Friday, March 24, 2017

Carolina Fiber Fest 2017

Once again I had a display of fiber arts at the Carolina Fiber Fest in Raleigh, NC. For the past 3 years I've demonstrated using non-traditional materials in fiber crafts, but after so many years, I was ready to try something different. I volunteered to display and demo crocheting if no local guild was available to do it...and my offer was accepted. Here are some photos of the display I set up.

This is the giant crocheted LED rope light doily that I made a few years ago. It's always an attention-getter when I take it to demos.

Here are some more items I brought including several that won ribbons at the NC State Fair.

It was a lot of fun meeting and talking with crocheters during the day. Many feel left out or overlooked because of the popularity of knitting so they were pleased to see that crochet was represented at the event. I've been asked to participate at the Twisted Threads Guild booth next year as they would like people to see that crochet is one of the crafts that they promote. It will be nice to be part of a larger group after being a solo demonstrator for so many years.

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Blinging" Tatting Shuttles

On International Tatting Day (April 1st) I will be leading a workshop, "Bling Your Shuttle," at the North Carolina Regional Lacers Spring Lace Day in Chapel Hill, NC. Participants will decorate tatting shuttles using a selection of origami papers and decoupage medium. To further inspire the tatters and give them ideas, I will also have a display of shuttles that I have decoupaged in various ways. The class should be a lot of fun for everyone.

I show here some of the examples that I plan to bring to the class along with comments on the process for each one.

This is one of my earliest efforts. The paper is origami paper on a Susan Bates plastic shuttle. Origami paper comes in a vast selection of patterns and lends itself well to decoupaging. The decoupage medium is Mod Podge Gloss.

Here's another shuttle decoupaged with origami paper, this time on a Handy Hands Moonlit shuttle. The addition of the hook means that care is needed to make sure the paper is secure on that end of the shuttle so thread doesn't catch on it when using the hook.

I've included this example to show that selection of paper is as important as careful decoupaging. This design came from the same pack of origami paper as the one above. But the design is so pale that is fades into the background. The shuttle is a Handy Hands Sunlit and the decoupaging was done with Mod Podge Gloss and finished with a couple of coats of Martha Stewart Crafts High Gloss Finish.

This is a Lacis Sew Mate shuttle decoupaged with paper a little heavier than origami paper. It's from a book of papers that simulate the effect of marblized paper. One thing to watch out for when using some printed papers is that part of the printing can rub off during the decoupaging process. You can see on the bottom left edge that this has happened in a small spot. Repeated coats of the decoupage medium can prevent this from spreading. Again, Mod Podge Gloss was the medium used.

Here's another Handy Hands Sunlit shuttle, but this time only Mod Podge Extreme Glitter was used to decorate it. So you can play around with various coatings and get some interesting effects without the addition of paper. 

Here's another Handy Hands Sunlit shuttle coated only with Mod Podge Extreme Glitter and and the addition of a little piece of tatting in size 80 thread. Not only is this a great way to show off your tatting, but the texture of the tatting provides a good grip on the shuttle.

Yet another Handy Hands Sunlit shuttle, but this time, instead of origami paper, I used a decorative  bag made of almost tissue thickness paper. The bag contained a souvenir from my daughter's trip to Italy so not only is the design a fun one to have on a shuttle, but it's also a reminder of my daughter's thoughtful gift. Using papers collected on trips (paper bags, paper napkins) is a nice way to create a useful remembrance. 

I usually only decorate the top side of my shuttles, but this Susan Bates shuttle is the exception. It is an example of a decorating failure and a rescue from that failure. I originally painted this shuttle with Martha Stewart Crafts Gold Liquid Gilding. I've had great success using this on a damaged wooden picture frame, but this was the first, and only, time I used it on plastic. It did not do well on this surface and the gilding rubbed off in an unsightly way. You can see some of the remains of the gilding on the underside of the tip in the bottom photo. I decided to cover the ugly with origami paper on both sides. I used Mod Podge Gloss to attach the paper and then several coats of Martha Stewart Crafts High Gloss Finish to give it even more shine.

Here I'm playing with little plastic stickers, the kind found in any scrapbooking department in craft stores. The Handy Hands Moonlit shuttle was first coated with Mod Podge Gloss and the sticker applied to the wet surface. After drying, several coats of Martha Stewart Crafts High Gloss Finish were added to give the surface a shine and to insure that the sticker would stay stuck.

Here's another attempt that taught me something. This Clover shuttle is decoupaged with silver metallic origami paper. I find that this paper can be more fragile than the non-metallic papers. During the decoupaging operation, some of the paper almost rubbed off as can be seen near the tip of the shuttle. I won't be using this type of paper again. I added another from my sticker stash and gave the shuttle many coats of Martha Stewart Crafts High Gloss Finish to protect the paper from further rubbing off and to make sure the sticker would not peel off.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Butterfly Magnets for Lace Day

For the past two years I have made magnets for the North Carolina Regional Lacers Spring Lace Day goody bags The first year I made heart shaped magnets and last year I used a star shape. Although each year I use a different design, the process is generally the same. This year's magnet is a butterfly. I just finished making 110 of these since we often have quite a number of registrants for the event.

The paper is Strathmore 300 Series Watercolor paper, a heavy stock with a slight pebbly surface. I used a paper punch to make the butterfly shapes and backed them with small squares of peel-and-stick magnets. Each piece is coated with Mod Podge Extreme Glitter decoupage medium and left to dry.

The thread is Lizbeth size 80 in colorway #155 "Ocean Sunset." Some of the butterflies have four tiny tatted rings and others have a cluster of three little tatted flowers made up of multi-picot rings. The pieces of tatting are glued to the paper shapes with more Mod Podge and the pieces are again left to dry.

After the second drying the tatting is given a top coat of Mod Podge Extreme Glitter to secure them  onto the paper and to add more sparkle. Now they're ready for the goody bags, and I'm already thinking about what shape I'll use to make next year's magnets.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Attaching Tatted Edging to Pillowcases

As a tatter, I mostly tat edgings that I apply to handkerchiefs and pillowcases. Typically, handkerchiefs, especially vintage hankies, are treated delicately when washed. Pillowcases are another matter. They are usually thrown in the wash along with the sheets and other household linens. Because of this, my method of attaching edgings to pillowcases involves two practices: (1) I always attach the edging a few inches from the pillowcase edge, and (2) I always sew down (usually by hand) both sides of the edging. The photos below show three methods of attaching edgings to pillowcases and the results after years of washing in a top-loader washing machine.

Example 1: traditional attachment on the pillowcase edge

After years of being agitated in a washing machine, this hen-and-chicks edging has not only become detached from the pillowcase in several places, but the tatting itself has broken apart. At this point there is very little that can be done to salvage this edging.

Example 2: attaching the edging a few inches beyond the pillowcase edge and sewing down one side of the edging

Here's another hen-and-chicks edging that has held up quite well in many washes, but the unsecured side curls and bunches up after drying. Of course, one could simply iron the curly edge down, but do you really want to spend time ironing pillowcases instead of using the time for tatting?

Example 3: attaching the edging a few inches beyond the pillowcase edge and sewing down both sides of the edging--my method

This edging lies flat with no ironing needed, unlike Example 2, and doesn't take a beating in the washing machine unlike Example 1. Yes, it does take twice as long to attach the edging using this method, but the results are literally years of enjoying using your beautiful tatting without having to hand wash it.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Year 2016 Projects

Here, in no particular order, is my annual photo roundup of  projects I finished in the previous year. Descriptions are in my postings for 2016.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2017 New Years Day Card

Rather than sending Christmas cards, a few years ago I started sending out New Years greetings cards instead. I think it started when I got so far behind in my holiday preparations that no cards were ready for mailing till after the holiday. This year, instead of making cards by gluing something onto card stock (as with the "Holiday Hearts"), I made cards using a photograph I took a couple of years ago of a garland of paper snowmen hung in front of a map of North Carolina. Thus the name of the card's design, "Snowmen Across North Carolina"...both a cute image and a bit improbable as it would be impossible to build snowmen across this state unless we had an unprecedented winter weather event that stretched from the western mountains to the eastern coastline.

On a technical note: printing these cards seemed to bring out all my latent dyslexia. I thought I would never get the photo positioned to print in the right part of the card stock even after many test runs on regular paper. After finally getting the photo rotated the way I needed it, I still couldn't get it to fit the dimensions of the card correctly. Using MS Word, I set the paper size to that stated on the package -- 5" by 7"-- but the photo was still not printing right. In one of those major "Duh" moments I finally realized that those dimensions were for the folded card, but I was feeding the card into the printer opened up to its full size: 10" by 7"... boy, did I feel stupid. Once I reset the paper measurements everything proceeded without a hitch. 

Note to self: I must never, never, never lose the file for this card as I know I will need it as a model for future cards unless I want to go through another 2 hours of figuring out how to do it again.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Tatted Little Holiday Hearts

As a quick gift I tatted hearts for three of my co-workers at the Ten Thousand Villages store in Cary, NC, where I volunteer each Sunday. This is  Rosemarie Peel's heart pattern and is available for free on the Ring of Tatters website. Over the years, I must have tatted this pattern well over 100 times. I love it because it works up fast and is mostly chains so very little thread is needed on the shuttle. Peel suggests loading the shuttle with 3 yards of thread, but I find that it takes about 2 yards for me.

I bought the thread in a little yarn shop in Budapest this summer as one of the souvenirs from my trip to Central Europe. The thread is Poppets Eldorado in green and red. I especially like it because, unlike other "Christmas-y" colorways, there is no white in it. I think the addition of white dilutes the strong visual impact of the complementary colors red and green. 

The label says it's a 16...not sure what that is comparable to in U.S. sizing, but it appears to me to be similar to size 20. It's a little fuzzier than Lizbeth thread, but it tatted up with no problems. From researching it on the web I see it is primarily sold in Europe as a crochet thread. There are 385 meters on the ball, so I'll probably be making many more pieces with it. 

By the way, I also made the snowflake sticker that attaches the heart to the card. I found some snowflake images on the Web and sized them to fit on a 1" by 4" Avery address label and then ran them off on my inkjet printer.