Sunday, January 31, 2010

Motif #6

Whew!  It's been a busy couple of weeks here - a crummy snow/ice storm, some car trouble for the English Major and some long work hours resulting in tired eyes.  Not much tatting getting done!  A lot of planning is going on though - and I received some new supplies to keep me motivated.

First of all, here is Motif #6 of the 25-Motif Challenge.  (Wow, 6 in one month - I've surpassed my goal!) This is a motif by Iris Niebach found here.     

This was a good pattern for me to work on - slow but sure - as I found the pattern interesting to follow.  It made me pay attention to which thread I was working on, and what side I was on to make sure I was frontside or backside tatting.  My purpose in joining the challenge was to really practice my tatting, and try to work motif patterns that will help me to see the stitches and joins and direction of my tatting.  I didn't do everything right on this motif, but I am pleased with how it turned out.  I know I have some twisted joins and maybe didn't work on the correct threads for each repeat, but this pattern really helped me to "see" some important steps.  The pattern itself has different colors so you can see what thread you should be using (at least that is how I am understanding it).  I find different pattern designers very hard to figure out - I don't know where to start a pattern and I am not sure when to switch shuttles.  These are things I hope to pick up as I practice, and to keep in mind when I find that I can work on some designs of my own.  Designing may be a LONG time coming at this rate!

I used to wonder why everyone made motifs.  What good are they and what the heck do you do with them?  Right now I am using them to practice my tatting, and beyond that I will just block them and store them until a bright idea hits me. This question came up on InTatters recently also, and some of the ideas there included covering stains on clothes (!), adding to scrapbooking, making a mobile, adding to scarves, bags, etc.  I have placed small butterflies here and there in a card - one Aunt was funny after receiving a butterfly from me - she placed it up high on a picture frame, and after it gathered a little dust she called me one day to tell me the darned thing had spun a cocoon!

Since my eyes were too exhausted to get much tatting done, they took a little vacation and went shopping.  I was lucky to get in on some of Krysteldawne's "oops" thread, and also got the books "Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments" and "Tatting Patterns for One Shuttle", and some Lizbeth thread from HandyHands. (The Lizbeth thread that, by the way, JoAnn Etc. now carries and I found out AFTER I received my order!)  I now have plenty to work on when my eyes return from their little trip.  I am still hoping to make things to enter in the county fair.  I don't feel like my tatting is quite good enough for that, but considering there were NO tatting entries of any kind last year, I should be able to submit just about anything! However,  I want my entries to be worthy of a ribbon even if they are the only entries.  Must. Keep. Practicing.

I have also been planning some more sewing - I am going to try some hemstitching on flannel to make receiving blankets with a crocheted edge. Maybe a tatted edge someday?  More on that when I actually try it.  I  picked up the flannel and a wing needle - now I just have to DO it.  Oh, the things I could accomplish if I only had more time :)  So many goals, ideas, & plans - but I have to (gasp!) WORK to support my habits.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Motifs 2, 3, 4 and 5

Are we really to the middle of January already?  This past couple of weeks has flown by being back to work after all the holiday time off.  I work a flex schedule, so some weeks I work long hours, and other weeks seem more human.  After a busy week of each schedule, I'm relieved to have a long weekend with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.  Monday is also my Dad's birthday, so I will be able to meet my folks for a birthday lunch.  I love having those government holidays off :)

I've managed to complete a few more motifs for the 25 Motif Challenge.  First, I wanted to make a little snowflake with the Altin Basak thread I got from Fox.  She sent this beautiful thread back when she helped me out with learning that "pesky final join".  The thread is such a pretty aqua color with a metallic thread in it, that I immediately thought it would be perfect for a snowflake.  And Minnesota is snow country, after all!  (And, by the way, anyone else having trouble with that pesky joining first ring to last, Ann has a great tutorial here.)

(Sorry - my photos are terrible - I really need to get my scanner connected properly again so I can try to scan my work instead.)  This is Motif #2, with Altin Basak thread size 50.  I found this thread to be soft and easily broken if I wasn't careful, so there are some nasty little spots of bunched up metallic thread where I tugged a bit too hard.  The pattern is the MHC Snowflake by Sally Magill found here with other "quick" snowflake patterns.


 I thought it would be just the right size for some small greeting cards, and decided that now might be a good time to make a few Valentines also.  So, Motif #3, #4 and #5 are hearts.

Motif #3 is made with thread I received from my coworker that she brought to me from India - crochet cotton size 20.  I tried the Peacock heart by Birgit Phelps found here.  This thread is wonderful to work with, though I still need some work on hiding those ends - especially with these variegated threads.


Motif #4 is Birgit Phelps Sweetheart pattern found here, in Lizbeth Denim Whisper size 20.  I've done this one before, and I love this pattern because it's so easy to work up, and lays so nice and flat without even blocking it.  I like the way I can really see the stitches on this one.  


Motif #5 is from the February 1988 Workbasket magazine.  I used Lizbeth thread, Red Burst, size 20.  I think I will do a couple more of these frilly little hearts - this was an easy pattern and I like the way it looks for a Valentine.

I haven't had time to work on my Gerbera Doily - hopefully I can get back to that next week, and get the final round started.   I have a hard time staying with a project that takes very long to finish without needing a diversion.  I have to take breaks and bake, sew,  or tat a small item so I can feel like I really did accomplish SOMETHING.  Ha ha.  I'm such a goof that way.  No wonder I have a million projects going.  (OK, maybe only twenty projects.) 

That Minnesota snow I mentioned is melting fast today.  It's a whopping 38 degrees F outside - unseasonably warm for January, but definitely welcome for getting the streets and driveways back to being bare.  It's great to see the bright sunshine - keeps everyone smiling!

Happy Long Weekend :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bags, bags, bags!

I love, love, love bags.  You could call me a bag lady. (Some people probably do!)  I make tote bags, drawstring bags, and now - tatting bags.  I certainly don't need any more bags, but I just love to make them. They are a quick, easy crafting fix for me - a kind of stress relief, I think.  I am working on a simple laptop bag/sleeve for the English Major at the moment with fabric from the stash.

I whipped up some simple drawstring bags for hubby to put his things in to haul when he goes ice fishing.  A little protection for the weather radio, GPS and binoculars.  Nothing fancy, just practical convenience.  This is an easy to whip-up pattern for a lined drawstring bag.

I also saw this "sock sack" for carrying needles & yarn for knitting socks.  I thought it would make a good tatting bag, so I made some of these for Secret Santa gifts, and a couple for myself too.

Sometimes I just try to figure out a pattern on my own.  Not with any intention of hurting anyone's pattern business - it's just a good challenge for me - sort of like figuring out a puzzle or something.  I bought a little jewelry bag many years ago, and decided it would make a great tatting bag if it was just a bit larger.   So, I made myself a tatting bag and added some tatting to the top edge.  I made another of these for a Christmas gift for a friend.  I now see that these bags are sold as tatting bags, so I wasn't as original as I thought I was.  (Always a day late, I am.  Not to mention a dollar short!) Anyway, I still love this bag - one could use it for many things.  I will probably make more :)

A visit to a MN Lace Society meeting last spring introduced me to Arlene Linton - someone that doesn't make any lace - she paints it.  She had designed some fabric with her painted lace on it, and I picked up a few fat quarters that she was selling.  Perfect!

This picture shows the "painted lace" fabric - wish I could get more of that.  It is such pretty fabric, and is great for tatting bags.  I wanted to make all the Secret Santa bags from this fabric, but didn't have enough.

Now, if I could just design some tatting patterns as easily.  Maybe that will come someday :) 

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Doily for a New Year

During my week off between Christmas and New Year's, I decided to start work on this Gerbera doily pattern.   This is a good pattern with basic rings and chains - good for me to practice my tatting and work on accomplishing something a little larger than what I've done so far.  And BIG it will be!  I thought I'd use the Lizbeth thread I received from a Secret Santa - size 20 - so once I started, I realized that it is going to turn out fairly large.  That's OK - I think it will be pretty!

As I thought about the pattern and which thread to use, I decided to join in the 25-motif challenge in 2010 to motivate myself to keep practicing my tatting.  I'm a little unsure of keeping up, but I love a good challenge!  I am determined to stick with it and continue to learn tatting techniques - and get working on that T.A.T. Artisan Phase II.  

So, I'll count the center flower motif as #1 in the challenge.  (Since it took me 3 tries to get ONE done correctly, I could probably count my attempts as #1 through 3.  But I won't ruin the challenge right off the bat!)

I am using the Lizbeth "Jelly Bean" thread with white, with a round of Lizbeth "Spring Green" in there.

I'm not sure if this would be a good doily to enter, but last summer I noticed our county fair had ZERO tatted entries.  I am going to try to enter something in each category, mainly to keep the tatting from being eliminated from the categories altogether, and maybe it will stir up some renewed interest as well.  I'm hoping to get a couple of doilies made so that I can choose one I think will be worthy of an entry.  For now, I guess I better finish this one first :)