzle both the thread and my nerves beyond breaking.  To avoid more loose ends than I wanted to work in, I used my old pull out the core thread trick.  I unwound both the shuttles.  Then working back bit by bit, I would pull up a loop of the core thread and pull it all the way out.  As you do this, the end of the thread will want to flail about, so I hold it between my legs and gradually pull it through to reduce the twisting and tangling.  

Sticking a crochet hook into a picot and then pulling on the core instead of the picot is a good way to get a grip on the core thread.  That's a common  way to open up a ring, but I'm doing the same thing with this chain.  Once you have worked all the way back to the mistake, then you can put the thread back on the shuttles and begin again.  Does this fix take more time than cutting the threads?  Yes, but no ends to work in.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Rick Rack Anyone?

OK, I'm a terrible blogger.  I just haven't had much to say.  Lately there has been more knitting than tatting, and more sheer laziness than there should be.

My recent tatting forays, such as they are, have been playing with rick rack.  I think it has quite a fun look to it.  I've done just a little research and was delighted to find my beloved Mrs. Mee tatting with rick rack in 1867.  

I'm a little disappointed to find the rick rack available in local stores is a little less dainty than the vintage packs I have, which has led to having to rewrite patterns.  What brand of rick rack do you have in your stores?  Is anyone interested in a book of rick rack tatting patterns?

I'm off to Finger Lakes soon.  I haven't packed. I'm not ready!!! Hope to see many of you there.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Registration Open for Finger Lakes Tatting

Registration is now open for the Finger Lakes Tatting Conference, to be held April 5-7.  Click HERE for the link.  This is the one held in Lodi, NY, hosted by Karey Solomon and her group, which always has lots of fun, lots to learn, and lots of wonderful home-cooked food.

They are planning to add pictures of the class projects to the website soon.  I've seen Vicki Clarke's project on the Finger Lake's Facebook site. This is the project I will be teaching, focusing on the "inverted tatting" technique.  It takes 3-4 colors of thread and 2 shuttles.

Other upcoming events are:

Shuttlebirds Tatting Days, Post Falls, ID, May 2-5, registration open. LINK

International Organization of Lace Inc (IOLI) Conference Spokane Valley, WA July 21-27, featuring Mimi Dillman, Karen Bovard Sayre, and Natalie Rogers. LINK

Tatting Corner Tat Days, Chesterfield, IN, July 11-13 LINK

Palmetto Tatters Guild Tat Days, Toccoa, GA Sept 5-8 LINK

Fringe Element Tat Days, Cambridge, ON, Sept 27-28 LINK

I hope you can all attend one (or more) of these events. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Spontaneous Tatting & Sharon's Snowflakes

It occurred to me a little while back that I am doing much less spontaneous tatting than I used to.  By spontaneous, I mean seeing something and just deciding to make it.  Just for fun.  The last couple of years or so, I've done so much starting big projects, or starting projects with the fair or some other purpose in mind.  I think I need to lighten up and do more tatting on a whim.

An excellent opportunity for this was making one of a series of snowflakes shared by Sharon B on her blog.  Over the past few months, she has generously shared 26 snowflake patterns in diagram form.  Click HERE for a post with a picture of all of them and links for all the patterns.  Thank you, Sharon.