Monday, December 26, 2011

'Tis the Season

We have officially arrived at the "Holidays" (by my definition, beginning about a week before Christmas and extending a few days into the New Year), and I'm hoping you are having pleasant gatherings with family and friends and are enjoying the festive decorations and lights, possibly in a more relaxed mood, now that the 'rush' is over!   Of course, I realize that the shopping centers are still hectic places, with all the returns and gift cards, and with the kids out of school!  I remember how much I enjoyed our Christmas breaks 'back when'.

I wanted to capture a photo of this lovely 'live roses' floral arrangement before we gave it to my MIL yesterday for her room at the assisted living facility.

The table runner (just the one end showing here) is one that I made several years ago (can't actually remember the date - I should make a label for it after I figure it out!).

It includes three lovely pre-printed panels (in my favorite colors!), which I embellished with some beads and hand quilting.  (My real 'challenge' was in mitering the 'points' on the border strips!)

I bought the kit at a local quilt store, which, sadly, is now gone, although it was around for many years.  The owner, now retired, unfortunately couldn't find a buyer for the store. It was always a 'bright and colorful' presence in the town.

I've always wanted to put some tatting in the empty 'circle' space on the printed design, and for this photo I remembered a motif from my stash (Lynn Morton's 'Hearts and Flowers' pattern - similar to a motif by Lene Bjorn) which does look pretty good just placed there, although the heart shapes kind of disappear unless you look closely.   Of course, I would have to tat a second one for the other end of the runner! 

* * *

We will continue visiting family members this week, and look forward to seeing our niece's boys (ages 4 and 1) opening the gifts we're giving them.  The magic of Christmas is always brought back when being around the little ones!

DH and I enjoy going for drives during the evening to other neighborhoods to see all the residential lights and outdoor decorations; and we also appreciate the effort that goes into the lighting displays in the different towns.

I'm also happy it will be getting lighter in the evenings, although it's imperceptible right now.   I just like knowing that we passed over the 'line' on Dec. 21!   However, there are three months of official Winter ahead! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Events, New Product, and Posting Again

New Shaped Ornament to encase Tatting

Last December I posted about my placing Sharon’s ‘ Merry Christmas’ snowflake inside a spherical, clear plastic ornament that I got at Michaels, which worked out very well.

However, I want to bring your attention to a ‘different’ plastic ornament so that you can obtain one for your snowflakes or other motifs. I have seen them only at Michaels, but unfortunately I can’t seem to find them on the internet.

This ornament is round from the ‘front’ view. 

However . . . .

it is not a ‘sphere’, but an ‘ellipsoid’, as shown on the brass stand on the left, side view.  It's about 1.5" wide.

These ornaments come in two different diameters:

The ornament in the back is 4.5”; the one in the stand is 3.5”

They are even better than the round ‘sphere’ for displaying a  snowflake or other tatted motif, because the motif can more easily keep its shape in a more ‘confined’ (flattened) space.    The tatted motif can easily be ‘shaken’ back and forth after being ‘rolled up’ and placed in the ornament through the  
nice, large opening.

I quickly put this display together using one of the motifs in my stash, which I believe was to be a snowman. The motif is the perfect size for the 3.5” ornament.

Here is the full view of fancy brass hanger I’m using to display it. I have two of these hangers, which I found ‘somewhere’! They’re very nice for showcasing ornaments or bells or whatever.

I added a velvet bow and silk leaves/flower to the ornament with the use of sticky tape (not a glue gun). I used a small piece of the tape (near the bottom of the stand) to keep the ribbon in place around the side of the hangar.

The cost is about $1.29 for the 3.5” and $1.99 for the 4.5” . I was happy to find them when they were 50% off!   I sure hope they continue to sell these! I have so many plans for them!

Old Economy Village (This weekend – 2-day event)
Our group will be at Old Economy this weekend. I have many photos of the Village, and when I improve’ my blog to include ‘tabs’, I’m hoping to put galleries of my photos there.

Vicary Mansion (Last Saturday)
We were at the Vicary Mansion (Freedom, PA) last Saturday (Dec. 3), and had a great time. Unfortunately, Evelyn was not able to join us, due to a cold; but our newer member, Pam, was able to be there. So Peg, Pam and I enjoyed meeting all the visitors. Three visitors were gals who were in Pittsburgh for a job-related convention, and they saw an ad in the paper and chose to drop by. They were from (are you ready?) – Texas, Utah and Colorado!! They loved our tatting and were delighted with the beautiful Christmas decorations in the mansion. It put them in a ‘Christmas’ mood! The volunteers there always do a great job, and we are provided with wonderful homemade food – also prepared by the volunteers. There were a gazillion cookies, too, all free for the visitors!

The Mansion has never been more beautifully decorated (9 big rooms!) , and the music that evening was OUTSTANDING, performed by a trio of youngsters (a brother and 2 sisters – ages 16, 14, and 11) playing violins and cello. The 11-year-old sister played the cello, and it is as big as she is! If I had my eyes closed, I would have thought I was at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, listening to professional musicians! The sound they produced was incredible! I was overwhelmed with their performance and talked to their proud parents. It was SO uplifting! I got a great photo of them visiting our “Tatting” room. The girls loved the dollhouse and my ‘Cinderella’ slipper!

I also taught a visitor how to do the tatted knot! She is a crocheter, and by showing her the chain first (two colors of thread) , and explaining that she can use the ‘crochet hold’ with her left hand, she got the ‘flip’ in no time!

*  *  *

My absence from posting is due mostly to computer and software issues, which are difficult to explain, so I will spare you that story. As you know, I love to follow the blogs and see all the incredible creativity out there! I HAVE been doing some tatting (not as much as I would like, however), and I hope to get back on track with the 25-Motif Challenge soon! Thanks, again, Sharon for your patience!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Motif #25 Second Round - Mary Konior's 'Patchwork' as a Pendant !

Also:  Nostalgic Hometown Fourth of July

Reinstating photographs

With little fanfare, I’m finally finishing my Second Round of the 25 Motif Challenge!  I’m quite embarrassed that it has taken me almost two years to complete it, especially since I was up to #18 in June of 2010, and well within sight of the ‘finish line’ date of Sept. 2010.   I never dreamed it would take me a whole other year to post the last seven motifs! (Thank you, Sharon, for understanding!)     Computer problems and several other distractions are to blame. I do hope to start a third round soon, as my computer issues are finally in the process of being cleared up. I had hoped when DH retired three years ago already (!) that Time would seem to slow down, but instead it has speeded up!

Motif #25 - Mary Konior's 'Patchwork' Motif - as a Pendant

Way back in November 2008, a few months after starting my blog, I showed another of this same motif in white thread, encased in a paperweight, but the beauty of the pattern is more defined here. (I decided to wear it on ’point’, so it might look a little ‘different’ to you. )

I have no idea when I tatted this motif - possibly in the late 1990s.

The true ‘gold’ color is more evident in the next photo.

Even in size 12 DMC perle cotton (equivalent to size 30 Cebelia), it is a 'larger' pendant, at 3" across.

I like the way the pendant looks with this particular jacket. The lace looks right at home, even though the jacket is modern and sporty (and happens to be Pittsburgh’s sports teams’ colors!)

This motif sat in my stash for many years. I never dreamed I’d eventually wear it as a piece of jewelry!   I'm sure Mary would be pleased! 

New ideas for my pendants

In my usual fashion, I attached the motif to a black 'velvet' paper circle, but I didn‘t want to use glue on this very special piece of tatting! (The large rhinestone is glued onto the paper - not the tatting, but does add to the design.)

For attaching this motif to the velvet disc, I discovered the wonderful little brads that you can find with scrapbook supplies. The tatting stays secure on the paper, and the brads also add a little 'bling'. (I did dot the outer edges with a bit of glue stick, which easily washes out if necessary)

However, my biggest ‘change’ was in adding a metal ‘backing’ to the pendant, after I discovered some new (to me) very sticky, wide, double-sided tape. As I’m sure you’re aware, all kinds of metallic embellishments are available at craft stores these days. I had to hunt for just the right one. I wanted to use a filigree rather than a solid metal backing, because I needed two 'holes' to stabilize the large motif, in the position shown in the first photo. I used large black jump rings that are also ‘new’ to craft stores.

Since discovering how strong this tacky tape is, I’ve decided that all my smaller pendants on the paper discs need to be attached to a metal backing, which adds a finishing touch, but importantly, adds 'weight', and keeps the pendant from twisting over. I now look for these metal pendants when they are on sale. 

In this post I also want to acknowledge the 235th Birthday of the USA. I made my usual nostalgic ‘trip down memory lane’ by attending my hometown’s annual 4th of July celebration.

These wonderful horses are

beautifully trained!

They are so majestic, and gentle!
Kids loved riding in the ‘cart’

These houses are along the parade route, on a nice tree-lined street.

I should mention that the town is only 2 miles long and has only 2 streets running through it.  But it has a wonderful park, where I spent a lot of my chlidhood - and doing a lot of crafts!!    Everything was within walking distance, including the schools. 

Although I live only 5 miles away (across the river) from my hometown, and can visit anytime, it's on the Fourth of July that it comes alive with nostalgia and memories from the 1950s and early 1960s, during my childhood and my graduation from high school.  My parents had moved there in 1945 (into the then brand new rental duplexes, near the high school) from New England when my dad was transferred to the Pittsburgh area.  So I spent my entire childhood there, through my graduation in 1961.  They then decided to move because the duplexes were going to be sold as townhouses, and they didn't want a mortgage at their age.  They moved to a very nice apartment in the next town, and my mother finally got a bigger kitchen!  And I started my secretarial 'career' in 1962 and got married in 1964.  But we always returned to the old hometown for the Fourth of July.  

What I kind of 'glossed over' above was the date of my high school graduation.  And doing the math - yes, it's been 50 years!  I just can't believe it!   So I spent some time walking around the old Alma Mater.  It's now quite updated and and modern, with renovated classrooms that have access to today's technology, and a recently built stadium with lights, plus new tennis courts.   In 1961 our yearbook shows many photos of the first big construction project that doubled the size of the original 1926 school and added the modern gymnasium.  I still refer to it as the 'new addiition' (LOL!)

Of course, I had to talk to the new band director, who was quite interested in my tales from the past!  As I've mentioned before, there are no majorettes in 'my' band these days, but the musicians sound great, and they have the flags, which are very colorful.     I couldn't help but think about  my marvelous last Fourth of July parade, when I led the band as head majorette! 
Memories, memories ...... ! 

I think I did mention somewhere in my blog that my husband and I were in the parade with the GTO a few times, and as recently as 2000, which was fun!  But the car will oveheat in the hot weather and slow-moving parade, so we haven't done that for awhile!  

Hope you are all having a good summer!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The 'Jelly Bean' Tulip and the Magic Triangle

(Sounds like the title of a chldren's book!)

 MOTIF #24,
Second Round

'Jelly Bean' Tulip

created by joining Vintage Triangles,
together, specifically using Size 20 Lizbeth 'Jelly Bean' thread

This is one of those optical illusions where you can't really tell that this
tulip is actually created with little triangles; and in this case, the colors

were very much controlled, almost giving the impression that I started this tulip 'motif' with six purple rings, but those are really the 'tips' of six triangles. I'll explain below how that 'color control' came about - quite by accident!

I must give credit to Sue from Michigan, who last October posted about her experiments in creating fabric 'shapes' by connecting the little vintage triangles edge to edge, rather than point to point. Jane Eborall has done something similar in the past, using a diamond shape, and has recently posted about a similar new project!

Links to Sue's posts are here:

The little triangle itself is a vintage pattern from long ago. This past January, Gina (Tatting Goddess) wrote several in-depth posts about them, starting with this post.

As mentioned above, usually the triangles are joined at their tips, which then creates triangle-shaped 'open spaces'.

This is the basic triangle,
except I have added a picot on
all the small rings to more tightly
join the triangles together.

The fact that each tip in this triangle is a different color happened by chance, as explained below.

First circle - random colors

When I first began tatting and connecting the triangles, I wound Jelly Bean thread on the shuttle, and started making a ring, without any thought to the color coming off the shuttle.  

With each triangle I started the first ring with whatever color was 'next'. After joining the six triangles as I tatted them, I ended up with the above interesting circle. (I might add that tatting the triangles gives one a lot of practice with the 'no-twist join' on the last ring of each triangle, and especially on the last triangle! And, of course, there are ends to hide.)

Second circle - controlled colors

When I began to tat a second circle, I just happened to start the first triangle with the purple thread.  And as I tatted, it amazed me that the next large ring was orange, and the last, green.

I wondered if that would happen consistently, and it did, by starting with the purple thread. (Doing this eliminates the reddish color thread.)

Then I wondered what the circle would look like if I attached the triangles with all the purple rings in the center. (I actually drew it in color on the computer first!)

It looked cool on the drawing, with the purple center. Then I added more triangles on the drawing, to form a six-pointed star, and I determined that the tips of the star would be purple also.

But after tatting three points, a tulip shape emerged, and i decided to stop there!

I have no idea if every ball of size 20 Jelly Bean will create this same result. (And the other question is whether it would work with size 40 and 80.) Because Lizbeth threads are commercially manufactured, I assume they all have the same pre-programmed lengths of color, but I may be wrong! On this particular size 20 ball. I'm so pleased it worked out this way

Finding a Frame!

It's taken me awhile to find the right frame to showcase the tulip, and I finally found one this past weekend. Fortunately, it was on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I wish I had had it in time for the Maple Festival, but I 'll have opportunities to display it at Vicary House and Old Economy.

The frame has a 5 x 7 oval opening, and is 8-12" tall and 6-12" wide Of course, I added my black velvet paper as the background. The frame can be hung on a wall or used as a standing frame. That's what makes these kinds of frames worth the cost.

I added some 'bling' to the frame by adding the gold beads to the inner area of the frame. (The beads come connected together on thin adhesive strips).

At some point I might add tatted leaves, but for now these leaves (clipped from a large plant in the house!) are substituting.

This is what I love about tatting - the variety of things you can create with it!!

*  *  * 

In my next post, (before Easter?) I will show my coffee table, which is covered with my egg displays - mostly of the tatted variety, but a few others as well.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tatting Day 2011 - and Maple Festival Weekend!


I spent Tatting Day setting up with our group for the Maple Festival, which is this weekend.  The following photos are from 2009 and 2010, but they give an overview of the way the Festival is  set up.  It's much larger than what I'm showing here.  There are usually Civil War re-enactors and also a petting zoo for the kids. 

Below is the view of the Lodge (from the vicinity of the main road but far away from the parking area) where everyone will eat their pancakes, sausages, and, of course, Maple Syrup!  The line forms to the left of the building, under a protective canopy, and extends down to where the buses leave everyone off (in the distance).    In the front of the photo is the creek, which was starting to overflow the small concrete bridge due to heavy rains the week before (in 2009).  We drive over this bridge to set up, but have to park where the vistors park during the Festival.  Our pavilion is hidden in this photo by the  Lodge,  It's up the hill a bit from where the folks are lined up. 

Below is a closer view of the folks all lining up.  They start at 8 a.m, and it pretty much stays like this the entire day!  The Lodge can hold 600 folks at a time!  It's buffet style, with the Boy Scouts and other volunteers coming by to give you more pancakes and sausage - as many you want!    

In the next photo you can see more of the vendors' booths along the 'main' path.

And here is our pavilion, all protected with plastic panels!  We share this pavilion with  Bobbin Lacers,  Quilters, Cane Chair weavers, and a gal who does German paper cutting. 
The local History group also has a table.

Below are photos from inside of our pavilion (in 2010)

First is a closeup of part of my table, where I brought along Janette Baker's DVD and book, to show everyone how much easier it is to learn to tat these days.  Of course, I also tell them about the internet and the free videos there.  I explain blogging to them, and it amazes them to learn that we are all able to communicate with each other almost instantly from around the world.  I emphasize that tatting is no longer a 'dying art'!!

Below is more of my display - my Christmas tree with Victorian Fan Tree Skirt, and the Victorian Doll House.  I love to take photos of the little ones peering inside the doll house!

And below is a view looking toward the entrance door, with the bobbin lacers on the right and the quilters on the left (both kind of hidden).   Evelyn (83 at the time) is demo-ing to some visitors, and Peg (Carol Lawecki's Mom) is busy tatting away. 

As it is now almost 9 p.m, I must get going to continue getting ready for tomorrow!
Costume, books, more tatted items to take, etc.  The weather is 'iffy' tomorrow, with rain forecast;  but it may clear up on Sunday.  (Believe me, the weather does not keep the visitors away!)  The temperature may make it up to 50 degrees on Sunday, if we're lucky!

Hope you all had a great day tatting - and, oh yes - eating CHOCOLATE!!! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sure 'n It's St. Paddy's Day !

Sharren's Shamrock - Motif #23, Second Round

Thanks to Sharren (see link below) I now have  a sweet Shamrock to wear on my 1991 hand-knit Aran sweater!  

This shamrock is a very clever design, and - I know this may shock you - it's my first attempt at an SCMR!  All of these techniques open up design possibilities!

Here's a close-up of the shamrock on a scalloped black velvet paper disc. (These little discs are a great way for me to 'wear' small tatted motifs.) Of course, I couldn't resist adding some 'bling'. I did a simple chain 'stem' (and not too neatly!) as I was tatting this around Midnight and didn't have time to figure out how to do Sharren's very impressive lock stitch chain. I don't think I've ever seen that before. Always something new to learn!

I used DMC Perle Cotton Size 8, Color 909, and I have no idea where or when I bought it - probably at a cross-stitch store, as back in the 1990s there were several shops in the area, and had a good range of colors in the Perle Cotton. It has a nice sheen to it.

Here is the link to Sharren's blog:
The green ball of thread is not new, and I recall using it for some cloverleaf and chain patterns, but don't know what I did with them! Possibly they'll show up in some 'safe' hiding place !

Irish Roots

It's that special day when I honor my Irish ancestors, especially my maternal grandmother, Katherine Flanagan (born in the 1870s), for whom I am named, but sadly never got to know, as she died only four months after I was born. But I have photos and have heard all the stories from my older cousins about what a special and cheerful lady she was! Interestingly she did not do any needlework, and neither did my mother(!), so I possibly acquired that skill from my father's Polish mother, who had worked alongside her husband in the textile mills in New England, and did a lot of sewing and crocheting. My father's sister also did a lot of knitting, and later on, we shared patterns by mail.

I always enjoy visiting Tatskool's blog (, where she often takes us on tours of Ireland complete with wonderful history lessons!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Miranda's Cardinal

MOTIF #22, Second Round

I have a small collection of cardinal items, and I certainly love seeing the real ones flitting around the yard!

When Miranda ("Tatting Fool"), generously offered this free pattern a few weeks ago, I e-mailed her immediately.

Click here to see how to obtain the pattern:

As soon as I printed out the pattern, I did a rough sketch and numbered the rings (there are 19), as that's what I need to do to figure out where I am going. Her instructions are very clear and easy to follow, not to mention the pattern itself being so cool! I kept wondering how she thought of it.   Mr. Cardinal is adorable, and I know he'll get a lot of attention at the Maple Festival, coming up in April.

This is my second cardinal, as I did a 'practice' run with burgundy thread. I intend to do a third one, as this one still isn't perfect and I'm embarrassed to say that I miscounted the stitches on the rings in the easiest part - the main body. Also, I didn't quite get the sharp turn in the feathered crest, which I hope to improve on the next one.

I think Miranda's design is brilliant, and I simply love it. Thank you so much Miranda for sharing this with us! He definitely can be a year-round decoration!!!

I used "Christmas" by Lizbeth, size 20. The frame is 4" high and 3" across.

This frame could hang on a wall, but the stand shown above is a nice showcase for him

The frame
The frame is similar to a 'locket' and is hinged - creating a clear glass 'sandwich'. which means the tatting (and the paper background, from a notecard) is 'pressed' between two pieces of clear glass and 'locked' into place. No gluing necessary!

This clever frame was made by a fellow in Texas and was discovered by Carol Lawecki's mom, Peg, (who's a member of our tatting group) during a trip there. He makes (made?) different sizes of these, from pendants to frames, and in all shapes. I will see Peg soon at the Maple Festival, so can get more details. I have no idea if the fellow is still in business!

For Mr. Cardinal, I happened to have a green note card that provided a kind of Spring-like background, with white 'flowers' printed in the corner of the card, and I added my usual bow with curly spirals, and a silk flower.!

The stand
The stand is similar to the one I used for my white 3-D bell (posted Oct. 19, 2010).  I now remember where I bought these stands - at a local store, which, unfortunately, is no longer in business.  They carried unusual items from Europe and actually traveled there to find them.

Gina's Blogaversary Giveaway
I am a recent happy winner of Gina's generous giveaway, and I'll be posting soon about the many items I received from her! 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Four-Pointed Star from 1990

I have been having computer and blog problems, so I have been delayed in posting my final 5 motifs for the second round of the 25. I'm going to try to get them all in within the next week or so by posting one or two at a time, to avoid complications.

Motif #21, Second Round
Four-Pointed Star designed by Marion T. Leyds

from the classic DMC "Tatting for Today" book (Motif #10 in the book, p. 11)

This motif goes back to my early days of tatting in the early '90s, and I look at it every day on our balcony sliding-door/window where it hangs as as a pretty suncatcher.

It is one of the few items I have tatted using size 10 thread, and it IS rather large, but definitely gets noticed. I stiffened it with Alene's fabric stiffener and added some glitter. It has been in the full 'western' sun in the afternoon for many years, and has suffered no ill effects.

I added the long 'crystal' bead and made the tassel (from embroidery floss).

It measures 8 inches from top of the star to bottom of the tassel. The star itself is about 4-1/2 inches long.

* * *

I enjoyed watching the Parade of Roses on New Year's Day. The dogs jumping into the water and 'water boarding' were SO CUTE!!

I did happen to notice, though, that there were very few if ANY majorettes in the parade. Having been one in my youth, I'm feeling sad about yet another tradition going away. I understand that majorettes are fast disappearing from school bands, and it makes me sad, as twirlng a baton was a huge part of my life, as were ballroom dancing - and being a secretary. I'm feeling more and more like a quaint old relic !!!