Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, or a joyous holiday of your choice.  

There's not been much to report, just lots of knitting, which is going very slowly.  I did take a little break from the socks to figure out this edging from "La Frivolite" from the Cartier Bresson company, which is available from the Antique Pattern Library.  An overview is here, and a pdf download here.  The challenge was recreating it in modern tatting.  In the original, the center row is tied, not joined, to the next rows, and sometimes 3 picots are tied together.  My notes are a bit sketchy, but I hope to get them written out properly one of these days.

Meanwhile, as part of my Christmas celebration, I made the trip across town to see the tree balls, a famous tradition in my city. 

My pictures never capture the full splendor, but maybe this video that shows the scope of the decorations, if not the full after dark magic, will show you why we are always excited about them. Maybe some year I will make it to the Running of the Balls event as well.  

Monday, November 05, 2018

I Gots Socks

Earlier this year, I decided that at this point in my crafting career, it was time, or past time, that I should learn to make socks.  So, I picked up a couple of balls of sock yarn at Karey's shop, some Patons Kroy Socks Fx, wool nylon blend.  For a pattern, I chose the Poseidon Socks by Elinor Brown, available on Ravelry.  I don't think I did the pattern justice, but I learned a lot.  The lace pattern does not show up nearly as well on my socks, perhaps because of the tweedy look of the yarn, or perhaps my socks are a little too loose.  I am indebted to the Lattes & Llamas video "How to knit a seamless toe using a provisional cast on" which I used for both toes, and the second heel, after I didn't like the look of the heel on my first sock. Surely my own fault with my bumbling attempts to recognize the wraps, not the pattern. 

I started in April, had to put them aside to meet some deadlines, and just recently finished.  For all their faults, they are really socks, and I can wear them and they feel good.

I've already started my next pair.  This is my new favorite toy, the Handy Gauge Ruler by Ann Budd Knits.  You line up your stitches with the marks, and it tells you how many stitches per inch you are getting, such a quick and easy way to double check your gauge as you go.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I've Been to the Fair!

Actually, I've been lots of places since last time, but I'll do the most recent one.  Sorry about the poor quality of the photos.  The lights glaring on the display cases gave me too much trouble.

I was happy and maybe surprised to win a blue ribbon. The North Carolina State Fair does not have as many categories as many fairs, and our main category is "Bobbin Lace, Tatting, framed or mounted."  So I could have been competing against anything from small motifs to large doilies, both tatting and bobbin lace.  There were many trials and tribulations getting this made.  After a few false starts making other items, I settled on this pattern and thread and chose the buttons.  Then I looked for hours for my blue beads.  Once I found them, the buttons were missing.  Once I found some other buttons, the original ones magically reappeared, but did not go with the beads.  Once I found some other beads and completed the first teapot, I felt the beads added bling, but somehow detracted from its "tatty-ness," and made another one without beads.

I liked Arlene's entry.  I could tell a lot of thought and effort went into choosing just the right edgings and getting them aligned just right.

I somehow managed to not get take pictures of  all the entries.

We have some "tatting attached to" categories as well, and there were some pretty things.

Again, I did not get pictures of them all, and I seem to have missed photographing the clothing categories altogether.  Maybe I wasn't all there that day.

I was surprised to see this tatting entered under a machine sewing category.  I guess the maker used sewing in some part of putting the picture together.  We NC tatters are often on the lookout for other categories where we can sneak in some tatting.  I think the mixture of the simplest motifs and edgings to make the design was charming.

Sunday, September 02, 2018


I think I've got the PayPal buttons set up OK now.  Please let me know if you have any difficulties.

See below for previous post for more details.

Click the Books For Sale tab at the top of the page for instructions to order.

I am happy to autograph the book for anyone who asks, though I warn you my writing is awful.  There is supposed to be a "comment to seller" spot on the Paypal site, but it doesn't seem to work for everyone.  If you can't do it that way, then please send an email to essm at bellsouth dot net  or leave a comment on the blog.

Comment notification is working again, yay!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Coming Soon!

This is one of the reasons I have posted so seldom the last few months. I've been busy working on this book of patterns with buttons.

It has 2 hearts, 2 teapots, 3 butterflies, 4 angels, 3 amulet bags, a round motif, and a small doily.

It will be on sale here on the blog real soon now, maybe later this weekend, maybe next week.  There will be copies at Palmetto Tat Days and at the Fringe Element Tat Days later this month.

I have sent review copies to some of the online shops and I hope they will be selling it too.

Watch this space for updates!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Reinventing the Wheel

I love old fashioned tatting.  One of my favorites is the classic wheel motif. 

Yes, this one here.

It turns out the wheel is quite well suited to be adapted to buttons.  Simply omit the center ring and join the small rings directly to the button.

There is no "one true" pattern for the wheel.  The number of stitches or picots may vary as long as the concept is the same.  For the blue wheel above, worked with size 20 thread, the inner rings are 5 + 5 and the outer rings are 5 ± 3 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 3 ± 5.  The buttons here are about 1/2 inch diameter.  

Totally independently, my friend Stephanie was making wheels with buttons about the same time.  Her stitch count was similar, but her buttons were a bit bigger, around 5/8 inch.  Tension and the length of the bare thread spaces and picots may play a part in the difference.  You can make your rings a little bigger or smaller to fit whatever buttons you have.

Guess what else the wheel can adapt to? Ice drops!  I'll be teaching that at Palmetto TatDays in September.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Butterfly names

I'm usually not much good at coming up with pattern names.  And I don't know a lot about real life butterflies. Thanks to a link to a butterfly book shared by Little Grey Bungalow, I see there is a family of butterflies called Fritillary (or Fritillaria) close enough in shape I can use it to name my large butterfly.

But what to do with my small butterflies?  They may have to remain "Two-Button Butterfly" and "Four-Button Butterfly" if I can't come up with anything.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Humongous Psychedelic Teapot

When I started working on a book of tatting patterns with buttons, I just assumed I had plenty of buttons on hand.  But when the time came to test the patterns with larger threads, I was surprised to discover how few large buttons I actually had.  Not to mention how little good quality size 10 thread.  Going shopping was out of question this weekend, so I stirred and stirred through my buttons until I found a handful about the same size.  Worked up in size 10 thread, it came to 6 3/4 inches across.  I thought it was garish, if not scary at first, but I think it is growing on me.

Things are looking good right now to have the book finished in early September.  I'll keep my fingers crossed.

By the way, I am no longer getting email notifications when there are comments awaiting moderation.  I don't know if that's a Blogger thing or a Yahoo mail thing.  I try to remember to check, but sometimes I forget.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Button Doily

For my upcoming book of button tatting patterns, I've been working up various types of motifs -- butterflies, angels, hearts, amulet bags -- but I had a vague yearning for something else.  How about a little doily?  And a marquise shape would be much more interesting than a circle, right?

Friday, June 08, 2018

I Love Buttons

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging very much is because I have been busy trying to put together a new book, and the theme is tatting with buttons.  Some patterns with a single button, and some with lots of buttons.  Watch this space for news.

Most people who know me know I like to tat with buttons. One of my favorite things is to pour out a jar full of buttons and sort through them, looking for just the right ones to put together for a project.

You just can't have too many buttons.  I went shopping the other day and bought just a few more.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Have You Seen Me?

When designing small, simple patterns, sometimes you can accidentally come up with something that has been done before.

Does anyone recognize this angel as something that has already been done? Or similar enough to a previous pattern? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

More From Lodi

Here are class projects from the Finger Lakes conference, going clockwise.  The theme was "Fantasia," so the hippo is Jane's pattern adapted by Ginny Weathers to be one the dancing hippos from the movie.  I still need to add the tutu skirt which will be made from tulle net that Ginny provided.

The cluny snowflake taught by Mimi Dillman that I showed you last time.

A Faery designed by Karey.  She provided the dolls and we tatted the clothing and wings.  Her pattern included making the doll so I can make more later if I want.

The angel is from a class by K Boniface.  She adapted vintage edgings to make new motifs, just my sort of thing.  I changed the joins in the last row a little.  There were 3 more little motifs in her handout, which I will get to later.

I always enjoy my time at this conference.  It is rather relaxed and informal.  They feed you wonderful home cooked food at every meal. And Karey is such  delightful person, I always enjoy her company, and that of many other regular attendees.

Friday, April 20, 2018

I Can Cluny

I was recently fortunate to attend the Finger Lakes Tatting Conference.  One of my classes was with Mimi Dillman, who is the master of cluny tatting. It was wonderful hearing her advice and seeing her samples of cluny work.  I had done a little with clunies before, but they never looked any where as nice as this class project I finished after I got home.

She showed us an easier way to form the cluny "loom" over our fingers.  You can see that method in this this YouTube video HERE by Elisadusud, another grand master of the cluny style.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

More Quilt Squares for Palmetto

Yeah, I forgot how to blog for a while. Sorry about that...

Anyway, here are some more squares for Georgia's Palmetto fund raiser.

The upper left leaf is the 1975 Workbasket Maple Leaf, corrected and diagrammed by Tammy Rodgers.  Click HERE for a pdf pattern.  The lower right leaf is the Light and Ayr Maple Leaf, by Karey Solomon, from Tatting Times November 2007, and on the Tatting Times CD.  Do you know if it is also in her book, "Tatting Turns over a New Leaf"? I've been thinking I need that one.  The other leaves are my simplified variations.

This one has some leaves from Ruth Scharf's patterns.  The flowers are classic motifs or freestyle tatting.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I've Got a Secret!

I've got a secret! Well, I hope it won't be a secret for long.  Registration for the Finger Lakes Tatting Convention is now open and we are trying to get the word out.

I haven't been for a long time, but I always had a lovely time, so I'm excited about planning to attend this year.

Here is Karey's news release:

Tatting Seminars in the Finger Lakes - 20th Anniversary

Twenty years of doing anything, particularly when the same people are involved, is cause for celebration.  So April 6-8, 2018 the Finger Lakes Tatting Group is pulling out all the stops for a magical "Tatting Fantasia" - meaning that anything goes, though we've got more than one nod to the movie.  This year features amazing tatting teachers - and participants - from across the country... and a few others.  We'll have classes to educate and inspire, time for fun and photographs, wholesome home-cooked food for every dietary need plus endless snacks; great goodie bags, vendors offering tatting treasures, raffles, auction, a magic show, and a chance to do good.  Our group has adopted Camp Good Days and Special Times, a summer camp for children with cancer as the beneficiary of some unselfish fundraising.

Information is online at and on the group's Facebook page (Finger Lakes Tatting).  Or email Karey Solomon at: threads at empacc dot net and she will send you the information as an attachment.