Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney With Care

It’s Christmas Eve 2008!

I wanted to post this photo today, as it is appropriate for this “Night Before Christmas!”

Christmas stocking from around 1995.

Tatted motifs and counted cross-stitch ribbon on the cuff.

Have you spotted the 8-sided snowflake?!!

I purchased the commercially made stocking in the mid-1990s (velveteen and brocade fabrics, with gold stitching already on it), as I realized immediately that it would be a great place to display some motifs that I had tatted but put away in my tatting ‘stash’. I also found a home for my counted cross-stitch ‘ribbon’ that I had stitched sometime in the early ‘90s.

You may recognize the eight-sided snowflake from my Christmas card on the previous post – this is where it now resides! It definitely does appear to be size 50 thread.

I’m embarrassed about the top ‘motif’ which looks like a heart, but is really a strawberry pattern (Workbasket June-July 1995), gone a bit awry, as I did too many knots in the final chains near the top! I always hope that visitors to the fairs don’t look too closely at it! I could replace it, but it helps remind me of my not-so-successful tatting attempts!

I am looking for the sources for the other patterns, but I do know that the heart in the toe of the stocking is Teri Dusenbury’s. I have a duplicate of this heart on a velvet box, to which I added pearls afterwards. (I didn't know how to tat them in yet!) Sharon Briggs posted my photo of it back in February, before I even considered starting a blog, as I felt too intimidated to do so! Of course, Sharon gave me the encouragement to give blogging a try, and also helped me through the process. Thank you so much, Sharon!

I wish I had more time right now to express how I feel about this fantastic ‘electronic’ worldwide tatting community, specifically the 25-Motif participants brought together by the amazing Sharon Briggs! Words can’t express my appreciation to Sharon for her tireless efforts in starting this Challenge and making it so successful – and, of course many thanks also to her assistants, Clyde, Laura, Aileen, and Jeff, who are doing a wonderful job with updating it. We all are aware of the effort that it takes to do this!

Also I am grateful to all tatters who are a part of the fabulous World Wide Web and who have so generously shared their experiences and tatting patterns! ( Also a big thanks to those on the internet who supply threads, shuttles and books that would otherwise be unavailable to us!) Not only is the tatting fabulous, but the websites and blogs are so creative, too!

I’m still trying to figure out just the basics of blogging, and I pretty much hold my breath hoping to do everything correctly with just posting text and photos, yet so many of your blogs have bells and whistles that astound me! I’m in total awe of all of this and can’t believe I’m actually a part of it

I will end this post with the same wish as Santa, as he drove out of sight: Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Season's Greetings !! Motif #7 - Snowflake Tatted in 1990

Season’s Greetings !!!
Motif #7 – Snowflake tatted in 1990

First I want to mention that I’m so flattered that Tattingchic has chosen me for a blog award(!), and I will acknowledge it on my next post, when I have more time to figure out what to do! I certainly appreciate being selected – in fact I’m in shock! Thank you so much, Tattingchic!!!!

Motif #7 – Eight-sided Snowflake
and my first use of two shuttles!

Here is my 1990 Christmas card where I featured a photo of my first “complicated” tatted snowflake
after learning to tat. (I promise I will get back to that story!)

You’ll note that it has eight sides! It was supposed to be a six-sided snowflake, designed by Marion T. Leyds in DMC’s “Festive Tatting” book, copyright 1983! Several years after sending the card I read that snowflakes in nature can’t possibly have more than six sides – no exceptions???

I wanted my card recipients back then to see that I could tat - not that anyone knew what tatting was! I had a note printed inside the card that said “Snowflake tatted by Kathy 1990” so they would know that I made it, and that it was tatted and not crocheted. (Really, would anyone care?) Actually, I did get lots of compliments on it

It has eight sides because after I made the sixth point, it was very apparent it was not going to lie flat, and I’d have to make at least two more points!

I’ve never investigated why the snowflake wouldn’t lie flat after the sixth section. The pattern doesn’t call for a particular size thread, and I can’t remember what size I used. I recall I often used 50 back then.

I remember not being thrilled that I was going to have to add more points to it! I felt lucky to have gotten that far and didn’t know if my luck would hold out. But I certainly didn’t want to leave it unfinished!! So I forged ahead.

It was also my first use of a second shuttle. I was wondering what the second shuttle was used for, and I felt a bit intimidated about it. Then I discovered it was only needed for the ‘thrown off’ rings in the center (although I had no idea they were called that). I kind of held my breath doing those, especially having to connect them to each other.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I finished the snowflake, making all the ‘connections’ at the end. I was quite pleased with myself, and I wanted to show it off with my card!

Making Cards in 1990 (not as ‘easy’ as today!!!)

Speaking of making cards – remember this was 1990, and the fabulous sophisticated computers and color printers we take for granted today were not around!

I was starting formal calligraphy lessons at the time (really enjoyed those) and learned about making your own inks using gouache paints (from a tube) thinned with water. (I also wrote the inside greeting, wishing everyone to have a “Sparkling Holiday”.)

I took the card to a professional printer (without the photo, as I was going to paste it on later, framed in silver paper) to have 60 copies run on card stock. The printer told me they ran blue ink on Tuesday (or whenever), and I had to wait a few days. (That was a revelation to me – running different inks on different days!)

Film cameras were the ‘norm’ then, and I used our 35 mm AE-1Canon camera and borrowed a macro lens from my brother-in-law. Then I had to wait until I used up the whole roll of film (24 or 36 shotsl).

Then I had the film developed (possibly cost at least $8 or more for the prints), and fortunately the photo of the snowflake turned out great. So I took the negative (remember those?) and had 60 prints made (possibly 20 cents per print) and waited several days for them to come back.

I didn’t have the nice circle cutters that I have today and had to trace a circle with something, then cut 60 silver circles and 60 smaller circles of the photo with scissors. Then, of course, the 120 circles had to be glued down with glue stick, and placed properly.

Of course, I addressed the envelopes in calligraphy, too. Crazy, crazy, crazy! I don’t do that anymore (came to my senses after several years!). But l feel guilty putting stickers on my envelopes now, rather than handwriting the addresses even in my own handwriting. (My apologies to Emily Post!)

However I like to create special stickers via the computer, and this year I used a photo of the tatted burgundy ornament with tatting on it (of course). The card itself is a commercial card, which is also a departure for me. I just didn’t have the time to make one this year.

In another post I’ll show you where that eight-sided snowflake is now, and eventually I’ll show
all my cards featuring tatting.

Hope you’re keeping calm and taking time out to enjoy music and sights of the season during this week before Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meeting Elizabeth Again!

Holiday preparations, family events, and traveling have kept me from posting! First of all, thanks so much for your kind comments on the ornament and paperweights. I hope you all have success with them!

I must get this post in now, before it gets lost in the holiday rush! It seems as though Thanksgiving was a long time ago, and our weekend trip to Washington, DC (Nov. 21-23) was one week before Thanksgiving!

I love to go to Washington D.C. anytime, and since I knew Elizabeth Zipay was going to be there again at another craft fair, I was only too happy to go and 'surprise' her again, the way I did back in May, before I started this blog in July.

Elizabeth Zipay and Kathy Niklewicz
at Montgomery Fairgrounds in
Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20 miles north
of Washington, DC.
It was unseasonably COLD that day,
but sunny. Even Elizabeth didn't know she would
be in an outdoor shelter (thankfully covered for
this event but still cold!). That's why we look
like we're in Alaska!
Elizabeth and I first met in July 1998 at Victorian Days in Mercer, PA. (It is only an hour from my home near Pittsburgh, but six hours from hers near Philadelphia!) It was my second time in Mercer (first time was in 1993) and I had a ‘demonstration-only’ table again, and she had a large tent with her beautiful and unique jewelry. I was overwhelmed when I saw her work! I believe it was her first and only time there, as it is a long way for her to travel. I haven't returned as a demonstrator since then, either. It’s a unique festival as it has a Victorian theme, and features a Victorian ‘Ball’ and and old-fashioned bandstand music concert. But the craft area has become much smaller over the years, and I just go to visit.

A special feature of Elizabeth's jewelry early on (and which continues today) is that she makes tiny bread-dough roses – and tiny leaves - to enhance many of her pins and pendants, giving them a lovely Victorian look. She also mounts many of her pieces on gold filet metal backings, which adds another unique dimension. The past few years she’s been designing fabulous beadwork necklaces and bracelets and also works with the beautiful hand-dyed threads. Just gorgeous!
Of course, I know many of you are aware of her exquisite work from both her website and her blog. (You can link to her website from there.)

After our initial meeting in Mercer in 1998, we didn’t see each other again for ten years, when I surprised her at her booth in Chantilly, Virginia, last May, also in the Washington, DC area. (Her show schedule is listed on her website.) I was so flattered that she remembered me from so long ago!
Elizabeth very much encouraged me to start this blog (which I finally did in July – with lots of help from Sharon Briggs!), and I wanted to thank her in person for her encouragement and to catch up on what she’s been doing since she started her full time job! It was fun to see her reaction when I walked into her booth again!

Of course her exquisite jewelry elicits “oohs and ahhs” from the visitors, and, happily, while I was there, Elizabeth made several sales. One fellow even ‘sneaked’ back to buy an item his wife had admired so he could surprise her with it for Christmas!! I’m hoping the rest of the weekend went as well for Elizabeth.

The visitors who are familiar in some way with tatting are astounded that it is still being done, and that it now is being adapted to make such beautiful and unique tatted and beaded jewelry Elizabeth’s work, of course, is perfection. She is a fantastic ‘ambassador’ for tatted lace!

Happily she likes her full-time job but admits it is quite an adjustment, and she’s tatting ‘less’ but is managing to keep her show commitments for this year. (Her tatting ‘less’ would be a tatting ‘frenzy’ for me!). Understandably, her blog has taken a back seat for awhile.
My husband and I are amazed at how vast an area Washington has become over the past 45 years, since we spent our honeymoon there (Jan. 1964 !). Believe it or not, our motel room back then at a very nice place in Falls Church cost - would you believe - $10 a night!!!! Our motel this time (in a very trendy new shopping mall area with a 'lake' cost $100 a night, which actually was 'reasonable' compared to others in the area! It's great to have the internet to compare prices! We ventured over to historic Alexandria - one of our favorite towns, with Colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, and lots of cute shops and neat restaurants. I'm a history buff, so I love the atmosphere of Washington!
Also, just this past weekend we Beaver County Tatters ( Evelyn, Peg, Pam and I ) had a nice time at Vicary Mansion (Freedom, PA) last Saturday, December 6. It was beautifully decorated and we enjoyed meeting the folks who ventured out that day, especially since it was one of those blustery, snowy days when the visitors could have stayed home! There is always an interest in our tatting!