Thursday, December 22, 2016

Time to celebrate!!

As you read this, the office is in shambles. I'm ignoring it to celebrate. More on that later.

I have needed to replace an aging printer for…years…but thanks to a couple of rescues from the tech whisperer, I kept putting it off. Well, it has died. I’ve replaced that piece of hardware, but that action has a trickle-down effect of forcing a different configuration of the computer work space. That forced an adjustment of loom and tatting space. I'll put up a picture when it's finished. Really! That forced the drudgery of organization. I’m still working on it. Merry Christmas (snort!)

No, really, I do look forward to Christmas. It’s a wonderful time to be an organist with handbell ringing skills. My voice has aged to where I no longer am tapped for David’s City or other traditional carols. It’s really fun to hear and see and play with younger musicians who are celebrating. It’s always more fun to celebrate with a crowd than just you.  

So, here’s to a Merry Christmas and many, many hours of music, tatting, enjoying company and celebrations!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A feel good story

More distractions from tatting with good organ stuff. The December American Organist arrived. Usually, the cover story is about some new organ. Lately, some of the cover organs have not only been spectacular to look at, but also have a sweet story to share. I have a bucket list of organs to listen to. It keeps getting longer and longer with each magazine edition! Anyway, this is a gem that was literally rescued. If you follow links on the website, you should be able to read the story until the January cover story replaces it.

I’m still working of Mark’s angel for our tree top. I've added a bit more, but to pictures as I'm not to the assembly part. I’m still working on a stripe of the flag. I am gathering supplies for the TIAS next month. And, of course, I’m still dreaming up new pieces based on pieces.

Right now, I’m off to practice for next weekend. More later…..

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Inspiration rolled in

I took a walk the other day on the beach. Rather than struggle learning a new scanner program, correcting mistakes in a new pattern, or playing with swollen sore hands, I found these beauties:

sea glass and piece of shell
Just like the waves rolling in, ideas started crowding in. No, I didn’t turn my back on the ocean! Especially in winter that’s a really dangerous idea! And before I allowed myself to become really absorbed, I strolled up past high tide mark. I wanted to keep my leather shoes nicer. ;)

wings from Mark Myers angel pattern
Back home, I’m having more success with the scanner. Lots to learn though!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Purple square study finished

I finally finished it! 

This pattern is really cool to do. Workbasket is a great source for fun patterns. The techniques I used were a little more advanced, but I think the result warrants the effort.
Workbasket scarf square
Adding the beads was unnecessary to the design, but I think really set things off. I kept thinking about the pansy I made several years ago with Marilee’s excellent help. That got me thinking about making some snowman earrings for myself. I’d like something whimsical to wear this time of year.

I’ll get to it right after I finish practicing, preparing for the renter, and decorating for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Creative Balance

Tatting time lately has taken a back seat to my organ time. 
No surprise there. December is always crunch time for those in Sacred Music. I’ve learned that I need to start planning for Christmas Day in July. If I plan hand-made gifts, those need to get done by November. If we host, the house tasks need to be planned by September. If we travel, the house chores need to be planned by October. That’s just so that I don’t get overwhelmed and fragmented with the practice and performance schedule. I know so many colleagues who do so much harm to themselves trying to have a life and work. I’ve come very close myself. Too close. So, what has been the organ time lately? Taking on a couple of small assisting gigs to allow 2 of those colleagues to pull off the impossible: work life balance as a musician. I’ll be playing a couple of wonderful instruments, sharing some 18th century French music, and celebrating with family and friends.

So, what about tatting?

The tree is almost done. I was able to work on it for 3 hours while the Superior Court of Monterey County decided that they didn’t need me to serve as a juror. I’m not pleased with the last few elements, so I’ll be redoing them. I hope to have it up so I can share pictures with Thursday’s post. Check back then! In the meantime, I encourage us all to create a little each day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent decorations

They’re up. No pictures as they only look nice in the dark and, well, my photography skills fail there also. But, they’re up. That gives me time to get on to the Christmas list.

First up: 
Tree by Monica Hahn

This is a pattern by Monica Hahn. There’s a typo in the book. Not the error you see of the bottom right chain, but of the final chain. I corrected the one, but didn’t see the other. 

My idea:

Tat in para-cord with beads.

That means I need to find my stash of pony beads. I had really stashed this lot. After the GS troop finished with them, I tidied up. I didn’t find them until unpacking after the move…..almost 10 years later. Oops. I’ve been trying to find someone to use them. Guess I’ll use a few for this door decoration! More later….and pictures. I promise. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It has been busy!

Nothing much to see here. You’d have to be tagging along on all the shopping trips. I’m learning much more about styles of architecture, styles of decorating, and choosing paints. We’re taking on a tenant at the end of the year. So, those rooms that we’ve ignored and just stored stuff in? They need to be emptied, repainted, and generally prepared. I won’t be doing it alone, so I’ll still have tatting time and organ time. I’m hoping to finish the purple square study on Thanksgiving. We’ll see. I’m not hosting, but I will be visiting for part of the day and there be lots of people to catch up with.

Oh! Before I forget, San Carlos Cathedral is working towards fixing up their organ. It’s a gem! The first pipe Wurlitzer I’ve heard in a church. The sound was a bit anemic as the leather needs replacing, but it filled the church nicely. True Classic American. Please keep the Parish in your thoughts and prayers.

For those celebrating Thanksgiving, please enjoy the Holiday!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

4 reasons for a break

I had planned to post a picture of the square study in purple. That is until I realized I’d
1. Joined the front side of the 2nd motif to the back side of the 1st motif.
2. Forgot a bead on a bead join picot.
3. Used the wrong color bead on another bead join picot.
4. Forgot I had adjusted the stitch count on the outer ring of the onion ring on a corner.

Now, when I’m sitting at the organ and I make that many mistakes, I know it’s time for a break. Some food, maybe some tea, and maybe even a walk outside or finishing a looming chore.
So, I took a break and thus didn’t finish the tatting before I needed to head to bead. The next morning was going to be the start of a busy day and I wanted to get enough sleep. If I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep, I’d work on it then. I slept like a log. So, no purple square study.

More next week on that busy day. There’s the teaser: Project Management, Artist in Residence, Hymn Studies, Classic American Organ Registration, Theater Organ Registration, Doublewide Doubleweave, Journalism, Color Theory in Lace Design, and oh yeah….planning for what house remodel will get done during the Holiday Shutdown.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I had a great time!

We hosted a wonderful organist last weekend. Angela Kraft Cross was in town to play a concert at St. Dunstan’s. The series is wrapping up. There will be more next year. I can’t wait. I enjoyed the concert so much. Lots of ideas for the future are running around in my head now; both tatting and organ ideas. It’ll take quite a while to “get them sorted” as a friend says.
There’s another concert Friday. This one is at San CarlosCathedral. It’s a fundraiser for monies to refurbish their organ. Since the organ is a bit under the weather, we’ll be listening to choral music more than organ music. They’ll be honoring St. Cecilia singing as they pray for peace.

I wonder how the Schoenstein organ is settling in. They had their annual choir concert Sunday also. I must go by and take a look and maybe listen. Tomorrow. Today, I want to finish the square study in purple.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

in purple

Well, here’s a picture of the square set I’m working on new. It’s the same pattern as this square.

 I just made things more complicated by using size 80 in 4 different colors AND beads. (Thanks Eliz for sending me down that lane with your comment. I rather like the effect.) The idea came to me due to a common structure of hymns: the first, second and last line similar melody and harmony; the third line a complimentary, but different melody with similar harmony. See where my mind went with this?

If you do, tell it to come back quick….before I lose my keys or something!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Needle tatting workshop

It was my pleasure to spend last Saturday at Lacis in Berkeley. The Museum and store are always a treat to visit! This time, I soaked up all things Needle Tatting. Barb Foster led a wonderful workshop. We also got a chance to tour the tatting display with Jules Kliot. It was so fun and I learned so much! It meant a 14 hour day what with driving up and back, but well worth it. I’m afraid I was doing so much note taking and experimenting I don’t have much tatting to show. I did buy a new book and some thread. I’ll have a picture of something for the next post. Promise!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Another New organ

Well, “new” is relative. The organ as an instrument has been around a long, long time. New organs usually incorporate recent technology, reflect current taste, and have components fabricated just for them. They usually incorporate building methods developed centuries ago, tonal framework used for centuries, and reflect the heritage of the building or community.

This week, it has been my great pleasure to explore an organ recently installed in Carmel, CA. The Presbyterian Church will be enjoying a fabulous Galanti. There’s a clip recorded there in the video on this page. It starts about the 4’ mark. I had so much fun! Thank you for letting me take a romp through the instrument! The possibilities for playing wonderful music are endless.

It’s been hard to settle down and work on the next square pattern. I did manage a couple of samples; more next week. Also a report on the workshop I’ll be attending Saturday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


We have had rain. Not a huge amount by some standards, but welcome. The plants look much healthier now. Of course, the oxalis is taking off big time. I know I should be attacking it while the ground is moist, but there is so much else to do!

Like tat and play new organs!
First, the newest square study, then on Thursday, the newest organ.
Workbasket pattern in pastel and white
I wanted to play with variegated thread in hopes that it would make the solid thread areas pop. I don’t think it worked for this pattern. I do like how the faux center turned out where the corners meet. I would like to stick with variegated as there are so many music compositions that use theme and variation structure. If I can learn what works best for tatting design structure to vary a basic motif, perhaps that will be a good method to represent music compositions that take a simple melody and expand it with variations. Just a thought.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Found and safely stowed

It took me another day to find it, but I did:
4 squares of Tablecloth pattern from Workbasket c. 1970's

The shelving in this house is built-in and painted white. Just the color I used in this study. I set the completed tatting down on a shelf and then later, set a piece of paper on top. That didn’t annoy me as much as the fact that I couldn’t remember what I had been doing as I was setting it down. Normally, it’s easy for me to think through and retrace my steps. I shoulda known not to unpack in the evenin’ from the days travels. My steps: I came through the door, saw the blocked squares, picked them up to carry them into the study, set them down, saw the print-out of another pattern, picked it up to make a note on it, set the paper down on top of the tatting, walked away already thinking about something else. Sigh!

Overall, I’m pleased with how the study of joining these squares turned out. The faux center that the ecru thread forms is nicely geometric. If you look closely, you can tell which of the 2 squares were worked using a SCMR instead of just stringing along a bare thread. I’ve tucked it safely away now with the other study pieces and am on to the next square pattern.

Oh, thank you Cleda for these patterns from your Workbasket collection. I’ve had fun updating the directions!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It's lost...but shall be found!

Well, I’ve lost it. Not my marbles…those have been gone for a long, long time. Even before kids! (Sorry Steph). I lost my completed study of the Tablecloth motif. I completed 4 squares joined at the appropriate places. Even though I added a section in one chain, it looked intriguing. Well, someplace between blocking and photographing, I set it down and now CANNOT find it. I looked everywhere!
So, until I find it, you’ll just have to wait to see it.

I have witnesses as I did show it at the meeting last week. Maybe they can tell me where it went off to……

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pumpkin in rope

I normally do not decorate specifically for Halloween. I’m usually way too busy with all things musical. All Saints Vesper is one of my favorite services to sing. The closure of remembering those who have passed away in the last year also feeds my soul. So, the ever present cobwebs and such is usually all that I bother with for Halloween decorations.

This year, I found some orange cord in the camping gear box. Just about that time, someone mentioned tatting with rope. Well, I was inspired to work out this decoration for our front door.

The pattern is Tatted Celtic Knot Pumpkin by  Rozella Linden.

Personally, I think I need something a bit larger for the door; it’s that massive a door. Maybe like a wreath pattern in brown cord with some harvest theme tatting fastened on. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A tatter's vote

This is nothing political. Just your tatting opinion desired.

I have a tin with shuttles and thread that goes with me to demonstrations. In it live a few shuttles I’m not fond of, but are readily available or are examples of what tatters typically used a generation ago. I also toss in shuttles with just a bit left on them; enough for a butterfly or ring or 2.

After my last foray using the tin, I decided that I really had to empty one shuttle. The thread is quite fine, I assumed size 80. The shuttle is larger, so I thought it would work nicely for beads. I decided that I should use up the thread trying out the Hen N Chicks pattern. The one in the last wasn't the greatest experience!

I should have known better than to use tiny thread for a technique I’ve not tatted before. Not only that, the thread turned out not to be size 80 cotton. It’s more of a rayon size 100. Split rings are tricky in small thread, but with slippery rayon?????

What was I thinking???? Oh yeah, right, I wasn't thinking!

But, I persevered! I had that 25th motif in sight and I wasn’t going to back down! That’s the good news. Now I have a choice: use the rest of the thread for something else, or just take it off the shuttle and move on? What’s your vote?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

25 Motifs in 2016

I did it!! This one completes the Challenge:
Hen N Chicks square by Rachael Mohler
I completed 25 motifs in 2016. I know many, many other tatters have tatted that much in 12 months. I probably have in quite a few years in the past. But, this year I kept track. I thought it would help me keep track of projects for the house, help grow the studio, and generally keep me focused and motivated. Well, it did!!

Thank you Sharon for maintaining the blog. I know how much work you’ve set for yourself. Yes, I know technology makes a lot of the task easier, but you still have to sit and the computer, look at the screen, edit the post, and then make sure it’s all the way you want it to be. Thank you!

And so, here’s my 2016 25 motif Challenge list:
17: Bead Cap Earrings by Melanie Cervi (no picture….it went poof after the gift was wrapped and given)
20: Motif from Hector Earrings by Nina Libin (no picture....I had one, but now....poof!)
25: Hen N Chicks Square by Rachael Mohler (see picture above in this post)

There! If anyone has questions or comments or would like more info, I’ll be back to check after a walk on the beach! If you're curious what else I've tatted lately, have a look at the Board I have on the other blog I maintain.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

More studio adjustments

No picture today. I’ve been working on the flag again and have added another motif to the Tablecloth pattern from Workbasket. Picture soon of that.

I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time at the organ. Not because I have a deadline approaching, but because we found some shutters at a resale place. They are tall. Like about 6 feet tall. There are also 5 of them, so they will fill a space between the pillars in the studio. When I saw them, I thought they might eat up the highs from the organ. I think they do. It’s hard for me to judge because I’m sitting at the organ playing, but I think they do. Now I need to figure out how to fix them up, attach them to the pillar, and get them in place. Oh, and I need to decide which gap to fill with them. I hope the organ voicer likes them. I’ll try to snap a picture once they get in place.

I also realized yesterday that there is barely 10 weeks left in 2016. I took the time this morning to refresh my memory of what I’ve accomplished, browse my goals, and pick the 5 most important. Normally, this would result in needing a walk to clear my head and refocus. Well, I’m pleased to say that after 55 years, I’m finally getting the hang of working towards goals. I have accomplished my 5 most important 2016 goals. Mind, that doesn’t mean that I’ve done what I really SHOULD be doing, just what I picked. More on that after the New Year.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Workbasket Tablecloth motif

Tablecloth square

I took a break from the house cleaning/organization the other day and found a copy of a Workbasket tatting pattern. I remember who gave it to me (I know surprise, surprise!) and need to remember to thank her the next time I see her. 

Anyway, it intrigued me because the center is so tight. Trefoils of smaller rings all join to each other. It’s another “fabric” pattern with not much negative space in the center. I think it would make a nice tablecloth.

Now, back to our regular schedule housework!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How is that Possible???

I seem to be drawn to activities that seem impossible. Like keeping a tidy, organized house.

No seriously, I’ve learned a few tricks in my time:
Playing the piano and organ.
Weaving, tatting, loom knitting, etc.

My nickname for a madrigal group was Legerdemain. They gave me that because I always seemed to be producing something that was needed just as someone realized we needed it. It wasn’t hard. I had sung with many small groups and knew the ropes. I wasn’t particularly thrilled. Part of the definition is deceit and trickery. Not my style!

Remember the pin loom I found in a box at a silent auction? I’ve been working through the directions posted by eLoomaNation . Thank you!!!! You can see where I forgot to weave in the final row and things unraveled a bit.
The weave structures are not hard to grasp except for one point: Much of the directions for warping the pin loom have you wind ½ the warp, ½ the weft, and then the rest of the warp. Yes, I wrote that correctly.  So, how DOES that work?????

Knitting uses loops of fiber to create cloth. Tatting uses knots. Weaving used intersections (the over/under you see). How can you get over/under if you only manipulate ½ of the weft?????

Well, I still haven’t wrapped my brain completely around it, but I have learned to predict where to weave in every other row for some of the weaves. Twill is easy. Rep weave made sense also. Color weaves were fussy, but worked. I’ve decided to leave it aside for a few days and see where my imagination takes me.

In the meantime, I could use some legerdemain with the clutter in the house. Maybe if I wiggle my nose?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

See what can happen when you're distracted?

Yes, I got distracted again. I decided to tat the second motif we discussed Monday inclass

I wanted to see if I liked it in 2 colors. I think I do. The next time I’ll make sure to have enough thread I won’t need to SLT to finish out the last chain. ;)
Then, I wanted to see how it would look in size 80:

The folks who come by for the Tatting Tuesday Study Group favor working with tiny thread. Mostly in size 80. I can’t say I gravitate towards it now, but they have pushed me to giving it a fair trial. Ever since I worked on the SaintSaens doily, I haven’t really enjoyed size 80. At the time I just thought it was because there are so many cool embroidery/quilting threads out there and what I had in my stash in size 80 looked so boring. Anyway, it’s closer to the size I like for earrings, but a bit too round for my tastes. Three more shuttles are empty now. I’ll have fun choosing what thread to use for the square motif.

Update on the fire is available on CalFire website. It sounds like most of the homes are escaping the inferno. It’s still a threat as the winds will be picking up today and could blow it out of control. Perhaps that will discourage the crews working with the jack hammer in the street. Either that or they will finish demolition. The walls are thick enough the sound isn’t excruciating, but the windows let enough in. No tatting on the front porch until the dust settles either. Maybe I’ll just have to walk down to the beach!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Another Monday

Monday this week was a “Monday” to the max. Several bright spots in the day:
Dainty Tatted Trim by Anna J Johnson

OnLine Tatting class started the 18th season of discussions and exploration of lace in thread. This is one of the patterns we discussed. I counted it for another motif for the 25 motif challenge.

Nothing more broke at the house. (When you live in an older home, no news is good news!)

So, what made it the proverbial Monday? Well, another fire broke out. Not near me, but near the area where friends live. The smoke will likely get blown into the valley, so it’ll not be a fun time for those who work in the South Bay.

The motif I worked on from the class was difficult to finish. Mostly because of the color choice. I was trying to use up thread and use 4 colors as that was the challenge. Yuck! The variegated was disappointing. The brown was rather dull. I do intend on incorporating the design into the bell cover idea. Just use better color choice I think!

It will be hot again today. We broke a heat record for our area yesterday. The upstairs got a bit warm, but the downstairs is still cool.

On to the next motif. I’m picking a square motif next. Edgings are fun, but I’m looking for something to turn into an earring. mmmmmmmmm

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Update on the organ:

Most of the big stuff is in place. The console has been moved to the side where it will live and work. Remember the picture from last week? The front view? This is the view of the back through the rail for the steps. 

The innards are surprisingly simple technology, but still packed in tight.
 This is the view from the back through the opening for the swell shoes. 
You can see portions of the pedal board. I can’t wait to hear what the big pipes sound like when one of those pedals is played!

I’m able to tat and weave while watching the installation crew work. Progress is steady but slow. I think it will be awhile before I have much to snap a pic of. We’ll see what I can accomplish!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Old idea made new

Many, many moons ago, BK and even before CA, I found myself wishing to create table linens that complimented the pattern on china. I thought it would be cool to pick up colors and patterns from the dishes. I really had no idea how. I was learning about weaving at the time. I knew how to embroider a bit and tat a bit, but had no real training in design. Fast forward to the day I bought all those bells.

I thought about tatting a cover for them that picked up the design and complimented the china. After playing with edgings for the Double weave square, I thought an edging for this bell would be nice. I like it. Now to get the rest settled…….

The organ at First Pres. continues to take shape. It'll be awhile before we'll get to hear it. Most of the pipes are in the pipe chamber. The console is placed. I can't wait to hear/see more progress!

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Lots is up in my life. No, I'm not moving again. And I'm making things up as I go. What I've been up about is all I've been able to do with what is right in front of me: create gifts with leftover yarn and thrift store buys, watch an organ going up (pipes lifted up to the pipe chamber), sun rising, etc.

I’ve decided I’m on an “upcycle” kick. It started several years ago. I was given some yarn and challenged to tat a shawl. Several months later, I finished the project. It was a success in some respects, and I’m glad I learned how, but I probably will never repeat the project!
It was successful enough that I have been gifted boxes and boxes of yarn and such. In those boxes have been real treasures. I’ve been able to pass on much material for others to use. I’ve made gifts for others from all the wonderful supplies. At one point, I had about 10 boxes of cast off stuff. Now, I’m down to 6….or 7…..or……
My most recent project has been pin loom weaving with the bits and pieces in those boxes. I’ve 3 boxes of yarn/thread to choose from. I’m having fun with it. Currently I’m trying out tapestry techniques. It’s nice and portable, I can set it down at any point in time, and I’m using up the “trash” stuff learning! If it’s photogenic enough I’ll share a picture here.

Where am I working on it you ask? While watching the organ being assembled! It’s great fun!!!! Pictures of that will be filtering in. Here’s the console minus the pedal board:
Off to find more yarn to play with!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What a whirl wind of a weekend!

It all started Friday with my mini-concert at St. Paul’sSalinas. I chose to just start playing this time. No bowing between pieces. “The European Way” as a colleague of mine puts it. I do like playing this organ. So, I played on not knowing who was out there. I heard a stifled sneeze and a cough or two so I knew at least 1 person was listening besides me. At the end of the list, there was applause to acknowledge. I was pleased to see an old friend out there.

We caught up over lunch and then it was back to the task at hand: keep the big house going while working. We took a break Saturday and enjoyed the Italian Festa. It was great fun! Sunday was a full day at St. Dunstan's with services in the morning and hosting a concert in the afternoon. I was pleased with how it all went, but quite exhausted at the end of the day. Unfortunately, the barometer was climbing all day, so my walking-talking-barometer was suffering. That made for a bit of a tough evening. I chose to do the bare minimum and get to bed early. Good thing too! I was still kinda dragging Monday morning. And the hands are the worse for the wear. They’re getting better today. Another good night of sleep and I’ll be able to practice or pick up the shuttles again (but not both!).

In the meantime, I’m enjoying checking in on the organ installation at First Presbyterian in Monterey. Everything came off the truck Monday. Now starts the big push. Typically, the crews work 10 hours days just to get things off the pews so people can still use the space for worship…..small detail! 
a big one!
They’re approaching community use of the organ differently than St. Dunstan’s. I hope they do a recital series. If not, we’ll still get to enjoy it! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Monterrey County Fair 2016

Well, the Fair was a resounding success for me this year. 

I entered 3 items in different divisions and classes. I won 3 ribbons: 
a 2nd place for the Double weave sample

a 1st place for the Frauberger triangle

and Best of Show for the heart basket. Who knew? 

In my opinion, almost all of the pieces I saw in each area were very well made. The judging must have been quite difficult! I did not consult the guidelines I’ve seen for judges, I tried to just do the best I could and be creative. Who knew? Oh, and here's the other side of the square: 

I was asked if there was enough interest for a tatting Division next year. I think so. The Study Group continues to grow. I need to do more networking to keep building on that success. You see, tatters usually come from the ranks of Embroidery and Lace artists. There is an Embroidery Guild here. I need to connect with them to do things properly.

Speaking of Study Groups, the Organ Study Group is doing well. I continue to open the studio from 11 AM to 2 PM on Wednesdays and there are people coming over to explore the organ and organ music. Again, more networking is needed. I have my work cut out for me there!

Lots to think about, lots to do, and lots to create!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

When an idea won't go away

Several years ago, I saw an idea for color use in tatted motifs.  The idea has really stuck in my mind. Just about every time I see windows where I practice. I have a collection of sketches. I have the thread. I finally started work on the idea. It didn’t go well. I needed to better understand stitch count and other design issues. So, over the (ahem) 6 years since this idea really started to gel, I’ve been taking a stab at it.

I’ve perused monster doily patterns hoping to learn about design parameters that work. I’ve photographed (poorly) many stained glass windows. I’ve studied color use in needlework. I’m getting closer, but still not very far.
Window Decoration II designed by Jan Stawasz

In an attempt to kick start the process, I loaded shuttles and worked a Window Decoration pattern from Jan Stawasz book Tatting Theory andPatterns. I feel I did justice to the pattern. Yet again, the black thread was thinner than the colors. That caused a bit of cupping and such. Normally, I wouldn’t like that in tatting, but for stained glass, I like that the black appears so different.

I must leave this idea now. It will be entered into my list of 25 Motifs for the challenge. Now it's time to focus on upcoming deadlines. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A sunrise....finally!

I got distracted yesterday….
By a sunrise….
The weather this summer has been more typical for Monterey area. The cool marine air begets fog just about every day. We’ve had a bit of sun every afternoon. With the fire in Big Sur area though, it’s been overcast more for the morning. Thus, there haven’t been as many sunrises for me to watch from my window. Yesterday was the exception, so I took the time to have an extra cuppa and enjoy the show. I’m glad I did.

The important stuff got done yesterday, just not the next tier down in the to-do list. So, I’ll get started on that in a few moments.

Question first: I’m getting a hankering to do a monster doily. Any favorites you would recommend? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Now where was I.......

Ok….I got distracted. 
I blame it on “Back to School” sales and watching the kids in the neighborhood get back into their school routines.

I making progress on the bell cover, the stained glass idea is percolating, the Fair display is in the works, and my house is getting organized. To top it all off, the weather is turning and the fog/smoke is lifting. That means I enjoyed a sunrise this morning! Again, I won’t annoy you with pictures as my photography skills are not up to snuff. I enjoy good photographs and recognize the skill it takes to produce them. Skill I would have to work very hard to master. I get distracted by the beauty of what I’m trying to photograph too easily.

I think I’ll go distract myself with a quick romp through my practice list at the organ. Then, on to the shuttles!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Trial or Proof of Concept

This has been a fun project to work on! I love repurposing and upcycling things. So far, this project has more time invested than materials. And that time is usually walking and thinking, watching Olympic coverage and tatting, or the proverbial “aha” in the shower after a cup of coffee. 
Trial for bell cover
So this is how the trial design worked out. I think it will work. I may add another row of rings in the center; based on the painted flowers of course. It just seems to need some 3-D something. The beads help, but I would like more depth….and more color. hmmmmmmm

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

framing idea

Many moons ago my brain came up with one of those ideas that just won’t go away: Tat something that frames something else. Not a new idea. People have been tatting edgings for centuries. You know, like what embellishes handkerchiefs, pillows, sweatshirts, just about anything cloth. What about tatting around a photo or painted picture?
When I started working through a book of ornament covers written by Nadine Nunnelly, I was drawn to one design that seemed to be a window with the ball showing through.
Ball # 10 from Tatted Christmas Balls by Nadine Nunnelly
 Negative space in tatting always draws my eye. Perhaps that’s because tension usually doesn’t affect my pieces that much. Not like my feeble attempts at crochet or knitting. Nor like my selvages at the loom. How the thread is knotted is fun to examine, but how the lace is open can be fascinating.
After turning in my items at the Fair, I started to prepare for demonstrations coming up. You know, taking stock of what is on the shuttles, deciding if that design idea will ever amount to much, and gathering materials for small butterflies, flowers and doves. I came across a note for this idea of tatting a frame for a photo or painting or something.

That sent me to my stash of thread for design ideas. You know, the stuff you just really aren’t grabbed by that was so cheap you just had to take it home…. the vintage thread someone found in Aunt’s sewing basket….. I am having fun with this. Maybe I'll use a bell from that box I picked up at the Auction. I’ve several “sketches” worked out with loaded shuttles. As I work through them, I’ll take pictures on my phone. When those get sorted and prepped for the blog, I’ll happily share them.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Improvisation time

So, what DO you do when you’ve made a “mistake” during the design process?????


This is what I came up with for the DoubleWeave sample edging:

Complete picture after the Fair.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Getting to the edge

I figured out why the edging was going so nicely….I hadn’t discovered the oops.

No, seriously. When a project goes nicely without a hitch, it’s usually because the mistake hasn’t happened yet. Sigh.

It looks nice enough....and I will still enter the finished piece. I just have to decide whether to complete the project or change the final round. 

What’s that I hear? Give up???? Nah…….                                    

Thursday, August 11, 2016


The smoke is bad today. I’ve a headache from that and just the tension of thinking too much about it all. Sigh! Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful that I’m safe. I am thankful that the fire crews were able to get the fire 50% contained so far. The weather has been favorable for fighting the Sobranes fire; and favorable for those living in our neighborhood. Just today it’s bad.

Weave-It loom warped and ready to create with!
I had several “aha” moments yesterday. I realized that the Woods organ is likely missing the mechanical part of one of the stops. It’s relatively common and easily replaced. Just a bit disappointing.

I basted the edging on in preparation for sewing. I have a clearer idea how I want the piece to end up. Satisfied sigh!

I played with the Weave-It loom I was gifted. Some yarn from the stash that came with it has provided just the right weight to figure out a good technique. Not bad for a first try.

I also realized why I like some of the Vierne pieces. They are pretty as written on the page, but if you use the registration the composer asks for, they really shine. Kinda like using the size bead/thread combination the designer intends. Use a smashing color combination and you have created beauty. Play the piece on an organ voiced for the music and it’s just beautiful.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Have I really written THAT much????

I’m feeling old today. It’s damp and cool, so my foot is aching. I picked up some furniture yesterday, so I need a rest day. This is the 401st post for this blog. That’s a lot of nuthin’ much tuh say. I can’t believe I’ve stuck with this for 5 years now. A lot has happened in my life. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve designed a few things. I’ve enjoyed it all!!! But, the thought of it all leaves me feeling…..old.

My tatting time has been taken up with preparations for theFair. I don’t plan on showing what I entered until after the judging. I’m pretty sure the judges won’t be reading this blog, but I consider it poor form to post pictures prior to their assessment. After that day, I plan to post lots of pictures of what’s happening there.

I’ve begun practicing another of the Little Prelude and Fugue by JS Bach. It’s my custom to dust them off each summer. Most times I find some excuse to play them each year. Well, any excuse will work!
I’ve also decided it’s time to learn the Vierne Pieces en Style Libre. They’re distinctive and have lots packed into a few short bars. I have sketches of some of them already inspired by concerts I’ve attended.
bell from silent auction box

 I’ve also decided Christmas gifts this year will be tatted coverings for some of the bells I’ve picked up. Similar to the coverings I did for ornaments. If an idea comes to you, and you share them, who knows what may come your way????

Thursday, August 4, 2016

When patterns get adapted and organs need a new home

I’ve allowed my routine to slip. The result: not as many walking sessions, not as many blog posts, not as much practicing, nor as much tatting. Deadlines are looming! Time to get serious about that to-do list! First off, I need to finish the items I’ve entered in the Fair. Next, find a new home for a wonderful reed organ. On the way, I’ll use this:
lanyard for pin

I have found myself finishing this necklace repurpose. Remember that trip to Lacis? And the purling pin type hook I bought? And the necklace I started to have something to do while waiting in line? Well, it all came together. I’m pleased with the result. Thank you Nina Libin for the wonderful pattern! It was fun to play with the thread and beads. I finished most of it while listening to the lectures, Master classes, and rehearsals for Bach Festival.

Now I’m off to get the word out about the wonderful reed organ that has come available:

It's a very sweet parlor organ fully restored built by George Woods & Co. I wish it could follow me home. It was be so fun to sit down and play everyday. There's something very special about the way such an instrument plays. It is confusing to call them organs. Kind of like how different acoustic guitars are from electric guitars or even lutes.

But I'm rambling again! Off to the list. (Sounds better than Off with her head!)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fire update

Not much to share here. No pictures. 
My pieces for the Fair are close to being finished. The Bach Festival is winding up. Today is a Master Class, Chamber Concerts and Main Concert. The Golden State Theater will be celebrating next week with free concerts. I hope they include the organ.
Most of my energy has been concerned with the Fire. Several artists have lost houses and studios. Many families are wondering if they will begin again. This blog Bigsurkate has information on fundraisers, donation drives, and general news of the area.

I pray for the safety of firefighters, victims and those aiding them. I pray for favorable weather. I pray that those who would take advantage of the events for ill gain are thwarted.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


A motet is a short piece of choral music, typically of the Renaissance style of polyphony.

Now before the tatters in the crowd roll their eyes, and the organist harrumph, I bring this up because I think this composition form lends itself very well to my ideas in thread. All polyphony means is separate parts of the music happening at the same time. Like how cloth is woven. I’m thinking of twill; like the cloth used for denim jeans. So, I’m experimenting with the warp left over from the beginning weaving class and the thread left over from the Frauberger triangle. The colors aren’t very complimentary, so I won’t offend your design sense by sharing a picture. It has promise though.

For the local readers, the fire South of Carmel is filling the air with smoke. The plume was very visible Saturday from our house. We’re upwind, so we haven’t dealt with air quality issues. The animals are all spooked. On the hike yesterday, we saw several deer out in the open in places where they would have been hiding. And a coyote on the trail. There’s still room for all creatures to have their space, but it was a bit scary coming around the curve and seeing the predator loping down the trail away from us.

I think I’ll stay indoors and tat and weave and play the organ.