Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year

I wish all a wonderful New Year!!

Please take time to create and please, please be safe in your festivities.

See you all in a few days for a new post full of gifts received!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Merry Christmas

This will be my last post for a while. I celebrate Christmas…all 12 days. Organists are quite busy on Dec. 24th; and so is Dec. 25th which for me is a day of collapse and napping after a quiet service. 

My next normal posting day I will be focused on the music side of my life. I just may get back to the computer side of my life in one week, but if I don’t manage that, you’ll probably see another post in 2020.

So, let me wish all a happy few weeks and the prospect of a New Year with plenty of time to create!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Gift idea!

Treat your favorite tatter to a workshop!

I offer these two possibilities:

 Adapting Tatting Patterns using Sonata in Sunnyvale, CA at the Lace Museum. I’ll be guiding students through looking at vintage tatting patterns, taking inspiration from music for tatting designs, and step by step guidance through my pattern Sonata. Side trips to area museums and local attractions will be encouraged! I plan to visit San Francisco while I’m there.

Celebrating in the woods close to Spokane, Washington with Shuttlebirds. The theme is Mardi Gras. I’ll be teaching my Joy bookmark pattern, a snazzy way to decorate candle sticks, and guiding students through my motif inspired by a Bach Cantata. I hope to get lots of ideas for ways to use tatting in costumes for Laissez les bon temps!

Both of my classes at these workshops will be taught using needle and shuttle techniques. So, rest assured, the lace maker in your life will be creating wonderful lace! You can find the registration form on the LaceMuseum website to use as a gift registration for the Sonata workshop, or create a coupon to be redeemed for the weekend in the mountains. Registration will open beginning late January on the Shuttlebirds website.

We’ll see you there as we have tatting good fun!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Now I Lay my thread

I like tatting for many reasons:

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Blackwork sample

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

Working on dark cloth with dark thread during winter?

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Getting ready to celebrate

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 21, 2019


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

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Orange is happy

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

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

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

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Application for Shuttlebirds Tatting Workshop and Retreat is in

I’ve stepped off the edge AGAIN!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


I get nothing done without planning. I can putter all day and accomplish absolutely nothing! I know, everyone needs a day like that every once in a while. But I’m not someone to sit still and I just have to create things!

So, I pick up a pencil or pen regularly with the sole purpose to plan what I could do. Inspiration usually strikes and I end up getting knee deep in scores or thread or books. That’s been happening a lot. I have lots of words on paper, but little in thread. Not even a lot tucked away in computer files!
That should change today. I’ll follow through on some of those plans today. Pictures should follow on Thursday’s post.

After a walk…….

Thursday, November 7, 2019


HIT – Historically Informed Tatting (today’s a bit of a rant)

I am doubly motivated to pursue designing in tatting that is historically informed.

1. I am the Queen of Repurpose. If I can find another use for something, I will. This leads to boxes and boxes of bits of thread, pieces of paper, pretty bags and boxes, etc. Mighty convenient I live in a Historic home.

2. I look to the past in my music. Those who do not consider how music has been written/performed/composed in the past are doomed to repeat mistakes. Unlike several of my older colleagues, I do not pursue historic performance for the sake of historic performance. I am content to play using current instruments with current knowledge. I just like to fill the air with beautiful sound.

So, when I design in tatting, I spend a good deal of time trying to find out what others have done with the kernel of idea that I came up with. How have tatters created lace based on 8 repeating rings or motifs? I am constantly asking tatters who have extensive libraries if a design idea I’m working on has appeared before. And, I’m always trying to recreate lace I see in pictures or museums or antique shops.

(Here’s the primary rant)

HIT is important. We must honor those who have tatted before us with the respect as graciously as possible. Innovation is important. But, how many of us twitch and have wide open eyes in surprise when an instrument other than a clarinet opens our favorite Gershwin tune?

All this is my way of following in Jane’s footsteps, Georgia’s footsteps, and others; justifying why I don’t have a ton of designs posted, or pictures every single day; spending hours in museums and looking through books; innovating in (I hope) a historically respectful, creative way.

‘nuff said. I’ll go to the corner and pick up my shuttles.

After a cuppa. Join me? There’s enough hot water here for a ton of people.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

It's turned in.......

. application to teach next May at the Shuttlebirds Tat Days.

I’m excited to be jumping in on this adventure of teaching about and around. If you have enjoyed tatting in the North West, let me know. I hope to meet more tatters I’ve been following, and who have followed me, online.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Chicks from Hen and Chicks with beads

As part of the OnLine Tatting class, we’ve been discussing Vintage patterns as rewritten using modern tatting techniques and notation. As a musician, this seems such a natural process. Baroque music was frequently written with just a bass line and numbers that we call Figured Bass. Guitar players use Tablature rather than Grand Staff. But, I digress…..

Chicks with Beads
Hen and Chicks is a beloved pattern many, many tatters have used to create yards and yards of lace. Many years ago, I create a bookmark pattern using beads based on this simple Vintage pattern. I have found teaching it to be quite rewarding. Now, it’s a very simple pattern. As tatting patterns go, there’s not a lot to distinguish it. But, it seems to fit the bill for requests of a pattern to tat from knitters and crochet fans.

All this is to say that I’ve gone back and dusted off the file and added a picture. I just may propose this as a class for my next adventure at a tatting conference. Mmmm….when is the deadline????

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Getting ready

I’ve decided I’m cursed with always being in the process of getting ready! That’s not a bad thing! I rather like all the activity.

I spend hours practicing for that 1 hour of playing for other people.

I spend hours tatting that 1 small snowflake or earring.

I spend hours cleaning and straightening for that 1 day hosting.

Currently, I’m spending hours preparing the Elephant canvas, preparing an application to teach another workshop, deciding what I’ll be doing to celebrate the Holidays…then preparing for all that.

Lest you think I’m grumpy about it all, I would rather be planning and preparing than caught flat-footed and miss the chance to play the organ, give a gift, or welcome friends to my home.

So, I’m off to prepare to host the Tuesday Tatting Study Group. After a walk along the Bay.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A welcome respite

We’ve returned from our weekend jaunt to Cambria. It was very relaxing and quite fun! We spent a day touring Hearst Castle. I kept reminding myself. We’re at a State Park. It was very nicely cared for, very well curated. For the fiber friends, I saw nice examples of crochet, net lace, and needle lace, tatted and knitted lace; some excellent weaving and embroidery examples. I think the guides were a bit curious after watching me lean in to get a close look at anything on top of tables and dressers.
                There was a quaint little Historical museum we stopped at also. They have a square piano and a pump organ. Nothing very valuable. Just the work horses of their day. It seemed odd to me that this modest house would have 2 instruments. I would expect an instrument, like a piano if the house was built for a lawyer or prominent business tycoon. A teacher or Bishop might have a pump organ. Just my perspective. What was most valuable to me was their account of reproducing the wall paper. Good information for working on our historic home!
                I also found a lovely yarn shop: Ball & Skein. They sell tatting shuttles and tatting needles! They sell yarn (of course) and so much more! Kris was so much fun to talk to and I hope to meet Oz on my next trip. If you’re looking for rigid heddle time in the Morro Bay area, I suggest stopping in. I will return and I promise to bring tuck demonstration supplies in my bag!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

My stitching adventure continues

I’ve gathered the supplies, I’ve read the instructions….several times. 
I’ve asked questions of experienced stitchers I know. 
Getting started involves tedious preparations of the canvas and threads. I hope to finish that by next week. But…..

There are gifts to plan for (including budget)
Gifts to make
Music to pick
Music to learn
And I’m still catching up from a crazy-busy summer!

Maybe tatting for a few hours will help calm my swirling thoughts……

Thursday, October 17, 2019

We’re just fine, thanks.

One of the joys of living in California is earthquakes. (Sarcasm intended!) Tuesday about Noon, I felt another one. Usually, I’m moving around when they hit, so I’m never sure and seldom feel them. This one I did feel the shakin’. 
Two jolts: as though someone smacked the house. No damage. The cats didn’t even stir off the chairs. Just lifted their heads, looked around, and stretched back asleep. If you’re curious, you can see the data on the USGS website, or any of the major schools in the area like Cal Poly or Berkeley. I’m sure some of my neighbors were reminded to look over their emergency supplies. That’s not a bad thing!
Giggly earrings

In all honesty, our house stands to be damaged more by wildfires than by earthquakes. And that’s only if there’s a really hot, fast moving fire that starts in the gulch the next block over. So, I and my shuttles and organ are pretty safe.

Here’s a picture of the jewelry I’ve been working on from Ninetta’s post.
I’ve been making careful notes, so I should be able to retat if asked…..should…. 🤭
Bracelet and Giggly earrings

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Have I got a surprise for you!

But, it’s not ready yet!

I have raised creative children. When they were small, Legos were a favorite toy. They would build lots of creative masterpieces. Sometimes the blocks went together following directions (verbal and written) and sometimes the ideas came solely from their own creativity. 
I would need to keep an eye on what they were doing. It only takes once for you to learn that napping on a pile of plastic blocks is not a good idea! When it would get quiet, I’d investigate. More than once, I was greeted with,

 “Don’t look now! I’m making a surprise for you!”

Well, dear readers.

Don’t look now, I’m making a surprise!

I’ll have pictures soon. Thank you Ninetta for sparking this burst of creativity!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What's in a role?

I know I’m not the greatest speller. I usually was sitting down in the first few rounds of any spelling bee. But, I’ve got that right: role. I’m not thinking about jelly or chocolate, but about teamwork and projects. The skills I’ve been good at are not highly compensated in jobs. They’re usually transferable to other jobs. Like being creative in the kitchen and keeping up the dusting/vacuuming. Lately though, I’ve been filling chore time with planning how to tear things up and remodel a house. I’d rather play Bach from memory! I find these tasks quite stressful!

One project that is chugging right along is the organ repair. Maybe that’s because we set my Dad’s photograph on a stool so he could stare at the back of the organ where the electronics are. He was a talented electronics technician that could reengineer radios and stereo equipment, rewire a car or house, and generally fix just about anything by redesigning it. Of course the people around him weren’t always successful in learning this new system or how to use this prototype equipment. I’ve carried a healthy respect for instruction manuals into my adulthood because of that. (Yes, I read the Prius Owner’s Manual from cover to cover when we bought our first Prius.) I do think he's helped with the organ. We've figured out quite a bit, despite the incorrect drawings and lack of documentation.

So, you can understand where I am in the design process for my next tatting projects. I’m making all kinds of notes and analyzing everything! I should have pictures soon. I usually end up picking up shuttles and tatting to reduce my stress with little for the design folder. It’s also the season to get plants into the ground before the rains hit so they can establish over the winter. That may take up my “free” time. Gosh, the dusting upstairs just may not get done this week! I may get the earrings finished though.....

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Stitching Adventures

Along with the organ practicing, the housework, the performing and the tatting, I’m taking on a couple of stitching projects. One is a correspondence course and the other is a group project. I’m hoping that the group project will help me make connections to facilitate getting my tatting where things like that are marketed locally. I’ll find out more on the correspondence course next week. It could get a bit expensive, but will provide lots and lots of learning opportunities with those who have stitched for years and taught stitching at all levels.

The tatting is going well this week. All I have in thread is wound shuttles and scribbles on a piece of paper. More in a few days. I promise!

Friday, October 4, 2019


We’ve found the parts of the organ that still aren’t working. We’re taking a break before puzzling through that. You see….much like looking at a vintage tatting pattern the schematics are not 100% accurate. That means you can’t be 100% that a specific part is toast. And these were manufactured in the 80’s. So, yeah….lots of trial and error. 

Think of working a New York Times crossword puzzle originally published in the late 50’s where the numbering of the clues does not match up with the numbering in the puzzle. And did I mention you’re working with a soldering iron on a printed circuit board that was assembled in a specific order that doesn’t match the order in the schematics that makes removing one transistor quite difficult and tricky? Yeah…..lots of walks by the Bay.

In the meantime, I’m working on the earrings. I changed the thread I’m using for the curled rings. It’s much easier to execute the final join to curl, but I would like the rings to lay closer to the beads, so may need to cut and snip and re-tat. I plan on wearing these a lot, so it's worth the 2 hours to re-tat. We’ll see…..

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Back to....Success.....

The organ works again! I’m so relieved!! Replacing the organ was looking to be very, very expensive. A peek at Ebay last month gave me pause: Most of the organs of similar size were listed for several thousand dollars. I lost a bit of sleep over that, but resolved to do what I could to get my baby back working.

After a trip to an electronics parts shop, and several days of puzzling out the schematics, my repairman took a deep breath and plugged in the soldering iron. A few minutes late, things were sounding back to normal. There are still components that are not working, but success!!!!

I’ve also been having success getting back to the designing. No pictures as yet, but plenty to try out with the shuttles. Here’s what I can share:

These will replace the pair of earrings I’ve worn so much they are stained and looking rather sad!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Fair results

I am very lucky. I live in a beautiful place. I have great music opportunities on the organ here. I have a great group of tatters that meet weekly. I live a charmed life! I’ve been able to connect with tatters and organists around the world through the Internet and through Guilds. I am very lucky!

A friend, who doesn’t play organ or tat, asked me the other day how I liked participating in the County Fair. It’s a positive experience for me. Lots of people see lots of creative items. The friendly competition spurs my creativity. There are things that are not to my taste: the crowds, how it manages to be the hottest weather all summer, people reacting to my tatting in a negative way. But overall, it’s positive because it encourages people to try tatting. (Get the picture here? It’s all about tatting for me. J)

This year, for Monterey County Fair 2019, I filled out entry forms for 4 items….just 4. Not a lot, I know. When it came time to turn the items in for judging, I couldn’t find 2 of the tatted snowflakes. They are here in the house somewhere. I hope to find them for decorating in December. Since they are missing, I did not have anything judged in the Tatting Division. There were quite a few pieces entered in that Division. They were magnificent! 

The 2 items that I did turn in were entered in Household decorations. These Cuffs for Candelsticks and my version of Martha Ess Two Hearts as One. They won ribbons: 2nd place for both. I regret I wasn’t able to see the displays as I was wrapped up in Tat Days. I hope to find out exactly how many tatted pieces were judged and how many won ribbons. I call it another successful year for tatting at the Fair. 

What will be created for next year???

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

What I learned this summer

I learned a lot this summer. 
  • My energy is not unlimited, even with a boost from coffee or tea. 
  • I really do know how to tat. 
  • I really do know how to play the organ. 
  • I need to improve both skills. 
  • I also need to improve my writing skill. 
Over the last few months, I’ve been very busy using all those skills creating and supporting those who create.
Inverted Snowflake by Martha Ess

I was thrilled to take a class from Martha Ess at Tat Days. I’ve enjoyed tatting her patterns for years. Here’s what we focused on in class:

I tatted this in vintage thread. I figured I’d need to learn the technique of the joins in the long picot arms. I hope to tat one in better thread next week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sonata BWV 1034 in pinks and purples

Here’s my version of Sonata BWV 1034 in pinks and purples:

Sonata BWV 1034

I tatted this up for Palmetto Tatting Group Tat Days 2019. I chose the colors to help students see the various elements. I based this piece on the vintage pattern Sonata that I found in a Handy Hands newsletter. Most vintage patterns call for tie and cut between rounds and such. Now, I’m not allergic to cut and tie, but if I can work a small short split ring or split chain, I’ll save the effort and time of hiding ends.

I recommend working each of the inner motifs in groups of 2. That means you’ll be working two split chains and hiding ends twice. You can easily climb out between rounds 1 & 2 and also between 2 & 3. But, between rounds 3 & 4, it is more difficult to create a seamless chain. I find my attempts at climbing out with a mock chain, split chain, split ring and such show with extra knots and awkward tatted lines.

And then there’s the color choice. That can dictate where you’re hiding ends. I had fun working in the variegated named Girly Girl. The pinks and purple just were fun!

I hope you enjoy this. If you wish a copy of the pattern, drop me a comment (leaving your contact info) or email.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Palmetto Tat Days is done....

I’ve arrived back home. Begun to unpack and settle back in to my schedule. After a walk by the Bay of course! Let me take this opportunity to publicly thank all those who welcomed me, listened to me, laughed with me, and tatted with me! I had a marvelous time! As I packed, I felt a pit like I’d been Trick or Treating! All those goodies!! I’ll be using them and enjoying them and thinking of all my new friends!

Now, it’s on to practicing for another Lunch Concert at St.Paul’s. I’m looking to focus on a compositional technique: Passacaglia. There are quite a few spellings of the word, but the concept is to take a phrase and repeat it over and over again for the length of the piece. I doubt I’ll be using the greatest of the organ pieces using this technique: Passacaglia in cminor. Why? Because I’ve had to re-finger and I just may not have time to unlearn what I committed to memory and learn what I must do to bring Bach to life!

As for tatting a pattern based on the wonderful Bach Passacaglia, I’ve got sketches!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

I’m settling in at Tat Days....

As you read this, I’ll be settling in at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center. Tat Days is starting! It’s a bit different for me coming from California to stay at this center. I’ve stayed at Monasteries before and a Methodist camp on the Coast, but not at a Baptist Center. I’ll have tails I’m sure! I hope to have lots of pictures to post also! Look next week…….

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Play Time coming up!

September is a wonderful time of year here by the Monterey Bay. The weather is usually bright and sunny. The tourist crowds have thinned. The school kids are out discovering new things. Occasionally, we get visited by jelly fish in the Bay. Remember this group? We saw another jelly on a walk last week. My picture didn’t come out great, but another person in our group took a video with a phone. 

Right now, I’m in the last throws of packing for Tat Days in Georgia. I’ve been tatting up in-progress samples of the patterns I’ll be teaching. They’re not usually pretty. I use contrasting threads so students can easily see the path of the thread. That is not usually pleasing. Some of those samples may end up in a larger project. Others will likely end up in a bag tucked in my “teaching box” for the next workshop.

I’ll have more details when I return from Georgia, but the next workshop will be in April at the Lace Museum. Here’s a link to theregistration information. If you have ever wanted to explore San Francisco, or Oakland, this will be a great time. So, for those who drool over the classes offered at San Francisco School of Needlework and Design, those that wish to shop at Lacis, those that wish to visit any of the dozen museums or so (including the Lace Museum), this is your chance to put together a fabulous trip! And if you plan a day or so in Monterey Bay, do let me know!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

It’s almost the end of August and it’s time to reflect.

I had in mind to be looking towards the concert (which I need to print the programs for) and the Fair (which I won’t have time to really attend this year) and Tat Days (which starts in a week), but I find I must take a moment to breath. I’ve allowed myself to be committed to several big projects at once. That’s usually what happens when you’re a musician. I know how to prepare for everything. I can set my schedule to accomplish all I need to do and even some things I want to do. All that said, it means my schedule never becomes mundane, just a bit crazy. I like crazy.

Tomorrow I’ll pause long enough to share some of my favorite organ pieces at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salinas. Just a half hour or so of music. They’ll be the regulars. And a few eating their lunch. Maybe the PGE construction guys will listen for a few minutes. It’s great fun!

I miss helping out at the Fair. I’ve heard the atmosphere is quite different this year. I hope the gang is taking lots of pictures. I hope the judges liked the entries. I hope people discover new interests and celebrate hard work.

OK. Breathing done, time to dive in!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ready for Play

It is my custom to review what I do each day, each week, each month, each quarter……… You get the idea. I need to know I’m making progress, making the world a better place, meeting my goals…….

BWV 549 by Melanie Cervi
June, on that list, looks like one big celebration! When you glance at my blog posts, you see posts that seem to be wrapped up in just one project. I really was involved in more than that! Really!! (BWV 549)

Sonata by Melanie Cervi
(Sonata) July, on that list, looks like one big concert!Lots of listening and writing, not much tatting or playing. I did play organ several times. I set the date for my workshop in Sunnyvale.

August wasn’t so positive. The organ went on the blink. The snowflakes went missing. I played a lot, so the hands have been limping along. I’m determined to end with a more positive week!

Yesterday, I spent most of the day preparing for the concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salinas on Friday. Today, I’ll wrap up that preparation and work on repairing the organ. Tomorrow, I’ll be finishing my in-progress samples for the classes at Tat Days. (My classes are listed about half way down the page.) And Saturday is the last day of August! Whew!!

I'll be ready for some Play Time in September............

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Ready or Not Here I Come!

My Fair items are ready for the judge. We’ll see what they think. I didn’t find the snowflakes. Ah well. That means I won’t have anything entered in the “tatting” Division. There will be things entered. I hope the experience is positive for the judge, the tatters, and the folks who volunteer for the Fair. I’ll be missing the time to demonstrate. I have taken on other jobs this year. Next year I will return!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Getting ready for ????

Well, still no sign of the pieces that went missing. I’ve entered them in the Fair confident that I would find them. But, no such luck! Ah well. The exposure at the Fair is limited. I would probably gain more if I had a booth in a Street Fair or participated in an Open Studio Tour. The former is sooo muchhh workkkk and the latter is too personal. I’m not the only one using the studio location, and I use it for organ also. I’d be hard pressed to seem relaxed and congenial. I think that’s very important in the artist community.
I’ve begun pulling together my samples for TAT Days next month. Nothing too crazy, just snippets of the patterns so people can see what I talk about. Pictures will be shared when I return. Now, it’s off to look at all the fantastic cars that are on display this week. I’ll be the one with the tatting shuttles in hand.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Repair needed

schematic similar to the organ wiring

Remember this beauty? My organ is showing its age. Half of the stops are not working. It’s electrical, or electronic. We need a schematic so we can figure out what to test. Unfortunately for us, but understandably, the organ companies do not publish repair materials. So, my very handy, and knowledgeable, husband is not able to research the problem. 

So, we will be literally stabbing in the dark. We won’t know what part(s) need repair/replace. You suggest calling the company? Well, they’re in the business of building and selling organs. I doubt they will be eager to help repair an organ built some 25-30 years ago. 

I have 2 more commitments to play this weekend. I’m loathe to start the process of repair until I’m past those services. Then, I’ll have a couple of weeks.

Of course next week is Car Week. We’re already seeing the cars roll in. Some are in huge transport trucks. Others being towed. Still others are rolling in with grins on drivers’ faces and thumbs up from the passers-by. Petrol-heads unite!

Me? I’ll be pulling together my materials for Tat Days. All the arrangements are in place; at least those that I’ve thought of. I’m getting kinda excited.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Carmel Bach Festival 2019 is completed.

Now back to my regularly scheduled life.

No seriously, I do love the Festival, but I’ve not been keeping up with the rest of my life. I have a concert to play Friday that needs more practice…..yesterday! I have 3 workshops to prepare for by Tat Days…..this week! I have a house to clean and guests to prepare for in 2 weeks. Oh, and there’s the 2 sub jobs I have to prepare for. Fair entries to get ready for display. Lots to complete.

 I think I’ll take a walk by the Bay first……

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Christmas in July....musically!

Snowflake by Lena Bjorn

I’ve been so tempted to sit and tat snowflakes during Bach Fest this year! You see, they have presented all 6 parts of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. That’s about 9 hours of music if you played a CD without stopping. There have been quizzical comments along the lines of what are they thinking? Christmas???

Most sacred musicians just smile. We have to choose music well ahead of time. If we choose something that requires parts to be ordered, or even written, we must give ourselves plenty of lead time. Some musicians even have to raise the money with special offerings before they can realize their planned Christmas celebrations.

Most tatters are constantly thinking Christmas, or at least cold and snowflakes. Tatting a snowflake takes hours. If you want to decorate for Christmas with snowflakes, you better start tatting in July!
Since I’ve not started my snowflakes yet, I guess I’ll be coming up with other ideas for Christmas this year! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Can tatting thread hurt ears?

Earlier in July, Ninetta posted about tatting with silk thread. That brought to mind something I read somewhere about thread hurting the ear. I couldn’t remember the details, but Ninetta talking about hearing a sound that resembled a violin stayed with me.

Many of the concerts during Carmel Bach Festival are general admission with no assigned seating. You must find a pew to plunk down in. The Fire Department usually gives a maximum number of people allowed in the building, so that’s where they get the maximum number of tickets. The trick to getting a good seat is to arrive several minutes before the doors open and join the line, if there is a line. I don’t mind sitting and waiting; especially if I have some tatting to work on. I figured taking a tatting book to look for that quote would be wiser than the projects I’m currently working on. No beads to lose down the aisle!

I found the quote!

Taken from the Author’s Note in the reprint of All New Knotless Tatting by Dora Young. (It’s about half way through the edition I have on my desk. What would be page 22 if the pages were numbered in succession.
“During my illness, most threads ‘grated’ on my eardrums and made them very sensitive, but I had no difficulty working with D M C .”
So, Dora Young’s had very acute hearing. No ear bud damage or tinnitus. Thank you Ninetta for helping us understand more about this wonderful tatter from earlier times.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Mark your Calendars

April 18-19, 2020
Lace Museum in Sunnyvale, California USA

I will be teaching a 2 day workshop. The pattern focus will be Sonata. I designed this after being introduced to it through Bach Festival. The basis is part of a vintage pattern. Since Bach lifted much of his thematic ideas from several other composers, and many designers use vintage patterns as a spring board, I dove in. It’s been fun to tat and to teach this design. I will also spend time on techniques to make tatting these designs easier, embellishing adding thread and beads, and display techniques.

To register, please contact the lace museum. Flyers should be ready by the weekend so the web page should be current within a week or so. Limit is 12 attendees. A $25 deposit will hold your spot!
If you’re in the area, you may have enjoyed their lace making demonstration as part of Hiller Air Museum’s Steampunk Extravaganza. Wonderful outreach!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Where I am.....

Disaster almost struck! The Marjorie Evans gallery at Sunset Center where the Art Auction items are displayed is a wide hallway. Actually a T shape. There are 2 cases in the long section either side of the door to the parking lot. You can just make out one in the photo on the website (link above). The display surface is quite nice for size and height. Each case can comfortably hold 6 or so pieces of small art. The very, very heavy glass on top is a huge upside down box. I’d show you a picture, but I have been told other artists don’t like pictures of their art out there. So, I try to honor the spirit of community. (I don’t get it to be honest. Once I donate a piece, it’s not mine. And I frequently am surprised in good ways!) As the pulling of the tickets gets closer, I’ll sneak a picture. Promise!

The disaster was this: someone lost their footing close to the case and fell into the pedestal jostling everything. I was assured they were not seriously injured. My piece wasn’t affected, but a small picture on a stand toppled. It landed right side up thank heavens! And the very, very heavy glass sculpture stayed in place. Disaster almost struck!

I’m continuing to receive positive comments about the piece. I’ve got plans to tat the design again. I’m thinking larger thread so that it could be a door wreath. Must experiment…….
After the Festival ends though. I’ve already attended 4 concerts.  I have tickets to another half dozen or so. 

Time for a walk by the bay to clear my head. I’ve an ear worm of the opening of a Bach piece from Sunday. It is so similar to the piece I played for Postlude that morning. Both are Fanfares and very Festive!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Tatting: An (lost) art

The Art Show is open. Tickets are $10 each or 7 for $40. My box is on the very bottom, right next to the floor. I’ll be curious to see how many tickets make their way into that wee slot. Apparently, a good friend from out of town called the Carmel Bach Festival Office, asked for 7 tickets to be put into the box. I wonder if you can get tickets over the phone. I shouldn’t think so, but maybe…..

The Opening reception was fun. Lots of people in a small space. The artists are mostly sometime professionals and hobbyists. Quite a few have been participating for many years. That means there wasn’t anyone dressed to make a shocking statement which I appreciated. For this show, it’s not about the ART, it’s about MUSIC and specifically raising money for the Carmel Bach Festival. ‘nuff said…just fun!

My title for this post comes from the frequently heard comment, “Isn’t that a lost art?” We’ve all heard that when tatting in public. I’ve also heard something along the lines of, “My Aunt tried to teach me that.” Even a wistful, “I wish I could tat.” Well, last night I heard, “I’m glad tatting is not a lost art. I think your piece is ART!" That made me feel like I’m on the right track. I am not (no raised voice, just humbleness) highly trained, not crafty, not a bored housewife. I am an artist who represents music in thread. I am aware there are some who have a hard time calling anything that isn’t a painting art. Their loss! I choose to enjoy music, thread, and tatting!

Come by the show in the gallery off the raised patio. It’s open most days. Tickets can be bought just before, during, or after Bach Fest events at Sunset Center. Stuff that box! Win some art! Support the Festival!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Tonight is the opening….

Last night was the first concert: A lovely organ and trumpet recital at St. Dunstan’s. Here's a link to my review, but so much is happening I’ll probably forget.

Tonight is the Art Gallery Opening reception for the Art ofMusic Raffle fundraiser. I’m excited to see what else is available. The cover of the Festival program book is a fun drawing/caricature of all things Bach Festival. There’s a seashell, a boat, several instruments and of course music symbols. I can’t wait to see the original drawing!

For those local, raffle tickets will be available starting Opening Night, this Saturday and continuing until Best of the Fest on July 27. Volunteers can help you through the filling out of the tickets, but won’t tell you which box to put them in. I will… box!!

Here’s a picture of the piece before going into the display case:

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Dawn’s a-comin’!

That’s what my Grandpa used to say whenever he was getting ready to go somewhere or do something. He was a farmer and blacksmith. Another favorite quip was, “fire’s ready!”

July will start in a few days. I’m feeling like the fire is stoked and I’m just about ready for it. I’m thinking Carmel Bach Festival. I know there are a plethora of music festivals every year; many focus on Bach or another composer. There’s a world famous Jazz Festival every year in Monterey. And that’s just one of a half dozen that happen in this area. I hope I’ll be able to explore Cabrillo Festival some year. And the Folk Festival sounds really cool! But, in a few short days, Bach Festival will be happening.

And I’m ready!

The only part I’m directly contributing to is the Art Auction. Here’s an invitation to the Opening. If you’re in the area, consider yourself invited. Please RSVP so the hard working committee won’t be surprised and fret they didn’t prepare enough for the evening. It’s always hard to predict how many will come and they do a wonderful job for the hospitality. 

Oh, and buy a ticket and stuff my box!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mark your calendars!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

That’s when the Art Raffle for Bach Festival starts. It runs through the Festival until July 27. There will be tickets available for purchase during any Festival event at the Sunset Center.

I turned in BWV 549 this afternoon. You can stuff the box for my doily at any time the gallery is open.

Hope to see you in Carmel.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

From despair to completion

The tatting is done! Now to finish it.

I’m leaning towards just starching this piece. Most of the time I like to either let it be with just a blocking, or if necessary, mount it on a piece of fabric, even framing it under glass.

But this one just doesn’t want to be tamed!

I like people being able to touch and handle the tatting. Maybe because I always want to feel clothing and tablecloths and napkins and well, anything made with thread! I’ll be starching it tomorrow. Don’t expect pictures for a few weeks. The show will open soon and then I can post.

In the meantime, listen to BWV 549.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Falling apart

Last month I had a feeling that the pattern based on BWV 549 as designed would need to be mounted on fabric. Well, since then, things have fallen apart. Literally…..

I started over. The finished art ready to hang must be turned in next week. 

And I’ve received a jury summons notice for, wait for it, next week! 



Time to walk by the Bay!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Sometimes simple can be difficult

BWV 225

When we learn something new, we start out with the simple parts, the baby steps, or the familiar.
Then we build on what we know and learn the new, right?

Well, simplicity can be difficult to execute!

Singing unison is tough. If you’re used to locking in the harmony, matching pitch exactly can be really tough. It demands that each singer have either a high degree of pitch accuracy, or that you all agree on who to match.

When I designed BWV 225, I wanted something simple. The Cantata is shorter, clear statement of the Chorale, and the architecture of the hall is not ornate. I set out to feature chains without picots. Little did I know that my design would prove to be tricky!

Those meeting in Georgia in September for Palmetto Tat Days have a chance for all to be revealed. It’s not tricky, really……

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The gig economy

I often find “news” about music amusing. As “discovering” music, at least to that reporter, that has been around for centuries could be enlightening. Lest you think me snobbish, I’m not laughing at them but chortling in glee! Which could be construed as insanity I guess…..

Lately there has been much in the news about the “gigeconomy” that has been around for centuries. Bach worked in much the same way as did many, many artists and musicians. Even academics! I’ve worked in the gig economy my whole life. Every wedding I’ve played (I hope there will only be one for each bride or groom!), every funeral I’ve assisted with (I know there will only be one of those per person.), every lesson I’ve taught (I hope there will be more than one per person!) has been a limited time of employment. I’ve had a “business name” and filed appropriate tax returns, but I’m always thinking about what I can do to earn money for the next round of bills.

Tatting is no different. If I’m not careful, I make mistakes as I’m finishing a ring or chain because my mind wanders. Usually it is wandering through the fog of “the next project” or “the next piece” or…..well, you get the picture. Did I mention insanity? Guess you’d have to be a bit nuts to spend all that time knotting thread, getting pipes to sing, or just creating.

Know what? I like my version of the gig economy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Why beads matter

I stated in the previous post that I hold the opinion that a tatting pattern should be pleasing to tat in many combinations of materials. I also stated I use beads intentionally in some patterns. BWV 549 is one of those intentional patterns. 

Beads represent when the pedal states the subject and/or motif. You see, Bach used the pedal division of the organ to highlight a compositional idea. On the organs he played, some of the lower pipes (read tuba, double bass viol) spoke very slowly. They always remind me of the lumbering elephants; not unimportant, not without emotion, not flashy or piercing. Other lower pipes (read horn, bassoon, trombone) spoke quickly and pierced through the sound of the rest of the organ. They could accent the piece and be memorable. Bach often used the pedal division to sum up his fugues. The last statement of the subject is powerful and memorable.  

In BWV 549 (Prelude and Fugue in c minor) Bach extends the last fugue subject into a flourish of sound with the pedal leading the way. So beads….

Just enough to be memorable.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

BWV 549 in orange

In my opinion, a good tatting pattern works nicely in any color, any size threads, with beads or
without beads, and doesn’t need a ton of starch or sewing onto fabric to be recognizable. That said, I often specify such elements when I design based on a specific piece of music.

This design is one of those specific style of patterns. Where the beads are placed matter. Color doesn’t so much. I chose to use several hues of orange because I liked the way they look together. The green sample is nice, but just didn’t end up grabbing my eye as much. But where the beads appear does matter here. More on that later.

I do hope that once the pattern is finished and all the ends hid and good and blocked, that the piece will lie nicely without starch or mounting. Something tells me I may need to resort to that with this pattern. At least for this iteration.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Back to Normal

At least that’s what I hope. OK… if we can call any of this chaos normal. 

The equipment necessary for me to post to this blog has not been working properly. It’s too complicated!!! But, I think it’s all working well now. The only thing it cost was time and patience. Considering how much time and patience finishing my tatting patterns take,  the cost of getting back the equipment back up cost a lot. Sigh. Back to the shuttles now. After a cup of tea and maybe even a cookie!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Time to reach my goal

Ok…if I’m honest….past time!!

I almost had the tatting done on the Bach Fest piece. But, it just wasn’t cuttin’ it. So, I started over. I know, I know…..I may not have time to frame it nicely now. I can live with that though. It’s looking much nicer now.

Better get to the shuttles!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fair possibilities

By this time of year, I’m usually lining up what I wish to enter in the Fair for judging. Slight problem this year. 

I’ve nothing to enter. 

I’ve tatted things to be sure, but everything that is complete and ready for judging is in someone else’s hands or going with me to Tat Days in Georgia. Mmmmmmm Someone else will just have to win the ribbons this year. 

I’m grinning whenever I think that as tatting has become popular enough here in Monterey County to have several pieces in a number of categories. <grin!>

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Gaining Confidence

Preparations for all those deadlines is going well. I know what I want to say on Friday. I know what I want to play on Sunday. The task list is drawn up for the final big deadline. And I haven’t lost my marbles yet.
I did lose my way briefly on the design task. I woke up in the middle of the night remembering progress is soooo slllllowwww that I was beginning to doubting the design premise. After a bit more sleep, I double checked the design from the “right” side. All is well. The design works, I know the path of tatting, and I’ve found the colors I wish to use. All that’s left is to tat it up and get it ready for the Show! Again, pictures after the Show opens in July.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I'm ready....or am I????

Too many projects pulling on me for time and energy. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

All will calm down soon though. Friday is a deadline, Sunday is a deadline, and Memorial Day is a deadline. Oh, and I think I’ve run out of time for framing the Bach Fest Piece. I’ll find out this week.

Time to get to the organ and the shuttles.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ruffles galore!

I finished the next part of the Fest piece. It ruffles a lot!

I’m not sure I like them; partly because it’s difficult to tell details of each element when the piece ruffles so much. Like Jane’s experience with this pattern, it’s just not to my liking. I couldn’t even get a good photo to post here. So, it’s back to the drawing board…..

Along with getting ready for the presentation on tatting in a week. I’m dipping my toe into PowerPoint with this talk. It’s been fun. We’ll see if I still think it’s fun after next week!

For all Mothers everywhere, may you feel honored this coming weekend.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Progress on BWV 549

Here’s what I have so far. I’m liking it. I made a couple of errors in joining, but I think blocking and mounting on a fabric to back will take care of things nicely. Now to put the last few chains on with just a small group of beads.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Adventures with Power Point

Well, it seems I confused a few people including myself. When I sat down to decide which thread to use next for the Fest piece (BWV549), I couldn’t remember what specific section was in need of the most attention. Nothing for it but to go back to the beginning. That meant sitting down at the organ and playing the piece. What do you know, it worked! I now know what color will go where with what beads. Pictures will be posted after the show opens. So, those local will be tempted to buy tickets!

And now for the title of this post: Power Point adventures…..

Power Point seems to be something people respond to with great dread, passion, emotion, and such. I am of the age that did not have such tools in school and on a career path that has not needed the use of such programs. My programs are usually lists of compositions with notes on the pieces and composers. Talk about confusing! What program????

But, if my career path continues on the present trajectory, I’ll need to know how to use Power Point effectively. I’ve found a great resource in a friend who tats, so I’ll be working with her over the next few weeks. Better get busy on today’s task list!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


That stands for Bach-Werke-Verseichnis

The above link is to Wikipedia. Using the BWV numbers lessens the confusion when talking about Bach pieces. He only wrote over 1000 compositions and there are only 12 different tones in the scale. He wrote quite a few Tocatta-like pieces in D minor by the way. If I’m feeling impish, I’ll agree to play and start in on one of the other less popular pieces. Only if the people goading me to play are especially irritating!

I’ve been less impish lately. Perhaps because of the Fest piece I’m working on. The artwork, including frame, must be no greater than 9” X 11” and if “3-dimensional” no greater than 7” X 7” at the base. So, use the green thread? Or the orange thread?

Vote only once please!