As I was going through our trunk of Christmas decorations I came across some tatted ornaments I had made years ago and decided to use them on a little tree, creating a centerpiece for our dining room table this season.
On this side of the tree are some of the first tatted ornaments I ever made. Seems like years ago, now, but at the time I was new to tatting and could not get the flip of shuttle tatting, so I started with needle tatting. I must have made what seemed like hundreds of this motif (a variation of Kersti Anear's Stumpy bookmark). I can remember including one in every Christmas card I sent that year. I needle tattted them in variations shades of #5 pearl cotton - who can resist the great colors and shine of perl cotton!
The other motif that figures greatly on this side of the tree is the 6 ring snowflake, another one of my beginner motifs I picked up somewhere and made oodles of.
Not to be intimidated, I did finally learn to shuttle tat and have been doing so for about 9 years now. You'll also notice a bit of shuttle tatted garland on the tree.
Here's a close up.
On the other side of the tree I put various shuttle tatted ornaments. Although I can't remember where all the designs came from anymore, I do know that the more prominent one you see came from Rozella Linden's book Easy Tatting... and it's easy to adjust into a 4- 5- or 6-pointed motif.
Another close up of the motifs used. (You might also spy a bit of garland made out of a crocheted Solomon's knot.)
I like to try tatting with various kinds of fibers (you'll notice the orange star on the top of the tree is made from rattail (satin cord). I came upon some hand dyed hemp some time back and created these rainbow motifs.
Our bigger tree in the living room is decked out with some of the larger tatted snowflakes I've made and some older crocheted snowflakes created by my mother, along with old and new treasured family ornnaments.
As my son told me the other day. "our place is all jingled up!"
Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas to one and all!
It's often difficult to find many tatting supplies in the large craft supply chains, so sooner or later you'll look on-line. Here a couple of my favorite places to buy threads, shuttles, books and all sorts of good things:
Yarn bombing, also called yarn storming or knit graffiti, is a type of street art (like graffiti or chalk drawings) that has gotten a foot hold now around the world it seems. There's a book out on the subject by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain called Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti. And you can see more examples of this on their website.
A bus in Mexico City covered by artist Magda Sayeg.
Stitches on the Bridge, an event to celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2009 and to raise money for local charities, aims to cover the Skye Bridge in Scotland with knitting. Donations have come in to this group from not only all over Scotland and the UK, but from all over the world. They'll be covering the bridge October 23-26, 2009. Can't wait to see the pics of this one!
Now I'm thinking of my own local yarn bomb project! Hmmm....
UPDATE: Here are the final photos of the Stitches on the Bridge event!
Haven't had much time to blog lately as life takes over the way it can from time to time. As of late, I've had a short attention span, and have been focussing on smaller projects that I can complete in the matter of a day or so.
A few weeks back I went felting crazy! The results were interesting:
I learned a lot about felting in the process, but needed a break from my felting mania, so I turned as I often do to other projects. I did a series of little "pockets" that are sized for a digital camera, an iPod Touch and credit sized:
Here I experiemented with combining threads and using a tapestry crochet technique. I used size 3 cotton thread for the two pockets on the left, and size 5 cotton thread for the two on the right - I think those are my favorite size threads for crochet! I'm working on finishing up a hat with size 5 purple thread now - pics to come!
Last, but not least, I've started a scarf using a broomstick lace technique. I've used a size 3 cotton thread and a 35mm broomstick lace needle. Here it is in the works:
I now have felting fever! In all the years I've worked with fiber I had never thought much about felting, well, until know, that is. Got hooked when I did my very first felting project just last month after returning home from Chainlink '09 in Buffalo.
My first attempt after that turned out like this:
I was happy with the bag itself, but the straps and closing I was not happy with at all!I should have crocheted the straps horizontally instead of vertically, same for the closure.
My next attempt was a bit better. Here's the bag2 (done in tapestry crochet style):
pre-felted bag, 11" x 17"
felted, 10.25" x 12.5"
Still, I wasn't happy with strap or the closure. The bag was still wide enough that having the strap on the ends gave it that curved in look ... annoying, and the closure ended up too off-center after the felting for me to put up with, sooooooo.....
I decided to re-felt! I cut off the off-center closure and the strap (an advantage of something felted... no unraveling!), crocheted two new straps, stitched them on and bag in the hot water wash it went!
after second felting, 9" x 10.5"
I also crocheted a closure separately and felted it along with the bag. That way I can sew it on exactly where I want it.
It's been a learning experience! I, of course, am not dissuaded. On the way home from work I picked up some more wool ... here we go again!
I was asked recently what some of my favorite books on tatting were. Since I tend to prefer those with good diagrams and smaller projects, these are the winners for me:
Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior is beautifully illustrated and charted. A must have for any tatter. A friend pointed out that the book seems to be out of print (I noticed a used one on Amazon for over $100!) so if you come across one, be sure to snap it up.
A little tome that I often return to get ideas for those bits of thread left on my shuttle is Tatting Collage by Lindsay Rogers. Nicely charted very small projects that can used in a variety of ways... and her collages are beautiful!
I have to put in a plug for probably what were the first two books on tatting I ever purchased. The first was Learn Needle Tatting Step By Step by Barbara Foster. Yes, in the beginning I was a needle tatter! I think I produced one of the motifs in this book about 10 times before I got it right. Although not long after my foray into needle tatting I got the hang of the flip and went completely on be a shuttle tatter, however, I am not by any means a shuttle tatting snob and I'm sure there are those of you out there who know exactly what I mean. Why is it some people get some kind of superiority kick out of knocking other's crafting ... so silly. I've seen gorgeous needle tatting and poor shuttle tatting.. it's not the tool, it's the crafter.
The second book I ever bought, but my first on shuttle tatting was The DMC Book of Charted Tatting Designs by Kirstine Nickolajsen and Inge Lise Nikolajsen. I still have the very first doily I tatted from this book ... what an example of uneven tension it is, but great to look at and see where I once was.
I would be amiss not to mention, Easy Tatting and Celtic Tatting by Rozella Linden (aka Ruth Perry). In fact, any of her books are keepers! I've had the pleasure of being her student at several classes given at the Finger Lakes Tatting Guild's Lace Days in Hector, NY and I always learn something new.
A couple books worth mention, not for their patterns, but for the information they contain about the history and art of tatting are Tatting: Technique and History by Elgiva Nicholls and The Complete Book of Tatting: Everything You Wanted to Know but Couldn't Find Out About Shuttle Lace by Rebecca Jones. Books like this offer us more in depth knowledge about this beautiful craft that's important for any hobbyist, professional or teacher. I just realized this is turning into a top ten of favorite tatting tomes! Here are the two that round out that top ten. Perhaps not a book for beginners (it is well charted, but has minimal directions), but 24 Snowflakes in Tatting by Lene Bjørn is a joy. One day I will challenge myself and tat all 24 in order! My last mention today, Tatting Basic Patterns by Rosemarie Peel, is great for beginners and I believe out of print already (and it just came out in January 2009!). Again, lovely simple designs for anyone and well charted.
I'm sure others have favorites too. Let me know what yours are! I'll take a look another time at my favorite web sites for tatting.
You know, every now and then I get really good ideas for some new fiber creation ... and on rare occasion I even impress myself with the results. Then..... it happens! A seemingly good idea goes .. well.. just kinda weird!
I often create crocheted hats with attached droodles or scrumbles of some kind ... this one turned out to be what my husband calls "the Annie Hat", as in little orphan Annie. And he takes great pleasure in donning it and doing his rendition of Tomorrow. I should mention he declined to be photographed wearing the hat for this entry ... the chicken!
For those in the know about yarns and such, I used just over two balls of Bernat Roving in cranberry (80% acrylic, 20% wool), 10mm crochet hook .. oh yes ... it's WARM!! and ... it's HUGE!!
Think what you might... I kinda like it!
Ohh... I added the other pic just to let everyone know my real hair is much less cranberry colored, straighter and not at all Annie-esque.
The things one can do with tatting! This general idea came from Ruth Perry at the 11th International Finger Lakes Tatting Seminars held this past April in Hector, NY. This is a stretchy hair band with tatting (all chain) attached at intervals with various beads.
A great way to use up random beads and keep other people's lips off your bottle!
Ohhh... nothing like the marketplace at a fiber show! Always a new gadget, book, yarn, bead or something to marvel at! Here's what caught my eye...
First, recycled sari silk and banana fiber from Kipuka Trading... cool!
Two crochet hooks, size "U" (25mm). Designed and crafted in Ohio by John Higgins and available from BagSmith. The larger is an 18" Tunisian hook.
Last but not least! Anyone who knows me well, knows that I'm always on the lookout for (another) project bag! When I saw these I had to get one. A fiber junkie's dream come true bag from Nantucket Bagg Company. All kinds of pockets all the way round. Room in the center for your project(s).
The bag unzips, the pockets switch to the inside, backpack straps come out and you're on the go!
One thing lacking at the marketplace, IMHO, a vendor selling lace making supplies!! Too bad the venue was not able to draw one there. There was a tatting class offered, so surely a vendor might have taken advantage of that momentum, but oh well. Would have great to see a vendor selling tatting shuttles, bobbins, pillows and shall I say it? Thread!!! OK, OK, I'm partial to tatting and think everyone wants to learn .. dont' they?
My first class at Chainlink 2009 was on tapestry crochet given by Carol Ventura. Although I had pretty much worked out tapestry crochet on my own years ago there's always something new to learn! Our project in this class was to create a beaded ribbon bag (with Patons Classic Wool) which we could then felt at home.
Here are my before and after pics:
Carol also talked about designing for tapestry crochet and I got her to show me her reverse single crochet move! Now I'm ready for tapestry on the flat! If you get a chance to take a workshop by Carol, do it. If you can't, then the next best thing is to visit her website and try a free pattern.
Can't wait to start my next project in tapestry crochet!