Saturday, April 6, 2024

Tatted Animal Bookmarks and Bobbin Lace Progress

 Hello, my friends. I took a break from working on pattern creation with Inkscape to just have some fun. Summer holidays will begin in a few weeks and I wanted to make some fun bookmarks for my grandchildren to use and share with their friends to add a little extra fun to summer reading. Here you see the Gold Fish and the Alligator. Neither are exactly like the patterns (noted in the photos) as I just can't seem to resist tweaking as I go when something more convenient or interesting suggests itself, but they are close. I highly recommend both original patterns. Both are tatted in size 20. The fish was done with a Manuela thread still in my stash and the the alligator was done with a hand-dyed thread I bought many years ago.

My first bookmark was actually an adorable bobbin lace fish, but I mailed it off as a birthday present to a young relative of mine without thinking to take a picture first. I plan to make another one, though, so I hope to get a picture of the next one.

I also completed this Three Stitch Sampler (source in the photo) which certainly highlights my need for plait practice. I gained some wonderful help with the instructions and some great tips to improve those troublesome plaits with my next practice.

April also saw my first needle tatted project completed as part of Natia Vallee's Needle Tatting Classes, part of the Online Tatting Classes through It isn't too late to join the class. Just visit the website to find out more.

I hope your own projects are coming along well.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

One project at a time or Multiple

 I usually try to force myself to work on one project at a time, but I'm finding I'm actually more productive switching from project to project. I'm getting things done as well as learning and exploring new things. My old approach sometimes seemed laborious and it was easy to lose interest. Now I'm just having fun.

These are some of the things I've been doing this week.

In the top left, the Catherine Wheel Join practice piece is now big enough to hold my favorite mug. My shuttles were empty, so now I'm just trying to decide if I should continue it in some way to make it a little larger. (Manuela size 10, variegated pinks)

The top right image is the completed Cloth Stitch Bookworm on page 22 of Beginner's Guide to Bobbin Lace by Gillian Dye and Adrienne Thunder. This is my first Torchon project in about 20 years. I used a slightly smaller pricking with Caron Wildflowers Emerald Green and Pine Forest.

The center top is the beginning of my second Torchon project--Half Stitch Bookworm, page 28 of the same book. This one uses the original pricking size with DMC Perle Cotton size 8 in colors 311 and 995 (down the center).

And lastly, I'm tatting up my teddy bear pattern as I work on an updated version of the pattern that includes a diagram.

So what works best for you? Do you prefer to complete one project at a time, or do you prefer to have several different things going and move from project to project?

Have a fun and productive week, my friends!

Friday, March 15, 2024

Beginner Tatters Can Design, Too!

 When my daughter, Sarah, was new to tatting at age 12, I encouraged her to start creating her own designs right away--just play with what she knew.  She had learned to make a ring, rings on bare thread, and rings and chains. She used these three elements to create this bookmark. It's a great way to use the last of the thread left on a shuttle. She shared it only with our close little tatting group at first, but when Mary McCarthey published it in the March 1997 issue of her newsletter, KNOTS!, Sarah was thrilled.

Sarah has given me permission to share this edited version with you that includes how I tat it in two rounds instead of three along with her original instructions. 

I eliminated the need for a separate starting ring soon after she designed it, by starting with the bare thread element and then combining the 'starting ring' with the ring and chain round resulting in two rounds instead of three. I am sharing the pattern as she originally made it, but including a diagram so you can explore other paths through the design. The long segments of bare thread combine with the tassel to create a fluid look that reminds me of jellyfish. I love it!

Designing and publishing your designs are two separate things. No matter your skill level, don't be afraid to play with your needles or shuttles. You may be amazed where your imagination and your fingers take you.

Have a great week, my friends, and happy tatting!

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Catherine Wheel Joins and Torchon Cloth Stitch


This is my practice piece for the Catherine Wheel Join. It has plenty of bad joins as well as some good ones. I think I've finally got it, but I plan to keep practicing until it's large enough to serve as a coaster for my favorite mug.

Progress on Torchon! I completed three inches. I love that this project lets me practice cloth stitch as well as the effect of twists within. Just two more inches til completion.

Inkscape and I are becoming friends again, too. I'm learning from the YouTube channel of Sue Fuller who does the Design Classes for channel and from my own mistakes. I completed my first diagram--a simple pattern my daughter is sharing with all of us. It's been so long since I used Inkscape, but some of it is coming back as I work. Most important lesson I learned last week?--Save, Save, Save! Hours of work were lost when the program crashed and efforts to re-open the document crashed the program again and again. Things are working much better for me now. It crashes, and I open my last manually saved copy, which usually means repeating only the last change I made.

Til next time!

Monday, February 26, 2024

Starfish WIP complete, Reminiscing on Past Bobbin Lace Projects


Lisa Trumble's Starfish is finished in size 20 Lizbeth Color No. 136, variegated light blue and white. I've also been relearning the Catherine Wheel Join as I practice Catherine Wheels for design class. 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I want to pick up bobbin lace-making again. The images to the right are scans of the very first pieces I made years ago using the two books also in the picture: The Torchon Lace Workbook by Bridget M. Cook and Lace for Children of All Ages. I gave away my work as fast as I made it, so there are no actual samples. I have a folder more than an inch thick of prickings and notes I used back then. The members of were a tremendous help and resource. Sue Hanson corresponded with me by email and snail mail. One letter from her speaks of my start into Bedfordshire lace. I'm afraid I have only vague memories of some of what I did. I do remember making the bobbin lace version of cluny tatting and finding it quite easy after all of the tatted ones I had made. I'm thankful my memory is currently functioning well, but I can't help regretting the loss of so much.

Anyway, I've been trying to decide just where to start as I begin again. I've narrowed it down to a couple of different bookmark patterns from other books. 

I'm making progress in Inkscape, too!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

"An Element-al Approach to Tatting Design" PDFs Have Been Updated

Hello, Tatters. Links to the updates are posted on my Tatting Techniques page. Just click on the tab above. For those of you new to these documents, here is an excerpt from the introduction of "An Element-al Approach to Tatting Design, Update Feb 2024."

Note from Eliz: If you think about it, tatting is made up of ring shapes (usually a ring), curves (usually chains), and straight lines (traditionally the bare thread). So with those basic elements in mind, what can we substitute or modify to get a new look? This document is divided into 3 sections: General Tips & Techniques, Substitutions, and Simple to Complex Changes in Appearance. As you discover new techniques or methods, write them into your own copy of this list. Above all, let your imagination guide you and have some fun exploring the possibilities.

I created Element-al as a tatting design tool for myself. Because I haven't mastered all of the techniques I might want to use, the second document lists technique instruction links with possible patterns for practice. I hope some of you find them useful.

Happy tatting!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Progress on Trumble Starfish

Tea Time with Tatting

While my husband and I listened to a live YouTube broadcast this evening of a class on Exodus I was not up to attending in person, I settled in ready to make some progress on Lisa Trumble's Starfish. I managed to finish the fourth arm. I know it isn't much, but I've been obsessed with updating Element-al Approach to Tatting Design and it's accompaniment which provides links to tutorials and patterns using the techniques mentioned in the initial document. Personal tatting time has been supplanted by computer time for over two weeks.

Most of the links were broken. Research and the Wayback Machine permitted me to update or replace them. I'm now doing a comparison of the two parts to make sure I haven't missed anything before I post the updates. Google Drive is being very uncooperative in letting me update the current links to show you the updates, so I may have to post the updated links separately. If that's the case, I will leave the old links up as well--at least for a while. Watch for an alert here, and in the Facebook groups to which I belong, that new links are up if you want to replace your old copies. 

With my daughter Sarah's permission, I've also been working on a new sharing her first bookmark design created in late 1996 and published in the March 1997 issue of  KNOTS!  (She was 11 and had not been tatting long.) Since it uses the three elements I talk about in Element-al Approach to Tatting--rings (circles), chains (arches), and bare thread (straight lines), I think it would be fun to tat it up as a sampler of different elements that can replace those basic elements. My completed bookmark will look quite funny, I think, but fun to use and useful to me as a reminder of the fun of using this approach to design. I'm not trying to create a new pattern design, just planning to enjoy playing with substitution. When I finish preparing the updated pattern page, perhaps some of you would enjoy playing with the elements as well.

Susan Fuller and her tatting design classes were my inspiration to prepare Element-al for my own use back in 2015 and 2016. It has been so encouraging to me to discover that some of you have found these tools helpful as well. Updates soon.

Happy tatting.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Updated Links and Progress on a UFO (unfinished object)


While waiting to place an order for more Lizbeth threads, I thought I would work on a UFO. I started this Starfish by Lisa Trumble some time during the last few years while I was out of contact with you. I finished leg two and started leg three. I printed the pattern years ago, but it doesn't show the link. Many thanks to Erin for providing the Wayback Machine link.

Having decided to start again learning to make bobbin lace, I took out my homemade pillows-- a flat circular pillow and a roller one. Covers and pin cushions have been cleaned and they will both be in working order once I return the trim around the inset box that holds the roller. These pillows have been gathering dust since we moved here from Texarkana about 20 years ago! 

Joy Pipes of California helped me make these. She and her family stayed with us for a little over a week. Joy also taught me how to use a drop spindle, how to bead my bobbins, helped me start my collection of bobbin lace books, and helped me learn the cross and twist movements. She also taught me how take my computer apart to replace components, and I taught her how to tat with a shuttle. She was already tatting lovely lace with the needle, but wanted to learn the shuttle, too. It was a great visit. My daughters loved her daughters. Our husbands were there, too, but I don't remember anything about how they occupied their time. 

The other thing I've accomplished is to find The Online Tatting Class's new webpages. It is now "The Online Tatting Class founded by Georgia Seitz." The sessions are on YouTube and there is a Facebook Group. Tami Montgomery has taken the baton from Georgia Seitz, and I truly appreciate her for doing so. It would have been so sad to lose all that Georgia has done and I'm thrilled the classes are still being conducted. Patterns are being moved to the new website, but it is a work in progress.  I've replaced the links for the Teddy Bear and the Blooming Trellis Bookmark to the class links as there is more detail in those files. The Online Tatting Class link is now back on my Groups page.

Happy tatting, everyone!

Friday, February 2, 2024

It has been a long time since I posted anything and during that time, I didn't tatted much either. My health is much improved and tatting is fun again. I'm tatting Sue Hanson's RR520 doily. Mimi Dillman, Dianna Stevens, and I worked with Sue to design this 10.5" round doily. The original was tatted in purple and black size 20. I completed the final round on May 6, 2000 and sent it on its way back to Sue. All pattern rights belong to Sue. 

Even though I had color choices in mind for the project, I tried to use threads from my stash instead. The colors just aren't working for me. It's time for a thread order! Right? And while I'm waiting for it to arrive, I think I'll pick a different thread for the butterflies of round 2 of Sue's center and tat a bit more.

Many of the links and pages in this blog have been updated today. More updates and repairs to come.

Happy tatting!