Thursday, April 7, 2011

Great Grandma Ila's shuttle

Growing up, history was one of my least favorite subjects in school.  I'm having a hard time breaking myself of the habitual thought that I "hate" all things historical.  It's goofy though, 'cause I've been a professional historical interpreter (read- tour guide) at a few national historic sites, a member of the SCA (historical re-enactment) for several years, and here again (the subject of this post) is another historical piece of interest.  To me, at least...

When I first started tatting, or making the initial attempt to learn by watching youtube vids, etc...  I was staying at my grandparents' house for the weekend.  I was having quite a bit of trouble with tatting since the concept of  "the flip" hadn't occurred to me yet.  I asked Grandma if she knew how to tat, thinking she could help me learn.  Sadly, she didn't know, but it led to some interesting stories of her mother trying to teach her how to tat.  Grandma even pulled out a few doilies and hankies that Great-Grandma had tatted and passed down to her.

After talking about tatting for quite a while, my grandma remembered that she'd given HER mother's tatting shuttle to MY mother many years ago, as she was the most likely person in the family to take up the art.  My mom is a very artsy-craftsy person, and there's not much in the artistic field that she either doesn't know how to do, or can't pick up pretty quickly.  That being said, I'd never seen her tat, and know that she physically takes after my other grandma (mothers and daughters tend to do that...), and her hands look more and more arthritic each time I see her.  I wasn't sure she'd ever want to take up tatting, so... I asked her about G-Gma's shuttle.

Fast-forward several weeks, and I now have the shuttle in my posession!  I got it yesterday.  It's nothing fancy as far as shuttles go, but it's an heirloom, and I enjoy using it.
It's a pretty tiny little thing, and I'm petrified it's going to shatter each time it slips from my hands, but I'm hoping that, being made of bone, it's strong enough to take it.

Happy Tatting!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Missed it by that much...

So this hankie that I'm working on... it's a nice little piece to take with me when I'm travelling to and from work,  but when I'm trying to GUESS how long to make the inside piece of edging...  I just missed it.

I can fix it, of course, and I guess it's better too short than too long.  Still, I'm hoping to get this fixed and finished within the week.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tatting in a hurry

A couple of days ago, my best friend asked me if she could borrow the mask I tatted- my very first piece- for a film she was acting in over the weekend.  I wasn't even sure where the mask was, so I offered to tat her a new one.  Ambitious, no?

I showed her a few pictures of masks I'd found online, and printed off the directions to the one I liked best (and was sure she would, too) but wouldn't you know, she chose a different one!  It was fairly simple to make, but because I was working without a pattern and WITH a time frame, I didn't allow myself the luxury of going back to fix any mistakes I made.  Here's the final result:

Like I said, it'll work for what she's wanting, but I'm not too thrilled with the poor quality of the piece.  Now, to save my own self-respect, I need to make another mask, just to show that I can do a better job than this. :)

I keep telling myself that Lesley chose this design, and if she likes the final piece, I should be happy with it too.  Feels like a cop-out though.  I know I can do better, and hope that with a little more time, I can replace this mask with one that I'm not embarrassed to put my name on.

Until then though........  many other projects to be working on. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

So many projects, so little time...

It happened again.  I got distracted.  I saw a shiny pretty thing, and moved on to a new project (or three) before finishing the old.  Oh well. :)

The trim on the venetian skirt is looking KICK-ASS!  I got one row completely tatted and sewed, and a second is tatted and waiting to be attached.  I'm still debating the third row.  It'd look amazing, but, as mentioned above, I tend to get distracted...

Currently, I'm working on tatting the edging to a hankie.  I started with a much harder design (the same one I'm using on the venetian skirt) but when you're using teeny weeny thread instead of yarn, it takes a lot longer, and mistakes are much more difficult to fix.  So, I went back to an older pattern that I like better, and is tatting up much faster.

This isn't completed yet, of course, but it's a small project that fits well in my purse.  I can do it on breaks at work, and it doesn't take much time away from other projects.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Last week, I showed a little glimpse of a new design I was tatting.  A friend of mine (on Facebook and in real life) who is a burlesque dancer saw the design and decided to call me on a bluff I made to her earlier this year.  I told her I was going to tat her a pair of pasties.  She informed me that this is the design she wants. Who am I to object?

 The paperclip is there for perspective.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A practical application for tatting?

As I mentioned earlier, I'm a member of the SCA ( ~or~  One of the things I love about the SCA is the "educational excuse" for playing dress-up.  Oh sure, it's a "historical re-enactment" and the clothing should strive to be "period appropriate"...  But I get to design and make my own clothing based on what ideas I've found and like.  Best part is, when I'm done making my masterpieces, I get to wear them amongst other people who can appreciate the work that goes into it.  And yes, I'll admit, I'm the type of person that will (and has) gotten all dressed up in a 14th century Venetian Courtesan gown, and traipsed through the aisles of JoAnn's just for kicks. :)

Anyway, I'm working on another Venetian dress, and this time, I've got a new idea for the trim.  Rather than spending my money on someone else's work, I'm going to put my own tatting on it.  My current idea is to put a large pattern on the kickplate of the skirt (done in black yarn, so each motif is approximately 3" tall and stands out well against the dark red), and use the same motif in smaller sizes of yarn and thread to trim the bodice, and make a matching choker.  So far- I'm liking the idea so much that sitting at my desk at work is driving me nuts- I want to be sewing or tatting!

One of my preferred motifs right now is the following:

Each of these little hexagons is about an inch tall.  Needless to say, I've got a lot of tatting ahead of me.  The bonus is that this pattern is all rings- no chains.  Why is that a bonus?  Because I have 4 cats.  And as they demonstrated to me this morning, there IS no safe place to hide a ball of string.  They WILL find it.  And drag it all over the house- around every table leg and chair leg, and even up and down multiple sets of stairs.  By not having any chains in this design, I don't NEED to have a ball of string out, it's all on the shuttle, and the cats are (for the time being) thwarted. So there. Nyah.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Getting Started...

My intents in setting up this blog were originally rather selfish- I wanted a way to document with pictures my tatting projects since I expect to give or sell most of them away.  That's still the case, but in doing so much internet research to find my own inspiration, I hope that maybe my selfish blog will inspire someone else to take up an art form of their own and (pardon the sappy notion...) make the world a prettier place.

Where to begin....

I took up tatting about 2 months ago.  I was invited to go to a masquerade ball for New Year's Eve, and I'm not the type of person to go with the traditional...  (Besides- masks purchased online, while pretty, tend to have an abundance of glitter.  I like glitter, I really do!  But not when the majority of it will probably end up in my eyes.)  So I did some searching for lace masks.  I'm not entirely sure what I had in mind, but when I saw the mask online by TotusMel (, I was hooked.  Armed with some questionable how-to videos, new shuttles, old thread, and a load of determination, I taught myself how to tat.  At least enough to make a passable mask in time for the Ball. 

At the time, I thought I'd just created the Mona Lisa.  Now.....  I see so much room for improvement.  But thankfully, I haven't given up on the learning process. :)  And yes, I know the camera on my phone sucks.  I'll have to take better pictures down the road...

I got the mask done with a whopping 2 hours to spare before the party started.  And in case you're curious, I used eyelash glue to hold it in place.  An odd sensation, but it beats getting glitter in your eyes!

Enter 2011, with all the possibilities a new year tends to bring.  And I've added NEW thread to my amory, plus piggy-backing on a neighbor's internet connection, so I spent much of January looking at more how-to vids, pictures, blogs, etc.  Here are some of the projects I started/completed during January:
 Sad news: toward the end of January, my grandpa passed away.  On the road to the funeral with my sister, I completed this little heart to be part of a memorial box to give to my mom along with the inserts from both my grandparents' funerals:
I also finished this little gem in the car ride and wore it to the funeral:
My best friend is also in the SCA, and she'd been came back from an event with a great idea for a new project for me:  tatted garters.  You know- those cute things that keep yer stockings up? Well, adapt that for SCA, and you have cute things that keep your stripey socks up.  And, as an added bonus, they can easily double for a favor, if you see a guy you fancy on the list field. :)  This first set is done in purple with gold ribbon (Calontir colors):
These turned out so well, I decided to try a few more sets for some other friends in various colors.  I haven't taken pictures of them all, but here's another set- red and black this time:

So, those are my completed projects so far.  I have one more set of garters to make, and a necklace I want to get started for a friend of mine at work.  Then, I got what might be a fantastic opportunity to go in on an etsy shop with my college roomate- the woman who has more artsy wiles in her little pinky than I do in my whole body.  So I'm trying to think creatively on what might be appealing to sell in an etsy shop that 18 million other people aren't already selling. :)