Archive for March, 2012

Photography for Tatters (and Knitters!)

March 30, 2012 4:51 pm

One of the classes I’m teaching at the Shuttlebirds conference this year is Photography for Tatters.  Just like with my Blocking, Starching and Care of Tatting class last year, I picked the topic because it was something I wanted to learn more about.  My other hobby is photography, but in that area I’d call myself only a serious amateur and I have always been much more interested in landscapes than “product” photography.  It’s definitely something I’ve always wanted to learn more about beyond the basics so I proposed this class to Shuttlebirds and they accepted it.

A few months ago I put together a simple lightbox and we’ll go over how to make it in class.  In further preparation I took a class two weekends ago at Wildfibers, an awesome yarn store in Santa Monica called Photography for Knitters, taught by Gale Zucker the author of the book Craft Activism and the blog She Shoots Sheep Shots.  It was a great class and really clarified some of the stuff I’d been slowly figuring out on my own, as well as showing me a  lot of stuff I probably never would have figured out.  I loved seeing a bunch of pictures from shoots and hearing the logic that Gale went through in moving from one to taking another that was better to taking another that was better yet.  As soon as I have the time (probably after Shuttlebirds), I’ll be trying to put together some photo shoots of my tatting and I know it’s going to be helpful.  Anyone in the Seattle area want to model for me?

Hopefully, I’ve learned enough that my students in April will be able to learn from me.  I’m really looking forward to the class.


More on the Way!

March 29, 2012 9:08 pm

Today I worked on research papers and during my breaks I wound 50 yard skeins for the next time I try dyeing thread.  It won’t be anytime soon, but I wanted to get started on the winding since that’s not too much fun.  Also, it was the perfect break for the research paper.  Tatting related, but not actually enough fun to get me so enthralled and distracted from the paper. I got through 3 balls so that’s a good start.  I’ll probably keep going and wind through all the rest of them, but it’ll take me a while, and I don’t actually know when I’ll get around to dyeing them, but at least they’ll be ready to go.

Dye Lot #2!

March 28, 2012 7:47 pm

A little while back reread my post about trying to dye thread with the pomegranates and it got me into the mood to try dyeing again so I finally pulled out the yellow and blue dyes and made my second batch of dyed thread, this time in green and yellow.  Mostly green and mostly size 20.  I did a few variegated skeins, but since I don’t use variegated thread much I mostly made solids.  For the most part I was just messing around and wasn’t really trying for anything in particular.  Not trying for anything in particular means that I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I’ll probably keep messing around with dying thread in the future though I think I’ll probably want to switch to a different dye.  This is a powder dye I got to try out but I think a liquid one would be easier to play around with and mix, though I especially like the way the yellows look.

One of the things I didn’t seem to do well was rinse out the greens.  I thought I’d gotten all the extra dye out, but as I let them dry I saw that some of the green was bleeding on to the paper towels.  So rinsed all the green again and let them soak a bit more and that seemed to take care of it without changing the colors at all.  With the blues and yellows I just held them under running water and the seemed to rinse just fine, but maybe I had more dye in the greens.

Playing around with dyeing has certainly given me more appreciation for the HDT that others make.  I can’t imagine getting to the point where I can consistently get the same color scheme from skein to skein, let alone dye batch to dye batch.  Krystle Dawne has some gorgeous ones she just finished and posted on her blog about.  I don’t usually even care for variegated threads and I’m drooling.

Playing around with the dyeing has been partly to use up a bunch of balls of DMC size 20 white.  I’ve had them for a long time and never really been happy with them because they’re really more of a slightly off-white.  If I want to tat with white, I generally want a bright white, so I figured dyeing them would be a good way to turn them into something I’d actually use.  I’ve still got another 10 or so balls left so there’s still lots of playing with dye in my future.  Unfortunately that means there’s lots of winding of skeins for dyeing first in my more near future.  Ahh well.  All part of the process.

Get More (Tatters on) Craftsy!

March 27, 2012 10:53 am

I love how when someone starts following you on Craftsy they send you an email telling you that the person has been inspired by you.  It’s cute and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.  I’ve had barely any time to explore Craftsy, but I’m pretty excited about the possibilities for tatters.  It’s still relatively new and so I feel like if we can get a lot of tatters to join we can get a bit of attention for tatting.  I’m on Ralvery because I’d like to learn to knit and I used to crochet, but they are pretty adamant about being ONLY for knitting and crocheting and making it very clear they have no plans to expand to other fiber crafts.  Craftsy looks like it could be the substitute.  Right now tatting is still only in the “other” category, but if we all join up maybe we can get them to give it it’s own category.

I’m also very excited about being able to sell patterns there with an automatic download for the buyer so they don’t have to wait for me to send them an email.  I had someone buy my pattern book yesterday and it threw me off to only get an email about payment and not one about fulfillment of the order.  I like it though.

This is the last week of my masters degree so I’m basically living in a world of research papers about GAAP, IFRS other exciting accounting regulations.  I probably won’t be able to do a lot of tatting this week, but I have a bunch of things I haven’t gotten around to posting from the last couple weeks, so I plan to post about those.

Tatting with Yarn Continued.

March 26, 2012 1:59 pm

I suppose it was silly of me to expect to finish the scarf by the time we made it up to Seattle.  I did get both of the white rows finished and (just barely) started the first of the purple rows.  Figuring out how much yarn to expect to use was a bit of a pain in the butt.  As was working with overwound Tatsy shuttles (I didn’t want to have to do much adding of thread and hiding of ends so I started with it over wound).  I’m going to follow the pattern as shown in the Priscilla book, even though it has a asymmetrical aspect that bothers me.  This asymmetrical bit should make it possible to finish the pattern with the yarn I bought without needing to find more.  It would be annoying to have to buy more since I bought it on clearance in Los Angeles and don’t want to spend more on this experiment.  I was surprised by the “fraying” of the picots, but I suppose that’s what happens when I choose to tat with a yarn without a strong twist.  It’s an interesting effect and should work out though.  It will serve as a nice contrast to the general tightness of the tatting.  (btw, the yarn is Debbie Bliss – Eco Fair Trade Collection.)

I want to give a big thank you out to those who test tatted my choker pattern for me!  Now that I’m up in Seattle and settling in I’m finally going back and making the corrections.  Handouts for the Shuttlebirds conference are due at the end of the week if I want them to make copies for me so I’m finishing up my last two now.  If I don’t finish by the end of the week it’s no big deal, I’ll just run the copies myself, but I like to have an early deadline and it would be nice to have them all finished.

Does anyone have experience using Illustrator to do diagrams?  I’m having trouble getting nice even (and symmetrical) chains.  What tool do you use to do it and do you have any advice?  I’m seriously considering taking Illustrator and In Design classes as soon as I get more settled in.

Tatting with Yarn!

March 21, 2012 4:13 pm

After spending time at the yarn shop this weekend I started experimenting with tatting with yarn.  This is the start of a scarf using an insertion pattern from (where else?) one of the Priscilla Tatting books.  To understand the scale, the book it’s on is the back back cover of my bound print out of Priscilla Tatting book #2.  This is the first of 6 rows.  Originally I’d thought that I’d be making a belt out of pattern, but once I got started it became clear that it would end up being too thick.  So a scarf it is.  The yarn is a Debbie Bliss yarn and it’s a worsted weight cotton.  Finally my large Tatsy shuttles are getting some use!

The pattern thus far is pretty basic.  Both rings and chains are 2(-2)x5 or 5 picots separated by 2 ds.  The next row will be the same, but the rings will interlock at the 2nd and 4th picots.  These first two rows are going to be in white.  The next row on either side will be light purple and then the outer rows will be purple.

I think this will be my main project for the drive up to Seattle.  Hopefully, I’ll have it done by the time I arrive in Washington from sunny California.


March 19, 2012 1:21 pm

I have just discovered  Despite being in the middle of a move from San Diego to Seattle (I start the drive on Wednesday!) it’s managed to suck me in and I spent more time than I should have exploring.  Very cool!  I can’t wait to do more exploring and take some classes.  I’ve been wanting to learn to knit socks for quite a while. Perhaps the introductory $25 price for your first class will actually get me started.

I’m also very excited by the fact that they will host patterns and allow for an automatic download.  My patterns will, of course, continue to be available in my Etsy shop (More coming soon, actually.  I have the patterns ready, but need to write the descriptions), but I like the automatic download feature of Craftsy.  I just posted the pattern for my fingerless gloves and a little later will my book of patterns derived from the transforming motif that I love so much.

In filling out my basic information to register for Craftsy I put Seattle, WA down as my location for the very first time.  I’ve very excited about the move, but so much more to do to get packed up and only two days left!  Yikes!

Gloves Are Off to the UK!

March 6, 2012 7:49 pm

It’s always fun to be mailing things internationally.  Well, except for the actual trip to the post office, but I do really like the international-ness of Etsy.

I got one of our KJazz volunteers to pose for this picture before I packed them up.  Again, you can’t see the difference in the colors of the rings and chains.  It’s subtle, but the clusters are a bit darker.  They’re in ecru and the chains are in cream.  I like the color combination even better than I expected.

Now that the pledge drive and the gloves are done I’m getting back to other tatting projects.  I’m meeting up with a bride this weekend and am working on her garter belt as well as some of the favors for the guests.

Speaking of international, I have been talking to someone else in another country about doing some combined work.  I won’t go into details here until we’ve settled on the project and scope some more.  It should be very interesting when it’s done!