Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Outside my window

Spring has sprung here. Outside the window of the room I sit in to design and update this blog the plum tree is in full bloom. It’s mesmerizing watching the bees and birds. Both of the cats have spent hours watching them. I try not to daydream too much with them but………


Today though, everyone is hunkered down. It’s raining. I’m so glad! We’re only at 30% rainfall this season. That’s cause for concern. We had a very wet winter last year, so folks aren’t thinking drought, but without rain, the countryside is at risk for fires. That’s a concern. For all those who survive because of defensible space and those who risk their lives to keep them safe, I pray for more rain.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gina Brummet Tatted False Plait

Yesterday was a red banner day for me.

I finished several long term projects around the house, to include a tatting project. I received word that the tatting classes I am teaching at a Jo-ann store are being expanded. I mastered a pattern I’m excited to use in class, adapt to other uses, and generally am thrilled about. [drum roll please] Gina Brummet’s Tatted False Plait .
Gina Brummet Tatted False Plait braid
I even dreamed up how to end the plait while securing the ends well. I used the SSSR (single shuttle split ring) technique. I first learned this while tatting Anne’s Ringtrim . Now that I’ve done the pattern once, I’m sure the next plait will be neater and a better example of creative tatting!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Liebert project bookmark

It’s finished!
ovals bookmark based on Emmy Liebert pattern
Gotta run……more on what’s next later.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

progress made during a busy week

I think I’ve settled on how I would recommend working through the bookmark version of the oval Liebert design. I plan to write it all up similar to how I did the Hair Bun holder so that I can remember what I did later. And you thought it was so others could tat it!! I hope to make time to finish this over the next week.
Liebert ovals bookmark in progress.
This is the trickiest part of the pattern.
I settled on using a split ring with a lock join
or for the more ambitious, a Lark's Head Picot Join 
But, I’ve promised a friend I would look at the organ in his home and figure out, with the help of another friend, if it’s dead for good; or if it can be repaired. And I’ve agreed to substitute again on Sunday, so I’ll be preparing and practicing extra for that. And so my life goes full of all kinds of activity, but not much accomplished <sheepish grin>.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bookmark donations

This is a good time to explain my fascination with bookmarks.

I sit in the second row of Sopranos in the choir. They are a very creative and fun group. Like me, several of the ladies find it hard just to sit. So, they needlepoint and knit and crochet during breaks in the singing. Better than and less disruptive than talking during those moments when the director isn’t asking for music. Like many folks who knit and crochet, they have begun to make prayer shawls for use in caring for cancer patients, those in grieving, and others in need of a warm wrap. They invited me to try….so I agreed. I know the basics of knitting and crochet work. My daughter knits very well. My attempts are…..well, let’s just say…..amusing! But, I know such volunteerism is badly needed and valued by many. So, what’s a tatter to do?

The answer came from a good friend who works as a volunteer coordinator at a local hospital. She has a gorgeous voice and loves singing. So, we felt a strong bond. I’m not much for being around hospitals…been there, done that. But, she really cooed over the tatting I was working on between Christmas services one year. She came back several weeks later with a proposal: tat bookmarks for those she works with at the hospital who need a bit of a pick me up; sort of a warm something for those who care for others.  Thus, my bookmark donations began. They’re fun for me, she uses them often, and the stories she has related are just as heartwarming and wonderful as those that come from those shawls the ladies knit and crochet.

So, that’s my bookmark donations.

Now, my challenge to you: what tatting can you donate?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Progress on the bookmark

I’m still slogging through the adaptation of the Emmy Liebert antique pattern. Emmy Liebert project I’ve found quite a bit to consider in my directions and diagram. Working the sample of one oval wasn’t a big deal. It actually turned out very nice.
sample of oval from Emmy Liebert antique pattern
 It was the idea to climb out to the next oval that presented the challenge I’ve yet to figure out. Each oval needs to be worked kinda like a split ring: one side of the center line, then the other. I can see nods of agreement from those who have designed bookmarks in the past. Well, if you have 4 rings joining at the center line, you will end up with 2 worked as split rings. I worked merrily away until I realized that one of the split rings would be joining on both sides. Ugh! So, I began to figure out whether that would even work. Here’s my progress so far. 
progress on ovals bookmark
 I think I can say that I’ve mastered the Lark’s Head Picot Join. I think……. I’m still not sure this is the best way to execute this design idea. More on all this later.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday thoughts

I completely missed that yesterday was Mardi Gras…until I set things down to cook dinner and turned on the radio for some noise……..

And I’ve way too much to do to attend the service when it is offered at St. Andrew’s. Well, this isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last time, that this organist has found herself taking spiritual time outside the schedule of the community I call my church home. Thank heaven, literally, that my faith allows and encourages personal faith activities along with the communal faith activities.

So, what’s taking up my time? Oh, just preparation for teaching tatting, preparations for playing a service, household cleaning, shopping for food, getting designs down on paper and into the computer, testing design ideas with shuttles, and attending a tutorial on a design I wish to master, finishing off projects so that I can start in on the TAT samples.

May your Lenten journey nourish and refresh your soul as we await the Easter glory.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2 more goats needed

Whew! What a day!! I had fun, but I’m whooped! I need to concentrate on the chores I’ve ignored over the past few days. The laundry has piled up and we’re low on milk and bread. So, what have I been doing?

Sharing the Hair Bun Holder pattern with the OnLine Tatting class. The pic and link is in the previous post. I really did enjoy the experience…..even though I was nervous and spent a lot of energy preparing. That meant that I had way more material than prepared than I used, but that’s OK. I’ve started a file for it all along with a pattern file and a designing ideas file. Speaking of, it’s time I spent some time on those design ideas. Maybe this afternoon.

If you have some time, I encourage you to help a venerable tatting designer reach a goal she set: 100 goats.

That’s right, goats. Jane E. has created for several years a “game” she calls TIAS (Tat It And See). This year’s pattern created a goat. She only needs 2 more pictures sent to her. So, if you didn’t join in but have an hour or two, tat a goat, scan or photograph it, and send it to her. Details with pattern on her blog: Tatting Patterns with the added ‘fun’ Factor .

Monday, February 20, 2012

Liebert bookmark version 2

Yesterday was a busy day. I played a service in the morning. Nice small Lutheran congregation. A very pleasant way to spend the morning sharing my gifts! Then after lunch, I spent the afternoon with my colleagues at a Professional Development program sponsored by our San Jose AGO chapter. It’s surprising the reaction folks have to the words “contract” and “employment” with respect to the arts.

I wanted to post my next version of the Liebert bookmark pattern I’ve been working on. (See the Feb 12 post) Unfortunately, the hands were just too achy to tat that much after the morning’s exercise. So, instead, I offer the sample I did.
Liebert pattern interpreted for a circle bookmark

Now off to prepare for romping through the hair bun holder idea I’m sharing with the Online Tatting Class.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Spring here!

The trees are leafing out. The almond trees are blooming. Everything is getting ready to grow. We barely got the trees pruned; hadn’t made it to the roses yet. The Wisteria is OK, but will need help in a few weeks. The bougainvillea….well….they really like where they are planted!

I won’t suffer you my horrible photography skills. And our yard isn’t landscaped THAT perfectly. You’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine.

Which is what I’ve been doing again lately. I’ve 5 new designs started. Nothing finished. But then, that’s nothing new around my work area!

I’m playing tomorrow, so I’d better go practice my last little bit before I answer the siren call of the bench on the back patio and watch the hummingbirds at the feeder. Gosh, it’s tough living in a place you enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

To teach

Ok….I have my cup of coffee. I’ll wake up as I post this. I also have a big grin on my face!

This is out of sync with many blogs in tatland. This week has been a dark week for many tatters around the world. Gina, tatting goddess, passed away. There has been a call for tributes to her on blogs and websites. I must sort through my patterns and samples and pick a story to post. I am too new on the internet tatting scene to have met Gina, but I quickly came to respect and now honor her memory. You will be missed. Enjoy your tatting time with the angels.

Now, back to my grin. I taught my Intro to Tatting class last night. It was so much fun. As I was setting up, there appeared a gentleman who gently heckled me about making a living as a tatter. I always think such behavior is strange considering I’m a complete stranger, but have had the experience many times. Sigh. I always remind myself that they must lead rather boring, dull lives.

The teaching experience was wonderful! It’s always fun to teach students that are eager, engaged, and succeed in getting the flip almost immediately. The first ring is always the most fun! The rest of the class time was spent practicing and looking into different threads and patterns. I can hardly wait for the next class.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My tatting history or What I do while tatting

I learned to tat as a teen from an old book my Great-Aunt was throwing out. She had tried to teach me to knit and crochet. I learned the basics, but she wasn’t very encouraging after viewing my “finished” pieces….with good reason. Every time I set it down, I lost the little something that folks use to keep the tension the same. I was having the same problem with learning piano pieces, but there are no metronomes to use when knitting/crocheting. This book had 4 sections. Since my copy is missing the outer few pages, I’m not really sure of the title or even the publisher. Chadwick’s Red Heart and J & P Coats are listed in the materials section of the projects, so I’m assuming it was published by the company to help market their yarns and threads. The kid in me like the title of the tatting section “Watch my Shuttle Go” and the sound of the word tatted. Even though my brother was in the Navy at the time, I didn’t connect “tatted” with tattoos until much later in life. Anyway, Aunt Dorothy found an old shuttle in her stash and away I went. There wasn’t much available in my local area and I didn’t know of any other tatters. My musical career took off and college dominated my time. The tatting got stashed in a box and forgotten.

Fast forward about 25 years to a point in my life when I had plenty of time on my hands waiting and doing nothing. The why isn’t important to tatting, but I will say that it was my pleasure to be chief stage hand and taxi driver to a talented, geeky daughter. I also ended up in doctor’s waiting rooms for many hours. Tatting began to fill all those hours waiting and watching. It is portable, fun, and I was having a good deal better success than with knitting needles or crochet hooks. Besides, tatting a few DS to Bach solo Cello music is my idea of spending a delightful evening. The internet has made a great deal more available to tatters now. I've found several wonderful communities: inTatters , The Online Tatting Class , Lace Museum in Sunnyvale  , Lacis to name just a few.

Now that my nest is “empty” and I’m reacquainting myself with free time, I cannot just sit still. Fancy that! So, I tat while listening to books on tape, watching the tv, riding in the car, and even waiting in the line at the Post Office. More on where my tatted pieces end up on a different day in a different post. I forgot to add yesterday a picture of the bookmark I was working on at the Open House. It is from Learning to Tat by Janette Baker.
Bookmark from Tearn to Tat by Janette Baker

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jo-Ann Open House experience

Have you ever had one of those days that was so successful you’re just kind of blubbering about it all? Well, Saturday was one of those days for me. I participated in the Open House for classes at the Jo-Ann store on Almaden near Branham. Back before Christmas, I was invited to put together a tatting class. Now, if you’re part of my circle of friends, you’ve heard this several times before, but for those that haven’t been around me the past several weeks: It’s a go!!

At the end of Saturday’s session, I have 3 students signed up for classes in the next 2 weeks. I’m teaching tatting! Tatting is not a lost art! So, now it’s off to prepare for the class… after tomorrow……gaakkkkkkkkkkk

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Liebert bookmark or a difference in picots

I am drawn consistently to older things with the idea to use them in new ways. I improvise at the organ keyboard, but only enjoy it when I’m using an ancient idea like a chant line. I shop at resale stores, but usually only buy things that are terribly practical that I reuse in ways the marketing folks weren’t thinking of when the product or clothing was new. So it goes in my tatting life.

Tatting is made one DS (double stitch) at a time. Not a lot of room for innovation and creativity; or so some think. There haven’t been a lot of patterns published over the years; more was published for crochet and knitting techniques. Taking what has survived and figuring out how to make it anew is intriguing to me.

Georgia Seitz has led us in such an activity with a book she found recently: Emmy Liebert project  . She has been focusing on translating from Fraktur into English using modern tatting techniques and terms. She asked for and received help from many experienced tatters. Recently, we looked at a specific pattern for an edging with points (see Nov. 21 class). I am always on the lookout for bookmark patterns, so I was definitely interested. Especially after seeing Dagmar’s example.

 After completing a few UF’s (unfinished projects), I began on this one. Well, I needed some refining of my technique to make this one work!

Here’s a picture of my first sample:
Emmy Leibert bookmark sample

After making careful notes on the pattern including rewriting it all twice, I came up with this bookmark.

Emmy Leibert bookmark in Vineyard Harvest
I rather like it better. I don’t think it will be going to my friend who works as a hospital chaplain quite yet. I’d like to use it as an example of why being careful of picot sizes can be important.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Heart decision

I made a decision regarding which heart I felt would be good for the “beginners” to learn. I wanted a simple rings and chains heart. There are some very simple ones already designed. I haven’t been able to reach some of the designers to obtain their permission to use/teach their design. I feel it is only respectful to attempt to reach them. I understand one lady who self-published her design is no longer using the email on the pattern. So, I put out a request on the forums I monitor to see if anyone can put us in contact. If all goes well, I would prefer to use Butterfly heart designed by Irene Woo:
Butterfly heart designed by Irene Woo

Friday, February 10, 2012


For those not familiar with this term, it’s a service not unique, but common in Episcopal and Church of England communities. Almost everything is sung. There are very few spoken lines. The choir and cantor do most of the singing, but there are opportunities for the people in the pews to join in if they wish. There's typically wonderful organ voluntaries to inspire your soul. Many a composer has written music for this service. You will hear chanting and a good deal of Baroque music.

Yesterday evening, our little band of choir members sang an evensong service. It wasn’t much for the music critics, but quality music was selected and we wound our way through the rests and semi-quavers. For me, it was a wonderful way to end the day with singing and prayer. My soul was fed.

I had intended to test tat a version of an antique pattern afterward. I found myself quite at rest and peaceful. Almost too relaxed to pick up the shuttle. I eventually did and discovered the pattern within the pattern. That means I need to spend some time doing the math and writing down what I see before I pick up the shuttle. More later. Along with my choice of hearts for the potential class.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TIAS 2012 is finished

Here’s my version of Jane’s TIAS 2012. Thank you, Jane, for the great adventure.
TIAS 2012
Thank you for visiting my blog. Please leave a comment. If you have a blog, let me know your address so that I can visit!

More tomorrow on my search for a heart pattern

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Looking for a heart

I spent the day yesterday exploring my disorganized stash of patterns. I was looking for a heart to use in a beginner class. I keep coming back to the Hearts of Hope that Anne Bruvold created based on Rosemarie’s Heart Pattern

Hearts of Hope by Anne Bruvold
Usually when I am drawn to something so strongly, it’s for a reason………

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 11 TIAS

Jane has given us a leg to stand on:

Jane's TIAS day 11
I really need to name this one so that when he goes cavorting around looking for a ball of thread to munch, I can save my thread (hmmmmm SMT??)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Version 2 of the heart

Well, I never got around to scanning the heart with beads….until Monday evening. So, here’s that pic.
Janette Baker heart with beads

Still haven’t decided what my third version should be. Maybe inspiration will strike tomorrow after I finish the penultimate TIAS post.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's February? Must be time for college forms

Taxes are filed. Whew! Now the other forms……

And in the tatting bag, I’ve been working the heart from Learn to Tat book by Janette Baker. I wanted to work it without any frills, with beads and then a third way. Haven’t come up with the third way yet…….
Heart by Janette Baker from Learn to Tat

Friday, February 3, 2012

TIAS Day 9

Did I miss yesterday? Well, you'll see why in a bit....I was working rather diligently.

The sky had just enough fog in it to catch the sun and turn brilliant red this morning. My favorite kind of sky at sunrise. It represents what I like in life: just enough troubles to make it interesting.

Well, this is why I missed yesterday. I’ve finished diagramming the Hair Bun Holder. Before you ask to see it, I must tell you: I started with rather small objects as I wanted to make sure I had enough room on the “page”. I think I started too small. When I added the stitch count numbers, I needed size 4 font to fit inside the rings. Too small…..

So, in consolation, here’s my Day 9 of Jane’s TIAS:
TIAS 2012 Day 9
I recognized him immediately. He's the thief of my ball of thread that dissappeared the other day! And I was blaming my kitties!! I caught him in the act of snooping in my cabinet this morning. He was looking for more I think! Now to pen him in and figure out his name....I KNOW it's a HE!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday already

Sun is out again. After a couple of foggy mornings, it's nice to wake up to bright skies. I'm still working on my diagram for the hair bun holder in Inkscape ( for photo, see previous post on Monday). And I’ve got ideas for Solid Rock pattern to try. And my new binder for TAT came. So many choices of things to do. Housework will just have to wait!