If asked why they tat, knit, crochet or stitch, the vast majority of needleworkers would likely respond that it is an excellent form of relaxation.  We cannot control, or indeed maintain perfect order among, the many moving parts that comprise our life but, in craft, we can.  Each little stitch or bead that slips neatly into place within a whole is not only a means of creative expression, but also a manifestation of our control over the medium.  This, in and of itself, is extremely satisfying and empowering.

It might be hard to believe (sometimes I hardly believe it myself) by I am still here and still tatting.  The weeks since the fire have been spent in upheaval as I divide my time between Idaho and Santa Barbara, living out of a carry-on bag, while we figure out the logistics of moving the remainder of the beef herd to summer pasture.  There were many obstacles to overcome, and now it is almost too late, as temperatures soar to the triple digits  in the Central Valley.  Do I dare hope that it will all finally come together?

The only tatting that seemed to soothe my agitated psyche was T.A.T. related and I cannot show it to you here.  You’ll just have to take my word for it that my split chains are now beautiful and seamless links between one round and the next.  Somehow the intense focus required to master the phase II curriculum, which is presented in the form of small sampler projects, was the right thing for this dislocated time.

A small observation for those of you who joined Krystledawne in the May challenge to finish phase I: the Apprentice phase is about completing projects to demonstrate basic skills; Artisan is about fully assimilating more advanced techniques into one’s repertoire.  Fox and I started phase II at the same time, and I intended to do my best to keep pace with her as she worked through the projects.  As usual, she pulled ahead of me quite quickly.  Somehow, around the sixth project, I changed my approach to the work.  All of a sudden, it occurred to me that I wanted to make a second version of most of the samples and that, invariably, the second one was better – a lot better – which gave me great satisfaction.  Then I added further experiments with the techniques involved, and had even more fun.  Those of you who choose to tackle the second phase will obviously find your own rhythm (that is the whole point of a program without time limits), but I thought it might be useful to point out that Fox had a small crisis of confidence right after completing the program, while I have had, and transcended, mine in the course of  the work (as early as the second project).  Not that this will be the last time I hit the wall in tatting…  This is, without a doubt, the most challenging and frustrating form of fiber manipulation that I have tried thus far.

In between T.A.T. projects, there has been more AT thread doodling.  Working with two colors at once is actually very addictive.  Now ordinary rings seem terribly blah.

purple doodle crop

Of course, I could not resist tossing in a split chain and three single shuttle split rings (two used as a color-bearing bridge between elements, the other to hide ends).  Can you spot them?

Off to the airport again…

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