Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Sorry Tail

I haven't been tatting much this week, instead doing a lot on our house project. This has de-railed me a bit from my tatting to-do list but I did finally decide to start one of AnneB's dragons for my son-in-law.  A dark blue had been suggested but I thought a dragon would look good in one of the Lizbeth Twirlz threads, so I ordered the Winter Ice #403.

As I don't do Single Shuttle Split Rings (SSSR) very often I re-watched AnneB's YouTube video to refresh my memory, using a shuttle filled with a random thread.  It came back pretty quickly, so on to the dragon!

Four starts later (it might have been five) I have some semblance a decent tail.  I think it must be the way the thread is colored that it makes it hard to work with doing SSSRs.  

 I'm not exactly pleased with this tail but I might - might- use it.  Or I might start over - again.

When pulling out my copy of the dragon pattern I found the pattern for Ringtrim, which AnneB says is for practicing SSSRs for the larger dragon, so I made one.  I certainly could use the practice!

Ringtrim came out well, with very little problems.  Before starting I was thinking to make him a zipper pull for my purse then forgot to add the lobster claw hook, so I just made an extra ring for it.

You can see that Ringtrim is on the lobster claw, which is on another hook, which is on a ring, which is on the zipper. I've lost several zipper pulls (not tatted) and have just left the hooks and rings there.  Attaching Ringtrim like this leaves plenty of hook to grab and pull without actually pulling on him.  I'm hoping he'll stay awhile this way.

Ringtrim turned out okay, now I'm ready to get back to the larger dragon.  The fifth (or is it sixth?) time could be the charm.

"It's never okay to give up on yourself.
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
Failure isn't falling down, 
it's refusing to get back up.  The reason why
people give up so fast is because
they tend to look at how far they still
have to go, instead of how far they 
have gotten.
If plan A didn't work,
the alphabet has 25 more letters,
stay cool."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bad Boyes

By now most of you have probably heard about the "bad Boye" shuttles. Marilee Rockley and Lace-lovin' Librarian Diane have both mentioned them, and I'm sure I've read about them in a few other places as well.   I ordered some from Overstock.com some time back at a bag of 50 shuttles for something like $16.  When you think of how much you pay for a pack of one or two this price seems too good to be true.  I figured that they would be seconds (not in perfect condition) but thought for that price I wouldn't need a whole lot of the them to be usable to be worth the cost.  I'd go through them to see what could be fixed, maybe bling a few of them, and have them ready to hand out to potential students. For that price they sounded like a good deal.

Almost all of the shuttles looked like they haven't been 'finished': the sides aren't sanded down, lots of rough places here and there.  That is easily taken care of with a little fine grit sand paper.  Besides that the most notable problem are the tips are crooked to each other, but usually close enough together to keep thread from unwinding when dropped to untwist thread.  The picture below doesn't show well some of these faults.  The one on the left actually has a finger print in the plastic. I think I can get this out with sand paper and elbow grease.

The red shuttle is one I've had for years, a Boye showing it was made in Chicago; the other is one of the bad Boyes.  They are similar in shape though the tip on the new one looks like it hasn't been finished nicely (all of them in the bag have tips like this). They also feel different when holding them; they don't have as much "heft" as the old ones, feeling lighter and, well, cheaper. 

I have sanded and decorated a few of these shuttles .  Once the rough edges are sanded off they work okay, and once they've been blinged they don't look too bad, either.  The top two have material on them, the other four have paper and all work pretty well.

Now I had a different technique I wanted to try.
First I removed the tips and sanded down all the edges as well as removing all the writing on them. Next I put a coat of black spray paint on to cover the two shuttles inside and out, then painted them with metallic paint, one gold and one silver.  While they were still wet I wiped some of the metallic paint off to give them an antiqued look - I hoped.  They looked pretty cool.  Then I sprayed them with an acrylic sealer - and the paint crackled.  They actually look pretty good.  The crackling isn't bad to feel, just giving the shuttles a bit of grip. No flakes or anything like that.


The problem with these two shuttles are the tips.  I like having a point on shuttles, usually using Clover shuttles, but not the big, wide tips these Boyes have.  For my next experiment I decided to sand down the point to be more inline with what I like to work with as well as the edges and words again.   This time I used Rub N' Buff in Spanish Copper.

I love the look of this!  It definitely has to have a sealer coat on it or the thread gets dirty and the finish will come off.  But it looks and feels good!  

Reformed bad Boyes.  They look, and work, much better now.

There are a few other colors I plan on trying and possibly another technique or two.   Why not?  I have a whole bag of shuttles to play with.  Maybe I can reform a few more 'bad' Boyes.

"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement."
Will Rogers

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Workbasket Cross Bookmark

While doing some cleaning - okay, consolidating things from multiple boxes into one box - I came across this pattern from Workbasket magazine.  Although I have several things I could be working on I decided to make it instead. This is a simple ring and chain pattern using only one shuttle and ball of thread.  As I had Victorian Red on a shuttle already I chose this color. 

The first thing I did was write out the pattern in my shorthand.  I have followed many patterns written in long hand from Workbasket but I much prefer something a little easier to follow.  Writing it out gave me where it started and stitch counts.  The stitch counts of all rings and all but a few chains are the same throughout the pattern which makes it an easy tat, just have to remember to look where the joins are. 

Lizbeth #670 Victorian Red size 20
Tatted Cross Bookmark
From "The Workbasket Magazine", February 1987

The only part of the pattern I don't like is the flower at the top.  I've read the instructions several times and as far as I can tell it doesn't tell you how you are supposed to attach it to the chain so I just did what I thought would work and I'm not happy how it came out.  I am thinking of cutting it off and doing something else on the end instead.  We'll see.

This has not been blocked and it lays a little wonky, but I think putting it in a book for a little while will tame it without doing anything more to it except make sure it is adjusted correctly right before the book closes.

I think if I make this again it will be with a few changes besides the flower.  Making those extra short chains at each corner looks good but it makes a lot of ends to hide!

"Cleaning is just putting stuff in less obvious places"

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tatted Horse Picture

I finished the horse picture, yay!

After much thought and trial I finally decided on Kraft paper as the background.  It was very hard to come up with a background that showed off the silver horse and the brown saddle without making one or the other disappear.  This choice looked the best of all the colors that were tried.  

Then, of course, what to put with the horse?  Flowers, yes, but how many and what colors?  How about grass? Yes, but long strips? short strips? Critters?  And then how should they be put together?

A lot of time was spent debating and trying out different ideas.  Some worked, some didn't.  I finally took a break from it all and just worked on my vest.  Which really helped, as when I went back to the horse things came together a lot faster.

This picture was taken before the glass went on and I debated about leaving it this way.  But putting the glass on would keep the dust off the tatting, so on it went.  

I'm very happy with the results.
Now I just have to give it to the planned recipient.
About two months late.

Horse (Foal) by Inga Madsen from "Tatted Animals" in Lizbeth  Silver #605 and Mocha Brown Dk #692, size 20
Lady Bug by Sue Hanson in #671 Christmas Red, size 20
Bunny doodle* Mocha Brown Dk #692, size 20
Dandelion and collage ideas from "Tatting Collage" by Lindsay Rogers
*can't remember where I saw this. If anyone knows, please let me know!

"The horse I bet on was so slow, the jockey kept a diary of the trip"
Henny Youngman

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Not much done

I haven't gotten much done on either the triangle doily or the horse picture.  I've thought about them a bit, more the horse than the triangles, but no progress on either.  The doily still taunts me from the blocking board where I've been ignoring it.  The horse has been teasing me from several possible backgrounds to give it a pasture to run in.  I've played around with tatted flowers and birds, bunnies and grass, background colors and frame sizes, and still haven't made up my mind.

We've finally been making progress on a house project that's been put off for a long time, which is now taking up some (okay, a lot) of my time.  I think most of my creative thoughts have been funneled into this instead of my tatting.  Instead of trying to come up with ideas for the doily or the horse I worked on my vest Sunday night.  I'm at a place in it where I'm just repeating the same thing over and over for a while so I didn't have to think much.  It was very relaxing.

This is a doily I gave to my mother several years ago.  I noticed that as it aged it looked like it was stained.  I brought it back home and washed it.  It now looks good as new.

A cup of tea
A ball of thread
A shuttle close to hand
A little time
A plan in mind
A tatter's wonderland

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tatted horse

Horse (Foal) © Inga Madsen
From Inga Madsen's book "Tatted Animals"
Made with Lizbeth Silver #605 and Mocha Brown Dk #692, size 20

I tatted this horse over a month ago for a niece's graduation present - and I still have it!  I want to make this a tatted scene, with flowers and  - stuff.  The horse itself wasn't hard, though I did do a little unintentional change in the saddle right at the start.  I also took off the last chain of the pattern because I didn't like the look.  In the book all the animals are done in one color and look great, but when done in two colors that last chain just didn't look right. 

So why is it still at my house instead of the graduate's?  I'm having a hard time making the decisions about the flowers and birds and such.  I have been going through Lindsay Rogers' book "Tatting Collage" to get ideas.  And now I have a lot of them.  I have so many ideas now I have to choose how elaborate or simple it will be. Do I put it in an 8" x 10" frame?  A 5? x 7"?  I'm afraid the one is too big but the other would be too crowded.  Decisions, decisions!

I'm still trying to make decisions on the triangle doily as well.  It is right there beside my chair so I can see it, taunting me to finish it.  But again I can't make up my mind exactly how to do that. I will eventually, probably sooner than later, but...  Decisions, decisions!

Maybe I should ask the horse.

"A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course.
Talk to Mr. Ed.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one'll talk 'til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this.

I am Mr. Ed."

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/mredlyrics.html

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Circle of Triangles

I'm still working on triangles. 

All the centers are made the same, a tatted circle motif that is then stitched to the inside of the triangle with bare thread.  Attaching the centers this way is a bit tedious.  The triangle has to be pinned down to a board so they don't get pulled out of shape too badly while putting the centers in.  And while stitching them in the thread has a tendency to catch on the pins holding the triangles. It did seem to get a bit easier as I went along and got the hang of it.   

Even pinning the outsides while adding the centers deformed the triangle shape.  Once the centers were attached each one had to be blocked to have them lie flat.  After pinning then out flat they were sprayed with water then left to dry that way, which worked out well.  The whole thing was blocked and dampened again after joining the triangles together, too.  It now lies flat very nicely.

This arrangement was suggested by muskaan in a comment made on my first triangle post a few weeks ago.  I looked at the first triangle and could see something like that, so I tried it.  I'm now trying to decide if/what I want to do in the center.  Maybe something around the outside as well.  In white?  White and red?

Hmmm, I'll have to work on that.

"Square box, round pizza, triangle slices.
I'm confused..."