Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Antique Pattern Library fundraiser.  Back in November, they thought they might not make it, but now they have made their goal!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Riego's Denmark Antimacassar & APL

So, how many of you have been yearning to make the Denmark Antimacassar from Riego's "The Royal Tatting Book" but were held back by the lack of an illustration?

It turns out that the 1867 edition of the book, which is the one currently available online, replaced the illustration with an advertisement. But the original 1864 version has the picture, and I have acquired a copy!  The design is rather pretty, isn't it?

When time permits, I will be scanning it to donate a copy to the Antique Pattern Library.  The APL is a true treasure trove of patterns, for tatting, for crochet, for embroidery, and many other crafts. At present, they are about $1400 short of their fund raising goal for this year.  That's not a whole lot if a lot of people chip in a little bit.  If you go to their homepage HERE, there is a Paypal donation button on the upper right corner of the page. Please consider helping, thanks.

Monday, November 18, 2019


I've been dabbling (read: wasting lots of time on the internet) in the history of coronation cord, rick rack, and turtle braid.

You have no  idea how much joy this screen shot from the Sears & Roebuck Spring 1922 catalog brings me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Finger Purses, and What's in a Name?

Someone had asked about finger purses like the one I entered in the fair in the last post.  "Finger purses" were so-named because they had a ring at the top that could go on your finger.  Some, but not all of them, had "strings," usually crochet chains, that fastened to the front edge of the opening and passed through holes or loops in the back, and effectively held the purses closed.  Some people call these "miser's purses," but that term more properly goes with an earlier form of purse, also called "long purses." They were occasionally called "string purses" or "string bags," but that term can get confused with modern string-bag shopping bags.  I'm going with "finger purses with strings."

 One of my Facebook groups is talking about coronation cord, so here you go, a finger purse with coronation cord from Needlecraft magazine, November 1915.  What seems to be an advertising pamphlet calls it "coronation cord," but all the tatting and crochet patterns I've seen call it "coronation braid."  (For the pamphlet, see the Antique Pattern Library, "Application of Coronation Cord." )
Here is a purse I made from that pattern years ago, with my own crocheted substitution for the coronation cord, er, braid.  No, I don't remember how I made it, sorry.

Here are the instructions, hope you can read this:

For a modern pattern of this type of purse, Sheron Goldin shared a pattern with the Online Tatting Class in 2011.  Click HERE for a direct link to the pdf pattern.

For bearing with me this long, here is an advertisement from another issue of the magazine that may give you a smile, or make you just shake your head at what amuses me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I"ve Got the Blues

Blue ribbons, that is.  I feel very lucky because there were some other very nice pieces in competition.

State fairs vary a lot with their competition categories.  Our main tatting category is "Tatting or bobbin lace, framed or mounted."  I didn't have a round or square frame the right size, so I turned this Mary Konior design into a sun-catcher to mount it.  That's size 80 thread, and I loved working with something dainty for a change.

We also have a category for tatting attached to linens, so that's where I entered the table runner I showed you last time.  

For my last piece, I found a category: Clothing-Accessory-Other and entered a finger purse made with a combination of tatting, crochet, and vintage turtle braid.  But wait, here it is, with the back side facing.  The nice ladies working there said they couldn't open the display cases while the public was in the building, but they would turn it around later that night.  

I like the front side better.

Then I went back and looked.  Yup, the table runner is hung with the back side outward too.  but that one doesn't matter as much and I didn't want to be a trouble maker, so I kept quiet on that one.  I'm sure judging all the entries and arranging the displays is a huge endeavor, so I shouldn't be too critical.  

Then back to the sun-catcher, and I couldn't see the tiny thread well enough from my vantage point outside the case to tell which side was which.  It goes to show that much as I enjoy doing one-sided/front-sided tatting, except really close up, it doesn't matter.  

While I was there, I visited the Village of Yesteryear to enjoy the handicraft artists and their wares and to visit Anitra at her tatting display.  Her booth won the Honorable Mention this year.  The lady doing rug hooking let me sit and try making a few loops and that was pretty cool.

And more fun fair stuff.  I walked through the gardening displays and listened to a string band.  I had some local craft beer and some crazy fair food.  Korean BBQ pork belly eggroll and Cheerwine fudge, aw yiss.  I didn't summon up the nerve for red velvet funnel cake topped with cheese and enchilada sauce, or to ride that ferris wheel, though.

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.

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.