Monday, December 31, 2012

Hearts of Hope on paperclip

Well, this blog has been a victim of my success. Several people requested tatting for Christmas gifts. I was tickled to oblige. But, with my normal musical activities, and my prayer shawl knitting, and my chair stitching, I didn’t have time for any other tatting or organ. So, instead of boring you with off topic posts, I didn’t post. I’ve posted on the gifts before, so I didn’t create a new post. I’m finally getting to tatting projects that are new, so here goes my first post in a long, long time.

Shortly after the tragedy at Shady Hook, a suggestion was made to send tatted snowflakes and hearts to help decorate the new school site. Here’s my contribution.
Hearts of Hope on paperclip
I put the Hearts of Hope pattern on a paperclip. I hope they like it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Music events

Lately, I seemed to be drifting away from my core plan. I have wanted to focus on tatting and organ music. That is exciting, with a multitude of possibilities. I try to spend a bit of each day working through all the ideas that come to me. But, lately, well…..

Each December my calendar fills with not just social parties, shopping, preparing our home for holiday celebrations, but with too many opportunities to sing or play or enjoy other music makers. Over the years, I’ve become a bit of a scrooge with my energy and talents. I’m trying hard this year to choose wisely and with kindness in my heart. So far, so good.

Then life happened. Nothing I can’t handle, but time spent thinking and listening wears a brain down; and brainpower is what brings those ideas to reality.

As I mentioned in the last post, Dave Brubeck is no longer playing with us. He has brought his music to the skies. The special blend of old and new that he gave us will forever be in my heart. I feel great thanks for his life.

Then, I received a true gift. A neighbor was unable to use tickets for the Chanticleer Christmas concert. I could hardly believe what I was hearing, but I did manage to stammer “Yes!!!” and then actually managed to get to the concert and enjoy the magical evening. They create more music that has changed our world that I love. I feel great thanks for experiencing it all.

Finally, in the newspaper this morning, I see that RaviShankar has died also. Another musician blending old and new. He never lost sight of his quest and focus.

So, I will continue to focus and create. Don’t get me wrong! I know I’m not in the same league as these folks. I know I won’t garner as much acclaim. I just wish to give just a small bit to the good and add beauty to the world. There’s just never enough hours to listen, to play, to tat, to live!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Demo at Casa Grande

I apologize for not getting this up right away, but life happened.

Saturday morning I had the great pleasure of demonstrating tatting at a museum. The Park Service has a wonderful facility at Almaden Quicksilver Mine. Here’s a page full of pictures from a recent celebration . I shared a table in the corner of the gift shop with the representative from the Lace Museum in Sunnyvale. She brought a pillow and worked those bobbins hard; while I had a corner of the table to sit and tat. It was great fun!

Unfortunately, the picture is stuck on the camera as my laptop refuses to play nice with the camera! Sigh. Life happens.

We’ve also spent our free time cleaning up from the storms that roared through over the last few days. Not much permanent damage, just things getting blown around, leaves all coming down at once, and the persimmons needing to come out of the tree. Our average rain fall for the month of November is just shy of one inch. We’ve gotten close to three inches just last week. Sigh. Life happens. The good news is that there are not that many leaves left to come out of the trees. More time to tat!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trial of earring design

I’ve been watching the flyers for the department stores to keep track of what the trend in jewelry styles are in my neck of the woods. It seems to me that the fad of super big earrings is waning for the styles I gravitate to. A recent trip to the mall reinforced that notion. So, I spent a few hours looking over my stash of doodads and findings and beads and patterns. I have several ideas I like the thought of. One of them is a pattern Georgia found on a site from Russia. earring number 7
At least I remember it was Russia. If someone remembers differently, please let me know.
earring number 7 from

Friday, November 23, 2012

Transitions, family, and my newest adventure.

I was watching a bit of a Nature show on TV the other day. Several ducklings, just 2 days old, were leaving the nest in a tree trunk to join their mother on a small lake. Great entertainment. And a bit close to real life right now.
My son has touched down for a few moments as he transitions to college life from military life. We are marveling at how capable he is in his independence. We’re trying not to meddle, just support with a question or two and lots of listening. I’ve even shared a few stories of my transition time from teen to adult life.
The roughest part of it for me has been keeping some semblance of calm for my two very neurotic cats. They are just not good hosts to my son’s cat. Fortunately, they are all used to being indoors and in small places. Mostly, the females just hiss and spit and swipe without contact. So, there has been no fur flying. Yet….. Could be interesting at Christmas…….

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sacred Threads journey begun

I picked up my canvas for Sacred Threads. It’s gorgeous. Here’s a pic of the design as painted by  Candace Designs.

Canvas #3 by Candace Designs
I can’t wait to get started, but I have a couple of tatting projects I’d like to finish first. Besides, I need to learn how to needlepoint to this level; a block M in acrylic knitting yarn isn’t even close to the technique needed for this. I do love a challenge though!

Friday, November 16, 2012

a box for me

I got mail! A box, actually!!

Several months ago, I submitted a name for Barb at HandyHands. She thought my idea was just right. Not too goofy, not too mundane, but just right! Thank you!! Here’s what my brain thought looked like a lovely garden of herbs:
Herbal Garden

It was in the box that arrived yesterday along with a collection of size 40 thread.
 All for me to play with…… I can’t wait!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Celtic cross

I love sitting in on the Monday class that AKTatter monitors. I’ve learned a lot. Found a ton of good patterns. Discovered tatters from all over the world. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to talk tatting.

Celtic Cross by Yvonne Reypa
This pattern discussed during was a recent class. I am always intrigued with “celtic” patterns and how the chains weave. With this cross, the weaving is done with rings; a bigger challenge. After sitting in on the discussion and looking at what others have said about the pattern, I attempted my version. The thread is size 10 Manuela. I felt like I was always one DS away from a mistake that would be hard to correct, but I think I’ve got it.

I think this will end up on a blanket a friend is knitting. Don’t know yet. We’ll see……..

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Is it November....already??????

November 3, 2012

Where did October go????

Well, my time in October ended up spent on helping. Not a bad activity. The opportunities were presented, after discussing them with those to whom I’m responsible, and a bit of prayer, I plunged in. I won’t bore you with the detail; lots of sorting, donating, and other tedious tasks. I will mention 2 activities I’ve been helping with:

Relocating my son. He’s leaving Active Duty and continuing with his college courses. I’d forgotten what 2000 lbs. of household goods looks like on a moving van. I‘m excited for him. He is an intelligent, talented young man who has a lot to give to the world. He has learned much, and will learn more.

Sacred Thread ministry at St. Andrew’s. There’s a set of special stained glass windows in the church. If you’re not close enough to drop by, you can get a feel for them in this photo: . The building isn’t that old, but the church is vibrant. It sounds holy. It looks holy. You can pray there in silence, in song, in color. A group of stitchers has created needlepoint kneelers that have been used for years. Recently, a more portable, flexible set was added to the collection. The process has spawned a growing ministry. To stitch our faith in yarn and canvas.

That’s a long explanation to my activities for this group. I mostly do clerical tasks. I’ve not stitched needlepoint in many, many years. I’m more comfortable with a shuttle to tat. But, when the interest to help grows from 5-6 stitchers to 50, help for the mundane tasks is needed…..desperately. It’s been exciting to see this group gets started with the canvases. They even convinced me to try one. With over 200 chairs to stitch and get mounted, many hands will be a help. I know it is another item for my calendar, but it is a worthy task.

I’m still bouncing around ideas for the People Look East design. I had fun coming up with a snowflake design. It doesn’t exactly work as it’s designed right now. When I get it tweaked, I’ll post it. Meanwhile, I’m working on a cute bee pattern. The designer is not keen on me posting a picture yet. I promise I’ll keep track of the file though!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

snowflake from Lene Bjorn book 24 Snowflakes in Tatting

I have conquered block tatting! Finally! I’ve tried several patterns with block tatting sections before. They turned out OK, but I knew I wasn’t getting everything quite right. I hate that feeling. You’ve finished a project, it looks fine, but you know it isn’t quite right. This time I think I’ve used the correct stitch count and executed the chains in a much neater manner.

Snowflake by Lene Bjorn
I chose to use colors close to those used by the school we graduated from: University of Michigan. Go Blue!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shepherd Carol sketch

While sitting in on a class Monday, I had a convergence of tatting and music…..again.
The class focused on this bit of thread

Frauber square
My brain made a string of associations:

Frauberger translates into English literally as Female Shepherdess.

Into my head pops the “shepherd carol”.

The version in the Oxford Book of Carols has a canon in it. That reminded me of how the rings are circled by chains.

I know, I know……I’ve lost a bunch of people, my brain works in a unique way.

This is what I have so far:
sketch of phrases (each color a different phrase)
We’ll see where this leads me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October is here

It’s October. Whew! Here in my part of the world, that means that temperatures are a bit cooler, the rains haven’t begun, school schedules are in full swing, and life changes course a bit. I’m back to a regular schedule of tatting, puzzling out how to express music in thread, and learning more about it all. I’ve been reading a bit about Bach Cantatas lately. The scholarship is thorough, the comments enlightening, and the love of music shines through the page consistently. I had not really paid attention to Cantatas in my organ studies. Just didn’t have enough time and mental energy. Now, I’m finding them fun to romp through. As if you could even romp through Bach! It is more fun cleaning out the fountain while listening to the music!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the month of September

September has been a month of two steps forward and three steps back. I refuse to spend any more energy on the three steps back. So, what has the forward progress been about? Well, enjoying some time camping, healing my wrist, helping my kids make the transition to another year phase in life, enjoying the sunrise and sunset when the weather cooperates, and of course teaching the tatting class. Someone asked me recently if I am rich. Yes, I am. I have a home that can be described with all kinds of positive words, I have a strong marriage, two independent children who can be described with all kinds of positive words, I am talented and have been able to find ways to share the talents. From the look I was receiving, I guess the question was more about money. To which I say: that hasn’t been a huge priority for me. I tend to live frugally and focus on what I can do each day. So, on with the day….after I watch the hummingbirds at the feeder while the sky clears.

Friday, September 14, 2012

my brain is faster than my fingers

Well, have you ever misspoke, saying what you were thinking instead of what the sentence really should finish with?

I miss-typed yesterday. In my last post I paraphrased Purcell, but was thinking of the Handel piece I wanted to find and look at. So, I typed Handel. Sigh.

The choral piece I was intending to reference is the “Bell Anthem” that Purcell wrote. We often use it for Evensong. The phrase that has been stuck in my head is “rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say Rejoice” (no s on always…..Purcell and his contemporaries didn’t always say always, but frequently said alway)

My apologies to those who caught the miss-type and let me know at rehearsal yesterday evening. <grin>

Thursday, September 13, 2012

after a long hiatus

Life has been lively lately. If I look at what I wrote down months ago for goals and see what I’ve accomplished, I get upset. If I look at what others around me have accomplished with my help, I smile. Guess what?? I’ve been smiling a lot lately. All that is hard to document in this blog. So, I say, life is good.

The sun is rising after I awake now, so I can see some spectacular sunrises.

The Fall term is starting for college kids I’m connected with. Their energy and liveliness is wonderful.

Our Sacred Threads ministry is up and knitting and stitching and bringing God’s peace to many.

The small number of tatting students I’ve been privileged to work with are sharing their talents with a whole lot of people.

Our Organists Guild chapter is embarking on reaching out to other musicians that love the organ.

So, to paraphrase Handel, and I again I say life is good!

Monday, August 20, 2012

progress on the pansy diagram

I'm the type of tatter who needs to make copious notes as I tat a pattern. That is if I wish to repeat any successes and avoid making the same mistake again. So, I tend to copy patterns out of the books and the margins get full fast. Here's the back story on the pansy:

It's published in the Priscilla book on page 18. I first saw it in my Dover book published in the 60's. I love pansies, and so tried to tat it. I soon gave up thinking I just didn't have enough grasp of techniques. Then Yarnplayer posted a beautiful version. She's listed a class in this on which I would like to take. Then, Sarah shared her rewrite with the Online Class. Thanks to these two wonderful artists, I gained the courage to try again. That and I needed something for my apron.

It turned out well. So, I decided I had to diagram it. Thanks to Gina and Sue, I am familiar enough with Inkscape to get into trouble. But, so far, this is working well.
diagram of 3-D pansy with beads
 Well, OK.....even I wouldn't be able to figure this out a year from now. So, I decided to break it down. I now have diagrams of the individual petals, similar to the photos that Sarah put in her document. I know have what the first round would look like:

First Round of each petal

Now, I need to add the other two rounds. It may take me awhile. I'm back to putting the next idea into thread on the Saint-Saens and I need to take a trip to Oregon to help sell my Mom's house. And of course, working through this pattern has spurred ideas for the rose pattern I love. Sigh....what's the saying about books and time???? I think there's so many patterns and not enough time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

doncha hate it when that happens????

Ok….so this is what can happen when you don’t really measure out the thread you need to finish a snowflake:
daisy picot snowflake by Stephanie

This isn’t the first snowflake I have run out of thread on. I typically work up a sample to the difficult section so that I can give visual, oral, and kinetic instruction during the class. This means that I work the pattern at least 7-8 times. So, ya think I’d have the amount of thread needed down. Right????

This is the solution I came up with:

and my way to finish the ring.

I’ll be presenting for two more classes at the Jo-Ann Fabric store. A big thank you to Winkerbill for giving me permission to use her pattern. The response has been so warm; I thought the snowflakes would melt….if the heat wave didn’t get them. Next month will be a fall theme. I just may revisit this snowflake later though.

Friday, August 10, 2012

apron appliques

Ever have one of those weeks where you get distracted and just enjoy life? It’s been a good week. I’ve finished a couple of pieces that will be sewn onto my apron. First, from Handy Hands website: Thank you for sharing this with us!
edging for fan quilt square courtesy of Handy Hands
Then, a redo of a pattern I have attempted before. The first time was a disaster. I really like pansy and violet flowers, so I attempted it a second time. It was better, but nothin’ to write home about. After another year of working on techniques, I finally mastered the basics enough to do a better job.  The pattern is from a Priscilla book on the Antique Library page Georgia maintains:  here look on page 18. I encourage you to look for a great tutorial made by Marilee Rockley class and study Sarah Danks rewrite that she shared with the OnLine tatting class: Sarah Danks rewrite Of course after I worked on the flower a day or so, I looked at the cat and said aloud, “I have to diagram this or I will lose my sanity.” I’m no artist, so you’ll have to wait until I can get one made on the computer to see what I came up with.

Now to sew these on the apron and pack the bag for the morning class and afternoon demonstration tomorrow.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

more bookmark variations

I’ve finally finished my Anne Orr bookmark comparison. Whew!
variations on a pattern by Anne Orr

I have a personal favorite, but they each worked up rather uniquely. I can see using more than one of these variations. They will end up going to my friend-the-Chaplain.

I think next I will work on an edging to go on my apron I wear while teaching. I think I will start with a peruse through my Konior book and then maybe another look through some other books.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Saint-Saens test no 4

Well, I finally got back to the Saint-Saens with a bit more time than just a few minutes to stare at it. I’m still working in my “muslin” thread/bead choices. I figure if I can’t see the possibilities in this, I’m headed down the wrong path anyway. I’ve got a bit of tweaking to do on the two outer rounds, but you can get the idea for the busy section.
Saint-Saens test
In the movement from the Symphony, Saint-Saens states each theme, and then begins to pull in other ideas. He restates ideas from earlier movements, mixing them up with ideas from this movement. I’m not sure if I’ll keep all the negative space, but the orchestration is pretty sparce and the organ part is really quite simple. The whole time I’ve been working on this, I keep reminding myself: “less is more” and “KISS” and “stick to the point” etc. I will be letting this sit for a day or so; then messing with a couple of ideas on the computer before putting anything in thread again.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

lazy musings

Life has been a bit slow and lazy lately. That hasn’t kept me from tatting or thinking about tatting. Everything has ended up in my sketch book. Here’s an example:

Sinfonia:  Two measure motif that gets tossed back and forth….use chains on either side of rings; maltese; rings on either side of a center section of ?????

     6 key centers in 30 measures alternating Major, Dominant, Relative, on to next key center…..develope motif representing scale degree and mode; use color for mode;

     Research whether motif in sinfonia was used in larger work

     Play with improv on motif and research results

That’s a bit hard to put on paper or blog, but some of you may get the idea. The rest can go ahead and have a good belly laugh at the way my brain works……my friend did the other day. I’ll admit to laughing at myself quite a bit, so I didn’t mind at all.

I hope today that everyone can find something, no matter how small, to enjoy and smile about…maybe even laugh.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pocket Prayer Shawl idea

Sometimes it takes me awhile……

More than a year ago, our Prayer Shawl Ministry group received a request: Something small folks could tuck into their pocket. We bounced the idea around and experimented, but never really came up with something the Chaplain could use. Well, I’ve been tatting bookmarks, but I haven’t been able to tat many. I just knew the need was unmet.

Today while browsing, I came across a picture of a pocket prayer shawl. It looks like it was taken with a phone (it’s not a blurry as what my phone pictures end up) and there’s nothing to reference scale, but I’m thinking this may be the ticket. (I have requested permission to post the picture.) I’ll have to play with the idea……..

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Starworks away

Well, the earrings are finally done. I wasted quite a bit of thread, but thankfully no beads. I’m off in a few minutes to teach the class at the store, so I won’t say much about anything, just a picture:

earrings inspired by Hector earrings by Nina Libin

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

some ideas tried

It’s still quite cool out. No fires as of yet. I’ve been working steadily on the Saint-Saens. I have some ideas; now to put them all together.

ideas for sections of Saint-Saens piece

First I have a bit of work to do on other projects. I’d like to finish the earrings built on the star jump ring.

Monday, July 16, 2012


A storm moved in last night. There was wind all night long. It woke me up……yawn!!!

There’s still a bit of fog at 8:30AM. That means it’ll be cooler. I just hope there aren’t any significant fires going. This is just the right conditions for a fire to spread out of control.

I plan to test tat some ideas for the Saint-Saens today. But first, another cup of coffee. Yawn, blink, blink.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spare the Air

This week has been a Spare the Air week. I’ve been really trying to do my part. I haven’t driven anywhere. I did go in the car with the family to eat out last night. The air did look hazy and brown. These are not my favorite sights to see. Here’s a healthy wish that the temperature drops and the air clears soon.

So, what have I been doing? Trying to find a pattern for the fall class at the store. I think I have a good one. Now to get approval, tat samples, and set up the curriculum. As soon as that happens, I’ll post about it here.
Daisy picot snowflake in red

In the meantime, I’ll share pictures of the snowflake I’m teaching until the end of July. It’s been great fun teaching. Thank you to Stephanie Wilson for allowing me to use her pattern. I hope to have more fun with leaves soon.
Daisy picot snowflake in green
snowflake in variegated

Monday, July 9, 2012

keeping my focus

Well, I’ve decided to not do a give-away as a celebration of my 100th post. I’m not trying to be a party-pooper, but my budget just doesn’t allow for giving away of the magnitude that attracts attention in the blogosphere. So, I decided to rely on what I write and post to attract the attention I am targeting. I guess with a full house of family, I just feel like keeping my focus is a struggle. Not that they are making it difficult, it’s difficult for me under normal circumstances (tongue planted firmly in cheek!) and my tatting is important. So, what have I been doing lately?

Last week I continued to work on the Saint-Saens motif. I’m stuck. I continued to work on the earring using the star jump ring. I learned the hard way to let the thread sit a day before loading the shuttle, after loading the beads, it’s wise to take another break, and finally, when you’re tired after a long day of designing is not the time to try a new pattern.
So, after spending 4 hours demonstrating at the Jo-Ann’s store, I finished some samples from the class that fell off the offered list. Here’s the bracelet I was using.
False tatted plait by Gina Brummet

Now that I don’t have 4 shuttles tied up with that sample, I can use them to start more projects….No! I have to remain focused. See how easy it is for me???????

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

for goodwill among nations and for the well being of all people, for justice and peace.

Ninety-ninth post

So, it’s fast approaching my 100th post. I understand there’s a tradition to offer a give-away that people sign up for chances. Well, I tend to use everything I have or to repurpose what I own a lot. Perhaps it’s because my grandparents trained me up in the way they survived the Depression. Perhaps it’s because I’m a musician who came of age during the 70’s when things were tight around the house hold budget. Perhaps it’s because I’m married to a rather frugal man. Perhaps it’s because…..

I am who I am.

Bottom line is, there’s just not a whole lot to donate and not a who lot of money to buy “giveaways”. My footprint in the world is fairly light.

I thought about offering some tatting supplies, but I have nothing that hasn’t been used. I thought about offering a tatted piece, but everything that’s come off my shuttles is intended for someone or an event. I thought about offering some music, but I have no extra cd’s and don’t have files I’ve downloaded. I thought about offering a recording of me playing, but the sound quality was not good enough. So, I haven’t thought of anything to offer.

Well, I offer wishes for a safe 4th of July celebration. I have no wish to repeat the vigil outside an emergency room because of someone handling fireworks that wasn’t trained. Please, leave the risk to someone else. Please.

I offer prayers of peace. I have people in my life who have chosen to serve in the military. All who serve deserve thanks. All deserve a chance to continue to create their own future. All deserve freedom. We all deserve peace. Let’s all work for it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to figure out a 100th post. Until then……

Friday, June 29, 2012

Saint-Saens progress

I have been working steadily on the Saint-Saens pattern this week. It’s coming together. I’ve got a second draft. Now to put what’s on paper into thread. Of course, as I do that, I’m tweaking the design. So, what’s on paper is influenced by what’s in thread and what’s in thread is influenced by what’s on the computer. And it’s all based on the composition. I still haven’t decided to what extent I’ll be using beads; and if I’ll be using any metallic thread or such. Saint-Saens used the organ as a color instrument. Even when the orchestra is playing at forte, you can still generally discern the organ’s notes. Even though one of the melodies he uses is based on Dies Irae, I will probably not plumb the composition for such nuances. But then, I’m not finished yet. As an organist, I can’t ignore the fugue section, but it really isn’t an important facet. So, how to tat……

Monday, June 25, 2012

distracted again.....

This time the distraction was not a pattern idea. The weather was absolutely gorgeous the past few days. I got out into the yard, weeded, dreamed, looked over our budget, dreamed some more, went shopping, and did……….


Well, we do have a plan now. It will take a while, and quite a bit of money, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to chase the ideas in my head onto paper and into thread. We’ll see……

Friday, June 22, 2012


another adaptation of Beanile technique
Here’s another idea I’ve had.

Now, I’m putting these ideas out there because, they’re distracting me. My raison d’etre in designing will be taking musical works and interpreting them in tatting. These earrings are fun to make for gifts, fun to take ordinary findings and make something special from them, but working on these designs is taking time away from what I really should be doing.

Anybody out there want to run with these?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

ideas I've been kicking around

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. I’m having a lot of fun trying out these ideas. More later.
star jump ring idea

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I wish all Fathers in the World a Happy Father’s Day. Anyone can father children, but those that are a Dad to kids work hard to nurture their children. My husband is a Dad to his two children. I feel very honored when they call him “Dad” and give him a hug and kiss. I join them in saying Happy Father’s Day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A present for a grad

It’s graduation time. I’ve been enjoying watching family friends celebrate. I truly believe it takes a village to raise a child. Sometimes a family is enough of a village, at other times the blood relatives are not the best influence for a person. I knew even before I married that my children would do better if they enjoyed the mentoring and nurturing of many adults. I tried to place my children in situations where they were able to benefit from people within our family, community and groups. Unfortunately, we moved far away from blood relatives; the jobs just weren’t available for us in those locales. The up side of that is the many contacts we have all over the U.S. Here’s a pair of earrings I’m making for one of those friends.

Beanile earrings pattern by Nina Libin
It’s part of the Butterfly in Your Heart set Nina shared with the Online tatting class. I rather like using this technique. I’m working on a Saint-Saens piece right now, but when I finish that up, I have a sketch for a Bach Sinfonia that uses this technique along with maltese technique. More on that later. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Ever have one of those days when things keep happening that make you feel grateful for living?

Yesterday was one of those days. I’m still smiling!

The final OnLine class of the year was a great class! I have several really good ideas to run with over the summer. I spent the afternoon yesterday working on an idea based on a Sinfonia by Bach. In between spurts with the piano, score, and shuttle, I started on some Cherry blossoms. Georgia needs them for a fund raiser. I like the pattern. I decided to leave these with picots uncut and ends attached. Hopefully, that will make it easier for her to use them.
Cherry Blossom by Jane Eborall

Off to sit in on the design class and try out more new ideas.

Friday, June 8, 2012

what I've been playing with

I spent yesterday playing with earring designs. I found some beading thread at the bead store the other day. I wondered how it would tat up.

Beanile simple earring
It is nice and crisp, but very thin. So, it doesn’t hold up in the pattern well. I’m glad I tried it though. I think I’ll add it to my sample pages and see where it takes me in a few days.

my page of samples using Beanile patterns and various threads with size 14 beads
Now, I’m off to pack my back for a demo at the store and do house chores (ugh).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

organizing and such

Whew! How does one stay so busy?????

Ok, dreaming up large projects often has something to do with how busy I am. This blog is one of those large projects. And it’s still a work in progress. I would like to add a gallery and several other…..widgets….(I think that’s what I’m thinking of).

Another large project is getting my possessions thinned out and organized enough I’m not stepping over boxes to get to stuff. Never fear, I don’t consider that interesting enough for blog material. Occasionally I repurpose items left behind by the kids as they grow into other interests. One item is a storage system my daughter bought with gift cards and used for beads, toys, robot parts, and other small items. After a scrubbing up, it’s holding my small spools of thread quite nicely. I need to do something about all the paper that has piled up though……

Today I’ll finish a few more snowflakes. When it’s all done, I’ll post a picture. Hopefully, they will entice more to sign up for classes at the store. Off to tat.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Teaching the earring pattern

Today is the day. I am the guest teacher for Georgia’s Monday On-going Online class (scroll down to the correct date). I’ll be sharing my earring pattern worked around a finding from a bead shop. (see pattern page of this blog) I’ve been looking forward to getting this pattern out there to other tatters. I see so many possibilities and I won’t have enough of me to try them all. Please, join in the fun!

Friday, June 1, 2012

long term projects

I’ve been toiling away on long term projects this week. Both for the tatting files and the home files. Whew! I need a break. So, today I’m catching up on other things. I can’t reveal much about the projects for tatting, but I will say one is for the store classes, another for the Idea Centers at the store, and finally a commission for a friend. She asked for something based on the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. I’ve had fun analyzing the movements using organ. I think I’ll focus on the last movement. More as that developes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

back in the saddle again

I have been neglecting my blog. I had planned to post while on my trip, but I just couldn’t get sat down and post anything. Even though I had not been living “back home” for 30 years, there was a lot to think about and several people to reconnect with. And when I wasn’t visiting, I just didn’t have anything else to share. Now that we have returned from the trip, I have more of a sense of closure. The service was truly a celebration of my Mother’s life, the walk through the Rose Garden and visit with my God Mother gave me peace.

So, now on to tatting: While traveling, I finished another version of the squaresbookmark. This time I used the stitch count that makes a lot more sense. Thank you, Sue, for pushing me to reassess my pattern. It’s much better now!

Squares bookmark in pastel with white border
I also finished off a “chicks with beads”sampler. The gold beads began to lose their paint as I worked with them. I was so disappointed! But, in the tradition of teachers I’ve learned the most from, including my God Mother, I will use the sample as an example of what happens when you don’t use higher quality beads. I won’t post a picture as it really isn’t very nice looking.

I have my work cut out for me over the rest of the week. Preparing for my class on the earring pattern , finishing my ideas for the Palmettosfundraiser book, finishing my packet for the snowflake Idea at Jo-Ann (more on that exciting idea later), and generally getting organized for a busy summer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

organ factory tours and such

Well, my idea didn’t work too well. I just need to tweek it, but that won’t happen for a while. Other things to do.

Like visiting an organ factory.  Now, before you roll your eyes, let me say that I joined over 30 people on this tour! A bus was rented to get the group from South Bay to North Bay. That meant that on the way, we were treated to a DVD of a tour of another organ company’s factory, a short excerpt of a talk by a third organ builder, and plenty of time to chat with other organists and curious people. It was a wonderful day! I think the comment that I enjoyed the most was from a non-musician. And the commercial at the end of the DVD for the shows visiting other factories (over 300 have been taped) really “tickled me” as my Mom used to say. If you're in the Bay Area and love to see what people do working with their hands creating cool stuff, call and see if you can stop by. They don't always have an organ being put together, but they lots of cool parts.

Like tatting the earring pattern in Sulky “Piano Keys"
I need to finish another one to make a pair, but I can’t decide which one to match. I would like to wear the for the Memorial service this week. So, best get busy eh?

Like having fun at Exclamation Point demonstrating tatting and the different techniques used with different tools. I’ll be working on my supplies for that later.

Like cleaning house (ugh!) and paying bills (double ugh!) and maybe even completing another pattern in the TAT binder (I have to stay focused!). And there’s the list of errands…….

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Exclamation Point news

I have the pleasure of writing a column for an email newsletter. It was sent out to folks that visit a needlepoint shop close to me. Exclamation Point is a lovely little shop. I'm pleased to be asked to demonstrate tatting. Most of the threads and such sold here are for needlepoint and cross stitch, but they do carry a few tatting supplies. Some time ago, I used some blending fibers in a hummingbird picture that were plucked off the wall here. Since then, they have moved into new digs. The store is light, airy, and very special. I learned to needlepoint before I learned to tat. I still have a few of my early pieces. Maybe it’s time to…! I have too many design ideas and I really, really want to finish and send off the TAT Master binder set! I must stay focused!!!!!
You see, I have to be very firm with myself. I am pleased to write about my tatting. I’m pleased to come and demonstrate. I always have interesting and stimulating visits to the store. If you’re in the Bay Area, check it out!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

designing progress

Well, two steps forward and one step back. Sigh. I promise a pic when I have something to share. So far, the reject bin is getting pretty full!

I need to set this aside for a day or so. There are preparations for next week, a day trip to tour an organ factory, singing in the choir for a large Memorial service, and an Evensong I’ve been looking forward to for several weeks. There will be a mini concert afterward. I hope I can stay. I may need to be available to others for preparations for the next 10 days. It’s not like my input will be critical, but it will be appreciated and everyone is used to Mom being available. I’m gently trying to extract myself from that dynamic, but it is nice to be needed.

I think I just have time to test out a design idea that came to me as I was driving yesterday. If it works, I’ll get a sample up later today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From paper to thread

I made great progress tatting on paper yesterday. The brainstorming produced about a dozen ideas; I ended up with about a half-dozen possibilities that I want to try in thread. So, off to find a couple of empty shuttles……

 Which could take a while……

In the meantime, I need to restock my earring supply. I’m thrilled with the reaction to my simple ideas of tatting around findings. I’ll be using a couple of the ideas for classes soon. So, if you’re able to, watch for the announcement at the Jo-Ann store for time and place.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tatting with paper

I’ve seen this phrase used several times now. I like it. If anyone knows who started using this phrase, please let me know. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like playing with thread and shuttle. I like just tatting and seeing where it takes me. I did that with the bead cap earring pattern. But, I also play with combinations on paper using Inkscape to see if it will remotely work before I pick up the shuttle. Sometimes it works. Other times, I come away with no more of an idea than when I sat down with the pencil or mouse. Sigh. So, that’s my challenge for this week: improve my tatting with paper.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pattern page is live

Last week was very productive. I conquered Beanile style tatting, made good progress on some original designs (more when they’re finished nicely), and learned how to add a page to my blog with links for folks to download the documents. Just click on the bar above my picture and it’ll take you there. Whew!

But, no time to sit back. I have a demonstration to do today and it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow. And since we ran away yesterday to Monterey in celebration of 27 years of marriage, the chores have really piled up…..literally. Now where is the shovel I use for laundry????

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Earring around bead cap pattern

So, quite a while ago, I was standing in my favorite bead shop, Natural Expressions, browsing at the beads seeing if anything struck my fancy. I wandered over to a set of bins with findings and connectors and such. And these struck me. Full in the face!

It took about 6 months of thinking and playing, but I like what I came up with for a simple earring.

The pattern for this is now on my new pattern pages. See the tab above.

I’ve already come up with several variations, but they’re not quite ready for prime time.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

sad news

I received sad news yesterday. My Mother passed away. She has been ill for many years, so I have prepared, but am still sad. Play music with the angels, now and rest in peace, Mom.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beanile FL Heart earring

I finally have a sample finished.
FL Heart by Nina Libin
worked in DMC metallic thread
and size 15 beads.
I conquered a new technique for this. I’ve wanted to learn how to work with this thread and to use beads in this manner. Nina Libin calls her style Beanile Lace. The hardest part for me was getting the beads onto the thread. I fell in love with the color in the bead shop and wanted to use the recommended thread, a 3 ply metallic by DMC. Ugh. Hours and hours to string 89 beads on the shuttle thread and 41 beads on the ball thread. But, the result is quite nice. I think I will set this aside for a day. A fresh day will bring more realistic ideas of what to try next.

A new day did help. Here is my try at the Hector I pattern:
Earrings for Hector 1
by Nina Libin
I quite like this work. The possibilities are jumping out at me all over. More later.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Look what fell into my mailbox!
SweetHeart bookmark. Tatted by Andrea Deike.
Pattern by Birgit Phelps

Isn’t it a lovely gift? 

I participated in the InTatters exchange this Spring. My first with this group. I love surprises, and love sending off a bit of tatting as a gift. Imagine my smile as I opened this card from Andrea! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I plan to tat this as a bookmark for the Hospital Chaplain next. After I finish a Squares bookmark in pastels.

<still grinning!>

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

projects, projects, projects........

I’ve been busy….really!!

I named this business venture Picots n Keys because I saw how tatting is geometric and I love seeing patterns in music. One of my classes in college looked at Bach’s 2 part Inventions drawing parallels between the structure of the music and Bach’s philosophy. Now before you all fall asleep, which several students did regularly, let me say I won’t be repeating the material. Ok, maybe a bit here and there, but only as often as I share patterns. I’ve come up with several pattern ideas based on music already, but alas, my skills are not yet up to creating a viable pattern for others to follow. But, I’m working on that!

My efforts are focused with a great group of tatters led by Sue in the On LineTatting Class Chatzy room. Sue is leading us through the basics of design in art while Gina is helping us all learn how to beat Inkscape into submission to create diagrams of our ideas. The discussions are fun, stimulating, and always lead to very creative sessions with my shuttles. I have come up with ideas. Really….I just haven’t carved out the time to realize them into thread.

So, what have I been up to??? teaching at Jo-Ann, writing a newsletter article or two, making exchange gifts and birthday gifts, working on my TAT Master binder. Oh, and cleaning house, gardening, reading good books, celebrating birthdays. (links to all of these projects as they will be up as they come available.)So, I’m off to get the chores done and do some tatting before teaching this evening. Cheerio!

Monday, April 30, 2012

back to the drawing board

I’m back to a regular routine. The weather was so wonderful this past weekend, and since sunrise is so early now I rarely get to enjoy a cup of coffee as the sun peaks out. Sigh. But, it is nice to wake up to a light room. Makes it easier not to stumble over the kitty. This weekend, I played outside almost all the time.
After a wonderful birthday Saturday, which included a few hours demonstrating tatting and signing up students, I puttered around and generally enjoyed myself. Of course, I did make sure to write down the ideas I have for more patterns. Now I know I will never realize them all, but it is fun to brainstorm! I like those kinds of storms best! I do need to try to tat with paper more though....

Friday, April 27, 2012

of ideas and weather

I went shopping recently and picked up some earrings that look suspiciously like a set of findings I saw at the bead store. Yep, I was correct. So, now I have a large version, a small version and about a half dozen design ideas for a necklace/earring set. So, there may not be that many posts what with the ideas to try out and the wonderful weather this weekend. I tried to scan the metal, but it was too sunny, and my photography skills (or lack thereof) are not up to the task. That will just have to wait until it's all finished.

Oh, and I’m demonstrating again this Saturday; which means I must discipline myself to prep my supplies and samples. I like to set out small motifs in different sizes and colors for people to pick up and handle. They do get soiled and rumpled, so I need to sort through, clean up, re-block, and generally get ready.

Ooooo, just got another idea for the center of………. <grin>

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

progress on block snowflake

I indulged yesterday. I did some fun reading in a novel. I took a good long walk. And I worked on my block snowflake.
snowflake section from 24 Julestjerner i Orkis by Lene Bjorn

Now, this is a pattern that has intrigued me for quite a while.  The book is in Danish. And I don't speak Danish. But, I recently found a decent English version. I picked it up because I love doing Advent calendar things. 24 snowflakes rather than that ants!!
Anyway, I recognize that chains are difficult to keep looking exactly the same, and this pattern will show it! I wanted to use 2 different colors, but light, bright, and even Christmas colors just weren’t grabbing me. I tried it a long time ago with a variegated thread. That didn’t work. Well, it didn’t look interesting. It did help me work on my technique. I decided to try these two colors because my hands just kept picking them up together. Can you tell I try to listen to my inner kid?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

of discipline and dreaming

I’m doing my monthly exercise this week. It involves writing down what I do on a calendar as I go about my day. I find the only way I can keep on task with what is really important is to gather and analyze the data every once in a while. I tend to ignore working towards the bigger goals. I finish the tasks that have to be done each day, then I while away the time doing other things; but not always what I should do. Because I’m responsible for setting up money making opportunities for my business, I have to keep focused on those bigger goals. So, once a month, or so, I keep track of where I spend my time on what. Along with that, I have to make sure I set up a work schedule for myself that includes task lists. Now by nature, I’m not really inclined to keeping statistics. I’d rather just create. By nature, I’m not really inclined to weed out my belongings. I’d rather repurpose something. By nature, I’m not really inclined to finish a project with filing away my notes. I’d rather leave them out to stimulate other ideas. So, this exercise is important. Sigh. Really.

Monday, April 23, 2012

bookmark in progress and Maria's finished

Today is my second session on the squares bookmark.The pattern is now listed on the patterns page (see tab at top of blog).  The name of squares bookmark seems to be sticking with this one. Here's Maria's version of Monica Hahn's Bible Bookmark from Christmas Angels and Other Tatting Patterns and the variation I came up with:
Thank you for sharing with us, Maria!!!!!

And now here's a photo to help illustrated the path I use to work the inside rings with chains:
squares bookmark in progress to illustrate the path
If you're looking at the PDF posted on Georgia's class site: the end of the yellow chain next to the all-blue cloverleaf is the start point (the yellow dot in the diagram on page 1). I have stopped work after completing the first large ring in the 4th square. I'll work several more sides of the square, finish off a square to turn around and then work back up the side to end next to the first cloverleaf (the green dot in the diagram on page 3). Then it'll be time for the edging.

If you have any questions, please email me! Thank you for visiting.