Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Framed for Flying

I finally got the dragon framed.  I tried it in four different frames before I settled on this one - it was not too dark or too bright for the tatting.  And it doesn't leave the dragon lost in a too-big frame, either.  I finally came up with a background I like, too.  It looks pretty yellow here though it's not, it's more of a green/blue with a bit of a pattern in it.  Even in this smaller frame it kind of looked bare there all by itself. To fill it up a bit I printed 'How To Fly', a short excerpt from Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, on the background paper.  The print is a light blue so it's just barely there.  Black print overwhelmed the tatting.
It came out pretty well, didn't it?

It's all boxed up and ready to be sent - a birthday gift ready to fly to its new home. 

It's only a couple of weeks late.

"The time to worry about flying is when you're on the ground.  When you're up in the air, it's too late.  No point in worrying about it then."
Denzel Washington

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Cross in Lizbeth  #605 and Manuela #019, both in size 20

This is all I've accomplished in the last two weeks.  I'd finished it off and then noticed that I'd made a very noticeable boo-boo, making a ring in the wrong place.  I'm thinking I'll give it a try to tuck in the ends and touch it up with glue then keep it for myself, a reminder to PAY ATTENTION!  If it still comes out awful I suppose I could cut back both threads to the mistake and redo that last arm.  I'm not sure I like the rings on the chains anyway, so maybe it's just the way it is.

I've been working 10 to 12 hours days for the last week on a different shift than normal, so there hasn't been time or energy to do very much of anything.  I'm finally back to the usual hours but have a lot of things going on at the house so I'm not sure how much tatting will get done any time soon.  This is why it's carried with me at all times, to grab a moment here and there when free moments present themselves.  Here's hoping to many free moments!

"If you don't want to work you have to work to earn enough money so that you won't have to work."
Ogden Nash

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dragon done

Flying Minor Norwegian Dragon © Anne Bruvold
Lizbeth Twirlz Winter Ice #403 size 20

I finally finished the dragon, but not using SSSRs.  Jeff Hamilton left a comment about using regular Split Rings to make it instead of SSSRs, which I've also used when making one of these dragons, and I decided it was a great idea for this one, too!  A tail made with SSSRs can be manipulated a bit more than one with regular SRs but it still comes out looking right.

And it was so much less frustrating!  It came out right the first time.

Now I need to figure out what to do with it, as in what background? what frame? And should I add flames? The picture shows it in an 8x10 inch frame with a glimmery black background, which may or may not be used.  The dragon shows up really well but, no matter the background color, I think it needs a little bit of something with it.

"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely."
Auguste Rodin

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