Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Revisiting an old friend... Learn-to-Knit Afghan Book by Barbara Walker. I was inspired to look up this old friend when I found The Walker Treasury Project. Don't ask me how I found it... it was just one of those one-link-leads-to-another moments!

Yes, I do own two copies of the book. My original was purchased in 1974 for $3.95 after I read a book review in the Chicago Tribune. I did knit quite a few blocks from this book, but never finished an afghan. In 1997, the book was re-published by Schoolhouse Press. I looked everywhere for my original and couldn't find it, so I ordered a new copy. Of course, I found the original shortly after receiving my new copy! Anyway, I have quite a stash of yarn that I'd like to use up. So, I pulled the book off the shelf yesterday and grabbed the first two skeins of yarn I found. I don't have enough Red Heart Designer Sport to make a full-sized afghan, but I probably have enough to make a lap throw. Besides, it'll be fun to see how many blocks I can make out of the yarn I have!

We had a wonderful holiday and saw all of our grandchildren. Eva wore my dad's Santa hat and passed out the presents Christmas morning.

Aidan also wore a Santa hat, but he was more interested in opening presents and playing with them than in passing them out!

The day after Christmas, we traveled to Minnesota so Grandma could get snuggles from her little girls in the north!

We're safely back home now. Dave's working on "The Project" aka my Christmas present, and I am still knitting on his afghan. I really need to take a tatting break, though. I'm convinced that lack of tatting is very hard on my arm! It's hard to believe that I slipped on the ice a year ago yesterday, and had surgery a year ago today. The time sure does fly by! I won't say I'm back to normal, because I'm not sure I was every normal to begin with! I am happy that I can tat, knit, crochet, etc. whenever I feel like it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

The presents are all wrapped and under the tree... well almost! As you can see, I did not finish Dave's Bear Claw Throw. It's about half done. I don't feel too bad. The other day he told me he had to sand down "The Project" because the finish wasn't right. We agreed to reveal our "surprises" to each other on Christmas morning and finish them when we can. What a relief to both of us!

I have a tremendous "to do" list for the new year... Jon's snowflakes, Tattycat's snowflakes, Marilee's bells, Sherry's Royal Diadem, Spinning Wheel glass mats for my shuttle drawers, Temari balls, Springerle cookies, rag rugs, rag place mats, bookmarks, etc. Oh, dear! I guess I'd better start prioritizing and set some reasonable goals. This list is all for me! ; )

I wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a happy and healthy new year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A new hobby...

No, I haven't given up tatting, but I do have a new hobby... baking Springerle cookies! I was on a quest for a special rolling pin for my daughter, when I came upon a beautiful Springerle rolling pin. I was intrigued and started reading up on it, ordered some molds, bought the ingredients, and...

I'm addicted. Thanksgiving weekend, my daughter Andrea and I made our first batch... Andrea really did all the work. I just watched. The cookies were well worth the effort! This past weekend, I decided to try and make them on my own. I had fun, and they turned out almost as good as Andrea's!

We're celebrating December birthdays at school tomorrow. Guess what I'm taking!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Killian made me do it!

That lovable little leprechaun from Cork knows I need to work on Dave's afghan, but he glared at my Country Christmas HDT, which Sherry Pence so lovingly dyed for me, until I felt guilty enough to get to work!

I only had time for two Minitats (by Patti Duff)... #6 and another #31.

Short blog this morning... there was a mouse in my sewing room early this morning. Dave rescued me, but I'm a little creeped out right now!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Look who arrived in the mail today... my very own leprechaun... Killian! He's hiding in my snowflake tree right now, spying on me to see if I'm going to pick up my tatting shuttle. He's fully equipped with red boots and cap, Irish penny, four leaf clovers, and a dashing sash of Rainbow Bright HDT!

He's a gift from my dear friend Pamela. She also sent me a lovely Christmas card with a tatted snowflake of her own design in Rainbow Bright. Thank you, Pamela! I feel truly blessed this Christmas season!

Minitats #31

Christmas gifts await.
My list is great.
My wrist is sore.
I can knit no more!
What shall I do
To get out of this stew?
I'll tat!

Someone (was it Melissa?) posted about a beautiful Christmas ornament within the last two weeks. The top of the ornament was #31 from Minitats: 69 Petite Motifs by Patty Duff, and it had beautiful beaded strands dripping down from the tatting. It was fabulous! I looked the pattern up immediately and knew I could tat it quickly, but I'm in the middle of a major knitting project! Yesterday afternoon, I just couldn't knit any more, so I pulled my book off the shelf, grabbed the first loaded shuttle I had and went to work!

Ta da! Here is Motif #31 in size 20 Lizbeth from Handy Hands, color #651.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Catching up!

Believe it or not, I've had more important things to do than blog over the past two weeks! Last weekend we had a wonderful visit with daughter Andrea and her family. As you can see, Grandma got snuggle time with Lily and Ella!

So did Aunt Carol!

Ella loves being held while she's sleeping...

and Grandpa did a great job of walking around with Ella when she was feeling a little out of sorts!

With so much love to share, I just didn't have much time to compute! The week before Thanksgiving, I received my copy of Royal Diadem by Sherry Pence. What a beautiful pattern! I am honored that the name I suggested for this doily was chosen! Thank you, Sherry!

The next day, I received these beautiful gifts from my tatting friend and adopted sister Laura. I requested the oak leaves, but how ever did Laura know that my favorite color is blue? She must have psychic abilities... she even knew that I'm tatting snowflakes for my very own tree! ; ) I love the red bow! I never used to like red or purple, but my mom's favorite color is red, and Laura's favorite color is purple... it's a good thing I decided I liked those two colors about 10 years ago! Oh, and the gingerbread cookie (my favorite), was gone that evening. It just called out to be eaten for dessert! Plus, I had gingerbread on my mind... I had read The Gingerbread Boy to the kids at school that week! Thank you, Laura!

My week just kept getting better... the day after Thanksgiving I received my Top Banana tatting shuttle that I won on eBay, along with a beautiful little button basket from Dave and Jo Stanbrough at Grizzly Mountain Arts. Now I feel like the Top Banana! Thank you Dave and Jo!

I finished putting together the treasure boxes that Dave and I finished for the grandchildren. Dave used a different stain than the one he used for Sherry's birthday. This one was an oil based stain. Dave said it took forever to dry, and it didn't spread very evenly. It still feels slightly tacky, but I don't think we have time to make new ones before Christmas. They still look nice, and we learned something new about stain!

And, last but not least, here are three views of my snowflake Christmas tree so far. Tatting snowflakes is addictive! My tree needs lots more snowflakes, but I think it will be a while before I get back to them... too much to do before Christmas!

If you don't hear from me over the next few weeks, it's just that I'm so busy trying to finish up what I've started in time for Christmas! With that in mind, I wish all of you a very happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pink Oval Medallion

This was my first attempt at front side/back side tatting... I found it a little confusing at times! This medallion will be an insert for one of my treasure boxes... maybe Dave will put it together for me tonight! The medallion is from Tatting by Yusai Shokoin, a lovely book with many designs that I'd love to tat! It's about 2.75" by 4.5" in size 20 Flora, color #62.

A warning about the treasure boxes... they are glued together, and can fall apart easily! Dave has had to re-glue 3 pieces out of the 5 boxes he's sanded and stained. He says they're still worth buying... it would cost him a whole lot more to buy the wood himself and try to make the boxes. But, I'd rather let you know about any pitfalls ahead of time!

There's no school today! We have steam heat, and they have to repair a broken pipe today. Yesterday morning it was 90 degrees at the south end of the building and 65 degrees at the north end. They have to turn the heat off in order to make the repairs, so we have an unexpected day off! What will I do with my day? I'd love to say I'll spend it tatting, but my sewing room has quickly deteriorated over the past few weeks, and if I don't clean it up soon, I'll have a total disaster on my hands! I'd also like to work on Dave's afghan... I only have 3" done. I don't think that will even keep his feet warm!

I now have all my camera parts together... I've been leaving either the cable or the camera at school, so I haven't been able to post any pictures! When the sun comes out, I'll take some time to share pictures from the past week or so. I don't know enough about photography to take decent pictures when it's dark out!

Monday, December 1, 2008

So much to post, so little time!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving... I hope all my friends and family enjoyed the holiday as much as we did! I wasn't able to tat much, but when my granddaughter Lily asked me tat a flower for her, how could I refuse? Lily chose the colors from my stash... I knew there was a good reason to keep plenty of thread on hand! I was asked to tat a flower with a stem and leaves. This was the result. And guess what? I didn't use a pattern! Does that make me a designer? I don't think so, but I am happy with the results of my little tat doodle!

I have pictures to share and much to write about... I'll try to catch up... promise!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Snowflake #11

This is the last pattern in A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk... "Winter Crystal Snowflake." It's in Yarnplayer's Summer Trail HDT, size 20, and it measures almost 5" across.

I do have one more snowflake to post from this book, "Grandma's String of Pearls." With one pattern repeat to go, I ran out of thread! Sherry to the rescue! I should have some more Seaweed any day now! As soon as I finish that last snowflake, I'll take a picture of my tree. I'll have to put snowflakes on hold for a little while then. I bartered 3 Spinning Wheel glass mats (yet to be tatted) for some Christmas presents, and I have Christmas presents started that need to be finished. Where will I find the time?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snowflake #10

Here's another snowflake in Yarnplayer's Knitty Gritty, size 20 HDT. I love this thread! The pattern is "Feathered Star Snowflake" from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk. This was a very easy tat, and I think it looks so pretty! One more to go in this book!

I'm thinking of doing all the snowflakes from this book in Altin Basak #1234, a pretty blue with silver metallic accents. I love blue and silver together, and I think the Altin Basak thread would be a nice contrast to the HDT snowflakes already on my tree. I've never had much luck with metallic threads in the past, but I'm going to see how this one works out... I'll be letting you know!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snowflake #9

This snowflake was a lot of fun to tat! It's done in one continuous round. "Daisy Chain Snowflake" is from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk. It measures almost 4" across. I used size 20 Knitty Gritty HDT from Marilee Rockley aka Yarnplayer. I can't believe I only have two snowflakes left to tat from this book!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Snowflake #8

Isn't this one pretty? It's "Frosted Flower Snowflake" from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk. I had trouble near the end... for some reason I couldn't remember how to join rings and chains. If you look really closely, you'll see a twisted ring, a twisted join, and a twisted chain. I'm assuming that most people looking at my tree won't be looking that closely, and even if they do look closely, they probably wouldn't be able to identify any mistakes (aka twisted threads)!

It was pure luck that the colors of the flowers around the outside are balanced. The thread is size 20 Coral Rose HDT from Sherry Pence (LadyShuttleMaker), and the snowflake measures 4" across.

Dave and I agreed not to exchange Christmas gifts this year, which was a big relief to me! I'm terrible at choosing gifts for men. They typically wind up with sweatshirts and socks since none of them tat!
; ) Anyway... I got home from school Friday and found lumber in my kitchen! Dave changed his mind! I have no idea what he's making, but now I have to come up with something for him. I decided on a Bear Claw Throw (free pattern at because I have some beautiful yarn on hand that I bought last year. The tough part is going to be finding time to make it! I may have to stay up after Dave goes to bed, and jump out of bed as soon as he leaves in the morning. I see many sleepless nights ahead!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snowflake #7

This was a quickie! "Teeny Snowflake" from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk is 2" across in Purple Punch size 20 HDT from Marilee Rockley aka Yarnplayer.

Snowflake #6

I'm having a lot of fun tatting snowflakes, and I'm learning a lot about tatting in the process. This one's "Cherub's Wing" from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk. I loved tatting this one! It's about 2" across in Terra Cotta, size 20 custom HDT from Sherry Pence (LadyShuttleMaker).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snowflake #5

I love this color! This is Marilee Rockley's Purple Punch HDT, size 20. The snowflake is "Itsy-Bitsy" from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk. It's almost 2" across.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snowflake #4

I figured out what I did wrong the first time I tatted this snowflake by tatting a different one. For some reason, I tatted the Josephine knot as a chain! What was I thinking?

I really like the way this one turned out. This is "Kaleidoscope" from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk. The thread is one of my favorite color combos... Jimmi Hendrix, size 20 HDT from Sherry Pence (LadyShuttleMaker). The finished snowflake is about 2 3/4" across.

I've been trying to use up bits of leftover HDT from previous projects. I've found that one 50 yard skein has been enough to tat a Spinning Wheel glass mat and a snowflake. What a fun way to use HDT!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Snowflake #3

I had just a tiny bit of size 20 Rainbow Sherbet HDT by Sherry Pence (aka LadyShuttleMaker), so I decided to make a snowflake out of the center of "Harmony of Hearts" from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk. This little snowflake measures about 1 1/4" across.

Snowflake #2

Technically, this is only the center of the "Kaleidoscope" snowflake from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk. I really messed up on the second round, and rather than retro-tat for hours, I chose to cut off the second round and just use the center. After all, I do need some tiny snowflakes for the top branches of my tree!

This snowflake measures 2" across. It's tatted in size 20 Rainbow Sherbet HDT by Sherry Pence aka LadyShuttleMaker.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Snowflake #1

My personal snowflake challenge has begun! This is "Harmony of Hearts" from A Veritable Tatted Blizzard by Samantha Melnychuk in size 20 Seaweed, HDT by Sherry Pence aka LadyShuttleMaker. This little beauty is about 3" from point to point.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Coral Rose Spinning Wheel

Here it is... the last of my Spinning Wheel glass mats for Christmas gifts... I think! I'll need to go over my Christmas list this weekend, but I believe I've met my goal! In case this is your first time reading about my Spinning Wheel quest, the pattern is from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior, one of my favorite tatting books. The thread is size 20 Coral Rose from Sherry Pence aka LadyShuttleMaker. I think this is one of Sherry's prettiest color combos. It's so much prettier in person!

I still have four tatted motifs to finish for the grandkids' treasure boxes. I haven't decided what to make for them yet, but I do know the finished piece needs to fit a 3.5" x 5" opening. Anyone have any favorites they think I should try? I need to tat for one boy and three girls. I think I might look at Martha Ess's animal patterns... there's sure to be something suitable there!

In the meantime, I have five lace projects I really need to finish knitting. Two were started before I broke my arm, three since. I also want to get started on my snowflake tree. Yes, I've been inspired by Laura, and I simply must have some HDT snowflakes hanging from a pretty little tree! Now where did I put my snowflake patterns?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Baby shower gift

I love baby showers! Our new kindergarten teacher is expecting her first baby Nov. 20, but she thinks she might have him this week... full moon, you know! Any way, we're having a shower for her after school tomorrow. I love giving flannel receiving blankets and a book. This is one of my all-time favorite books, Philadelphia Chickens by Sandra Boynton. My daughters and I used to put the CD in the player and crank it up while we were cleaning. Yes, I have my very own copy!

My way of edging flannel blankets...

I buy one yard of fabric, cut off the selvages, and round the edges (I use a dinner plate as a template). I put a wing needle in my sewing machine, set the stitch length for a basting stitch, then go around the edge of the fabric without thread in the machine to create holes. I use size 20 crochet cotton and a size 8 or 9 hook. I single crochet in each hole and chain one between holes. Sometimes, as in this blanket, I choose an edging pattern and go around the blanket again. My granddaughter Eva still has the ones I made for her 6 1/2 years ago. They get softer with age!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Seaweed Spinning Wheel

I finally finished another Spinning Wheel glass mat from Mary Konior's Tatting with Visual Patterns! This one is in Sherry Pence's (LadyShuttleMaker) Seaweed, size 20. One more Spinning Wheel to go, and I'll have met my goal for tatted Christmas presents!

The last couple of weeks have just zipped by! I've had very little time to read blogs and post comments, so I've mainly been reading. The creativity I've been seeing is amazing!

So, what's been keeping me so busy? Well, I've been working on a baby blanket for our new kindergarten teacher. I finished it last night... the shower's this Wednesday! It's just a flannel blanket with a crocheted edging, but I can't seem to crochet as quickly as I used to, or for as long a time.

This past weekend was the middle school production of Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr., directed by my daughter Carol. While I didn't have much to do with the play itself, I did have a minor role in working on costumes (sewing on ribbons, cutting strips of fabric, repairing torn props). I also went shopping for props with Carol. She has such wonderful ideas, and some of the items she wanted for props were a challenge to find! My favorite was the teapots for the Mad Hatter's tea party. We finally found a Mrs. Pots tea set (Mrs. Pots from Beauty and the Beast). Of course I had to attend all three performances this weekend, which severely cut into my tatting time! I was supposed to take pictures, but I forgot my camera each time we headed into town.

It looks like the cold weather is here to stay in the Chicago area. Thank goodness! The weather changes wreak havoc with my sinuses. I may have to move to Alabama to be near Mom and Tattycat to preserve my poor head! The worst times seem to be when I can see a heavy bank of clouds headed our way. As the clouds move closer, the pressure in my head gets stronger, usually accompanied by intense pounding. I'm sure I'm not the only one who experiences this phenomenon, and it sure isn't pleasant!

We have no school tomorrow in honor of Veterans Day. I have so much to catch up on. Where will I begin?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Summer Trail Spinning Wheel

I bought a new scanner yesterday! I was going to wait, but I found one for $44... what a deal!

So, what did I scan? Another Spinning Wheel of course! I tatted this one in size 20 Summer Trail from Marilee Rockley aka Yarnplayer. For those who have been asking, one skein of HDT is plenty to make one of these beautiful little doilies.

I was also asked about the size of the treasure box Dave and I made for Sherry. Thank goodness Sherry has a tape measure, because I never measured it! Sherry checked the interior dimensions... 5 1/2" x 4" x 2". I think that's a very nice size for storing shuttles and thread, or for use as a project box. I hope some of you decide to try decorating a treasure box with tatting... I need more inspiration!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Great stuff!

This is not my week for working with computers! My scanner died at the beginning of the week. I haven't been able to connect from the Internet at home for the past three days. And to top it all off, I've been trying to upload these pictures to Blogger for over an hour!

Enough complaining already! With Dave's help I finished this pretty little box for a birthday present. I love little boxes! I found this one at Michael's (I know they don't use an apostrophe, but the English teacher in me just won't let me leave it out) thanks to Tattycat... I was looking for her wonderful thread winders! Dave sanded and stained the box for me. It's just the right size for Lyn Morton's Judith in size 20 HDT. This one's Tie Dye Blue from LadyShuttleMaker. I told Dave that I'd like to give little treasure boxes like these to our grandchildren for Christmas, and he liked the idea. Now all I have to do is find the time to get to Michael's and do the tatting... somehow my Christmas list keeps growing!

Dave Stanbrough at Grizzly Mountain Arts had a beautiful nostepinde listed in his Etsy shop. I e-mailed him and asked if he could make a smaller version for thread, and he did! It's perfect for winding my HDT into little balls!

For me, the big advantage to having balls of thread is that I can pull the thread either from the center or the outside... much easier when using a ball and shuttle pattern!

I found this ball holder a few years ago (I can't remember where). It's perfect for holding my little balls of thread... I don't have to worry about them getting lost in the dust bunnies!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Get right down to the real Knitty Gritty!

My scanner seems to have squealed its last squeal. For months, every time I scanned an image, I would hear an unearthly squeal. Well, now it's official. No more scans! I had to bring my tatted lace to school for a scan, and I'm blogging on my lunch break... ah! a new diet plan! I can't justify a new scanner at the moment. The copier and printer functions still work, so I'll either take pictures or scan at school.

Enough scanner woes... I finished tatting Mary Konior's Spinning Wheel last night in Marilee Rockley's Knitty Gritty, size 20. Yes, I'm still in love with this pattern! I have three more to go to finish my Christmas list. I'm tatting much slower these days, because I'm also knitting a shawl and a neck warmer. I have two baby quilts to finish, one in the next week, and one before Christmas. Why is it that my to-do list keeps on growing?

P.S. - I just looked at my blog. This scan is terrible! Knitty Gritty is one of the prettiest color combinations I have ever seen. Hopefully, I will get home early enough to take a picture in natural light of this beautiful glass mat.

P.P.S. - One skein of size 20 HDT will make this beauty with plenty to spare! I've lost count of how many I've made. Does that mean I've made too many? I think not! As for the scan... I looked at my blog at home and the colors looked fine. Of course, I always think my scans look better on my Mac at home than on my Dell at school. I think it must be a difference in the different monitors.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Terra Cotta Spinning Wheel

I love the way this one turned out! This is one of the threads that Sherry Pence custom dyed for me. The whole time I was working on this, I kept thinking of Necco Wafers... anyone remember them?

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I was looking for an oval motif for a present I'm working on, and I found "Judith" in Tatting Patterns by Lyn Morton.

I tatted both motifs out of size 20 HDT from Sherry Pence... Rainbow Sherbet and Tie Dye Blue. I tatted the Rainbow Sherbet first, but I was disappointed for two reasons: 1) I made my joins incorrectly, so the finished piece doesn't lie flat, and 2) it's too pale for the background it will be on. Sigh! I knew before I started that I was making the wrong color choice.

Luckily, this is a very simple piece to tat (as long as you join correctly), so I tatted the Tie Dye Blue while we watched the Bears/Vikings game this afternoon. I think the blue will be perfect for the setting... I'll post a picture when Dave has finished with his part of the project.

Spinning Wheel Display

Pamela asked me if I would take a picture of all my Spinning Wheels together, so here they are! I made two others last year, but I obviously put them some place very safe... I can't find them!

How long does it take YOU to tat the Spinning Wheel pattern? I'd love to hear from all of you who have tatted this design. It takes me about an hour for each spoke or arm of the pattern. There are 9 spokes, so approximately 9 hours... if I don't have to retro-tat!

I think I'm a very slow tatter, especially after watching videos of others tatting. I don't care how long it takes, though... it's my way of relaxing!

Weaving at and for school

Earlier this year, I posted about our library theme for this school year... "Weave your way through the library."

My students started out weaving on an inkle loom. They really enjoyed this, but we had an unfortunate incident at our fall open house... some curious child pulled the weaving off the side. I haven't gotten around to fixing it yet, but all is not lost. There is enough completed weaving to make several bookmarks.

Since open house, students have been weaving on the peg looms I purchased. They're allowed to weave one row for every book or every 50 pages they read. The response has been wonderful! We have three completed pieces,

...and three almost ready to come off the looms. We'll make something for our new principal out of these weavings at the end of the school year.

I took one of my Weaveette looms to school to show the students how a pin loom works. They loved it! I've ordered another one to keep at school for student use. The kids liked the bookmarks I was weaving so much, that I decided to weave some for our Santa's Secret Shop. Our school colors are green and gold. I couldn't find the exact colors I wanted, but the kids really seem to like the Pistachio and Lemon Zest Read Heart Designer Sport that I chose. I started on our road trip last week. I was able to weave 47 plain weave bookmarks from the skein of Pistachio. For the Lemon Zest, I decided to follow the patterns in my book Modular Textures: Patterns for the Weavette & Weave-It Looms by Licia Conforti. I've complete 11 bookmarks so far. My goal is to weave two skeins worth of bookmarks to donate to Santa's Secret Shop.

It takes me about 20 minutes to weave a bookmark. I would dearly love to tat bookmarks for Santa's Secret Shop, but I know I could never tat as many as I can weave!