Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Celtic Tatting - Motifs 16 and 17

St. Patrick’s Day !

Below are some “Irish” patterns in commemoration of St. Patrick’s Day

I’m proud to be part Irish, and was named for my maternal grandmother, Katherine (“Kate”) Flanagan. Can’t get much more Irish than that! She was born in America after her parents immigrated to New England around 1870. Sadly, I never knew her, as she died in 1944, the year I was born; but I understand she had a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh, which my wonderful mother also inherited! My grandfather’s ancestors, although having an English name, lived in Ireland for generations, and his parents also immigrated to New England before he was born. My grandfather had tailoring skills and made a christening gown in 1899 that is still in the family!

Motif #16 consists of two parts, both associated with Rosemarie Peel’s Celtic Motif

Motif #16-A: Lenore English, Celtic Bookmark Motif
(based on Motif by Rosemarie Peel)

I love this Celtic tatted motif, which is only one section of an outstanding bookmark by Lenore English, found

It’s based on Rosemarie Peel’s Celtic motif, which apparently was on the internet at one time, but I can’t seem to find it. (Rosemarie’s motif is beautifully interpreted by Elizabeth Zipay in a delicate pair of earrings on her Jan. 21, 2008 post.)

On this motif I used two different DMC perle cotton threads, size 8. The label is missing on the lighter green ball of thread, but the dark green is #3346. In this instance, I think the two colors enhance the woven effect

Since I was doing only a single motif, I didn’t need to do a split ring in part 1 (lighter green thread), and therefore I used only one shuttle. I used the darker green for part 2, and back to the lighter green for part 3

The full bookmark is beautifully designed and executed by Lenore, but she admits it’s difficult to do, and after looking over the instructions, I’d have to agree. It will be awhile before I attempt it!

I’ll be wearing the pin on my hand-knit ‘Aran’ sweater, made in 1991, during my tatting-knitting-quilting-frenzy years.

I’m not so ‘driven’ these days, and I’m amused when I read how everyone has three or four projects going at once, and I can very much relate to it

My husband (not exactly Irish!) will also wear the fisherman-knit sweater I made for him way back in 1973 – different pattern (still fits, because I made it a little bigger!), which won a blue ribbon at the Allegheny County Fair back then. The pictured sweater won a blue at the Canfield Fair in Ohio. (Just a little bragging!). I find fisherman sweaters easier to knit than sweaters with color changes, although I’ve made many of those. As with all needle arts, we have our preferences, from types of knitting needles, yarns and patterns, to tatting shuttles, threads and patterns

Motif #16 –B: LaRae Mikulecky’s Celtic Bookmark
also based on Rosemarie Peel’s Celtic Motif
Lenore’s bookmark was inspired by LaRae Mikulecky’s famous Celtic bookmark from 1997 (below), which also was based on Rosemarie Peel’s Celtic motif

I tatted this bookmark sometime in the early 2000s, and was quite pleased with myself when I finished it

When “surfing the net” back in 1999 or 2000 at the library, I remember being stunned when I came across LaRae Mikulecky’s Celtic bookmark.

It was the first time I had ever seen ‘Celtic’ tatting, and I was mesmerized by all that weaving in and out. I just HAD to tat it! It has a wonderful texture and definitely has a “Wow” factor when seen in person. Fortunately, it was relatively easy to tat, thanks to LaRae’s excellent instructions, which she so generously shared. 

Update 2017: The pattern can still be found, but  I'm having difficulty getting a 'one-click'  link to it in this post.   You have to highlight the red url below,  then right click to bring up a box, then move the cursor down to  'go to http' , and left click it.  That will take you to the pattern.   

I experimented with tatting the first layer (split rings) in dark green, but I think I’d prefer to do all four layers of the bookmark in one color, to add to its ‘mystery’, although it’s helpful here to see how the split rings are the foundation

Both Lenore’s and LaRue’s bookmarks are outstanding and attractive, but the Celtic motif is more clearly seen on Lenore’s three-step bookmark, and very much appeals to me

Motif #17 – Iris Niebach’s “Cactus” Motif

Even though this motif doesn’t involve ‘Celtic tatting’, the design sure looks Celtic to me, and was designed by world-famous Iris Niebach, from Italy!

Believe it or not, it’s made in one pass, and I’m delighted that it’s my first Iris Niebach pattern. Of course, this is one of her easier designs!

I’m displaying it here on a candle-wicked pillow I made long, long ago, in a galaxy far away

The candlewick knots were fun to do, but at the time I didn’t know yet how to quilt a ‘running stitch’. I just sort of ‘stab stitched’ the ‘quilted’ areas

As mentioned above, Iris’s motif is an amazing one-pass pattern (without any special tricks) which is very easy to follow, and measures about 5” across.

I must give credit to Marty of Tat’s All She Wrote - where I first saw this pattern. It is beautifully tatted and was her 20th motif, posted April 23, 2008. I was excited that the pattern was offered free from Iris Niebach, and Marty provides an easy link to it. You must visit Marty’s blog to see all her beautiful tatting! Marty has skillfully tatted many of Iris’s patterns!

The thread I used above has a unique history. itself, as it dates back at least 30 or more years!
It was made by American Thread Company at Fall River, Massachusetts, called “Silkateen” (100 yards) on wood spools (collectors’ items) and feels like size 8 perle cotton.

Amazingly, a few boxes of this thread sat on a shelf for who knows how many years in a hardware / general merchandise store owned by a relative of my sister-in-law. The store was being sold, so my sweet SIL gave the thread to me! I had to unwind it a bit to get past the more ‘brittle’ outside yardage; then it became stronger and darker as I removed the outer layers of thread

In researching the company, I haven’t been able to find a reference to the Fall River mill in Massachusetts. There is information about a Connecticut mill, and a nice photo of the ‘headquarters’ building in New York. The American Thread Company apparently began operations in 1899 here in America and had several mill sites in New England. Apparently the mills closed around the 1970s. I’d have to do more in-depth research to track down the story of the production of this thread. I made a few Christmas wreath pins out of this thread for my SIL and her daughters, as a memento of the store owned by their relative.

Have a great St. Patty’s Day!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Spring Forward" - Easter Egg Alert

I’m very much against ‘rushing’ the season, but I want to alert you to some eggs that are currently at Michaels. I’m not sure they’re in all their stores (they don’t seem to be listed on their web site). As usual, I purchased several of them, as the stores don’t often have the same items the next year. Usually I’ve had to add braiding and/or flowers to plain eggs, but these are already finished – ready to hang - or just sit in a basket The braiding 'sections off' the egg into quarters. They have a ‘velvet’ covering and come in different pastel colors – pink, blue, light green, purple, orange.

Of course, I can’t leave that ‘empty space’ between the braiding just sit there, when it’s crying out for tatted motifs!
This was the quickest motif I could find (Mary McCarthy’s butterfly, from my October 17 post) to attach to the egg, so I could alert you to them.
There are many possibilities for embellishing these eggs even more. Need I mention beads?

The colors aren’t showing as well as I’d like here, and there are shadows in the photo, but it kind of gives you the idea.
Because the eggs are hollow (but not hard plastic), it is possible to use pins. (I use metallic pins that have a gold bead at one end.) However, always be careful not to let children play with the eggs, even though the pins don't pull out easily.

Around Easter I’ll be posting eggs that I’ve decorated with tatting over the years.