Saturday, December 3, 2011

low tech weaving - again

cup o' java on a mug rug

Seems like ages since I've posted, but such is life! I should have known better than to vow I was going to work straight through any pattern book of anything, but I get carried away ... it always seems like a fun idea, but then I get side-tracked and other things catch my attention and well ... I'm off on something else before I know what has hit me.

a mug rug still on the "loom"
In this case, it's been a new ukulele! But enough about that... I have had some time to do a bit of crafting and decided to go very low tech (again ... I discovered this a while back) and whip up a few mug rugs for the holiday season.

When I decide to do these I find a piece of cardboard, cut it to the dimensions I need, make a good number of slots in it and away I go!

Depending on the pattern (or lack thereof) these are really a pretty quick projects to whip up. Easy to do when you're watching a movie or tv show.

lots of mug rugs
I'm pretty new to weaving, but this past summer I bought a small hand loom and tried it out (you can see those results here) and I've been fascinated by what one can do with a potholder loom. Hmm... think I'll dig that out next and see what I come up with!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

sixth day of december

The sixth day of December.
Here's another pretty one! This one was, in a word ..... futzy! Ok, so you might be wondering what the heck that means?!? Futzy, at least for me, means fussy, fastidious.... hmm... a bit annoying!! It is, however, a snowflake that keeps you on your toes. Since I do right side/wrong side tatting (ie. I tat my chains and rings off chains with the double stitch in reverse order) I did need to pay more attention than usual to which direction the chains were going in and there were a couple times I lost count so don't look toooooo closely!!

But, I was pretty pleased with the result and the overall look of this one. Day seven is ahead!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

fifth day of december

Ok, here's a lesson on blocking... it's one I don't remember enough. Like I've said, I'm a pretty lazy blocker.¹ With that said .... here's the fifth day snowflake ..... before and after!

BEFORE: wow.... it's a mess!
Tell your friends you're experimenting
with "freeform" tatting!
If your tatting looks like this (see BEFORE pic) don't give up hope! It may not be you, it just may be that gremlin otherwise known as the twist of the thread. And, in all honestly, this is a pretty chainy motif and unless you tat extremely tight your chains might need to be straightened out a tad.

So have no fear... the power of water... it's like awesome! I wet it down and gently pulled and tugged things into position and voilà! It came out actually looking like something!

AFTER: it really IS a snowflake! the Fifth day of December

Onward to the sixth now! Woo woo!

¹[Note: Confidentially... I'm a somewhat lazy crafter in general. I mean, if I make a mistake (that happens only once or twice a year... oh yeah) I only untat, undo, rip out, etc if its presence will cause a major issue as I go forward with whatever project I'm doing .... yep, that's me. We all got bigger problems in life to fret over, so for me a missing picot or one or two more/less stitches isn't going to keep me up at night.]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

fourth day of december

The fourth day snowflake is another one that I've made in the past and a fairly easy pattern to follow:

The Fourth Day of December snowflake, tatted with Olympus 40.
I decided to use two different variegated threads. What's nice about this one is that you can work the snowflake continuously because of how the second round starts with a chain coming up from the last chain of the first round... it's always good when you don't have to cut and hide threads!

Now to the fifth!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

third day of december

Here's a fuzzy favorite of mine! As I mentioned before, I've made several of these in the past... it's a lovely pattern and the layers of picoted chain add a bit of three dimensional flair.

Third Day of December snowflake in turquoise.

Just in case you're not familiar with the book these patterns come from, here's the reference:

Bjørn, Lene. 24 Snowflakes in Tatting. Akacia, 2002.

You can probably find it on Amazon or wherever you find tatting supplies and books. It's my kind of book... small (abt. 8" x 5" - easy to throw in a purse) and to the point! It's not for beginners. There are minimal written instructions, but each snowflake is diagrammed and at the beginning there are succinct instructions on how to do a lock stitch, false picot, work with beads, do ring on ring, chain on chain and false chain. I just realized that there is no explanation of how to do a split ring, and that does come in handy in some of the patterns. Although I say it's not for beginners, you're certainly able to pick and choose which snowflakes you do, some are easier than others and they are all lovely!

I'm really surprised I've managed to finish one every day since I started.... I assure you that won't be the norm as time goes on, but for now ... on to the fourth day!

Monday, September 19, 2011

second day of december

I had more time that I thought I might yesterday, so without further ado .... here's the second of the 24 Snowflakes:
Second Day of December, using Olympus thread, size 40.

For this one I used a shade of purple for the chains and a variegated for the rings. It could have been done in one round if you used a split chain, but since I wasn't using the same thread on both shuttles, it's done in two rounds.

Now.... I really should have taken a pic of this one before I blocked it! It was one wavy crumply looking snowflake and I was a bit worried that my tension was just not right for this pattern (this can, of course happen... I've had things turn out where I really needed an extra segment - or one fewer - to make something work right) but when I would flatten it out it did seem better, so I'll say this: Blocking is really worth it!!

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I hate the feel of starched things, but blocking can be the bomb! I'm a pretty lazy blocker too .... I simply dampen the whole motif and lay it out a towel, gently pulling it into shape to dry. I don't pin it all down and poke at every picot like I've seen shown in some books. I mean, I'm doing this for fun, not for the some state fair competition, so I don't see the point of getting all anal about it!

On to number three! Gotta say.... the next one is one I've made several times before just I think it's just too cute. More to come...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

first day of december

First Day of December snowflake, tatted in Olympus, size 40 thread.
Yay! I just finished the first snowflake in the 24 Snowflakes book. I'll need to hide the ends and block it. Don't know how you feel about starching, but I dislike greatly the feel of starched items, so I won't be starching it. I find my snowflakes hold well without it.

Having never worked this particular pattern before, I have to say that it was not particularly difficult. The hardest part (and I find this true of most one shuttle designs) is being consistent with the amount of thread to leave between rings, but being a nudge or so off on some didn't make a big difference while working this pattern for me.

Ok... on to number 2!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

snowflakes in September

My fall tatting project ... make all 24!
Since I've been devoting myself to other kinds of fiber projects lately I really haven't been tatting too much, and in all honesty I haven't been feeling much tatting mojo lately, but... I do miss having a small project to throw in my bag when I'm on the go and is easy to pull out and do anywhere.

So, I've decided to tat my way through the 24 Snowflakes book by Lene Bjorn. I decided that I'll be using my favorite tatting thread for all the snowflakes, Olympus, size 40. Each one will be in a different color, though.

I started number one today (the humble beginnings seen in the pic above) and I'm hoping to get all 24 done for my Christmas tree! I'll keep you posted on progress!

Monday, September 12, 2011

warm & cozy flutes

My bamboo flutes. Brrrr.... they look chilly!

For those of you who might not know already.... when I'm not tatting or crocheting I'm often playing some musical instrument, and usually something from the flute family. Needless to say I've been creating flute cases for some time now.

I recently bought some new bamboo flutes recently from Erik the flutemaker, and coming from Florida I thought they might get cold here during the New York winter to come, so .... I've gathered up some bright wool yarn to use to crochet a big flute bag to accommodate them all.

A couple of single sized flute bags (upper right) and the beginnings of my larger flute bag that I'll felt once the crocheting is done.

I plan on felting it when the crocheting is over. I'll let you know how that goes!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I've been quite pleased with how little purse/smart phone pouch worked out. The base, the pouch itself, is crocheted with two strands of size 20 thread held together. One is orange, one is more of a pale coral color. As I created the pouch itself, I tatted, with the orange thread, strips of beaded lace that I then crocheted in as I went along. The beads are size 11 seed beads in a mix of colors that I felt coordinated with the thread colors.

For anyone who can crochet and tat, this is a really easy sort of project and the result is quite lovely. Just find a favorite edging pattern and off you go.

Here's how it looked in the beginning!
Three rows of lace added at this point, there are seven in all.
the finished purse
close up of the tatting

Thursday, August 11, 2011


A few weeks ago I bought myself a small lap loom and decided to try my hand at some basic weaving. I talked briefly about my weaving background or lack thereof, here. So ... now ... the project is finally finished! Here are my pics of process:

In the beginning...
It was fun learning how to change colors
It seems VERY slow going, but also rather rhythmic once you get into it
About at this point it was getting harder, the shed stick doesn't fit in anymore or the shuttles, so I started using a large, blunt plastic needle
Almost there!
Yay! Went as close as I could to the pegs and took it off the loom
Had to spend some time whip stitching around the exposed warp threads to make it look finished
And here's my result! I braided some of the weaving wool for use as a strap. I sewed the sides together and then sewed the braiding onto the purse, also added a button and closing

 I'm sure someone who knows much more about weaving than I do can explain why I got this sort of "bucket" shape to my final product... I'm guessing it's because my warp was not as tight as it should have been. Overall, it was a fun project. Would I do it again? Yes! I can see myself getting into this and if you enjoy working with fibers in general I'd recommend that you give it a try.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

they came from outer space

Ok, so they didn't really come from outer space. I've had these tubular hematite beads for a while now. I created a necklace with them that I wasn't happy with, so snip, snip, snip...

I thought they might look interesting in tatting, so I loaded some of them on a shuttle and just like pod people, they sprang out!

Seems a matching alien necklace is in order now!

Friday, July 29, 2011


If you're wondering what else I've been up to lately ... here it is ... the Crunchies!

a few of the crunchies gather round for a pic

They even have their own Crunchies blog here. I hesitate to call them amigurumi, though some might classify them that way. They hate labels, so well, I'll just call them Crunchies.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

webs we weave

I've never done weaving on a big scale before, actually, other than using a potholder loom and fashioning a little loom out of some cardboard, I've never done much weaving at all! To get a taste I got a simple lap loom and have decided to give it a go. It came with one shuttle and I dug out some netting shuttles that I had kicking around from when I tried my hand at netting a few years ago.

It seems like slow work, but maybe that's just because I'm new to it. Think I might experiment with the various colors and see how it goes ... more pics to follow!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

vested interest

Last weekend I went to some yard sales. It's always fun to come upon vintage fiber arts books .... mainly because the photos are usually just so dated that they are absolutely awesome! I came upon this book of "big needle"knit and crochet patterns. I'm not sure when it was published, but I'm figuring by the styles it's probably from the 70s.

here's the cover ... hey, who gave that baby those huge knitting needles to play with!!
Here's my favorite picture of them all ... a man's vest:

The picture is black and white, but I think you get the idea.... I would love to see my husband in this one! The checkered shirt was a nice touch to the whole ensemble too.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


One of the most fun parts of summer around where I live is going to yard sales... yay! Today, a neighboring town had their "town-wide" yard sale. It would have been possible to spend much of the day there poking around and hunting down some great buys. Of course, I didn't have all day, but I did have time to wander down a few streets and look things over. I generally scan the tables and boxes and head for anything that looks craft related since I never know what I might find. Today it was all about buttons!

As a child I was always fascinated by going through my mother's big green sewing box and looking at all the odds and ends of things in there and wondering what on earth one did with some of that stuff! She had a small plastic box she kept in her sewing box that contained buttons, cause, well ... you never know when you might lose one and need a replacement!

I use buttons myself from time to time, and had been running low lately, so I decided I might see what I could find at today's yard sale and.... here they are:

These containers all had buttons (and few other sundry items).
I find it interesting the various containers people use for their buttons. This was a great collection: a margarine tub, little plastic box, whipped topping container, old pill bottle and a couple generic plastic containers. I thought they warranted a picture before I sorted through them and added them to my own button box.

Buying things like this always make me think about the people who owned them, what they were like, if the contents of these little containers met much to them. Of course, I wonder if someday someone will be going through my button box.

This one was my grandmothers. I'm not sure what the original purpose of the box was, maybe some type of butter box.


And ... here's mine ... overflowing after today's purchase:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

we are open!

Yeah! This weekend is the official open of Crunchy Banana for the summer season! We'll be open:
  • Friday & Saturday 10 - 5
  • Sunday 12 - 4

We've been busy rearranging the shop for our second year in business. Here are a few pics:

little bags, pouches and skull necklaces!

tatted, crocheted and knotted jewelry

pouches and pockets just right for smart phones

my "folkwinds" area ... Native American flutes, ocarinas, whistles

bottle bags, beach totes, skinny scarves! all with 100% natural fibers

Thursday, May 19, 2011

skinny scarves

frilly loopy skinny scarf, hand dyed yarn, crocheted

I'm on a roll of trying to finish up some projects before starting anything new... at least that's what I tell myself (I get distracted by wanting to try something new very easily).

Here are two "skinny scarves" that I designed and have just finished. They are both crocheted from the same hand-dyed sock yarn. Each is about six feet long. Great for Summer wear since they're really a cross between a necklace and a scarf... more of a neck adornment!

rings and chains skinny scarf, crocheted

Sunday, April 17, 2011

more fancy phones

A few weeks ago I showed off my latest smart phone cover up:

I was so pleased with the result of combining crochet and tatting that I set out on making another. Here are the pics!

I used Lizbeth 10 for the crocheting and a matching Lizbeth 40 for the tatting.
Again I made the pouch itself as a wristlet that opens easily to get at your phone.
Here's a detail shot of the single crochet and tatting. This time I used clusters of three seed beads (size 11) on the picot of the chain.
Since I had some leftover thread, I tatted this lock stitch chain bracelet/necklace. The beginning and ending rings just slip over one another to hold it secure.I've never had a problem with one of them coming undone (you'd really have to get it a pretty hard tug).
Next up! I have a new idea for another phone pouch, but this time I'll be using different tatted ornamentation. Pics to follow!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Finger Lakes Tatting Conference 2011

Another year has come and gone.... the annual trip down Seneca Lake to Lodi, NY for the Finger Lakes Tatting Conference. I always pick up some new tip or idea there and it's great fun to hang out with all the other tatting geeks! This year there were people in attendance, not only from all over New York state, but from throughout the Northeast as well as Canada.

Here's a synopsis of my two day experience in photos:

I started the first day ready for action! My tatting bag, shuttles, winder and other essentials like coffee and water!
Workshop 1: using hand dyed thread ... yay!
Workshop1 : Making continuous/contiguous motifs - see flowers above (not separate motifs that were joined). A great technique since joining motifs can be a bummer!

Examples provided by our illustrious teacher, Jennifer Ostrander.
Workshop 2: Using mock tatted hairpin lace, taught by Ruth Perry. Mine is the one on the bottom.... hey, gimme a break, I hate using picot gauges!! Loved this technique.... thinking of ways to incorporate it into jewelry now.
It's always great to see all the projects people have been tatting away at since we last saw each other a year ago. I snapped a few pics of some of the great work I saw there this year:

A very simple, yet interesting and elegant tatted beaded strip that Ruth MacEachern showed me. I got ideas for this one!

This shawl edging, by Ruth MacEachern, was done in a wonderful variegated pearl cotton... some of my favorite colors!

Gorgeous little dark blue miser bag! Can't remember the name of the lady that showed me this, but it was great work!

Spiders! Lovely and ingenious design by Ginny Weathers.

Using hand dyed thread and a beautiful stone (eeek... can't remember the name of the stone!) this was created by Vicki Clarke as a gift for a friend.... but wait, hmm... Vicki was wearing it, shhhhh, don't tell!
Contest entries! This year's theme was "Tatting Along the Garden Path". It was extremely hard to pick just one favorite!
Ruth MacEachern was this year's winner! Love those ferns!
Every year we raise funds for a charity and of course, to support the annual event by holding raffles and silent auctions. This year I won this green jar of green stuff at the raffle ... love green!

I was also the lucky recipient of one of Ruth Perry's butterflies (I was the person in our class who had been tatting the fewest number of years, which is about ten now.) Shown also in the pic is this year's commemorative shuttle created by Sandy Maguire.
I did purchase a small supply of hand dyed thread from Karey Solomon of Graceful Arts Fiber Studio. Once you go hand dyed you'll never go back!
Workshop 3: On Sunday I sat in on two workshops by Karey Solomon. In the first she showed up how to do tatted "Catherine Wheels". Again, these are contiguously constructed .... way cool!

Workshop 4: In the second class we learned how to create a floating chain... a great way to back track!

Many thanks to all of you who work so hard each year to make this conference a success!!

I look forward to next year!