Sunday, March 30, 2008

Laura's Victorian Heart

I'm pretty sure Laura never envisioned her beautiful Victorian Heart in size 3 thread, but here it is! It was wonderful therapy, both mentally and physically! Laura's clear directions made this an easy pattern to follow. I look forward to creating it in finer thread some day, but for now I'm happy to have completed a tatting project!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

High tea

Yesterday my sister Janet treated us to high tea at the Drake in Chicago. We had a wonderful time! Clockwise from the lower left: granddaughter Eva, daughter Carol, niece Dierdre, sister Janet, moi, Mom, daughter Alison. Missing are my daughters Andrea and Joanne and granddaughter Lily (Andrea's daughter) who live in Minnesota, sister Lisa who is in Italy, and niece Phoebe who lives in Washington D.C.

Sorry... no boys allowed!

I was too tired to tat when I got home, but I did manage 2 rings separated by a chain today. Maybe I'll be able to tat a little more later on.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Teaching Mom to tat

Mom and I have been having a wonderful visit, but the best part has been that Mom has been learning how to tat! I finally found something I could teach my mom!

We started by watching Bev Dillon's Tatted Lace From Start to Finishing, and Mom was hooked! However, Mom was having trouble getting the flip, so we switched to Mildred Clark's Tatting I - The Basics. As we were watching, I realized that this is the video I learned from. I like Mildred's method, because she has you use two different colors, which helps you see how the double knot is formed. Mom and I went shopping for size 3 crochet thread, loaded up a Tatsy shuttle, and then Mom was able to easily see how it all worked.

I called the Yarn Barn in Kansas to see if Mildred's video is available on DVD, and it is! So, Mom and I each ordered it. I watch it every once in a while to try and perfect my technique. I love having videos as reference tools, probably because I learn more easily when I watch than when I read!

I went to the doctor yesterday, and I have graduated to only wearing the brace when I go out. I begin physical therapy next week (3 times a week for 4 weeks). Yes, I tatted with size 3 thread and a Tatsy, along with Mom, but she lasted much longer than I did! My wrist let me know it had had enough after two chains and two rings. That's o.k. Today I'll shoot for 3 rings and 3 chains! Pictures are courtesy of daughter Carol, who refuses to be drawn to "the dark side"!

It looks like it's going to be a blustery day here, so Mom and I will spend the day talking and tatting... life is good!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pay it forward...

I found this on Jon's blog, and I think it's a wonderful idea! As a condition for participation, I need to post this pledge:

My Pay it Forward Pledge

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

I hope some of you will join in the fun!

When life hands you lemons...

Life didn't exactly hand me this lemon... it was of my own making! I was trying to tat Laura's Victorian Heart in size 10 Flora, color #133, with my new Grizzly Mountain Arts signature shuttle. About half way through the second round, I realized I was tatting the wrong number of stitches. I wasn't in the mood to retro-tat, so I finished up the round and added the final ring.

I didn't want my tatting to go to waste, or even sit in a basket waiting for me to be inspired. So, I decided to start a crazy quilt block. Of course, I needed colors that would compliment the heart, so I looked at my fabric stash and chose fabrics that were left from previous projects... a rather simple task, considering my stash! My fabric choices don't always thrill me when I'm piecing a quilt block, but somehow I'm always pleased when the block is finished. We'll see if that holds true for this one!

I've crazy quilted Christmas stockings before, but they've been completely machine embellished using stitches on my sewing machine. This will be my first attempt at hand-stitching embellishments. I've pinned the tatted heart in the spot where I think I want it to be, but I'm not ready to sew it on yet. I think I'll try some embroidery work first to see if the heart still fits in this spot.

Thank you, Melissa, for all your CQ encouragement and inspiration!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Several people who read my blog have experienced problems similar to mine, or can empathize with my situation. Their words of encouragement have kept me going when I've wanted to just give up. Thank you to all of you!

I'm thrilled with my progress, even though my tatting, knitting, and crocheting abilities are greatly diminished compared to what they were before I broke my arm! Two weeks ago, I had trouble getting thread or yarn into position on my left hand, let alone trying to accomplish anything. I'm still having problems trying to keep an even tension. You might be able to tell from the two pieces I'm working on that I have a little better success with size 10 thread than with size 20. I'm sure part of the problem is the brace I have to wear, but the brace is a tremendous improvement over the cast!

The yellow is Mary Konior's Spinning Wheel Glass Mat from Tatting With Visual Patterns, size 10 DMC Cebelia #745, tatting shuttle by Grizzly Mountain Arts (the back side of the shuttle I commissioned in memory of my dad). The pink is Laura Blanton's Victorian Heart, size 20 Coats Mercer Crochet #403, tatting shuttle by Sherry Pence aka LadyShuttleMaker (crazy glaze shuttle chosen to coordinate with the pink thread!... I'm getting into matching my shuttle and thread since seeing Marilee's posting of her Celery thread with one of Sherry's shuttles).

After viewing my blog, I realize this isn't a very good picture! Hmmm... operator error? ...need a new camera? ...bad lighting? Who knows!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


My exercise routine takes up a lot of time, but I don't mind! The day passes very quickly when there's something that has to be done every hour. Besides, I can see and feel improvement!

This is what I was able to accomplish with tatting yesterday. I'm not ready for finer threads yet, so I'm sticking with size 10... luckily I have a little of that lying around! I wound three shuttles with thread before starting. I wanted to make sure that I'd be able to finish what I'm working on. I've made this piece before, but with all the pattern reading I've done over the past 10 weeks, I realized that there were some ways I could make my tatting look better, so I'm trying it again. I'm sure it's too soon for you to tell what I'm working on... maybe you'll be able to tell more tomorrow!

This shuttle is very special to me. After Dad passed away, I commissioned Dave at Grizzly Mountain Arts to make this memorial shuttle. Dad admired Dave's work and bought one of his scrimshaw shuttles for me last summer. Dave has started making a series of numbered shuttles, which he sells in his Etsy shop. They are very light weight, smooth, and a joy to use! If you're interested in buying one, you'll need to check his shop often... they are listed when he finishes making them (one at a time, of course), and they sell quickly!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hand jive

Sorry... I have Grease on the brain! Our high school students performed the high school version of Grease this past weekend, and it was wonderful! My daughter Carol directed and choreographed the musical, and did a wonderful job! My favorite part of the play was the hand jive... oh, how I wish I could be coordinated enough to dance and sing like our high school students!

On to tatting... these are some warm-up pieces from Oh My Stars! by Kaye B. Judt (except for the little ring with picots). I had some problems with the final ring on the stars... on 3 of them I managed to create an extra little loop of thread when closing the last ring. I never did figure out what I did wrong. Still, I'm pleased with my progress... these little pieces represent two days of tatting! I was warned by the physical therapist to take it very slowly so that I don't develop tendinitis. So, I'm trying about 10 minutes per hour of either tatting, knitting, or crocheting. I'm rotating so that I use different hand motions.

Yes, the cast is off! I can't believe how shriveled my arm looks! I'll still be staying home because of the therapy I need to complete each day. I have hand exercises called the six pack that I need to do for 10 minutes each hour. I have shoulder stretches that I do 8 times a day, and now I have to soak my arm and squeeze a Nerf ball in warm water for 5 minutes 6 times a day. I don't need to write down a schedule, but I do need to set a timer so I don't forget to exercise! The exercise feels so good! Anybody who knows me well will find that statement a little unbelievable... the only exercise I truly enjoy is walking!

Monday, March 10, 2008

My lucky day!

Look what came in the mail today! Melissa and I have been corresponding about crazy quilt blocks, and she sent me a box filled with goodies to get me started! I think CQ blocks are an excellent showcase for tatted motifs and edgings. When I get my cast off tomorrow, I'll be ready to go! Thank you, Melissa!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Crazy for hankies!

I decided that my granddaughters should have hankies as well as my grandson, so I spent yesterday making them up. I'm still perfecting my technique. My goal is to make my own hanky blanks from my fabric stash and embellish them with tatting. I'm not happy with the machine results, so I think I'll have my mom re-teach me in the art of hand-sewing rolled hems when she's here at Easter. Of course, this all-day project did not make much of a dent in my stash! Still, a little here, a little there...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I did it!

Isabella's quilt just called out for a tatted star! I pulled out my simplest star pattern and voila! It took me a couple of tries, and it's not my best effort, but I did it!

Now, if I can only figure out what's going on with my camera...

Isabella's quilt

Mary Engelbreit is one of my favorite illustrators. So when I saw this pre-quilted panel, I knew it would be a fun project. I love giving these easy-to-do quilts as baby presents. Our pre-school teacher, Aimee, had her first child, Isabella, the end of December, and this quilt is for that adorable baby girl.

I started finishing these panels as baby gifts when I was expecting my daughter Carol, who will be 27 this summer. My, how time flies! Normally, I can finish one in one or two evenings while watching t.v. I started this one at 7 a.m. yesterday, and finished it at 5:30 p.m. Of course, this time included 15-20 minutes of exercise every hour, but I was still amazed at how long it took me! The good news (besides finishing one of my projects)... my fingers feel a little more flexible today!

The squares are little handkerchiefs for my grandson, Aidan. He doesn't like tissues, so I thought I'd see if some soft cotton hankies would suit him.

Two projects down, ??? to go!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ready for action!

I'm not completely done with reorganizing/cleaning my sewing room, but at least I feel like I can finally get to some serious stash-busting! As you can see, my closet is overflowing with supplies and partially completed projects. It's time for me to get to work!

How did I accomplish this feat? I popped the A&E version of Pride & Prejudice into the DVD player and set mini goals for the 40-45 minutes between each round of exercise. When Carol came over after school, she moved the heavy objects for me. I have a book by Nancy Zieman titled 10-20-30 Minutes to Sew, which is my inspiration for breaking monumental tasks into do-able goals. Thank you, Nancy!

If you look at the shelving picture and focus on the corner shelf, you can see that I stole a framing idea from Sherry Pence. Sherry and Laura each sent me tatted pieces with sympathy cards when my dad passed away, and I wanted these special pieces to have a prominent place in my sewing room. Thank you Sherry and Laura! Your friendship means more to me than I can express!

Now, it's time to begin the stash-busting!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Dave brought home this beautiful bouquet of roses last night. I love roses! I got to thinking about Sherry Pence's offer to blend colors and name them to order. Hmmm... white, yellow, pale peach, deep peach, pale pink, deep pink. red, deep green... too many colors? What name would work for this blend of colors? Roses won't do... I already have Marilee's Roses (absolutely gorgeous!), and my idea for a color blend can't compete. Any ideas?

Update: My mom suggests Petals. Why didn't I think of that?

Sunday, March 2, 2008


My new issue of PieceWork magazine arrived the other day, and I finally took time to read it last night. There are excellent instructions on making loop-manipulated braids, and the technique looks like the perfect hand therapy for me while I'm still in the cast. I think I'll try it later today.

What I'm really excited about, though, is that the next issue will focus on lace! The ad promises knitted lace, a lace collector's collection, Ipswich lace, tatting, a lace bridal purse, and much more! It goes on sale May 6. Let the countdown begin!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Only 10 days left until I get my cast off! I might get a different cast, depending on how my arm's healing, but I will definitely be getting rid of this one! Hallelujah! Change is good!

In anticipation of this great event, I've been working on reorganizing my sewing room... a monumental task, especially one-armed! I've unearthed some fabulous treasures (it's been a while since I've dusted my sewing room, so unearthed is an appropriate term).

I tend to be a goal-oriented person, so I've set some goals for my return to normality. One of those goals is to try some crazy quilting. I've been inspired by Melissa's work, and I think crazy quilting will be a great way to complete several tasks at one time. The fabric is from a jacket that my mom loved, but it didn't fit her any more. When I admired it, she pulled out her scissors and cut it into panels that fit into my bulging suitcase. I found my box of DMC floss, which I've never used (daughter Alison used a little bit for a sewing project). The basket holds my Danish Flower Thread, which I bought for some cross stitch projects about 20 years ago. I only finished one of the projects... I hope the thread isn't rotten! I also found two books. I've obviously thought about crazy quilting before!

How does tatting fit in? I love the way Melissa has incorporated tatted lace in her CQ blocks. I think it's a fabulous way to showcase tatting, and I have quite a few ideas for CQ blocks. I have several of Dad's ties that I can use to make blocks with a patriotic theme or a nautical theme. Will these ideas bust my stash? Not a chance! I think it's time to open up my sewing room to the public!