Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TIAS Day 8

Well, the fog hung around awhile this morning. That made it difficult to get out of bed. Last night, a stray hung around outside our door. My girls stay inside. If I can persuade someone else in the family to run the camera, I’ll post a picture. The older one is part Siamese with violet point coloring. She doesn’t have the Siamese voice (thank God!), but the stray does (ugh!). I’m a bit bleary eyed because of that.

Here’s my sample for Jane’s TIAS Day 8:
Jane's TIAS Day 8
Just a couple of more sections and we’ll know what we’re doing.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hair Bun Holder is finished! Whew!!

I finally have finished a rather involved project. It all started last summer.

I got the idea to make a hair bun holder for myself. I decided to base it on a doily pattern attributed to Anne Orr. I first ran into this pattern published in Tatting Doilies & Edgings edited by Rita Weiss for Dover Needlework Series. It’s listed as measuring 8-1/2 inches worked in size 50 thread. It looked all too complicated for me to attempt. After the OnLine class studied it last June, I was more intrigued by the pattern. Here’s what Gina came up with for us:

After we all signed out of the classroom and went about our summer, I kept coming back to the idea of using this pattern. Then I wandered into a quilt shop recommended to me for colorful tatting thread. They had a glorious collection of thread in all kinds of yummy colors. Now, I’ve not had great success working with tiny thread before this point. But, I couldn’t resist the colors! I really couldn’t decide which one to use…..


So I asked on Intatters for ideas. What a great group of people! They had several ideas that I really liked. The question remained: how to execute these ideas? This is what I decided on:
top of hair bun holder in teaberries

Based on how I worked a  different beaded hair bun holder, I decided to make the back simple mignonette with a final row around an elastic hair tie.
back of hair bun holder

I can’t wait to try it on!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

TIAS Day 7

After a couple of dreary mornings, I was in need of a pick me up this morning. And Jane’s TIAS was just the ticket! So, here’s my version in pink:
TIAS Day 7 from Jane Eborall
What have we been chasing after with her pattern???

Friday, January 27, 2012

learning graphics to quiet the clamor

It’s Friday and I’m a little tired. A long rehearsal on Thursday usually does this to me. Add to that, I’ve been working through some tutorials using Inkscape. I’d like to cut down on the test tats of my design ideas and use a graphics program rather than a shuttle to see how things will work. So, yesterday and today are set aside for learning this program. First off: I am not an artist! As such, I am outnumbered in my family. My brother is gifted; my husband kept my children happy while waiting in restaurants by sketching; my children both produce wonderful photos and computer art. I work with fibers….sort of. For my attempts to be successful there has to be some sort of framework: geometric pattern, grid for foundation, limited color variance, you get the idea. That’s why I enjoy tatting so much. And, given the structure of the music I enjoy (think Bach), that’s where my idea to combine organ music and tatting shuttles come from.

I’ve had some folks tell me I do crafts, not art. I tend to agree. But then others tell me my crafting is high enough quality to earn the designation of art. I agree at times. So, I’ve decided I’m a crafty type that occasionally produces art. I’m just hoping that the time spent learning how to create with Inkscape is worth it to quiet some of the clamor in my brain for new ideas to tat.
Take for instance the tune that’s been rolling around since rehearsal: “Blessing and honour, glory, and pow’r, be unto Him, that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Great fugue Handel. Gotta be a set of DS with picots that correlates with that……….

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Internet and my life

I’m not superstitious, but I decided not to put anything in this post (#13) that is directly tied to my current projects, so nothing on what my brain is hearing or seeing. I’d rather like to comment on how the Internet has changed my humble little life.

Despite my being accustomed to spending a fair amount of time along at the keyboard practicing (organ) music, I like human company. Could be why I never got all my practicing done in college! Tatting takes hours to finish a pattern, so again, lots of alone time. Could be why I always have a few projects in the works. With all that is available at the click of a mouse on the internet, I seem be even less diligent in my accomplishments. One can get lost in all this information. One can neglect the physical living space. One can ignore the people immediately available.

I’ve always been very comfortable with clutter and multitasking. As I grow older, it is becoming easier to keep focused. I find it easier to be aware of how the front looks, when I’ve seen that special friend, etc. I attribute that to the Internet and forcing me to discipline my time better. Judging by the funny looks I get from friends as I try to explain what I do all day, not many share my opinion on this point. But, I’m comfortable with being unique and how I spend my life.
Now, where did I put that file…….desktop?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

TIAS Day 6 and Hope

The sunrise was lovely again today. The fog cleared over us, but stayed in the hills. As the sun crested the Eastern hills, everything lit up! Sigh!! It was lovely to watch as I finished my cuppa.

Then, I finished Day 6 of Jane’s TIAS.

TIAS Day 6
I'm thinking legs of something with a square body. But, there are those two beads rattling around on the shuttle. Don't have any better idea to what I am making. Such a fun game!

I have been mulling an idea for a pattern. The background: I support the Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal, Saratoga. We as a parish also support seminarians. One in particular with a wonderful bass voice has been working with the Veteran’s Hospital near here. He expressed an interest in having something to leave with those struggling with PTSD. As he spoke of the female patients, my mind’s ear remembered his singing “My Hope is Built”.  Shelve that tune for a moment and back to the Prayer Shawl meeting. I ended up with a bit of left over yarn and a cro-tat tool that was given to the group. In looking for a pattern to try it all out, I picked up my copy of Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior. Her patterns are always an inspiration to me. I tried out her Hope pattern.
Hope by Mary Konior using Cro-tat and yarn
Not that successful, but good enough not to “bin” after a scan. I had tatted that pattern in size 10 and really liked how it worked out. If I had a ton, and I mean a ton, of the yarn, I might try to cro-tat something for the group by joining the motifs together. My quick estimate is 16 yards for each motif. That’s a ton of yarn!

Back to Solid Rock (the tune for the hymn). The meter for the hymn is listed as with refrain of for a total of 8 syllables for 8 lines. Some of you are already seeing where this is going. I’m going to try to play around in my graphic program before picking up the shuttle to see if it will work. I may just get impatient and start tatting……

More on this later

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

TIAS Day 5

I played hooky Saturday from housework and paid for it yesterday. That and cleaning up from the storm took all my energy (whew!) It was just such a gorgeous day Saturday! Warm, sunny, and the weather was so….inviting! Sigh. At times I feel like I live in paradise.

Then a storm blew in Saturday night and then another Sunday night. No great damage, but things were askew and knocked over and there was a bit of standing water. So, I got right outside, cleaned up, and then started inside, and there was no tatting time or extra computer time.

Anyway, here’s my version of Day 5 of Jane’s TIAS. She released it Sunday, but I just around to it today.

TIAS 2012 Day 5
I’m intrigued with what looks like a tail off a square motif…hmmm……

Day 6 will be released tomorrow; more on this then. For now, I hope you find something wonderful in nature to enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Is this really my tenth post?

Well, it’s been a good week now that I’ve been adding to this blog. I really didn’t think I would have enough to chatter about to post more than once a week or so. But, I now know why I never seem to get around to the clutter in the house!
Even though I do not hold an organ position, I do try to practice regularly. So, that can eat up a few hours of “free” time. Sitting in on classes to learn tatting techniques and design tips also eats into some of the “free” time. And then there’s my volunteering and next month teaching.
I really need to sit down and create a schedule for myself to prioritize my time so that the really important stuff gets done! I doubt I’ll share that here though. For now, I will say that I’ll post as I finish tatting projects and as I hear and see new music events. I invite your comments on any of these posts. That can help me decide what’s “important” and what I can ignore in the future.

Friday, January 20, 2012

TIAS Day 4

Well, as you may know if you’ve been reading here, I’m playing in Jane’s TIAS. It’s great fun to see what whimsy she cooks up for us during the dreary days of winter. She may feel she gets the most fun. She’s probably correct! It’s fun for me to have a window on the tatting lives of so many people around the world. I feel like I have a silly grin on my face frequently (Good thing my teen is not around when I’m reading the posts!) somewhat like my Great Aunt when she used the telephone.

Our weather this morning is rather dreary. Much like England I suspect. We’ve been hoping for a bit of rain, though. That will mean snow for the mountains and skiers and a lower water bill for us. And that means more money to put towards concerts and thread!

Without further ado, here’s a scan of my Day 4 TIAS. I started out using this pink thread to gain more experience with Cebelia. I think I still prefer Lizbeth, but am getting my sea legs with this softer thread.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Focus....what focus?

So much for discipline and direction. It’s all for a good cause. I spent a couple of hours yesterday working with the prayer shawl group. Here’s the cross I tat for them:

Prayer Shawl cross
It’s very simple:

Working in size 10 thread with one shuttle and no ball thread, leave about 6 inches tail when beginning the first ring.

R: 4 – 4 – 4 – 4.

R: 4 – 4 – 4 – 4.

R: 4 – 4 – 4 – 4.

Using the tail to finger tat complete the next 3 rings as split rings.

S/R: 4 – 4 / 4 – 4.

S/R: 4 – 4 / 4 – 4.

S/R: 4 – 4 / 4 – 4.

The final ring I work as a Single Shuttle Split Ring so that I can hide ends. The tail end is tatted over for the first half, and then the shuttle end is secured in the second half.

SSS/R: 4 – 4 / 4 – 4.

I chose to leave the shuttle thread long enough to use when sewing on the cross. Some of the ladies like to clip it close and use sewing thread to sew it on.

Now it’s off to see what Day 4 is of TIAS. Maybe after I enjoy adding to my little creation I will find my focus……tee hee.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Well, I succeeded in getting one tune out of my head. So far, no other tune has dominated my inner ear. Whew!!! I’m having fun looking at the posts on the TIAS blog that Jane has: and thinking…maybe I could come up with a TIAS pattern. It all looks so much fun! No….discipline!!!

I must finish the bookmark and diagram of it first!

There…..that is what I need…direction for all this creativity!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good afternoon!
I’m back from the dentist (no cavities….whew) and I not only have Wie shon stuck in my head, but now I have visions of the bookmark I’m working on popping into my mind’s eye! I know, I know, could be worse you say. And I agree: having organ music and tatting on the brain is a good problem. But, I tell you. I am going to be sitting down at the keyboard (the OTHER one) and trying to exorcise this tune AND getting the pattern tweaked to my liking real soon!
Sorry, no videos or sound bites of my playing. The organ has…..issues. Pictures when I get the pattern right and finish the bookmark.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I had a great day yesterday! After some wonderful personal time in the morning, I attended the Student Organ Recital of the San Jose Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. (Whew!) Eleven, count ‘em…eleven, students played for our enjoyment and to inspire each other. Who said there’s no one playing the organ????

Seriously, we heard a wide variety of repertoire from adults and teens on a versatile instrument. Now before the pipe purists start getting their hackles up, please allow me to let you know I grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon. I prefer to play a well maintained instrument. I agree the sound of a pipe organ is exquisite, but I am also a realist. There, that’s said. I promise no more of such verbiage on my blog!

I totally agree with 2 comments I heard:

“I heard myself in that student’s playing. Been there, done that. We both lived through it and will continue to play.”

(Heard after the last note of a rousing toccata) “WOW!”

On the tatting side, progress still continues on my redo of the bookmark. I promise a pic soon. And today is Day 3 of TIAS:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January brings a fun game for tatters. Jane Eborall’s TIAS (Tat It And See) She has released Day 2. Check out what folks have been guessing the pattern will make. It’s great fun. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Day 2 TIAS
Something square, but a little more complicated than just a picture frame. Waiting with shuttles at the ready for Day 3.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Good morning!
I have mentioned in my profile the groups I like to spend time with. Please consider getting to know them. They are fantastic groups of people. For this entry, I leave you with a bit of what has caught my interest lately:
It's Epiphany. Probably my favorite season! And my favorite tune is Wie shon leuchtet der Morgenstern. Before you start commenting in German, I confess my knowledge of the language is pretty minimal. Don't even expect me to pronounce words so that you can recognize them! I love languages, I just don't seem to be able to remember vocabulary or pronunciations well. Anyway, the chorale prelude by Buxtehude is my favorite. Snippets of the music have been running through my mind a lot lately.
For tatting, I have been attempting a bookmark based on an antique pattern. The Monday class looked at this particular pattern in November. I was busy tatting gifts then, and set it aside until now. My bookmarks go to a hospital chaplain. She gifts the prayer shawls a group knits to patients, but uses my bookmarks in her work with the staff. I'm not sure this one is going to her. It's....well.....not pleasing to me.
So, that's what is taking up my "free" time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Welcome back for my second post!

I consider myself very lucky. I have found life interesting. Over the years, I have discovered a few passions: organ music, fiber arts, and a wonderful husband and two incredible children, just to name a few (ahem) that have made my life interesting and enjoyable.

I plan to focus this blog on the first two passions. Oh, I’m sure the others will sneak in occasionally, but they are their own persons and I respect that. So, on with the show:
Tune in tomorrow for what I'm listening to/playing in music and what I'm tatting!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Welcome to my blog. I am Picotsnkeys on the web. In real life, I answer to Melanie….and Mom….and Mel….and Sis….and Daughterdear. I live in California. Right now it’s sunny California. My check book would like to see the rain begin. That way I would have more resources for tatting and music!

That’s pretty much who I am.

First order of introduction past this is to explain my screen name:

“Picots” comes from the term for the small, decorative loop formed between the stitches with the thread.

“Keys” comes from the term for how Western music is organized and the little slips of ivory on a keyboard and the concept of music sounding in harmony and well, a very useful term!
I hope you enjoy following my blog. Any comments will be appreciated. I don’t spend a lot of time sitting at the computer; I’m usually at a different keyboard making music, studying scores, or tatting away.