Archive for Progress on Big Projects

Merry Christmas!

Last year I picked up these little red ornaments and I’m finally getting around to playing with them.  I should have included something in the picture to show the size, but they’re about an inch at the widest.  There’s 27 in the set, but so far I’ve only covered 3 of them.  I think I’m just going to do this same basic pattern on all of them.  They’re way too small to put on a normal sized tree, but would look nice on a little tabletop-sized tree.

I also got two other sizes, but I expect I’ll end up leaving those for next year.

Hope everyone is having a good holiday season!

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Good news and not unexpected news

The good news is that I got my score back on my latest CPA exam and I passed!  2 down and 2 to go.  I’ve started studying for the next one, but am, of course, a bit behind from where I wanted to be at this point.  That fact and the fact that I have a lot of things to finish up at work before heading off on our Christmas/New Years vacation leads to the not unexpected news.  I don’t expect to have a lot of time for tatting in the next week.  Still grabbing at whatever I can get, but not making any big plans for what I want to tackle and am just going to take whatever I can get.

I DID get in some tatting at yesterday’s meeting of the Lacemakers of Puget Sound.  The group has a brand new website and I highly recommend that you check it out.  If you’re in the Seattle/Puget Sound area you should come to our meetings.  We have monthly meetings in Kent, Everrett and Bellevue.  It’s a great way to learn new things or just get a chance to hang out and enjoy the company of others who are just as fascinated by making things with thread.

As we’re getting near the end of the year I’ve been thinking a bit about the goal I set a few months ago of finishing an unfinished project every month.  I’m proud to say that I’ve actually kept up with it!   I haven’t reported here on the last two because they”re gifts and while I don’t think the recipients are following my website, I figured it was better to stay on the safe side.  I did, however finish two other garlands that end up on “our” Christmas tree.  The “our” is in quotes because we’ll be out of town for Christmas so we decided to set a tree up at my partner’s office instead.  We went over with his brother and set it up over the weekend as a surprise for his employees to find on Monday morning so we still got the fun of setting up and decorating, but without any rearranging needed at our house.  Since last Christmas we’ve acquired a piano and a new couch and are not sure where to put a tree.

The two garlands didn’t take long to finish.  I had the tatting done for them, and really just needed to go back to hide and clip the ends.  Didn’t take long to do, but they were unfinished objects and now they’re finished so they still cover two weeks of my goal.

Included on the tree are a couple dozen snowflakes I made years ago when I worked in radio and spent a lot of time in the studio sitting around, waiting to press buttons between songs/speaking breaks.  It was the sort of job that was perfect for a crafter and I got a lot of snowflakes made.  My only wish now is that I had used better thread.  I used the Royal brand thread that was easily available to me at Michaels and JoAnns and there’s nothing wrong with it, but since those days I’ve switched over to better thread and it makes me a little sad to see all my hard work and worry that it won’t hold up over the long (40 years) run.  One day maybe I’ll have the time to replace them with better thread.  If I did this they would also be made with much better tatting since making dozens and dozens of snowflakes is one of the things I did to really practice my tatting and get better.  I look fondly of them for that aspect and love the way we literarily fling them on to the tree and let them lay there rather than hanging each one individually.




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A Tatted Doodle

Sometimes while reviewing my accounting videos I’ll work on a piece of tatting to keep me from getting distracted.  If I’m not doing something with my hands (either tatting or taking notes) I tend to find myself checking email or rearranging things on my desk and not fully paying attention to the videos.

Of course, it can’t be a very complicated piece of tatting since the whole point is not to get distract.  This garland has been perfect.  It’s a simple single-shuttle edging with rings of 3-3-3-3.  No need to think at all so I can keep my hands busy and my mind on the accounting.

I had three balls left of this size 10 DMC thread and originally I planned to use all of them on this garland, but I’ve got two more starlit shuttles full of thread before I’m finished with the first ball and it’s already probably long enough to put on the tree as it is.  I think any longer and it might be a bit cumbersome to put on and pretty annoying to take off.  I do think that I’ll make garlands out of the other two balls (I have one other garland I’m working on from the same color), but maybe I’ll pick out a different edging pattern to use for each of those.  4 garlands of matching colors, but different patterns sounds fun.

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that this thread bleeds a bit as I’m tatting with it.  I find it coming off on my fingers.  It doesn’t seem bad enough to toss the thread, (I have to tat quite a lot before I notice it) but I decided it would be best to limit what I used it for.  These garlands seem like a good project for it.  They take a lot of thread and will be well packed up and stored for most of the year.

I’m looking around for other pattern candidates for the next garlands.  Right now I’m feeling partial to single-shuttle patterns so I’ve been flipping through some of the Reigo books and trying to re-imagine what the the 1840s pictures would look like in real life.

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Camelia’s Doily #1

Isn’t it pretty?  This is the first of Camelia’s doilies that I’m trying to replicate. The center part is what I used for the snowflakes/Irish Roses from last week.

Out of the 12 of Camelia’s doilies that I photographed extensively in detail to try to replicate (no promises that I’ll get to them all) I picked this one partly because it’s one of the smaller ones and so I thought that would be a good one to start with.  Smaller, yes.   Not necessarily very straight forward.  Camelia does interesting work with some innovative techniques.  Even once I figure out how to replicate it I’m still left with trying to figure out how to explain it to someone else in instructions that make sense.  So don’t be expecting patterns for these anytime soon, but the project is very slowly coming along.

I think though that I’ve come up with a pretty good system for figuring out how to make them.  When I was there I took not just overall pictures like this one, but many, many close-up detailed pictures of each section of the doily as well.  When I tackle a new one I start with looking very carefully through the pictures and writing out the stitch count.  When I’ve got the whole thing written out I start tatting from that and adjusting the pattern as needed.  Usually for some of her more innovative techniques this also involves trying to write out my notes to myself about how to do it in way that someone else might have a shot at understanding.  I always use two colors so I can follow the first and second shuttle portions later.

This is actually similar to what I do for working through the old patterns from the Priscilla books, except there I am working through the old-style of writing out the directions and rewriting them in modern notation.  I WISH the Priscilla books had detailed pictures, but no such luck.

I’m actually getting close to finishing my first of this doily.  It got put aside a while back when I was packing up to move so it’s been squished up in a small tin of tatting for a while.  It’s on my list of weekly projects to finish at some point this year, so maybe you’ll get to see a finished version sometime in the next couple months.  Unfortunately, I know there’s no way that my finished version is going to turn out as nice as Camelia’s.  Maybe after a few more practice ones.

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Finally Finished Friday #1

Moving from California to Seattle means that I finally got my tatting somewhat sorted out.  Well… not really.  But at least it’s all contained in one place now.  The process made me realize just how many unfinished projects I have started.  I used to be pretty good about finishing what I started, but then again, I also didn’t use to have so many shuttles making it so easy to start new ones before the old ones were finished.  🙂  Since I’m starting to feel like my study schedule is under control I’m going to dive into a goal I’ve been wanting to set ever since I got moved up to Seattle.  In an attempt to sort through the UFOs (UnFinished Objects) I’m going to attempt to finish project every week. Some of these projects will need more tatting, some just need the finished piece to be sewn up or the ends to be hidden.

This week’s project was to decorate this summer dress.  I added the edging a while back, but almost immediately afterwards managed to get a couple spots of bleach on it.  So I made these flowers to cover them up.  I used the motifs from the Star Doily in Priscilla Tatting #3 which has become my go-to pattern for a round motif.  The smaller ones are simply the center part of the full motif.  I had the tatting finished a few weeks ago, but this week I finally got them sewn on the dress.   Now that I’ve got them on there I’m thinking they look a little sparse so one of these weeks I may “restart” the project and add some more, but for now I’m calling it finished.  🙂

One project down.  Seventeen to go.  Wish me luck.

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Christmas in May Continues

I’m making this one all in red and because I’ve been spending a lot of time watching lectures while studying for the CPA exams I’ve made quite a bit of progress on it.  It’s nice when studying involves tatting.  It’s much easier to get started for the day if I start with watching the lectures and tatting and can more quietly slip into the harder stuff (actually working the homework problems) a little later.

The original Priscilla pattern called for doing this with a single shuttle.  Make the center ring, make the rings along one side, and then come back around the other side leaving a bare thread on the back side between the flowers.  Nowdays we have split rings, so that whole thing can be done in one pass.  Here’s my modernized version:


Use two shuttles wound continuously.  

With shuttle 1:

R 2(-2)x8

Shuttle join to the last picot of the ring just made.

*R 2-4-4-2

Shuttle join to the next picot of the ring.

R 2+6-6-2, join is to the last picot of the previous ring.

Shuttle join to the next picot of the ring.

Repeat from * 2 times more.

R 2-4-4-2

With both shuttles:

Split ring of  2+6/2+6 the joins are to the open (lower) picots of the rings around this one.

**Split ring of  6-2/6-2

R 2(-2) x8, this can be done with either shuttle.

With either shuttle:

***Shuttle join to the last picot of the ring just made.

R 2-4-4-2

Shuttle join to the next picot of the ring.

R 2+6-6-2, join is to the last picot of the previous ring.

Shuttle join to the next picot of the ring.

R 2-4-4-2

Shuttle join to the next picot of the ring.

With the other shuttle, Repeat from *** on the other side of the ring.

Split ring of  2+6/2+6 the joins are to the open (lower) picots of the rings around this one.

Repeat from ** until desired length is reached.


Hopefully that’s not too confusing with the 3 different repeats.

One of the big “discoveries” of playing around with the patterns in the Priscilla book was finding these patterns that call for making a series of rings with a single shuttle that are joined BETWEEN the rings to a row of picots (either on another ring or on a chain) below them.  It’s such a neat idea for traveling with a series of rings and I like that you can’t see the bare threads at all.  I admit that I don’t explore pattern books as much as I should, but I don’t recall seeing this sort of thing anywhere else.

I also love edgings that are both symmetrical AND can be done in one pass.  I’m thinking this would make a nice belt.  I haven’t made one of those for a while.

I’ve started another version of this in green and red that uses single shuttle split rings to put the red in the center of each flower, but I don’t have pictures, so I’ll save that to share on another day.  I’m also working on diagramming this one out, but I don’t have it done yet, so that also will have to wait for another day.

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Christmas in May

I’ve been a bit obsessed with turning edgings into garlands for our Christmas tree lately.  I started with it back in November when I got to thinking that if I tatted up one new garland each year that in 30 years our Christmas tree would look pretty awesome.  I thought it’d be neat to have an on going project throughout the year to work on, but I’ve sort of been obsessed with finishing them lately.

I finished the two early this month and have now started two new ones.  Both are based on this pattern from the Priscilla books.  (#1 I think).  This is not the thread I’m using for the actual garland, this is just what I happened to have already wound CTM that I wanted to finish off.  Originally this pattern was written up as a single shuttle edging done in two passes.  Thanks to the modern magic of split rings it can also be done in

just a single pass.  I also played around with the idea of expanding it out so that it would have 6 points.  I thought that if it were done in white that it would then look like a row of snowflakes.  Not sure that the third one really pulls it off, but I may play around with it some more.  It doesn’t totally lie flat yet and seems to be a bit too straight on the edges.  Maybe with a different stitch count on the outside rings to make them more pointy.  Tomorrow I’ll share the pattern and the version of this in all red that I’m working on.  It’s going to look great on the tree.

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The Holly and the Ivy

Here’s the second Christmas garland that I finished this last week.  In these colors it reminds me of holly and ivy.  This one uses a pattern from Priscilla Tatting Book number 2.  I’ve just realized that though I started using this pattern a while back, I never actually posted the pattern or my variation.

It’s always nice when I have very few changes to make on the original pattern.  That’s been the case a lot lately and I think this is because I’m still working on the tea cloth which has lots of changes so I’ve been picking easier patterns to work on as side projects while I struggle through that.  I’ve had my eye on a couple of more complicated projects and I’m trying hard not to start them until I’ve finished up some more of my other works-in-progress.

And here’s one of those former WIPs!  I started this soon after Christmas and decided to just keep going with it until I ran out of the red thread.  Ended up getting just under 7 feet of it.

Here’s the instructions.  My main change was to make the rings of the flower 7-1-7 instead of 8–8.  I don’t like to join all my rings to one center picot because then I have to guess at the right length to make it and because I think it’s stronger if you do a serious of picot joins instead of one large one.  Seems to also make it a lie a bit flatter and more even as well.  Except for that and a pair of Shoe Lace Tricks the pattern pretty much stayed intact.

*R  7-1-7

**Ch 3-3-3-3

R 7+1-7 (join to picot on previous ring)

Repeat from ** 4 more times for a total of 6 rings, joining the second picot of the last ring to the open picot of the first ring.


Ch 3(-3)x5

R 3+3-3-3 (join to the middle picot of the last chain of the flower.)

Ch 3(-3)x5


Repeat from * joining the second picot of the first chain in the flower (first 3-3-3-3 chain) to the ring between flowers.  Continue until desired length is reached.

That’s it!  Hope you like it!  Now that I finished off both the Christmas garlands that I started around Christmas last year I’ve been flipping through the Priscilla books to pick out the next on to do.  I think I’ve got a good one picked out, but since it involves changing a single shuttle pattern into one with split rings and maybe even three shuttles with split rings and single-shuttle split rings I want to make sure it works before I post in detail about it.

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And 4 Weeks Later…

Busy month!  Lots to get caught up on from Shuttlebirds, Camp Wanna Tat and other projects, but I’m going to start with the Christmas garland from my last post.  Finished it!  I had been hoping to get it done before the end of Shuttlebirds but didn’t finish it until the day before the LPS meeting last week.  This was taken outside our meeting space after I showed it off to the group.  Nice to finally finish it.  It’s a cute pattern when finished, but it’s basically just all chains and when you’re making 30 feet of it (technically 60 feet, because you do one side and then the other) it gets a bit boring.  I probably should have just put it aside for a while and come back to it in a few months, but I’m trying to go through my started projects and actually get a bunch of them finished so it feels good to have this one done.

I had actually been working on two garlands and when I finished this one I got back to working on the other.  I was only making that one as long as it could be until I ran out of the red thread for it.  Did that this last week so I’ll share that next. Strange to finish both Christmas garlands so early in the year.  Guess it’s time to start on another!

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Papers, Doctors and a Little Bit of Tatting

Today I’ll be finishing up my last papers for my masters degree (yay!) and heading to the doctor’s so see if they can do something for the cough I’ve had for the last week.  My voice has been pretty much shot for the last few days and I think it’s either pneumonia or bronchitis.  Pneumonia was going around the office about a month ago.  I thought I’d gotten away in time, but I guess it was just incubating until I got up to Seattle.  Hopefully they can give me something to take care of it quickly.

Over the weekend I did get a bit of work done on one of my garlands for Christmas this year.  I’m going through projects trying to empty shuttles for Shuttlebirds and picked up this one where I’m covering a beaded chain with Krystle’s rhinestone bracelet pattern.  It’s a nice easy chains-only pattern that I could do while zoning out on the couch and it goes quickly enough that it feel like you’re really accomplishing something.  Even so, I didn’t QUITE get to the end where you turn around and come back.  Maybe I’ll sit down with it for a few minutes tonight and finish of the first pass.  No real rush because 1) Even once I get to the end I’ll be turning around and coming back along the other side, so I still have 30 feet to go, and 2) It’s for Christmas, so there’s plenty of time.  I just wanted to clear off some shuttles.

I’ll be leaving tomorrow to go to Illinois for a funeral and won’t be back to Seattle until after Shuttlebirds and Camp Wannatat so tonight I’ll be packing up for the next two weeks.  Probably won’t get around to finishing off that last foot before the turn.

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