Friday, April 20, 2007

One more - a Baker's Dozen

I was surfing earlier today and found instructions on Jane Eborall's pattern/technique website for a variation of block tatting. I had this cross nearly completely and decided to try Jane's method for the tassel. The method is really easy to do ... I just had to determine a method of tapering. See Jane's instructions at This cross-shaped bookmark will be turned in tomorrow at our Guild meeting (making 13 for me for this month) for the DOTN Purple & White project.

Using the technique, I used five stitches instead of 3 for twelve rows, then decreased the number by one stitch every twelve rows. I did use two stitches on the rows where I was decreasing before doing the very small picot. The final portion of the braid is actually a josephine chain (using the second half) and I added the thread tassel.

The cross pattern is one of my favorites (from either a Workbasket from the fifties or a McCall's craft magazine from the mid 70's). With the exception of the inner rings and chains on the inner corners, all rings are 3 ds (picot, 3ds)x5 and all chains are 3 ds, picot, 3 ds. The rings are joined at two picots.

To turn the corner, chain 3 ds, picot, 4 ds. Rings of 2 ds, join, 1 ds, join, 1 ds, picot, 1 ds, picot, 2 ds. Then chain 4 ds, picot, 3 ds. The chains at the ends of the cross arms consist of 5 ds. Modern day notation, starting at the top:
  • R: 3 (- 3)x3
  • *Ch: 3 - 3
  • R: 3 (+ 3)x2, 3 (-3)x3*

Repeat between asterisks for the desiered number of rings, continue to corner by

  • Ch: 3 - 4
  • R: 2 + 1 + 1 - 1 - 2
  • Ch: 4 - 3
  • R: 3 + 3 + 3 +(free ring of the previous large ring) 3 - 3 - 3
  • **Ch: 3 - 3
  • R: 3 (+3)x2, 3 (- 3)x3**

Repeat between double asterisks for the same number of rings as the top portion. Ch 5, then start back along the arm by:

  • R: 3 (- 3)x5
  • ***Ch: 3 + 3
  • R: 3 (+ 3)x2, 3 (- 3)x3***

Continue between triple asterisks to where the last chain begins, repeat the inner corner turn and continue down the base for the desired number of large rings as indicated in the instructions for the top. Then continue with the same ring and chain combination as before. All chains with join the the adjacent chain in the previous arm/base line with the exception of the arm/base ends which are Ch 5.

Several finishing techniques can be used. The original pattern used large picots on the chains that would accommodate the lacing of a 1/4" ribbon between the arms, with the ribbon on the top/base extending beyond the tatting to form a "tail."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Strawberry Fields - Revisited

Here is a much clearer picture of the completed piece from the PTG March lesson by Mary Donohue. My older son took this one with his digital camera. As you can tell, he has a much better camera than mine. The sheen of the perle cotton in the pistils really shows itself in this picture.

Tatting Thoughts

I've been tatting for a long time and like anything requiring a skill, my work improves with every stitch I do or every project I accomplish. There are two specific things that have really helped me to improve my work and to be really, really embarrassed by some of my first efforts.

The first item was being drafted, at the last minute to train as an apprentice judge during the 2003 PTG Tat Day. This was the Guild's first event and one of the highlights was the Juried Competition. We had established a number of entry classes and Dianna Stephens from Washington came to the event as our Head Judge and one of our Premier instructors. The Juried competition was a means to evaluate each entry against criteria but was not judged against other entries in the class or competition. Dianna's clear and concise explanations have done far more to improve my own work than she could image. Her presentation is available online at

The other event is actually a program I am still trying to complete. This is the Tat Across Time, Inc. Tatting Proficiency program (Additional details available at This is designed as a correspondence course consisting of three stages: Apprentice, Artisan and Master. Each phase has its own book of patterns and glossary of terms. I've completed both the Appretice and Artisan phases successfully and have completed about half of the projects in the Master's phase. Not only are the patterns, diagrams and techniques well done but once the evaluations are completed and returned, along with the evaluators' comments, my own work has really improved. I pay more attention to the small details like using picot gauges and tatting frontside/backside. My work, at least to my own eye, has become more attractive.

Most of the items I tat have been done as gifts or remembrances for friends, co-workers and family although I've started to keep more items for DH and me. I do know that my youngest sister has yet to give her step-daughters the snowflakes I tatted for them all several Christmas' back. She says, "I won't give the tatting to them until they can appreciate all the time and love that their Aunt Teresa puts into each one." ... My personal opinion, she wants to keep them for her own tree because she's afraid I won't do anymore.

Tatting is a good way for me to de-stress and has become more important in that function as I go a bit older. Tatting is very portable and the very rote of a single knot over and over is like a mantra of my hands.

Strawberry Fields

Mary Donohue gave the lesson for Palmetto Tatters' March meeting. Consisting of mignonette-tatted beaded strawberries, flowers and a small collection of leaves with the steams encapsulated from the threads of each element. This one is really a hodge-podge of threads. The strawberries of Altin Basik with Mill Hill seed beads in a pearlescent pale yellow.

The pistils are made with size 12 perle cotton in old gold and pale yellow. The flower petals are size 30 white Cebelia. The leaves and stemwork are done with Olympus 40.

Photographing this was a bit of a challenge. The red strawberries don't show well on my black display board. I placed the piece onto a manilla background but the flowers got lost. Finally, I used a CD case that is a gold color. This is the picture here and gives decent contrast.

Mom's Birthday Card

This is my first attempt at a hand-crafted card of any kind. Good thing my mom DOES NOT do the Internet. It goes in the mail to her Monday (needed to let the Glitter Glue dry). I chose a white linen card and used pastels to create the subtle shadings for the sky and grass.
A friend loaned me a stamp for the basket and the grass, leaves and stems are free-handed as is the lettering on the face of the card. The flowers are tat-bits from the DOTN Purple & White bookmark project, as is the butterfly and there is a dark purple snail making his way from the basket edge to a flowering plant.
Because my calligraphy skills are very rusty, I chose to print the inside greeting on lilac-colored paper stock. The corners have been cut out and embossed ... I then used a water color pen to actuate the embossing. I don't think its too bad for a first-ever effort.

Friday, April 13, 2007

April DOTN Purple & White - Part 2

  1. Tatted with Olympus 40, Color No. 67, this is pattern 31 (graph on page 72) of one of my Japanese books, Pretty Tatting Lace Articles. Unfortunately, I can't read the name of the lovely lady who put this book together but the photographs (page 16) along with the graphs make it simple to tat any one of the lovely pieces shown in the book.
  2. Pattern sourced from another Japanese book, Tatting by Yusai Shokoin ... photo on page 22, graph on page 73. This book has a little bit more English but any pattern is doable from the beautiful, clear photography and the graphs.
  3. A variation of one of Ms. Beeton's classic patterns and another example of two small threads wound together to create accents by heathering the colors. Solid color is a medium value lavendar would together with a white to deep purple ombre ... size 80 DMC.
  4. Tatted with Olympus 40, Color 67, this is a shortened version of the Midnight bookmark shown on page 22 of Mary Konior's Tatting with Visual Patterns.
  5. A pattern I found on the Internet (will have to look up the person later ... long story about a blind dacshund and Japanese shrimp sauce). It's a lovely pattern; two threads wound together (Vintage Star deep purple and white) and worked as a single thread. The designer is Nancy Price and was one of her first attempts at desigined (1997!). I think she did a great job.
  6. Another bookmark I found on the Internet ... more long story but another ribbon winner. Thread is Color 67 Olympus 40.

Haven't decided whether I'll do more bookmarks for the last opportunity, i.e. due date, at our May meeting. Will make that determination when a count is given next week at the Guild's April meeting.

April DOTN Purple & White - Part 1

As I'm always seemingly a day late and a dollar short, I finally scanned the bookmarks for our Guild's project for the Daughters of the Nile. I thought I'd share a bit more detail since each of this month's bookmarks are different patterns and even different threads.

Top to bottom:
  • An adaptation from Mary Konior's Tatting with Visual Patterns. The bookmark is based on the Small Cross on pages 88-89 with a cloverleaf at one end. The thread is Opera 50, Color # 67.
  • The second is an adaptation from Betsy Evan's "Rainbow Heart Bookmark" first published to the web in 2001. The colors are vintage Star threads in cream, lavendar and a very, very royal purple (It's a shame that it's so difficult to find truly deep colors like this today). There are all size 70.
  • The third is another pattern from Tatting with Visual Patterns; one of my very favorite patterns, Curds and Whey, featured on page 12. The tatting is two, size 80 threads wound together and worked as a single thread. The colors are a medium value lavendar wound with an ombre from white to deep lavendar. Usually I will weave a 1/4" ribbon through the large rings in the pattern but decided to create a braid ... I know I need to fix the BUKs at the ends. The braid was created using four threads and a lock-stitch chain. Three threads as the wrapping thread and a single thread as the core. I made three lengths and then simply braided them together and wove them through the large rings of the tatted piece.
  • The fourth is a pattern that I had printed from Kersti's website a number of years ago. I love how this one works up and will need to look up the actual pattern name. Threads are a solid white wound together with a white to deep purple ombre.
  • The fifth bookmark is yet another adaptation from Tatting with Visual Patterns. This time I used the first row of the Bridesmaids edging shown on page 34. I used two different Olympus 40 threads. The ombre used for the rings is #62 while the chains are a very light lilac. It was another one of those times when turning the corner 180 degrees was not planned but I just let the shuttle and thread tell me how ... not too bad, but this area would have looked better had I used variations of the larger rings with picots and not the smaller ones with only construction picots.
  • The last bookmark is another from Mary Konior's book (can you tell I LOVE this book!!??!!). This is the Anniversary edging shown on page 8 using Olympus 40, Color No. 67 ... did you notice I scanned this one upside down? That's what I get for being in a hurry!

I'll be posting up the other six bookmarks either later tonight or tomorrow. I have to get a card made for my Mother's birthday ... she'll be 78 on the 21st. She really has a cool birthdate; she shares the day with Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom -- pretty good company. Also, when she was growing up, the banks and state/local government offices were closed in recognition of San Jacinto Day to celebrate the independence of Texas by the defeat of General Santa Ana of Mexico in 1836. It was really neat for my Mom to tell my Dad's folks (after they were married) that her birthday was recognized by the State of Texas.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Bookmarks Sold!

I received an e-mail from one of my co-workers last week. She and I, along with ~30 other fellow employees, had worked together on our company's Arts & Science Council fundraising project. She had purchased one of the bookmarks I had tatted and presented it to her mother. Her mother wanted three more booksmarks to give to her sisters.

Over the long weekend, I was playing with some of my vintage threads and come up with the three bookmarks here. They were made by winding two different threads onto a shuttle and treating them as a single thread. All three bookmarks have a solid pink and a variegated (colorway) thread with green, pink and white. The variations in hue for the bookmarks overall is from the solid colored pink thread. The lightest shade is shown on the left (DMC) with mid-range in the center (Coats&Clark from Jodi) and the darkest pink on the right (Star from my stash). Each of the solid colors matches one of the pink hues in the colorway thread.

The color numbers are:
  • Colorway of Green and Pink - Coats & Clark #159 (Size 70)
  • Light value Pink - DMC Special Dentelles #776 (Size 80)
  • Medium value Pink - Coats & Clark #65 (Size 70)
  • Dark value Pink - Star Tatting Cotton # 108 (Size ~80)

These colors just looked like Spring flowers and I was really wanting some spring weather. It definitely wasn't spring temperatures with our highs Easter Sunday ~52F.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

More of the Purple/White bookmark notes

I'll have to get pictures tonight or tomorrow. I'm planning to turn in an additional dozen bookmarks at the next Guild meeting on the 21st. I decided that repetition was not going to be the theme for this month's task. Each of the bookmarks will be a different pattern and even perhaps different threads. So far, I have 10 ten and have used patterns I found on the Internet and used Mary Konior's Tatting with Visual Patterns as the inspiration for several others.

Some of the bookmarks are two small-sized threads wound together to create a marled or heathered appearance (new vocab words added after a search on Wikipedia for "variegated"). Several of the others are ombre in Olympus 40 ... gosh, that is a nice thread!! Pictures later.