Friday, September 25, 2009

Thread, thread, and thread

Who would have ever thought one could have so much fun with bins of thread? I certainly didn't think I would ever act like a kid in a candy store over thread! Kind of looks like gumdrops.

I received a ton of thread from a friend of my mom's a couple of years ago. Her mother had passed away and left a myriad of supplies for various needlework hobbies. I was the lucky recipient of thread, lacemaking books, tatting shuttles, and even several tatting needles.

I had taken a beginning tatting class through local community ed about 10+ years ago, and because there really aren't any active tatting groups or classes available near me, I didn't pursue it much further. After receiving all of this thread, I decided to get busy and learn some more about tatting. This is much easier now with the internet! I got started with the T.A.T. program, and then joined InTatters and the Design-Tat group. Gotta use this thread somehow . . .

The thread has been sorted a few times. First by color. I had to put all the white/ecru in a separate bin. Then I dug through it all and re-sorted it by size. There are sizes 5, 8, and 12, mostly perle cotton, and I wasn't exactly sure what each size had been used for but I knew I could make good use of it. (Well, maybe by the time I retire. Did I mention I will probably never retire?) I started by making some crocheted doilies for the kind daughter that gave me these treasures. Didn't even put a DENT in the abundance.

The InTatters group forums have had thread reviews that are informative. When I first looked at the perle cotton and how loose the twist was, I didn't think it would be great to tat with. After reading about all the various types, twists and weights of threads, I see it's pretty much a matter of personal preference.

There's also quite a bit of cotton tatting thread in sizes 70, 80 and 100. Heck, I can't see the larger threads very well - I'm not sure if I'll ever get to use these tiny ones!

When re-sorting my treasures, I thought that the size 12 thread was pretty and didn't look as loose as the sizes 5 & 8, so I decided to try it for a bookmark. Wow! I really like how it worked to tat with. It has a pretty sheen to it, didn't seem to twist or knot up on me, and the stitches look nice and neat. I had to look in the jackpot of thread again to see what colors I have to play with. All these. And to think I want more thread! There are some beautiful HDTs out there I'd love to try, and I like the variegated threads from Handy Hands too. It's kind of like my fabric stash, only it takes up less room.

I did actually finish one bookmark. The pattern is the Spiral Bookmark from the Tatting Goddess.

My darling daughter, the English major, has a bazillion books to read this semester and requested some bookmarks.

She will get more.

It's not like I don't have enough thread!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What happens when . . .

. . . someone gets the 'zoomies' in the house?

This is what my bed is supposed to look like:

And this is what it looks like when someone gets the zoomies in the house:

Someone who weighs about 60 lbs. and has the comic ability to crack us up just by entertaining herself.

Not to mention any names.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Doilies and Doll Quilts

I finished! Another tatted doily under my belt. Here it is:

Some things about tatting are beginning to 'click' for me after much time trying to learn this art. Even after successful completion of the T.A.T. Apprentice Phase, I am pegging "Aha!" moments in my brain quite often. While tatting this doily over the past 2 weeks, I realized I was frontside/backside tatting without even realizing I was doing it. (I have only recently been able to recognize the front stitches from the back.) Unfortunately, I think I got mixed up a few times and worked frontside on the back and backside on the front. Oh well. Apparently, the stitches are getting more familiar, and being able to do some things instinctively is a good sign. (It reminds me of when I finally understood what crochet stitches were supposed to look like - and once I got that down, most crochet patterns became so clear and easy.) Along with the frontside/backside tatting, I was using up-joins and down-joins. Not sure I did that correctly, but I was using up-joins while frontside tatting and down-joins for the back. At least I was consistent, anyway.
I don't much like how the chains look on this doily - they were very difficult for me to get even in length. I know my tension still needs some work, but overall I love this pattern!

Doll Quilts

Last week while on vacation, I also got these doll quilts put together.

I made that crazy Mary Engelbreit quilt a couple of weeks ago, and the fabric was so busy I thought it would be good to use for doll blankets. I ended up making 6 little doll quilts, and a couple of co-workers will match them with dolls/stuffed animals to donate to a local crisis nursery. It's satisfying to know that some little hands can hug them tight at a time when they need a little security.

It's been a busy week being back to work after a 10-day staycation. This morning I am heading out to congratulate my dear daughter as she finishes her first 5K. She and a friend are participating to support the Special Olympics. She's not a runner, but a determined participant nonetheless!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Staycation Tatting

This little piece of tatting . . .

. . . took me the better part of the day yesterday. Well, on and off. That little 6-ring center took me about 5 tries. Every time I got to the end I didn't know how to join it together or hide the thread ends. I tried a looper in the first ring and a looper in the last ring, but when I got the threads pulled through, the center would fall apart. Hhhmmmmpphhh! Frustrating. I finally gave up using that 'magic thread trick' and sewed the threads into the caps.

I always know I can post a question on the InTatters website and get answers too, so I did that as well. Kind members left suggestions and a list of links for various tatting tips. An especially good link for me is this one on 'starting at the end'. One needs to think a little before diving into a tatting project and figure out how to end. (I am too impatient to do this most of the time - I just want to tat a project, not analyze it first.)

And then on to the second round of this doily. Same problem when I got to the end of the round. How to join the last chain to the first? I did it the second time, but didn't even consider the thread ends. I'll sew them in again. These are the little troubles I run into and wish I knew someone to run to and have them show me. Visual learning and impatience do not make me a good student!

Of course I found the pattern on the InTatters website as well. Another member posted this beautiful doily and the link to the pattern. Tatting this is one of my (too) many goals for the week while I'm on staycation.

Capturing the sunsets is a never-ending goal too. Appreciating the little things in life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sunflower Snacker

I planted some "Autumn" sunflowers this year just to see sunflowers in autumn colors. I've cringed every time we had a storm, hoping the wind doesn't break the stalks so I can see the blooms. Finally, I actually have some different colors blooming.

The really different colored one was sort of a cream-color with purple-ish center. Unfortunately, it appears we have a sunflower bandit. Pretty sure our deer thought we planted a tasty snack just for them as they traveled on through during the night. Little buggers.