Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Table Runner & Antique Pattern Library

I've actually made something useful, or at least something to be used, rather than stuffed in a drawer. A table runner, hooray, for those rare occasions when my table isn't piled high with stuff.

This is one of my favorite edging patterns, "Dentelle avec Fleurs, en lignes sinueuses" from the book La Frivolite from the Cartier-Bresson company, published probably 1920's. (I've written about it before, when I did my practice piece.)  


In the original pattern, the rows I've done in ecru had picots tied to the center row with bits of thread, sometimes 3 picots at a time, and there was bare thread running behind the rings.  With modern techniques I've fixed all of that.  

I owe all of this to the Antique Pattern Library, a treasure trove of patterns of all sorts of needlework.  Unlike some, they are very careful to make sure that the items they post are public domain or the copyright holder has given their permission.  In fact, they have been given permission to post all of the Workbasket magazines in their entirety, a project which is on going. If you go to their home page HERE you will see some red headers near the top, for Tatting, for Workbasket Magazine, and lots of other crafts to take you directly to your favorite hobbies.

You will also see, near the top and bottom, a yellow Donate button.  This non-profit organization does so much good for needlecrafters, I encourage you to help them out.  Their fundraising goal for this year is $6000 and they are about half way there.  Small donations are welcome; I think most of their funding comes from lots and lots of tiny gifts.  (I'm promoting it here because I like it so much; I do not get any recompense for advertising for them.)

My table runner isn't perfect, and I wish my picots had been more regular, but I've entered it in the State Fair anyway.  I'll find out how I did in a few days.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Another Halloween Pattern

I've realized I seem to have more space in my Keep&Share account than I thought I did, so here is another old pattern to add to the free patterns page.  Maybe I will resurrect a few more as space permits.  Someday, I need a new website to do this more properly, but this will do for now.

It's on the free patterns page now, and another link HERE  If I've messed it up again, don't sign up for anything, just let me know to fix it.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Pearl Tatted Skeleton

Remember me? I used to have a web site and a blog.  Well, the blog is still here, but you would hardly tell from as seldom as I post.  Can you bear with yet another resolution to do better?

One of the Facebook tatting groups has been asking for my Pearl Tatted Skeleton, which was on the old website that was taken away.  I've managed to find it, brush it off a bit, and add it to my Free Pattern Page (look near the top of this page for the Free Pattern tab). 

If anyone still has a copy of the old website 2007 version, let me warn you, it had some bad mistakes in it. I hope I have corrected those mistakes without adding any new ones.  I have written the pearl tatted section in greater detail as well.

This is not an easy pattern.  In fact, this is a horrible pattern, with some ridiculously long chains and some huge rings that are hard to close.   I can see how I can possibly rework it with some different techniques to make it better, but that will not be ready in time for this year's Halloween.  Since I have this in my mind's eye already, please let me do it myself.  But meanwhile, for everyone who was wanting it right away, here you go, and good luck.

A direct link: HERE

Update to add: sorry everyone having trouble with the link.  I hope I have it fixed now, so please try again.  If you are still having problems after 7:15 pm EDT 10/6/19, please let me know.

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.