"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Monday, March 2, 2015

Barrette, and a Bead Coupon

So it's been a while since I've posted, again. I actually haven't tatted anything since then; I've been busy with harp and belly dance related things instead. I played a harp gig a couple of weeks ago where my music stand drape made its big debut. It worked beautifully. And this Saturday my belly dance studio is having its annual student showcase, and I'll be dancing in two numbers with the beginner classes. Naturally, there is a great deal of practice involved, especially since this is my first "real" performance; my costumes required slight tweaking as well.

This weekend, though, I did finally get a little bit of tatting time. Later this month, my cousin is getting married. I already have my outfit picked out, but I needed something for my hair. I tatted several small flowers and arranged them on a circle of green felt.

You can tell I'm out of practice blogging because I forgot to take photos of the individual flowers. They are all patterns by Linda Davies. Linda's flower patterns are always based on flowers that actually exist in nature. My versions, though, are not like the real flowers because I used the wrong colors (they match the outfit, which is what matters in this case). The light purple flower in the center is Linda's Snowdrop pattern tatted in Lizbeth 632. The dark purple ones are the Bluebell pattern, in Lizbeth 633. Both of these can be found in Linda's book From Petals to Pearls. The turquoise flowers, in Lizbeth 658, are the Queen Anne's Lace pattern which can be found on Linda's blog. To all of them, I added a 4 mm round silver bead which I sewed in the center of each flower (in the bluebell pattern, this bead would ordinarily be threaded into the flower using florist's wire; the snowdrop pattern also has a large bead but placed differently), and I also added a few more seed beads than the patterns called for.

I left all the ends long, sewed them through a circle cut out of green felt, and tied them off. I then trimmed the ends down and used a matching green tatting thread to sew an identical felt circle to the back, covering the thread ends. Next, I trimmed the doubled felt circle down a bit and sewed it onto a silver filigree barrette.

Finally, I have a little something to share with you all. The website www.artbeads.com, which is one of my favorites, sent me a coupon code for 20% off sitewide. Artbeads has a great selection not only of beads, but also jewelry findings, and especially the metal links and filigree ornaments that we tatters usually refer to as "doo-dads" that tatting can be joined to. To find these doo-dads on the site, look under Findings, then Links; also under Embellishments; or shop by material choosing the type of metal you want; and also under Swarovski components, because some of them incorporate Swarovski crystals. The e-mail specifically says that I can share the code, and it can be used multiple times. The code is BEST20, but if you want to use it you'll have to hurry. It expires tonight, Monday March 2, at midnight; I'm not sure which time zone that refers to, but I would assume Eastern. Note that I have no connection to Artbeads other than being a very happy customer. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day 10, and Doily

Here's Day 10 of the TIAS. At this point, I think there can be no doubt it's a pair of scissors.

I've also started the final round of the doily.

I'll continue posting my progress on the doily, although I don't know that there will be a whole lot to say about it until it's done.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Finished Drape

When I first introduced the music stand drape, some people mentioned they didn't know about different kinds of music stands. So I'll start with that. There are various styles of music stand that are portable-- i.e. you can fold them up and put them in a bag to take with you to a gig. I own two of them, and as previously mentioned, they are both hideous. My favorite is the Peak stand, which is very solid and sturdy. The only problem is, from the side the audience sees, it looks like this:

Industrial plastic is not the impression I like to convey with my harp.

Then there are the folding wire stands, which are lighter weight, but flimsy.

This one belonged to my sister before me and must be about 30 years old. I don't use it much because I can't put anything too heavy on it. There are newer designs of wire stands that allow for more adjustment and are slightly stronger, but they don't look any better.

For those who were wondering, here's how the drape goes on the stand; it's very simple.

With a wire stand, it works better if you add something to create a flat line at the top. When I used to use that stand regularly, I just set these on it:

They are simply two pieces of corrugated cardboard, covered with a gray satin just in case a corner of them should peek out from behind the drape. But I don't take this stand to gigs anymore, so it's no longer relevant.

There. Now you know way more about music stands than you ever wanted to if you don't use them yourself. On to the tatting. You can scroll through my recent posts to see the progress of making the Square Elegance motif and Christmas Tree Edging, both designed by Frivole. Here they are finally sewn onto the drape.

Oh, you wanted to see the drape actually hanging on the music stand? Well let me tell you, I took literally dozens of photos of that, with different types of lighting, from different angles, using different camera settings, with and without the flash. Here's the best one out of all of those.

Sometimes I wish I could hire a professional photographer for my blog. I can't, but this does give you a pretty good idea of what it looks like. Just enough embellishment to catch the eye, without being distracting. It ended up looking exactly as I envisioned it, and I am very pleased.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 9

Day 9 of the TIAS is here, and I now find myself in agreement with those who think it's a pair of scissors.

Also, I have finished the music stand drape, but I'm not happy with any of the pictures I've taken yet. I'm going to wait a little while for different light and see if I get anything better.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 8

Here's Day 8 of the TIAS.

I don't know if this is another sticky-out bit, or if we're now starting on the main body of the whatever-it-is. I also have no wild-eyed new ideas today. I do notice that the last ring tatted has no joining picot on the side, but I don't know what that means.

As for the music stand drape, I got the first side of the edging sewed down on Friday, but I got distracted yesterday and didn't finish it. It will be done soon, though.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 7, and the Edging Finished

Remember at the start of the TIAS, when I was concerned that my button might be too big? Well, today was the day it became clear that it is.

I will carry on for now; but if I ever decide to tat another Venus fly trap (because that's definitely what this is), I will be more careful with my button size.

And I have finished tatting the edging! It is nearly impossible to photograph, though. I tried taking pictures of it on the actual drape that it will be attached to, but the satin is too shiny. I ended up having to use a purple t-shirt as a background, as the best color to let the light gray thread show up well. And then I can't seem to get the whole thing in one in-focus shot. This was as close as I got:

And here are the stats:

Pattern: Christmas Tree Edging by Frivole (with the clovers on each end and the corner slightly modified because I wanted different bead patterns there)
Thread: Lizbeth color 605 Silver, size 20
Beads: Miyuki Delicas in gunmetal color for all of the normal repeats; for the two ends and the corner, I added Miyuki Delicas in silver and clear Swarovski bicones
Size: 12 1/4 inches along each side (each side being 15 repeats long, not including the corner); 7/8 inch wide

As soon as I finish posting this, I shall commence sewing it and the Square Elegance motif onto the drape. I hope to get it done by tomorrow evening, but I'm not a fast sewer at all. And then there will be the new challenge of getting a decent photo of the finished product...

I'll leave you with a close-up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 6, and Edging Nearly Done

I finished Day 6 of the TIAS this morning, but was too tired to photograph it, so here it is now.

My thinking on this has evolved since Day 5. However much it might look like rabbit ears (if you turned it the other way), I don't think Jane's devious mind would give us something so obvious right from the beginning. On the other hand, she might start with a distinctive feature of a less obvious animal. Therefore, these are the tentacles of a cuttlefish. That's my story and I'm sticking to it-- at least until the next segment is released.

On the third hand, though, the last time I guessed a TIAS was a cuttlefish was Sherry's, which turned out to be a locomotive. Wanda thinks this one is a plant of some sort, and it's true, I can see either a Venus fly trap or some sort of orchid in here too. Jane says no one has guessed it yet, but sometimes she's devious in what she says, too.

On the edging front, I have made some progress, though not as much as I would have liked, what with having to go to work so I can buy tatting supplies (and food).

I am about 3/4 done, actually, and I hope to be done with the tatting part by tomorrow night. Of course, then comes the sewing on part, which, for me, is not so fun.

I figured this was a good time to stop and take a picture because the shuttle needed to be refilled anyway. I've actually gone through two full shuttles already; since the pattern is mostly rings, it uses a lot of shuttle thread, and not as much thread fits on the shuttle with all the beads.

When I was first starting it, I had no idea how many beads to load on the thread, because I didn't know how long each repeat would end up, and therefore how many repeats I would have to do. (It turns out, 15 repeats per side, plus the corner, for two 12-inch sides). So I just kept adding beads until I had about a 10-inch length of them on the thread, and hoped that would be enough. As I wound the first shuttle, spacing the beads along the way, I found that the shuttle was full after I had only wound about half the beads onto it. I therefore cut the thread and set that shuttle aside, and wound another shuttle, spacing the beads in the same manner. Filling this shuttle used up all the rest of the beads, so I kept it attached to the ball and started tatting; this actually worked out nicely as the other shuttle was already ready to go the first time I ran out of thread.

Each time I ran out of thread on the shuttle, there were still a few beads left, so I just set these aside in a small bowl, figuring I would need them eventually. After using up all the thread on both shuttles, I knew how many more beads I would need-- 47 (because the last repeat will have a different beading pattern that will use two fewer pre-strung beads)-- and I actually didn't have this many in the bowl. Remember, these were from the original 10 inches of beads that I strung before I started. No problem, I've got plenty left in tube.

I pulled a couple of yards off the ball and cut the thread there; this is a good technique when you have to refill your shuttle in a ball-and-shuttle pattern, so you don't have to join on a new ball thread as well. Refilled the shuttle with the necessary number of beads, and I'm ready to go.