Saturday, February 28, 2015

Where's that pattern?

Colonial Lady Applique from 'Aunt Ellen's Tatting Handbook'
tatted by Wanda Salmans 

I have a lot of old Workbasket magazines.  You remember those, don't you?  Quite a few of them have a least one tatting pattern in them, along with all kinds of other crafts.  The problem, of course, it knowing what patterns are in which edition.  I usually end up spending a lot of time getting lost in looking through a stack of them, forgetting what I was looking for in the first place.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I loose a lot of tatting time that way.

Over at Craftree/Intatters there is a library that is being compiled, which has a lot of patterns in it.  I'm not sure how many from Workbasket magazines.  If not many yet there probably will be eventually. 

I came across another place that has a large (make that huge!) bibliography of tatting.  There are a lot of books both old and new listed, some with reviews.  And a list of Workbaskets and what patterns are in which edition. That place is Something Under the Bed.  I am in awe of how much work Leigh has done here and not just for tatting but for several other crafts as well.  I highly recommend this sight if you're looking for information on a book or pattern.   

The pattern for the Colonial Lady above in the picture I found in 'Aunt Ellen's Tatting Handbook' copyright 1982, but was originally in a Work basket from 1954 (I know this because I made a note of it on the pattern in the book.) I talk about making this lady in a post several years ago.  She still looks good.

The Workbasket magazine in the picture is the June/July 1994 No Vol. 59 edition.  It has a tatted "Independence Day Pin" in it - which I've made but can't think of where I put it right now. I actually made several of them to give to family one year.  But if you wanted to make it and didn't know which edition to look in, you could find it on Leigh's site.

What are you waiting for?  I know you have a pattern you need to find.

I have no affiliation with Leigh or her website, I just found it a fabulous place.

"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry."
Richard P. Feynman

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Martha Doily

Martha Doily © Wanda Salmans 2010

I made this doily almost five years ago (five years?!) while on vacation to Washington, D.C.  I got to thinking about it the other day while working on Queen's Crown Edging, wondering how it would look in two colors.  Why would this doily come to mind while working on an edging?  Because both have a lot of switching shuttles and changing directions. 

So I took a break from edgings and tried Martha in two colors. 

Martha Doily © Wanda Salmans 2010

This one is made with Lizbeth #658 Ocean Turquoise Light and #657 Ocean Turquoise Dark, both in size 20.  It is seven inches across from point to point.  The original was made in DMC size 30 ecru and ended up being six inches across from point to point.

 Martha Doily © Wanda Salmans 2010

Here's a comparison of the two doilies side-by-side.

Does anyone see the mistake in the ecru doily?  Obviously the judges at the county fair in 2010 didn't see it, either, because it won a blue ribbon that year.  I only found it now because I was going through it trying to jot down the stitch counts to write out the pattern.  I had to laugh about it - I'd never seen it myself.  An obvious but very well hidden oopsie.

Isn't it amazing how different a pattern looks when done in different colors?  It can change the look and feel of a piece a lot.  I noticed this last week when I tested the pattern for QCE and again with this doily.   To see another version of the QCE done in two colors but differently, check out Jane McLellan's version of it on her blog.

When I made the original doily it was in July and very hot.  This second one was done in February with cold temperatures though very little snow here.  If we lived just a few miles west we would have had a lot more snow.  Today is mild with temperatures in the 30s and low 40s F but the forecast is for much colder weather and snow.   Quite the contrast, just like the doilies.

"People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy."
Anton Chekhov

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Queen's Crown Edging

Queen's Crown Edging © Wanda Salmans 2015

I'm going to be adding edgings to several table runners soon.  As usual, I seem to need to make up new patterns instead of using already existing ones.  I started this one day on the way to work (as the passenger!) with something else entirely in mind, but it just came off the shuttles like it was meant to be.  I had very few places I even had to change stitch counts to make it work.  I had one edging done in a couple of days. Made in size 10 Lizbeth #693 Linen Medium five repeats are about 11 1/2 inches long.  I asked my daughters for suggestions on the name; Queen's Crown was quickly agreed upon by both of them and my husband, so there you have it.

I thought drawing out the pattern would be harder than it turned out.  It was a little more difficult writing out the directions than drawing it. At least I think so. Most of it isn't that hard but there is a lot of switching shuttles involved.  The one tricky part is a picot that is on a turn where you change directions and shuttles at the same time.  It seems to work best with a lock stitch, and it comes out looking like the other side where there is a join to an existing picot.

Test tatting my pattern I used two shades of blue, Lizbeth #658 Ocean Turquoise Light and #657 Ocean Turquoise Dark (I think, I lost the label) in size 20.

Queen's Crown Edging © Wanda Salmans 2015

I really like how this turned out!  For any that are interested, I've added it to my patterns page.

Here the two edgings are together for a comparison of the two sizes of threads.

Queen's Crown Edging © Wanda Salmans 2015

Now I just need to buckle down and get a few more edgings done.  And then the hard part - attaching them to the material!

Today is Fat Tuesday (mardi gras), or Shrove Tuesday, which is the last day before the Lenten season begins.  Traditionally some people celebrate it by eating pancakes before restraining from eating rich foods for Lent.  I even remembered to make pancakes today!  I had to improvise a little bit - the recipe called for milk and I don't have any.  I used more butter, an extra egg and water instead and they came out mighty tasty.

I just realized that today is a fitting day to introduce the Queen's Crown Edging as there are many places that choose Mardi Gras royalty.  And they wear some fancy crowns!  

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in."
Frederick the Great

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

Tatted Heart pattern from Handy Hands

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Book ReViews is a nice little used book store in Newton, KS.  Their stock is donated to them and they donate their profits to local charities.  They only have one paid employee, the others are all volunteers.  I don't get in much but did leave my card with them the last time I was there and let them know I would be interested in any tatting books that might come in.  I was pleasantly surprised a few days ago when they let me know something had.   It was an old, paperback McCall's Knit and Crochet Encyclopedia.

Latest copyright date in it is 1977.   The pictures of the models inside reflect this (did we really wear stuff like this???)

It has a section on tatting, including a brief history and description of what tatting is, several pages of "how to", as well as a few patterns. The history is a version I have heard before.  I did think it was wise of the author to state that trying to explain tatting was rather hard and learning from a person who knew how to tat was much easier than trying to learn from a book.  The drawings and how-to aren't bad, they are pretty clear to a person who already knows. But speaking from my own experience, though it was many years ago, it's easier to learn from a person than a book.

The patterns have no diagrams and are written out in the style that was popular at the time.  I guess you could say popular, it was how the patterns I saw at the time were written out (okay, it wasn't until a couple years later that I started tatting, but all the then-current written patterns looked like this when I did start looking at them.)  This way of writing patterns is long, complicated, and hard to follow compared to most patterns written out today.  Think old "Workbasket" patterns.  But, hey, this is what we knew and expected, and you just learned to read them.

I bought the book - the price was right - and took my time looking through it.  It has a section on hairpin lace which might be fun, but I don't really have time to do it.  I may try one of the tatted edgings but I doubt I'll do much else with it.  But it has tatting in it!  How could I leave it? And then I thought "should I have left it there?  Maybe someone else might have picked it up and decided to try tatting.  By bringing it home have I robbed another person of the opportunity to see and be intrigued by tatting?" 

The store gets its books through donations, maybe I should try what I like and donate the book back to be sold again?

"The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation."
Corrie Ten Boom

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What to do with leftovers

A few days ago Jane Eborall  mentioned how she handles leftovers - thread left on shuttles after she finishes a project.  She winds it back on the ball it came off of!  Wow, what an idea!  You'd never be stuck with wondering what was on the shuttle, what size it is, and where to find more if you needed it.  I think this would be a good habit to get into to with leftover thread. 

So far I've only done this when there is a lot on the shuttle - sometimes, and usually only when I need the shuttle.  But I think it's a great idea.

What I usually do is try to figure out some small thing to do with those leftovers, usually when I need another shuttle and they are all full.  Not an uncommon occurrence.  Sometimes I try out new ideas and techniques, sometimes I doodle with flowers and butterflies and such, and sometimes I wind it on whatever is handy to get it off the shuttle and promptly forget about it.

About a year ago I tried my hand at doing ATCs to use up some of my little flower and butterfly doodles.  Those ATCs didn't turn out too bad.  Since then I've done one more, which I think came out pretty good, too.

You can't see it in this picture but the cup is slightly raised from the background, giving it a bit of depth.  

Yes, only one more since my first try.  I like doing them, but usually I don't have time to work on them when I can think of all kinds of things I want to try.  Doing more ATCs are on my list of goals for 2015.

Thread storage
I mentioned that mice got into my thread a few weeks ago. I finally did something I've needed to do for a long time - I found a better storage solution. 

This is a stack of three three-drawer containers I found at Wal-mart in the office supplies department.  They had almost identical drawers in the storage solution area that were in white - same brand, same size - but they were a $1 more each.  Black works for me. 

These drawers keep the balls of thread in one layer, making them easier to look through and keeping them from getting lost in the bottom of a deep dresser drawer. And I can easily store thread by color family - that is if I can make up my mind which family that is.  Is purple in the pink family or the red family?   I only have so many drawers to work with.   It's also very easy to put partial (leftover?) balls of thread away when I'm done with them. 
What do you do with leftover thread? 

"Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories.  Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart."
Thomas Fuller

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Catching up on the TIAS

I've been keeping up with Jane's TIAS just not posting the pictures.

Day 6
I'm still no closer to an answer.  People have been sending Jane some very cute rhymes about it.

 Day 7
I was a little late sending this to Jane.  Does that look like a bow-legged cowboy to you?

Day 8
I'm not any closer to an answer.

Day 9 
Curiouser and curiouser.  What could it be??

 Day 10
Hmmm, I think I'm leaning towards the scissors suggestion that several participants have put forth.  I can see another handle coming, can't you?

We should have the answer within the week I'll bet.

Jane has done another excellent job this year, don't you think?

"Think of your favorite teacher you ever had in school: the one who made it the most fun to go to class.  They surprise you. They keep you guessing. They keep you coming back, wanting to know what's going to happen next."
Pete Carroll