Saturday, June 27, 2009

Buggy Lanyard

I had these buttons I wanted to do something with, though none of my ideas had been working out. Then TattingChic started her dicussion of the Single Shuttle Split Ring and its use for climbing out. Oooh, just what I needed! and a lanyard was born.

(Now, who knows why I need a lanyard with bugs on it? How many of you are making a buggy lanyard too?)

Now another discussion has started in TattingLand about adding joins to the SSSR. I can't wait to see where that will lead.

I suppose I could call this an "Excercise Your Stash" project, since otherwise those buttons would have languished in the drawer forever.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Motif Five -- Maple Leaves

For another "Exercise Your Stash Challenge", here is a fairly new spool of thread, but still one I had forgotten about. This is YLI Long Staple Cotton. I first became acquainted with this type thread at the local quilt shop, back when variegated threads were hard (for me) to find. This is a fine thread, both in terms of size and quality. I would guesstimate this to be similar to a size 60 thread. If you find YLI thread, look carefully at the label on the bottom, since they make other threads, polyester and rayon, on similar looking spools.

Anyway, I came across this YLI spool in the vendor room at Palmetto in 2008. I thought this was a pretty green/gold/tan colorway. It wasn't until later that it hit me....Ayup, this is camoflage! (Well, next time I need to make a bookmark for a guy, I'm all set.) Since it made me think of leaves when I bought it, I dug out a leaf pattern. This is the Maple Leaf Motif from the Feb 1975 Workbasket as modified by Tammy Rodgers as modified a little more by me. This thread is a joy, just as nice as I remembered. I just need to remember to use it more often.

Here is the same motif worked with vintage Clark's O.N.T. Brilliant, which seems to be pearl cotton. It came from ebay. We used to search out vintage thread to get color variety, before our new Golden Age of Thread with all the new threads at Handy Hands plus all the gorgeous HDT from all our favorite dyers. With vintage threads, check carefully for dirt. Then work a ring or two to make sure it's not too brittle to use. If it passes those tests, then enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Motif Four--Slippery Heart

Here is another entry for my "Exercise Your Stash Challenge". This is a large ball which looks like it lost its label long ago. Judging by the texture, I suppose it may be rayon. I got it from Sherry, who was about to put it on the free stuff table at Hector one year.

I don't recommend tatting with slippery slithery threads, but you may find yourself tempted (Oooh, shiny! shiny!) She didn't like it enough to keep it, but I liked the pink and purple shades.

When working with slippery thread consider:
1) Choose a small project because you will get sick of it.
2) Choose a motif with few decorative picots, because the tatting will tend to loosen up and absorb the picots. Tatting tightly helps a little. After you are finished, take a hook and pull all the picots back into shape.
3) While working, double check rings before proceeding to the next element. The thread will want to relax and let rings open just a little bit, so give them one more tug before moving on.
4) Avoid Josephine rings. I'm not sure if this goes for all rayon threads, but this one got twisty and cantankerous.
5) Leave extra long tails for sewing in because the thread will likely fray at the ends. I hardly every tie and glue, but I suspect rayon threads might not stay glued.
6) The better the quality the thread, the easier it will be to tat with. (Well obviously...) I seem to remember YLI Pearl Crown Rayon being more user friendly.

For my project, I chose Peaceable Heart from Make Many Merrily by Karey Solomon. This is a very nice pattern worked all in one pass thanks to the use of split rings. Working with the thread was a bit of a pain in the butt for all the reasons above, plus the plies wanted to separate, and then both my magic threads broke and it was hard to cleanly sew in the ends.

But in the end I had a serviceable heart, and I do like the shiny pink and purple. I guess I'll keep that ball.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Almost Time for Palmetto

It is almost time to register for my favorite event of the year--Palmetto TatDays.

There are lots of great classes to choose from. Just look at the list of teachers. I am looking forward to seeing them in person again. Sometimes I wish I wasn't teaching so I could go to everyone else's classes.

I will tell you a little more about my classes so you will know what to expect. Most of my classes are intended to teach the technique and begin a project to finish later.

First is the Bee-dy Amulet Bag. We should have time to do the "bead-intensive" wings and head in class. The body takes a while to make, so you would probably begin that part and finish later. The body is all split rings, so you really have to already know how to do those. Please, please string your beads ahead of time or buy a kit, or you will be behind everyone else. Bring some extra of your beads too, just in case.

Saturday morning starts off with the Split Ring Ladybug. Their description on the class page states it well: "Intended for the student with a rudimentary knowledge of split rings. We will focus on increasing their skills, especially with the second half of the split ring: joining during the second half; throwing off a ring; and beads." I used size 3mm beads with pearl cotton or size 20 thread. If you can't find 3mm beads, size 8 seed beads though slightly bigger could be substituted. If you can't find the right beads, contact me; I have some extra. We should get far enough in class to cover the techniques mentioned. The two wings are worked the same, and then the body is a strip of split rings to fasten them together.

Later that day is the Maltese Ring Butterfly. This is a short class period again, so the intention is to learn the Maltese ring well enough to finish later. You don't need to have mastered the split chain--that's just part of their description for the skill level. Experience with unflipped stitches is a definite plus. You need to be comforable enough with basic tatting methods to be ready to manipulate the thread in new ways. Both versions of the butterfly will be in the handout.

My last class is the Block Tatted Tiny Teapot adapted from a pattern in my Tea is for Tatting book. This one you might finish during class. There are no split rings in the pattern, so all you need is a working knowledge of rings, chains, joins, and lock joins.

Be sure to go to the Palmetto website to look at the other classes. Jane has some fun looking designs, and Nina has some of her breath taking beautiful beaded tatting, to name just two.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Motif Four and a Challenge

My closet in my new apartment has room to add another storage drawer unit (those cheap Sterilite ones) so this weekend I was able to reorganize my thread. Well! I had more thread than I thought I did. I had thread I had forgotten about. I can't say I had any that I didn't recognize, but some of it went a long way down memory lane.

I started to make a new resolution for using the thread, but then I decided to make it a challenge for everyone. I call this challenge: "Exercise Your Stash". Do you have a ball/skein with just a little bit left? Use it up! Do you have some exotic type thread you brought home and put in a drawer and never picked up again? Wind some on your shuttles and take it for a test drive! Then show everyone your work. If it was an out of the ordinary thread, tell how it worked out. This should be fun.

If you prefer, another version of the challenge could be "Exercise Your Library". How many tatting books do you own that you have never worked a pattern from?

To start off, I found a little wad of Caron Wildflowers, a little more than four yards. This thread is a little like a matte finish perle cotton and little like HDT. Back when variegated tatting thread was hard to come by, I would get some of this at the local yarn shop. I still do occasionally when the colors call out to me. The pattern is Spring Flowers Bookmark by Julie Patterson, available on the Ring of Tatters site. Edging style bookmarks are good for using up thread since you can make a strip and stop when the thread runs out. With tassel, this is six inches long, a bit petite, but good for a paperback. This is a nice easy pattern but still visually interesting.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Motif Three - (Third Time Around) - Earrings ala Anitra

Remember ages ago, I resolved to work on some of those patterns in my towering to-do stack? After all the upheavals of the last few weeks, maybe I can get back to it. With all the packing and moving, I feel like I've gone weeks without tatting. That is, except for one project stashed in my work satchel.

These are Byzantine Chain earrings from Anitra Stone's class at Palmetto in 2008. (I should have straightened them out better before getting the camera out...) Since I was teaching, I could attend only one class, so I chose Anitra's, since it seemed such an unusual original concept. You can get the pattern from the Palmetto Tatters 2008 Pattern CD. I made these in blues and silver to go well with denim. Once I locate the rest of my findings, I think I will add a metal ring between the hook and the tatting.