Sunday, June 18, 2017

2015 Spring Doily - DONE!

The Doily Dilemma

Remember THE doily I started back HERE?  Yes, February 1, 2015.  2015! I started the final round (#11) by May 8 of 2015. I was keeping track of the time it took me to work each round.  Just because I thought it would be interesting.  Approximately 89 hours total.  

Don't EVER do that.  Keep track of the time it takes, I mean. Really, it completely took the joy out of tatting this piece.  I think it jinxed me!  I put this beautiful doily away for 2 years - I'm sure it's because it just made me nervous thinking about how many hours I still had left to finish it.  Daunting. After 10 rounds, I had 62 hours into this doily.  That is a LONG time.  I'm a fairly slow tatter, but sheesh!  Just don't even go there.

I went to get this doily out for our International Tatting Day gathering, and COULDN'T FIND IT. Yikes!  Knowing how many hours went into this bugger made me sick thinking it could have been thrown out by mistake while cleaning out my sewing/tatting/craft cave.  To my relief, I found it, and then made it my goal to finish it while on vacation so that I could enter it into our county fair.  Maybe even the state fair if it turned out to my liking!

Woo Hoo!  I'm getting there! And I have all week to get it done.
So close!
I was so excited!  It was moving along well and I was making great progress, relaxing in the fresh breeze off the lake.  Almost to the end, and . . . what?  Seriously?  You've got to be kidding me.  What the HELL?  How could this happen?  I have an extra ring to attach to.  Somehow, there is one too many rings on the previous round. I'm not sure how this could happen since everything else has seemed to work out exactly right.  

The only way I know how to "fix" this without throwing it out the window, is to just add another ring where it doesn't belong.  I'm so deflated!  I can't even look at it anymore to figure it out.  Now that I know it took me 27 (yes, 27!) hours to do this last round, I can't even THINK of ripping it out to find the goof.  It. Is. DONE.  

And while blocking it, I found many other places I'm not pleased with if I could have entered it into the fair competition, but it's still beautiful.  And I will still put it on a table to use.  I will just have to do something else for a fair entry. For next year maybe!

Major lesson learned.

NEVER keep track of the time spent tatting a piece. NEVER, EVER, EVER.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ruby Goes on Vacation!

Well, she was able to go with us, anyway.  She doesn't usually get to go along, but this time we rented a little cabin in northern Minnesota where dogs are allowed.  She was a nervous wreck for the first couple of days - she just wasn't sure what was going on.  All these strange people and strange sounds. A scary dock to walk on. Dad disappeared across the horizon, and people zoomed in and out of the area all the time in some kind of vehicle that splashed.

Of course, we spoiled her and made sure she wasn't out of our sight.  [Or rather, we weren't out of her sight, ha ha!]

What IS this place?

Hubby was able to do a lot of fishing, while Ruby and I stayed on shore.  I grew up fishing, but really have no interest in it anymore, other than EATING the catch. 

My goals for the week were to finish my 2015 Spring Doily (Renulek), finish one book and start another.  All 3 accomplished!  More on the *!@#$%@!*&! DOILY tomorrow.  

On the LAST round of this monster doily - the largest doily I've ever made!

Finished A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.
On to the 2nd book - The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  What else do you do in the woods?

Sunset views from our cabin were spectacular!  A picture just doesn't do it justice.

And when it rains, what else do you do but play cribbage or nap? [I won - ha!] Thankfully, we only had two half-days of rain - otherwise, the weather was beautiful.

We were able to do a little hiking, too.  The "Suomi Hills" is an interesting name, and made us think of our friends in Finland.  (Suomi means Finland, and this is an area in Minnesota with many Finnish settlers as well. There is a nearby town named Suomi.)  This area was established as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the 1930's, and then became a Prisoner of War camp during World War II.  I never knew we had a POW camp in northern Minnesota during WWII.  There are still some stone/concrete foundations from the old shower house and mess hall in these woods. Interesting stuff.

This trail is "primitive" - no kidding.  We were almost carried away by the nasty flies, and Ruby had a little reaction to bites as well. This one wasn't a pleasant hike - we weren't sure we were headed in the right direction. We much prefer our beautiful state park hiking trails that are well marked and nicely groomed - even if they do have as many bugs!

Poor Ruby and her swollen face from bug bites!  
And Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig.  After a couple of doses of Benadryl, Ruby's face is getting back to normal.  I feel like a terrible dog-mom!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ice Drops and Lucky Pennies

Well, I continue to enjoy making Diane's Ice Drops.  I love matching thread to gems to beads.  Sometimes they turn out even better than I expected - sometimes not so much.  

I've even had requests for specific colors, and have been able to sell a few to support this hobby! 
[It certainly relieves a little of the guilt of having an abundance of gems - ha!]

I also decided to try out the lucky penny stitch count Diane suggested - I love it!  
Her ice drop tutorial and update on the stitch count are HERE.

Notice how the year of the penny shows in the ring!

I started thinking about using pennies for significant year's events - specifically for 2017 graduations - and decided to add a little tassel and use school colors.  I made this prototype for a 2015 graduate - but I'm having a hard time finding 2017 pennies for current graduates.  DARN IT!

I'm also pondering different ideas for the penny for bridal and/or baby showers.  I could add a "veil", use wedding colors, add pink or blue ribbons for babies, etc.
My brain can be an overactive designer occasionally :)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Where did April Go?

Here in Minnesota, we went from Winter to Spring to Winter to Fall to Spring again in April!  Sheesh! One doesn't know what to wear from one day to the next!

I've still been working on Ice Drops - nothing fancy, only two variations.  I love this one though:

This one was made with thread that my coworker brought to me from India.  It's fun with a little metallic twist and a somewhat "mirrored" gem.

Over the weekend, my two daughters and I had an "Artsy-Fartsy" afternoon making some signs at a "Brushes and Boards" event.  This type of event is pretty popular around here - making signs, painting on canvas, planting terrariums, etc.  Fun to get out and make something with a group - even if I don't need anymore crafty decor!

I also went to a little "Intro to Nature Photography" class at a local Nature Center.  I'm not really a "beginner" but I always think you can get some tips from other photographers, no matter how experienced you might be!  We also had a chance to get out and take some photos of some spring budding going on.

And then there's that crazy Snapchat app so many are talking about.  One daughter and I have been sending eachother crazy pictures on there, testing out all the newest possibilities.  Such a waste of time, but, boy - do we laugh!

Oh dear.  I like some pictures better than others - ha ha!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

More Ice Drops and Some Zen

I finally branched out to another variation of the ice drop - I don't remember if this pattern has a name or not, but I like it!  I'm not sure what I'll try next - but I feel like I need to do several of a pattern before I move on.  OCD?  Ha ha.  

And it's been really nice outside here the past few days, so anything to get outside for a minute.  Even to get a photo - the yard isn't very nice looking yet, but it will do for a background - just to breathe in some fresh air :)

It's fun planning our summer tatting retreat - it's not until July, but I know it will come up fast.  We really don't want to plan a detailed retreat, but it helps to have some kind of outline.  I'm SO looking forward to it!


I've been back to a little tangling this week too - and playing with some colored backgrounds.  It's been a few weeks since I played with Zentangle, so I feel like I've "lost" a little that I had learned about lines and shading. Like anything else, you have to keep practicing to keep growing.

I like the black ink over a colored background - and making the background is almost as much fun as the drawing :)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Found it!

Whew - I didn't throw it away by accident! It's a relief, for sure, as I have about 60 hours into this doily.  I was so worried!  It was in a strange, unexpected place, but safe and sound.  And crumply.  But that's OK!

It's my sign to FINISH it.  I will continue to keep track of the time it takes to make this beauty, but I don't think I will ever do that again. I think that may be why I stopped working on it - the stress of thinking about the time I was investing in it took away the joy of tatting it.  

A new goal!  Finish this doily (finally) by the end of July.  Maybe by county fair time?  It doesn't matter when.  I'm just so relieved to have found it!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Happy International Tatting Day!

We had a BONUS Twin Cities Tatters Day today - just for International Tatting Day!  

We all brought some show & tell, tatted in public at our usual Caribou Coffee, and even enjoyed some chocolate, thanks to Marlene! 

I looked for my Renulek Spring 2015 large doily project (the one I stopped working on way back here and have yet to finish) to bring along to show, but I'm now in a panic because I CAN'T FIND IT! I will be tearing my sewing/tatting room apart trying to find it, but for now I'm afraid after all that sorting and cleaning of additional fabric I've thrown it away by accident.  Yikes!  I hope it's just put away nice and safe, but . . . until I find it I will worry about its possible tragic demise.

I'll tat another Ice Drop, and then I will look some more for that unfinished doily.  Calmly.  Maybe.  Actually, I may tear my cave apart.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Weekend Cave Hideout

Well, I spent the weekend in my cave, sewing away like a madwoman.  Who wants to do housework anyway?  Haha!

I've been wanting to finish this table runner since JULY - I picked it up during the Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop with Mom, and even though it doesn't match anything I have, it's just cute.  During that shop hop, Mom also got this bag pattern for me - I've been trying to decide what fabric to use.

I remembered I had a few scraps of this sock monkey fabric - too cute!  I was bad and didn't cut my binding on the bias, and darn it!  I can tell how bad it is, but I guess that's what I get.  I'll just use it as is!

I didn't get much else done, but I guess it doesn't matter.  The dust and clutter will wait for me, haha!  It was relaxing to putter around in my cave with nothing else pressing.  That's what weekends are for, right?!  Now, what should I put in this bag? ...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tatting, Quilting and Photography = My Life!

Wow - it's been over a month since I was last here, typing away!  How fast time flies.

Last weekend, our Twin Cities Tatters met and had the biggest group ever!  I think we've had 6 or so before, but we had 9 (count 'em - 9!) tatters join us and filled the table + more in the corner of Caribou Coffee.  Such fun to have so many tatters in one place to chat and tat and teach and share! We are so looking forward to our tatting retreat this summer - it will be fun!

I've been tatting away at some ice drops - I really do love Diane's creation.  I don't usually like to tat so many of one item, but they are not only enjoyable to tat, they are somewhat addicting!  I haven't branched out much from the original pattern much - I like the simplicity of the original pattern, but there are some really nice variations out there.  So I'm a bore, ha ha.

All that fabric Mom and I gathered last month from my Aunt's sewing room has been sorted and resorted.   I spent a few days with Mom just going through the fabric and sorting it into colors and groups and donations.  We ended up with 3 large totes to donate to mom's church and a couple of other churches as well. Mom shared with her quilt group also, and my daughters collected fabric for their projects, too.  I'm sure my Aunt would be thrilled to know it's being put to good use and enjoyed by so very many.

I've also spent a considerable amount of time sorting the fabric that ended up at my house - but it's been good to go through my own stash and clean that out to make room for the additional fabric.  It's crazy what we can accumulate without even realizing it!

My Sorting Room (or Cave #2 as hubby has dubbed)

Looking good better!

I really do save every piece of fabric, thinking it  will be put to good use in SOMETHING.  Haha.  I have enough projects and fabric to last me at least 10 years!

My Zentangle practice has been suffering lately - I haven't taken the time I'd like to for drawing.  I've been playing with camera settings instead, and have taken a few refresher classes for digital photography - so on top of work, my time has been limited.  I am so anxious for wonderful spring weather so I can get out and play with my camera again - I've been a big baby this winter, avoiding going out in the cold weather trying for frosty photos.  I did enter my 'frog in the lily' photo in a local Nature Center contest, and won a spot on their wall! I've titled this photo "Frog Spy".

Frog Spy
 I need to get over there to see it and all of the other winners displayed!

TGIF!  I'm tired after a busy week, and ready for some power relaxing.  Or crafting, whichever occurs :)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Heirloom Quilt

Today was a beautiful Minnesota winter day!  Sunny and almost 40F degrees - crazy warm and melting what snow and ice remains.  I took a little drive and met my folks at my Uncle's house, where my cousins were doing some cleaning out of many years' accumulation.  My sweet aunt passed away last summer, and her sewing room needed to be emptied of fabric and various quilting supplies.  My uncle thinks it's "junk", so I just teased by asking if he was SURE he didn't want to take up sewing?!

Since Mom is a quilter, my cousins offered the fabric stash to her, and I went to help pack it up.  Every cupboard we opened had more fabric - enough to fill both of our vehicles to bursting! This was after my cousins had taken what fabric they wanted, of course, but it didn't appear to make a dent. My aunt sewed everything from lingerie to lined suits to winter outerwear.  And quilts.  

Speaking of quilts, my aunt also had a quilt top that was hand-pieced by her great-grandmother, who would be my great-great grandmother, sometime during her life in the late 1800's.  My aunt then added the batting and backing and hand-quilted it in 1993.  My great-great grandmother was from England, I believe, so it is not clear where the quilt was pieced or exactly when.  But it is very patriotic in red, white and blue, and certainly could have been made during the US Civil War.  Who knows?  But it's fun to wonder and look at.  The fabric seems like a looser weave, and is vibrant in color for being so old.  I wonder if it is patriotic in color as a choice, or if the colors were the most available at that time?  In any case, a very fun thing to see!  Mom will take it to show her quilting friends - what a treasure.  My cousin will eventually hang it in her home, as it fits with her patriotic decor.

I just love seeing heirlooms, and wondering about the people involved.  What was she like?  How did it get here?  With her, or with her daughter?  Was it treasured, or just stuffed away to finish 'someday' like so many of my own projects.  Was it for someone or something special? 

What a treasure, to be sure!




Sunday, February 5, 2017

Twin Cities Tatters Retreat and THREAD!

Well, the Twin Cities Tatters very first (annual??) retreat is booked for the end of July with 8 tatters attending!  Michelle and I are hoping this will become an annual retreat - it will be so fun to spend a couple of days with other tatters and share our common addiction interest.  I am SOOOO looking forward to this!

Mom has some wonderful friends that always think of me when they come across certain fabric and / or thread.  They know I will use it, or make sure it gets into the hands of those that will.  I received a shoebox of thread with a pouch of crochet hooks at Christmastime from one of those friends, and decided to send her some tatting as a thank you.

The box has plenty of white thread - which is wonderful for snowflakes, or to mix with some Lizbeth variegated threads.  I added some variegated thread to make this coaster from the 'New Tatting' book by Tomoko Morimoto.  My intention was to make 2 coasters for the gifter, but it turned out a little small for a coaster in my opinion, so I'll send it as one pretty motif :)  I've also never tried a pattern with bare threads before - they are daunting to me because I'm afraid I will not get them even.  I need practice for sure, because they didn't come out the way I think they should be.  How the heck does one get them right so they are nice and taut? Ergh.

I also used some of the size 80 thread to make this little cross.  Uff da - that is some tiny thread for my eyes to work with!  But this pattern is perfect for the tiny thread - I've made it before, and as a bookmark it practically covers an 5 x 8.5 page with size 20 thread!  The pattern actually calls for size 40 thread - it's Mary Konior's Large Cross from her 'Tatting with Visual Patterns' book.  [Of course I've never tried it with the correct size thread - ha ha!]

And, in other news, I have ANOTHER new grandpuppy!  OMG, puppies are adorable.  But naughty, too!  You certainly forget about those days of chewing-and-biting-and-potty-training.  Those needle-sharp little teeth HURT.  Nelli is an ivory lab, like her big brother Rambo - who isn't particularly thrilled with his pouncing, annoying little sister!

She's pretty snuggly when she's sleepy, though!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Joined the Addicts

Diane did it.  She got me hooked with her Ice Drop Tutorial.  

These are so cute, quick to make, and pretty both front and back. My favorite part is choosing the thread and the matching beads - always the most difficult, but so fun when the result is at least close to what you envisioned!

Size 20 Lizbeth #132, Tropical Punch
I just happened to have some Thanksgiving gems stored away for decor.  Never used them, because I don't really entertain. Or decorate for Thanksgiving.  Not sure why I thought I needed them, but they were probably clearanced?! Ha.  I love [potential] craft supplies a little too much.  Good I had them though, because I may not have made a special trip to get some!

My first attempt was at a gathering with a couple other tatters.  Of course we were talking, and I usually make mistakes while chatting.  No wonder my first try was a little loose - I realized after making a few more I had some extra stitches.  Several.  Oops.

Size 20 Lizbeth #154, Wildflower Garden

I also decided I liked the twisted thread loop hanger over a ribbon.  I have plenty of ribbon, but I think I need smaller so it doesn't overtake the Ice Drop.  I DO NOT need to go buy more ribbon, LOL.

Size 20 Ecru, Size 20 Lizbeth #147, Red Burst

When I decided to try adding some beads, I had to laugh.  A 1-hour project turned into about a 2-hour comedy.  It went something like this:
  • Sit down with the perfect thread at the OTHER loveseat in the living room, as I needed my OTT lite.
  • Ruby rings the bells to go outside.
  • Back to my spot, I remembered I needed a bead threader - which are downstairs in my craft room.
  • Looking through the basket of jewelry making stuff:  "Oh, I forgot I had all these charms.  These pearls would work on something.  Where are those bead threaders?  Holy cow, I have a lot of beads.  Forgot I had this wire.  I remember this!  Aha!  Here are the bead threaders!"
  • Back to my spot upstairs.  Phone rings.
  • Now I need my magnifier glasses.  They are by the OTHER loveseat.  
  • Finally have everything.  45 minutes or so of actual tatting, and it was time to leave for another appointment.
Yes, I am usually much more organized than that!  Good thing I was on vacation last week- it's obvious I was pretty relaxed. And, I probably wouldn't have made any of these cute Ice Drops.  Or become addicted?  Ha!

I'm a better pattern-follower than designer, but I did manage to fit one smaller gem just be decreasing by one ring on both front and back - creating more of a star.

Size 20 Lizbeth, #164, Blue River Glades
Now that I've made a few from the original pattern with only a couple of minor tweaks, I'm ready to branch out and try some of the other beautiful modifications I've seen.  (Though I kinda like this simple little version without getting too crazy fancy anyway.)  And tomorrow it's back to work, so I won't be on a fast-track.  Besides, I'm not too sure what I'll do with these cuties?  I can hang one from every bag I own!  Maybe zipper pulls.  Keychains.  I dunno!  But they are cute.  And addicting!  

Thanks, Diane.  Thanks a lot.  :)