Friday, August 5, 2016

In about 40 minutes, I'm heading off on the long trip up to the State Fair.  I've got a bunch of interesting entries, most look a bit better than the photos.  This one, for instance, is a small but pretty doily in size 40 (really closer to 30) Olympus.  I made it in the time between knee replacement and staple removal.





Then I began (and eventually finished) this one in a different Olympus 40.  It's about 19 inches across.


This tatted house is this weekend's workshop pattern




And I also made a bunch of tatted bookmarks.  These are an abbreviated version of Kersti Anear's "Stumpy" pattern - I had to abbreviate because I was using variegated "craft" thread and there is not much yardage



In June, I started using hemp to make a bunch of crocheted baskets.  Big and little, they seem useful  The 1 mm hemp was essentially designed to string beads, so it had to fulfill its purpose, right?  I've tatted baskets with it, but decided I should crochet a few.  This is the best of the bunch.  When it returns, it looks like the perfect WIP container.



Okay, breakfast and then I'm off

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Spent a little time working on socks these past weeks, but a lot more more time tatting.  Tatting definitely is more portable, though I suppose needle tatters, like sock knitters, have long weapons emerging from their work punching holes in whatever it's carried in.  But the socks are getting there slowly.  I've finished 1 1/2 pairs and managed to lose half a sock, the one I was pushing myself to work on because I liked it the least!  But a few tatting ideas have been floating around, and I came up with this one, which is in the current tatting times.
  I'd been thinking about all the canning I might not be doing this year, and used the Wandering Wheels technique to make some peaches and plums; I could also have used pink for spiced crab apples and yellow-green for bread and butter pickles, and white for pickled onions (which I don't make) and red for tomatoes, although they tend to be smooshed in the jar to the point of losing their shape, you'd definitely see red and think tomatoes!  This was fun and I plan on doing more of them!

Monday, July 4, 2016

This is an embarrassing blog to write.  I've begun cleaning my studio, after an extended recuperation from two surgeries - the big one, a more-complicated-than-garden-variety knee replacement, was planned, the other was a surprise - and discovered, to my horror seven - count-em - SEVEN! started pairs of knitted socks.  In this instance, "pairs" is an imaginary number because they're mostly only about 1/5 of one sock done.  For someone who insists she finishes every project this is, well, you know?  Through July I've instituted "sock Mondays" at the shop and I'm going to put in some concentrated work on these.  I THINK I've found them all, but still, that's an entire wardrobe of socks, and worse, the seventh pair is one I began in honor of sock Mondays, selectively forgetting about the other six.    And it's not as though socks are the only things on my mind - I've got a lot of tatting I've been itching to work on, now that my mind has partially returned from its sojourn with heavy painkillers.  However,  a setback with the knee put me on a course of an almost lethal dosage of Tylenol, so I've been sock-knitting today,  listening to a book on tape and changing projects with every chapter.  If I had a photo to include, it would be one of the large basket now containing all my (sock) projects separated into big plastic bags.  Some progress has now been made.  A few of the projects are now about 1/2 of one sock done.  And you can imagine my red face as I dis-interred the seventh pair, thinking, "what in the world...?"  If I get at least some of these done, I'll be able to limp along next winter on very well-dressed feet!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Although it's been an almost-delightful winter weather-wise, with higher than usual temperatures offering more opportunities to go outside un-coated than we seemed to have last summer, it's been a while since I'd worked on Seneca Santa hats and mittens.  A friend, Jen, made the most gorgeous kid-friendly hats out of an assortment of donated yarn, none of it terribly promising until it fell into her hands.  That inspired me to work on what I had left, buying more yarn when I found it, and digging deeper into my stash...  Then a neighbor's flood prompted her to give away a treasure-trove of beautiful yarn.  (It always strikes me as nothing short of miraculous that just when yarn for this project is so sorely needed, it arrives!(  Some of it got wet, but it's acrylic, and I've been drying it. Another friend sent some mittens she'd knitted over the winter, and I knitted a few more and bought some magic gloves.   The result - because I'm finished for a few months - was that I made 28 hats, some of them finished with mittens, some going to a fourth friend who will make mittens to match, but doesn't like making hats.  So these are some of them - some matched with mittens or gloves, some with yarn for future mittens. 



I've also been doing a whole lot of sewing.  Some has been in anticipation of future lace-related events, additionally fueled by the idea that I might not have time or energy to sew a little further down the road this year.  And I got the idea of making zippered bags like these, bought a bit more fabric, and I've now got an assortment of many bags like this, all about 7 1/2 inches square, lined with inner fabric as interesting as the outer fabric.  I took them to one lace event where they proved really popular, so I made more.  An about-to-close quilt shop discounted Kaffe Fassett-designed fabrics, and I saw some super-hero fabric at JoAnn, and some pretty upholstery fabric and some other good stuff in my stash...  so I've now got about two dozen of these waiting to be appreciated.  I'll have them at the Tatting Seminars in the Finger Lakes next month, a.k.a. "Lodi."  Lodi is the town where the event is being held. 

 Then I got hurt the past week.  I haven't been officially diagnosed yet, but it's pretty clear to me what's happened and that surgery is likely to be in my immediate future.  I'll find out this coming week.  But hurting and somewhat afraid of what's going on, I needed comfort, which I found in a charming old beginner tatting book, annotated by its previous owner.  This is the start of a doily, in Lizbeth size 40, "Falling Leaves" and I'm trying to use split chains and split rings to avoid ending the continuous thread as much as possible, though it won't be entirely possible.  This doily is tersely marked "made" but the next doily in the book, just a tad larger but  a fussy confection of ring-and-chain motifs and way too many picots for my taste apparently took the previous tatter about 11 weeks, with her start and ending dates noted above the pattern.  Other patterns have notations like "Medallion [spelled freely] # 9, 8:45 Sunday night" which made me page through the group looking for medallions - there weren't any, not really.  Guess I'll see how long this doily really takes.  I started it last night, and when I was tatting it, I'm glad to report I wasn't in any pain and only worried about getting the stitch counts consistent. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

It could look like I was sitting on my hands, but actually, I've been busy enough to keep my original 11 or 12-fingers moving.  (That's another story, for another day, but yes, I probably did start out with extra fingers and no, it wasn't an advantage!)  Taught some fun things in January in Tampa at the Sunshine Tatters gathering, a good example of a small tatting gathering that's so beautifully run and such a good place for sharing and learning that it remains a high point of the year, whatever else is going on.  I taught this there (Ocean Waves Coaster)


among other things, and it was really fun.  Then, I went to Newton, New Jersey to teach there, and taught this (Best Friends Coaster)


which was also really enjoyable.  What makes teaching such a treat always boils down to one thing: the people!  People who tat have one main thing in common - they're extraordinarily nice.  Or maybe I'm prejudiced?

Lately I've been working on patterns to submit to the Palmetto Tatters Guild (which I can't show yet) which  was also a lot of work.  However, the result is always worth it, because when they select patterns for you to teach, you're ready to roll, which means you can really enjoy getting ready to go and then being there because the worry of preparation already happened months earlier.  Pretty smart!

It's why I did these patterns for the Finger Lakes Tatting Group's Tatting Seminars in Lodi for this comingApril (Picnic Blanket Coaster and Bears Just Want to Have Fun coaster) back in September!  That was then, and now we're immersed in the practicalities of putting together the nuts and bolts of the conference, planning food and goodie bags and answering questions about lodging and how classes run and trying out other peoples' patterns.  And for me, spring cleaning, which is, to be honest, no fun at all.



Just when I said, "whew!  That's done, now I can..." almost before I could put that into words, another email fell into my inbox saying something to the effect of could we please have a photo of what you're teaching in June?  So...  here it is! (The African Violet Coaster.  Do we see a theme developing?)


  And I've just written up the pattern AND found a far easier way to tat this than the way I originally did it,  and yes, I promise, if you show up at the Buffalo Niagara Frontier Heritage Lace Guild in Amherst New York on June 4, we are going to have a lot of fun here, too.  (It's at 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road in Amherst, and information will be going up somewhere on the web soon, but if you need more information, write to me (threads@empacc.net) and I'll send it to you.

So tonight, I finished the African Violet Coaster and made a flourless chocolate cake to eat with champagne for Valentine's Day and finished these. 


They were supposed to be for Christmas, but other things got in the way.  Please note, they'll supply the necessary warmth because they are, of course, RED.  And this is the perfect night for Bill to try them out because we've had below zero temperatures and probably will again tonight, which give red socks  their reason to be here after all.  Yup, just checked.  It's already below zero and heading further down before it's finished tonight.

So tonight I've



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

After all the pre-Christmas knitting / and the post-holiday knitting, I was burned-out and ready for a break.  I managed to finish most of the projects I'd planned -


This shrug for one of Bill's daughters - she found a pattern we both liked, but it wasn't for the yarn we liked, so I ended up making it entirely to fit her (notice the thumb holes at the end of the sleeve?  That innovation combines the shrug with being a hand-warmer too!) and a large t-shirt quilt for Bill, which couldn't be photographed because Bill leaves it upside down on the couch, and the cat really likes the corderoy backing!  Bill's red Christmas socks...  better not to talk about those.  They're still in progress.  Sort of.

Then there was this large afghan, knitted by four people, for a raffle to benefit the library.  Being one of the four and the organizer for this enterprise, I supplied the yarn and knitted the widest part and put most of it together; then finished the edge.  Raffle tickets anyone?  We'll probably pull the winner on Valentine's Day! 


And this project, a handspun shawl I started spinning in October, didn't finish the spinning and plying until after Christmas (and after I'd actually begun the knitting).  The knitting took longer than expected.  I was trying to knit at least a couple of hours every day, and my hands hurt every night.  I was putting the finishing stitches in last Friday night, in advance of a Roc Day show, where I entered it in the competition there.  (I won). 
Meanwhile, I was also working on workshop projects I'm teaching this winter, including
 this "Ocean Waves" coaster
and the "Best Friends Sampler Coaster"


Ocean Waves will be taught at the Sunshine State Tatters Gathering, Best Friends for the Lost Art Lacers in New Jersey.  
Then there was the first Tatting Times issue for the 25th anniversary year.  That's ready to go to the printers tomorrow.  Or Friday, if it snows.
Time to relax, I thought.  I found this pattern online, and I really liked it.  It's from Georgia Seitz's site, a reprint from Needlecraft Magazine, February 1925. 


I wanted a simple sort of pattern to relax with, maybe even update a little, where it might lend itself to that.  Time, I thought, to use up even just a little of my stockpiled cordonnet, so I wound two shuttles CTM with size 50 in a soft sage green.  But my first try, the example to the left, clearly wasn't going to work.  The problem

is apparently the lock chain, which was just a hair too long.  So I started over - that's the one on the right - and that one looks like it WILL work just fine.  The difference between the two is less than 1/8 inch.  Small changes really do matter.  Stay tuned - more on this later!




Monday, December 21, 2015


The "Twelve gifts of Christmas" project begun on the shops Facebook page officially comes to an end with this post.  The fingers have been busy with a multitude of projects...  Like this rug.


I think I might have posted about the rug process before.  You'll need about 21 ounces of super-bulky wool and a size N crochet hook.  Begin by chaining 12 stitches or thereabouts, crochet twice into the second chain from hook, once into each of the rest of the chains, then twice more into the first chain (three stitches total in the end chain).  Then continue back along the other side of the chain, with one stitch between each of the stitches on the other side, ending with a third stitch tucked in where the first two appeared. 

Then keep crocheting around and around in an oval version of a spiral, adding  two stitches at the corners of each side (but offsetting these increases so they occur at a different place in each round).

Change colors every round or two for variety, make fewer increases as the rug gets larger, if it looks a little wavery on the floor.  And you'll know this, because each time you put it down, you'll smooth it onto a flat surface like the floor to check.  Keep going until it's large enough.  If you noted the crochet hook tucked into the work in the top photo, you'll see that one is not quite large enough for me.  When it's done, before it goes to its permanent place, it will have to be gently washed - more of a soak-and-spin process in my top-loading machine so it doesn't felt.  When still damp, it's blocked by being patted flat on a floor to dry.  That's the only kind of "dry flat" instruction that really works with a rug.

Some of the rest of the multitude was inspired by the wish to give a small, practical present to each member of the exercise class I teach locally every Tuesday.  I made some melt-and-pour soap, then thought about presentation.  By crocheting a cotton soap-bag, I created a container for the soap that could also be used as a personal scrubby or washcloth, then re-used later with other soaps.
 I used a knitting-worsted-weight cotton (I think this one was one of the "twists" which is a variation on a single color theme - in this case, pink)  and a size G crochet hook.  Begin by chaining 6, join last chain to first, and tighten.  Chain 3. Crochet 11 treble stitches, which counting that first chain (where you'll join to the top stitch) effectively looks like 12 stitches in the ring.  Chain 3 again, then one more.  Treble in the same space.  Treble, chain, treble into each space between two stitches - and when you get to the end, crochet a treble, chain, treble over the first chain instead of ending the row.  This enables you to continue crocheting in a spiral for the length you need - about 5 to 6 rounds high, working this "v" combination of two trebles with a chain stitch between them into the Chain 1 space of the round below.  There it is in progress, on my lap.


When it's long enough, crochet a double, chain and another double in place of the next treble v stitch, then a half-double chain and half double into the next chain space; then a single crochet into the following one.  Finish the bag by continuing around with a single crochet, followed by two chains  into each space between two stitches.  Cut the yarn, fasten off and use a yarn needle to pull the end in.  Chain 65 stitches, cut the yarn leaving a long tail, and pull this chain through the chain spaces left between the single crochets of the previous round.  Knot the two ends together - I added more strands for tassels.




I've got enough now - with some others I made earlier -  to give out one to each person in my class.  The soap came in that color, the shape comes from being poured into a silicone brownie mold. 

Still on my family present agenda is a t-shirt quilt, a shrug and a pair of red knitted socks.  There are officially three more days, counting Christmas eve, to get them done.  Wish me luck!