Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A little of this, a little of that

It was a cool and rainy day here in northern Illinois. That was fine by us! Joanne, Mom, and I spent time knitting. Carol came over to celebrate her birthday, and I was even able to find some time to tat!

Joanne took knitting lessons when she was a little girl, but since it's been so long, she needed a refresher lesson. Mom sat down with her last night while I was making dinner, and got her started on a garter stitch scarf. Her stitches are so nice and even!

I made a little progress on my diagonal stitch scarf today.

Mom is much more focused than I am, so she was able to accomplish a lot more!

I didn't tat for very long tonight, but as long as I'm making progress, I'm happy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A lace-lovin' day!

Mom, Joanne, and I had a great day today! Sophia took a nice long nap this morning, leaving us loads of time to visit. Of course I tatted while we chatted!

However, I guess I didn't get as much tatting done as I thought. I guess my hands stop when my mouth starts! Still, I feel good about the progress I did make.

When Sophia woke up from her nap, we went to daughter Carol's for lunch. We invited her to go to Hobby Lobby with us, but Carol refuses to be drawn to "the dark side," so we took off without her.

I'd be lying if I said that I needed more yarn or fabric. I did exhibit some self control... I only looked at tatting supplies!

Mom has been working on scarves for her sale this fall, and her new favorite pattern is this diagonal stitch scarf. I'm working with this light teal color. Mom is working on a green. The yarn is Baby Bee Sweet Delight, one I've never tried before. It's very soft and a joy to knit!

Joanne was inspired to take up some knitting. She took lessons when she was a little girl, so she quickly picked up on what to do when Mom sat down with her. Joanne's working on a simple garter stitch scarf for starters, but she's already dreaming of knitting sweaters for Sophia!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Decision made!

The mistake in my edging is now gone! I did consider using it for a hanky. I did consider cutting the mistake out and joining new thread. In the end though, the little bit of perfectionist in me won out, and I retro-tatted.

As you can see, it really wasn't very much thread, and the rings and chains came out very easily.

I'm so much happier with the edging now! I'm not very good at going back to unfinished projects, and I really wanted this edging for a specific person. So, I made the right choice for me at this time.

Mom arrived at my house today, and she brought along some photos to share.

This one must have been taken in the 80s. From left to right are my sisters Lisa and Janet, and I'm standing next to my brother David. I'm the oldest, then Janet, Lisa, and David. Mom says this is her favorite picture of the four of us.

I must be about 25 in this picture. I'm holding my oldest daughter Alison. Lisa is four years younger than me. We were on a family vacation at Lake Archibald in Wisconsin.

In this picture, my Grandmother Jones is holding my mom. That's my Uncle Leonard standing next to them. I always thought that Grandma was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. I always wanted to be tall like her! This picture was taken in front of her sister's house north of Philadelphia.

Today we made another photographic memory... Mom with four of her six great-grandchildren. From left to right... my grandson Aidan, Mom holding my granddaughter Sophia, my granddaughter Eva, and my sister Janet's grandson Gavin. I think Eva and Mom have the same smile!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I needed a mental break from split rings. I'm catching on to adding the picot to the second half, but I really have to concentrate on what I'm doing. So today I decided to return to simple rings and chains...

oops! This is a very simple pattern,  "Butterflies" from A Pattern Book of Tatting by Mary Konior, but I managed to mess it up. I wanted to use it for a round doily center. That's not going to work, because I've created a corner! This is not the corner shown in the book, but it doesn't really matter... I wanted this piece for a ROUND doily center, not a SQUARE hanky.

Now I have a decision to make. Should I continue and make this edging for a hanky, or should I fix the mistake and use the edging for the round doily? If I fix the mistake, should I retro-tat, or should I cut my losses and add new thread? What would you do?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tollway Tatters meet again!

We were a small group today, but we did have fun!

Sue Anna worked on jewelry, adapting one of Marilee Rockley's patterns for an earring idea she has.

Barb worked on another of Jon Yusoff's Elegant Tatting Gems.

I finished the Spinning Wheel glass mat that I messed up a couple of weeks ago.

I think we all indulged in way too much food, which is easy to do when you're tatting and chatting with friends!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blog buddies are the best!

Yesterday I received an email from Frivole offering to post a video showing how to add picots to the second half of a split ring. I'm so glad she posted it on YouTube! Because of this well-done video, I was able to spot a simple adjustment I needed to make. Thank you, Frivole!

I also received an offer from Michelle to get together on Skype or FaceTime to figure out what I was doing wrong. I couldn't get either to work, but we did have a nice phone conversation this morning, and Michelle suggested I try tatting Ringtrim by Anne Bruvold to practice my split rings. I printed out the pattern, and I'm so glad I did!

Didn't he turn out cute? I only had one problem with this pattern. The last split ring calls for a twisted picot. I know how to make a twisted picot when I'm joining, but how to I twist the picot when it's just there on the top of the dragon's head? Help!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ready to wing it

After last night's problems with picots and split rings, I was hesitant to give it another try. Who needs the frustration of tight knots that are difficult to open? I guess I do!

I watched several videos on tatting split rings, but none of them showed adding picots. I'm hoping to learn from some of my buddies at Tollway Tatters this Friday, and I look forward to watching a video from Frivole. In the meantime, I needed to attack the problem on my own.

I thought that I might have lost my touch with split rings, but I managed to complete 7 with no problems. Then I tried to add a picot to each side, and... lock! I was not in the mood to retro-tat, so I snipped the thread and started over.

After taking a break for dinner, I gave it another try... 5 split rings and... look! I managed to add picots to each side! The first one was very tough to close, but the other three went pretty smoothly. My only problem is that I can't seem to use my picot gauge on the second side of the split ring, and I'm not very good at making consistent picots without my gauges.

I think I'll do a few more practice pieces, and then I'll be ready to add wings to Aidan's Flying Minor Norwegian Dragon!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The two hour split ring

I admit it. I'm stuck!

I'm working on Anne Bruvold's Flying Minor Norwegian Dragon for my grandson, and I'm having a difficult time. Anne's directions are wonderful. My reading and following instruction skills are not!

I was concerned about making picots on the single shuttle split rings, so I left them out. Luckily, I realized that the picots are needed for making the body of the dragon, and I found that making picots on a single shuttle split ring isn't difficult at all!

However, that does not hold true for picots on the second half of a split ring. I have literally been trying to make this work for two hours, and I am giving up for tonight before I get so frustrated that I don't want to finish the dragon. Does anyone have tips for making picots on the second half of the split ring? I'll try any and all suggestions!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The play is over!

...and considering the heat, it was an overwhelming success! The kids were able to raise $2,000 for the drama club... fantastic!

Sorry... no video yet, but some of the parents did take some great pictures.

Daughter Carol front and center singing "Step in Time" from Mary Poppins
The moms eavesdropping on the girls during "Dancing Queen"
Daughter Carol singing "Dream a Little Dream of Me" while the high school kids waltzed
Daughter Carol in "Seize the Day from Newsies
The parents singing "Kids" from  Bye, Bye Birdie
The entire cast singing "One" from A Chorus Line
There were many more songs in the play, which was written by my daughters Carol and Joanne. They called it How to Succeed in Grant Park Drama Club Without Really Trying. The premise was that four future sixth grade students are trying to decide if they want to be in drama club when they enter middle school. They find a treasure map of clues, leading them to different types of musical numbers.

It was all great fun, and I'm glad I did it, but I sure am happy to have it behind me. Now maybe my life will get back to normal. I'm way behind on writing, reading, and commenting on blogs, and I haven't tatted very much.

I did finish Lily's Spinning Wheel glass mat this morning. So, I think I'll make a trip to the post office today... after I take a nap!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Two Tollway Tatters Dates

Just a quick update... play practice has been beastly hot, but the show must go on! Final dress rehearsal is tomorrow, with performances Friday and Saturday. The cast party will be at my house on Sunday. Anyone feel like coming over to clean? ;-)

Daughter Alison came to take pictures last Friday. From left to right you see Sandy, Kathy, Mark, Jen, and me. Our big number is "Kids" from  Bye, Bye Birdie.


Sorry for the short notice, but Tollway Tatters will be meeting Friday, July 26 and Thursday, August 8. We're going to have a special guest August 8, so if you can attend, please drop me an email. I'd like an approximate number of attendees for the August date.

Time to get ready for play practice!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The missing link

Well, in this case it's a picot and four ds!

I sat down this morning to finish up Lily's Spinning Wheel glass mat in Caribbean. I only had the last set of six rings and chains to go! I felt very good about that, because this week has left very little time for tatting. When it was time to make the last ring, I realized I had made a mistake. Right where the two shuttle tips meet, I missed a section of the chain. Drat!

I'm not going to try and fix it now. I've grown impatient with this Spinning Wheel. First, I had to cut a knot out of the thread, a knot created by me. I could not get it out right away, so I impatiently snipped and moved on.

I would have been okay with that mistake, but as I was nearing the last spoke, I realized I hadn't wound enough thread on either shuttle. For many designs, that doesn't bother me, but I am so familiar with the Spinning Wheel that the flow of color is really important to me. So, the thread color in the wrong place really jumps out at me.

I'm going to set this one aside until after the play and cast party. I'll be able to deal with the imperfections next Sunday night. For now, I'll just wind another pair of shuttles with Caribbean and tat a new Spinning Wheel for Lily. Out of sight, out of mind!

Monday, July 8, 2013

What will I do with myself?

Joanne, Sophia, and Jan went home to Minnesota yesterday. Dave went back to work this morning. The house is empty, and the only sounds I hear are the washer and dryer doing their jobs, and the traffic passing by. The excitement of the past two weeks has ended, but there's plenty coming my way for the next two weeks.

I sure am going to miss snuggling, playing, and most of all, those baby smiles!

Tonight we start dress rehearsals for How to Succeed in Grant Park Drama Club Without Really Trying. The weather is supposed to be hot and muggy, which is good. Madame Director, aka daughter Carol, told us to pray for hot weather so that we'd be ready for the performance nights. Our school gym is not air conditioned! We'll practice with lights and sound, fine tuning as we go, Monday through Thursday this week. Next week, we'll run straight through as though we're in actual performances Monday through Thursday. Performances will be Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20. I agreed to have the cast party at my house Sunday afternoon from 2 - 5. Yikes! 65 performers at my house!

With all that's been going on, my tatting has really taken a back seat. However, I did find time to work on Lily's Spinning Wheel yesterday.

Lily chose size 20 Lizbeth #122, Caribbean, one of my favorite colors! The shuttles are my latest acquisition from Grizzly Mountain Arts. Dave no longer makes post style shuttles, but he found some that just needed some finishing touches, and I was lucky enough to purchase two of the six I've seen posted. I just wasn't on the computer at the right time for the other four, or I'd have jumped on them!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Spinning Wheel finished!

Joanne and I tried very hard to record tatting that viewers could see, but we had no success. Either my little point and shoot camera doesn't have the capability, or Joanne and I are oblivious to the features on the camera. My guess is the latter!

After several failed attempts, Joanne suggested I take close-up pictures and explain my steps. So, here goes!

First, I lay the glass mat down and look at the way the stitches are going to lie. Here I'm getting ready to make my chain of 4 + 4. I'll be joining the chain to the center picot of the pink ring on the outer edge of the row of three rings above.

The chain is completed, and now it's time to reverse the work in order to make the next ring.

The fabric is in my way, so I fold it up and to the left, out of my way. I work my ring, joining to the last picot of the last ring...

and the next open picot on the row above.

When the ring is closed, I am ready to unfold the fabric and reverse my work for the next chain.

The next chain is completed, joined to the second ring in the row above.

Again, I fold back the fabric so that I can see where to join.

I repeat the process one more time so that I have six rings in the final pass of the Spinning Wheel, and I need to remember to make a chain of 4 - 4 after the last ring.

I cut the thread, leaving enough to join to the center ring, tie, and hide the ends. Now Ella's Spinning Wheel is ready for a final shot of steam, and I'm ready to start one for Lily!

I apologize for not having a video, but I hope my pictures are helpful to anyone trying this pattern for the first time. If anyone has a different way to finish this little doily, please let me know!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Spinning Wheel ~ the final steps

I've been asked several times about finishing the Spinning Wheel glass mat. So, I've decided to share what I do with pictures.

The thread is size 20 Lizbeth, #684 for the chains, #119 for the rings. The shuttles are Starlits without points that I purchased at the Lafayette Lace Days. When I'm tatting a Spinning Wheel, I steam each spoke as I finish it, otherwise it curls up on me and that drives me crazy!

Here you can see that I'm ready to make the last center ring. There are no special twists or turns. I just make sure that everything lines up so that I can join to the previous ring and the first ring. Since I'm using two colors, I use the shoelace trick at the beginning and end of each spoke. When I'm using one color, I simply switch shuttles.

Here the final center ring is joined, and I am ready to start the last spoke.

I continue tatting the outward pass in the same way I have for every other spoke.

Here you can see that I've used the shoelace trick, and I've tatted the first three rings for the last pass. Next comes the part that I found tricky when I first tatted this little doily. Now that I've made so many of these, the last part comes naturally.

With any luck, I'll have a video to post tomorrow showing how I finish from this point. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Time flies when you're having fun!

And believe me, I've been having lots of fun! Daughter Joanne and granddaughter Sophia have now been visiting for a week, and we've been drawing relatives to our house like flies to honey. In all the excitement, I've forgotten to take many pictures, but I will share the few I did remember to take.

Monday, daughter Alison and her children, Eva and Aidan, came to visit. They stayed overnight, which was a real treat for me! They only live an hour and a half away, so they don't spend the night very often. Aidan really wants to build a treehouse, so Grandpa has been spending time this past week gathering opinions from all of the grandchildren as to where the treehouse should be built and what it should look like... what a sneaky way to get relatives to come visit! ;-)

Tuesday, Joanne and Sophia went to visit my sister-in-law and her husband for a couple of days. Joanne worked for them for years, and they held a cookout so that all of Joanne's friends from her greenhouse days could meet Sophia. I stayed home and did some much needed cleaning!

Saturday, daughter Andrea and her children, Lily and Ella, arrived from Minnesota. I had forgotten what it's like to have a house full of little girls! We had a marathon sewing session Saturday night and Sunday. Ella left a pink pillow at Grandma Cindy's house, and she was distraught as only a four-year-old can be. Luckily, I had a fabric stash to choose from, and Saturday night Ella received a new pink pillow. Unfortunately, I only had one pillow form, so Lily had to wait until Aunt Carol arrived with another pillow form on Sunday.

Ella wanted a regular pillow case with "lines". The "lines" are the tassels at the corners, organza ribbon and pony beads. The pillow case was a little too short, so we added a wide green and pink ribbon to the end. Crisis averted!

Lily chose one of my favorite fabrics and asked to have buttons sewn in the four corners. She also has a ribbon accent across the flap in the back.

Sunday, daughter Carol joined in the fun, and my sister Janet and her husband Steve came to visit as well. Although Janet lives only about an hour away, we don't actually get together very often. She's a banker and works most Saturdays. We'll get to see each other more when Mom's up to visit in August.

Ella needed an update on her doily, of course! I thought about trying to finish it before everyone arrived, and I probably could have, but there was no way to complete two. So, in order to avoid hurt feelings between sisters, I did not focus on tatting this week.

Lily went through my stash to choose the thread she liked for a Spinning Wheel. Guess what I'm tatting next? When I finish the two Spinning Wheels, I will mail them off the Minnesota. My grandchildren love getting mail!

When Spinning Wheels are finished, I need to focus on dragons for grandson Aidan. He gave me a long list of colors for the dragon collection he hopes to have. I guess I'd better brush up on my split rings!

The play is less than three weeks away, and I'm getting really excited about it! I'm in three numbers, Dancing Queen, Kids, and One. In Dancing Queen, the high school girls are having a slumber party, the middle school girls crash it, and the moms join in the fun. Sandy and I keep messing up the steps, and we're so dorky! That's okay, because we're supposed to look dorky... whew!

Since there are 65 people in the play, we parents did not want to get caught up in elaborate costume changes. We're wearing all black for One, which is the final number involving the entire cast. We parents decided to wear big, gaudy flowers as our costume change for Kids. So, I crocheted big, gaudy flowers this week. For Dancing Queen, we'll just layer a colorful top over our black tops.

Lily and Ella loved the flowers, and luckily I had enough made to share!