Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tribute to Mary Konior

“Maids of  Honour” Bell, inspired by Mary Konior

This bell is my personal tribute to Mary and is displayed here, along with Mary’s  classic and very popular ‘Queen of Hearts’ motif, which I finally got around to tatting recently, using Lizbeth Vintage Harvest, size 20.  ( I had  some problems figuring out where to connect the picots on the heart pattern and had to really concentrate on where I was going, but I love the pattern.)

 The bell, however, is 15 years old!
It is a special bell that I gave as a 25th wedding anniversary gift to
my brother-in-law and his wife back in 1998.  (They celebrated their 40th anniversary several months ago!)

I recently asked my sister-in-law if she would mind sending the bell to me (they live 300 miles away), as I never photographed it properly, and I want to put together a photo gallery of all my different bells.  Fortunately,   it arrived safely in the mail last Saturday.  ( But I plan to return it to her in person!)
I was delighted to see it again, and it’s  in great condition! It’s good to know that the stiffener I use (Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener)  does not yellow over the years.   I had also sprinkled some fine silver glitter on it before the stiffener dried, and it still sparkles in the light!
I recall I used size 30 Cebelia thread.  I knew my SIL would take good care of it.  She appreciates all the things I’ve made for her, and she does excellent needlework herself.  She always displays the bell on her Christmas tree!  
I  know I could have tatted a bell for myself ( I still have my ‘chicken scratch’ notes), but for inexplicable reasons, I never did.    
History of Bell and Some Surprises!
When I bought Mary’s Visual Patterns book in 1994,  I fell in love with her ‘Maids of Honor’ edging, and I tatted up some samples.  But I  very much wanted to make a bell using her pattern.   Between 1991 and 1998 I created at least eight different bells using edging patterns that appealed to me, and I knew that Mary’s  ‘Maids of Honour’ design would make a beautiful  bell.   I believe I was successful on my  first try (I seemed to be lucky that way, with all my bell designs!)  and I even incorporated her  ‘Beauty Spots’ pattern into it.  However, I had some surprises in store when I studied the bell again. 
It seems I made things much more difficult for myself, as I tatted the 'Beauty Spots' pattern without the Josephine rings (beauty spots)!.  That's kind of important because the Josephine knots go inside the two bottom rings and cleverly hide a single bare thread which leads to the next motif and eliminates the need to cut and tie, as I did.  (The Beauty Spots pattern is on page 31 of the Visual Patterns book.)
 And I was also amazed that I individually tatted each simple  clover leaf motif above the ‘beauty spots’ motifs!   I didn’t know how to do split rings yet!
It was fortunate, however, that the six  repeats of the Maids of Honor pattern worked out perfectly to form the bottom of the bell, over the Styrofoam bell form.  
 I always put clappers in my bells,  usually a large acrylic bead .  I sometimes put a filigree  cap on the bead, but I didn’t do that here.  I probably couldn’t find a silver one ( in keeping with the Silver Anniversary theme).     I attached the bead to a silver chain (cut to the proper length with a wire cutter.  You could also use a ‘real’ jingle bell,   which  would ring!  
A glue gun always comes in handy for attaching flowers and other elements.  These days I would use a wired ribbon, so that it could be ‘curled’. 
I also gave the recipients of my bells a large, clear plastic cup with a lid,  to store the bell safely.
Mary Konior’s Legacy
It’s difficult to believe it’s been four years since Mary’s passing in January 2010.  However, it’s wonderful that tributes to Mary continue to be seen .  She was an exceptional lady, and I’m so glad for the technology of  today with the internet and blogging to remind us of her many achievements and the tremendous impact she had and will forever have on the art of tatting.  Her books were a spectacular achievement and are a fabulous legacy of her talent.  We are the lucky beneficiaries of her total dedication to tatting!   I particularly appreciated her decision to put diagrams in two colors in her Visual Patterns book.   Putting color into diagrams very much improves an understanding of tatting patterns - at least it does for me!     


  1. Oh wow! This bell is truly gorgeous! What does the top look like?

    Would you ever write up this pattern? I bet MK is smiling on this one!

  2. Beautiful work and what a lovely tribute to MK. You deserve the same tribute too for your wonderful work.

  3. Very beautiful bell and heart!!! :)

  4. That is a very pretty bell.
    Are you thinking of offering your bell patterns?
    I think there would be interest in them.

  5. Wow, I love this bell! I have never considered tatting a bell before but this one is gorgeous enough to inspire me. Beautiful design work, Kathy!

  6. Lovely bell, and wonderful that it is in such good shape after all these years. It must also be interesting for you to see how far your tatting has progressed in that time.

  7. Beautiful bell, a wonderful and fitting tribute to Mary, her books and designs have been such an inspiration to all of us and continue to be for many years to come.
    Your piece about her and the story if your bell is well written and will remind many tatters of her lovely patterns.

  8. Two beautiful items both a fitting tribute to MK. So like the vintage harvest thread I've just ordered some!
    Thank you for sharing your lovely work.

  9. such a beautiful bell! I love the heart, too, and it looks very nice in the vintage harvest. But the bell is truly stunning!

  10. The bell is very elegant and as other people have asked have you thought about sharing your bell patterns? Of course there were days before split rings, but how did we ever manage without them!

  11. What a lovely tribute to Mary. Thank you Kathy for reminding us of her passing. I love her patterns too. I have a personal challenge as I number each MK pattern I tat. Your bell is gorgeous and especially love how the clapper gives the bell a sparkle. I would love to tat a bell. I must look for a pattern.

  12. A lovely tribute to Mary Konior. Her patterns are among my favorite tatting patterns.
    The bell is a great transformation of the "Maids of Honour" pattern. I failed in my first attempt of the "Queen of Hearts" because I did not pay attention to the placement of the joins.

  13. The bell is beautiful! I can see why it is so treasured. When I retire, I would love to visit you and learn how to shape tatting into beautiful pieces such as this! ;-)

  14. The bell is beautiful! I can see why it is so treasured. When I retire, I would love to visit you and learn how to shape tatting into beautiful pieces such as this! ;-)

  15. Your tatting is lovely and an heirloom. The bell is so pretty! What a wonderful tribute to Mary too!

    Could you e-mail me Kathy, I wanted to tell you something. I don't have your e-mail address.
    lawecki @

    Carol Lawecki

  16. Just discovered your blog. I remember watching my grandmother tat and was mesmerised watching as the lace magically grew from her hands. I have a few pieces of her tatting which I am planning on having mounted and framed.

    Not to criticise your work, which is beautiful, I noticed on your tatted bell, the wire eye on your clapper is distracting. I do Christmas ornaments and have made thousands of eyes for connecting (I'm not kidding, some of may ornaments may have as many as 20 wire eyes). The pliers I have which helps me create almost perfect eyes each time I bought from MicroMark tools. (Many people are unaware of the pliers, even bead shop owners. I gave a demonstration at a bead meeting and the people were wanting to know where I got my pliers.) They specialise in miniature tools and the pliers are 'coupling pliers' used to create couples for mini trains. In the past couple of years I have seen them in bead shops and available from places such as Fire Mountain Gems, although I still prefer the ones from MicroMark. MicroMark has 2 different pliers which make 3 different sizes of eyes. I use the one which makes the small eyes.