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!!