Archive for November, 2011

Tatting With Yarn

I’ve become intrigued by the idea of tatting with the Koigu brand merino wool yarn sold at Wildfibers, a very cool yarn shop in Santa Monica.  It’s a fun place to visit.  They have nice couches for hanging out and stitching, they’re open late on Wednesdays, put out snacks customers, and the employees all seem to think tatting is pretty cool (once I showed them what it was, that is.)

Only one problem.  Other than a little bit of embroidery floss they don’t sell anything immediately identifiable as tat-able.  I picked up some yarn for a friend for Christmas, but wanted to find something I would buy on a semi-regular basis so that I would be able to justify to myself coming in and spending time sitting on their couches tatting.  (My semi-regular crafting group only meets once a month so it’s nice to have found another place where I can always stop by and sit and tat in a non-solitary environment.)

They sell remnants of the Koigu yarn a while back and I picked up a piece to try tatting with it.  It worked surprisingly well.  It’s not ideal for tatting.  You have to tat rings a bit looser to be able to close them easily (and it’s best if they’re small rings).  Retro-tatting is a pain in the butt, but it does work.  The colors of this yarn are simply amazing.  Their website is a bit unfinished and they don’t have a good page that shows the colors so I’m going to send you to this page which shows a picture of a book with some of the different yarn colors on it.  It’ll give you the idea, at least.

After tatting the bracelet I picked up a couple skeins of this yarn with the plan of making another belt out of it.  I’ve even had the pattern picked out for a while (from Priscilla, of course) but I’ve been waiting until I could pick up some bigger shuttles.  I really do not want to have to try adding more thread in the middle of a project with this stuff.  Luckily, I think I can get an entire skein wound onto two (overwound) Tatsy shuttles, CTM.  For this new project I picked out two skeins and will just use a small bit from each.  I should probably try another project with a full skein so I can get a better idea of how much tatting I can get out of a skein, but that will have to wait for the future.  No projects that I want to do with the yarn are coming to mind at the moment and the yarn is expensive enough that I don’t want to buy some just for an experiment.  Luckily, they often have a remnants basket at Wildfibers with small pieces of this yarn.  The bracelet above was made with one of the remnants.  Since you need so little yarn for tatting I’ll be exploring that basket a lot.  Unfortunately, they were sold out of remnants the last time I was there, but I really like the colors I bought so I’m sure I’ll be happy using them for a long time.


Comments (3)

My Shuttlebirds Class Proposals Are In!!

I finally finished up with picking and writing up my class proposals for the Shuttlebirds Tatting Workshop in Spokane in April.  There are five class blocks and of course I submitted five different classes.  It’s probably a mistake since it means that if I do them all I have to do prep for five classes, but I started with a list of nine things that I wanted to teach and whiddled it down to the five.  I’m not sure if I should say here what I proposed since I don’t know what they’re actually going to approve, but I suppose it’s my blog and I can do what I want so here they are:

  1. Gina Butler’s awesome dimpled single-shuttle-split-ring heart strings.
  2. Single-pass flower choker necklace (uses split rings and a lock-stitch to make a quick necklace)
  3. 1925 Medaillion from Priscilla Tatting Book #3 (This is the motif from the Star Doily)
  4. Tatting with Yarn (another medallion from one of the Priscilla Books, but we’ll be tatting it with yarn)
  5. Photographing tatting (bring your camera and we’ll go over macro-settings and learn how to build an easy lightbox)

So those were my official proposals.  I’ve also sent Patti some other ideas they may like better.  We’ll see what fits in best with the other class proposals they’ve gotten and what people have requested.

I’m getting excited for April!!

Comments (3)

(Large) Garland Finished! Before Thanksgiving!

I’m not a big fan of all the Christmas stuff out in the stores before Thanksgiving with the one exception of craft stores.  If you’re actually making Christmas-related crafts you actually might need the time to get them started before Thanksgiving.  Turns out though, that this garland only took a fraction of the time I expected it too.  All in all I think it was only a 6-7 hour project.  Kind of nice to know.  The store had these strings of beads in silver and gold as well.  I’m partly tempted to pick-up another one or two to make some more and really cover our tree, but I’m going to resist them temptation.  I’ve got lots of other projects to work on, but maybe I’ll pick up a couple after Chirstmas.  It’s nice to have an simple project with such an easy pattern on hand for when my mind won’t settle long enough to work through a new or more complicated one.  We’ll see.  I still have the longer garland with the smaller beads that will take me quite a while, and it a few days I’ll be focused onto another new project.

Comments (4)

What to Teach???

Just finished teaching another class of fantastic tatting students at Piecemakers in Costa Mesa.  My intermediate students have really been challenging me in that they learn to quickly!  We breeze through so many techniques in one class that it leaves me wondering what else I could possible teach them and struggling to come up with ideas for the next class.

Luckily, other people keep coming up with awesome ideas and are kind enough to let me teach them to my students.  My next intermediate class will be learning Krystledawne’s technique for covering rhinestones (the same one I’m using on my garlands).  One of my repeat students today had already done both of the snowflakes we were learning in class today so she tackled Janie’s Christensen’s (sp?) technique for making a ring of interlocking split rings.  I hadn’t planned to teach her that, but one of the other repeat students had brought the rings they had made after I showed it to them during the last class.

I need to point out here that I didn’t even actually teach it to them at the last class.  I showed them the ones I made at Camp Wannatat and explained how they were made.  Just a couple months later the two of them come back with an entire bag full of rings and a 3 foot chain of the same pattern for hanging their tatting tools around their neck.  I haven’t even finished hiding in the ends on the ones I made in July.  I’m going to have trouble next year keeping up with these girls!

Planning future classes has really been on my mind because Shuttlebird class proposals are due at the end of the month.  Luckily I took the time after the last conference to write down all the ideas I had then.  Came up with nine, so now I have to get those down to my favorite 4-5 and write them up.  I’ll be continuing to rely on the amazing designs of others.  Among my class proposals will be Gina Butler’s string of hearts made with dimpled-single-shuttle-split-rings.   That’s going to be a fun one.  🙂


Comments (2)

Larger is Quicker. (Not Too Surprising.)

The new larger garland has been going on quite nicely and quickly.  I had been thinking that I would get just to the end and turn around to get started on the way back by the end of the week, but looks like I might have the whole thing finished by the end of the week instead.  I’ve already made it to the end and half way back.  I’m thinking that I might run out of thread, but luckily I already have some more of this (size 3) on hand so I won’t need to make another trip to Joanns.  I’m a little surprised since I bought this ball new for this project and I didn’t expect to use the whole thing, but I guess it IS 6 yards of lace.  🙂

So really, not too much more exciting to report there.  I’m getting started on another new project from the Priscilla books, but it’s sort of a large slightly complicated one so I’ve been taking a fair bit of time to sort out how exactly I want to tackle it.  In the meantime I’ll finished off this garland in the next day or two and will probably do a bit more on the other one (with the smaller beads) as well.  I continue to really like the way this one is coming together.  It will be fun to have it on the Christmas tree.

Comments (3)

Yeah, Another One. :-)

Stopped by Joann’s this week to pick up a few supplies for the tatting class I’m teaching this weekend at Piecemakers in Costa Mesa and wandered through their Christmas section.  Discovered a bigger version of the string of beads I’m making the garland out of so I had to pick up a strand with some size 3 thread.

It’s coming along quickly and I think I’ll actually finish this one by Christmas.  Actually, I should finish it off in the next few days.  It’s only 6 yards compared to the smaller sized beads which is 10 yards.  So it goes much quicker, which is nice.  The only problem is that I noticed after tatting a long chunk of it that the red was coming off on my fingers.  The picture here doesn’t have great lighting so it’s hard to see, but it’s there on my thumb, forefinger and the side of my ring finger.  I can’t tell if the pinkness in the thread is a reflection of the beads or if it’s rubbing off from the beads.  Either way it doesn’t actually look too bad so I’m not going to worry about it until the lack of paint starts showing on the beads themselves.

BTW, the pattern for this version is chains of 5-5.

Comments (1)

Garland Pattern

I forgot to give my pattern for the garland in my last post. It’s pretty simple.  The pattern is all chains so you only need the length of the beaded string plus a bit on your shuttle.  Do a lark’s head join to anywhere on the beaded string.  Tat a chain, wrap the shuttle around the string after the next bead and tat a chain again.  The length of the chains will depend on the size of the beads and the size thread you are using.  I’m using size 10 and for this size bead doing chains of 3-3.  You’ll end up with one row of chains along one side of the strand.  The whole thing will probably end up twisting some.  When you get to the last bead tat all the way around the last bead and wrap around the same space again.  (This probably just means doing twice whatever pattern you have for the chain.  You might need to add an extra stitch or two.)  Then continue to make the chains and wraps along the other side of the string of beads in the same way you did the first side.  The twist in the final garland will disappear as you do this row, but the rings will look like they’re overlapping.

I didn’t have time to take more pictures to illustrate so I’m just using the ones from as my last post.  Hope it’s clear.  Let me know if you have any questions.  This is Krystledawne‘s technique and she created it to make bracelets, but I’m having fun with this never-ending garland.

Though that being said, I haven’t had a chance to do much tatting in the last couple days.  I’ve had a friend visiting from out of town.  I did sell a pair of fingerless gloves recently which was nice, and a couple of patterns for them on Etsy which I got some nice feedback on.  It’s nice to know that my tatting and patterns are being enjoyed even if I haven’t had much time lately to work on them myself.

Comments (4)


I admit it.  I have issues with tackling too many big projects at once.  I’m trying to cut down on the number of big projects I start and trying not to start new ones until I’ve finished others, and to be honest I have been getting better at it.  I do start just as many big projects, but I’ve been pretty good about actually finishing others before starting the new ones.  But some big projects have a timeliness to them and I can’t wait until I’ve finished others before starting them.  This is one of them.

The other day I was at Joanns with a friend buying fabric and determined not to buy any more tatting supplies.  I stayed far away from the thread even though I was in Las Vegas where they actually sell Lizbeth tatting thread (they don’t sell it in the Joanns in Southern CA).  Unfortunately we still slowed down near the racks of random stuff near the front and I saw their little containers of 10 yards of beaded garland.  “Hey, I’ve been wanting to try Krystledawne‘s technique for covering a strand of rhinestones for a long time but haven’t been able to find any strands of rhinestones.  I bet this will work just as well!” So of course, I picked it up and now I’m trying to tat 10 yards of lace as a garland for my Christmas tree.  It’s a really cool technique and goes pretty fast, but I highly doubt that I’ll finish 10 yards.  Especially since I’m about to run out of the thread and don’t want to buy anymore while I’m in LA since I know I have a ton in San Diego and Seattle.  (This is the big project that I mentioned in my last post that uses the same thread as my sample shawl.)

So I may not finish it for this Christmas, but at least I’ll get a good start on it for next year.  It will still look nice on the tree even if it’s unfinished.  In this pattern you go through the whole strand covering one side of the beads and then come back and do the other.  I think I might get it finished in one direction, but probably not the second.  I started a few inches from the end so that I could see what it will look like when it’s done.  I like the twist that the rings will have in the finished version and I even sort of like the twist that the whole thing has when you’ve only one side of it.  By the way, please forgive the bad pictures.  I took these in the office at night and the lighting sort of sucks.  It’s much brighter in better light and I think it’ll look cool with the Christmas lights.


Comments (1)

Lost and Found Shawl

It’s been a while since I posted about progress on my shawl and it’s because I sort of stalled out on working through the smaller sample/prototype.  Not because I had come to a difficult point or had gotten stuck, but because I had lost it.  I had visited my parents in San Diego and then packed up quickly from there to leave for Seattle, but couldn’t find it in my bags when I got there.  I assumed I’d left it in my car, but after flying back to San Diego and then driving back up to LA I discovered I still couldn’t find it anywhere.  I recently visited my parents again and finally found it.  Sort of makes me look forward to eventually having a more stable living environment and actually getting all my tatting (along with everything else in my life) a bit more organized. 

Anyway,  since finding it I’ve finished off the second of the three borders on the sample and it’s looking like it’s going to work out.  The point of doing this little sample is to see how the three pieces of the final shawl will fit together and to pick the patterns for the connectors and the border.  I’m leaving all the joins un-joined around the tricky parts in case the pieces don’t actually fit together like the computer mock-up I made.  When I’ve finished making the last border I’ll tie the picots together in the places it makes sense and then use that as the basis for the final piece.

I may get stalled again, because I don’t have much of the thread with me and I have another large project I’m working on that uses the same thread.  (I’ll post about this project soon.)  I own plenty of this thread, but like the rest of my life it is spread out on the west coast.  I’ve got lots in Seattle and lots in San Diego, but just a little bit of it with me here in LA.  The other project is sort of a large Christmas-related project so I lean towards working on that just to keep from getting stalled out, but on the other hand, I’m so close to finished off this sample shawl that I’m eager to get it done.  We’ll just have to see which one I feel like working on this week.


Comments (2)