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We now jump forward to Part 3 of Tatted Flurries by Sharon Briggs.  Crystle is a snowflake that can be made in the singular, or as two joined flakes.  This time, tension was not an issue (good thing – I was on the verge of despair), but the piece did not look very promising until it had been immersed in a solution of Epsom salts and shaped over a 90 degree edge.

As a matter of fact, all the road kill flakes perked up considerably when subjected to the Epsom salt bath; and they are currently adorning the Christmas tree, which I shall show you tomorrow…

Wishing you all a very happy holiday weekend!

Gemini by Lace Lunatic
Gemini, a photo by Lace Lunatic on Flickr.

Almost forgot to blog this. It was a gift for a friend who was moving away this month. The pattern is Mary Konior’s Gemini. The thread is Yarnplayer’s Stardate HDT (size 30).

The placement of the colors within the pattern was pure chance and worked out very nicely.

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…

When faced with a task that seems too difficult, there are three options: run away from it, break it up into manageable bites or, gradually creep up on it.  Me, I generally opt for the ‘run away’ category; except in the matter of tatting, where I am fearless and determined.

In recent weeks, there has been a bit of sighing and moaning in tatland about the slightly unwieldy nature of the split chain (pdf).  If one does not use them often, it is difficult to remember how; and then it is awkward and fumbly in the execution.  However, the general consensus is that it is worth it not to have to cut and tie.

In this case, I decided to use the ‘creep up on it’ approach.  It had not escaped my notice that the Catherine Wheel join (pdf) formed the double stitch in exactly the same manner as it is formed in the split chain and, a big plus, did not cause the pronounced dip in the chain that one gets with a lock join.  So, I decided to start using this join wherever I wanted a nice clean line and, in so doing, have become completely at ease with the mechanics of executing a split chain.

Below, you see Ruth Perry’s new Celtic Cross pattern (pdf), in Lizbeth size 20, color #s 634 and 635.  In the outer round, I used Catherine Wheel joins in all but 4 places (where I wanted a sharp dip in the chain).  If my technique were perfect, the stitches that link to the picots of the previous round should be indistinguishable from their neighbors.  Not quite there yet, but the outline of the cross is nice and smooth.

Celtic cross crop

I wish you all a very happy holiday weekend.  There will probably not be a blog post next Tuesday because I will be on the road to Idaho.

For me, the Shuttlebirds workshop can be summed up in three words: laughter, learning and loot.  I arrived a little late on Friday (missed my first two classes) but was immediately made to feel welcome by everyone I encountered.  The T-shirt, which I did not design (it is Patti Duff’s creation), but for which I did some tatting, was very well received and many participants were already wearing it.  You have probably already seen a  photo of the shirt and a slideshow of the event on Lady Shuttlemaker’s blog.

The Workshop T-shirt

The Workshop T-shirt

I had my camera with me, but was having way too much fun to think of taking pictures, so have only a few to offer.

Another pretty tatted hat

Another pretty tatted hat

Tatting and chatting

Tatting and chatting

Bev Dillon helping Sherry puzzle through a T.A.T. phase III project

Bev Dillon helping Sherry puzzle through a T.A.T. phase III project

Never having attended a tatting workshop before, I had no basis for comparison, but this one was incredibly well organized and flowed seamlessly from the intense focus of the classrooms to the relaxed conviviality of  meals (which appeared as if by magic, with a fresh set of table favors for each one) and door prize giveaways.  Vendors included Snowgoose, Lady Shuttlemaker, Debbie Arnold, Rebecca Griffiths and Beyond Beads North – so there was plenty of shopping!  When I set out to photograph my haul from the two day event, I was embarrassed to note that it did not all fit in the frame!

The loot

The loot

My first class on Saturday was with Sherry Pence: branching encapsulation.  This technique is a lot of fun and offers the tatter almost infinite flexibility.  Here is what we worked on in class, with a couple more flowers added afterwards:


In the afternoon, I took Patti Duff’s mystery motif class.  As you will have gathered from Sherry’s blog, it involved dizzy picots and dizzy double stitch chains.


My last class was with Mimi Dillman, and was an exploration of cluny edgings with twisted thread headers by Sarah Aus, that figured in a 1929 Needlecraft Magazine.


The high point of the class for me had nothing to do with the project we were working on.  In conversation, Mimi mentioned that she has been corresponding with Elisadusud and that Elisa told her that she had learned to weave clunies from Mimi’s online tutorial.  Huh??  If you have watched Elisa’s cluny demonstration video, you will have noted that her warping method is different from what Mimi demonstrates in the tutorial.  I have been trying to work out precisely how she does it (and Patty D. has tried, unsuccessfully, to explain it to me), but it all happens too fast in the video.  Mimi, being our own queen of the cluny tally, was able to follow it  and was kind enough to demonstrate it to me.  It was a Eureka moment!  The method is much faster than the traditional warp wrap and provides a completely stable platform for starting the work.  The only problem that I have with it is maintaining sufficient tension on the central warp, but I am sure that will come with practice.

Oh, I almost forgot, the purple butterfly in the last post won first place in its category and class (original design with a wingspan over 2″).

Stay tuned for another cluny photo tutorial…

Welcome to the new, but same, site!  For those of you who have just discovered this blog, the original site, and the explanation of the wherefore of the move,  is here.

This final butterfly permutation is coming with me to Shuttlebirds.

victoria-in-color-4-001The thread is Flora 50, in medium and dark purples, paired with Yarnplayer’s size 50 HDT in Lavender.  The colors are more saturated than the scan shows, but I was not successful in tweaking them to my satisfaction in photoshop, so reverted to the original.

This trip is an opportunity to meet some tatters with whom I have been chatting online for more than a year,  and I am really looking forward to it.  That, and learning a lot of new techniques.  Oh, and shopping…

Expect photos and news of the workshop toward the end of the month.