Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Big Five-Oh and a Ribbon

Back to work today after the "significant" birthday days off.  I survived the big Five-Oh decorating of my office last week . . .

LOL.  The 45's were all music from my HS days, and the hat was loaded with things like laxatives, pink curlers, toilet brush, etc.  The worst were the air fresheners hanging from the hat.  "Old Car" scent!  Yuck.  Dumb me was Febreze-ing my office thinking the 45's were giving my office a little musty smell.  That got a good laugh.  The hat is now a "traveling" hat, so whoever has the next "significant" birthday gets it.

For my birthday yesterday, we rode bike around two of the popular lakes in downtown Minneapolis.  It was a beautiful, sunny day of about 83 degrees F - perfect!  Minneapolis has bike paths around the many lakes, and each lake is approximately 3 miles around.  We biked twice around one lake, once around the other.  There are beautiful flower gardens to picnic in and wander through - always busy, and many weddings are held here.  We live in a rural area, but we enjoy downtown Minneapolis for the lakes and beautiful parks.

and "Minne" the traveling lake monster was visiting one of the lakes we biked around.  

("Minne" is the Dakota word for water).  There is a website about Minne and reactions to sightings of her here.

We had a great Thai lunch downtown with the Uptown Girl, and I received a little handcarved box, larimar bracelet and a thimble from the Dominican Republic from the English Major from her recent trip to the DR.  Larimar is the beautiful stone only found in the Dominican.  

And hubby found this book from my wish list:

That was a surprise!  I keep seeing wonderful things made from this book, and have wanted it without ever seeing it.  I have been enjoying looking at the patterns and trying to decide what to try first.  So many beautiful patterns in here!  

To top it all off, someone at work told me today that my doily has received a "Grand Champion" ribbon at the fair!  How the heck does that happen without any competition?  And do I dare enter it into the state fair?

Life is good!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

#17 Motif for the Fair

Well, it's finally done!  I'm not so sure it is fair entry quality, but it's done and going to the fair tomorrow.  Remember, there were NO tatting entries last year, so my goal is to keep tatting out there and not lose it as a class altogether!  There may be no competition anyway.

I thought it looked pretty good as I was tatting along, but when I finally finished and blocked it this morning, I wasn't as thrilled with how my tatting looks as I think I should be to be entering it into the fair.  I'm not sure if my tatting is too tight, too loose, or if I just don't block things well.  I know that we are all our own worst critics, but I really think my beginner status is evident.

In any case,I think it is a very pretty doily with a lot of different color possibilities.  I started this way back here on January 1, and alternately put it away and took it out.  I do not like doing the separate motifs and joining them as I go - I usually tend to avoid these kinds of patterns.  I find the same thing when I crochet - I really would prefer to just do rounds.  It just seems like I'll NEVER get done. To finish this is a great accomplishment - entering it into the fair was the motivation I needed.

This was also great practice for me.  I practiced those loopers (some worked & some didn't); I really got to know the front and back of my stitches; and I really had to pay attention when I was attaching the petals of the flowers around the outside edge to be sure I was going the right direction.  For some reason, that sense of direction just eludes me.

My goal with the 25 Motif Challenge was to practice, practice, practice!  I am going to count the whole doily as #17 of the challenge, using Lizbeth jelly bean, spring green and white size 20 thread.

I have a few bookmarks still stashed, so I am going to use this one as a 2nd fair entry in the "other tatted articles" category:

So, now that I'm done with the fair doily, I should get back to my 9-patch project. But it's too nice outside!  Bike riding and deck-sitting is on my list for tomorrow after I get these fair entries turned in.  Whew.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Storms, Brunch and Fair . . .

I am running out of time to get my doily done for the fair.  I'll get it, but it will be pretty last minute as I've had some distractions.  I have to get it done to bring it in on Saturday or Sunday . . . such a pokey tatter, I am!

As for the distractions, we had a BBQ on Saturday that ended with storms and tornadoes around us.  We barely finished eating and the rain started before we got to the bocce ball and horseshoes.  When the sirens went off, and the kids were corralled, we headed for the lower level and proceeded to watch the wind and horizontal rain blow everything around.  It was very green outside, and looked and sounded pretty scary.  We could see on the weather radar that the heaviest winds and tornado potential was coming straight for us.  Fortunately, we only had some branches and leaves across the deck and the yard, a few leaning tiki torches . . .

and a leaning pine tree instead of an uprooted one.

My tomato plants were leaning so far over that hubby had to cut off the cages and restake them.  There are many large trees down in the neighborhood, so we feel pretty lucky!  Fortunately, no one in the metro area was injured, and the damage seems to be mostly trees.  Sad to see those big trees down, but I guess it's nature's way of doing a little pruning.

Our power went out, and that resulted in some shadow puppets on the ceiling . . .

and dessert in the dark.  (Gotta make do with what you have!)  We had a lot of laughs once the scary part was over,and had a beautiful rainbow and this beautiful sky when it cleared. 


The kids will remember the storm at our house - we just hope they want to come back!

Sunday, I drove to my hometown (about 40 miles away) for a brunch with my high school classmates.  Since our last reunion, we've had a class website to keep in touch and post pictures, etc.  We are all turning . . . ahem . . . a significant age this year, so there have been some organizers of motorcycle runs, BBQs, meet-ups and this brunch.  I never thought I'd be celebrating my 50th (yikes!) birthday with people I graduated from HS with.  Not only that, but a few of us were in Kindergarten together.  AND, at the brunch were classmates I never really hung out with, and we had a great time chatting.  We certainly missed out on many friendships during high school years due to the typical cliques, but I found it fun to chat with those I never knew back then.  Anyhoo, it's been a busy month already, and I have a lot to cram into the next week! 

For now, I need to buckle down on that fair doily.  Boy, did I have grand dreams of entering several items.  LOL.  Looks like I will enter a doily and a bookmark this year.  And I promise myself to start on next year's entries MUCH sooner!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Do You Use Loopers?

Do you use loopers?  Is there a method to your madness?  How do you see where each thread end is supposed to go?  I am going loopy using loopers!

For the final round of my doily, I need to make 16 motifs and attach them to each other and also to the doily as I go.  Each motif has a center ring, and then rings/chains to attach to that center to make flower petals.  I either need to sew in a lot of ends with a tapestry needle, or use loopers to ease that dreaded chore of hiding ends. I have been trying to use loopers, but I'm not sure I'm doing it correctly. The joins don't lay nice and flat the way I think they should, and it seems like sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  I sometimes can't even pull the thread through - it seems much too tight, though my tatting doesn't necessarily seem tight to me.

For the tiny center, I start by tatting over the tails of my looper about halfway, and then tat over another looper leaving just a couple of stitches in between. 

This way, when I close my ring I have a loop at each end to pull and hide the ends.  I try to use different color thread for the loopers, and then make sure to pull the ending thread through the beginning looper, and the beginning thread through the ending looper.  (Clear as mud?)

It seems like sometimes this works, and other times it doesn't.  I don't quite know why!  But, I've made several of these little centers so I don't have to stop and do these little buggers as I do each motif.  Is this how you would tackle these?  I have no idea how to do this with a split ring to do the entire motif in one pass.

When I get to the next round of the motif, I start with a looper in the first ring.  I've tried putting it in the very beginning of the ring, and in this picture I put the looper at the end of the first ring - which seemed to work better to pull the final thread in, but doesn't lay as flat as it seems like it should.  At the very end of the motif, I put a looper in the final stitches of the last chain.

At this point, I joined the pink thread (shuttle) by pulling it up through the base of the first ring.  It makes sense then, to pull this end back into the chain with the orange looper to hide and secure the end. It has been joined to the ring, so pulling it back through the chain won't let it come apart.  Then, I pulled the green thread (ball) thread through the green looper up into the orange ring.  I think this is correct after carefully not pulling the threads back from whence they came and unraveling the whole thing.  [I've done this, too!]  

 Now the join doesn't look nice, but I'm not sure what I've done wrong.  I can find directions for the Magic Thread Trick, but I still don't quite get that other little thread.  Seems I have enough dangling threads just doing two loopers!  I feel like a fuddlefingers.  I certainly hope what I've done so far doesn't come apart . . .

Does anyone have any suggestions?  Am I making this waaaaay more difficult that it needs to be, or do I just need some more practice? 

Independence Day 2010

*The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.  
-John F. Kennedy

*Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice. 

*Freedom is never free. 


*Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.  
~Albert Camus