Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Angels We Have Heard on High' - plus Sharon's Merry Christmas Snowflake

On this Christmas Eve 2009, I am wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!

Below are some angels I made back in the early 1990’s.

Also below is my latest tatted piece – Sharon Briggs’ newly designed Merry Christmas Snowflake! (I'll count it as Motif #5 - Second Round.)

Straw Angel with Tatted Wings

This stand-alone centerpiece angel (9” high) is part of my traveling Christmas display

Straw angel forms were prevalent in the craft stores in the early ‘90s. I removed the straw wings and gave her tatted wings, which are two fans .

Unfortunately, I still can’t find the designer of the fan. It’s the same pattern I used for my 3-D heart, Feb.14 post. Possibly it’s Mary McCarthy's.

I also added maribou around the bottom of her skirt, which gives an added effect.

I used size 30 ecru thread, and stiffened the wings with Alene’s fabric stiffener

My Christmas card from 1993

This is my Christmas card from 1993, on which I received many compliments.

The ‘model’ is a flat 4” straw angel, with the same fan (only one was needed).

I added the gold ribbon and flower, and some small gold beads around her head. I also used gold glitter on her wings, so that she sparkles on the tree!

The photo was taken with a 35 mm camera, with a macro lens borrowed from my brother-in-law. It was a very sophisticated piece of equipment back then! I mounted the photo onto a gold sheet, giving the effect of a gold border , and then attached it to white card stock.

The back view of the angel (taken recently with my digital camera) shows the fan design.

I used a glue-gun (sparingly) to securely anchor the ‘wings’ to the body (under the ‘pony tail.)

Back when I had more energy and ambition, I not only made my cards (about 60) but addressed them in calligraphy. I no longer am that crazy! However, many of you actually send tatted snowflakes with your cards. Amazing!

Speaking of snowflakes . . .
Here is Sharon Briggs’ beautiful Merry Christmas showflake (2009).
(My Motif #5 - Second Round)

I think this is a sweet design – so elegant – and yet SO easy to tat. Sharon’s diagram is excellent. I finished tatting it within an hour.

I used only one shuttle and therefore didn’t do the split rings; but it worked fine for me. She gives you the option.

I used white Lizbeth thread, size 20. It doesn't even need to be stiffened!
And as you can see, I added a turquoise rhinestone in the middle (both sides). I love bling!

Sharon works overtime to bring us wonderful designs and tatting ideas, not to mention her tireless work on updating the 25-Motif Challenge Thanks so much, Sharon, for all that you do!

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there!” (The Night Before Christmas – C. Moore)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Collar from 1991 - Motif #4 (Second Round) - Plus Upcoming Christmas Festivals

Sad News about Old Economy (see below)

Motif #4 (Second Round)
This collar was designed by Gloria Crowther from her book “Gloria’s Tatting”. It’s my widest piece of tatting, and is 23 inches longI remember as a ‘new’ tatter in 1991 that it seemed like an endless task to finish it. I kept holding my breath that I didn’t miss any picot connections. I also had to be careful when adding new thread on the shuttle.

However, It’s obvious that I never blocked it.

I believe it’s size 30 thread, although it could be size 50?. I’m amazed how I never wrote these details down anywhere, and I can’t always tell by looking at the item!

Various uses for the collar

I first wore the collar on a turquoise blouse for the christening of my niece back in 1991, and she is now 18!

Then over the years I’ve attached it to various costumes, or just displayed it on a table. One of my favorite costumes is shown below, and you’ll notice I attached the lace ‘collar’ to the fashionable ‘dropped’ waistband of the gown (front only) The Victorian pin on the gown was given to me several years ago by the very niece mentioned above! How sweet was that?

This beautiful gown was expertly hand made by some loving hands – possibly back in the 1980’s. I purchased it at a consignment shop around 2002, and I can only guess that it was made either for a stage production or for a bridesmaid – lucky girl – for a fall or winter wedding. – taffeta skirt and velvet top!

The gown is a timeless design, harkening back to the Victorian era, and I think it could very well garner ‘oohs and aahs’ today for a wedding, even though the strapless look is in fashion.

I’ve worn it a few times to our Christmas festivals, at both Vicary House and Old Economy, but this year I’ll be wearing another one of my favorite outfits, which I plan to show in my next post. It has lots of ‘sparkle’, as did many Edwardian evening dresses.

Two Christmas Festivals on Same Day
News Flash: Last festival for Old Economy?

Our tatting group has to be ‘divided up’ this year in order to attend two festivals, which, unfortunately, are scheduled on the same day (Saturday, Dec. 5). I will be attending the festival at Vicary Mansion in Freedom, PA, and Evelyn and Peg (Carol Lawecki’s mom) will attend the one at Old Economy in Ambridge.

The shocking local news story here is that the Old Economy historic village (circa 1824-1905) will be officially shut down beginning Jan. 2010 ! Incredibly, funding for the large site (17 historic buildings!) has been cut off by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It’s certainly too complicated for me to go into here. Many other historic sites in the State have also been closed due to lack of funding.

Old Economy has been one of our main venues for demonstrating tatted lace. I’m not sure exactly when our group started there (sometime in the 1980’s?), as I didn’t join until October 1990 for their Fall festival. In future posts I intend to go into my complete tatting history (I know, I’ve been saying that forever!) and Old Economy was definitely a major site for us, as they always had several events during the year (spring, summer, fall, and Christmas). In the past few years, however, they’ve cut back on their events, although it was always open to the public as a museum and tour group destination. The last few years, even their Christmas event was cut back to just one day, rather than two days.

Rumors had been floating around about the complete closure of the site, but no one believed that would really happen – however, the official announcement was made on November 17. So we’ll have to see how this will all play out. It has sent a shock-wave through the community, and I’m sure there will be a campaign to rescue it.

My stint at Vicary Mansion will kick off the Holidays for me, and helps to get me in the mood for the season . Even though the weather indicates cold temperatures, snow doesn't seem to be on the horizon, which is good! Only the hale and hearty will venture out in snow!
In my next post I will share my story about visiting Elizabeth Zipay again at one of her shows in November!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jazzy Slippers, Front-Side Tatting - and Visiting Replicas of the Nina and Pinta!

Jazzing up my slippers with Valdani Thread, Size 12
I was watching TV one evening, with my feet up on the hassock, and I noticed that my comfy slippers needed some pizzazz!

Of course, I immediately thought of the 1872 edging that I’ve been ‘obsessed’ with lately

I also remembered the Valdani thread I purchased recently at a cozy cross-stitch shop in our area.

Sadly, many cross-stitch shops have disappeared around here, so I’m happy this one is still in business.

Although I don’t do that much cross-stitching anymore, I do like to see what threads are in the shop apropos for tatting, and I found some Valdani. Somehow I’ve lost the label (can’t imagine how!), but I know it’s size 12, as I have another ball in another color. I see this thread is made in Romania.

I’m very pleased that the tatting looks quite natural on my slippers. I like the way it blends with the ribbon’s design that was on there. And yes, I did finish the second slipper!

1872 Edging in Valdani Thread
Here’s the thread and the colorway.

I was so accustomed to the ease of working with Lizbeth thread that when I first started working with Valdani, it seemed ‘difficult’ to close rings, and to retro-tat. But then I relaxed my tension and it worked just fine, although I do try to avoid making mistakes, especially on rings!

It does have a nice, soft feel to it. However, it must be carefully ‘picked out’ to avoid fraying.

I’ve almost completed the Lizbeth Caribbean edging shown on in a recent post, and will unveil it soon, on a long-sleeve black jersey pullover.

Speaking of ‘Caribbean’ (notice the segue), here are two ships that plied the Caribbean sea back in 1492!

Replicas of Nina and Pinta visit Pittsburgh, PA

One of the joys of being retired is being able to visit attractions in the area on an off-day when parking is easy and lines are short!

These two replicas are on tour around the world, and they happen to be in Pittsburgh from Nov. 7-15.

This was a really fun day for us! For the first time ever, we were able to take a walking tour of the revitalized North Shore of Pittsburgh, which has seen major changes during the past 20 years.

The replica ships are floating on the Allegheny River, but are very near the Ohio River, which is formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, called “The Point” – the site of Ft. Pitt back in 1758..

In the vicinity are two major stadiums: Heinz Field, where the Super Bowl Steelers (and Pitt Panthers) play; and PNC Park (magnificent modern ball field of the Pirates). The recent Stanley Cup winners - the Penguins - play in an arena in the City itself, near the buildings in the distance. (I had to throw that in! Sports is BIG in Pittsburgh!) The yellow bridge is the Ft. Duquesne Bridge.

The Carnegie Science Center is also nearby, plus several new restaurants and office buildings. There are new bicycle and walking trails and beautiful landscaping along the river. We worked downtown for 25 years (1962-1987) and saw a lot of changes during that time; but it’s amazing to see how many more changes have taken place since then!
There are lots of memories for us in the City. In fact, my husband learned to fly a seaplane near this spot in the late '60s. Sadly, the seaplane base was damaged in the floods caused by Hurricane Agnes in 1972, and it is just a memory. He did obtain a land rating, but he missed the fun of landing on the rivers! The heritage of the city, however, will always be steel, even though most of the mills have shut down

Thoughts on Front-side Tatting
I'll end this post with thoughts about front-side tatting. I admit that I would have found the ‘front-side’ tatting concept difficult to have learned as a beginner. I had enough trouble as a new tatter (and even today!) remembering which direction I was heading on certain patterns, let alone the sequence of the stitches. And I wasn’t even aware until recently that there was such a concept as ‘down’ joins (another subject!) Tatting all looked fine to me, and I wasn't aware of a front or back side.

However, with the enlargements of photos on blogs, I can see how attractive tatting can look with all the knots facing forward.

One of the reasons I’ve been concentrating on the above 1872 pattern is to practice ‘right-side’ tatting on an easy ring-and-chain pattern, but which has enough variety to keep it interesting. I now can comfortably tat this pattern while riding in the car - not that I haven’t made mistakes! Occasionally, I forget to start the chain with the 2nd stitch (out of habit), but it’s becoming much more 'natural' now for me to reverse the stitch sequence (2nd stitch first) on chains.

Rings-only patterns, such as Hens and Chicks, are a little trickier, as you have to remember which ring is facing the 'front' side. And it's not easy for me to remember to start a ring using the 2nd stitch first.

Right-side tatting IS an admirable goal, and I will work toward trying to achieve it whenever I feel the pattern isn't too complicated.

Hope you all have a good weekend! I'm glad Thanksgiving is still two weeks away (here in the U.S.) I can't believe it's November already.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009 - plus Four Tatters at Car Cruise !


Could there be chocolate goodies inside this small jack o’ lantern (only 3” high) ? :-)

The tatted lace is a basic cloverleaf pattern, in size 30 thread.

In our area, the 'Trick or Treat' night was Thursday, the 29th, which is a good thing because today’s weather isn’t as nice as it was then!

As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband and I attended a car cruise (Oct. 4) in our GTO, about an hour and a half away, at Kiski Area High School, which is attended by Carol Lawecki’s son and daughter. Her daughter (a senior) plays flute in the Band, which consistently wins competitions, and recently won 1st place at a recent interstate competition! I’m sure many of you are aware of Carol’s wonderful tatting and her blog ( )

L-R: Carol, her mom Peg, and me, standing by the GTO.

I met Peg 20 years ago. She was already a member of the Beaver County tatting group when I joined in 1990. Then I met Carol, who attends some of our events. Carol also started tatting in 1989, the same year I did, and, of course, was taught by her mom!

It’s so neat that Peg and Carol, as mother and daughter, share a love of tatting !

You might say the weather was a little ‘blustery’ that day! I’m wearing several layers of clothing, with my “GTO” jacket over top (described in my Sept. 17 post). Carol needed the hood she had on her jacket, and Peg was wearing earmuffs, which I wanted to borrow! We were fortunate, however, that it didn’t rain, even though it looked threatening at times, and it did warm up a little in the afternoon!
Car Quiz: Can you guess what is on the stand next to the
car in the above photo? See answer below

And here I am with Carol’s friend, Rayanna, and we are actually tatting – and chatting!

Rayanna is quite the Elvis fan, although she’s young! I love to talk about the 1950s, so we had fun discussing Elvis!

Carol taught Rayanna to tat not too long ago, and she is already doing split rings with size 80 thread! She finished a cute horse-shoe pattern, and I wish I had taken a photo of it. I didn’t get very far on my ‘Caribbean’ edging because I was talking too much. (Does that come as a surprise? !!!)

Rayanna and her husband also had a vehicle there, but she came over to sit with me!
Peg also sat with us, and we got to discuss our next December tatting event.

Carol’s Portable Tatting ‘Showcase’
Carol had to help out at one of the booths, so she couldn’t sit and tat. However, she did have a chance to show me her big notebook filled with samples of her wonderful tatted pieces, which is a good way to keep finished items safe and visible. Many are clever Jane Eborall designs. As you all know, Jane’s patterns of animals and sea creatures are very unique, and Carol executes them perfectly!
Also among Carol’s notebook of samples was her fabulous rendition of Pam Palmer’s famous elephant, adding her own colors! I can’t tell you how breathtaking it is to see in person, and it fills the entire 8-1/2 x 11 notebook sheet. You can see this fabulous elephant on her blog under If you click on the photo at that post, you can see in detail all the sparkly things she added to it! It’s a masterpiece!

Kiski Area Band - Fifth Annual Car Cruise (2009)

An overview of just a portion of the car cruise, which is a fund-raiser for the Band.

Over 500 cars were there !

Kiski’s beautiful school campus is situated among the rolling hills of Pennsylvania

Here are the things we display with our GTO: tigers and goats on the roof (both symbols associated with Pontiac and GTO), and a vintage food tray, plus, the other item, which is the answer to the car quiz, below.

ANSWER TO CAR QUIZ: Drive-in-movie speakers! These speakers actually work, in that music can be played through them from the base below (and also are remote-controlled). Our cousin took the speaker-and-stand display that we had purchased awhile ago and turned it into a ‘working model’, by inserting a car radio/CD player in the base of the pole. (He also designed the base for this purpose.) It gets its power from our car battery during the shows, and it can be dismantled easily for transporting. Very clever, indeed, and it gets a lot of attention

I’m wondering how many of you out there remember these speakers at the drive-in movies! Do you recall how static-y they were – that is, if they even worked at all. There still are drive-in theaters around, and these days you just use your car radio, tuned into a certain frequency.


Monday, October 19, 2009

My Latest 3-D Bell Design - Motif #3 (Round 2)

Motif #3 (Round 2)
3-D Bell (2009) - With 1872 Edging

This is the ‘project in white thread’ I mentioned in my recent Sept 17 post where I featured the antique 1872 edging in Lizbeth Caribbean (see Motif #1, 2nd round)

I knew the edging would be perfect (with a modification) for the ‘lip’ of a bell.

Then I had to design the rest of the bell, and I’ve worked on it for the past several weeks I’m very pleased with the results!

The bell measures 3-1/2” high, without the decoration, and 5” with the ribbon / bow

Photo of the bell in this special hanger, which I believe would look quite nice as a topper on a wedding cake! The hanger is 9” high. I can’t quite remember where I got it, though!

For more details about the tatting, see below.

I’m very happy about this bell, as it’s the first one I’ve created in 10 years! I use the term ‘create’ because the 'edges' I’ve used on the bells have been published patterns (usually vintage). My ‘creation’ is that of filling in the other areas with ring and chain combinations. The trick, of course, is to determine the sizes of the rings and chains, and to set up picot connections.

Here is the bell in its original state (not stiffened) with some fabric inside to better show the design.

I used #20 Cebelia, which I admit felt a little ‘rough’ after working with Lizbeth. Because it was going to be stiffened, I didn’t want to use my Lizbeth white thread; but then again, I’m not sure the ‘gauge’ would be the same.

I made a modification to the antique edge pattern, as I did not connect the small rings at the base of each ‘clover.

There are seven repeats of the edge pattern, and the rest of the bell is made to fit that number of repeats.
There are inconsistencies in this model, as I was trying various knot counts as I went along. Happily, I only had to re-do one section that wasn’t working out. Now I’ll have to tat another bell to test the pattern. (I sketched it out after the bell was completed. ) I also can see a 3-D egg shape forming here, so I hope to experiment with that idea, also!

Thanks to the 25-Motif Challenge, I’ve become motivated to more actively tat, and to think about making new things!

Experimenting with Lizbeth thread led to the search for an edging for a T-shirt., which then sparked this idea for the bell.

I’ll eventually show all my bells in my blog. However, I don’t have the ‘models’ for some of them - only photos – because I gave them as gifts. I did make sure to sketch out the patterns, but never remade them.

And even though I love the new color threads, I will always admire the classic white and ecru, as I have a particular fondness for Victorian items and vintage tatting. I especially enjoy decorating the items in 'Victorian' style – which represents a challenge in itself. Making bows and attaching them involves some patience!
I usually add a crystal ‘ball’ clapper on a metal chain, but I didn’t want to take the time to do that before posting. That involves wire cutters and pliers!

Before ‘signing off’ I want to mention the following:

First – I was a happy winner recently of Sherry’s “Mondo Monday” Giveaways! I’m sure many of you are aware of Sherry’s generous nature and her creative spirit! I was DELIGHTED to receive one skein each of her hand-dyed threads Treebeard #20, and Rio, #80 !!! I have several ideas in mind, and can’t wait to tat with these gorgeous threads! (BTW, I just noticed the Bead Spinner for this week’s giveaway (Part V). I have one and they are REALLY COOL!) Check it out!!

Second – I had the great pleasure of being with Carol Lawecki ( ) , her Mom (from our Beaver County Tatters group) and Carol’s good friend, Rayanna (a new tatter, taught by Carol), at a recent CAR CRUISE at Carol’s local high school which her children attend. This was their 5th annual cruise, and it’s a fund raiser for the high school band – a great idea! They get a huge number of cars (over 700!) , and we were delighted to go there in our GTO for the first time (about 1-1/2 hours away). I’ll be sharing some photos and more of the story in my next post!

I can’t believe it’s October already! The beautiful, bright colored leaves are helping to ease the realization that winter is not far behind. We at least haven’t had snow yet in our area, although temps are definitely below normal! Hoping to still have a touch of Indian summer!

Friday, September 18, 2009

T-Shirt: Neckline Edging and Butterfly

I finished this T-shirt project before I started Motif #1 and had planned to add this whole section to my post yesterday, but I had some blog problems, so I saved it for today.

Motif #2 (Round 2)
Edging and Butterfly in Lizbeth 'Springtime'

These colors definitely ‘pop’ on a dark background!

After I finished the edging, I sewed down some pieces of tatting to form a ‘butterfly’ – then attached a butterfly pin in the middle.

I wanted a quick project that I could work on at car cruises, and also was curious to see how the Springtime thread (#115) would evolve color-wise, so I used a very easy “edging” pattern. I’m happy with the way it turned out, and I discovered I have a jacket that has these colors in it!

More about Lizbeth Threads – Plus a Question
You may recall that back in April I was very surprised and pleased to find Lizbeth thread at a ‘nearby’ Hobby Lobby store in Boardman, Ohio (an hour away). I went back in August to purchase more colors to add to the three I already had.

To my delight, not only did they have more colors (they now have about 20), but I lucked out by catching the last day of a sale! So, of course, I had to buy 10 more colors!

I’m amazed that Handy Hands now offers Lizbeth in 76 colors in both size 20 and 40! I can’t imagine owning all 76 (152) – or what I would do with them, although I’m delighted they’re out there.

I find I now have to keep track of my Lizbeth ‘stash’ on a chart, much as I used to do with my cross-stitch threads. I’ve never had that ‘problem’ before with tatting threads, since for so many years there weren’t that many colors to choose from. This is a great age we tatters are living in!

Question about Lizbeth names and numbers: For my own convenience, I added a small label (using one of those label machines) to each ball, showing the name of the thread, because the name isn’t on the ball itself, just on the plastic bag it comes in..

What puzzles me, however, is that the Handy Hands chart on their website lists the names of the threads but not the numbers, although they indicate the number(s) that each thread coordinates with!

How do you know what the coordinating colors are if there are no numbers for any of the colors on the chart? Am I missing something? . Maybe there’s another list somewhere?

UPDATE: Laurette ( kindly sent a comment and explained how to read the Lizbeth chart! I had totally ignored the ‘price’ side of the chart where the number of the thread is right next to the size, as in “20-102”! At first the numbers are visible, but later you have to click on the ‘down’ button to see them. But at least I now understand it ! Thanks, Laurette!

* * *

I guess this weekend marks the official end of summer. :-( We’ve been having great weather these last few weeks, and I hope it will continue for awhile.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Second Round of 25-Motif Challenge

Some Recent Tatting using Lizbeth Thread

I took a little “hiatus” from blogging to enjoy some of the spectacular weather we had during August and the beginning of September, although I always check the tatting blogs to keep up with everyone’s projects. I’m constantly amazed at the creativity out there!

Motif # 1 (Round 2)
Antique Pattern circa 1872 - in Lizbeth ‘Caribbean’

I couldn’t wait to try out Lizbeth’s Carribbean thread (#122).

This is one of my first ‘successful’ attempts at front-side, back-side tatting, although I didn’t start doing that until the fourth motif from the right. From then on, the rings are done ‘normally’ and the chains are done with the 2nd stitch first. I'm beginning to feel more confident about it and do appreciate seeing all the knots facing the same way.

I looked through my internet patterns and found this classic ‘shuttle-and-ball’ edging which is nice and deep, but has easy rings and chains. Here’s my progress so far.
The pattern was posted by Etha Schuette in October 2000, and she copied it from Godey’s Lady’s Book, Vol. 84, p. 278, 1872.

Etha is also known as “Maus”. She had a website called ‘Tatting Treasures’, which seems no longer to be available (at least I can’t find it).
Etha attached this edging (in variegated blue and white for the chains, and white for the rings) to a small fabric-covered box for storing her shuttles. It was very attractive and eye-appealing.
As yet another ‘challenge’ I’m working on drawing a diagram for this pattern, using Microsoft Publisher, and hope to post it as soon as I figure out how to get the drawing out of Publisher and into Blogger. (Hints anyone?)

You will see this pattern again soon for another project I’m working on, using white thread.

Inspirational Places to Tat
I’ve started to take my tatting with me in the car again, which I used to do all the time, years ago. In my next post, I’ll show you some of the scenic places where we recently took day trips, and where I would sit and tat. It's definitely a blissful experience to tat in peaceful surroundings outdoors!

These photos were taken at North Park,
only about a half hour from our home.

I was delighted to get this photo of one of the
blue herons that reside there, although I wish my camera had a more powerful lens.

Here is a bridge where cars and bikes cross over the lake..

The land for the park was set aside and developed in. the 1930s. It’s a very small lake, a kind of “V” shape, but many enjoy paddling a boat around it.

The park also has a beautiful outdoor ice skating rink overlooking the lake. These days, I can't join the skaters, but I love watching them!

I’m delighted to be starting my second round of the 25-Motif Challenge!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Celebrating 1st Blogaversary and 20 Years of Tatting !

Also - Completing First Round of 25-Motif Challenge !
Motifs 22, 23, 24 and 25

2009 is an important Tatting ‘Milestone Year’ for me: 20 years of tatting, and 1 year of blogging – both beginning in July!

Today is my FIRST BLOGAVERSARY (yay!) , and I want to bring my motif total up to 25. Below are four motifs (#22 through #25) that I tatted back in the 1990s.

On my next round of the 25, I’ll be getting more into my 3-D tatting and my experiences in attempting to get my designs published. And I’ll definitely (for SURE !) tell the story of exactly how I actually learned to tat 20 years ago (after waiting about 33 years, from 1956 (age 12) to 1989 (age 45), then started demonstrating in 1990 with the Beaver County Tatters (Carol Lawecki's mom is a member). I also hope to do more 'current' tatting, with new variegated and hand-dyed threads and beads.

Motif #22 – a 1st Blogaversary Candle!

This candle (which I lit for the first time for this special occasion!) shows a tatted motif by a talented designer, Gloria Crowther and is from her soft-cover publication, “Gloria’s Tatting.” In fact, she displayed it on a candle, which gave me the idea. (See a clearer photo of this candle below. Of course, you can click all photos to enlarge.)

Her book was the first one I saw which printed each ring and chain on separate lines (which I prefer) and she also used the then somewhat ‘new’ number-dash system, which I also prefer!

She used two different color threads on several of her designs. which are very appealing, However, I used only white thread here, in size 50.

I’d like to know more about Gloria. There doesn’t seem to be much information about her on the Web. I believe she lives in Idaho. I’m curious how she managed to get her designs published. Publishing is a fascinating subject to me.

I painted the flowers/leaves with acrylic paint (very easy) and added gold tape under the tatting. I always include this candle as part of my display at the fairs.

Decorative Candles make lovely gifts and nicely show off tatted motifs

Motif #23 - Mary Konior’s clever flower motif is very popular, and has a very unique look to it. I’ve seen it done in many different variations, and with all sizes of thread. Here I used DMC size 30.

I was thrilled with Mary Konior’s book, “Tatting With Visual Patterns”, as it was the first time I saw a publication using the idea of drawing the patterns AND using different colors in the drawings to represent rings, chains or rounds It made it so much easier to see how the pattern evolved

Of course, Mary’s patterns have become classics, and her book is a “MUST HAVE” for tatters.

Motif #24 – This ‘pictogram’ (in a stand-up frame) was made with a scrap piece of tatting. Right now I can’t find the source of the ‘basket’ part of the pattern. I believe I added the ‘handle’, using a common ring and chain pattern.

This is similar to the piece of tatting I used on the back of my Victorian Doll.

Here is how I display the above items at home on top of a bookcase.

The battery-powered clock is one I can rely on when the power goes out!

Motif #25 - ( TA DA !!! ) Earrings from the Workbasket –June/July 1991 – by Millie Wilcoxson. This is the first (and so far, only) earring pattern I’ve ever made, which state of affairs will be changing shortly as I venture into making more jewelry. I especially want to impress upon my young nieces (and others) that tatting is HIP AND COOL. I’m sure they’ll be interested when they see designs using the commercial variegated threads - and, of course BEADS!, and especially the beautiful hand-dyed threads – by so many of our talented fellow tatters!

For these earrings, rather than using the thread suggested, I found DMC’s metallic gold/silver thread on a spool to work perfectly. The white pair is size 30 thread. The original pattern was open in the center, and I decided to add gems or pearls. (You know how I like to add ‘bling’!)

Sometimes I even eliminate the picots, which gives a different look. I wear these earrings with my costumes (a subject for upcoming posts). I also used this motif on the Christmas ornament in my Nov. 18 post.

I intend to tat up a new pair – in one of my new Lizbeth variegated threads – as a gift to myself for completing the FIRST ROUND of the Challenge.

Of course, I’m continuing on with the Challenge! I’ve really only just begun – there’s so much more to share with you, and I look forward to doing so.

You knew I couldn’t just end the post here, as I have a few more ‘tributes’

The ‘Blog” thing !

I remember feeling very tentative last year about starting this blog, and I also remember how excited I was to actually see it appear on the internet the first time. (Actually I’m still amazed by it!)

Sharon Briggs and a few other very dedicated tatters started the 25-Motif Challenge a few years ago, and it is responsible for generating a lot of interest in tatting. It has certainly revived my interest, as I was in danger of getting away from actively tatting, even though I was still demonstrating. However, even the festivals that we Beaver County tatters attend are cutting back their festival dates (going from full weekends to just one day), and some of the craft stores are not promoting tatting in any way - so it’s important that tatting be as visible as possible on the internet.

I certainly will never forget how Sharon Briggs (after my sending a snail-mail letter to her) featured my tatting in her blog post of Feb. 21, 2008 - and then encouraged me to give ‘blogging’ a try, as did fellow Pennsylvania tatters, Carol Lawecki and Elizabeth Zipay.

I finally jumped in on July 31. I am so indebted to Sharon for patiently taking time out of her busy life last July to guide me via e-mails through the ‘techno’ stuff. THANK YOU, SHARON !

And I’m definitely grateful to Blogger for making it possible for a ‘non-computer programmer’ like me to create a simple web page, without knowing anything about HTML code or any other computer language. However, I’m very curious to know how so many of you learned HTML! I know it would be helpful to know HTML in order to eliminate my 'excess spacing’ problems. I have to admit I’m not exactly enthusiastic about learning HTML, though! (Some day I may bore you to tears with my ‘computer history’, staring in 1981!
[Teaser: I had an ink-jet printer at the office in 1981 that was the size of a washer/dryer combo! And it had all of three typestyles available! Cost: $20,000]

Also in the future, I’ll be seeking advice on how to learn some of the finer points about blogging! I’d like to do other things on my blog, like add more photos (slideshow?) to my sidebar. I’m so afraid I’ll somehow ‘lose’ the blog if I don’t know what I’m doing. I still have some anxiety when I do my posts and fear pushing a wrong button! And I'll figure out how to do links w/o showing the entire URL! I also intend to finally write up a 'profile' !

Thanks for dropping by and sharing my 1st Blogaversary !

Monday, July 20, 2009

Motif #21 - Single Heart from Jon's "Hearts Entwined"

On this actual anniversary of the Moon Landing (see my prior post), I'm submitting a ‘current’ tatting project, just to prove to you that I still do tat!

Motif #21 - Single Heart motif adapted from Jon Yusoff’s “Hearts Entwined” pattern.

I am indebted to Jon Yusoff for her clever and beautiful ‘Hearts Entwined' pattern, which she has so kindly shared with all of us (see link below).

When I first saw the pattern, I also envisioned, and then tatted, a single heart, by merely adding a long chain connecting the entwined hearts at the bottom, with three picots at the ‘point’.

DMC perle cotton size 8, # 315

Jon’s pattern definitely has a ‘regal’ look to it!

Jon’s 'Hearts Entwined' pattern can be found here:

I love ‘heart’ patterns, and I was very intrigued at Jon’s design. In her blog post of January 15, 2009, she also explains how the design evolved. Even her ‘first drafts’ are beautiful! Jon is an incredibly talented and gifted lady, and she is so generous with sharing her designs and patterns. Her snowflakes are becoming classics!

Even though the pattern calls for two shuttles (which I don’t always feel confident using), her pattern was so beautifully drawn (another skill I’d like to accomplish) that I thought it would be easy to follow, and indeed that was the case. As I often do, I added ring numbers to my printout of the pattern, as that is how I keep track of where I am.

And here is where I’ve placed my motif!

Amazingly, I just randomly chose the ‘purple’ thread out of my thread box.

Then, after I finished the motif, I looked around my craft room to find something to put it on - not easy to do these days, as the room is in a state of ‘transition’ (turmoil, actually) while I move furniture around.

I saw laying in a corner – this amazing pastel “Victorian Shoe” Christmas stocking, which I bought at Hobby Lobby last year and put aside. (I actually had forgotten about it!)

It’s as if it was waiting for this heart to be added – and in this color thread!

Thank you again, Jon!

July 20, 2009
More about the 40th Moon Landing Anniversary

Today (July 20) is the actual anniversary date of the 1st moon landing, after the July 16 lift-off and a four-day journey from earth. This is an addendum to my prior post about this milestone anniversary.

I was very pleased that Sunday evening (July 19) the NASA Channel broadcast “live” the very rare appearance of the three Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins, who agreed to be part of the celebration at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC at the IMAX theater, where each one gave a speech.

This milestone anniversary event was itself a unique moment in history and one that is not likely to be repeated in the future, as these famous men rarely appear together. It took awhile to get used to the fact that they are now (or soon will be) 79 years of age! Their excellent speeches covered different perspectives of the past and future of space exploration, and it was wonderful to see them together again.

There is an interesting website (see below) which has some spectacular photos of the lift-off, landing and return to earth, taken in 1969. (The photo of the majestic Saturn V rocket on the launch pad in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building reminded us of our trip to Florida in May of 1969, where we actually saw Apollo 10 on the launch pad. Apollo 10’s mission was to orbit the moon and take the lunar lander close to the moon, but then return to the command module without landing. That must have been exciting and frustrating at the same time. “So near and yet so far”!

All the photos are an incredible look back to an amazing time. (The site may take a few minutes to load.)

I’ve also enjoyed watching several classic science fiction movies about the moon on Turner Classic Movies today. I remember some of these movies from my childhood in the 1950s. And “Buzz” Aldrin, himself, is the guest host this evening (pre-taped) on TCM.

It’s been an interesting 'milestone' day and I've enjoyed watching all the tributes on TV and reading about many aspects of the moon landing on the internet (a fabulous source)!
Weather for today: Overcast most of day; some sun, then rain in the evening. High: 79, Low: 59 Ironically, the moon is not “available” for viewing this evening, here in North America!

Friday, July 17, 2009

40th Anniversary of Moon Landing - July 20 (1969-2009)

Commemorative "Moon Landing" Afghan (made 20 years ago), which has a connection to my tatting history!

Tranquility Base Here.
The Eagle Has Landed

Neil Armstrong,
July 20, 1969

First Astronauts on the moon:
Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin

Astronaut in Command Module: Mike Collins

Note: All three astronauts will turn 79 this year!

The above commercial patch is affixed to the knitted afghan I made 20 years ago, in 1989, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the moon landing. The full afghan is shown below, as is the story of how the afghan is ‘connected’ to my tatting history.

The 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing is coming up on Monday, July 20, and
my husband and I clearly remember – as if it were yesterday – watching with awed amazement as Neil Armstrong took those first steps on the moon.

It was a spectacular achievement, and because of television, millions of earth’s inhabitants witnessed the event as it was happening! It was a profound moment for the entire planet!

And as incredible as it was to see the surface of the moon ‘up close and personal’, it was the vision of the ‘blue orb’ rising above the horizon that took your breath away. The previous December (Apollo 8 – the first manned orbit of the moon – also incredible) had shown us that spectacular view of the earth (in color!) but it was truly astounding to see it that view from the vantage point of humans who were actually standing on the moon’s surface!

My husband and I (25 years old) were living in our first apartment, and we watched the moon landing on our first color TV set (purchased in 1966). Even color TV was amazing back then, since we grew up with the ‘black and white’ TV sets of the 1950s.

We held our breath as we listened to Armstrong counting down the tricky approach to the landing site on the moon. And although the first visuals were fuzzy when Armstrong jumped off the LEM and actually touched the surface of the moon, it was incredible that we were hearing and watching the whole thing in ‘real time’. It truly was a “Giant Leap for Mankind”!

For me, the moon landing event is also a reminder of another important July anniversary, which is VERY important to my tatting history!

20 years ago today (as I write this), on July 15, 1989, my husband and I were driving to Grantsville, Maryland (a two-hour trip) to attend a craft fair (which I know I’ve mentioned several times before).

While riding in the car, I was intently working on embroidering ‘eagles’ on some of my last remaining individually knitted squares for an afghan I was attempting to complete in time for the 20th anniversary of the moon landing. I wanted the afghan to be totally finished by the anniversary date on July 20, so I had only five days left to sew all the squares together, and to add the fringe (very time consuming) – that’s why I was diligently working on it during the trip.

What I couldn’t possibly know during the trip to Maryland was that attending that fair was going to change my life! In a very short time, my passion for knitting was going to be transferred to another needlework hobby. Three guesses what that was!

I had no idea that there was going to be a tatting booth at that fair, and that (on July 15, 1989) I was going to see, for the first time, someone actually tatting! (Almost as amazing to me as the moon landing!)

So the afghan commemorates not only the moon landing, but also the ‘beginning’ of my tatting adventures! On the ride back home, all I kept thinking about was how I was going to somehow, some way, finally learn how to tat!

And unbelievably (to me), a month later, in August 1989, I started learning the basics of tatting, and a year later, in October of 1990, I was actually demonstrating tatting at a local fair with the ‘Beaver County Tatters’. (I didn’t even know there was such a group – and so close to home!)

Of course, I didn’t stop knitting overnight and still do some knitting. It is ironic, however, that only a few months before the fair I had been elected President of our knitting guild (a two-year term)! Also, in 1993 our guild hosted the Knitting Guild of America convention in Pittsburgh (600 attendees). But tatting quickly took over my life and I was immersed heavily in tatting from 1990-94, and even submitting 3-D patterns to a national magazine.

Then in 1994 I went back to work full time and I dropped out of the knitting guild as it was too difficult to keep up with the meetings and to do much knitting. Also, I cut way back on my tatting. But I continued to demonstrate tatting, and still do so today Of course, I never dreamed, back in 1989, I'd have something called a "blog"!

“The Eagle Has Landed” afghan from 1989.

9 squares down, 7 squares across.

Measures 48” x 63” (including fringe)

This is one of the eagle motifs I was working on, which appear on 31 of the squares, done with gold colored yarn.

The eagles are ‘embroidered’ over top of the white knitted stitches, and follow (or “duplicate”) the direction of the V-shaped knitted stitches.

I added the commercially made official Apollo 11 patch (shown at the beginning of this post) to emphasize the subject of the afghan. In addition, I added a label on the back of the afghan, which has the cross-stitched phrase “The Eagle has Landed” (1969-1989)” .

Controversy over the Apollo patch, at a judged exhibit!
In September 1989, I entered the afghan in a local fair. However, I found out, after I won a “Second” ribbon for it, that a ‘conference’ had been called among the judges concerning the addition of the commercial Apollo 11 patch, and whether it should be ‘allowed’! Amusing, yes? Apparently common sense prevailed, and they didn’t ‘disqualify’ the afghan. Actually I felt lucky to win a “Second” ribbon because it isn’t as perfectly sewn together as I would have liked.

And the month of July also has another important ‘tatting’ date for me.

July 31 will be by first ‘blogaversary” ! I am vowing to finally get around to describing how I actually learned to tat. (I know you’re all waiting with bated breath :-) ! I’ve ‘promised’ to do this before in several blog posts, but I have never quite gotten 'a round tuit'! I HAVE worked on drafting the story, and am I’m trying to keep it as concise as possible (difficult for me LOL!), It’s not that dramatic, but learning to tat was a huge accomplishment for me (and for many of us!), and it was amazing how all of a sudden, everything fell into place.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
A ‘moon watch’ irony: It may be that the moon will not be visible at all on the 20th, to those of us in the northern hemisphere !

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy 233rd Birthday, USA !

Plus Hometown 4th of July Memories

This star is a smaller version of the “star-from-edging” pattern featured on my February 27 post,
based on Edging No. 12, Ann Orr’s Classic Tatting Patterns.

It actually may be the first star I ever tatted (back in 1990), since it’s size 50 thread.
I seemed to tat with size 50 thread a lot back then. It usually hangs on my Christmas tree, with a crystal snowflake in the center.

Here, I have attached the star to the candle with gold-bead metallic pins, which I cut to a much shorter length with wire cutters. The flag is a lapel pin. The lovely doily is the same one I displayed in my April 1 post, which I purchased at a boutique shop. (Someday I might try to copy it! But don’t hold your breath!)

Declaration of Independence - 1776
This is the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence here in the United States. What an amazing document! Of course, we didn’t win our independence from England until seven years later in 1783.
The Fourth of July is a time to contemplate all that has happened (good and bad), in this incredible country and especially to feel a connection to the Colonists who signed that important document. It was an amazing time!

200+ Years Later
Little did the Colonists realize how we would be living only 200 amazingly short years in the future.
They never imagined trains, automobiles, jet planes, not to mention radio, television, computers, cell phones, microwave ovens, and space travel! I hesitate to even mention the changes in fashion! I think they’d faint dead away if they saw how we dress (or don’t dress) today! :-)

A true fact to contemplate: Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826, exactly on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence! Jefferson was an amazing 83 years old and Adams was an even more amazing 90! And this was in a time when very few made it past 40!

Memories of My Hometown 4th of July Celebrations -
Parades, Picnics and Fireworks in the 1950s

The Fourth of July evokes many wonderful “Norman Rockwell type” childhood memories for me (1949-1961), as my small hometown (across the river from where we live now) always had a big celebration, starting with a parade in the morning, activities in the park all day, backyard picnics, and big fireworks at night at the high school field.

The town was incorporated in 1904, and I was 10 during its week-long Golden Jubilee celebration in 1954, centered around the 4th of July. The movie “Picnic” (although it’s set in a larger town which had a “lake’) was filmed in 1955, and, for me, that movie really captures the ‘atmosphere’ of the Jubilee celebration. We even had a “Queen” for the Jubilee, who happened to be my girlfriend’s older sister, whom I admired.
Happily, the town still retains its pleasant ambiance, and few changes have been made. It was and still is an ideal place to grow up.
These days their celebration is smaller, but almost annually (like a swallow returning to Capistrano), I make a nostalgic visit on the 4th, where I walk around town and recall warm memories of my parents and their friends and neighbors during those “Happy Days” of the 1950s and my wonderful childhood.

The Park and Playground
The park grounds were part of a former estate belonging to the family who first settled in the town in 1826. In 1948, my mother was among the petitioners who sought to turn the area into a permanent park/playground (with the usual swings, sliding board, jungle gym, etc.) – a wise move on the town’s part, as it is a lovely ‘green oasis’ and is the center of many activities.

I also learned many crafts there during the summer months, from our school’s art teacher.
I especially made a lot of bracelets, lanyards. and keychains out of what is now called 'plastic lace'. It was kind of like ‘macrame’ and, of course, it appealed to me as a handcraft.
My Parade Experiences
I was in every Fourth of July parade in my hometown from 1949 to 1960, starting at age 5, when I rode my decorated tricycle, then graduated to a bicycle by age 6.

The next year I pulled a wagon filled with the new (and unexpected!) Border Collie puppies from our dog “Pal” (a stray, who had wandered into our hearts around 1949). The puppies, of course, kept jumping out of the wagon, much to the delight of the crowd! I believe I won a ribbon for my

Then I marched as a Brownie, and then as a Girl Scout, where I had the honor of carrying the flag.
In junior high school I began marching with our small High School band (50 members) where I played the clarinet.

During ninth grade, I learned how to twirl a baton and tried out for majorette the following summer (1958). I was 14 years old and was thrilled when I was chosen for the only open spot (in a five-majorette squad). HUGE moment in my life! I LOVED being a majorette (starting in my sophomore year) and marching and doing dance routines during half-time at the football games and parades.

During my junior and senior years, three of us shared Head Majorette duty, and I got to lead the July 4th parade in 1960, which was my final hometown parade, as I would be graduating the next year in 1961. It was an emotional experience for me!

My husband-to-be (whom I met in August of 1960, and who had just graduated from another school)) was disappointed the next May that I wasn’t leading my final Memorial Day parade (in another town). However, he recorded part of that parade on his parents’ 8mm color movie camera. Not many people were taking movies back then! What a treasure! We’ve transferred it to videotape, but now must transfer it to a DVD!)

Then after I graduated, it was strange to all of a sudden be a ‘spectator’ at the
Fourth of July parade in 1961 after all those years of being part of it!

However, on a few occasions many years later, my husband and rode in our GTO in the parade.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing another trip down Memory Lane.
Hope those of you in the USA enjoy the fireworks and other festivities this weekend!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Fun in Our GTO !

Our 1969 Pontiac GTO convertible is now 40 years old!

We bought the car new, and would never have believed that we would still have it 40 years later!

To celebrate the occasion I bought a new jacket to wear to the many car cruises we attend all summer (and have attended since 1980!). I knew I was going to embellish the jacket, but I didn’t have anything specific planned. Recently, however, my mind got in ‘gear’ (pardon the pun!) and I came up with some ideas!

GTO Jacket, with Tatted Embellishment (so far)

When I saw the sequined alphabet letters at the craft store, I HAD to buy them!

After I sewed the glittery letters on, I wanted to add even more ‘pizzazz’, so I naturally thought of tatting, and this little piece that I had in my ‘stash’ works well. I believe it was done in size 30

After sewing the tatting on, I carefully put silver glitter glue over the tatting, which sparkles in the sun. I also added more ‘bling’ by gluing on some gems

This is basically a ‘work in progress’ as I have other ideas in mind – such as adding tatting to the sleeves and cuffs. We’ll see how it evolves!

I love the front of the jacket! (I forgot to button up the other pocket for the photo).
You can see there are lots of possibilities here, too!

So now I have a special jacket to wear when we go to the car cruises.

And when I do some tatting while sitting by the car, I’ll be able to show how tatting can be used today as a fashion ‘statement.’

1969 Pontiac GTO convertible

And here’s the car, as it looked in 1977 at 8 years young (and me 33 years young – and still 12 years away from learning to tat!). I’m standing in the driveway of our then 4-year-old house.

The flag decal on the front fender was for the US Bicentennial in 1976.

This is how the GTO looks today, 40 years and 120,000 miles from the day we left the dealership

As for me, I guess I have to admit that I’m now 65! (*sigh*)

The GTO is associated with tigers and goats – that’s why we have the stuffed animals on the roof. Plus we sometimes display a food tray, reminiscent of the ‘eat in your car’ drive-in restaurants, which were common back then

Here’s another view.

This photo was taken from Mt. Washington, which has amazing views of the city of Pittsburgh

Here’s some more trivia about the car, if you’re interested in old cars:

- It has a 4-speed manual shift, and has an ‘AM-only’ radio. Back then, FM stations did not play rock ‘n roll! That was for ‘square’ adults!

- Everything is still original – vinyl top, paint (‘Mayfair Maize’), and interior (bucket seats). It has not been restored

- The engine has had some work done (including a new carburetor and radiator), but has authentic parts.

- We had to be towed once (in 1972) when the timing chain broke, 30 miles from home!

Car ‘Connection’ to Moon Landingalso 40th Anniversary this year
In researching info about the car, we discovered that it was rolling off the assembly line at GM’s plant in Baltimore, MD the same week that the first Moon Landing mission was taking place (July 16 launch - July 20 landing on Moon - July 24 return to earth).

Other events of 1969
The spectacular moon landing was a welcome reprieve from other unsettling events of the time – there was a lot of unrest in America about many social issues, especially Vietnam. (I was a very confused, mini-skirt-wearing, 25-year-old secretary, married four years, and having grown up in a happier time with poodle skirts, bobby socks and Elvis! My husband was in the Army Reserves, and was in his third year of a six-year commitment, so it was tricky for us to take on a car payment, as we didn’t know what the future held for us. We still lived in an apartment, and building a house wasn’t even on the agenda!

Therefore, the car represents our youth, the uncertainties of the ‘60s, and with the moon landing, hope for a fabulous future - and I remember all of it very well. It’s also been a great car to ride in, and we’ve met many people through the car cruises. Also at the cruise we get to see other cars that we’ve owned over the years, plus the cars of our parents. It’s amazing how many people have restored or saved old cars, especially here in Pennsylvania

Car Songs of the Era
We especially enjoy listening to the music of our era (‘50s and ‘60s), which they always play at the cruises, especially the car songs (“Little Old Lady from Pasadena”, “Til Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away”, “She’s Real Fine, My 409”, “Mustang Sally”, and, of course our favorite:

Little GTO” by Ronnie and the Daytonas. My husband INSISTED that I include the link below (for car enthusiasts) so that you can hear the song and see a slide show of the various GTO models from 1964-1972 (although they don’t label them). The slide show begins about 25 seconds into the song.)

Hope you enjoyed my little 'Cruise' down Memory Lane!

One of our nieces will be graduating from high school tomorrow. Here's to the Class of 2009 as they begin a new journey of their own!