Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another cross & my tatting plans for the day

I finished this cross early Monday morning. It is Tatmom's Colossians 2:14 Cross. I don't like to hide ends into a long chain if I can help it so I chose a different starting position. Since Tatmom provides a nice diagram of the pattern, this was easy to do. I started with one of the center clover motifs. Thanks for a great pattern, Tatmom. It was a pleasure to tat and I love the way it looks.

What little tatting time I had yesterday was inside a moving vehicle, so I picked up Lene Bjorn's 24 Snowflakes in Tatting and some white thread and started out the door. I spent more time trying to decide what to tat first than I spent tatting! The book is full of beautiful projects. I selected The Thirteenth Day of December and got started.

If you have this book, you are immediately going to realize how little tatting I accomplished when I tell you that I made it as far as the spot on round 1 where Lene suggests a false chain. I love learning new techniques, but one problem I run into is that I don't use them enough to make them my own so that I need to dig out the instructions every time I need them. Of course, I didn't take split chain instructions with me. I hadn't planned that far ahead.

The exciting news is that last night's Online Tatting Class lesson was the split chain and Mary Maynard shared a Candy Cane pattern for practice. I didn't make the class session, but I'm headed to the website today to print the instructions and review the log. So doily designs and The Thirteenth Day of December are temporarily UFOs while I master the split chain. I needed to set the doilies aside for a few days anyway so I can return to them fresh.

I've been thinking about making a list of techniques I would like to master and then setting myself a personal challenge to work with each technique until I feel really comfortable with it. I need to think it through and make the list first so I can see how many techniques I'm talking about. Maybe some of the rest of you would like to make a similar list and we can share some project ideas for practice. I expect Georgia's Online Class website will be my main resource.

Time to get back to work around here. Then I'm going to make that list!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Roger aka Freedman crosses

My oldest daughter wanted to do some tatting this weekend. After looking through my collection of patterns, she chose one of Roger aka Freedman's patterns designed in 2000. It looked like fun so I loaded a shuttle, too. I love the fact that one full shuttle and a ball were perfect to complete each cross. I finished one and started another while we watched a movie together last night. Then I finished the second one this afternoon. Both of these are made with size 20 Manuela threads. The red one is like the original pattern.  The other has the longer base recommended in the pattern.

Roger shared this pattern years ago on his NeedleTattingTwo website.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jane Eborall's latest cross patterns

Here they are. It has been fun to take a break from the doily designs to try the three cross patterns that Jane Eborall has released in the last few days. All three threads are by Manuela. The Flowery Cross is done in a size 10 variegated. The Celtic Cross and the Iona Cross are both in size 20. I tatted them in the reverse order to the way Jane released them. I started with Flowery Cross. If you look closely, you'll see that my rings are not very smooth looking. I found that I tended to tat my rings too tightly. I relaxed the tatting in the next two and I think they look much better. I also made the lock join chains longer. This is the first time I've made lock join chains and I really like the way they look as well as how easy they are to tat. Thank you very much, Jane, for sharing these patterns. They were lots of fun to tat.
The patterns are on Jane's website here or you can read about them and then follow the links in Jane's blog.

Thank you, Diane.

Here is the lovely doily that Diane gave me in her recent Great Hanky Challenge. I found a thread in my stash, Mettler Color #669, that seems a perfect match for the embroidery. I need to decide how I want to attach an edging before I actually start work, but I'd really like to try to design an edging.

Bill Cosby Breakfast

I began my day with a special breakfast today--a rare treat. Have you heard Bill Cosby's monologue about chocolate cake for breakfast? (It is available on YouTube.) My husband and I heard the monologue before we ever had children. Once our children came along, we shared this breakfast concept with them. We are too nutrition-conscious to eat that way often, but it is fun to break out of the usual mold now and then. Mom made a gluten-free, vanilla cake yesterday and topped it with a chocolate glaze that was my grandmother's recipe. You cook the chocolate until it is almost at candy stage, poke holes into the cake, and pour it over the top. It soaks into the cake making a delicious, gooey dessert. It was wonderful yesterday and wonderful today and brought back great memories from my childhood and the years of raising our children.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Doily Ramblings

I love designing. Most of my projects have been small ones. The only doily designs I've done were parts of round robins, and those were years ago. I don't think I've ever designed one from beginning to end all by myself that was bigger than a coaster or snowflake.

I mentioned that I'm playing around with the Valeire Square again. It is no surprise to me that my first motif should turn out to look complete at coaster size. But I found myself wondering what if I did this instead of that and then added this in the next round and it's growing! The problem is that just as I've got the idea I like to finish it off at its new size, I've also got ideas about where it could go next. It occurs to me that I need more centers so I can finish the current one as I envision it and then do it again with the other ideas. 

At some point I'm going to change colors again so I won't get bored with this project, but I find myself wondering how doily designers know when to quit. With round robins, the number of tatters involved determines when it is finished. So please tell me, how do YOU decide when a doily is finished?

Notes about the picture. The one with the dark outer rounds is the first motif and it is complete as is at 10 cm in size 20 thread. The other is still in progress. I haven't finished the tatting or eliminated the thread ends yet. The pic is just to give you an idea of how I'm playing with the design.
I like to design in color, but I will want to test them in a solid color before I consider any of them truly finished.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Working with color for a break

After all of those white doilies, I felt a real need to work with some colors. After starting and stopping a few things, I decided to play with the Valeire Square again. One small doily is drying and a couple more squares are ready for more play. I'll probably work one or two of the designs up in white before I'm done. I find this little square so fun to tat that I keep coming back to it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dragonwing Doily is Finished

I finished Anne Bruvold's Dragonwing Doily before I went to bed last night. It really is a pleasure to work and since it uses rings and chains only (ball and shuttle or needle), it is a great pattern for new tatters to practice pattern reading. Instead of repeating every ring and chain, each wedge is a repeat of the one before it. Thank you Anne, for making this pattern available to us. I really enjoyed tatting it up.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Maltese Rings

The doily is fixed and moving in the right direction again. The butterfly looks much better. He is finished with only two wings and I owe Jane Eborall an apology for posting such a poor representation of her pattern. I think my outer picots are smaller and I may have added too many stitches in the chains between the wings. What led to me give Jane's butterfly a try was that she seemed to combine some techniques. One of the things I dislike about the look of my Maltese Ring Pinwheel Flake is that the Maltese rings seem to get a sloppy start because of a gap caused by the inner threads. I realize you can't tell this in the picture. It is probably one of those tiny things that just drives the creator mad--that would be me! Jane's diagram made me think that she starts differently. I haven't consulted with Jane, but it looked to me like she might be tatting the first and last ds in each Maltese ring with both shuttles, thereby giving the inner picots a nice clean start inside the ring. It works! I also noticed a combination of techniques around the outward facing ring of the top wing segment. (You may want to review Miranda's notes on the differences and similarities between Daisy Picots and Maltese Rings.) Jane takes a break from the usual production of Maltese ring double stitches to produce a Daisy Picot double stitch on either side of that little ring which makes it much easier to coax it to sit nicely to the outside. I enjoyed playing with with pattern and encourage all of you to follow the link to admire Jane's tatted version. BTW, Fox, did you notice the beads? I'm practicing.

Untatting today

Today I will get to fix the messes I made of my projects yesterday. I realized I had added a couple of extra double stitches to one of the chains in the Dragonwing doily, but I knew that wouldn't be noticed. However, as I rounded the turn to start back to the center I realized I had added an extra picot to the bottom ring on the previous round. THAT is noticeable! So I picked up the Maltese ring butterfly I've been working on (designed by Jane Eborall). As I'm finishing wing 2, I realized that I'm going to run out of thread before this butterfly has 4 wings and my interpretation of Jane's technique is resulting in a slightly different look. I decided to turn it into a side view as I've learned what I sought to learn from the project. Since it didn't have a head ring yet, I needed to tat my way back to the beginning. The results look awful. I'm going to take those stitches out and either tat my way back to the beginning differently or add in more thread and finish the butterfly.

I was tempted to start a third project last night, but I knew that if I did, these two would wind up as UFOs. I know me. So both are going with me as I run errands with my parents today. I'm hoping that one or both will have new double stitches moving in the correct direction before the day is over.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2 Doilies Finished

I've finished two of Jon Yusoff's Merriment Doilies in white, size 20. Some of you may remember that I'm working on some small white doilies for wedding presents. I'm a little over half finished with another white one using Anne Bruvold's Dragonwing Doily pattern.

I've also found some time to play with this week's online tatting lesson (Jeanne Lugert's instructions on alternating colors in Daisy picots), review Miranda's notes comparing the Maltese ring and Daisy picots, and play around with the two techniques. I missed the classroom session, but worked with Jeanne's instructions. While it didn't look to me like it could possibly work, I followed her instructions carefully and there it was--a flower with the daisy picots in alternating colors! Many thanks to Jeanne and Georgia for sharing the technique with us. It's fun to try new things.

I'm currently working on one of Jane Eborall's butterflies in which one seems to use some of both techniques (Maltese rings & Daisy picots). I've emailed Jane to see if I'm working it correctly. Once I finish the tatting and make sure I've correctly interpreted the instructions, I'll show it to you.

Happy tatting!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

They are back!

While I have no clue what happened, my blog list is back.

With bachelor's degree in hand, I've been exploring the job market. I'm excited about the next step and enjoying the process.

I've also really missed all of you in the online tatting community. I'm eager to catch up on what you have been doing. I managed to log in to quickly read a few blogs once in a while this semester, but that is all. Therefore, I declare today to be a holiday devoted to tatting & blogging. My teapot, shuttles, and laptop are all ready for the day.

Lost blog list

When I logged in yesterday, the list of blogs I follow was missing. I spent two hours finding and restoring some of them only to lose them again. Is anyone else having this problem?