Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another Handkerchief Sighting

Remember this handkerchief?

Here is it is again in a Japanese collection:


They think theirs was made in France in the late 1800's. What fun! And what a popular pattern, apparently. This could become a new hobby for me -- handkerchief spotting :)

Thank you to Ann W. who pointed out the site to the Here Be Tatters group.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

First Christmas in our New House

No tree for us this year, but I am fortunate to have a hearth for Christmas decorations. Decorating was both sweet and sad as I remembered loved ones who have gone on before.

The Christmas Village houses had come from John's mother.

And these are angels which I had crocheted for my own mother...

...and her tatted Nativity set.

Best wishes to you all, whichever holiday you celebrate. May your new year bring joy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This Year's Christmas Ornament

I traditionally give my coworkers a Christmas ornament. I was looking for something a bit quicker than usual, and decided my Big Sister Angel from Playing with Picots would just about fit the bangles if worked in size 30. I added a few beads and some picots to use for attaching. I felt just a little guilty that I did not make one of Jane's beautiful bead intensive ornaments like usual, but they seemed grateful anyway.

Strangely enough, I'm the only one who has remembered to bring in Christmas CDs, so they have to listen to what I like :)
I recommend Connie Dover's The Holly and the Ivy (Lovely folk singer/music historian, one of my favorite musicians) and
Mary Chapin Carpenter's Come Darkness, Come Light and
Cherish the Ladies' On Christmas Night --Christmas carols interspersed with Irish jigs and reels.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Polar Bear Revisited

Some folks have reported having trouble understanding the directions for my crocheted polar bear from 2008. I've gone back to the original post and added some text and pictures for working the legs. Hope this helps!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Mystery Solved--Magic Lost?

Remember how excited I was to discover that I owned a tatted handkerchief that was identical to one in Mary Konior's collection? I made some fanciful assumptions in my belief that this tatting method predated published patterns.

Well, duh, the pattern was sitting on my bookshelf all along. Here it is on page 51 of "Tatting and Netting" by Butterick 1896, New York.

Was Mary Konior wrong in dating her piece as early 19th century? Maybe not. This book contains patterns that look like they were copied from previous works, and patterns that seem based on counting the stitches in old (to them) pieces of lace. So I still can't be sure when the design first came about, but I have to admit to the possibility that my handkerchief from Ohio could have been worked from the Butterick book. Sigh. It's still very precious to me.

By the way, this book, "Tatting and Netting" has some fascinating designs in it.

You can download it for free from Georgia here (scroll down about halfway)

or from the Antique Pattern Library here (toward the bottom of the page)

or you can purchase a soft cover bound book from most tatting dealers under the title "Old Fashioned Tatting Patterns Book 1"


I want to share with you my secret... my secret for finding books. How often have you looked in vain for an old book; how often have you bought one only to find it cheaper at another dealer? Yeah, me too. That's why I am grateful for Bookfinder.com. It searches all the book dealers and gives you the location with price and postage for all the copies it finds. I've used it for both new and used books. I've gotten Beeton's Book of Needlework for a dollar plus postage, and a Jasper Fforde novel available in the UK but not the US. If you keep your eyes open, you might be the first to see and grab a bargain like a Mary Konior for 10 pounds.

A few disclaimers: Bookfinder does not always calculate postage accurately (depends on how the seller's site is set up), so be careful at checkout. Copies in other countries may be listed, but there is no guarantee that they will ship to your country. Bookfinder searches book dealers, but not other shops, so you may find books (especially recently out of print or privately published) in tatting supply sites that Bookfinder doesn't see.

My most recent acquisition was this little gem from Germany:

Published in 1920, it is public domain, so I arranged through Georgia to share it through the "Archive of Tatting Books in Public Domain"

Here it is in two parts:



Monday, November 28, 2011

Still Catching Up

Well, here I am, weeks later, and still not getting caught up. Sigh.

Since last time I found Sandra's Heart' Afire Cross that I made. I badly misjudged one of my mock picots, so the awkward looking bit is my fault, not the pattern.

I made another one of Sherron's Snow Angel. I really love this pattern with its unusual shape. I think my beads are a bit too big this time, so there's a good excuse to make it again.

These patterns and more are available for sale on the Palmetto Pattern CD. Click here for details.

I had hardly gotten back from Palmetto when we took another trip. This is the view from our room in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We stayed at a lodge a few miles out of town on top of a mountain. It was great up there, once we made it up the narrow, windy, steep road up there.

Passing through Knoxville, we stopped for lunch with Erin. Yay, but too short, since we both had to get somewhere that afternoon.

We ate at the King Tut restaurant, where the owner, Mo, treated us like Egyptian royalty.

Then on to Chattanooga. We loved the Riverwalk.

And we took another train ride, an autumn leaf excursion leaving from nearby Etowah.

Lots of beautiful scenery.

A conductor who looked like he had just stepped out of a story book.

And of course, we did the usual tourist-ey things like Ruby Falls.

And Rock City. I remember the "See Rock City" barns from my childhood, so how could I not go?

And wait, there's more. On the way back, we stopped at Fort Loudon, a really well done re-creation of a French-Indian War era fort.

So, I'm only about a month behind now.

Friday, November 11, 2011

An Amazing Discovery

Lots of amazing things always happen at Palmetto Tat Days, but here is something special to me. Late one night, I wandered to the back of the gathering room where various items were on display, including Pam F's notebook about Mary Konior. It included photographs of Mary's work and her collection of antique tatting -- the pieces that Sue Hanson showed one year before returning them to the family. Here is a photograph of one of the photographs:

It stopped me cold, because here is a photograph of the handkerchief I bought on ebay a few months ago, which had come from an estate sale in Ohio.

Here they are together.

Here is Mary's own note describing the handkerchief as early 19th century.

It was late, and there were very few people left in the room, but I made each and every one of them come look. The pattern of the handkerchiefs is exactly the same, down to the way the fabric is slightly curved at the corners, though I know of no published patterns this old. A few people whispered, could it be the same one? But no, the photograph shows a rip in the lace where mine is whole. I have read that there was cottage industry in England and Ireland making tatting in the 1800's. I believe the two pieces were made by the same hand, or by the hands of two women in the same village way back then, and one of the pieces found its way to America. Amazing.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Getting Back to Tatting

Well, folks, it's time to get this blog back to regular tatting. I came back from Palmetto all fired up to get some tatting done from the conference CD. So I made a pair of Nina's Winter Solstice earrings. If you're intimidated by her wonderful jewelry sets, try making just the earrings; they're easier than you might think. I put the first earring somewhere for safe keeping until I could get the second one done. I'm sure it's very safe there, where ever it is...

I also made Sharren's wonderful Snow Angel and I just love that pattern. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture before I gave it away. And I made Sandra's Heart's Afire Cross, which is a really clever pattern since it actually has 2 ways of putting a dimpled heart ring above another. I'm sure it's around here somewhere. Honestly, I think I really do need a keeper sometimes.

So here are some photos to look at instead.

Silly hats at the Palmetto banquet!

Georgia at the auction!

Class time!

And on the way to Palmetto we took a few days for a vacation along the way. In Asheville, we saw Biltmore House. Also in Asheville, I went to the Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center. No tatting, but lots of other stunning crafts. And a yarn shop, Friends and Fiberworks that had heart-stopping-ly beautiful yarn. (Do you know how loooong you were in that shop? said DH.) And lots of little antique stores. I love Asheville.
So after that, over to Bryson City for the Great Smokey Mountain Railway. It was a fun ride with great scenery. Most of the trip was along the river, and we crossed over Fontana Lake too.

On the trip back, the conductor said the open air car was almost empty so we moved out there since our car was getting stuffy. The benches weren't as comfy as our regular seats, but the view was great.

Son Stephen likes trains.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Improved Errata Sheet link

Good news!

Gina told me how to keep it simple. The new and improved link to the errata sheet is here. Click just once for a printable pdf version of the correction sheet.

Thanks, Gina!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Errata Sheet Available....maybe?

Dear Friends,

**NEWS FLASH** Ignore this post and look for the improved link posted the next day.

As several of you have suggested, I am trying to make a copy of the Playing with Picots Errata sheet available online so that you may print a copy if you like.

On Keep-and-Share, the link apparantly does not go straight to the document, but seems to take you to a page where you can click to download. Or is it taking just me there, since it's my file? Click here to try. Other times I have seen people use Keep-and-Share, the link went right to their file. Is this because I have a lowly free account, or because I don't know what I'm doing? (Or both...)

I tried Google Documents too. That one take you to a page where you can see my file, but you still need to click on Download to print. (You could right-click and print from the page, but that shrinks the print size too small to read easily.) For that version, click here.

Please let me know how these options work for you, and advice is most welcome.

I've been wanting to find a site for free or cheap hosting to use as printer friendly versions of the free patterns on my site. Perhaps this experiment can lead to that as well.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Oh No!

I have made a terrible mistake.

As pictured in the book

While preparing for "Playing with Picots" I scanned the wrong model, so the illustration doesn't match the pattern text and diagram. This picture also appears at the end of the Palmetto class handout. This was from an earlier version of the pattern. The difference is whether to join into, or skip over, the "valley" where the long picots are joined together in Round 2. It works either way, but I thought the later version looked more interesting.

Should look like

I haven't found my correct model yet. I've either misplaced it or given it away. I do have the purple model used for Palmetto.

Judging from the pictures in people's blogs, more have been following the photo than the pattern. We tatters are a visually oriented lot, aren't we?

Starting yesterday, an errata sheet is slipped into the book.

Thank you to StitchingSharon for pointing this out.

See the difference?

Update: Carolyn says: Martha, for those of us who have already bought the book, could you make the errata sheet available online so we can download and print it out for our copies? Thanks!!

I plan to email the errata sheet to everyone I can. I still have email address for everyone who used Paypal. Please contact me if you would like me to send you one. I'll be away from the computer over the weekend, but I'll get these out as soon as I can.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Playing with Picots -- Ready at Last!

Guess what? I'm Back!

Back home from Palmetto, and back on-line. My computer seems to be recovering well, following an organ transplant of a spare video card donated by one of the kids. Woo hoo!

I have got sooo much catching up to do now. Since people have been asking about the new book, I first updated my website, so I can start taking orders, so here it is.

And now I am so tired. More stuff soon, I promise.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Experiencing/Overcoming Technical Difficulties

Well, if I didn't have a crisis or three to deal with trying to produce a book, I wouldn't know how to behave.

As soon as I said my computer was up and running, the darn thing died again. Luckily, I was able to finish editing with John's computer. Always back up your work, always! So glad I did.

Then found out the cover stock I was going to use was not only no longer carried in the local store, but had been discontinued altogether, so we had to find something else and wait for delivery.

The good news is we have been able to assemble enough books to bring to Toccoa for the Palmetto TatDays. When I get back, I will work on setting up a new page on my website to handle Paypal orders from the general public. Sorry, life has been to hectic to get that done already.

I owe apologies to many. There were several emails downloaded to my computer that were already overdue for replies, which I can't get to at all right now. If the problem turns out to be merely a bad video card, I will be up and running soon. If not.....

Now, I've clicked on "Publish Post" about half a dozen times and nothing is happening. Gaaaah.

8 hours later. Hmmm. Had to switch to the new Blogger interface in order to post. New and shiny, but I can't find my way around.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Life is Good

Sorry I've been quiet lately. I'm still here, chugging along. My computer didn't die, but it was in a coma for a while. My hubby fixed it and bought me a thumb drive so I can backup my work without burning so many CDs. Isn't he the best?

A couple of weeks ago I got to see a performance of Prairie Home Companion at our new outdoor amphitheater. That was great. It was not a broadcasted performance, so the show lasted almost 3 hours, much longer than the ones on the radio.

I have both halves of the living/dining room painted now. What a relief. It's so relaxing to sit there now.

Tomatoes are growing in my patio gardern. I had enough to make my mother's tomato pie recipe last weekend. The rose bushes had looked sickly, but they're better now.

Palmetto is just a few weeks away now.

The book is making good progress, if slightly behind schedule. I still expect to bring copies to Palmetto, but I don't know when I can start taking orders. Playing with Picots will be 44 pages long, 19 patterns, lots and lots of diagrams.

Life is good.

PS. Forgot to say I've gotten permission to post the Mrs. Mee book online. I may need to wait post-Palmetto to make the scans though.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Palmetto Registration Now Open

Palmetto time is just around the corner. This is a wonderful event: classes and activities, a vending room with tons of thread and books, and best of all, just socializing with all your tatting friends. I really recommend it.

Click here for more information:

Update: Please forgive me for failing to give proper credit. The design above is by Pam Freck, and will be on your Palmetto T-shirt, so that's another reason to come.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Mrs Mee Speaks (Caution long OCD post)

My present to myself, alluded to in a previous post, was a photocopy of a complete version of Tatting, or Frivolite by Mrs Mee and Miss Austin. Mrs Mee was quite well known in her day, and had published many books of knitting and crochet beginning in the 1840's. She has been overlooked by tatting historians, but I consider her a true pioneer.

From Tatting, or Frivolite, pp iii-iv:
" Having been long solicited to bring out a work on Tatting (or Frivolite, as it has been called of late years in Paris), my only hesitation in doing so has been, I thought it difficult to write so that all might understand me. I never remember learning the work, or when I did not know how to do it. I believe it was taught me by my grandmother, who, if she had been living, would have been in her hundredth year. I mention this, as I have heard that a claim has been made by some one lately, to have invented the work, which certainly has been known as Knotting or Tatting, for more than a century. My plan of forming the work from the reel or skein, and only making the foundation from the shuttle, is original, as are all my patterns; and I offer it with confidence, believing that many who have never before attempted it, will be induced to learn. In most of the patterns, the old plan of drawing up the loop from the work formed round the fingers, is altogether done away with; and this has been the great difficulty with many. The patterns are entirely different to anything before published, and I trust will meet with general approval; they are applicable for varieties of purposes, and the great durability of the work will be a recommendation to many. The cottons as directed must be obtained; those of Messrs. Walter Evans & Co. being the best produced.

Cornelia Mee
71, Brook Street, Grosvenor Square,
London, December 10, 1862"

From page vii:
"...In my new method of Tatting which I have endeavored to show in the Illustration the work is formed from the reel, while the foundation is only used from the shuttle, which is the thread that passes through the work. Take both threads between the thumb and fore finger, letting the one from the reel or skein be uppermost; let this thread pass over and between the fingers of the left hand as shown in illustration..."

Therefore I submit that the true tatted chain dates to 1862 with Mrs Mee, not 1864 by Mlle Riego as previously believed by most tatting historians. And doesn't that sound silly and trivial, now that I've said it. Well, I thought it was significant.

PS. I do no mean to belittle Mlle Riego, and still consider her the Mother of Modern Tatting for her revolutionary change in the style of tatting designs. She may not have invented all of the technical advances, but put them to good use, as Elgiva Nicholls says. Elgiva had wondered why Riego had quietly started using chains in 1864 without drawing attention to what she considered the discovery of the century. I think this is why; the ladies of that time would have already seen Mrs Mee's little book, which was lost to us for a time.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yes, I Did...

Yes, I did. I bought the antique hanky we've been talking about on Here-Be-Tatters. I just couldn't help myself. I don't know how often this sort of thing comes available, so I didn't want to pass up a chance to own a piece of pre-1850 style tatting. You'll be hearing more about my obsession with antique tatting.

The mailbox also held the current issue of Tatting Times, and it's a really great one. I think I want to make everything in this issue. It starts with a butterfly that really caught my eye, and then there's a really fascinating Lotus Pod pattern. And then a thistle with woven picots on the inside of a Maltese Ring. Looks like I'm not the only one playing with picots.

And to round out an excellent day, I had thought the new book needed one more pattern, and I think the design phase is done. I'll be sure once I've sewn in the ends and blocked it, but I think this will do.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Edging No. 3

"EDGING, No. 3.

This is a strong and useful trimming, and is also extremely pretty, in coloured purse silk, or black as an edging, or to lay on the material intended to be trimmed as a gimp.

In cotton for a coarse and strong trimming, use Messrs. Walter Evans & Co.’s 000 Boar’s Head Cotton. For fine edgings, use 8, 10, or 16. Work from the reel, and fill the shuttle with the same cotton.

Work a straight length the quality you require in double loop, and cut off the threads.

2nd row.—Pass the cotton on the shuttle through the 1st loop * work 1 single, 5 pearl, work 9 double loop, 1 double, insert the crochet needle between the foundation thread, and 1st of double loop, draw the cotton on the shuttle through, drawing the 9 double loops, and 1 double firmly into an oval, pass the shuttle through, work 1 single, 5 pearl, pass the thread on the shuttle through the 6th loop, from 1st, and the shuttle firmly through it. Repeat. Now work on the other side of 1st row, unite the threads at the 1st loop, work 4 double, 1 loop, 4 double, draw the cotton on the shuttle through the foundation thread of the 6th double loop in 1st row, repeat from the beginning. Next row, draw the thread on shuttle through the loop in centre of 4 double on each side in row before, work 5 double loop, repeat. "

From Tatting or Frivolite; 1862, by Mrs. Mee and Miss Austin, page 18.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In the Mail

I've had such lovely things arrive in the mail lately.

First was a little package from Fox from her thread give-away. Not only was there the promised thread, but also a tatted motif and a little bag of findings. The motif is so bright and cheerful. The photo doesn't do justice to the beads.

Next was a package from Marie. The card alone is a nice present, with lots of little tatted bits in lots of different thread. I can tell this took some time.

But even better was the real gift, a Mary Konior doily. How wonderful!

Finally, in a really large envelope, came a gift I gave myself. More on that later.