Monday, January 31, 2011

Making Guitar Picks

I doubt that many of my fellow tatters play the guitar as well, but I'm posting this anyway. It's incredibly simple, but the thought had never crossed my mind until I read about it on the internet.

My little cousin (she's five years old) always takes those unloaded gift cards from the store. Somehow, we always end up with a whole bunch of them around the house, despite keeping a close eye on her, while at the store. Plus, I had a Hot Topic card that I knew I was going to lose, and an iTunes gift card that was already loaded into my account. So this project was really useful in every way!

I play the guitar and ALWAYS manage to lose my picks. No matter what precautions I take, they always disappear. An now, I have about 20 very nice picks that work as well if not better than the ones you can buy. It sucks to lose $2 dollar picks...

So I came up with a solution, with the help of some online inspiration. I turned my cards into picks. Each one yields about 5, unless you want a specific part of the card on your pick, like I did with a butterfly's face. It's best to use a sturdy card. A lot of Target's are, as are the iTunes cards. But for the sake of appearances, you can have some flimsy ones in your collection. The tend to make a nice soft sound.

Here's what I did:

1. Plan how you'll be cutting them out by arranging some black, flat picks on the backside of the card you'll be using. Make note of any specific designs you want to be on your picks.

2. You don't have to use multiple picks for the first step, but it's just easier to arrange them. I said to use black ones because you'll be using permanent marker to trace one.

3. When that's done, just cut them out! Use a good pair of scissors, some might not work very well.

4. You can file the edges, but I don't like to. Just make sure the scissors aren't at an angle when cutting.

The good thing about making your own picks is that you can make the tip as pointy as you want, therefore increasing picking speed!

Hope this wasn't too simple (:

Needle Felting

It's pretty much in the same boat as tatting, popularity-wise. Needle felting is an art where you'll have an amount of wool roving that you gather up into the shape of your goal object, maybe roll it around in your hands a little, and prick prick prick with a barbed needle, felting it until it's firm and all the fibers are tangled. It can be very cool, and some people are absolutely amazing.

I learned about it a while back and whilst venturing in a foreign area of JoAnn's, I discovered that they carry needle felting supplies! Ecstatic, I spent about $40 on supplies: a little brush thing so you can prick through the entire object, a set of needles, and black, pink, and blue roving. That night, I made a little figurine and a poodle. My brother seemed far more excited though. I ended up giving him all of my supplies, and now he does it.

Needle felting just isn't my thing, and that's okay, tatting is! Here's a little heart that I made <3

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Overly Excited

The littlest things make me so happy, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, good for me on my own I think, but some people find it strange. My tatting makes me very happy, it looks so nice and neat, and colorful too.

Looking at a fellow blogger's blog, I saw a picture of wonderfully patterned shuttles, now I want some! I'm going to right after I post this to look for some, because;
1.I like supporting talented people and starving artists, and
2.I'm tired of my dull plastic shuttles from JoAnns, the pretty Pinks and Blues always tend to disappear, and I'm left with yellows and oranges. Now that I think about it, maybe my cousin is taking them.... She does tend to do that.

Anyway, if you're reading this and happen to know of a nice artist on Etsy, let me know!

I won't be posting pictures today of anything, tomorrow maybe. I'm working on an amazing pattern for a crown, the challenge will be starching it!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lovely Bubbly Star

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE...... love this pattern. Sorry if I'm obnoxious. It's just so wonderful in any color. I like to use multicolored thread, because it looked like a nice rainbow of bubbles.

Firstly, this isn't my pattern, it's from a book that's about 70 years old. I don't think it's anywhere on the internet though. It's super cute and fast, and you could make a whole bunch to do a collage in a picture frame, or a mobile (something which I normally don't like the idea of making), maybe even sew some so a shirt or jeans. SOOOO CUTEEEE... Sorry. I'm freaking out! Here's the Pattern!

R 5-3-3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-3-3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-5CR
C 15
R 5-3+3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-3-3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-5CR
C 15
R 5-3+3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-3-3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-5CR
C 15
R 5-3+3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-3-3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-5CR
C 15
R 5-3+3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3-3-3-3-5 CR R 5+3-3-3+5CR
C 15

See? Super easy!
You can remember that even, and make probably 10 in one lazy day.
Simple and beautiful!
Hope you like (:

An Easy and Ancient Doily Pattern

I say Ancient in the title, but I'm not sure how old it is. I also don't know where it came from, maybe its online somewhere. If you recognize it, please tell me. I found the original at a thrift shop, and decided to post the pattern to it. The picture is my recreation of it.

Center Ring= 3-6-6-6-6-6-3 CR. cut.

Row 2= R 10-10 CR, C 5-5-5-5-5-5. Repeat until you have 6 rings

Row 3= (a little tricky, bear with me)
*R 5-5-5-5-5-5 RW C 5-5-5-5-5-5 RW R 5-5+(Join to 4th picot of last
ring)5-5-5-5 RW
C 5-5-5-5-5-5 RW R 5-5+5-5-5-5 RW
C 5-5-5+ (join to middle picot on chain of Row Two)5-5-5 RW
R 5-5+5-5-5-5 RW C5-5-5-5-5-5 RW R 5-5-5-5-5-5 RW C 5-5-5-5-5-5 RW
R 5-5+5-5+5-5 (we're joining as if this will be a complete ring, but the
outer row is actually continuous)Don't Reverse Work
C 5-5-5-5-5-5 **RW R 5-5+(join to middle picot of the chain before the last
one)5-5-5-5 RW
C 5-5-5-5-5-5 RW R 5+5-5-5-5-5 RW C 5-5-5-5-5-5 RW R 5+5-5-5-5-5
C 5-5-5-5-5-5*** repeat from * to *** so you've done it a total of six
(The First chain you do is joined to the last ring, so it's basically the
same thing as **, but reversed)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! (:

Restoring a Tatted Treasure

A while back, when I was first getting into tatting, I would roam through thrift shops and antique stores looking for tatted pieces. In all of my expeditions, I found two. One was a handkerchief that has been on my wall since that day, the other a ratty doily that had been doomed to the same. Just recently, I've been running out of patterns! But I've always had the idea that maybe I'd try to recreate the doily, since it looks simple enough.

So I did that. And it turned out absolutely marvelous! While I was pinning out, starching, and pressing my new piece, the original doily was sitting in the corner. Very lonely-like. So after working on my own, I decided to take care of the older doily. I washed it gently, carefully pinned it out, and gave it a little starch, since it was very flimsy. While I was completing that process (about an hour and a half), I was thinking about the creator of the piece. I spent about 8 hours total doing everything, they must have spent a similar amount of time. Did their family not understand how lovely and time-consuming the piece was? Why did it end up in an antique store? Is the mystery tatter dead? Are they still alive? Maybe even, do they or did they live near me? Were they very proud when they completed it? Was it an original? Or did they find the pattern in a book? How old is it? Is it older than me? Relatively new? I cant ever know any of this, its not like it has a name pinned to it that I can google. All I know is that someone put a lot of effort into this piece, and I'm going to take care of it, and make sure it is never neglected again. And to the mystery tatter, thank you for creating a legacy.

The first picture is before I took care of it, the second is afterwords.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Back to Basics

Old patterns. For some people, images of delicate and intricate lace appear in their heads, for others, not so much. They seem like a mess of odd and not-so-nice doilies. In the past, lace was lace.and it was easy for something to be beautiful, but now we have these IMAGES. Images of what is beautiful and what is not, its like we can't think for ourselves.

In tatting, you must be able to view the older patterns as they once were, if you are going to be designing patterns sooner or later in your tatting career, these older patterns have a lot of great, well, patterns! Patterns of rings, chains, and picots that can be adapted, and reoccur very often.

In thrift stores and antique shops, sometimes you'll find tatted doilies, and it's very rewarding to try to recreate one that you'll find. Not only will it turn out to be something wonderful, but it will improve your understanding of tatting structure and as well as your ability to create your own pieces.

Now here's the part where I explain pattern making

Draw it:
Seems simple enough, right? But the thing is, you CANNOT just draw it once!!
You must draw it, and draw it again, taking account of how far you want your picots to be from one another, as a rule, the sets of double stitches closest to the base of the ring, or end or beginning of a chain are bigger. So a ring will be 5-3-3-3-3-5 instead of 3-3-3-3-3-3. Also, take into account the tension you want with the chain, or how stretched you want the rings to seem.

Measure it:
It takes less picots to make a chain long than a ring, because a ring is more compact. Draw the pattern out (in pencil) perfectly at the size you want for the size thread you're using, once you get it perfect in size 10 per say, it'll look nice in any size!.

Okay, so you have that all drawn out. Now were going to start trying things out. If you have the picots perfectly drawn on your pattern, you should be able to start practicing make the rings. just double stitch until you think you have it the right size, then picot (or whatever), and do it again. When the ring is perfect, do it again! Just to test it out. Now you can do the same with the chain. This will be a little trickier, so you must heavily rely on your sketch, make sure its not too loose, but of perfect tension. When you finish your first round (assuming it's a doily), if it's perfect, congratulations! Make sure to write it down. Even if it isn't as lovely as you'd have liked, it's still your first real pattern and somebody will find it absolutely exquisite.

To record a ring, I prefer the form R x-x-x-x-x-x (x being the number of double stitches and - being a picot)
If you have a ton of picots and the same number of picots it'd be R x times x (of course the "times in the middle would be a multiplication sign, so lets say R 5 x 8 instead) When using that method The first number is the number of double stitches around the picots, so for R5 x 8, you have 8 sets of 5, separated by 7 picots. Get it?  A chain is the same thing, but with a C. For complicated directions, you should just write it out. Reverse work is RW. Josephine Knot is JK. Half stitch is HS. Double stitch is DS, but most stitches are double stitches, so with no details, we always assume a pattern is talking about double stitches.

If you don't like that method you can also write "4DS P 5times DS" which means "4-4-4-4-4-4" I find this method confusing. But a lot of patterns are written this way, so maybe you'll prefer it. It's up to you.

A lot of people find writing tatting  patterns bewildering being that it seems SO mathematical! So if you're a little scared, just take bits out of other patterns and when you're tatting from other patterns, take note of why it is like it is, what creates the lovely effect at the end, and what your preference for the end appearance is.

Hope I helped! (:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Very Untimely Craft

Here are some of my favorite pieces so far. The first is a lovely lavender doily that I made for my Grandmother. The second is a bookmark with the BEST design ever! The third a pretty, pink cross for my Mormon friend. Fourth is a black flower pin for a teacher's assistant at my school. And the last one, and my favorite, a simple star made with cool multicolored thread. It turned out amazingly, and I think I'm going to make several in that same color and make a mobile or something. Hope you like!

P.S. None of these patterns are mine. Most are from a book that is very, very old, one is from an archive, and one is from a more modern site. Ill be posting some of my designs late ;D

The Tatting Revolution

Things go into style just as they fall out, some for longer times than others. Tatting, unlike leather jackets and scrunchies, has been "out of style" for about 60 years. Sure, some people do it. But bring up the term "tatting with most people and they won't have a clue what you're talking about. Most likely, they'll assume that you're referring to tattooing. But tatting is quite different-- its a delicate, lovely to the eye and touch, rewarding, and impressive craft.

A long while ago, lace was incredibly expensive, but around the year 1800, tatting came into fashion as an inexpensive way to create intricate lace for your family. It was all the rage and nearly all of the sophisticated women knew how to do it. At the time, the shuttles were very large because the craft originated from net-making, something the sailors brought home to their wives. And the thread was very coarse, difficult to work with. But as time went on, the shuttles got smaller and and the thread smoother. With that came the even more beautiful pieces you'll see in museums. In the early 1900's, as you've probably learned in history class, factories began to dole out lace very quickly and cheaply-- this ended the need for homemade lace. Still, some people enjoyed making doilies and the like for their home, but the number of tatters had been greatly depleted.

Anika, you may be thinking, if we can just BUY tatted lace, well, why should we make it?! This is a question I've asked myself. My reason is quite noble, I think. People absolutely cannot get enough of hand-tatted lace! Therefore, it makes a fabulous gift. Sure, it takes hours, but it's very cheap, enjoyable to make, and they will appreciate it very much. Its also something that you can pass down for generations and be proud of. This is why I encourage all the tatters to make something big, very hard, or time-consuming once in their lifetime, because it will awe people for generations! I plan on soon doing a piece about two feet by three feet, it will probably take me several weeks, but I'm excited to start. It's like leaving a small legacy.

It's too girly and degrading.. NO it isn't! Tatting is no small feat, it's a skill that basically no one knows and pretty much everyone will be impressed. Also, it has been taught to boys in the past as a necessary skill, so for a man to tat something beautiful for his wife or girlfriend, that will leave a great impression.

That is my two-cents for the day. I'll be blogging every day hopefully (: