Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A question about blocking

One of the Ice Drop Addicts on Facebook asked me if I block my Ice Drops. The answer... it depends on the Ice Drop!

Today I tatted Frivolity in size 20 Lizbeth #116, Christmas Delight. As you can see, it is quite ruffled. This one definitely needs to be blocked!

It doesn't take long... just six little pins, a shot of steam all around, and...

a beautiful Ice Drop is ready for the tree!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Seeing red

Yes, I've tatted another Frivolity Ice Drop in red. I just can't help myself. It looks so festive!

My Greyson Waves Lace Scarf is coming along nicely. Normally, I would prefer a solid color scarf, but I'm enjoying the color changes. It's easy to set goals and complete them, and it's easy to see the pattern develop.

I did switch knitting needles today. I had been using Inox circulars that are probably at least 20 years old. At the time, they were the best knitting needles I could find. However, I've found that the cables on the newer needles are so much nicer to use. They don't kink up, and they cable part is thinner. I've only knit a few rows with the new needles, but I can definitely tell a difference!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

November Tollway Tatters

We had a beautiful day for our Tollway Tatters meeting! A couple driving through Illinois from Wisconsin stopped to see what we were doing, and they walked away with an Ice Drop. It pays to stop and ask what we're all about!

We had such a good day, we decided to set our next meeting date: Saturday, January 11, 2020. We agree that if there is snow in the forecast or if it's bitterly cold, we will not meet. We all travel too far to take any chances with the weather. Last year, the beginning of January was extremely mild. Of course since we decided to try and meet, the weather changed and we had to cancel. We'll see what happens this year!

Mary brought Catherine with her today. Catherine is multi-talented; she spins, weaves, knits, crochets, and tats! I may have missed something, but I think that pretty much covers her list of skills!

Mary is working on a beautiful needle tatted edging. She also brought along some books for us to look at.

Catherine was working on some motifs in a beautiful grey crochet cotton.

Sue Anna and Glenda were super cheerful as usual! Sue Anna was working on Joelle Paulson's Astrila. I thought I got a picture of it, but apparently I didn't.

Glenda worked on and off as her arm allowed her. We were so glad she was able to join us. She had to miss our last meeting, because she had broken her arm right before our meeting.

Carrie was tatting tiny angels for a friend of hers. I think she managed to tat them all today!

Denise wasn't able to join us today. Luckily, Kathy was able to go along. The drive is much more fun with a friend or two along!

Kathy brought along some of her hand-made soap to share with us. I can't wait to try it out!

I worked on a Frivolity Ice Drop, but I ran out of thread. To top it off, I left my ball of thread at home! I did have a shuttle wound for a Curds & Whey bookmark, but I made a major mistake at the beginning of the second pattern repeat. So, I snipped off my tatting and gave up for the day.

When I got home, Dave and I headed off to Menards to buy some Christmas lights. Now, it's time to relax!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Marlene called

My friend Marlene from Minnesota contacted me yesterday to let me know how much she likes my Frivolity Ice Drop. However, she was a bit confused by the back and forth of the one pass method, and she wasn't clear as to when to switch shuttles.

I'm not a big fan of the one pass method. I think it looks nice, but I get confused trying to keep track of where I am, and it takes me longer to finish a one pass Ice Drop than one following my basic pattern.

I wanted to show Marlene that the Frivolity pattern can be tatted using my original basic pattern. Simply tat the basic Ice Drop, and then add the second and third rounds. As for switching shuttles, it's really not necessary until the last round. Even then, it would be easy enough to use the shoelace trick to tat the rings.

Here are the two together. The one on the left follows my basic pattern. The one on the right is the one pass method as the Frivolity pattern is written. As you can see, there's not much difference. The only difference is the extra round of chains surrounding the glass gem, a look I really like.

Because I don't have enough projects going, I decided to join a Marly Bird knit-along. This is The Greyson Waves Lace Scarf that uses three balls of Chic Sheep, which I just happened to have in the house!

Although I'm not a beginning knitter, I do appreciate the YouTube video that accompanies the pattern. It seems that every designer has a slightly different way of notating one stitch or another, and the video tutorial really helps clarify all techniques.

My friend Jennifer is knitting this one along with me. It's fun to keep each other motivated to finish a project!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sticking with red

Lizbeth Christmas Red is so cheerful, I decided to stick with it. There are several staff members at school who I would like to give a Christmas gift to, and I think my Frivolity Ice Drop will be the perfect gift. So, you can expect to see various color combinations until I have what I need completed. I think I may need a few for my tree as well!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Frivolity in red

It felt good to get back to school today. Yes, I am tired, and I'm pretty sure I'll sleep well tonight!

Today's project was another Frivolity Ice Drop, this time in red. It took me most of the day, and I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. I'll bet you've guessed that this one will probably go to Mom!

Ready to go!

Enough of this sitting around feeling sick! Today I am ready to go! I won't take on any extra duties this week, but I will be happy to get back to my routine of supervising kids eating their lunch. I know my job is pretty mundane, but I like it. Daughter Carol told me that some of the kids have been asking about me. It's kind of nice to be missed!

My big achievement today was to tat a Frivolity Ice Drop. One of the Ice Drop Addicts asked for clarification, and I was happy to oblige. It's been a while since I've tatted this pattern, and I'm glad I took the time to tat it again!

Another one of the Ice Drop Addicts members asked to see the back side. I often forget that the back is just as pretty as the front!

Of course checking out Facebook meant that I also spent quite a bit of time checking up on blogs. Boy, am I behind! I don't think I have time to read AND comment on everything that's happened in the past week and a half. Please don't be offended if I haven't responded to one of your comments or haven't commented on your blog posts. There just isn't enough time in my day!

After dinner, I managed to tat a basic Ice Drop. My table for Christmas in the Village is going to be very sparse this year. I guess that happens when you give all your tatting away!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

One more day

I've been home sick with what turned out to be a sinus and ear infection for well over a week now. I finally managed to get to the doctor over the weekend, and I'm on four different medications. I do feel better, but Dave asked me to stay home and rest for one more day, so that's what I'm going to do.

As you can imagine, I wasn't really in the mood to do much of anything. Still, I managed to finish a Curds & Whey bookmark with what I had left of Marilee Rockley's Beach Cafe. I would have preferred one more pattern repeat and a tassel out of the same thread, but this one's for me and I'm happy to have it!

Ice Drops still cheer me up! I love that I can tat one so quickly and have something pretty to hang on my tree.

On Thursday I received my newest roly poly bag from Jane Eborall. I love these little bags! They're perfect for carry-along projects. Yes I could, and probably should, make something similar and start using up my fabric stash, but this one suited me perfectly and I was thrilled to be able to purchase it!

Yesterday I was feeling quite a bit better, and I decided a red ribbon would finish off this Ice Drop perfectly. Red is my mom's favorite color, and I think of her whenever I work with it. If you want it, Mom, this one's for you!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Sick day

I stayed home with a really nasty cold yesterday and today. It's been a long time since I've been this stuffed up and practically voiceless. I'm getting tired of drinking hot liquids, but I'm about to brew some more tea before heading off to bed.

Since I stayed home, I had plenty of time to tat. I finished this Curds & Whey bookmark that I had started last week. The pattern is from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior. I've given most of my bookmarks away, so I'm repeating colors with the hope of having enough for Christmas in the Village.

Today I worked on Motif #3 from DMC Festive Tatting. This is the first round, and I think it looks great just like this. This round is actually six motifs joined together, so there's a lot of cutting, tying, and hiding ends. I'm sure someone with more brain power than I currently have could figure out how to tat this more efficiently.

The pattern called for a second round. I finished it, but I prefer the motif without the second round. Which one is your preference?

Monday, November 4, 2019

If at first you don't succeed...

I was very proud of my first attempt at Joelle Paulson's Astrila, until I realized I'd missed a join! I felt I had nothing to worry about. After all, I had successfully joined on the second half of a split ring, and I had managed to make a picot on the second half of a split ring.

Feeling bold, I started over... and over... and over. Three times I tried, and I could not get that join on the second half of the split ring.

I was tired, and too lazy to watch a YouTube video, so I just made the center the old fashioned way (cut, tie, hide the ends, and start round two). That didn't work well, either. On round 2 (there is no round 2 in Joelle's beautiful pattern), I wasn't following the pattern carefully, because I thought I knew what I was doing. I was so wrong. I made a mess of it!

Luckily, my next attempt worked out perfectly!

I liked it so much, I tatted a second. I feel like I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Little by little

I subbed in preschool today, which really wore me out. I had hoped to finish Astrila by Joelle Paulson today, but I'm happy to complete it little by little!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Yarn shopping always puts me in the mood to knit, especially when I find beautiful yarns! I'm eager to start with the yarns I purchased this weekend, but I need to finish my Reyna shawl that's already on the needles. I finished the next garter section before heading off to school. I have two more mesh and two more garter sections to go.

I'm subbing every day this week, so there really isn't much time for tatting, knitting, or crocheting. Still, I eek out every moment that I can.

I was one of three lucky winners of Frivole's new snowflake pattern, Astrila. This one is a challenge for me, because it has split rings. I can tat split rings, but they seem to take me forever! I'm hoping that by tatting several of this beautiful pattern, I'll become more comfortable with the technique.

The first two split rings were the most difficult for me. The first one has a join on the second half of the split ring. Following some tips that Tim emailed me, I was able to join successfully. I did have to fiddle with the thread to make the ring look right, but I think I did okay.

The second split ring has a picot on the second half. My picot is huge! I'll get better, but it's obvious that I need lots of practice. The rest of the split rings are small, and I've been able to tat them just fine.

Now that I'm in a rhythm with this pattern, I'm really enjoying it. This may become my Christmas snowflake for this year!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Time flies!

Saturday was a very rainy day. Luckily, Garry got our soybeans out on Friday... one less chore checked off the list!

I react to rainy days one of two ways. I'm either energetic and accomplish a lot around the house, or I sit in my chair and read or craft. Saturday, I sat in my chair and worked on my 12 Step Sampler Blanket. I've finished the first 34 rows, and I'm now to the point where I go back to row 2 and crochet through row 34 until it's the length I'd like it to be. Right now, it's 12" long, and I know I want it to be at least 5' long. With my stellar math skills, I was able to calculate that I need four more repeats of this section. Keeping all of this in mind will help me stay motivated!

Saturday afternoon, Dave and I went shopping in Kankakee for Christmas lights. Everyone will be here for Christmas this year, and when all the grandchildren come, Dave pulls out all the stops on decorating. He has started hanging outdoor lights, while the weather is fairly decent. However, lights will not be turned on until after Thanksgiving. Inside decorating will begin the day after Thanksgiving. So, we slogged through puddle-filled parking lots and pulled up our collars against the rain and went shopping for one string of lights and decorating ideas. I'm beginning to think that pictures of decorations are just fine!

On Sunday, Dave went to take care of our friends' farm to take care of their animals. Then, he went to school to help daughter Carol organize and clean up props for the plays. After all of that, he came home to hang Christmas lights. We have an agreement that Dave will not go up on the roof if no one's around. We are getting older and a little more unsteady. Dave must have been feeling very sure of himself yesterday, because he had quite a few lights up when I returned home.

Where was I? I spent the afternoon yarn shopping with daughter Alison, granddaughter Eva, and Grandma Cindy (Eva's other grandma) at Elgin Knit Works. Alison bought yarn for a cowl for herself and a hat for Eva. Eva helped choose colors, but had no desire to practice her knitting or crocheting skills. Cindy and I each purchased one skein of Road to China and two skeins of Malabrigo, although not the same colors. We 're going to keep each other motivated to knit Summer Sky by Janina Kallio in Road to China, and Reyna by Noora Backlund in Malabrigo. Cold weather knitting, I am ready for you!

Friday, October 25, 2019

A little of this, a little of that

There was no school today due to parent/teacher conferences, so I had time to catch up on some housework and play with all of my goodies!

I practiced my needle lace again. There are lots of mistakes here. I was able to "pose" it to hide my mistakes. I'll probably try again tomorrow.

I worked some more on my 12 Step Sampler Blanket. Working in color was more interesting, but working in one solid color makes it easier to see the stitch patterns.

I worked on my hanky edging for a while. I'm already wondering if I have enough thread!

Knitting has taken a back seat for a while. Luckily, "Reyna" is an easy pattern to pick up and put down. I'm planning on going to visit daughter Alison on Sunday, and since we're planning on going yarn shopping, I figured I'd better get back into knitting mode!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Time for crochet

I was given 12 skeins of Lion Brand Pound of Love yesterday, and I was eager to start crocheting. I decided to start with the 12 Step Sampler Blanket, a pattern that I crocheted last year. When I crocheted the blanket last year, I used a variety of multi-colored I Love This Yarn skeins from Hobby Lobby. I love the way it turned out, but ever since I finished it, I've been thinking of crocheting it in one color. The time is here!

At lunchtime today, my high school crochet group asked the principal if it would be possible for them to meet with me every school day. Typically, high school students sign up for the Learning Commons on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while middle school students sign up for Tuesday and Thursday. The principal agreed to give it a try next week. The art teacher and I have agreed that the crochet unit will last until Christmas break. We'll have to see if lessons go in to the new year!

I was very excited to receive this invitation in the mail today! I served as the town librarian for about ten months before being hired by the school district. That was way back in 1984-1985, before the current library building had been remodeled. It used to be a laundromat. When I served as the town librarian, we shared space with the village hall. Things have certainly changed over the years!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Just a little bit

I finished the needle lace edging, and after looking through several of my favorite tatting books, I decided on Handkerchief Edging No. 6 from The Craft of Tatting by Bessie M. Attenborough. I don't have much done, but I do like the way it looks!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Switching to 20

I finished edging the hanky with size 10 Wedgewood Dk, and I think I'm going to leave it as it is for now. I haven't found a needle lace edging that I like to go with it, and I don't think the size 10 thread really works for a hanky.

This morning I decided to switch to size 20 Garden Afternoon hand-dyed thread from my friend Marilee Rockley. I figured this would be good practice for future projects. My plan is to add a tatted edging once I finish the needle lace round. I've crocheted around a hanky before adding a tatted edge, so it will be interesting to see how this looks in comparison when finished.

It's Spirit Week at school, which means lots of extra activity. In turn, that means little time for tatting while supervising. Still, I managed to tat another Ice Drop today!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Shrek Jr.

The middle school kids performed Shrek Jr. this weekend, and it was fabulous! It's so much fun to see kids grow in confidence through the drama program.

Since I was helping out with the play, I didn't have much time for my own pursuits. It took me three days to finish this needle lace flower. I think I'm really getting the hang of this! Now I need to move on to following patterns.

Although I subbed today, I still managed to complete an Ice Drop. I love blue and white together!

Over the weekend, I decided to try practicing the needle lace stitch on a hanky. The size 10 thread is way too big for the hanky, but I'm getting better with my stitches and I can see what I'm doing!