Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Finally, the Internet is accessible through my laptop at the new house. My initial plan was to spend a good long time just reading through the weeks of blog posts I had missed. I only read back a couple weeks, but now they're being read daily, so that's good!

As you can tell, I ponder over things quite a lot, and one of the recent and ongoing thoughts was and is the value of not only the sense of community in the tatting realm, but the value of tatting itself. Maybe it's that I over-think things, but the tatting community is really quite extraordinary, even in the rarity of the craft. It seems as though tatters are bound to find each other at some point, and it's kind of like a fly in a jar of honey: once you're in, you're never leaving. You may abandon the craft, or the earth at some point, but your legacy remains, be it large or small, as do your creations. And, though not many (compared to other crafts) know the art, because of that "honey effect", the thought is there, and slowly but surely, more and more are trapped in the honey. Surely, the sense of community will be lost at some point, but each and every tatter today is able to have the initial support of a small group and, one day, go on to spread the craft.

There I go obsessing and talking too much.... My point is that growth is inevitable, and this is a pretty good time to be part of it all! Actually, I remember what I was supposed to say in the first place. That I'm grateful. I'm grateful for you, and for being able to be a part everything. Yeah, that's what I meant.

I think what sparked the whole essay up there was what Teresa said. She said that the tatting community feels more like an extended family than just the Internet, which is very true. A few weeks ago she sent me these little magazines from The Workbasket, which were published years and years ago, and have a ton of crocheting, knitting, and tatting patterns. It's so strange to think that tatting patterns were actually published at one point. Also, they are each quite a few years from each other, so the prices are different. I imagine that might have caused a stir! "Can you believe that?! 25 cents now?!?! What a nerve!" hehe

A surprise to me, Teresa also sent a tatting book! Celtic tatting, to be exact. I had seen Celtic tatting, but never really thought to try it, but it's honestly very cool.

The fact that it's very thread efficient was most exciting. The center of that heart was tricky to figure out. Embarrassingly, it took me around an hour to figure out. Then, finally, I just wove it backwards! Easy peasy. Perhaps I should take my time to understand directions, but, that never happens, as seen here:

I started knitting a sock, and then, I remembered that I......don't actually know how to knit socks...... That posed a problem, and has been set aside until further notice. Very pretty yarn though!

Speaking of yarn, Joy sent me some. Aileen hosted a "Christmas in July" exchange. It reminded me of a Secret Santa type thing, because you didn't actually know who was sending you something, which was pretty fun! I had the joy (it's punny, right?) of having Joy as my "Secret Santa".

That was exciting, being as, for some reason, I completely forgot about the exchange (in about 3 days), so it was a surprise. I reallyyy like the handkerchief. Small, delicate handkerchiefs make me happy! And everything else of course, yeeee! You should probably go check out her blog if you haven't already, she's crazy talented. Honestly, I don't think what I sent sent off was as thoughtful! We shall see...

Oh and remember that handkerchief that Michelle sent me? Almost done!!! ONE side left in the making. I have a feeling that, once I finish this, I'll be very proud of myself. And it will be one of those rare things that I will keep for myself, and always be proud of. The sides are a mess because I'm just going to press them and hide threads when they're all done.

That's pretty much it. Here's some thread that you've probably already seen on other people's blogs.

I'm very vague with my thread, sorry. I never say the size, how many yards, or what it's called. It's safe to assume that the thread is size 20, since that's the most widely used, it seems, and most readily available. I'll say if it's different than 20. And, all of my skeins are a full 50 yards, if I send it to you, or sell some day. Feel free to name it whatever you want. What the colors make me think of, might not be the same for you. The dye I use is Dyson. And, the thread base I'm digging right now is Aunt Lydia. It's smooth, shiny, dyes well, readily available, and pretty darn affordable. I've used Royale, if you're interested in trying small scale dying for yourself, it dyes REALLY well, but it's not very smooth, and multiple colors don't blend too well. It's more for one color and the natural white, or multiple shades of a single color. The fire thread didn't dye as well as I had hoped, actually, it was my own error. At the time, I didn't know how to blend very well using that thread base, so there will be another version of that.

Lastly, (jeez, I'm talking a lot today) I just wanted to share my process of starching things that are to be very stiff. This is a snowflake frommmm....hmm.... I really should start remembering the patterns. I'll make sure to post it in the next one, because this pattern is so sweet. It's from a book that Gina, so kindly, sent me!

It's in ecru size 80. I think I'm just obsessed with size 80, even though, strangely enough, I think it more readily displays mistakes than a larger thread.

I was initially using the cup, but switched to a jar. So, don't think I'm messy! The trouble I have with stiffening tatted things is that there is no way for it to lay right. So, to solve that problem, I first pinned the snowflake out on the ironing board and pressed it to perfection, using a little starch. Then, the glue mixture is made. The only thing to make sure of, is that, no matter what your ratio, the consistency is VERY watery, and you'll see why. I was able to use quite a lot of glue before it got globby. Just mix it up a lot, you'll see. It just shouldn't be thick. The snowflake is pinned out on a flat piece of foam board that I think was for insulation originally. It is covered with a piece of wax paper, shiny side up, that is pinned in place. For sake of precision, you can have graph paper or something underneath the wax paper, assuming it's clear. I'm using some organic stuff that was really cheap and clear.

As you can see, I used as little pins as possible, those were just to secure the basic shape. Using the sponge brush, I saturate the snowflake and give it a few minutes to sink in. Then, using a cloth or paper towel, you soak up the mixture all the way. This is why it needs to be the consistency of water, so that it will all absorb into the cloth or paper towel. Now, you can properly pin it out Just remember to keep your angles and tension to a minimum, that was what the first starching was for. Where the pins are pulling, it will leave a noticeable mark.

If you did it right, it should look like this. Not gluey, just wet. And it will dry to look like a tatted snowflake without and globs or imperfections. The pins that are angled aren't pulling against anything, they are simply making sure it lays flat. And, when it's dry, it can be peeled off the wax paper and voila! I'm sure there is a better method, but that's mine.

This post was veryyyy long, but hopefully kinda interesting for you.

Thank you for stopping by! ^_^


  1. I enjoyed reading your assessment of the tatting community. I have met many wonderful tatters through blogging, and the group has shifted over the four years that I've been posting. Some no longer blog, but keep in touch via email. New tatters have joined in, some with trepidation, some like you are more daring and enthusiastic than I'll ever be!

  2. The "Honey Effect" - it's so true! I don't know what I'd do without the online tatting community.

    I love the celtic tatting, but haven't tried it yet. It looks beautiful, yet frustrating to me - and would probably take me more than an hour to figure it out. You are so determined and inspiring - your work looks wonderful.

    I also love your threads - that blue/tan/cream colorway is my favorite - and your relaxed, artistic methods.

    No matter how lengthy, I enjoy your posts!

  3. I really enjoyed your post and pictures today.

  4. I, too, enjoy your posts...no matter the length :-) Very much enjoyed the thread you sent too...it was fun to play with! Glad to see you back with good internet access!

  5. I agree - tatters are some of the nicest people EVER :) I can honestly say in 6 years, I've run across one person that was less than kind, & I won't mention that person's name.
    I'm so jealous of your Celtic Tats! I tried & tried that same "snowflake" pattern about a hundred times & never did get it right! Makes me want to drag the book right back out & try again though :)RandaGray*

  6. I'm happy that you liked the Workbaskets - they carry many happy memories for me. My Mom had a subscription for as long as I can remember and even had a book that she had made out of her mother's magazines. She made many things out of those little treasures. I'm happy to share them with you.

    And I love your posts, long or short, so don't apologize! I also like the tutorials with pictures - very helpful. I think I'm going to go pull out my own copy of Celtic Tatting and tat something now . . .

  7. Very nice post! You've been very busy tatting, and I love the Celtic tats you've done. I haven't tried that, yet, but it's on my list.
    Great snowflake, and it's interesting that you starch and glue. I suppose that's to make it very crisp, and to hold its shape. I'll have to make a note of your process.
    I've been tatting with your threads, and I wanted to let you know they tat very well, and I'm enjoying using them. I'll be posting about them my next post. Thanks again.
    You're so right about the tatting community being like a family. I was a lone tatter, and had learned only the rings and chain. Once I found the wonderful tatting bloggers, I learned so much from their generous sharing. Now, even though I tat alone, I know there's a whole bunch of other tatters out there.

  8. You are so fabulous. I love your posts with pictures :) Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  9. I don't know what I would do w/o the online community! It was a fluke that we managed to finally get in touch with the local group IRL and they were on the verge of disbanding >_< We've injected new life into the group, but there's still no substitute for the net community. Everyone has different styles, complaints, suggestions...all very helpful. Your colorways are lovely;'campfire' and 'Victorian picnic', I think :P

  10. Great post!

    I CANNOT believe that it only took you an hour to figure out the Celtic tatting! It took me HOURS and HOURS of grief and i still do not have it down pat! Every so often I pull out the book and give it another go... but I do not seem to get the hang of it. I do know what you mean about doing it backwards... her instructions could be more clear, I must say!

    Great looking hankie edging - I am curious to see it all sewn on. : )
    Grateful Fox - who would be making model airplanes, or welding ancient brass pen nibs, or tanning fish scales for furniture fabric without the tatting community!