Thursday, December 12, 2019

Now I Lay my thread

I like tatting for many reasons:

The lace I create
Working with tools and thread
Something I can do with my hands that is portable
You can create a lot without spending a lot….except time

As I work my way through some of the cast-off stash boxes that have come my way, I’ve discovered tools I knew nothing about. Some of them I still don’t know what they are. Some I’ve re purposed. Most I pass on to others.

 I found a new purpose for a worn tatting needle. The finish is worn off close to the eye, so using it for needle tatting doesn’t work so well. I’ve learned to use it as a laying tool for stitching with silk. It works quite well. I’ve even developed a way to help with my tatting. I’m more conscious of where the thread is going as it comes off the shuttle. I now tat more confidently with a flat shuttle.
For those who are curious, there’s a good explanation on Nordic Needle website and a video on needlenthread. I’ll be posting pictures when I stop playing and sampling and actually create a piece.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Blackwork sample

Those who tat know that working in black thread can be very tough on the eyes. Those who stitch know that working on white cloth can be tough on the eyes. Those who practice in a room with a flickering fluorescent light knows that can be tough. So, what was I thinking?

Working on dark cloth with dark thread during winter?

Well, I decided when I signed up for the Elephant class, I should learn to work with silk. I’ve some silk to tat with and also some other silk to stitch with. When I’m learning a new technique, I tend to dive into my stash and see what I can do with what’s been leftover. Kinda like a musician learns just a small part of the piece often at slow tempo or with just part of the score. This sample is the result of my efforts with the stash. The white thread is cotton on 14 count cotton Aida, the red threads are silk.

The technique is similar to a style of embroidery called Blackwork or Redwork. I’m very drawn to the geometric designs. There’s a play between thread and negative space similar to good tatting designs. This piece turned out somewhat like I thought it would. Some of the design retreats into the cloth due to color of thread; some of the design creates lots of space. 

Remember my journey weaving in neutrals at this workshop? While I was stitching, I was laying bits of tatting on top and playing with color and texture. There will be more to come with this!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Getting ready to celebrate

I’m getting ready to party! 
Santa by Jane Eborall

December is always a busy time for me. I’ll be practicing daily again. I’ll be writing cards and notes. I’ll be creating and buying gifts and then wrapping them. This year I promised myself that everything that comes into the door will be used. I’m not going to stow it away “to use later” but used it now. Kinda “later is now” is my new attitude. And I do Attitude in December!

The picture is one of the gifts I’ve created. Not sure who will be receiving this one. I may just make several! For the pattern, visit Jane.

I hope your celebrations this month are full of joy and wonderment at the gifts you have been given!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


(full disclosure: long post without pictures ahead.....and a question at the end for you to comment on)

I’ve begun to start each day by writing down 3 things I’m grateful for. First on the list is Family and Friends. I try to pause and think about who I will be talking with that day. That usually helps me from chewing on shoe leather until after I’m tired. I wish my feet didn’t end up in my mouth so often. I really need them to stand and walk! Another entry is usually focused on a gift of mine I plan to use that day. Again, it’s a focus thing. I could do so much, I need to do so much, I’m asked to do so much, if I don’t focus I fail big time!

So, where does tatting fit in? Sometimes I make a decision then and there to wear something I’ve tatted. Sometimes I remember to get tatting to someone else. Sometimes I remember that I should send an email or make a phone call or wrap a gift. Sometimes I figure out when I’ll be able to sit down with my shuttles and do that tricky part of the pattern I’m working on. Sometimes It’s at that moment I remember I have accomplished learning to tat and enjoy it. ‘nuf said!

So, what are your grateful thoughts? Does tatting end up on your list?

Oh, and my friends I’ve made through this blog are included in my first item. Thank you for your friendship!

Thursday, November 21, 2019


I’m anticipating a very busy December! This year, I find most of my activities on the calendar are things I truly enjoy doing! There is an advantage to getting older! You can say “no” more often, you can say “yes” when you want to, and you can instigate fun activities!

Dazzling Debut by Marilee Rockley with added beads
To finish off November, I plan to wear my new earrings, celebrate Thanksgiving, and finish off the handful of gifts I’m making.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Orange is happy

Orange is not a color I have gravitated to. I grew up when orange was usually used in psychedelic prints. I also grew up stopping on the way home from school to practice in churches. I didn’t have time to change, so I had to wear “church appropriate” clothes those days. Given my pale Germanic skin and dirty-blond hair, orange wasn’t in my closet much.

As I’ve gotten more familiar with color theory, I’ve dipped my toe into orange. Blue works nicely with orange, there’s lots of blue around here (sky, ocean), so my shuttles have been wound with different orange thread. Taking inspiration from my surroundings has led me to work with all those colors.

I’m getting used to it. It does make me happy to sit down with my shuttles wound in cheery thread!
I’ll snap a picture of Joy in orange after I snack on an orange from our tree. Promise!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Application for Shuttlebirds Tatting Workshop and Retreat is in

I’ve stepped off the edge AGAIN!

I turned in my application to teach at Shuttlebirds in Idaho next May. That will make the spring very busy. What have I committed to?

Singing/playing during Lent (Holy week in 2020 is April 5-11)

Walking 5K in the Big Sur Marathon (April 26, 2020)

With the Workshop/Retreat in Idaho (April 30-May 3, 2020), that will make those weeks quite a flurry of activity! Truth be told, I just couldn’t resist a Carnival!

So, if you want to get away right after Easter for an in depth weekend looking at Sonata, contact Kim at the Museum.

If you want to walk or run along the edge of the Pacific, register now!

If my application is chosen, I’d be pleased to meet up in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest for a tatting party. Just bookmark here and watch for registration to open.

Grab those shuttles and join in the fun! Mmmmm maybe I should have something on the shuttles I can tat while walking in April………