Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Little Late . . .

Belated St. Patrick's Day Greetings!
 Here is a shamrock magnet (2" in diameter, smaller than a paperweight, but could be used as one), which I put together awhile ago, using a glass disc that I think is supposed to be used in a large vase, along with several discs that came in a pouch.  It was the perfect size to fit in a clear lid I had on hand, and I decorated it around the edge with metallic gold tape, plus scrapbook embellishments inside. I then stuck a magnet on the back.   It looks nice on the fridge and I enjoy looking at it every day! 

The pattern, of course, is Sharren's famous SCMR Shamrock, which is a nice size. 

And here is a grouping of some 'green' items, just for fun.  I haven't shown my 'other' Aran sweater before .  It's made with dark green yarn, and I knit it  way back in the '90s. I've always enjoyed doing cable patterns.   (Can't believe this sweater is  20+  years old already!)    

Also in the photo is my 'shamrock' plant (actually Oxalis, not native to Ireland, but should be, as it's so perfectly Irish-looking), which continues to survive in its planter and comes inside in winter,  I love seeing the white flowers year round.
'Paddy Bear' is sporting his green bowler hat and green tie and is showing off the shamrock magnet. 

The Celtic pendant is several years old now, and, of course, was designed by Rosemarie Peel.  The big pin shows my name in English and Gaelic Irish ("Catroine").   As I've often mentioned, I always salute my Irish ancestors  on St. Patrick's Day, and I was named for my maternal Grandmothe, Katherine Flanagan. 

Computer Problems
This is a miracle post for me, because for the past several months I haven't been able to get into my Dashboard using my 15" laptop.  (It's seven years old, has Vista (!) and IE9.   I know it's a 'dinosaur' but it's been a loyal friend and it's still plugging along! 

Therefore, I used my trusty little netbook for my prior post, and never investigated why the Dashboard wouldn't appear in the laptop.  But my sweet little netbook crashed last week, and it came as quite a shock (only 2 years old).  So when I went to use the laptop to post on Monday, I forgot I couldn't get into the Dashboard!.  I had to search all over the forums to find out if there was an answer.   

I was surprised (after spending a lot of time) that it apparently has something to do with the browser IE9,  which is not being supported anymore, not even by Microsoft!  (Apparrently IE11 is causing problems in blogger, too.)   However, a simple solution suggested by several helpful folks was to uncheck the 'Compatibility View' in IE9.  Of course, it took me awhile to learn how to do that (I'm not tuned into all these tricks of the trade), and I finally figured it out.  I was amazed and delighted when my Dashboard came back to life!  So it looks like I can do posts again (not that I post that often - something I hope to remedy in the future).    But I now have to look for another computer to replace my netbook, and I will be looking for one with strong graphics capabilities!   And I have to continue hold my breath using this laptop, purchased in 2006! 

Looking forward to Spring!  And the Maple Syrup Festival is coming up soon!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tribute to Mary Konior

“Maids of  Honour” Bell, inspired by Mary Konior

This bell is my personal tribute to Mary and is displayed here, along with Mary’s  classic and very popular ‘Queen of Hearts’ motif, which I finally got around to tatting recently, using Lizbeth Vintage Harvest, size 20.  ( I had  some problems figuring out where to connect the picots on the heart pattern and had to really concentrate on where I was going, but I love the pattern.)

 The bell, however, is 15 years old!
It is a special bell that I gave as a 25th wedding anniversary gift to
my brother-in-law and his wife back in 1998.  (They celebrated their 40th anniversary several months ago!)

I recently asked my sister-in-law if she would mind sending the bell to me (they live 300 miles away), as I never photographed it properly, and I want to put together a photo gallery of all my different bells.  Fortunately,   it arrived safely in the mail last Saturday.  ( But I plan to return it to her in person!)
I was delighted to see it again, and it’s  in great condition! It’s good to know that the stiffener I use (Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener)  does not yellow over the years.   I had also sprinkled some fine silver glitter on it before the stiffener dried, and it still sparkles in the light!
I recall I used size 30 Cebelia thread.  I knew my SIL would take good care of it.  She appreciates all the things I’ve made for her, and she does excellent needlework herself.  She always displays the bell on her Christmas tree!  
I  know I could have tatted a bell for myself ( I still have my ‘chicken scratch’ notes), but for inexplicable reasons, I never did.    
History of Bell and Some Surprises!
When I bought Mary’s Visual Patterns book in 1994,  I fell in love with her ‘Maids of Honor’ edging, and I tatted up some samples.  But I  very much wanted to make a bell using her pattern.   Between 1991 and 1998 I created at least eight different bells using edging patterns that appealed to me, and I knew that Mary’s  ‘Maids of Honour’ design would make a beautiful  bell.   I believe I was successful on my  first try (I seemed to be lucky that way, with all my bell designs!)  and I even incorporated her  ‘Beauty Spots’ pattern into it.  However, I had some surprises in store when I studied the bell again. 
It seems I made things much more difficult for myself, as I tatted the 'Beauty Spots' pattern without the Josephine rings (beauty spots)!.  That's kind of important because the Josephine knots go inside the two bottom rings and cleverly hide a single bare thread which leads to the next motif and eliminates the need to cut and tie, as I did.  (The Beauty Spots pattern is on page 31 of the Visual Patterns book.)
 And I was also amazed that I individually tatted each simple  clover leaf motif above the ‘beauty spots’ motifs!   I didn’t know how to do split rings yet!
It was fortunate, however, that the six  repeats of the Maids of Honor pattern worked out perfectly to form the bottom of the bell, over the Styrofoam bell form.  
 I always put clappers in my bells,  usually a large acrylic bead .  I sometimes put a filigree  cap on the bead, but I didn’t do that here.  I probably couldn’t find a silver one ( in keeping with the Silver Anniversary theme).     I attached the bead to a silver chain (cut to the proper length with a wire cutter.  You could also use a ‘real’ jingle bell,   which  would ring!  
A glue gun always comes in handy for attaching flowers and other elements.  These days I would use a wired ribbon, so that it could be ‘curled’. 
I also gave the recipients of my bells a large, clear plastic cup with a lid,  to store the bell safely.
Mary Konior’s Legacy
It’s difficult to believe it’s been four years since Mary’s passing in January 2010.  However, it’s wonderful that tributes to Mary continue to be seen .  She was an exceptional lady, and I’m so glad for the technology of  today with the internet and blogging to remind us of her many achievements and the tremendous impact she had and will forever have on the art of tatting.  Her books were a spectacular achievement and are a fabulous legacy of her talent.  We are the lucky beneficiaries of her total dedication to tatting!   I particularly appreciated her decision to put diagrams in two colors in her Visual Patterns book.   Putting color into diagrams very much improves an understanding of tatting patterns - at least it does for me!     

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July, 2013

 New Scarf for the 4th  – with Tatted Pendant!

This is a pendant I recently made, just rings and chains with Lizbeth 20 Christmas Red, and a very nice ‘star’ scrapbook embellishment.  Perfect for the 4th of July!  But what I really want to share is the scarf/pendant idea.

 Metal Scarf Slider with loop for attaching a pendant.

I have seen ‘sliders’ for scarves before,  but I had never seen one with a loop for attaching a pendant.  This makes it very convenient to add and change pendants whenever you like on a particular scarf.

 Here is a close-up of the slider  and my own bail (found at craft stores) - a little difficult to see - which clips on to the slider and to the tatted pendant (the velvet disc is attached to a metal pendant which has a convenient hole at the top).

Here is my red scarf and pendant!   The scarf jewelry came as a set of  two rings and a slider.  
(I found these at Michaels).

And here is the back of the scarf, showing my own method of concealing the ends  to make a ‘necklace’.   I simply used some key rings I had around the house!  (On the displays they just show the ends being tied in back or brought around to the front, which is okay, but I wanted a ‘necklace’.)   

The long scarf is folded in half first, with a key ring placed at the fold.  The scarf jewelry is then put on, but the ends of the scarf on the other side need to be folded over and concealed, after going through the second key ring (this key ring has the lobster hook attached) .   (I’ve been thinking about other options, but for now, this works very well and certainly stays in place! )  I used a clear rubber band to tuck in the ‘ends’ of the scarf,  and another rubber band on the ‘folded’ end of the scarf to mimic the tuck-in of the ends,  to make them look the same – not that anyone sees the back of the scarf under my hair.

Here is another pendant you’ve seen before, and this is another ‘set’ of jewelry. 

The idea is to be able to use just one set of jewelry (and the closure hardware) and put them on another scarf.   But I bought two sets so I could have at least two scarves ‘ready to go’.

Here is the blue scarf.

 UPDATE:  You're not seeing double.  I was not happy with the last two photos (blue pendant and scarf) and I wanted to correct that.  But I'm hesitant to remove the 'originals' because I'm concerned that something weird will happen.  So for my own benefit I'm putting the same two photos in, and one has been cropped.  I have been experimenting with a new camera and with moving photos around in my tablets and was trying to post in a different way than usual.  So here are (I hope) better photos.


Now I'm happier.

 Hometown Celebration

I’m hoping to wear my red scarf today when I visit my little ‘hometown’ park as they celebrate their annual festivities and fireworks (at the high school).   
That park and playground were the center of my universe back in the 1950s, (it was ‘new’ then, dating to 1947, thanks to the efforts of citizens of the town, including my mother, who insisted a playground needed to be built) and I’m so glad it’s still there.   Wonderful memories!  In May this year they had a small circus (complete with camel  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him - just quietly standing there in MY park)!   And last week, one of those ‘hometown’ carnivals came to set up their cute rides for the kids.   These were fundraisers for the fireworks.  There is now a waterpod in the park, and my great-nephews played in it last year! 

 In ‘my day’, the biggest event was the Golden Jubilee in 1954, a week-long celebration with ‘home-made’ arcade booths (such as throwing ping pong balls into glass bowls, and penny throws onto a marked board, to win prizes).    I thought it was a most magical time in the park, when I was ten!    I took for granted all the work that the adults did to provide this ‘magical’ setting and celebration. 

The movie ‘Picnic’  always reminds me of that time in the ‘50s, although their town was much larger than mine!  We did have a lovely Jubilee Queen, though (my friend’s 17-year-old sister), but no drama surrounding her, as in the movie!   Just a lovely gal!  She worked as a switchboard operator at the telephone company.  Remember those operators?   We simply picked up the big black phone (attached to the wall, of course) and told the operator the phone number – four digits preceded by a town name – like “Smithville 5059”.  My father’s office number in Pittsburgh was a little larger:  Atlantic 1-9000.   Still remember it!  I’d bravely call his office to tell him something ‘really important’!  Had to get past the operator there, and his secretary (who was my role model)!   Later on, I became a secretary and passed along calls from my own boss's children!

 Some History Facts for this date, for those interested

In addition to Independence Day (the 237th), this week in July also includes other major historic events, especially this year’s 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, and a lesser known anniversary of George Washington’s disaster at ‘Fort Necessity’ on July 3, 1754 at Ligonier, PA, (as he at age 22 led his fellow British troops into an unfortunate 'skirmish', which kicked off the French/Indian War against the British (the Seven Years War).  Big repercussions over that 'skirmish'!   Twenty-one years later he would begin his command of the  American troops (starting 1775) during the Revolutionary War against the British!   Amazing stuff).  
My home state of Pennsylvania is the site of these events.  Also, many other  important events occurred over the years in the strategic area around Pittsburgh, where two major rivers (Allegheny and Monongahela) meet to form the Ohio!   

In fact, Washington (at 21 in 1753) rode right through the ‘wilderness’ woods which eventually (1904)  became my little hometown!    He was following the Ohio River to Logstown  (farther downriver) , to find an Indian guide to take him up to a French fort near Erie (a mere 100 miles away!).  On the way back, he almost drowned crossing the freezing Allegheny River!    

This is also an update:   I  want to add that there is a  little known Pittsburgh connection to the Lewis and Clark saga, also in July.    On July 15, 1803, Meriwether Lewis arrived in Pittsburgh (by horseback, from Washington DC) to pick up the large keelboat  he had contracted to have built for the famous trip up the Missouri River.     But the keelboat was not ready as promised, and he had to stay a month and a half in Pittsburgh, waiting for the boat to be completed.  It was finally ready by Sept. 1.  While in Pittsburgh Lewis wrote important letters to Thomas Jefferson and also received the confirmation letter from William Clark, who agreed  to go on the mission.  Clark was living in Kentucky on his family's plantation, and Lewis (and some other boatmen) joined up with Clark in October in Kentucky, then they continued on to St. Louis, where they had to recruit more men and obtain supplies before starting the official exploration to tne Northwest in May of 1804.                     

 I hope you have a pleasant Holiday and weekend!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Interlocking Rings made with Shuttle - Part 2 of 2


 It dawned on me yesterday (Easter Sunday) that Monday, April 1, would be  INTERNATIONAL TATTING DAY.    So I pushed a little harder to get this TUTORIAL done today!


 As you can see in Photo 12, I have completed five rings and am preparing to tat the last ring.
PHIOTO 12   
First, you have to UNWIND THE SHUTTLE. so that you can put the end of the thread through the first ring (the yellow one here), coming UP through the ring.    This sets up the foundation for the last ring to go ‘over’ the yellow ring. 
Please ignore the  thread going out of  the  picture  on  the  left.   It is still attached to the ball and it’s  just  sitting  there, waiting to be cut off  later)
 Keep pulling the unwound thread up through Ring #1  all the way through.  (Obviously, it’s coming from the base of Ring #5.)    I like to pull the thread through all the way through before I start rewinding my bobbin.   
PHOTO 13    
My rewound bobbin is back in the shuttle  
 You’re not worrying about the hand-wrap yet. Just concentrate on rewinding the shuttle
For the photo, I’m showing the shuttle wound very close to the rings. But after rewinding the shuttle,  you will then pull some thread out to give it some slack.

PHOTO 14   
You then  reach in with the hook on your shuttle (or a pick or crochet hook) to pull that thread out from behind the base of the fifth ring and bring it over top of the fifth ring, as shown here. 

PHOTO 15     
You again capture that loop as if doing a ‘down’ join, the same way you did before.    You will then make the loop larger to put onto your left hand, as you did before.  .

PHOTO 16     
Remember that the part of the thread going under the bottom finger is attached to the shuttle, so that when you tug on the shuttle, that thread moves with the shuttle.   

You are ready to tat the final ring!

PHOTO 17   
When you start the final ring, the ‘fussiest’ part is to get the first knot as close to the base of Rings 1 and 5 as possible,. This will come with practice. I like to use a looser tension for that first knot.
Shown here are several stitches on the last ring.

PHOTO 18     
Ring 6 ready to be closed!

PHOTO 19    
Ring 6 almost closed. . You can see the last bit  of the foundation thread is showing through. 
The hook of the shuttle is merely pointing to the last stitch as it is closing. It is not hooked over
the thread in any way! Of course, I would be pulling the ring closed to the left.    I’m just showing the positions of the ball and the shuttle thread here.
PHOTO 20  
Ring 6 finally closed  

You can still  tug it a bit (but not too tight) and pop the ring up over the top.
I know that the first ‘orange’ stitches seem a little twisted, and that may be something that can be solved in the future. I’m just happy this works as well as it does!
Sure hope these instructions are clear!    Good luck!!
*  *  * 
 Our group is getting ready for the Maple Syrup Festival this weekend, and it looks like we’ll have some decent weather for it, which always helps with getting ready.   Thousands of visitors attend this event!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Interlocking Rings made with Shuttle - Part 1 of 2

Last summer, thanks to the inspiration of other very talented tatters (see story below),   I discovered a way of doing  the Celtic interlocking rings using the slip-and-slide method of manipulating a shuttle.  ( I happen to prefer a bobbin shuttle with a hook, but that’s just my choice.)  

 I  explain my interest in and obsession with these rings at the end of this post and also in my own post of Aug. 6, 2012:
Although I haven’t updated my blog for a while (partly because of  ‘blogaphobia’ due to my difficulties with posting, even after four years!) ,  I am coming out of hiding because I want to share my ‘discovery’ with my fellow shuttle tatters, especially Fox!   : )   
This is my first tutorial, and I will be doing it in two parts.   (I’m holding my breath as I upload a total of  11 photos in this post! )      I hope to do the second part ASAP, which, of course, shows connecting the last ring to the first ring - (the part you’re really waiting for!).
In the meantime, you can practice making the rings. 
 NOTE THAT FOR THIS TUTORIAL I DID NOT USE TWO DIFFERENT THREADS.  I used a VARIEGATED THREAD (Lizbeth size 20, #621), and it just happened that my first ring was yellow, and the next ring was pink, etc.  ALSO, I LEFT THE THREAD ON THE BALL, as I found when I was learning to do these rings, it was a way of keeping track of the  first ring, especially if I used a single color thread.  It will just sit there and wait to be cut off later.  For the PHOTOS, I put double-stick tape on my board to keep the rings under control  
So here goes!  

The rings I’m making are 10 – 10. 
Bring shuttle thread OVER THE TOP OF THE RING and DOWN, forming a straight line.
(My thread is now pink).     Leave a distance of thread going to the shuttle.
PHOTO 2   
This is the key to  creating an interlocking ring:
Pretend you are doing a ‘down join’ :    Reach behind the straight (pink) thread in Photo 1, and pull that thread from front to back of the ring, creating a loop.  However DO NOT PUT THE SHUTTLE THROUGH THE LOOP.   You will ENLARGE THE LOOP SO THAT IT FITS OVER YOUR LEFT HAND, in your normal tatting position  (see next photo)
PHOTO 3   
Secure the loop around your left hand, in your normal tatting position  (I  use the ‘crochet hold’, but that’s my preference)

VERY MPORTANT: The bottom of the loop which goes through the ring is ‘near’ the  shuttle.
When you pull the shuttle upwards, the thread at the bottom of your hand moves with it. That’s when you know you have put your hand into the loop in the correct way. 


Start tatting the second ring near the BASE of the first ring.  (All the rings will be done from this position, and will start in this area at the base of the rings)
Don’t leave a thread space,  snug the first stitch near the base, but not too tightly.
In this photo, I’ve tatted three stitches on the second ring.
 Finish tatting the second ring
Start closing the second ring.
You can see that it will close ‘under’ the first ring,
creating the interlocked effect.  Pay attention to closing the ring by keeping the shuttle thread under and behind both rings.
The second ring is almost closed, and is going under Ring 1.
(The start of the ring is going ‘over’ ring 1.)
Remember to keep the shuttle thread BEHIND both rings and tug to the left to close the ring, the way you would normally close a ring.
PHOTO 8   
Second ring is fully closed.
You can ‘jiggle’ the ring to
’pop’ it into the ’over’ position.   
Shuttle thread is now in position to be brought forward over the front of the second ring, which is pink.
PHOTO 9   
 This is similar to Photo 1.   
Here the thread is in position to be pulled from behind to form a loop to go onto your hand
 (See PHOTOS 2 and 3)
PHOTO 10   
This photo shows the beginning stitches of Ring 3
PHOTO 11   
This shows the position that the rings are held as you tat all the rings counter-clockwise.
 I usually do five rings, then stop to do the sixth one, WHICH CONNECTS THE FIRST.    I WILL EXPLAIN THAT IN PART 2. 
My ’history’ with interlocking rings.  
I’m very interested in Celtic, 3-D and layered tatting. I first became aware of interlocking rings when I noticed them on Rachel Jackson’s blog (“Piney Woods Tatter”) around February of 2012.  I was fascinated with her use of them as a ‘center’ for her beautiful  motifs and pendants, and her VERY unique and ATTRACTIVE way of  building ’layered’ effects on those motifs and pendants.   Rachel is a needle tatter, and she generously shares her instructions for these rings - using a needle.    And it did seem that they could only be efficiently made with a tatting needle.   I CAN needle tat, but I prefer the shuttle.    
Therefore, I took notice around June 2012 when I came across Karen Cabrera’s blog (“Entre Lanzaderas”, in both English and Spanish)   and I discovered her amazing tatting tutorials (an astounding 100+ videos!), with #77 showing how to use a SHUTTLE to do the interlocking rings.   Therefore I realized that they CAN  be done with a shuttle, even though there may be a little fussing to join the last ring to the first.   My only stumbling block with Karen’s video was her Reverse Riego method of manipulating the shuttle, so I set about trying to figure out how I could use the slip/slide method of shuttle tatting.  After many experiments, I finally  developed a way of  making them fairly quickly – after a LOT of practice!  I have MANY sets of these sitting around waiting for enhancement into larger motifs!)
 Without Rachel’s amazing inspiration and Karen’s showing me the way,   I doubt I would have come up with achieving these rings on my own!