Tuesday, April 20, 2021

So what marks do you make?

 Yes, I know that’s a vague question. Last post was about marking your pattern. Many of us make a mark for tatting every time we gift a piece of lace, tat in public, or teach someone to tat. For the record, I meant both meaning of the word mark.

To continue the train of thought begun in that last post, what do I mark?

- Since I’m almost always making a copy, I make sure my photocopy has the designer name, where I located the pattern, the date I’m working the pattern.

- Translate a visual diagram to written notation OR written notation to a rough sketch.

- Picot sizes if joins will be structural.

- Size of thread I’m testing out the pattern with including my estimate of how much thread I’ll need.

- Where I plan to hide my ends.

- Sometimes I’ll even be marking whether I plan to use shuttle or needle.

- As I tat the pattern, I’ll add ideas for beads, correct my guesses for picot size, add color options, and of course: where I need more skill practice.

It doesn’t bother me when patterns are just suggestions and not detailed. I do like to have a detailed diagram if there is no clear photograph. I also like to have more detail when the technique is intermediate or advanced. It does bother me when the pattern has obviously been edited by someone who can’t tat. Remind me to tell you sometime about the organ piece with pedal markings that were just plain wrong: the editor had placed all the marks below the staff, even the marks for using your right foot. Yeah. I’ve been known to cross my feet when pedaling certain passages, but I do use my right foot, thank you!

Next post I promise to present a picture of my newest design: Fantasia. When I think about what I want to do while tatting, I’m always thinking of ways to help people appreciate and even learn about lace (specifically tatting with shuttle AND needle). I invite all tatters out there to make your mark!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Make Your Mark

 I tell my students that frequently. Of course, they usually interpret it just a bit different than I do. I spend a lot of time encouraging the judicious use of pen (never pen) and post-it notes (seldom highlighter) so that their brain can focus on tasks that cannot be “marked” as they create.

Setting my organ hat aside, I have suggestions for those who look to me when I have my tatting hat on.

Understand and accept there is no standard notation. Just as there are many ways to write out how a team should line up for the start of play, there are many ways to write out how to execute a tatting pattern. I do recommend being familiar with the notation documented and made available to us by these wonderful organizations:

- Palmetto Tatting Guild:

- Shuttlebirds Tatting Guild:

I also recommend that you be kind to yourself. The more you note by marking a pattern, the more brain power you have available to create beautiful lace. You have a powerful brain. If you feel a bit overloaded and overwhelmed, chances are you need to use a tool (like a pencil or post-it) to help out your brain. By using thread grown, spun, dyed, and marketed by others, you’re already using tools. Using a pencil can seem like it slows you down, but your lace will be more exquisite if you make your mark.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

I've received a jab

 Yesterday and today will therefore be rest days. I spent some time, when I wasn’t sleeping, reading an article on marking your scores by a respected organist. I agreed with the opinions expressed in the article. (Not unusual as I tend to consider all opinions as just that: opinion. I tell my students why I agree and then give them permission to explore, test, and decide.) The bottom line for this organist is that if you mark your score well, your repeat performance will be more accurate, less stressful and more musical.

What has that to do with tatting? Well, I still prefer working from a copy of a pattern printed on paper. That’s because I always, always mark the piece of paper with my notes on thread size, shuttle or needle, finished size, amount of thread used, where I found the pattern difficult to reproduce consistently, any other tidbit that I think I may want to know in 2-3 years when I decide to tat the piece again.... you get the idea!

Mark your score. Mark your pattern.

Your tatting will be more consistent, more enjoyable and prettier.

Next week: how I mark my patterns.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Fantasia idea almost done and dusted

With the coming of Easter, and securing a vaccine appointment, I have been able to return to the design folder. I began this pattern idea in 2020. The center fell into place nicely. The middle section is sketched out. The outer round needs a bit of tweaking. Now to tat a sample with all 3 ideas connected into one piece of lace.

I think I’m closer to performing the piece than completing the design!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Changes in Springtime

 It’s always spring where I live. The weather is mild enough that plants are blooming year round. When we prune the roses, we usually are cutting off buds and new growth.

Spring for me means a busy schedule of organ work, finalizing a pattern or two for the upcoming season of art displays and workshops, and closing out the previous year.

For 2020, I had successes and very few failures. I will not say it was a good year. My successes were mostly being able to respond to the clanging needs and taking on new opportunities in a creative way. The failures were gut wrenching.

I wish you all a Happy Easter and many hours of enjoying the bright Spring weather!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

More loom use


Here’s a quick picture of my set up with the 3-D printed loom Tim sent me. I like the ability to have space between the warp and the frame. That makes using a shuttle much easier. I found I needed to anchor the bottom loop of the warp with something other than my hand. Passing the final warp pass behind the frame, catching the loop, and then anchoring the warp end did the trick. The extra warp passes allowed me to rest my hands and stretch. It also allowed me to use both hands to tension the tallies. A win all around!

Thank you again,Tim!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Cluny loom action

I’ve always loved puzzling out how cloth is made. Especially when there’s mechanical stuff involved. I like figuring out how to set up the loom. And of course, I gravitate to the “lace” weaves like leno.

As I learned more tatting techniques, I was fascinated by using my hands to create cool stuff from thread. I found I was limited by the hands I have. So, when I saw this:


available through Handy Hands

I had to investigate. I understand the tradition of the tallies in lace. I like how they add to tatting patterns. I Especially like the thought of using a loom because my hand wasn’t straining to make the element. Here’s what I’ve come up with. 

I’ll be sending this to be “judged” by veteran tatters. Some of those tatters will likely be proficient in bobbin lace tallies. I’ll be really interested to see what they think!

One down, one more to go then some more rings!