Thursday, July 31, 2008

Purl and Chain

Mom is going to wear me out! I've been busier since I arrived here than I've been the whole summer! We had a lovely day yesterday. We slept in until 6:10! That's late for both of us! We went to the dining room to get our morning coffee, then went to the courtyard to enjoy our coffee, the fresh air, and the morning breeze. Back in the apartment, we had bagels and fresh blueberries for breakfast... mmmmm! After breakfast we did a little shopping. I love tassels, and there's a place close by that has a wonderful selection of tassels at a reasonable price. Guess what? We bought some stuff! I'm sure those of you who have been reading my blog for a while are totally surprised by that! ; ) Then we went to Shoe Station for a pair of walking shoes for me. I didn't bring mine along (I needed room for precious cargo!), and Mom and I started this morning with a half hour walk on the treadmill. We had the exercise room all to ourselves... I wonder what everyone else was doing at 5:30 this morning? For the last 2 minutes of our walk, we sang... O, a capital ship for an ocean trip was the walloping Window Blind! My sisters Janet and Lisa would understand!

In the afternoon, Mom and I went to her Purl and Chain meeting... a group of ladies who knit and crochet items for fund raisers, hospitals and other health care facilities, and sometimes for themselves. Mom and I chose to take tatting yesterday. Mom decided to try Mary Konior's "Leaf Braid" from Tatting with Visual Patterns.

One of the gifts I gave Mom was a tatting bag. Mine's the one on the left. Of course, Mom's is the one on the right.

Before we left for the meeting, I managed to finish the first silk cross for Monnie's liturgical stole. I'm going to try and finish the three silk crosses by the weekend, then I'll move on to the cotton crosses for Julian's stole.

Bobbie is working on a beautiful ripple afghan in blue and orange. Of course I saw University of Illinois colors, but I was corrected... they're Auburn colors! Live and learn!

Marie is working on a ripple baby blanket. The yarn looks so soft!

Kay is in charge of marketing at Westminster Village, and she brought two boxes of yarn that had been donated for the ladies' use. She'll be organizing an auction for all the items these talented ladies make.

Mom finished this beautiful white afghan the night before the meeting. The pattern is called "Bear Claw" and I think it's beautiful!

We were invited to eat dinner in the dining room with some of the ladies who were not able to attend the meeting, and we had a wonderful time! We watched a movie after dinner, and then we were off to bed! I slept like someone hit me over the head with a brick! I can't wait to see what today brings!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Off to a great start!

I had the most uneventful trip to Alabama that you can imagine, which is a good thing! I was a little nervous, because I'd never flown out of O'Hare by myself before... I always had an experienced traveler with me to guide me through the process. I printed out my boarding pass at a kiosk, and went through security easily. It took me about 15 minutes to get from the front door to my gate! We had the smoothest take-off and landing that I have ever experienced, and we were on time! Mom met me at the front of the airport, and we headed to Olive Garden for lunch... soup and salad!

When we got to Mom's, it was time for her to open her presents... this linen hanky was my special gift to her. The edging is "Marguerite" (uh, oh... I've forgotten which book it's from... I think it's one of Mary Konior's designs), in Sherry Pence's "Pensacola Beach". When Sherry posted this thread, I knew I had to make something special for Mom. Dad's military service was held at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida. We'll probably drive over there the beginning of next week.

This is Sparkle Plenty, who appeared at Mom and Dad's doorstep about 10 years ago. Mom and Dad tried to find Sparkle's owner, and then one day, Mom came home and found paperwork from the vet showing that Sparkle Plenty was up-to-date on all her shots and had been adopted by Mom and Dad. She is the most lovable pooch you can imagine! She jumped in to bed with me twice last night, and I'm not exactly what you'd call an animal lover, but this dog has a special place in my heart!

This is my beautiful mother! She gave up her chair so that I could tat using her Ott Lite. Sparkle didn't quite understand what I was doing in Mom's chair!

Mom chose to frame "Beatrice"... twice! She was very unhappy with the first framing job, and she's still not pleased with this one. Some day she'll take it apart and straighten it out. Mom and I can be very picky when it comes to our needlework!

Mom also framed her bookmark. It's a little thick for the current thriller she's reading, but it does look nice on the wall! This is also destined for re-mounting. I got my eagle eye from Mom!

This afternoon... Purl & Chain Gang! What fun!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Blue on blue...

Oh, wait! That's such a sad song, and I'm far from being sad! I leave for Alabama tomorrow... two weeks with my beautiful, talented mother! Bonus... Tattycat and I will get to meet each other in person! Whoo hoo! Last September I got to meet Yarnplayer at the Harvest Festival. What fun it is to get to meet online tatting buddies in person!

I know I said "Eleonora" was calling to me (in Pamela's "Apple Blossom"), but "Pensacola Beach" kept telling me that since I was headed south, I really needed to use southern-inspired thread. So, I started my second "Beatrice" in "Pensacola Beach" last night. Of course, the shuttle I wanted to use still had some thread on it, so I used it on my favorite single shuttle pattern, "Leaf Braid" from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior. Then, I changed my mind and decided to use my new shuttle from Grizzly Mountain Arts! I can be so fickle!

So, my tatting bags are almost packed... HDT in silk and cotton for 6 crosses, supplies for "Eleonora" and "Beatrice", supplies for bookmarks, picot gauge, scissors, patterns... I hope I'm not forgetting anything! Now, I guess I'd better look into packing clothes for the trip...

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Yes, I've tatted another bookmark! I really like this insertion pattern, and I had some leftover thread on two shuttles that I want to take with me to Alabama. The purple is size 10 Flora, and the pastel is size 20 Rainbow Sherbet (I think) from Sherry Pence. I wanted to see how two different sized threads would work together. I don't think I'll make a practice of combining thread sizes, but it worked for this little bookmark, and it was a good way to use up the thread on the shuttles. I only had about 3" of each thread left when I finished... just enough to hide the ends!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Close, but no cigar!

I knew I wouldn't have enough Citrus LIMON to finish "Cornelia," but I gave it the old college try! I finished using up my last little bit of thread last night. I think this doily is absolutely stunning! In size 20 HDT it will measure about 10" across when I finish it. I guess since I've done all I can at this point, I'm free to start another project! I think I hear "Eleonora" calling my name!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oh, happy day!

I've received wonderful, inspirational mail yesterday and today! Clockwise, starting at the top... beautiful hand-dyed thread from Pamela Myers and a post card of her university; from Dave and Jo Stanbrough at Grizzly Mountain Arts a beautiful little button basket, necklace, and celluloid tatting shuttle (which I have been longing for... blue is my favorite color); a lovely ceramic shuttle from Sherry Pence aka LadyShuttleMaker (I can see that this one will hold tons of thread); and lusciously bright colors from Marilee Rockley aka Yarnplayer. I think it's time to stop spending and start tatting!

Small round purse

I finished the small round purse from Crochet - made easy by Anne-Lise Hald this morning. It's a gift for a friend, and I made a few minor changes to the pattern. The pattern shows the two circles joined about 3/4 of the way around with an open top. I thought that it would be nice to have a button closure, especially if it will be used as a little purse. The strap called for a crocheted chain, but I wanted something a little more substantial, so I used the pattern for cord #2 from Romanian Point Lace: A Course for Beginners by Sylvia Murariu. When I finished the cord, I thought a little bit of a ruffled edge would look nice, so I sent around the bag one more time.

When it was finished, I thought hmmm... looks like a perfect little tatting bag! So, I put a ball of Coats & Clark's tatting thread and a SewMate shuttle in the picture. I think my friend will really like this bag!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Taking a breather!

...or trying to! Saturday was Tiffany's wedding, and she was a beautiful bride! She used her tatted hanky as part of her bridal bouquet. The ring bearer was adorable, and he had the pillow clutched to his chest like it was his favorite stuffed animal. The wedding was about 2 1/2 hours away, so we got to bed way past our bedtime Saturday night. Somehow, I still managed to wake up around 6 in the morning!

Yesterday, daughter Carol and I drove up to my sister Janet's house to see her new living room furniture (very elegant looking and comfortable!), then we headed out to Janet's favorite store to try on FitFlops. Janet had bought a pair last week and said I had to try them on. I don't usually like anything between my toes, but Janet insisted that I try them, and then... she bought me a pair! I have to tell you, after walking around in them for several hours yesterday afternoon, I was amazed at the workout my legs got. Janet told me it was easier for her to get out of bed the morning after wearing them the first time, and guess what? It was easier for me to get out of bed this morning! I just have to get used to that feeling between my toes!

After shopping, we drove up to daughter Alison's house. Alison gave me this adorable scrapbooking basket made from Amy Butler fabric (Alison and I love Amy Butler's designs). I don't scrapbook, but it does make a great project basket! I'm working on a "Small Round Purse" from Crochet - made easy by Anne-Lise Hald. I typically don't buy beginner crochet books, but I fell in love with some of the projects in this one, and I just happen to have a little bit of crochet cotton around the house! ; )

Alison drove us up to McHenry for the Midwest Fiber Fest at McHenry Junior College. I probably have the name of the event and the place it was held wrong, but we had a wonderful time! Janet found a porcelain plate that had a patchwork effect and some vegetable ivory buttons. Carol found a beautiful blue vase. Granddaughter Eva found all sorts of yarn that she longed for... garish pink, blue, and yellow combinations that only a six-year-old could love! She settled for a pair of flip-flops decorated with fun fur, an origami crane, and a stuffed llama that she named Lucy at Aunt Carol's suggestion! Alison and I just enjoyed looking at and touching all the luxurious yarns (we both have way too much stash left to justify buying anything at this point). I did buy some HiyaHiya circular knitting needles. The vendor claimed they're nicer to work with than Addi Turbos (my favorite), so I just had to buy some to test them out! It was 8 p.m. by the time Carol and I got home, and I was beat!

I had a little time to read blogs this morning before thunder storms rolled through. Maria is working on a beautiful knit doily in size 30 thread. I told her I'd post pictures of what I'm working on... here you go! The peach is a baby blanket for daughter Andrea. I'm just using the basic dishcloth pattern that I love. When I want to think about a pattern or worry about how much yarn I have, this is the pattern I turn to! The green is "Fiddlehead Scarf" by Anne Hanson. I love Anne's designs, and her blog is a lot of fun to read! The cream color is a scarf from Victorian Lace Today. I know I've put the book some place very safe (in other words I don't know where it is right now), so I can't tell you the name of the pattern, but it is mesmerizing!

Did you see Elizabeth's cross pattern today? It is beautiful! I did try tatting it, and Elizabeth's directions are perfect. I just had a hard time following directions (must have been the headache I had before the storm front rolled through), so I wound up with too many picots in one spot and not enough pattern repeats in another spot. I will tat this beautiful little cross correctly, but I have no picture of it to show now.

So, how am I taking a breather? It's after 1 p.m. and I have accomplished nothing today except this post and reading blogs! I've been having fun!

Friday, July 18, 2008

No time for tatting!

Not much anyway! I've been busy making baby quilts, flannel blankets, and baby hats for daughter Andrea's baby, due in September. I have three flannel blankets to go, and a tooth fairy pillow for Lily.

As far as tatting goes, I have about 2 repeats left of Cornelia, but I'm running out of Citrus LIMON. Luckily, Sherry's going to dye some more for me!

I received Fortune from Marilee... oh, what lovely colors blended together! They don't look very nice in this scan (I think my scanner is on its last leg), but if you go to Marilee's Etsy shop, you'll see how beautiful this thread is! As soon as my order arrived, I wound the skeins on to floss bobbins. I'll work on the crosses while I'm at Mom's. I think I'll probably work on some bookmarks while I'm there too, since they're so easy to finish and so very pretty!

I'm getting very excited about my trip to Alabama! I leave in a week and a half, and I'll be at Mom's for two weeks. Thank goodness for air conditioning... I'd never be able to stand the heat and humidity!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back on track...

It's taken me a couple of weeks, but I'm finally back to the spot where I found my mistake. See how the large rings join to make a floral motif? My mistake was that I forgot to join the second large ring to the first large ring. Now, all is well, and I can proceed with caution! I think Cornelia will be stunning when she's finished!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Remember the Bing Crosby tune about counting blessings instead of sheep? That's what I was doing last night. I just wasn't tired, and it took me a long time to fall asleep. It was cool enough to sleep with the windows open, and the frogs and crickets were in full voice! If I fall asleep before they get started, I have no problems, but last night the little creatures beat me to the punch!

Dave spent most of his vacation week working in the garden. He said he needs another week to finish up, but since gardens, yardwork, and housework are always works in progress, I'm pretty sure he just meant that he didn't accomplish all he wanted! This picture is of my favorite little flower bed. I can see it from my computer/sewing room. There's a honeysuckle vine climbing up the pole... the yellow and white kind that smells so heavenly! Dave's pink oleander tree is in its third season, and the trellis he built will soon have mandevilla climbing to the top. I have several bird baths in the yard, but this one is the favorite. I've seen robins, finches, and cardinals in it so far this year. See all those beautiful rocks? About 15 years ago, Dave made deliveries in southern Indiana, and there was a farmer who had piles of rocks. Dave asked the florist about the rocks... the florist knew the farmer... the farmer wanted the rocks gone... and Dave collected rocks for the entire summer! The girls would groan every Wednesday (or was it Thursday... maybe Tuesday) because they knew we would be unloading rocks at the end of the day! But, we have rocks accenting all of our garden areas, and all they cost us was some time and labor.

Here's my resident gardener resting for a moment. When we first moved to the farm 26 years ago, there were no trees. A man stopped by one day and asked if we would like to trade vegetable plants for trees. We said yes, and expected to receive maybe three trees. After all, trees last a lot longer than vegetables! Jake gave us 44 white pines... enough to plant a wind screen on the north and west sides of our little trailer. Some have died out, and Dave's cut off a lot of dead lower branches, but is was the beginning of our landscaping project.

When we first moved to the farm, the only sounds we heard came from the semis and cars passing by. It was very lonely. But now, thanks to my wonderful husband and his love of gardening, we hear frogs, crickets, birds, and the sounds of water from the pond/waterfall in the front yard. I can sit on my front porch swing and read or do handwork and enjoy all this beauty... until the mosquitoes attack!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


...for real this time! Dave dug a trench for the new cable on Wednesday, and the tech guy came out yesterday to move the dish from the house to the shed. He also had to replace the power supply, which was corroded. How does it corrode in a year? In the house? Any way, maybe I'll get to catch up on my blog reading today... my connection the other day was very temporary... just long enough for a quick post. Of course, now thunderstorms are rolling in... I just heard a rumble... one flash of lightening and I'm off the computer!

Sorry... no pictures today. In fact, I think I'll have to take a break from all handwork for a few days. Yes, I overdid it this week, and I can really feel it in my arm. I go for x-rays Monday and a follow-up with the surgeon on Tuesday. So I think I'll just take it easy until then.

There's a flash! I hope the weather clears so I can read what you all have been up to!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Connection woes...

I've felt lost since last Wednesday afternoon... my Internet connection has been giving me fits! The tech came out to check out the problem today, and of course I wasn't home. The problem... our tree on the south side of the driveway has grown enough that it blocks the signal from the tower... sometimes. If I had been home, I would have had them move the dish right away. Instead, the tech tweaked it as much as he could and suggested moving the dish to the top of the shed. Anyway, since my connection would sometimes fizzle out 30 seconds into my session, I haven't been able to keep up very well!

I've been working on my T.A.T. apprentice level with Bonnie. No pictures to post, but I'm learning a lot from this program! I finally finished undoing my major mistake in Cornelia, so I can get back to tatting that little beauty! Since I have so many works in progress, I've decided to take my tatted crosses with me when I visit Mom in early August... I can tat while she weaves!

My daughter Andrea told me what goodies she'd like for the new baby (due in Sept.), so I've been working on baby quilts, flannel blankets, and hats. I sewed up two little sun dresses for Eva and Lily... Disney princess sun dresses, of course! Eva loves Sleeping Beauty, and Lily loves Cinderella... excuse me, Cinderelly! I guess I'd better think of something for Aidan... I don't want him to feel left out!

Now, it's time to catch up on reading blogs! I've missed reading about everything everyone's making! I'll try to do something picture-worthy soon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tatting Together Square Motifs edited by Iris Niebach

Tatting Together Square Motifs is the result of a tatting course taught by Iris in Denmark. The challenge was create "a square motif in only one round or more rounds without interruption"... a very difficult challenge, in my humble opinion! Twelve very talented tatters contributed to this book.

I hope my little reviews inspire you to try at least one of Iris's patterns. Iris, thank you for publishing your lovely books and for providing me with hours of pure pleasure!

Tatting Fantasia 2 by Iris Niebach

Oh my goodness! Talk about inspiration! Tatting Fantasia 2 is totally about variations on a theme... ovals! I love ovals! They fit in places where circles, squares, hexagons, and octagons are just too big! Of course, for extra inspiration, Iris includes motifs at the back of the book that just call out to be part of something spectacular... think striped blocks, triangles, squares, hexagons. This looks like the most challenging of Iris's books to me, but how boring would life be without challenges? I think you will not be disappointed with this book!

Tatting Fantasia by Iris Niebach

Did I say Tatted Doilies is my favorite Iris Niebach book? I may have lied! Tatting Fantasia is a fabulous book! Again, everything is clearly explained and diagrammed. This book includes three doilies, three hexagons, three squares, and three edgings. What more could a tatter ask for?

If the tatting pattern police do knock at my door, I may have to find a good hiding place for my Iris Niebach pattern books... maybe in my sewing room!

Tatted Doilies by Iris Niebach

If the tatting pattern police ever stopped by my house and told me I could only keep one Iris Niebach book, this would be the one... thank goodness there are no tatting pattern police!

Tatted Doilies by Iris Niebach has 12 beautiful doilies, plus photos of two variations of one of the doilies. There are examples of every doily shape I can think of: round, oval, square, hexagon, octagon. I know, I didn't mention rectangle, but I think even I could figure out how to put two squares together to make a rectangle! As always, Iris includes detailed explanations of techniques and beautifully diagrammed patterns.

Of course, I love doilies! If I had never learned to tat, I would spend all of my time crocheting doilies. I love giving gifts of lace, and to me, a doily is a usable work of art. If you don't like doilies decorating your furniture, you can always frame them and hang them on the wall, which is what Mom chose to do with the Iris doily I made for her.

Iris by Iris Niebach

Zarina has asked me to review Iris Niebach's books, and I am happy to share my opinion of each with you. Actually, I'm flattered that I've been asked! I'll post each review separately so that my blog entries aren't terrifically long. The librarian in me says, "Review them in alphabetical order by title." So, that's how I'll do this. Unfortunately, my copy of Iris's newest book hasn't arrived yet (maybe today), so alphabetical order will be a little off!

First, let me tell you that I am terribly biased when it comes to Iris's designs. I mean no offense to any other designers... Iris is my favorite! I look at her books over and over again. For me, Iris's designs are like my favorite novels... I never grow tired of reading her patterns. I am fascinated by the "character" of each design. I understand more each time I go through one of her patterns. There are details that leave me awe-struck! Some day I hope that I will have a complete collection of all of Iris's patterns tatted by me (a little redundant, but I'm sure you'll forgive me). The designs are not hard to follow, but they do take concentration... at least for me! I am currently working on my third doily by Iris. I found that I forgot an important join (I've done that with every piece I've ever tatted... you'd think I'd learn from my mistakes!), so I've been retro-tatting for about a week (I am very slow and careful). Is it worth it? Yes! As I carefully pick out each of my mistakes, I learn more about designing, and I'm learning to be patient! Thank you, Iris, for sharing your genius with all of us!

Iris is a beautiful little book with wonderful explanations and illustrations. The first pattern is a detailed illustration of the design element that makes up the Iris doily motif, which is a square. Iris then takes you through the steps to create a triangle, using the motif design. Following the idea of variations on a theme, Iris next presents the edging, which can border the doily or can be used as an edging on its own. A beautiful butterfly design is next, then an explanation of striped block tatting.

I highly recommend all of Iris's books!