Saturday, October 30, 2010


I've had some health issues - back muscles and left knee - but I'm on the mend.  Currently, I'm taking medicine for the knee alone, and hopefully won't have to go back to the doctor anytime soon!  I'm working on some ideas for Palmetto Tat Days 2011 - Tatting in a Winter Wonderland - but don't have any show-and-tell at this point.

No, nothing new - other than new to me.  I can show you some old things:
My friends will tell you I like to look at eBay now and then (my family will tell you I'm addicted to it, but I'm really not).  Both these shuttles are old, circa 1915, according to Heidi Nakayama, author of Tatting Shuttles of American Collectors.  It's a very good book, full in information and eye candy, and IMHO a very worthwhile addition to your bookshelf.  She has a very interesting website and blog, too, which you might want to visit.
These shuttles use a very old-fashioned bobbin that, believe it or not, is still being made; I bought a pack of 10 at Hancock Fabric last year.  The top shuttle is the first one I bought; it came without a bobbin, so I figured I'd never be able to actually tat with it, unless I ran across some of these long skinny bobbins in an antique store (or an "ann-teek" - actually junk store).  I was pleasantly (ecstatically) surprised to discover a card of these bobbins on a rack in my local Hancock's.  This view is of the sides, which is where you snap in the bobbin (which is tricky) - note the really shiny bobbin in the top shuttle; that's the new one!
These are probably the oldest shuttles I have.  I tend to prefer the older metal shuttles to the celluloid ones, because celluloid can deterioriate more easily than the metal ones. 

Time to take my meds and put the ice pack on my knee for awhile.  Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Container Acquisition Syndrome!

Yeah, I've got it -- I admit it!  I collect all kinds of containers -- tins, boxes, plastics; if it will fit in my purse and hold my tatting, I'm going to collect it.  Even if it won't fit in my purse, I'll probably collect it!

Two of my latest containers: this one, made in England, is an octagonal tin with a hinged lid.  I found it in an antiques mall in Lavonia, GA -- we almost passed the mall on the way to Toccoa for our Girls Weekend Out.

Almost passed it?  Yes -- Catherine was driving and we had to stop for the traffic light.  The antiques mall is directly across, so you can't not notice it.  We swung through the intersection, and halfway into the parking log, she said she just had to stop and look, and hoped I didn't mind.  I didn't -- I'd passed it before and never had time to stop in, so I was glad for the opportunity.  We didn't stay too long - so we didn't thoroughly explore it, but there's always a next time.  I also found this wooden cigar box.  It's rather plain and boxy on the outside, but inside the lid is a treat: isn't it pretty?  I love the colors!  It's a nice size, too, and will hold a lot of tatting.  It's not old, though -- there is a 1997 copyright date at the bottom center of the picture.

I also have a wooden cigar box that my dad brought home to me when I was little; he lettered my name on the lid in gold leaf.  There's also a plain one upstairs, that my mom kept receipts and stuff in.  I have a wooden cigar box that was my grandfather's somewhere upstairs; it's full of tatting and several celluloid tatting shuttles.  If I'm not mistaken, the souvenir shuttle I got at IOLI-Atlanta's Lace Days in 2002 is also in there.

I started this post with a tin; I have a lot of tins, too.  I had no idea that Whitman's made so many different kinds of tins!  Tins used to be hard to find; you could occasionally find big ones with cookies inside, but purse-sized were extremely hard to find.  A lot of my tins are packed away, but the ones I use most often are close at hand.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Finished Projects!

FINISHED!  Isn't that a lovely word?  There's a lot of satisfaction packed into those syllables.  First up, Martha Ess' lovely half-ring bracelet she taught at Tat Days - this is the first one I made, but won't be the last!  She was right on target (for me) with the amount of beads to string and the length of thread to load onto the shuttle.

If I haven't mentioned it before, let me mention now - when you're loading a lot of beads, a bead spinner is a good tool to have.  I got mine on sale at Hobby Lobby a few years ago, and it's more than earned its keep!  This version of Martha's bracelet called for 260 beads, and mine were strung in just a few minutes using the bead spinner.  The thread, by the way, is Lizbeth #127 (Butterfly Breeze); the beads actually came with the bead spinner, and I'd never even opened them.  I thought they complemented the thread well, so I decided to use them.

Moving on.  I tend to like small projects, like bookmarks and bracelets, because they're usually pretty quick to make.  I have done a couple of doilies, though - here's one of them.  It's called "Springtime," and it's in The Tatter's Treasure Chest edited by Waldrop.  It's a Dover book, and full of patterns from the 1930s and 1940s. 

I found, in making it, that joining the side picots on round 3 was not going to work for me - it made the doily cup.  Not joining them allows it to lay flat.  I also am not crazy about cutting and tying after every round, so I climbed out of rounds 1 and 2 with split chains.  I climbed into rounds 2, 3, and 4 with split rings.  I didn't know how to climb into a round with a split chain, though, so I ended round 4 with cut, tie, hide ends, and started fresh on round 5.  Maybe it would work to do half the chain to climb into the round, and end with half a chain.  Something to ponder!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tatting in Toccoa!

...and did we have fun!  There were four of us: Catherine, Sandra, Karrieann, and me.  We stayed at the Knights Inn and enjoyed conversation and tatting, punctuated by chocolates, cashews, and wine!  We sat up way too late, ate way too much chocolate, and had way too much fun -- but it was so worth it!
Here is the gang at a little soda shop in downtown Toccoa -- (L-R) Catherine, Sandra, Karrieann.  The conversation was great, as was the tatting...too bad they kind of forgot we were there (I, for one, would have liked more Diet Coke).  This was Saturday afternoon right before we went our separate ways.  We're already planning our next get-together, next spring!  Hopefully we can work it out to Thursday, Friday, and Saturday -- more time, more tatting...and more chocolate!
I brought home a souvenir, too -- this lovely handmade wooden keepsake box I bought at a little art gallery in Toccoa.  It has a latch to keep it closed and even came with a tiny lock and keys!  And -- it was on sale (score!)  Also in the picture are the chocolates Catherine and I brought to the party -- everybody kept a Salmagundi tin and a Wynnewood tin as a remembrance of the occasion!

We had hoped to have time to decorate some shuttles, but it just didn't work out this trip.  Next time for sure!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finished Projects!

Don't you just love the feeling of satisfaction you get when you finish something?  Big or small, a finished project is a joy!  I thought I would share a few of my finished items with you.

The bookmark in the middle I've shown you before.  The one on the left is one of my "go-to" patterns when I need a quick gift; it's not much more involved than the middle bookmark, and fun to do.  The motif on the right is an example of modern Celtic tatting; two elements (or more) are tatted separately, then joined together by weaving (or intertwining) the interoconnecting parts.  One last element is tatted which joins into all the other parts, thus holding it together.  Here it is in closeup:

And here is the other side.  I hesitate to call it the "back" side, as modern Celtic is meant to be reversible - and each side looks different.  I believe this pattern was designed by Sue Hanson of London, England - it was a lesson earlier this year at our Palmetto Tatters Guild regular meeting day.  I actually tatted the whole thing at the meeting - so you can tell it's not hard or time-consuming!  Still need to do something about those ends, though...maybe I'll use it as a hanger!

Had to dig a little for this one - it was on the old computer.  A friend from work pulled off most of my files, and I've been going through them.  The shamrock on the left is just three big rings, not even joined together, with a dimple in each.  The rose is one I dreamed up on my daughter's birthday, so it's named The Jessica Rose.  The pattern is available on the Palmetto Tatters website, - look under "Favorite Patterns."  The heart -- ah, the heart!  It's named the Celtic Button Heart, and it was designed by the very talented Karey Solomon.  She taught this as one of her classes at the IOLI-Atlanta Lace Days in 2002.  As with other modern Celtic pieces, it's made of two parts that are interwoven, then joined by a third part.  The first part, under the 3D rose, is tatted onto a button.  I just liked the look of the rose in the middle, so I tied it in.  And I see there is a loose thread under it!  Good grief...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shuttles From Nature!

I was asked recently if I could recommend any wood or bone shuttles.  I do have some of each, and like them.
These are wooden shuttles by Chris Hinton.  The bunny and rose are reclaimed ivory, inlaid into the wood.  The rose was the first Hinton shuttle I bought - he had it listed on eBay and I was lucky enough to win the bid.  The others are shuttles purchased from their webstore over the years.  I enjoy using them for demonstrating tatting - they're real eye-catchers.

Next, here are some bone shuttles.  None of them is old; I've bought them from various Tat Days vendors over the years.  Like the Hinton shuttles, they are eye-catching and fun to use to demonstrate tatting.  The fish are such an unusual shape for a tatting shuttle, it takes awhile for me to get used to tatting with one if I haven't used one in awhile!

The last ones I have to show you today are made from mother-of-pearl and abalone.  The MOP is contemporary; I bought it from a vendor at Tat Days several years ago.  Both the abalone are older, though -- but I don't know for sure how old.  The one on the left was an eBay find about 10 years ago; the post has a tiny sticker on one side advising that the price of the shuttle is 35c.  Maybe that was a lot of money to spend on a hobby when this shuttle was new - especially when you consider that abalone is a shell and can be easily broken.  That's the main reason I don't use these very much - I have been known to be very klutzy, and would hate to break them! 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rolling in Clover (Shuttles)!

When I learned to tat, in the late 1980s, there weren't a lot of shuttles available locally - so I started looking for shuttles every time we went to a larger city, such as Greenville.  At some point I found Clover shuttles; they were available in dark blue and dark red.  Later, I discovered Clover tortoise shuttles (and I still think they're a prettier tortoise than the newer Clover tortoise).  Then the only (so far) Clover shuttles without the point, the Clover Amber (or Gold, if you prefer). 
The neons were a pleasant surprise - but if you wanted one of every color, you ended up with two green ones!  I always have wondered why they didn't make a lavender one so you'd have a rainbow set.  Then I moved beyond the two-per-card to the sets of five per pack (but I still have several extra green ones!).

Now, Clover has introduced their pastel series - so pretty!  I like the new colors; I wonder what will be next.  Will they introduce five new colors in a few years?  Maybe someone will begin making "end of day" shuttles - lots of colors mingled together.  You can still find the celluloid version of these on the auction sites (but they're usually out of my price range),  and bid on them.  I think I'll be content with these...for awhile!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Among My Souvenirs!

My friend, Tabitha, recently took a vacation with her dad to Universal-Orlando - the highlight of which was exploring the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter park.  She really enjoyed it, and brought me back a souvenir - a chocolate frog!  Readers of the series are familiar with the sweet treat, and although the real-life candy amphibian doesn't jump around, it is impressive nonetheless.

The frog is a bit larger than my palm, and weighs over 5 oz.  That's a lot of frog!  It will take time to finish him off - but I'm up to the challenge!

In the meantime, just so you know, that empty box is going to come in handy.  Here's a test fit with most of the stuff from my tatting bag.  I count six shuttles, a pair of scissors, and a ball of thread!  And yes, the lid closed nicely.

Definitely the gift that keeps on giving!