Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Crosses and Tails

These last two crosses done for mom are more of my favorite patterns to date.  [Of course, I have many patterns I haven't tried yet . . . ]  The first one is Mary Konior's Large Cross, from her Tatting with Visual Patterns book.  

I used size 30 threads for this one, because as the pattern name states, it is LARGE when done with size 20 thread. [It takes up darn near the whole page of a 6 x 8 book!]  I used a cream color for the chains and white for the rings.  I love the shape of this one, but I can really see some problems with my tension in the chains.  It's even worse looking at this picture!  Nevertheless, it's still the one that grabs me first out of the 5 crosses I made.

The second one is Julie Patterson's Hearts and Flowers Cross, done with white size 20 thread. This is the very first cross pattern I made, and I still love it.  I have an oops in the center that I couldn't quite figure out even how I made, but overall it's OK.  Again, the picture seems to look worse than the actual bookmark.  This is when I REALLY admire those tatters that post perfect pictures of perfect work.  

What is it that we call mistakes?  Character.  Yeah, that's it.  Character.

While I was looking for cross patterns, I came across an old Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest magazine (Christmas Ornaments) I have kept since 1992. Wow, 20 years.  That is about when I took a community ed class to learn how to tat, but then there was never a group or store or lessons anywhere after that.  I could make rings and chains, but that was about it.  Couldn't read a pattern, but I kept the magazine for "someday" when I learned.  There seemed to be very few tatting patterns available at that time.

In any case, I still need to make the cross from that magazine now that I've found it again, but I decided to make the simple tail shown on that one.  Simply long strands of thread looped onto the tatting, and then braided to however long desired.

Knot the end, leave a little tassel and ta-da!  Quite simple, but I liked doing something a little different with the tail.


I think it's back to some burlap sewing now.  This time will be for ME.  And I really want to add a tatted motif somewhere on whatever it is I come up with :)  THAT will give me a whole new reason to tat motifs - especially ones with beads!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Beanie Baby Project

First of all, this is not my idea, this is just how I decided to do it.  I've seen it at some quilt/boutique/consignment shops - and thought it was so cute!  I have a bunch of beanie babies I bought back when they were such a hit, not for their value, but because I liked them.  My girls did get some for gifts or for rewards, but I chose to get the dogs and cats for myself.  SO.  If any of my beanies are valued over  $5 . . . DON'T TELL ME.  Because I've dissected a few.  Cut them right in half, I did.

I started with some minky fabric and some flannel.  (1/2 yard of each will make 2 beanie blankets, and enough extra minky fabric for 1 more.)  

1)  I cut the beanie in half, and emptied out the little beanies.  In the first one I made, I left some, but emptied out enough to give myself room to stitch the halves shut.  I decided I don't think it really matters if there are beans in there, and I wouldn't want them to escape for any reason at a later date.  I emptied the remaining 3 beanies, leaving the stuffing in their cute little heads.

2) I zig-zagged the ends shut, just to give myself a flat edge to sew into the blanket.  I used a denim needle in my machine to be sure I could sew through everything.

3) Without worrying too much about an exact size, I cut the largest pieces I could from each of the flannel and the minky fabric.  I cut two opposite corners off, approximately the width of the beanie I'm going to use - and this is different for each beanie.  It isn't terribly fussy, but if you cut it too wide, the beanie doesn't always end up centered on the corner.  Believe me, I did it, thinking I knew what it "should" be.

4)  The other two corners I rounded so I didn't have to try to make this be square.  As you can see, I used a most technically advanced tool to do this.  Whatever I could find that was about the right size . . .

5)  Next, I pinned the two squares together.  If you are not a pinner for small seams, I suggest you become one for this project.  The minky fabric is very slippery, especially against flannel, and does NOT stay put.  I placed one half of the beanie at one of the cut ends of the minky fabric, and stitched it down.  I would suggest doing this before stitching between the two layers and around the whole square to make sure it catches the beanie.  Then stitch the end closed with both fabrics and repeat for the other end, being careful to place the beanie the same direction on the fabric so the halves end up facing the right way.  This will become clear . . .

6)  Even though the square is pinned, turn back both ends where you've sewn the beanie to look at the finished side and be sure the entire piece has been caught between the two fabrics.  Also doublecheck that each half of the body is facing the same fabric.  

7)  Place the entire piece on your cutting table, and check the pins.  Re-pin if you have to, and use lots of pins :)

8)  Now you can stitch all the way around, leaving an opening to turn right side out.  (Don't forget that opening!)  I used a good 1/2" seam to be sure to catch both fabrics well.

9)  Turn right side out.  Double check the body parts again to be sure they are both facing the right direction.

10)  Once you're sure everything is attached well and facing the right direction, press the entire piece, and also get the opening for turning pressed so you can stitch it closed.

11)  Now I top-stitched around the entire piece, fairly close to the seam and closing that opening.  I top-stitched a second time around about 1/2 inch in.  These blankets will NOT be coming apart!

It took me about 3-1/2 hours to make 3.  Sometimes the minky fabric shifted so I had to do some creative tucking and re-sewing to be sure the beanie was completely stitched in.  It's amazing how this fabric can shift and fold back on itself!  But it's soft, soft, soft, and I think a little kid hauling this around will not care much whether everything is square or centered or perfect.  So, I'm trying very hard not to beat myself up about the little things I don't think look very good.  It's for cuddling, not examining, right?

Some additional thoughts:
  • If one doesn't want to perform surgery on their beanies, any stuffed animal will do, to make any size blanket.
  • Both sides could be minky, I just chose to use flannel for one side because the minky fabric is fairly expensive.
  • I have seen these with small various-textured ribbon tabs on the sides as well, for a sensory toy.
  • I think this is a cute gift by itself, but one could make a matching crib quilt using the same fabrics.
There you go.  The Beanie Baby Project!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Boy or Girl?

The crosses I tatted for mom include one for a mom-to-be who doesn't know the gender of her baby.  So, I thought I'd make both pink and blue crosses to add to the choices.  Well, duh.  Mom wanted white or cream because she will gift it BEFORE the child is born.  Oh well, some future gifts to have on hand!

The pink cross is Elizabeth Zipay's Tatted Cross, an easy little cross to tat that is just a wonderful design.  I tatted this one in Size 20 Lizbeth Tropical Punch with a spiral tail & tassel.  It always makes me mad trying to weave in the ends of a variegated thread - I never remember to use the looper, and you can always see those ugly little stitches.  Ugh.

And the blue one is Elva's Cross from Tatted Bookmarks - Needle and Shuttle from Handy Hands. Tatted in Lady Shuttlemaker's HDT Helm's Deep, size 20, again with that spiral chain and tassel.  I love that spiral chain :)

I think this one is very pretty, but it was a bit putzy.  All 4 arms are tatted individually and joined, so there's a bit of cutting and weaving in those ends.  Very much worth doing though - I like how it looks and how sturdy it turns out.  I also like my thread color better than that shown in the book.  Funny how sometimes a picture of a pattern will sway my decision to do it because the thread choice is not appealing to me.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Two Months In . . .

. . . and I still have many UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) and/or WIPs (Works-In-Progress).  So much for cleaning those up before starting anything new!  I don't know why I always think things will be different 'this' year.  I guess it's not as important when they get done as it is to enjoy the doing.

So, along with the TIAS and the burlap bags, I've puttered with other projects that piqued my interest.  Like, wine bottles.  Specifically, drilling holes in them to make lamps by stuffing Christmas light strings into them.  One needs a drill bit for glass and a little bit of patience, and voila!  [This is a good reason to choose wine by how cool the bottle is, no?]

I find that when I use the short strings of lights, it's a perfect fit in the bottle without extra lights trailing to the floor, but then difficult to plug in with such a short cord.  I would like to add a longer cord with a little push-button switch on them - then they'd be perfect!  Poor Ted.  You should see the look on his face whenever I say "I have an idea . . ."  or "Hey, look at this!  Do you think we could do this?"   Ha.  [He sometimes answers with "we, or me?"] I don't think he enjoys the crafting much, but he's a good sport to make me happy.

And then there's the Beanie Baby project.  I've been cutting beanie babies in half to make small baby blankets with very soft minky fabric and flannel.  Pictures of that project later.

Another project is a small assortment of tatted crosses for mom, who never asks for anything but gave me those beautiful quilts back HERE.  Remember that trade?  Tatting for quilts.  I'm in!  Here's the first of 5 crosses completed in the past couple of weeks:

Jan Stawasz Krzyz
Tatted Treasures
From the Tatted Treasures book, this pretty little cross in size 20 white cebelia thread, with a spiral tail.  Diane has tatted this pattern a couple of times using doodads for the center to make crosses that would be beautiful framed - see them HERE and HERE.

I really enjoyed tatting various crosses - there are so many beautiful patterns out there!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

Have a Happy One!

Sunday, February 10, 2013


It's overwhelming sometimes, all this technology - but I LOVE it!  Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, iPads, iPods, iTunes.  I do love it, but I'm at a point where I need to condense my various web-based interests :)

So, how do you do it?  Do you use Google Reader to keep up with your favorite blogs?  Do you blog for YOU or for a following?  Do you try to keep up with it all?  Do you download things or keep them on Pinterest boards?  I download, since many things disappear from Pinterest once they become popular.  [Which makes me wonder why they posted their post in the first place - didn't they want everyone to "want" what they published?]  And then there are forums.  InTatters, Ravelry - both wonderful, but more commenting and interaction that is very time-consuming.

I like to blog, but I have no reason really, other than sharing my interests with others.  I don't blog for comments, but of course they are wonderful to receive.  But then, I don't comment on everything I enjoy reading either - I don't always have the time to go through the filtering process to leave a short note on every post.  I do, however, enjoy the connections I've made through blogging!  I have nothing to sell online (though I've thought about it . . . ) so I'm questioning how I want to blog.

What brings you to my blog? Or any blog really.  Is it camaraderie in crafting?  Photos?  Patterns?  Ideas?  Honestly, I look for "free" patterns, but also new ideas and new resources for patterns and supplies for tatting, sewing and other crafts that interest me.  And wow - they are bountiful in blogs!   I find other cultures, food, and other crafty things interesting, but I notice so many blogs are directed at just one audience. I'm all over the place!  I feel guilty if I don't comment sometimes, but ?  Just contemplating my purpose here :)  Maybe there is no "purpose" other than connecting with others somehow.

The variety section of the local paper provided some fun for today as I'm hunkered down during a winter storm.  Some cropping and collage -making gave me this chuckle:

Ha!  I believe I had waaaaaay too much time on my hands today :)

TIAS 2013 Ta Da!

A baby buggy indeed!  Here are my final days 10 and 11 of the 2013 TIAS:

Day 10
Day 11 - DONE!
The TIAS 2013 has been a fun project!  Many thanks to Jane all the way over the big pond for putting this together and keeping us all updated. See the TIAS 2013 blog to see everyone's progress and the various colors chosen for this mysterious project :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Butterfly Heart

Last year I used up leftover thread by tatting some hearts.  That worked well to empty some shuttles, so I thought I'd do it again - however - I've only gotten one heart done so far:

Irene Woo's Butterfly Heart

This is Irene Woo's Butterfly Heart as found on the Wayback Machine.  I have yet to block it properly to make it stay where I want it :/  There are so many great tatted heart patterns out there to try, but I'm just not going to get to them this year.  Where did January go, anyway?  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Itchy, Itchy, Itchy!

This crazy burlap is indeed itchy!  The burlap coffee bags are fun to create with, but I am SO covered with the tiny fibers after working with it, that I have to strip in the laundry room and put clean clothes on when I'm done.  The result is worth the effort though - at least I think so.   This bag is for Daughter #2 - finished over the weekend:

Some of the new, bold fabric prints combine well with the old burlap - I love this fabric.  The next burlap bag project will be for ME, and will have a zipper closure.  Maybe a flap?  I'm not sure - I must ponder on that a bit more :)  

Monday, February 4, 2013

TIAS Days 7, 8 & 9

Finally getting around to posting my TIAS progress.  Day 7 brought me to this:

Day 7

And Days 8 and 9 combined bring me here:

Day 9

It has to be a baby buggy, don't you think?  It's all I can see at this point!  Take a look at the TIAS Blog to see more colorful renditions and great guesses :)