Friday, June 27, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Tatted Floral Edging on Vintage Handkerchief

Another tatted edging for another vintage linen handkerchief. The pattern is "Floral Edging" by Robin Perfetti ( It's from her free pattern collection at I made one little change to the original pattern by using the same color for both the chains and the small rings. I think that makes the small rings look more like leaves.

I had thread left on the shuttle from another flower-edged hanky so I went with the same colors. The green thread is DMC Cebelia, size 30 color #699. The flowers are variegated Valdani perle cotton size 12 in colorway M32 Jewels. The pale blue linen handkerchief is from my stash of vintage hankies and at one time had flowers painted in the corners. Over time they have faded to faint shadows that can be seen in the closeup above. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Tatted Pillowcase Edging

Here's another project that was almost finished but put aside for a couple of years. One pillowcase had been finished and completing the second only involved a few inches of tatting and sewing the edging on. I'm baffled as to why I get so close to completing a piece and then just put it aside. I guess I got bored with the project and just moved on to something new (which I hope I did finish).

I bought this pair of pillowcases at a vintage store in Apex, NC, a few years ago for about $8. They had an embroidery pattern printed on them and someone had actually completed all the embroidery on them. Since the pattern's ink is still visible, it's obvious that they were never washed or used. I imagine that they were part of someone's linen collection that heirs got rid common for many textiles that were painstakingly made and later discarded by unappreciative recipients.

The wavy edges of the cases called for an edging that could adjust to them. I chose Mary Konior's "Skipping Ropes," a pattern that is made up entirely of chains. The pattern is on page 25 of Tatting with Visual Patterns. There was a peach shade in some of the embroidered flowers that closely matched thread in my stash. I used DMC Cebelia size 20 in color #754.

Off the Shuttle: Japanese Tatted Bookmark

Both the threads and the pattern for this bookmark are Japanese. The pattern, a two-shuttle project, is edging # 13 from Sumi Fujishige's Tatting Lace (ISBN: 4-529-04170-0), one of the many Japanese tatting books with that title. This one, I believe, is now out of print. The threads are Japanese-made Olympus brand in size 40 in lime green and teal green. Unlike the book, these threads are still readily available from online tatting supplies sources.

Off the Shuttle: Flower Edging for Linen Handkerchief

This is another edging a started a lonnng time ago and finally finished this week. The pattern is Karey Solomon's "Marigolds" from her booklet Tatting Elegant Edgings. The flower stems are formed by "bridging" over 3 strands of thread after the flower is tatted...something I've not encountered in previous patterns, but it gives a nice effect.

The green thread is DMC Cebelia, size 30 color #699. The flowers are variegated Valdani perle cotton size 12 in colorway M32 Jewels. The pale green handkerchief is from my stash of vintage hankies and is a linen fabric.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Tatted Edging with Beads for Vintage Handkerchief

I'm once again trying to clear out my works-in-progress collection and pulled out a piece of tatted edging to see if I could finally get it off the shuttle. The tatting pattern is the classic "Hen and Chicks," an edging of a series of large and small rings, that's found on vintage linens and is one of the patterns that a lot of beginners start with. I started this edging a few years ago, and for some reason now forgotten, put it aside still attached to the shuttle. I had substituted tiny beads for the picots that border the large rings. I love making tatted edgings, and I have a big collection of vintage handkerchiefs (thank you, eBay!) that I pair up with the edgings. I determined that, yes, the piece was long enough to fit on a hanky, in fact, it was slightly longer than I needed. Great, I don't have to do any more tatting to put it to use. 

Now, to find a handkerchief that would coordinate with the edging. This one embellished with a machine-embroidered orchid came closest to looking right with the lavender edging. Because most of the handkerchiefs I have are old and many have been actually put to use at some time, they aren't always in pristine condition. This one had a scalloped edge with purple overcast machine-stitching on the edge instead of a hem. The stitching had come detached in several places. It's usually tricky to put an edging on an unstraight hem in the first place, but when the edge is coming apart it's usually not possible to make it look good without some repair work.

Recently, for another project, I had decided to learn how to do hand-stitched rolled hems by watching YouTube videos. This hanky was a good project to learn on before I move on to larger pieces like scarves. Making rolled hems is surprisingly easy once you see how it's done. And there are online videos for both left- and right-handed stitchers. Once I finished the hemming, it was just a matter of hand sewing on the tatting and getting the two ends of the tatting to match up. So finishing this project was a case of a lot of hand stitching rather than tatting. (Thank goodness for audio books.)

All the materials used were long-time residents of my stash. The thread I used is Manuela size 20 tatting cotton, color M013. This is a German-made thread that seems to be discontinued and no longer available. The seed beads are size 11/0 Delicas in a shiny deep purple shade. And the sewing thread I used to sew on the edging was a Talon brand so old that it's on a wooden spool. Not sure when wooden spools were phased out, but it's been a while. I love these projects where everything I need is in my stash.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Tatted Bracelet with Beads

Another tatter posted a photo in the Tatting Facebook page of her version of a free tatting pattern called "Riddle" that looked like an interesting way to combine beads and tatting. I found the pattern diagram a little confusing, but after a couple of missteps I made this bracelet with threads and beads in my stash. The silver thread is Lizbeth size 20 in color #605 with Japanese seed beads in size 11/0 in matte gold satin. The gold thread is Lizbeth size 20 in color #699 with size 11/0 seed beads in matte dark grey. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tatting at Maker Faire, Raleigh, NC

This little hedgehog (mascot of lacemakers) joined our tatting group at Maker Faire yesterday in Raleigh. He's holding a piece of tatting I made out of silk sewing thread in the hen and chicks pattern. I told people that this represents my lifetime's amount of silk sewing thread tatting. Sometimes you just have to try something, but no need to get carried away with it...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Tatted Beaded Necklace

Finally finished this necklace that I started last year. The patterns for the beaded motifs are from Tatting & Beads Graceful Jewelry by Takako Araki and Megumi Yamanaka (Ondori, 2009). The motifs are attached to "Handkerchief Edging No. 2" from Tatting Doilies & Edgings edited by Rita Weiss (Dover Publications, 1980, pg. 19) with beads substituting for the picots in the pattern. The variegated green and pink thread is Olympus size 40 thread. The beads are size 8/0 seed beads in colors Matte Ceylon Seafoam and Matte Ceylon Baby Pink.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Off the Needles: Start of another pair of beaded wristlets

I'm knitting yet another pair of beaded wristlets. Above is what I accomplished today. The yarn is some leftover sock yarn in a dark charcoal color. The beads are matte opaque Japanese seed beads in size 8/0, color Sky Blue. The bead pattern is "Border 39" from Scandinavian Knitting Designs by Pauline Chatterton (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1977, pg. 152). I cast on 30 stitches for this pair.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Adding to my book stash

Although my arts & crafts library has been steadily outgrowing my shelf space, I continue to add to it. I guess you can take the librarian out of the book stacks, but you can't make her stop behaving as if she's still in acquisitions. Here are my latest additions:

Two German tatting books. Although written in German, they include a translation of tatting terms into several languages including English, and the patterns are also clearly charted (unlike some other European charts that I've struggled to understand).

This is a new book for beginning tatters with a lot to offer more experienced tatters as well. The fiber arts book club I belong to is planning a program on tatting and we were looking for a good book to feature. This one came along at just the right time so I've recommended it for our selection. The original publication was in Japanese, but this is the English translation. As with all the Japanese tatting books, it's beautifully illustrated and attractively laid out.

Here's another Japanese tatting book; this time only in Japanese. It's a compilation of patterns from a variety of tatting designers. Everything is charted; Japanese charts are well done and transcend the language barrier for the most part. The photographic styling in Japanese books makes you want to grab your shuttles and start tatting these beautiful projects. It's exciting to see how many tatting designers are currently active in Japan; it bodes well for the future of tatting.

In April I attended the 2014 Unwind knitting retreat in Blowing Rock, NC, and took a class with Donna Druchunas. She and Ava Coleman have written a series of books, Stories in Stitches, that combine knitting histories, personal reminiscences, and knitting patterns. So far, there are 3 volumes in the series with a 4th in the works. Number 1 is "Around the World: Counterpanes"; Number 2 is "Around the World: Knitted Samplers"; and Number 3 is "Around the World: World Wars I & II." The fourth volume will cover "Sacred Stitches." The series is an interesting approach to knitting and memoirs...a pleasure for knitters who enjoy reading about knitting as well as doing it.