Saturday, November 27, 2010

Evolution of a Butterfly (Pattern)!

I really should go ahead and tat the five bookmarks in the navy and green - it's a falling-off-a-log easy pattern, and she wants them all identical, and she wants the green for the rings and the navy for the chains (my eyes are grateful!)...but instead, I've been working on DeeDee's Butterfly.

It started with this butterfly - I used to have a wee bit more time than I do now, and I would "doodle" with shuttles and thread.  If I liked the results, I'd make some notes and later write them up.  I liked this one, and remember writing up the pattern - but can't find it anywhere! 

Back to the drawing board. 

I tatted a model by the picture and sorta liked it, but something about it just made me want to "fix" it.  I wanted to streamline it and make it easier to tat.  So - I worked on it and came out with this model, from which I wrote a pattern.  The small ring in the center is replaced with one big one, and the two stacked rings thrown off the chains are now just one ring each.

I can't leave well enough alone - I kept tinkering with it and came up with Revision 1.  The big center ring bothered me - it seemed to "ruffle" because I tat so tightly.  I thought about Jane Eborall's Double Double Stitch and decided I'd use it.  It takes up a lot more thread, though, and the ring is a lot bigger - so I just tatted the second half of the stitch as a DDS.   Much better!

Now the wings seemed kind of - angular.  I tried one with all the small rings the same size.  Much better!  But there's still something that's not quite right...

It was the other two big rings that bothered me -- they both were showing "ruffle" tendencies, so I'm doing the half DDS on them as well as you can see on this butterfly in progress.  I think we'll call this one a keeper.  If you're keeping score, the final version is Revision 1.3.

I'm planning on loading shuttles to tat later on today - hopefully I can get a few of these done and ready to mail to DeeDee.  That's the goal - Monday's outgoing mail!  I want to spend some one-on-one "just us girls" time with my granddaughter today; it's a little cool outside, so I'm thinking McDonalds (she's a big Mickey D's fan!) for something to spoil our supper!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm On a Tatting Mission!

Someone from a different office in our company stopped by a week or so ago, and asked me if it was tatting that I did all the time.  I told her yes, that I enjoyed it and she told me her great-grandmother did some kind of needlework a lot.  She was young and wasn't sure what it was, but told me she had a bookmark she would love to have "duplicated" - would I look at it and copy it for her?  I told her yes, I'd be glad to look - I've always liked looking at needlework, especially old items with a story - but until I could see it and tell what kind of needlework it was, I couldn't promise to copy it. 

She brought it in yesterday.  I only needed a glance to tell her it is tatted!  She was really glad to hear it, and asked me again if I could copy it.  I told her I believed so, and what colors would she like?  She asked for navy and green - which I have; she wants five of them, all alike; and she doesn't need them until Christmas. It's a simple bookmark pattern:
R1:  3-3-3-3 cl r. RW
Ch:  5-5 RW
*R2:  3+3-3-3 cl r. RW
Ch:  5-5 RW

Repeat from * for length desired.  Turn the corner by joining the center picots in addition to the first picots on your next two rings.  Keep the pattern going for the second side.  Turn the last corner, and join your last chain in the beginning of the first chain (the base of R1).  Tie and cut.  Weave a ribbon down the center and trim even with the ends of the bookmark.

Navy thread!  I'm going to need to do most of the tatting on Saturdays and Sundays, when I have daylight, or use a really good, daylight-type lamp!  At least I don't have to have them finished by Friday...

I also got into a discussion about butterflies with a work friend in Wisconsin.  At the end, I told her I'd send her a butterfly if she'd tell me where it needed to go.  She thought I was going to email her a picture; I said, no, I want to send you a tatted butterfly.   She gave me her address and I told her I'd let her know when I put it in the mail, so she'd know to be looking for it.

But which butterfly?  There are hundreds of nice butterfly patterns out there!  I've even designed a few myself.  I started looking through pictures from my old computer (miss you tons, HP! <sniff, sniff>) and found one I liked -- but no pattern was with it!  I remember tatting it and writing it down - but whatever became of the text file I have no idea.  So -- I'm working on it, going by the picture, and trying to improve it here and there.  This isn't blocked, and it's not the final version - but what do you think?  Is DeeDee's Butterfly a winner?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shuttles, Shuttles!

I can't believe it's been so long since I've been able to post - thanks to all who inquired about my health, and yes, my back is better.  I have some bursitis in my shoulder that makes life...challenging.  Oh, well, it's always going to be something -- at least this isn't really, realllllly awful (mostly just annoying).

I have some more shuttles to show you today - I hope you're not tired of looking at them!  First up - an English Aero, probably from the mid- to late- 1970s.  It's another eBay purchase, one I lucked out on -- because it's still on the card, together with the original extra bobbin.  I've tried to remember if I ever saw these in the stores, but no such luck.  Even if I had a clear "a-ha!" memory of them, learning to tat was over a decade away for me.  Notice the price - $3.00!  Wow...good luck even finding the German Aeros at this price now!

Next up is another English shuttle, the Milward.  I'd heard tatters talk about these for years: how hard they were to find, how ecstatic they were when they found one, how depressed they were when the dog chewed it up...  I've been on a mission ever since.  Now I've got one - it was in with a bunch of sewing-related items on eBay, and barely visible.  I won the bid and when the package arrived, sorted through all the items to find it.  It's not on the original card and doesn't have the little hook with it, but the label is still shiny and I'm pleased with it.
I could probably get another entire post out of the Justrite shuttles, with all their variations - but as it's been well over a week since I've been able to write here, I'll just make this entry a long one.  As I understand it, the earliest Justrites had four dimples on the reverse side; later versions have two.  There are at least two different sizes, and some have a pick and some don't.  I've been fortunate in that most all the Justrite shuttles I've bought have been well taken care of and are still shiny.  Unfortunately, shiny = reflections!  Bear with me in these pictures.

Next time, which I hope will be Wednesday, I should have some tatting to show you.  I've been working on ideas for small Christmas ornaments to give as gifts to folks at my job.  Last year, I tatted Marilee Rockley's bell (told you about that already) so I want to do something different this year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Turtle! Turtle!

Most everyone is familiar with the name Teri Dusenbury - she's a published author of tatting books (Tatting Hearts, Tatting Butterflies), a prolific designer, and an excellent tatter.  She also has a blog and currently is featuring Dream Turtles - if you haven't seen them, please go take a look.  They are absolutely beautiful! 
I have several of her little beauties - I wore one to work the other day, and everyone wanted to know where I got it - some thought jewelry store, other thought artisan shop.  I told everyone who asked where to find them, and most were amazed that they are tatted.  I just smiled and reminded them - "It's not just about doilies anymore!" 
 I'm also trying to decide what to make for this year's ornament that I'll give to my co-workers in my department.  Last year, I gave this lovely bell - designed by Marilee Rockley - and everyone really liked it.  I've given out snowflakes and angels - anybody have any suggestions??

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More of My "New to Me" Shuttles!

Late in the ‘90s, or maybe in the early ‘00s, I learned about Aero shuttles.  Now, these were the German-made shuttles, but they were still better than the metal shuttles with the metal bobbins I had been using, so I bought one…or two…several.  They were great! …that is, until the bobbin and the notch inside the shuttle stopped playing nicely together; then the bobbin would free-wheel, and that was aggravating.

Then I learned that the German Aero shuttles were not the originals – they were copies.  The originals had been made in England, and rumor had it that they were superior to the German versions.  I started looking on auction sites and finally found one – at least I was pretty sure it might be one.  The seller was really selling a quantity of thread, and was “throwing in” this old grey shuttle marked “Alko – England.”  Alko?  I was pretty sure the seller was misreading “Aero,” so I put in a bid.  I was the only bidder, so I won.  Sure enough, when the package arrived, it was an Aero – England shuttle.  Then I bought some later Aero shuttles (still made in England) from Jane Eborall, and on occasion would win another of the older Aero shuttles.  Then came this find:
It’s a metal Aero.  I found a wonderful book on tatting shuttles by Pam Palmer (which deals with European shuttles primarily – it’s a great addition to your tatting library, and an excellent companion piece to Heidi Nakayama’s book Tatting Shuttles of American Collectors.) which discusses all the various Aero shuttles.  This one is indeed an English Aero made of metal – and it has a pick tip; Palmer states that this particular model was aimed at the American market.  It is a post shuttle; here is a side view that shows the post: It’s very lightweight and I enjoy using it.

I have more shuttles to show you, but it's been a rough couple of weeks (hopefully this will be the last couple of days I have to take medication for my back) and it's time for me to say goodnight.  Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nuts About Tatting!

Yes, I am, and I have the nut to prove it!

This is my "official" NATA (Nuts About Tatting Association) nut, purchased from Gale Marshall way back when - possibly even the previous century, since I don't remember the exact date I got it (you'd think I'd remember something like this, wouldn't you?!)

It lives on a shelf of my bookcase, where I keep much of my tatting stash: books, threads, baskets with more threads and odds 'n ends (heavy on the odds), and a couple of tackle boxes.  Notice the hinge on the back? 

There's a tiny shuttle inside, made of rosewood - and I have tatted with it, tiny though it is.  Here is a side view:
I am amazed that it's already Wednesday - this week has been a very busy one, but I'm hoping it will slow down a bit - I have a day off Friday and want to enjoy it a bit!