Thursday, January 30, 2014

The kids want tatting!

That's what several of them told me yesterday.

So, last night I pulled out one of my favorite threads, Lizbeth #149, a shuttle, and Patti Duff's Minitats. Once again, it took me three times to tat this motif correctly, but I have three pieces for the kids to choose from.

I really need to go through my sewing room. I know I have lots of motifs that I can share with them. My goal is to have my little tin overflowing with motifs so that the kids can choose one they like whenever they achieve a goal.

One more child asked to learn how to tat yesterday. That means that out of 53 third graders, 52 have asked for a shuttle. Isn't that amazing? Only about half of them are practicing on a regular basis, but I'm okay with that. I'm just thrilled that so many have shown any interest at all!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sun Dogs

We had Monday and Tuesday off school because of blowing and drifting snow and frigid temperatures. You'd think that I'd sleep in, but I didn't. One advantage to getting up early is watching the sun rise. Yesterday's was spectacular! I admit, I didn't notice at first. Dave called me to the window to see. I might have missed seeing this if he had left for work on time.

I had read about sun dogs and I've seen pictures before, but until yesterday I had never seen them myself. Aren't they amazing? Dave took the picture for me... it was way too cold and windy for me to be outside!

Increase section with eyelets... unintentional!

I've been doing some knitting. I figured that a little different hand and arm motion might help out with my wrist and elbow, and I was right. This is a Saroyan scarf, pattern by Liz Abinante. You can find it on Ravelry if you're interested. My sister-in-law gave me some yarn for Christmas, and I was very excited, because it appeared that I'd be able to make the scarf with one skein... wrong!

Sometimes I just don't read carefully. I actually needed two skeins, nearly 400 yards, to complete this scarf, but by the time I realized it, I was nearly halfway through knitting it. I decided to only knit three pattern repeats for the center section instead of the ten shown on the pattern, making it a shorter scarf. By the time I finished, I realized that I probably had enough yarn to knit four pattern repeats in the center. Oh, well!

The pattern is divided into three sections. The first section is increasing to the desired depth. Six pattern repeats were used for the sample. Even though I haven't followed a knitting pattern for ages, I thought I remembered everything I needed to know. Oh, how I wish I'd refreshed my memory! About three pattern repeats into the decrease section, I noticed that there was no eyelet next to the leaves. There was on the increase section.

Decrease section without eyelets, as it is supposed to be. Oops! I made a big mistake at the end!
As I neared the end of the scarf, I realized that I wasn't going to have enough stitches to complete the decrease pattern at the end. I know I made a mistake somewhere, I'm just not sure where! The scarf won't go to waste. I have a friend whose daughter loves to dress up. I'm going to offer the scarf to her for dress-up. That way someone will love it, and I won't have to see it! ;-)

Now that I know where I made my mistakes, I've started another. So far, so good! I think this will be my sister-in-law's Christmas present next year. Since she chose the yarn, I'm sure she'll love it!

I'm slowly easing back in to tatting. Yesterday morning I took out my Minitats by Patti Duff. Lelia at Stitches of Life II has been working her way through this book, and she has tatted some beautiful samples! I didn't think I had enough thread left on the shuttle for another motif, so I decided to turn it into a bookmark. I don't think this is especially appealing, but I had fun.

I'm way behind on Jane's T.I.A.S., because I was having trouble with my split rings. As you can see, I did manage three here. They were torturous! I just can't seem to develop the correct rhythm for split rings, and I certainly struggle when picots have to be added, especially when they're on the second half. I'm not giving up yet, but it may be summer before I manage to finish!

Mom's dark green Spinning Wheel is coming along slowly but surely. With any luck, I'll have it to her in time for Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fancy Pants

I needed a way to encourage my third graders to improve their tatting. How could I do it? They were so excited to learn the double stitch. What could possibly be better than the double stitch? Then I remembered the title of Donna Edwards' book, Fancy Pants.

I told the kids that the next step after learning the double stitch was to learn "fancy pants." It worked! I now have kids telling me that they're still practicing the double stitch, and they'll let me know when they're ready for fancy pants. I have others who come to me eager to learn the secret of fancy pants. This is so much fun!

I love seeing the way kids learn. Some spend time learning from YouTube videos that they can view on my iPad.

Others sit in small groups and help each other, and there are some who want some one-on-one time with me.

They come to the library after lunch, and they work on their tatting after they've completed their library work for the day. Some of them even start tatting in the cafeteria as soon as they finish their lunch. Isn't it great?

Fox was kind enough to send some goodies for the kids to choose from when they achieve goals. I've told them that they may select one item from the goody box once they've tatted six inches of fancy pants.

Alexis was the first to reach the goal. Her tatting is beautiful! As you can see, she chose one of the motifs that Fox sent. Next week, Alexis will add picots to her chains, and she'll get to choose different thread colors. There are several girls who are close behind, so I expect to be opening the goody box again on Monday!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gung ho tatters

Three of my third graders needed thread today, because they've been practicing their chains. I was so excited to have them wind more thread onto their floss bobbins! After they perfect their chains, we'll move on to rings.

They love their shuttles, and they love learning to tat! Today I gave the two third grade teachers shuttles and thread. Who knows? Maybe we'll have a local tatting chapter yet! ;-)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Drifted in

I'm not saying we're snowed in, because it isn't snowing... that was yesterday! Dave went out and ran the snowblower this morning so that I could get out and go to church, but within 20 minutes we couldn't see the path. So, I'm playing it safe and staying home.

Yesterday was a wonderful day! Tollway Tatters met... Sue Anna, Marilee, Barbara, Alison, and me. Not everyone could attend, but it was a nice restful time to get together. I'm always pleased to spend time with my tatting friends, even if we have to cut the time short as we did yesterday. We met at 10, and by 11:30 it was snowing. We usually stay until 2, 3, or even 4 o'clock, but yesterday we decided it would be wiser to leave around 1. The roads were nasty down by my house, so I'm glad we headed home early. I think this was the first time that not one of us remembered to take pictures of the group!

Have you seen Marilee's new book? I've been waiting for the hard copy, have to have that autographed you know, but I now have the digital version, a gift from Sue Anna. Thank you, Sue Anna! The designs are fabulous!

Sue Anna and I participated in a little retail therapy...

Between the two of us, we managed to deplete Marilee's inventory of Snowflake HDT, sizes 10, 20, 40, and 80. I love this color combination! Sue Anna also gave me a flat shuttle made by "'im in the garage" and sold by Jane Eborall. I love flat shuttles, and there's nothing like the feel of wood!

As promised, I have not been tatting much this week, and as a result, my elbow is feeling much better. I'm going to take it very slowly for the next couple of weeks to make sure it is completely healed. Can you guess what pattern this is? Mom asked for it in dark green, and I just happened to have some on hand.

The blinged shuttle was decorated by a former student of mine. I now have her children in school. How can that be possible? Anyway, Rachel does amazing things with acrylic nail polish, and she truly surprised me with this example of her work! It makes my bling efforts look really primitive. Will that stop me? Of course not!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tollway Tatters

I know it's late notice, but Sue Anna and I decided early this morning that we need a dose of tatting companionship. We've decided to meet this Saturday, January 18, at the Hinsdale Oasis on 294. If you're in the Chicago metropolitan area this weekend and would like to join us, we'd love to meet you for some tatting and chatting! We meet at 10:00 a.m. and leave when the spirit moves us. Email me for details if you'd like to attend and need more information.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The poorest hostess of all

My deepest apologies to the tatting community, especially Tatskool. Feargal and Miss Scarlett are safe and sound, and have been resting in my sewing room since last April. As you can see, they have been helping Killian keep watch over my mess. I know you can't see the mess, but they can!

I am embarrassed beyond belief that I have been so inconsiderate. Until today, I have not acknowledged the receipt of these two little guests, and until this afternoon I had not really looked into the box. I am so very sorry for my poor manners. I promise that Feargal and Miss Scarlett will continue their journey tomorrow. However, I may let them visit with my third graders before they leave!

In other news, I am taking a break from tatting. Oh, I do slip in a ring and chain here and there, but I need to rest my left wrist and my right elbow. I think I just got too tense trying to get Doily 4 finished in time for Christmas. It certainly wasn't the amount of time I spent tatting, because I've always tried to tat for an hour or two each evening. I've been doing some stretching exercises, and they are helping tremendously, but I know if I get back into the groove too quickly, it will take a lot longer for everything to feel right!

I have 15 more tatting shuttles to decorate for my third graders. Only 8 more asked to be put on the list, but if I bling 15, every student will be able to participate. Who knows? Maybe their classroom teachers will want to learn as well!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Green Coral Sea...

This certainly isn't a snowflake color, but I couldn't find my ball of Snow White anywhere, and this was close at hand.

This is Snowflake 4 from Snowflake Roses by Denise Munoz. I'm not a big fan of dimpled rings, but I think I did okay for my first try.

The third graders received their shuttles and thread today, and they were all so appreciative and excited. I even had six more boys ask if they could learn to tat, for a total of 38 third graders! I think that's amazing! Their task today was to learn how to wrap the ball thread around their fingers. We'll progress from there. ;-)

Oh, and that missing ball of Snow White... it was on my dresser!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Warming up

Yes, it is warming up. We are now up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit, truly tropical compared to yesterday! It looks like we'll be back at school tomorrow. This is the longest Christmas break I've ever had, and I've enjoyed every moment of it!

Today I finished putting the tatting pouches together for my third graders. I'm really looking forward to passing them out tomorrow!

I also finished Snowflake 3 from Snowflake Roses by Denise Munoz. This was a fun tat, and I really like the way it turned out!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Making the most of an extra day off...

Dave and I worked on taking down Christmas decorations today. We're not done, but we did make a big dent in what needs to be accomplished. School has been called off for tomorrow. Blowing and drifting snow and the extremely cold temperatures are to blame. I'm not complaining, because I'm getting so much accomplished!

I started Jane's T.I.A.S. I hope I'm able to keep up this year. This will be my chance to work on my split rings, and I'll finally learn the SCMR. It's not that I can't learn these on my own. Somehow, Jane manages to break the elements into bits that don't seem overwhelming. I'm using size 20 Lizbeth #171, because it was the first ball of size 20 thread I saw when I walked into my sewing room. The Clover shuttles were sitting right next to me, just waiting for a new project. It will be easy to keep track of my shuttles. Since blue is my favorite color, it will be easy to remember that it's shuttle #1!

Yesterday and today I worked on decorating tatting shuttles for the 32 third graders who want to learn. Our school colors are green and gold, so I filled the shuttles with size 10 gold. I found these little drawstring bags at Firemountain Gems. Tomorrow I'll wind off some dark green thread on floss bobbins and I'll stuff their little bags.

I'm excited that so many kids are interested in tatting. However, I'm not really expecting 32 tatters out of this experience. If just one child becomes truly interested in tatting, I'll be thrilled!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The big snow

We've been hearing for days about the big snow headed our way. I tend to ignore predictions of monumental snowfalls, because I love snow and I am sorely disappointed when it passes us by. However, this time the weather man seems to be right!

I woke up at 3:30 this morning, and I just had to take some pictures.

Dave's been out running the snowblower for over two hours, and the snow is still falling. Still, it's not the falling snow that's causing concern, but the expected high winds and frigid temperatures. We're all set for being snowed in. We just hope the power stays on!

Yesterday I decided to use up thread on the shuttles to tat Ruth Perry's Tatted Christmas Tree 2013, a delightful pattern that doesn't take much time or much thread.

This morning I finished Snowflake 2 from Snowflake Roses by Denise Munoz. I think it's beautiful!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Much better!

I am happy to report that I successfully tatted Snowflake #1 from Snowflake Roses by Denise Munoz!

There are no extra picots, no extra bits of chain, just a pretty snowflake! I even finished the ends the way I like this time, incorporating a jump ring and a pretty little S hook from Wirestorm Creations.

Dave jokingly told me that he could tell the difference, but I know that he could look at the two for hours and not see anything awry. Still, I took the time to please myself!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Back to beads...

I have enough beads to start a shop, inspired by all the beaded beauty I see in Tat-land!

Before re-tatting Snowflake #1 from Snowflake Roses by Denise Munoz, I decided to clear my mind by tatting something familiar, Doodad Snowflake #1. With all the snowflakes I tatted in December, I only used half a tube of pink beads. For January, I've switched to my favorite color... blue!

I thought you might like to see the difference in snowflake sizes. It looks like my Doodad Snowflake could be a different center for Snowflake #1. Oh, the possibilities!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dealing with imperfection

Christmas may be over, but I'm not finished with snowflakes yet. I may have to tat snowflakes all year long! However, I need to get back into the tatting groove. I took a much needed week off from tatting. My wrists and elbows were really bothering me from working so hard on finishing my sister-in-law's doily. I think I must have tensed up with the deadline looming, because I really didn't tat for long periods of time each day. 

The day after Christmas, we headed off for Alabama to visit Mom. It was 50 degrees warmer in Alabama, and it was nice to have some down time. We drove down to the Gulf so that Carol could dip her toes in the water. Then we drove to Pensacola to visit Dad's gravesite. We had a wonderful lunch at Molly McGuire's, inspiring me to buy a cookbook so that I can make Senate Bean Soup, bread pudding, and maybe even boxty! We visited some of our favorite shops and even purchased a few things... surprise! Isn't retail therapy grand?

Anyway, back to snowflakes...

I was tempted to tat some more doodad snowflakes with different beads, but there were so many beautiful snowflakes tatted before Christmas, that I decided I should open up some of my snowflake pattern books and try something different!

This is Snowflake #1 from Snowflake Roses by Denise Munoz. I made multiple mistakes while tatting this snowflake, so I didn't finish it in one day as I had anticipated. Then, when I went to give it a shot of steam this morning, I noticed that two of my small rings have an extra picot and three ds. I guess I'll just have to tat this one again.

Still, it looks pretty on the tree!