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.
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.
My fellow tatter Anitra and I displayed and demonstrated tatting this week at one of the libraries in Raleigh, NC. Her husband Steve, who took the photo, was also there tatting. The librarian counted 69 visitors to our event during the hour and a half that we were there.
This is the third fiber craft demo I've participated in this fall: 2 for tatting and 1 for crochet. The crochet event was especially satisfying due to the number of children who tried their hands at making chains. A couple of kids even took home yards of yarn that I gave them so they could continue to practice at home. I hope they grow up to be passionate about thread and yarn as I am.
Next month, as part of a local fiber arts group, I will be representing crocheting at one our county libraries along with spinners, knitters, weavers, felters, and bobbin lacers. In addition to demonstrating and displaying crocheted work, I will pass out some of these 50 little yarn hearts that I just finished to the children who attend the event. Our local library system has been a great supporter of handcrafts by offering display case space and setting up demonstrations at times when children come to the library for story time.
These little hearts work up super fast; that's why making 50 of them didn't take very long. I got the pattern from this YouTube video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3P45Gg8Pemw, but similar patterns can be found on other sites. What I like about this version is that you start with a chain and put the first treble stitch into the first chain stitch (rather than starting by making a "magic circle") -- a method that, for me, gets me going much faster.
Here's the handkerchief with a tatted edging that I entered in this year's NC State Fair. The handkerchief is from my vintage hanky stash. It's embellished with a small applique and some pulled thread embroidery.
The thread is size 70 vintage thread in green and lavender. My use of the green thread resulted in a "thread emergency" when I realized that I might not have enough to finish the final row. And since it was a discontinued vintage thread, good luck with finding more of it. Note to self: don't start a big project when you only have a small amount of vintage thread...and one ball is a very small amount to have for a hanky edging.
I put out a call on the Tatting Facebook group to see if anyone had a ball of American Thread Co. Star Tatting Crochet thread (Art. 25) in size 70 and color 149 (a light green), A wonderful woman in Missouri helped me out, asking for something I tatted rather than any money. The thread was a perfect match, and I was able to finish the piece after all.
I think the pattern is based on "Edging 13" by Barbara Foster in Embellishing with Edgings (Handy Hands, 2011, p. 23). I say that because, stupidly, I did not record the pattern when I finished and several months have passed. I went through all my tatting patterns and couldn't find anything that totally matched what I had tatted. The second row looks a lot like Barbara's pattern, but the first row does not. Maybe some day I'll discover exactly what pattern I used. Maybe some day I'll remember to record details about my projects before I forget them.