Friday, July 31, 2015

Crocheting in the Library

Wednesday evening I participated in fiber demonstrations with the Twisted Threads Fiber Arts Guild by showing and demonstrating crochet at the Western Wake Regional Library in Cary, NC. The Guild does a series of demos in the summer at several of the libraries in Wake County to introduce children to fiber arts. Last year I showed knitting, but since there are fewer crocheters, I decided to volunteer to do that craft this year. In addition to several scarves and other items, I brought my LED doily which interested adults as well as the kids.

I crocheted and gave away some simple yarn hearts.

UPDATE 3/6/18: The link to the heart pattern that was originally in this post is no longer operable. So I am including the instructions for the hearts here:

chain 4, make all stitches in the first chain
3 treble crochet
3 double crochet
chain 1
1 treble crochet
chain 1
3 double crochet
3 treble crochet
chain 3
close with slip stitch
tie the 2 tails with a knot to secure

The hearts work up fast, making them an ideal project for demonstrations, and the kids loved getting them.

I had a great time, and tomorrow I'll be changing gears as one of Tri-Tatters' monthly tatting demonstrators at Mordecai Historic Park in Raleigh.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 State Fair Projects: Tatted Pillowcase Edging, Almost Done

I'm nearly finished with the pillowcase edging I'm tatting to enter in the State Fair in October. I started this project many weeks ago, but stopped working on it while I started and finished two other fair projects (a beaded pin and a handkerchief edging).

Today I picked it back up to happily discover that I was almost finished with the tatting part. Not so happily, I realized that I'd lost track of the number of double stitches in various rings and chains. Didn't I diagram out the stitch count somewhere, and, if so, where is that scrap of paper? Boy, is it hard to count those tiny stitches even with magnification. Is it 4 or 5 stitches in this part of the chain? Is it 1 stitch between picots or 2? This is what happens when you put aside a project for too long and it's a project you're making up from a blurry photograph you vaguely remember seeing somewhere on the Web.

After a bit of tatting and untatting, I finally got the last two motifs done and the piece connected into a circle that can be attached to a pillowcase. Now I have to deal with all these loose tails from the flower motifs. Do I sew them into the ring's stitches and hope they don't wiggle out with use? Or do I somehow bury them into the pillowcase hem and hope that they stay hidden? Decisions, decisions.

And I must not forget that there's still a lot of sewing to be done so that the chains stay neatly flat and securely fastened. All this is important because I actually will use and launder the pillowcase in the future.  How I wish edgings would just magically attach themselves to whatever they are intended to embellish.

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 State Fair Projects: Tatted Edging for Handkerchief

I just finished tatting and attaching the edging that I plan to enter into the 2015 North Carolina State Fair in October. The handkerchief is just a vehicle for displaying the edging and won't be part of the judging. However, I always think it is best to try coordinating the edging with the handkerchief to achieve a unified effect. The hanky is from my vintage handkerchief stash and has a lovely bit of applique, cutwork, and embroidery in one corner.

The thread is size 50 Flora, a discontinued thread formerly sourced from Handy Hands. It has been replaced by Handy Hands' Lizbeth brand. I don't know what the color code is as I've mislaid the label that came with the ball of thread. It's a pale green, almost matching the green leaf in the applique on the hanky.

The pattern is Mary Konior's "Bo Peep" from her book Tatting with Visual Patterns (Lacis Publications, 1992; pp. 32-3). Although it looks like a two-row design, the edging is tatted in one round. One thing that is different from other patterns that I have done in this book is that you tat the little 4-ring/4-chain corner motifs separately and then incorporate them when you get to a corner. I found it a pleasant pattern to tat that results in an elegant edging. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vancouver Souvenir

Last August I visited Vancouver with my sister and brother-in-law. One of our excursions was a trip to Granville Island where we happened upon the Silk Weaving Studio. As a souvenir of my visit I bought two 50-gram skeins of their hand-dyed Sanjosilk heavy silk boucle yarn. Now almost a year later, I thought I should finally make something with the yarn.

Using size 3 needles, I decided to make a simple stockinette triangle since the nubbiness of the yarn would probably obscure any fancier stitch pattern. I started at the pointed end, increasing one stitch on each end of the right side, and knitted until I ran out of yarn. I didn't know how many yards I had to work with, but figured that the result would be a triangular scarf rather than a shawl.

I haven't yet blocked the piece, and that should be a new experience as this is the first time I've ever knitted with silk. Here's a closeup of this beautiful yarn:

I love the idea of bringing home unique or exotic craft materials as remembrances of travels. I just need to remember to make these finds something I can use rather than just stashing them away. Now each time I wear this scarf, I'll think of the wonderful time I enjoyed in Vancouver.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015 State Fair Projects: Beaded Brooch

Just finished the first of my entries to the 2015 North Carolina State Fair that will be held in October. I'll enter this in the beaded jewelry category with not much hope for a ribbon since it will be in competition with all the other beaded pieces. But I like the idea of having tatting represented in a jewelry category that sees few or no items using this technique. Got to show people that tatting is not all doilies! 

The pattern is one that I've now done five times, but only the second time I've made it using beads. The pattern is "Carnation Boutonniere" from New Things Happen to Tatting, Book 159 (The Spool Cotton Company, 1941). It was reprinted in The Tatter's Treasure Chest, Dover Publications, 1990, which is still available from tatting book suppliers.

The thread is size 20 Lizbeth in color 6o1 White. The beads are Miyuki Delica Seed Beads 11/0 Galvanized Pewter DB436. The button is a glass with silver button from my vintage button collection.

I usually piece together a fastener for my brooches with a bar pin attached to some sort of stiff backing, but this time I decided to go more professional even though, according the the Fair's premium book, the findings used in jewelry pieces will not be part of the judging.

I used a two-part perforated screen pin back I found at Ornamentea, a bead shop in Raleigh, NC. Lucky me, they had marked these down to half price so I bought all they had left in this size and in a larger size. I thought I would be using the larger size, but the screen showed through the front of the tatting so I went with the smaller size.

So one project down and several more to go. The next project to finish will be a pillowcase edging. Stayed tuned.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Craziness Is...

... simultaneously working on 4 tatting projects for the state fair. I'm almost done with the beaded brooch, halfway through 2 other pieces, and starting over on a handkerchief edging. Also need to make a backing for an embellished mat. And I think I just might have a knitted item ready this year. Am I crazy? No, just retired!