Thursday, November 28, 2013

For Luck

I am not sure where the "Lucky Horseshoe" tradition started, nor why it was picked up by brides, but I was more than happy to tat a horseshoe for my best friend's wedding. It was the one thing she asked of me. Keep in mind, much like an elephant's trunk a horseshoe is only considered lucky when the open end is up. If it is the other way around all the luck runs out. 

My friend's bridal colours were white, black, red and hints of silver. She had black ribbon printed with their names but it was too wide to use. This horseshoe is tiny, even though I tatted it in size 10 thread. Not a thread most people choose to use for shuttle tatting. It was barely visible against her dress but I did almost cry during her ceremony when I saw her holding it. I know, I know! 

The pattern is Nancy Tracy's "Tatted horse shoe"

I also made a few dozen cupcakes for the reception as it was family catered. I found a ceramic "cookie stamp" in a homewares store and thought it would probably work to emboss fondant. It sure did! $5 well spent. I made the cupcakes, fondant and butter cream icing, the cupcake cases were purchased, as was the black "writing icing". Given these were made as an after thought the night before the wedding I am reasonably happy with them.

I let my 10yr old loose with the camera while I did all the hair for the wedding (bride, 3 bridesmaids and flower girl) and she captured this lovely shot of me doing my friend's hair. I prefer candid pics to posed and I am loving this shot. Very natural.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Stitchers Corner

I thought I'd try posting from my phone for the first time. Let's see how this goes!
Today Jess and I drove 45mins or so to the Perth suburb of Victoria Park after I saw someone had recommended a little store there for tatting supplies. I needed some white thread, but was also curious!
We found Stitchers Corner without any difficulty. The outter windows are full of tapestried and other embroidery style canvases. All very nice, but not really my thing. The first tatting items I found were books! They had 5-6 different tatting books that I glanced through. Then I turned around..
Shuttles! Aerlit, Boye, Susan Bates, Lacis, Clover. I have never seen so many shuttle varieties in a store. Online, of course, but not in store. I have a lot of Clover shuttles, so I grabbed an Aerlit in Pink Berry, a Lacis Sew-Mate in Pink and a metal Boye. I really only use the bobbin style shuttles for thicker thread. The Lacis shuttle seems so big but until I try it I can only comment on what I see.
I got the white thread I wanted (DMC Cebelia #30) but they had such a variety! I couldn't go past the EdMar Iris rayons. Gorgeous colours, so silky to touch! I chose colour 054, a variegated pink, yellow and purple as well as 162 a bright green. I was thinking maybe a floral bookmark?
I've also never seen Rajmahal Art.Silk before and the colours are so vibrant. I got aqua blue (shade 131), cornflower yellow (shade 261), light green (shade 161), purple (shade 111) and a fun pink (shade 202).
Then I found DMC Dentelles #80! Very exciting for me as I only have 1 actual tatting thread. I grabbed white (b5200), ecru, purple (.3608), coral (3706), yellow (745), green (954) and a blue (3766).
I am always drawn to the same colours! I will pick up pink, purple and blue before anything else. I should have got DMC Dentelles in black. Oh well. I can make items with what I have.
They had some tiny crochet hooks I would have loved but I already spent far more than I intended. One tiny lil white paper bag costing close to $100. Gosh it was so nice to buy tatting suplies in person.
I would recommend Stitchers Corner (34 Mint Street, East Victoria Park) for tatters, even if you don't like using rayons etc there were other crochet cottons. Their prices were comparable with online providers and their service was lovely.
I am going to play with my new toys!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dainty tatted bracelet

This is a sweet little bracelet I tatted for my daughter. 

The pattern is by Elaine P Gan, called Rings and Curves; shared on Facebook blog Tatting Box. Elaine talks about a special joining method to use this pattern, I didn't alter my joins. It's extremely delicate as it is under 2cm wide. I love tatting with fine threads. To me, that's what tatting is. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lots of lacy crosses

I posted the pictures of my other crosses on Facebook, and very quickly had a friend request one made for her daughter's confirmation.I made 5, as I felt she should be able to choose the one she liked best. I had a few major catastrophes, some false starts and plenty of unpicking (and unpicking tatting is NOT fun, especially opening rings!). All of these crosses are very small, from top to bottom no bigger than 12cm. Very fine shuttle tatting with non-traditional threads. Pattern credit to Rachael Mohler. Of course, I changed it up a little to suit myself. The other pattern is very similar to one by Sharon Albers, though I did not follow a pattern when working on those crosses.

You can barely make out the frosted glass delica beads running up the centre of this cross. Tatted with 3 strands of rayon thread. 

 By far one of my favourite, this gorgeous pink cross with white seed beads is so bright and fun! It was choice #2 of the parents who requested the cross. 

There are some major issues going on with this cross, the biggest of which was making one repeat too many on the top of the cross, throwing out the proportions. I also hate the mottled effect. It reminds me of denim and I think it looks cheap. 3 strands of aqua, 1 off white strand of rayon thread.

The parents of the young lady about to celebrate her confirmation chose this vibrant purple cross, tatted in 2 strands of a rayon thread. I only wish I had dome something different with the tail, as I plaited this and I can't say I love it. 

I love the colours in this blue cross, and the picots delight me. I am such a fan of the more traditional tatting. I truly shy away from split rings and self closing mock rings. Not because I don't love innovation, nor that I can't do them, I guess I am a traditionalist when it comes to tatting. I prefer the picots over beads, it looks like it should (IMHO). Tatted with 2 strands of cotton thread. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Playing Truant

I get that I sort of abandon my blog every now and then. There's no real excuse, reason or pattern. I've stopped berating myself for it. Tonight I wanted to blog two lovely crosses I made in the last 24hrs for my friend who had 2 first communions to attend. She was feeling a bit low because she is in a bad financial situation and couldn't afford a small gift for the children. I wanted to ease her guilt because on child is her niece. When I realised the other child was her fiance's cousin and he'd be upset to gift one child and not the other, I hurriedly crocheted another. Thankfully my friend adored them and I am quietly confident the children will too.

This is Rachel Mohler's Easy Tatted Cross Variation 3
Tatted with 3 different Guetermann threads. I joined 2 picots on the rings making up the inner corners instead of just the one. It gave the cross much needed stability.

Crochet 'N' More's Picot Cross Bookmark
Thankfully a very simple design that worked up quickly. Thankfully, I had a scrap of ribbon laying around! This isn't the design I originally chose to crochet, but I am glad I did it. My only real dislike is the 2 separate pieces. I tacked them together (and tacked the ribbon in place too) for stability. Crocheted with size 10 cotton, lurex thread and a 1.75mm hook.

Both crosses were carefully ironed with a steam iron as I didn't have time to block them properly. The steam iron sufficed for the purpose, though proper blocking would have left better results. Sorry for the terrible pics, they were hurriedly taken on my phone before I raced out the door.

I have done plenty of craft during my hiatus, mostly sewing and scrapbooking. I've only been tatting again for a couple of weeks and man-o-man do I enjoy it! Why on earth did I stop? I can't say I am crocheting, I just happened to crochet the cross for speed.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The perfectionist in me

I like "finishing" details. Those little touches that adds something classy and complete looking. Sad thing is the most I ever do is top stitching! I am a big fan of top stitching.

Something about those neat little rows of stitches holding down seam lines and emphasizing your fabrics really works for me. In my mind, it also looks much cleaner and neater. My problem is that I never have the finished product looking as professional and well constructed as I imagine.

I can spend hours upon hours of cutting careful, lining things up precisely, stitching slowly, serging, changing threads, using alternate presser feet. It never works. Always some major stuff up that stands out like a sore thumb.

By the same token, if I want to make something look grungy and rough it looks too prissy and perfect. Go figure!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

As winter sets in

I can't avoid mentioning my blogging absence. It's sort of my "thing" so it hardly seems worth mentioning it's just that so much happens in that time.

To be honest, I don't even know WHY it happens. Overwhelmed, under-whelmed.. who knows. Sometimes I think it all just gets too much reading about the perfect lives of perfect people in the blogesphere. Techinicaly we all know each other isn't perfect but who am I kidding?! Some of these mums with their baking and sewing and happy kids and magazine perfect photos.. they make me sick. It's nice for a while to read their blissful words and their pics really aren't to be complained about as they're so wonderfully composed. But when you're struggling to make ends meet, keep the child alive and drudge through each and every dreary day just to start the next one it's not always so blissful. More like a huge kick in the face.

Jessica's health has been reasonably good this year. Her eczema is looking far better than ever (in her whole life - ever!). She still has to travel to Perth frequently to see doctors and monitor her medications and progress. Anaphylaxis hasn't been an issue but minor allergic reactions and hayfever etc have all been pretty uncomfortble. As I write this in my sleep deprived state I am reminded how disruptive her asthma has been the last few days. Neither of us have had much sleep while she coughs her lil lungs up all night long. She's feeling pretty run down and having more time off school. To top it off, at her last check up in Perth her doctors are concerned she hasn't gained any weight in over 6mths. Will be interesting to see what this means for us on our visit in July.

I started a new job! Way back in January.. I love it :) Suits me really well. I am kept active enough both physically and mentally, working with people and given a huge chunk of responsibility. I am working in an Australia Post Licensed Post Office and from the moment I was hired (head hunted!!) I was told it would be semi managerial. I say semi as in a small, privately owned business there is no need for a "manager" per say, except when the owner is away. This is what she intended. For me to run the show so she CAN go away. I wasn't looking for work. I was still trying to overcome the inadequacies and apprehensions my last job created for me on a personal level. When I was asked to take this position I baulked, but told her I'd give it a go. Never expected to LOVE IT and not complaining that I do :) It's been good in many ways. It got me out of my reverie, has me socialising even if it is only at a seeing people at work level and reinstating some long lost confidence. I've learned so much. The business has been on the market for a number of years and now my mum has put in an offer and really hopes to be the successful purchaser. Finance permitting. This will be a whole other can of worms that I will leave closed until it bursts open.

I have been creating. Nothing fancy. A toy here, a piece of clothing there. Some hand sewing, embroidery, wood working.. Baby steps. I always have these big plans and get so annoyed at myself when they don't come to fruition.

Here's some recent items
I hand pleated some fabric to attempt smocking.. but I don't know how to smock haha

Baby dress for my 7mth old cousin - pattern from Ottobre

A top/tunic for Jessica - pattern McCall's

Library bags I made Jessi and our 2 cousins for school this year
Jessi's 8th birthday cake. Could have been better if the 45C heat wasn't melting it!!

Dummy (pacifier) chain, heandband and baby shoes for my 3mth old cousin

Still working on finding peace with myself, my actions, my words and my feelings. Fingers crossed I get there one day soon as I feel like life is flying by and I am only a spectator, but also feel like I am completely unable to change it.