Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tatting and Burlap Christmas Ornaments

I apologize for my extended absence. It's a busy season at work as well as at home. In my free time, I've been working on Christmas presents. I thought you'd like to see what I'm doing with some of the snowflakes I've tatted from Lene Bjorn's 24 Snowflakes in Tatting.

These are the first two of a set of six ornaments I'm making for my oldest daughter. The finished ornaments are approximately 5 inches in diameter. They were trickier to make than I expected. It took four test ornaments before I figured out what was going to work. The method I settled upon required the attachment of a cotton lining to each circle of burlap using a buttonhole stitch before the two circles were sewn together, turned inside out, and stuffed. I found this to be the best way to stabilize the burlap so that the seams didn't tear out when they were turned to the inside.

I finished attaching the lace to all of the ornaments this evening. All that is left is to attach the remaining ribbons. I'll post pictures of the other four next time. 

If you would like to review my original posts about the tatting, you'll find them here:

Happy tatting!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tatting Awards, Please Vote! & 19th Day of December

Hello, everyone. I'm going to share some in-progress details about my latest Bjorn snowflake, but I also want to invite all of my blog readers to visit to vote in the Craftree 2016 Tatting Awards. You don't have to be a tatter or a member of the Craftree forum to vote. Just enjoy the links to the various works and select your favorites.

19th Day of December
from 24 Snowflakes in Tatting by Lene Bjorn
working #19 of 24 in this Craftree Challenge
DMC size 30

I really wanted to share the center of this snowflake with you. In Lene's diagram, the rings, split rings, and mock rings are numbered to progress in a counterclockwise direction. However, if you move from split ring #3 to mock ring ring #4-6, you are going to turn #3 around. The result is that you are going to have rings, SRs, and mock rings that face in different directions. By choosing to tat the center in a clockwise direction instead, all rings, split rings, and mock rings that form the center will be face up because there is no need to do any turns or reverses. (Thank you, muskaan for the TWoT exercises that helped me spot the advantages of making a different choice here.)

I'm not very happy with the appearance of the final split ring in the center. My SR is more rounded at its start than Lene's (see the arm on which I've begun the next round). As I look at the picture in the book, I don't see a gap at the center between #3 and #16 making me wonder if Lene joined to #3 before she began tatting #16. I'm hoping that blocking when it is done will help to make this gap less noticeable, but if I tat it again, I'm going to try joining to the base of #3 before I begin the final split ring to start the climb up to the next round.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pattern Search (More Details) & Updated Element-al documents

I've remembered a few more things about the lost tatting pattern (see previous post). The berries on the edging pattern I'm trying to find hang beneath the horizontal edging. The berries are tatted separately with rings only (tiny bare thread spaces between them) and the edging is ring and chain. You join the berries to the chain as you tat it. One of the Craftree members has searched her Workbasket collection and several of us have searched Pinterest for possibilities, but no one has found it yet. Remember, I tatted this in the 1990s, so it won't be a recent pattern. I think the pattern for the berries was a diagram of some sort. It would sure be easier if I could find the missing tatted edging sample. :(

I've updated all of the Element-al documents. You don't have to be a designer to use them. The links in the Techniques one should all be hot and you have your choice of pdf or Word version of it. I apologize to you needle tatters. I haven't made any updates to the techniques for you. I confess I don't use my needles very much, but all of you (needle and shuttle tatters) are invited to send me links to add to the documents. My own limited knowledge has guided the development of these documents so do alert me if you see anything that is incorrect. I value your feedback.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pattern Search & Thirteenth Day of December

Tatting Pattern Search - Help Needed!

Hello, my friends. I'm hoping you can help me. In my early days of tatting in the 1990s, I had an edging pattern that featured separately tatted berries (raspberries?). I used it as the idea behind a bookmark I tatted for an exchange, placing one berry on the end of the green bookmarks tail as a sort of charm. I can't even remember who received the bookmark in the exchange. It was tatted with Finca size 16 perle cotton. Does anyone remember ever seeing such a pattern? I'm thinking it was in a magazine, possibly Workbasket, but I haven't found it yet in my stash of magazine patterns.

The Thirteenth Day of December - Thank you, Rachael Mohler!

The Thirteenth Day of December
from 24 Snowflakes in Tatting by Lene Bjorn
Manuela size 20
Motif #4 in 3rd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016

I skipped over this snowflake as I was working on the Craftree challenge to tat all of the snowflakes from this book before the year is out. Every one of those chain rounds requires a split chain and I haven't been able to remember how to do it. It seems that remembering seldom used modern tatting techniques is not like riding a bicycle. When I learned it the first time, I was following email instructions (without illustrations) that I received from David Collyer. There are now several wonderful resources out there for learning this technique, but I learned from my own experience in trying to relearn it that you should not give up after using one or even many recommended resources. You just have to find the one that finally causes what you saw in all of the others to click into place. For me, it was the video instructions for tatting the single shuttle split ring in Rachael Mohler's Hen N Chick Square. Thank you, Rachael!

My tatting of this wonderful floral snowflake is not without mistakes. I was so focused on the split chains that I failed to follow the stitch counts properly for the outer round, but the chains are long enough that it still has a nice look to it. 

TWoT notes: I tatted this snowflake using traditional tatting. When I reversed work after the central ring, I started tatting the design from the back so progression was in a counterclockwise direction. However, each split chain segment moves in the opposite direction so there is a small segment of chain in each of the inner chain rounds that moved clockwise again before I started the next chain round. 

Woo Hoo! I can be a bit obsessive sometimes and I hated skipping a number. :) Now I can move forward again with confidence that the next split chain is not going to trip me up.

Happy Tatting!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Laurel Leaf and Mirror Image

Spoiler alert: If you are working on muskaan's This Way or Tat series, and wish to complete the challenge of creating a mirror image of the Laurel Leaf on your own, read no farther!

Motifs #2 & #3 in 3rd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
size 20 Cecelia, sage green

The tatting is still damp from spritzing and finger pressing, but I'm so excited I just had to post this right away. 

Have you ever persisted in doing something just to see if it could be done? Some of you might have figured this out right away, but it would have spoiled my fun had I asked you how to do it. (Hence the spoiler alert above.) 

The background: You see, it's obvious to me that there are a lot of tatters who prefer to use traditional double stitches. That's fine. It's my own preference most of the time, and there is no right or wrong method.  I knew that I could use RODs to create a mirror image. (Muskaan shares more about this method in her blog.) My challenge to myself was to do it with traditional double stitches only. 

I won't tell you some of the many things I tried before it suddenly occurred to me to tat it from the bottom up! I began with a true ring just as I did with the first one, but I was actually starting the tatting from the back. The tatting of the double stitches in the rings must be in reverse order, but that is really easy to see in the diagram--instead of that bottom ring being tatted 3+6-9, it had to be tatted 9-6-3 with the last picot being very small for joining the bare thread as I worked my way up. That same rule holds for all of the rings. I left the shuttle thread attached to the top ring of the mirror image so you can see where I ended. The final thing I needed to do was to bring up the starting tail and join it to the bare thread between the two base rings.


1) By starting both leaves with true rings and reversing work as instructed in the pattern, when the leaves are posed as above, the outer rings of each leaf are 'face down' and the inner rings are 'face up,' making the top ring of each leaf face up. 

2) TWoT direction in this project is very straightforward. Movement is down in the original leaf and up in the mirror image above.

Happy tatting, everyone.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Candle from Mohler Square & TWoT Observations

Candle adaptation using Rachael Mohler's Hen n Chicks Square
Threads: Green size 20 Cebelia, Red size 20 Manuela, 
Variegated Gold/White size 20 Manuela 
with strand of Gold Kreinik Blending Filament

This was my first attempt at Rachael's square which uses her alternative method for a single shuttle split ring. You might remember that I've been struggling to relearn the split chain, but the knots just clicked for me in Rachael's square. Maybe I've ended my split chain problems. I certainly hope so.

I experimented by starting these squares at different places. Both of the efforts to the left in the image above began with the large ring in the corner. As expected after my previous ring only experiments as part of muskaan's This Way or That Set 1, the work after this ring progressed clockwise. 

In the red square that I've attached to the green one, I decided to start with an inner ring. As you can see from my arrow in the above picture, the work progressed counterclockwise as in my previous experiments with beginning with inner rings. By choosing to begin at a ring that is a SSSR in Rachel's original design, I was also able to test how the split rings look compared to a true ring in the same location. See if you can find the ring in the candle picture above. I'm very pleased with the result. 

I considered tatting additional squares to make a bookmark or a square mat. I even considered laying the squares on their sides and adding little bows to the top of each so that they looked like gifts. I finally settled on the candle ornament above, adding some blending filament to the variegated gold and white thread to create a flame on the top.

Conny Pheiffer's Angel
Motif #2 of 3rd 25 Motif Challenge
White size 30 Cebelia

I got one other item tatted this week. Cornelia Pheiffer gave me an opportunity to test tat this pattern for her. It is a well-done design, and she offers the pattern for your free use. Thank you, Conny!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wiggly Flowers, Butterfly Liberated, and Wiosna 2016 update

Wiggly Flowers by muskaan
Motifs #22, #23, and #24 in 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
Pink variegated (size 10 Manuela), Other variegated (size 20 Lizbeth)

After my last few posts, you were probably wondering if I was ever going to finish tatting something. :) Well, I did! And they were all quick, easy, and fun.

I'm always looking for great patterns for emptying my shuttles after a project is finished, and I tend to prefer ring only ones. Wiggly Flowers and Butterfly Liberated are both great for this and muskaan has shared them first as part of This Way or Tat? Set 1 - Rings Only, but she will be adding the patterns individually to her pattern page.

Wiggly Flowers is a great variation of the daisy diagram on page 9 of the pdf (1.A.iii.) as it uses half-closed rings. I love using beads in the opening of half-closed rings, so, after tatting a bead-less one to get the size, I searched through my bead stash for something the right size and a suitable color for a flower center.

Butterfly Liberated by muskaan
Motif #25 of 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
Same size 20 Lizbeth variegated thread as Wiggly Flowers

This little flutterer is also a variation of diagram I.A.iii on page 9, but with "a twist" as muskaan puts it. I tatted this with all traditional double stitches, including the little half-closed ring that is tucked in between the outward facing rings. While I've made loads of those 4-ring butterflies where the ends become the antennae, I find myself thinking every time that the butterfly needs a body! That little 4-ring design is just 2 wings (4 wing segments) and antennae. I like to think the knot I tie is the head. :) Now my ring-only butterflies can have a body. Thank you, muskaan.  (Tat it for yourself and notice the flow of the work. Did you find it to match that diagram, too?)

Progress update: Serwetka Wiosna 2016 by Renata Renulek Niemczyk
size 80 (DMC & Lizbeth)

I'm finally back at work on this project and enjoying it. I'm working round 10 with yellow on shuttle 1 to form the inner-joining rings and white on shuttle 2 for the chains and thrown rings. All of my tatting on this doily has been traditional double stitches, but I do have a definite front side in mind. I've deliberately tatted each round so that the yellow rings and multiple picot rings that I view as flowers (like those in that first purple and white round) are all facing the same side up. This is how you are seeing it in the image above and how I plan to display it. Since this round has more of my little yellow flowers, I wanted those yellow rings to be face up compared to all of the other yellow rings in the doily so far. When I reversed work after that first yellow ring, I found myself moving around the doily in a counter-clockwise direction as you can see. I've found some similarities to the ring-only diagrams that we covered in the online class last night, but I know muskaan is going to cover ring and chain combinations as well, so I'm going to save my thoughts until then. :)

Happy tatting, everyone!

Monday, October 10, 2016

TWoT? Set 1 - Experiments with Ring Only Wreath

Tatting time seems hard to come by at the moment, so instead of tatting the entire Wreath, I decided to play with a segment of it. You can use any stitch count you like to create your own wreath or use the numbers I've already worked out.

In muskaan's This Way or Tat? diagrams thus far, she has repeatedly paired DS (double stitches) and RODs (reverse order double stitches--you just tat the halves in the opposite order) as options producing the same directional results. As I've said before, I don't use RODS very often. In fact, I've used them more in the last month than I've used them in the rest of the more than 20 years I've been tatting. :) 

Experiment #1: If RODs and DS both result in tatting that progresses in the same direction, I should be able to alternate between them with no change in the direction the work is progressing. I tried it in the small rings pictured above. I started the tatting with the large ring in the upper left corner. The first and third small rings are made with RODs. The second and fourth are made with DS. It really didn't make any difference to the direction in which the work progressed.

Experiment #2: A challenge from muskaan to start with a different ring. While I continued to alternate ROD rings and DS rings, it really won't matter. Tat with whichever method you prefer. I normally start with an inner ring and tat both small and large rings with DS.  I've noted my starting ring in each of the two tatting segments above. I've also placed each piece with the starting ring face up (note you can see the top of the double stitches on either side of the picots). The starting point did impact the direction in which the work progressed.

I know some of you are thinking, "What does it matter?" If at this point in your tatting, you aren't running into any problems following the diagrams you use and you don't care, there is nothing wrong with that. Over the many years that I've been tatting, I've tatted lots of pieces with the knowledge and understanding I had at the time. It was fun and it was rewarding. Over those years, though, I began to notice things (some of them very small) that slowly began to impact how I chose to work a design and how I chose to display the finished piece. Muskaan's explorations are very timely for me because I had begun to notice that the direction I follow a diagram DOES matter for some designs and I was starting to wonder why this is so. With her help, I'm developing my awareness of these differences in direction with the kind of designs that have never troubled me, knowing that it will come in very handy when I run into the next one where it does. So, enjoy where you are in your tatting experience and choose to stretch yourself a bit more if and when you are ready.

Now, I believe I promised muskaan that I would share my mental trick that makes RODs easy for me. It relies on two factors:
1. Once you've been tatting for a while, you don't really have to think about how to form double stitches. Your tatting flows easily from one double stitch straight into the next. You are already used to a 1st half following a 2nd half. 
2. I don't usually count 1/2, 1, 1 1/2, 2... I count 1, 2, 3... Every 2nd movement of my shuttle gets the number. RODs (reverse order double stitches) are just double stitches that start with the 2nd half, rather than the 1st. The only thing I have to remember is which movement starts the tatting of the ring or chain segment I'm about to begin. That same movement starts the tatting after every picot in that element. If I'm working RODs, that movement will be the over and down movement that usually forms the 2nd half. If I'm tatting DS, that movement will be the under and up movement that usually forms a 1st half. Remember, the second movement gets my count.

Once I get started, it takes only a microsecond to orient myself at the start of each element or after a picot. I hope some of you find this is helpful.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Tatting Right-Handed vs Left-Handed (more This Way or Tat?)

When I first started teaching others to tat more than 20 years ago, I was sensitive to the difficulties of left-handed individuals to learn new skills from the right-handed. You see I have two left-handed siblings and one of them wanted to learn to tat. Even though I'm right-handed, I actually prefer to use my left hand for some tasks, so I decided to try tatting left-handed.
By left-handed tatting, I refer to holding the shuttle or needle in your left hand. 

I learned some very valuable things from the experience. Firstly, rings and chains progress from right to left (counterclockwise). You can't switch at will from left-hand to right-hand, or vice versa. Believe me, I tried that, too. Once you start a round, you are committed to continuing with the hand you begin with.

Over the years I've taught ring first, chain first, and now I teach finger-tatting a ring first. I always encourage my tatting students to try out different hand positions if they find it awkward to tat with the position I demonstrate. I don't use the same hand position with both hands as you can see from these images.
Right-handed: I grip the double stitches between thumb and index finger and tension by flexing the remaining three fingers of that hand.

Left-handed: I grip the double stitches between thumb and middle finger and tension by flexing my index finger.

If you've been following along with muskaan's "This Way or Tat?" series, you'll have noticed that she points out that her observations are based on tatting right-handed. My own limited experience with tatting left-handed leads me to theorize that progression would consistently be in the opposite direction to that of the right-handed tatter. 

The larger ring was ring #1 and you are looking at it face up. I tatted the second ring with traditional double stitches after a reverse work. As you can see, the wreath will progress in a counterclockwise direction. 

I'll be tatting with my right hand again for my next post. Are there any left-handed tatters out there who want to test my theory further by tatting through the exercises with us? Or perhaps your own experience has shown you this?

By the way, muskaan, I'll include my method of keeping DS and RODs straight in my head with that next post. It will fit in better there. :)

Happy tatting, everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Emptying Shuttles and TWorT Observations

Butterfly Twins
see link in My Patterns
Motif #21 in 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016

It all started with the simple desire to empty some shuttles. I chose to work with some of my own patterns. I enjoy tatting them, and it has been a long time since I've worked with some of them. I thought it would be a good way to check to see if any of them need updating, too.

With tatting direction much on my mind lately (see muskaan's This Way or Tat), I couldn't help noticing that the tatting progresses in a clockwise direction with the 3 inner rings and then changes to counterclockwise to complete the outside round. As you can see from the colors in the small split ring on the right of the left butterfly, the second shuttle that formed the unflipped stitches of that split ring, became my 'ball' thread as I reversed work to begin the outer round. This is very clear in the diagram (image) pattern, too. It was a great beginning to my afternoon of tatting because it really helped me get oriented in regards to actual tatting and a diagram.

Variation of Small Cross Bookmark
see link in My Patterns for original
Motif #22 in 2nd 25 Motif Challenge

I then moved on to a variation of my Small Cross Bookmark. In this variation that allows me to come out of the top rather than the bottom, I start with the arm on the right, work an SCMR with a thrown ring for the bottom, followed by the left arm, and then a split ring to climb out into the chain round. Everything is worked continuously without any reverse works, so the design (original as well as this variation) produces an automatic front side and back side. The tatting moves continually in a clockwise direction.

So, now I felt ready for a challenge, and with a pattern that I didn't design.
Tatted Cupcake 2 by Nancy Tracy
Motif #23 and #24 in 2nd 25 Motif Challenge

If you remember, I mentioned orientation earlier in this post. I tend to try to follow patterns in a clockwise direction regardless of whether or not I'm actually tatting in that direction (largely because I really haven't paid any attention to the direction in which I was tatting). I now realize that this is why I sometimes struggle with a diagram or find myself referring to the written instructions as I work through the diagram. It became really obvious to me as I worked these cupcakes. Once I started following the diagram in the direction in which I was actually tatting, following the diagram became so much simpler!

So, first some basics about the differences in the two cupcakes: The one on the left is worked with double stitches and reverse order double stitches to produce an obvious front and back side. (I'll have to remember share my little mental trick that makes this as easy for me to do as traditional tatting, even though I rarely do it.) The one on the right is tatted with traditional double stitches only. I reversed work and used the shoelace trick where indicated in both cupcake bases. Since I already had two shuttles loaded with matching thread, I didn't bother with the shoelace trick in the top on the left since I could easily change the working shuttle.

I decided to consider the first ring tatted to be the front of the pattern--probably the most common assumption. I've displayed them both for you with that ring facing you in the image. The basic shape of a ring surrounded by a chain is the start of both the base and the top. Since I used a solid color for both bases it is hard to see the order of progression. The wonderful thing about the variegated threads is that they make the direction very obvious. Take a look at the center rings in the tops of each. Remember those center rings are facing you just as they would if you were tatting them but they are upside down. Notice the way the thread color progresses out of those rings to move to your left? When I reversed work, I actually started moving around the diagram to the left. This was unaffected by whether I was tatting with DS and RODS or with DS alone. You can see the thread color progressing out of the top of the rings and into the chains on the left in both cupcake tops.

By habit, I kept referring to the right side of Nancy's diagram as if I were moving clockwise, which kept sending me back to her written directions to clarify what I was doing next. When I realized the discrepancy between my tatting direction and direction in which I was following the diagram, I started following the diagram in a counterclockwise direction. Wow! The tatting went much faster and smoother after that with no more need to refer to the written instructions.

I realize that I didn't get oriented properly to muskaan's diagram when I posted about my observations with her first exercise and I'll be posting a revision of that along with an explanation of what I think threw me off. I hope I didn't cause any confusion for any of you who are following this or experimenting on your own. Even though I've seem some of what muskaan will be sharing with us in the weeks ahead, and even worked with many of the diagrams, I really feel it's only now sinking in as I apply the awareness to actual pieces I'm tatting and their diagrams. 

Happy tatting!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Wednesday's WIP done

Motif #20 in 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
10 cm x 6 cm in size 20 Flora 
the little flower is my own addition

I'm determined to finish up some of my smaller Works In Progress in order to empty some shuttles. I have no idea how many summers ago I started this one by Nancy Tracy, but it wasn't this past summer. Isn't it a cute idea! You should visit Nancy's webpage and check out the links to the patterns she makes available for free use. It was my enjoyment in tatting many of those patterns that inspired me to purchase this book.  

I apologize it took me so long to get this posted. There was one day to finish the tatting and block it, a second to combine the parts and photograph, and then a third for photo editing and blogging. Whew! :D

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Helga Found Earrings in a Bookmark

Helga Schilders, a member of the Dutch Tatting Circle, recently asked my permission to share the pattern she developed for these lovely earrings. She got the idea from the Blooming Trellis Bookmark.

I thank Helga for reminding me that the elements of a design can be used in multiple ways. She was making some small revisions to her pattern pdf which is written in Dutch. If Helga wants to add her pattern to the pattern page of my blog, I will be happy to host it here.

Thank you, Helga, and 
Happy Tatting to all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

This Way or Tat Exercise 1

Motif #19 in 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
Dotted Snowflake by muskaan
6.5 cm in diameter using size 30 DMC Cebelia

The link directly under the picture will take you to the post in which muskaan provides the introduction to this series of exercises to help us understand the whys and whens of why our tatting sometimes progresses in a different direction to that of our diagrams. Muskaan provides the diagram for this snowflake.

In exercise 1, muskaan encourages us to tat as we would normally, but to observe closely the direction in which our work progresses. The goal was to establish a baseline for future comparision. All of the true rings in this design are without picots and the chains, their picots, and thrown rings are, in my opinion, the primary focus of the design, so I tatted with traditional double stitches for both chains and rings using reverse works between the elements with the following exceptions.

I actually chose to use the 2nd shuttle for the split ring that allowed me to climb into the final round because I considered using RODS (reverse order double stitches) for the attaching rings of this round. The attaching ring immediately to right of my start was made with RODS and then I formed the next one with the usual double stitches. It was very difficult to tell the difference since there were no ornamental picots. In fact, if I had any preference at all, it was for the appearance of the rings made with normal double stitches. That means that in this snowflake you are looking at the back side of the rings that form the center of round 1 and those that attached to that round in round 2 except for that split ring and the ring immediately to its right.

It will be interesting to see if anyone else used different stitch combinations and came up with any differences in direction.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

'Geocities' Doily Complete

When you don't know what else to call a design that is not your own, you make something up. In this case, I found it on back in March 2008, so I've been calling it the Geocities Doily. It was the wave of the outer round of motifs that drew me to the pattern.
Motif #18 of 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
Designer unknown
Retrieved from on 3/30/2008

I apologize that it has been so long since I've posted. I've even gotten terribly behind with blog reading and participation in the Craftree forum, but the demands of work and family lately had to override those of my hobby. (I do think I might have heard my shuttles calling out to me from my bag on a number of occasions, because, of course, they went with me everywhere just in case.)

The timing of this post fits perfectly though with a project that muskaan has been working on. Let me explain what happened with this doily.

First, I remind you that I don't usually care about front sides and back sides to my tatting. I even like the flexibility of being able to display things either side up. However, the option does sometimes come in very handy. Notice the round with the green thread? I wanted to use two colors so that the lighter color would be repeated in the clovers between the purple motifs. This round joins to the previous round with a large ring and has both inward and outward facing chains. Some shuttle switching was necessary to keep all of the chains green. With traditional tatting, those chains were going to be flipping back and forth in direction and that really didn't appeal to me. I wanted them to flow and, to me, that meant they needed to face the same direction. 

Since I like to hide threads in areas of the same color whenever possible, I chose to start with one of those outward facing clovers. When I got ready to join to the doily, I realized I was going to be moving counterclockwise. It took me a bit to figure out where to make that first join and to get myself oriented properly to follow the diagram. 

Several times in the last year or so, I've noticed that my tatting direction fails to match the tatting direction indicated in a designer's diagram. When the pattern is a simple one, I make the adjustment without much bother. With a more complicated pattern, though, more thought is required to figure out where I am and where I need to go. I rarely tat with a proper front and back side, so it didn't seem likely that this was the problem every time.

Muskaan has spent a great deal of time searching for the keys to this by asking the questions of "Why?" and "When?" You don't have to have a passion for searching out the details to benefit from her research because she has come up with some fun little tatting patterns for us to use as we learn from her discoveries. I'm very excited about participating. Check out the comments she has shared in this post just to get us thinking and watch for more in the series of "This Way or Tat." (I think I'm beginning to sound like a commercial, but I did tell you I'm excited about this. I do hope some of you will pull out your shuttles and tatting needles to play. After all, the more the merrier!)

Happy tatting!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Geocities Doily Progress

Both of these images were taken by lamp light, so I apologize for the quality. The fabric they are resting on is white if that tells you anything. Still the variegated colors in the lighter thread are more obvious than in some of the other images I've taken.

In the top image, you see the round I incorrectly tatted. I still love those two variegated colors together and really must do something else that uses them both. Unfortunately, there isn't much left of the lighter one so it will have to be a small project.

I've already started the final round of purple motifs. I'm going to wait to show it to you when it is complete. I think you'll be delighted with the designer's arrangement of these motifs. It is what first attracted me to this pattern.

As you can see by that fact that I'm making progress on the doily, my hands are much better. I'm so thankful the severe pain is gone. It's been eight months since the previous flareup. Hopefully it will be even longer before the next. I wouldn't object a bit if it never happened again. :)

Typing is one of the activities that has not irritated my hands at all, so I've been organizing the tatting files in my computer. I've found so many lovely patterns I'm eager to tat. It's like thumbing through your collection of tatting books. One gets excited again about all the lovely patterns you forgot you had at hand. As I'm about 3/4 of the way through that project, I hope to complete it this week. It has also helped me fill some of the gaps in the Elemental documents. I'll be posting an update to both documents before the end of the month, I think.

Happy tatting!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Just checking in

I apologize for the lack of pictures, but I have very little tatting to show for the last week or so. I'm having some trouble with my hands that make it impossible to tat for more than a few minutes at a time. Very frustrating.

Happy tatting, my friends. I hope to have something visual for you by next week.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Eighteenth Day of December

Motif #17 of 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
The Eighteenth Day of December 
from 24 Snowflakes in Tatting by Lene Bjorn
Manuela size 10
Measure 13.5 cm (5.25 inches) in diameter 

I tatted this with a front and a back (directional tatting) which means some rings had to be tatted with reverse order double stitches. Then I took a picture of the back side instead of the front. Will you believe me if I tell you that I did that purposely to show you that it looks good from that side, too? (Made you smile!) Of course I didn't, but I learned something from my mistake. 

Directional tatting is a very useful tool, but I rarely bother with front side/back side, because in most of the things I tat, I like that there is no front or back. This time, I felt that, since the pattern is composed entirely of rings, a mix of front and back side rings might be more obvious and less pleasing to my eye. I'm glad I bothered because no matter which side lands up, the look throughout the piece is consistent. It was worth the effort.

Lene provides little arrows in each ring of the diagram to indicate whether a ring is split or traditional. The direction of the arrows in rings 1 and 2, both traditional rings, seemed to me to be reversed. Muskaan mentioned in past post of hers that she sometimes finds that she tats in a different direction than the pattern, and that may be the case here. As I studied the pattern, I also realized that there could be an alternative start to the pattern. I opted to tat ring 2 followed by ring 1, and then proceeded as Lene designed it. 

I really enjoyed this pattern and will definitely use it again. I'm going to use this one as a coaster and it needs some companions. 

Happy tatting!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Doily from old Geocities webpage

Hello, my tatting friends. It has been a good while, I know. You've heard my excuses before so I'll spare you. I HAVE managed to get a little tatting done, though.
This image does not do justice to the colors of these threads, I'm afraid. The image I posted previously shows the lovely subtle shades in the lighter thread to better effect.

At this point, I thought I was ready to start the last round of motifs, but I had not paid enough attention to the pattern. The repeats in this round are all wrong! Instead of an outward facing chain between all of the clovers, there should have been such a chain between every pair of clovers. I cut this all out and started again. In fact, I was almost finished re-tatting the round when I finally realized something I would probably have noticed earlier had I done more of my tatting in natural light. 

As you can see, I decided to try two variegated threads together, and I DO think that part was working out very nicely. The problem? The second variegated thread does not 'go' well with the solid of the center medallion. If I could keep them as far apart as they are in this image, I might have continued, but the next round of solid medallions is going to join to that second variegated thread. The two purples just clash in my opinion. 

I've started that round again with a solid green. No photos so far, but I think it is working out better. I'd like to come back and try these two variegated threads together again in another project. 

Happy tatting!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Doily for This Thread

I like to keep some simple-to-tat projects going as much of my tatting time is done with the children underfoot or on the go. You've probably noticed that I've posted several small projects lately. Those are nice in that they provide a quick feeling of having produced something, but I find that lately I  prefer projects that I can work on for days, weeks, or even months. With all of my larger projects completed or on hold for some reason, I needed another one going.

I'm also trying to work primarily with the threads in my stash this year. In spite of that, my projects usually start first with a design I want to tat, then the selection of thread. This time, it was a thread I really want to use. I just love this softly colored variegated thread by Manuela, but I've really struggled to find the right project for this thread.

I finally settled on a doily pattern and paired it with this lovely Lizbeth color. The final round is made up of more of the center motifs. I've got a third color I think I'll introduce in the next to last round. If I don't like it, I'll just cut it out and tat it again in this Manuela color.

This pattern was shared in the form of a diagram and a picture through an old Geocities website. I don't know the designer or the name of the person who shared the pattern. The person who posted it said he/she used it with beginners as it is made up entirely of rings and chains. If you recognize the design, please let me know.  I will share the old link when I post the final picture of the doily.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Learning Filet Tatting with Mandatory

If you compare my latest tatting of this project (top image) to my first (lower image), you’ll notice that some of the squares are rounded in the latest one. I really want to master this technique, so I challenged myself this time to select the striver position at the corners without referring to Amanda’s chart. As you can see, I made a number of bad choices, but I’m okay with that. I often learn best by trial and error. In examining my errors, Amanda’s excellent instructions finally clicked into place for me. Striver position A is used when no shoelace trick was needed to get the threads into the correct position to proceed. Striver position B is ALWAYS preceded by the shoelace trick which got the threads into the correct position first. Did Amanda tell me this in the tutorial? Yes, she did. But until I took a chance and made the mistakes, it didn’t fully sink in.

Some of you will understand that while I just couldn’t make myself proceed with those horribly large picots in my first effort, I’m content to move forward with this latest effort. The sloppy, large picots would have been just that, sloppy and large. These rounded corners are markers on the learning curve for me as I move forward. I took a chance to test my understanding and learned from it.

The Catherine wheel spider I made up for my grandson (see earlier post) really helped me with the Catherine wheel joins to the tops of the picots. I also switched to Lizbeth size 20 thread and wore a second pair of glasses over my daily ones for some extra magnification as I worked. 

I did struggle some with the modified Catherine wheel joins that created the picots for the next round as I joined to the picots of the previous round. It wasn’t the picot or the join, but the use of the picot gauge. I found it a bit fiddly, but managed pretty well for the first picot, but it kept getting in my way and creating some confusion for me as I tried to form the first half of the double stitch for the successive joins. I finally decided to use my crochet hook and the previous picot as a guide and created the remaining ones in this block without the gauge. They are pretty even (though they don't look it in the picture), so I think it will be okay.

I’m really enjoying learning this technique. Amanda tells me that the next part of the tutorial will contain instructions and samples of some of the different ways you can fill the blocks which I was very excited to hear. If you would like to give this a try, your first step is here

Happy tatting!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Fancy Cross by Roger aka Freedman

This is another piece I've tatted this week while keeping the grandchildren. It's an easy pattern to follow which Roger shared on the old msn needletatting website years ago. I altered the bottom as I was running out of thread and I thought this might work better for attaching a ribbon at the base.
Motif #16 for 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
size 20 Manuela thread

Friday, July 29, 2016

Some Easy Tatting & Catherine Wheel Join Spider

My grandson requested I make him a tatted spider, so I combined the project
with my need to work on my Catherine Wheel Join before getting back to work on filet tatting. I figured out what I was doing wrong last weekend which is good. There is no pattern for the spider. I just made it up as I went along with a little help. Nik chose the colors and decided on leg placement.
Motif #13 for 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
Size 20, black Flora and yellow/while/gold variegated Manuela
Body is about 1.5 inches long

Motifs #14 and #15 for 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
size 20 hand-dyed thread by Heather Johnston

I've had this thread for years. It's probably a size 5. I noticed though that it isn't colorfast. Any tips for making it so?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Camilla Cross by Lene Bjorn & Filet Tatting Update

This is the last of the tatting projects I completed while my computer was down last week. I continued my fascination with Lene Bjorn's patterns.
Camilla Cross
from Lene Bjorn's Tatted Bookmarks
Manuela size 20, color #041
Finished diameter approximately 12 cm or 4.75 inches tall
Motif #12 for 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016

I ran into a problem with my filet tatting project. My picots from that first row are too big and, for some bizarre reason, I'm struggling with the 'pop' of the Catherine Wheel join. I'm going to start over as I can't bear the thought of continuing with these loops instead of lines in my filled squares. I'm also pulling out the bigger thread to practice that 'pop.' I may need to put on some magnifying lenses, too, as part of the problem may be that I can't see the details in that size 12 perle cotton as well, or perhaps I should use a larger thread size. I had a good start, but I'm glad to be working out the picot size problem now. I just need some uninterrupted time to concentrate on the work.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Continued Computer Issues

While I thought my Wifi problems were resolved, apparently this isn't so. I've even tried an external USB unit, but it wasn't compatible. My Macbook Pro is a late 2009 model running the latest operating system, so options seem to be few. As things stand, I can only get online when I can connect through a cable, so that is very limiting. I'm trying out an app for my iPad in hopes of keeping up with reading and posting. I could try replacing the Wifi card, but the repairman thinks it is a failing motherboard. I've enjoyed seven years of fast, efficient, and trouble-free computing. I've only just now had to replace the battery for the first time. I guess I shouldn't complain, but that song "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" from My Fair Lady is running through my head. :)

17th Day of December Snowflake

The Seventeenth Day of December 
from Lene Bjorn's 24 Snowflakes in Tatting
DMC Cecelia size 30
Finished diameter 9 cm or 3.6 inches
Motif #11 for 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016

By starting with a clover from the outside round and making the 2nd ring of the clover a self-closing mock ring, I was able to tat this in one round. I left a mock picot between the inside rings and the mock rings to give the illusion of a separate round as in the original. 

This, too, is one of the items I tatted while my computer was down last week. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

16th Day of December Snowflake

The Sixteenth Day of December 
from Lene Bjorn's 24 Snowflakes in Tatting
Lizbeth size 20
Finished diameter 9.5 cm or 3.75 inches
Motif #10 for 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016

If you look closely, you can see I still struggled a bit with the tension of those long chains, but I'm content with it for now. 

This is another of the items I finished while my computer was down last week. Unfortunately, the wifi issue has returned. I'm online now with a cable stretching from the router and across 2 rooms, but that has to be taken down when the little ones are here. 

Happy tatting!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

muskaan's Split Color Edging in One Color

Motif #9 for 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016

While muskaan designed the Split Color Edging for two colors, I just couldn't resist trying it out in just one, and I like it! This was my first effort at split Josephine rings, but her excellent tutorial is included in the pdf of the pattern. I was able to start with a true ring rather than a split one, but it really doesn't matter to the finished product in one color.

My effort at this pattern in size 80 thread went straight into the trash bin. It was obvious I needed a magnifying glass to see those half stitches. I can fudge quite nicely for a double stitch, but not for Josephine rings, split or normal! Those of you with good eyesight must try it in size 80 and share the picture with us. I'd love to see it done.

Thanks, muskaan, for a lovely edging pattern. The grouping of Josephine rings between the clovers give it a delightful appearance in one color or two.

Happy tatting, everyone!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

I'm back! & Filet Tatting

It feels great to be back online. It was just too frustrating trying to keep up from the small screen of my cell phone while my computer was being repaired, so I took advantage of my self-imposed blackout to tat in what time was available to me. I'm sometimes amazed at what I manage to get done when life seems so terribly busy, but a few knots here and there really makes a difference.
Lesson 1 (Row 1 of 9)

I've seen a couple of other methods, but Amanda's seems unique in her use of picots to fill the blocks. In fact, it was seeing some of the different effects that can be accomplished in the filled blocks that convinced me I must try this technique. Check out the different ways Amanda filled the blocks in her filet heart motifs at

I confess row 1 (lesson 1) doesn't look like much at this point. It took some careful manipulation to get the image you see above, but I know it will hold its shape as the next rows develop. In fact, I'm looking forward to working through lesson 2 this weekend.

Amanda chose a small project with a simple diamond design for the tutorial, which is perfect for learning a new skill. Her instructions are very clear, and I love the diagrams. I find it so much easier to follow a good diagram than to keep referring back to the text. 

Well, I'd best get moving. There is laundry and cooking that need to be done today before I can work more on catching up on the blog reading and posting and, of course, tatting lesson 2.

Happy tatting!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Computer Problems and a Busy Schedule

A combination designed to interfere with my tatting, my blogging, and my blog reading. Hopefully, the computer problems will be resolved within a few days.

Happy tatting!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Butterfly with Ikuta Overlapping Picots

Motifs 7 and 8 for 25 Motif Challenge (2nd for 2016)
Left: Lizbeth color #112; Right: Flora color #228 (both size 20)

As I promised, here is the first of the reports of my weekend adventures into new techniques (new to me). Georgia Seitz first introduced me to the Ikuta picots (double, layered and overlapping) through the Online Tatting Class on May 2. When I first tried this technique in a ring (my May 9 post), I used one shuttle and a ball thread. I found it a bit tricky to keep my threads in the proper position to get the correct overlap. The step-by-step tutorial that muskaan put together for us beautifully clarified the technique for me with clear instructions for handling the two threads.  I found her use of two shuttles to be much easier, and I was able to remember the process to produce this 2nd butterfly the day after carefully following the tutorial as I worked through Ninetta's pattern to tat the first butterfly. The tutorial works! Thank you, muskaan.

I love this little butterfly. I had a little trouble with the first butterfly's 3rd and 5th rings. These are the rings that encircle rings 2 and 4 forming the upper parts of the wings. My outer rings weren't large enough. After looking carefully at the picture in Ninetta's pattern post, I tried a count of 8-8 for the inner rings with the green thread and I think it looks much better. I must say, though, that muskaan used the 14-14 count from Ninetta's written instructions and hers looks great, so it may just be a difference in tatting tension that made the smaller inner rings work better for me.

In addition to gaining confidence with the Ikuta Overlapping Picots, Ninetta's pattern also inspired me to learn the Ann Dyer Join to the Smooth Side (JSS). I used Karen Cabera's YouTube video for instruction. Karen does a great job. I think my efforts with this join got better with practice. The join in the upper right wing of the green butterfly was my 4th attempt and I did a better job of 'popping' the threads into position. It looks beautifully smooth! Thank you, Karen and Ninetta.

I have to say that when I first tried the Ikuta picots, I didn't really think I'd actually use them. Now, I think I'll enjoy adding this picot effect to some of my projects. And the JSS is a definite keeper.

Happy tatting!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Snowflakes completed for June and July (Motifs 4, 5, & 6 for 25 Motif Challenge)

My plan was two a month and I got behind by two in June. Now I'm caught up through July. (Join us in the Craftree tatting forum as we tat Lene Bjorn's 24 Snowflakes in Tatting before the year ends.) You'll notice that I skipped a flake this time. I will come back to it later when I have time to practice that frustrating split chain some more. :)
Twelfth Day of December 
White, Size 30 DMC, approx. 10cm in diameter
It isn't missing a chain. I didn't notice that one of the chains had folded over behind the ring when I took the photograph. I really like this one.

Fourteenth Day of December
White, Size 30 DMC, approx. 10cm in diameter
I like the way this one looks, but it isn't without mistakes. The small chains in that outer round that are side by side are not identical, at least they aren't supposed to be. I made a mistake with the very first pair and didn't notice until a couple of repeats later. I didn't cut it out, but, determined not to have any more of those mistakes in the piece, I found myself untatting several times. 

Fifteenth Day of December
White, Size 30 DMC, approx. 10cm in diameter
This one is a mess. It looked like a bowl as I finished the tatting.  My rings should have had larger picots. I struggled to keep those chains looking smooth, but I also was running short of thread on my shuttles as I neared the end. I was tatting with the bobbins and changing shuttles to avoid having to add in new thread so close to the end. Can you see where I did the shoelace trick in that top left chain? Note the breaks in the curve. The ends of this one had to be knotted and cut as one of them was less than an inch long. That was close! I hope my own failure with this one won't keep others from trying it. I think the design is a lovely one. Just remember to use the picture as a guide to picot size. Most of them must be fairly long.

The children and grandchildren were all out of town yesterday so I found some time to work on learning something new. I'll be sharing more about my explorations later. 

Happy tatting!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Eleventh Day of December

I'm just now catching up on my goal for the Craftree Challenge of tatting all 24 snowflakes from Lene Bjorn's 24 Snowflakes in Tatting this year. My personal goal has been two snowflakes a month, and I didn't tat any of them in June. I've been needing simple projects for my tatting time lately, and the Eleventh and Twelfth of December qualify.
Motif #3 for 2nd 25 Motif Challenge of 2016
DMC Cebelia size 30 in white
just over 8 cm in diameter
I decreased the size of the picots.