Saturday, February 27, 2010


This 25-Motif Challenge is as addicting as they say!  But, I'm using the challenge as I intended to - to learn and practice my tatting.  I am counting these as motif nos. 10, 11, 12 and 13.  I've been trying to achieve the "Aha!" moments of being able to look at a piece and really see the stitches, know the front from the back, the joins, etc.  I have had glimpses of each of these moments, but while I was working on this bookmark pattern (Flowers by Jill Hanna from the book Tatted Bookmarks from Handy Hands), I realized that I was able to tat this bookmark very comfortably and quickly.  Here it is in my favorite Lizbeth color "Carribbean", size 40:

When I realized how easy and quick this pattern was, I decided to do a little thread experimenting to see how the different sizes of threads looked using the same pattern.  I made 4 bookmarks:

From Left to Right, the threads used are:

  • Perle Cotton, Size 12

  • Lizbeth 'Carribean', Size 40 (same size as perle cotton size 12 - a couple extra stitches)

  • Krystledawne's 'Be Mine', Cebelia Size 30

  • Blue Variegated Crochet Cotton, Size 20
It's very hard to show the thread size difference in my photos, but it's helpful to me to see the differences using the same pattern.  I can see that perle cotton size 12 seems to be about the same size as Lizbeth size 40. (I made the bookmark in Lizbeth size 40 a little bit longer, or it would have been the same length as the perle cotton.)  The cebelia size 30 is just a smidge larger, and the size 20 cotton seems really big and bulky.  All of them make for nice bookmarks!  (Guess what everyone is getting in their birthday card this year?)  I definitely think this pattern looks better in 2 solid colors vs. a variegated thread - don't you?  I'm still trying to figure out what types of patterns look good with variegated thread and which ones don't.

This is the perle cotton size 12 on the left, Lizbeth size 40 on the right:

and here's the Cebelia size 30 on the left, crochet cotton size 20 on the right:

(I can't seem to get the lighting on my camera just right, so everything is dark and yellow.  Ugh.)

It's fun to experiment when time permits.  Obviously, my spoiled canines (Taffy and Ruby) think I've been spending entirely too much time tatting.  Don't they look unloved and ignored?  Such sad, deprived looking canines.

Boy, are they good LIARS actresses!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Practice Makes Better!

Since February is not only the month of Valentines, but also American Heart Month, I decided to make another heart - this beautiful heart pattern I keep seeing on numerous blogs.  I've seen it several times, in several colors, and was so glad to see the pattern available online.  I discovered that this is probably the nicest motif I've been able to make to see the colors in a variegated thread.  Tatskool has also been using this pattern when dyeing new threads to see the colorways.

This is Susan Fuller's pattern "Heart's Desire" in Size 40 Lizbeth Carribean, for my 8th Motif of the 25-Motif Challenge. 

This is one of my favorite Lizbeth colors!

I was a little worried about trying this one, but I was pleased when I actually accomplished it.  OK, I was thrilled that I DID IT!  I think I did pretty well - I may have some squirrely joins in there, but overall it looks great.  It's so delicate.

I've also completed this bookmark - the Peacock Feather Bookmark by Wally Sosa.  I saw this last summer on Intatters, and wanted to try that pretty tail.  I'm not sure if I tatted the chains too loosely on that end or what - my tail doesn't look quite as pretty as the pattern picture. 

This one is done in Wedgewood Dark and Spring Fling Lizbeth threads size 40.  I am counting this one as Motif #9 of the 25-Motif Challenge.

I am feeling much more confident with tatting lately.  I'm trying out some patterns I have collected, and finding that Yes! I can do them.  I've looked at some of them before and just put them back on the shelf because they looked too hard and un-achievable.  It's a good feeling to be able to tackle some of these ghosts that have been haunting me.  (It may also be that I'm trying patterns more suited to my skill level, LOL!)   In any case, the dreary winter months are proving to be beneficial, and I'm getting a lot of practice in on these dark, cold evenings.

Of all the crafting I have done over the years, I think tatting is the most difficult and frustrating thing I've ever tried to learn.  However, that's what makes it so rewarding when I feel a sense of accomplishment on even the smallest of patterns.  I GET IT! 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Bookmark

In honor of Valentine's Day, my 7th motif is a bookmark from the pattern 'Hearts', by Dee Powell from the book Tatted Bookmarks from Handy Hands.   This pattern was easy to work - and I really do enjoy making bookmarks since they make great gifts to include in a card. 

The thread is Gram's Variegated, Cebelia size 30 - my very first HDT  (hand dyed thread) from Krystledawne.  I didn't expect the thread variegation to be so pretty - but I really love this one!  This second picture shows the true color better - it's varied pinks, not red.    This thread is very nice to tat with - and I like how I can see my stitches.  Is this the thread, or is it that my tatting is improving?

Happy Valentine's Day.  May your heart be happy and full of love today!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Beauty

We woke up to a frost covered neighborhood this morning:

I LOVE it when this happens!

It's absolutely beautiful outside with frost sticking to everything - as a result of all the fog last night that made the visibility horrible for driving anywhere. 

Unfortunately my photos really don't do it justice at all.

I guess winter isn't really so bad - the beauty makes up for the temperatures. 
(Well, maybe until March.) 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Ever tried hemstitching?  I saw a baby blanket with a crocheted edge in a quilt shop back around Thanksgiving, and wanted to give it a try.  I learned I would need a "wing" needle to punch the holes so I could crochet or tat an edging.  Being the bargain queen that I am, I found that JoAnn's had the wing needles clearanced last week for $0.97.  I bought two, since I am notorious for breaking needles. (I forget to change the foot on my machine when going from zig-zagging to a straight stitch. Duh.)  I would think you could also use any large needle just to punch holes - but maybe I will try some decorative hemstitching.  (Right.  In my spare time.) 

In any case, I found that using the wing needle to punch the holes is fairly simple.  I just lined up my fabric and stitched a zig-zag stitch so that the zig stitched on the left and the zag was off the edge - resulting in a nice, straight, even line of holes just inside my 1/4" seam.

At first I thought the holes weren't big enough.  Typically, we see a doily hemstitched and ready for us to add a crocheted or tatted edge, and the holes are pretty defined with decorative stitching around each hole.  I didn't do this kind of hemstitching - I used my wing needle without threading the needle so that I was just punching holes, so of course they are not quite so visible.  I about went crazy thinking I didn't do it "correctly" because I couldn't see the holes very well.  (The perfectionist in me was screaming to figure out how to do it RIGHT.)  I finally realized that I could put my crochet hook through the holes and do what I needed to do - the holes didn't need to be very large.  I think I misunderstood just what hemstitching meant.  I always make things much harder than they need to be!
I will be doing some more of these blankets.  My first attempt resulted in a couple of notes to myself.  First of all, remember to keep the stitch length short and of course, consistent to punch the holes.  For some reason in one spot the holes were farther apart.  The holes that were closer together resulted in this, creating a nice little shell edge:

While the stitches (holes) that were farther apart (not sure why) pulled the shells into a not-so-attractive shape like this:

As a whole, I think this turned out pretty good for a first try, and only took a couple of evenings to finish up.  (My kind of project - quick and easy!)  I used some thread I had, but didn't have enough pink to do the whole edge in pink.  I wasn't sure how it would look changing to white thread, but it actually looks very sweet.  I need to concentrate on being a little more consistent with my crochet tension - I do tend to crochet very tightly. 

I will definitely be making some blanket and burp cloth sets to use for baby gifts.   I keep thinking that flannel with little yellow ducks with orange bills and feet would be perfect with an orange edge - how cute would that be?  Not sure where I came up with that one, but I would love to find that flannel. 

This baby blanket is for a coworker's grand baby.  The beautiful baby was born prematurely and weighed only a little over 3 lbs.  She is in NICU at the Children's Hospital with a chromosomal abnormality , and has now been diagnosed with retinal blastoma.  A tumor behind her tiny little eye that has her already having chemo and radiation at only a few weeks old.  I am hoping that this little blanket will keep her warm someday when she can actually visit grandma's house.

Edited to add:  The more I think about this, the dumber it sounds.  If I wasn't going to use any thread on the machine, why did I think I needed a special needle?  Someone slap me.  See?  I DO make things absolutely harder than necessary. 

Monday, February 8, 2010


He he he. 

This is for my boss.  It's her birthday tomorrow.  Guess what significant birthday it is . . .

I may not be getting a raise this year!