Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Needlework & Lacemaking Kits For Sale

This last weekend, I took inventory of Needlework & Lacemaking Kits that I have leftover from my years (1998-2006) teaching on the national needlework show series.  I think it is time to find homes for some of my babies.  This is no coincidence that this occurs after helping the brother of a deceased tatting friend go through her "craft room" stuff.  I realized that A. You can't take it with you & B. That all your stuff can be a burden to the people who inherit it. 

So I am offering for sale, leftover kits in various artforms: Carrickmacross Lace, Romanian Point Lace, Filet Lace, Smocking, Ribbon Work, & several fun, interesting embroidery forms.

Go to:


There is more information on the webpage.

Questions:  email me direct at   or

The (non-tatting) Secret Fiber Art Life of The ShuttleSmith

I have a bit of a confession to make....I don't only create fiber art in the form of Tatting!  I also do/have done alot of needlework and needlelace work.  If you have read my bio (on my website) I mention that I grew up sewing, embroidering, knitting/crochet, etc.---anything fiber art related that I could get my hands on!  Then as an adult I learned more refined needlelace techniques, many that I eventually taught at a regional and national level. 

These include:
  • Carrickmacross Lace
  • Teneriffe/Sol/Nanduti Lace
  • Romanian Point Lace
  • Needle Lace
  • Filet Lace (True)
  • Smocking
I have had the pleasure to take & teach tatting to national needlework shows, where I had a goal of 'converting' cross-stitchers to lacemakers.  It was at these shows that I introduced other unique needlework forms (including the above list) to the cross-stitch world including (to name a few that come to mine):
  • Huck Embroidery
  • Chicken Scratch Embroidery
  • Ribbon Work
  • Surface Embroidery Stitches (for Crazy Quilting)
  • Crazy Quilting Patchworking

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What I did this weekend

This weekend, on Saturday, I spent the whole day demonstrating tatting in Wahoo, Nebraska at the "Christmas on the Prairie" event. 

I tatted for 6 hours with 5 fellow tatters/lacemakers---It was heaven!

After a delicious Mexican supper with two friends I drove home to Omaha the 35 miles in the second snowfall of the year.  It was quite beautiful.  The temperature was so cold that there was no horrible ice storm so the driving was quite fine (except for the idiot in front of me who insisted on going 35mph the whole way).

On the left (separated by the red edging) is my 'Traditional' tatting, mostly holiday pieces (not in the picture).  On the right of the table is my 'Modern' tatting---specifically my Split Ring Tatting pieces (packed into 3 cigar boxes) & my two books:  Fun with Split Ring Tatting & MORE Fun with Split Ring Tatting.

I am working on a Padded/Split Ring Greek-Key design cross---destined to be in my third book, CROSSES IN SPLIT RING TATTING.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A SRT Snowflake for the season--New Free Pattern

I was looking through my Design Notebook this week and was looking at a couple of my snowflake designs and thought "I should get one done while it is in season".

So Monday I went home and found this lightly variegated blue thread.  I know that it should be tatted in white thread, but I'm just not a white-kinda person.  Don't get me wrong, I love the look of white tatting!  I really do.  My problem is that I just don't work well with white thread, i.e.  I don't have the time to devote to the cleanliness that is needed to work with white thread.  (That is why all my work is in dark or vibrant colors.)  So the fact that this snowflake is blue reminds me of glacial.  In this case the process is reversed--snowflakes come down and aggregate to become glaciers which take on a stellar blue color.  My snowflake knows that it is destined to become glacier-blue and has decided to start that way.

I tatted it on breaks from work and evenings in two days and then started creating the illustrated pattern.  I realized that the creation of the illustrated pattern takes at least as much time as the actual tatting.   Both are labors of love.

BTW, I have about 5-6 more snowflake patterns in my design notebook....most are quite a bit bigger that this one, thus this one is named 'small snowflake'.

This pattern may not be in time for Christmas, but here in Nebraska snowflakes still fly for several months into the new year.

go to:


The actual pattern is in PDF form at the bottom of the page.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thread Wanted--Anchor Mercer Cordonnet Size 20

Even though I have enough thread to last probably 10-100 lifetimes, I am looking for colors of a specific kind of thread:

Anchor Mercer Cordonnet   Size 20

I have found that the  colors of this thread match in size....which is important in my Split Ring Tatting design work where I put different-colored motifs together in one piece.

I have found this thread at Tatting Corner ( and have bought many of the colors.  I have even ordered from England to get enough on one specific color that I can't get from Tatting Corner.  Plus I have a few balls of thread from the past when it was readily available (ca. early 90's---am I dating myself!?!)

What I am hoping for now is that someone has a stash of this thread that they are willing to part with.  I really love vibrant colors that contrast well with another.  I really am not interested in variegateds.

Contact me at:

I would be willing to purchase them or could put together a trade....maybe even two balls of mine for one ball of yours of a different brand.  (I have DMC, Flora, and Lizbeth, to name a few brands.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My new book (MORE Fun with SRTatting) is now available!!!

As of now, my new book  MORE Fun with Split Ring Tatting  is available for purchase.

Go to:    

Price is $25.00---I will pay postage to USA addresses. 

Buy both my old and new books for $40.00 (save $10).

Payment is through PayPal--an easy and safe way to make payments.

International buyers add ca. $8.00 for shipping.  Email me at: and I will send you an PayPal invoice.

For this price you get a 63 page book that features at least 45 patterns and over 400 illustrations types in full color.

All patterns are illustrated so you don't have to understand English to enjoy/work the patterns.

There is a chapter in the back as to how to use and work the patterns in Needle Tatting Technique.

As both the author and the publisher, purchasing the book direct from me is greatly appreciated!!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lace Finds in Budapest Hungary

Kalocsz 'Lace'

This is another posting of my lace finds from my recent honeymoon trip to eastern Europe (Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest).

I will let you in on a little secret....I'm also interested in needle lace in addition to my main love of tatting.  I grew up 'embroidering' and doing every form of fiber art that I could get my hands on (knitting, crochet, macrame, surface embroidery) in rural Nebraska.  I learned to tat a bit later in my childhood years. 

In addition to my Split Ring Tatting Addiction, I also teach and design needlelace in the following types:  Carrickmacross (Irish),  Teneriffe/Nanduti (Spanish, Paraguay), and Romanian Point Lace.

I had two conflicting lace-related happenings to report to you from my trip:

1.  I knew that Budapest, Hungary was close to Kiskunhalas, Hungary where the extremely beautiful Halas Lace is still produced.  I didn't have the time to take a side-trip to Kiskunhalas so I asked around Budapest. The Budapest textile/lace merchants knew about it and said that 'No, I wouldn't find it in Budapest' and that 'It's expensive'.  So no Halas Lace as a souvenir for me.  Even if I had found some, I probably would not have wanted to pay the price they want for even a small piece!

2.  I was quite pleasantly surprised to find alot of lace and textile shops in Budapest.  The big surprise was finding what I know as 'Romanian Point Lace'.  They call it 'Macrame Lace'.  Of course this country is close to Translyvannia (in Romania) where I know the lace to come from.  What I found out is through the ages, alot of Hungarians ended up in Romania and vice versa.  So that is why the lace is prevalent there.

So, I was in Macrame/Romanian Point Lace Heaven for several days, buying and examining pieces. 
Actually it wasn't extremely common.  A textile/lace shop would only have a few pieces of it, some had none at all.  After awhile I started seeing the same design elements in pieces, leading me to believe that the same person(s) created most of the work I found.

My Romanian Point Lace/Macrame Lace/Hungarian Lace Finds--2013

These following two pieces were purchased in completely different areas/shops in Budapest but appear to have the same design elements in both pieces.

Here are some different pieces that I purchased.  The three smaller pieces were of higher quality.

Free Split Ring Tatting --new as of 20 Nov 13

To get the pattern, go to:

Find:  "Free Split Ring Tatting Pattern"

Open the PDF file at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Today is my new book's Birthday!!!---Oh Happy Day (for me!)

My new book "MORE Fun with Split Ring Tatting" is officially 'published' as of today---that is why it seems to me that this is its' BIRTHDAY.

For those of you who have never published a book, getting the first copy of your book into your own hands is alot like holding your newly-delivered baby for first time.  This day came for me yesterday when I went to the mail box to find my proof-copy waiting for me after work.    After looking it over, I verified that it was ready and thus it is now 'in-print'.  

The price will be the same as my last book:  $25.   If you order direct from me/my website, I will pay for postage.  It is almost as big as my last book (63 pages) and is full-color throughout.  It features over 40 patterns (can't remember the exact number right now). 

For quite a while I struggled over what to write for my back cover and my introduction page.  I begged my friend, Jennifer Bartling to help me with ideas and she came up with "This ain't your Grandmother's tatting!".   It was just the prompt I needed to get the writing job done. 

Then came the digital conversion problems, the same ones as I had last time I published my book.  Even though I had carefully written down all the notes as to how I overcame the delemma last time, this time was different because I had gotten a new computer between the two books.  Many of the settings were different---thus back to the drawing-board as to my problems.  But there is a happy ending to this story as attested to by the fact that I did get the book printed/published and I am very happy to say that my new marriage lasted through these digital woes.

Now for the bottom line....I am not completely sure when the books will be available for purchase.  I shall have to figure out how to get the new book on my website, plus I shall have to order and receive copies myself of the physical books.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My new book---It's almost done!!!

Here is the front cover of my latest book.  It is almost ready for sale. 

This weekend, I dealt with my 'digital issues' and got the book interior and cover appropriately converted to PDF and then uploaded to my printer.  What a great feeling that was!!!

I should (cross my fingers) have a proof copy in my hands in a week or two then I can proof-read it (yet another time) before I deem it ready for publication.

This is on the back cover and shows the rest of the patterns.

This pretty much explains the book's contents.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tatting & Grandparents: The Rest of the Story

As I said before, I learned to tat from my maternal grandmother.

The doily I posted a photo of was made by my paternal grandmother.  She probably didn't tat much.  When I was young, growing up around her she was actively doing other handcrafts, most notably quilting. 

But my story revolves around my paternal grandFATHER.  I am the daughter of an long line of Nebraska farmers in NE Nebraska.  This includes my father & grandfather.  They were true men: probably never changing diapers, cooking for themselves, cleaning, etc.....that was women's work.  There were clearly defined male/female roles in how I was raised and I know that came down through the generations.   So I was surprised when my paternal grandfather told me (35 years ago or so, and shortly after I had learned to tat) that he too had tatted.  Even then I was shocked at this professment.  He told me that he had learned to tat in grade/elementary school as a kid.  He told me that that back when he was a kid, the Nebraska winters were harsher than in recent times and that it was to ugly for the kids to go outside for recess.  So the teacher taught them things like tatting.  Let me back up and tell you that this was a one-room country school that he went to....the same one that my father and I went to too (good old District 40).  So the heritage of tatting, my grandfather, and this one-room country school (that no longer exists) is a particularly sentimental one for me.  I would assume that 'yes' he did learn to tat, but 'no' he really never was a 'tatter'. 

Tatting (sometimes called 'poor-man's lace') was something that was cheap for the teacher to work with her students with.  Probably everyone's mother had a tatting shuttle in their sewing basket, in fact you don't even need a shuttle to do it.  So in my heritage, it truly was a poor-man's lace. 

I was raised in a humble, rural environment but was never wanting for anything though.  We raised all our own food (beef, pork, poultry, dairy, vegetables, fruit trees, etc.).  It was a good life.   However, I tell people that since "no farmer wanted to marry me" after high school, I had to get out of the area and went to college.  I now live in Omaha (the big city!) about 100 miles from where I grew up.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My tatting thread goodies/presentation

This is my living room decoration.
It serves a couple of purposes:  It allows me to separate my threads by size and manufacture.
I think they are pretty decorations and reflect my personal taste/interest.
I can easily access/assess my thread collection to choose the right thread(s) for my projects.
The big bowl has my favorite threads---Anchor Mercer Cordonnet Size 20
The bowl to the back/right houses Flora 20
The front bowl holds Lizbeth 20.
These threads are the ones that I use the most.

This does not constitute my entire thread collection.....I have many more manufacturers, sizes, colors in my studio.

My tatting treasure

This is my Paternal Grandmother's Tatted Doily
Tatted by Louise Goeller Reuter--born in 1900.  Probably tatted in the 1920's or 30's.
I learned to tat from my maternal grandmother, Julia Kominek Dolesh. 
I was so thrilled to get this.  I had seen this doily in my grandma's house probably 35 years ago, after I had learned to tat, but hadn't seen it since.  My Aunt Janelle had it and recently gifted it to me for my recent wedding.  It is truly a treasure to me.

I have small items that Grandma Julia tatted that I shall have to bring out and photograph and show off in the future.

Friday, October 11, 2013

New SRT Pattern Du Jour


To get the pattern, go to:

Click on "Free Split Ring Tatting Pattern"

Then clik on the PDF File at the bottom of the page labeled 'POW11Oct13'

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Textile Finds in Budapest, Hungary

This is the piece of Kalocsa Embroidery/Lace that I purchased in Budapest, Hungary.
Kalocsa is a town 88 miles south of Budapest.
The colored embroidery is hand-done.
Then the 'embroidery' is turned into 'lace' with a sewing machine--usually old sewing machines with the feed-dogs dropped out, creating the design with machine stitching.
This is another hand-embroidery piece that I purchased.  It is Translyvannian in design and worksmanship.
It is a pillow cover and is now in my living room. 
Alot of the textiles and lace that I found in Budapest had connections to Translyvania (Romania).

The following pictures are of textiles that I photographed in a shop in Budapest. 

If you look closely and can see the detail of the first and last photo, you will note that the textiles are created in a style of embroidery most people know as Hardanger (Scandinavian). 
I talked to one shop owner about the origins of the different lace types and she said that the Hardanger-like embroideries that you see in the top & bottom pictures are truly Hungarian.  In fact she pulled out her own work to show me. 
The middle photo shows Kalocsa embroidery/lace pieces.
Unfortunately I didn't have enough money or suitcase space to bring everything home with me!!! 


Lace Finds in Dresden, Germany--Plauen Lace

On my list of things to see in Dresden (lace of course!) was Plauen Lace.

Plauen is a suburb of Dresden and so I was hopeful that I would be able to find and buy Plauen Lace there.   AND I DID!

Plauen Lace is actually a machine-made lace--created as an embroidery on a water-soluble backing.  However I have been studying for several years for it's traditional design elements. 

While in Dresden, I happened to stumble upon a shop devoted to it completely.   The shop owner informed us that it had only been open a few months!  How lucky for me/us! 
This is me outside the shop

As you can see in the above photo inside the store, they now have both traditional and modern design forms of the lace.
These are are pieces I purchased:
The upper piece is an example of the 'Modern' and bottom piece is the 'Traditional' design.
When the shopowner realized that I could not buy one of everything, she allowed me to take photographs of the pieces and the shop!

Other Pieces I bought

This is a Plauen Lace piece of the Frauenkirch (Church of Our Lady) that was destroyed in WW2 The ruins were left untouched until 1994, when the painstaking reconstruction of the church began. Almost completely financed by private donations from around the world, the people of Dresden could celebrate the resurrection of their Frauenkirche in 2005.



New look for my blog

I'm bored at work--so I started playing around with blog templates.  (It's either 'feast or famine' in the diagnostic medical laboratory that I work in.)

I don't have the time or interest to write/design my own unique blog website (I actually did that for my first website 25 years ago, writing HTML code).  Nowadays they have all these cool, easy applications built into the website/blog hosting site.

Let me know what you think of this new format.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

3-D esque design

This is something that I have been playing around with lately....designs that have a 3-dimensional appearance to them.   The following is a small example of this design concept.
What I find interesting is that if you turn the design a certain way you get a whole different image perception.  
The first image looks to me like a big box corner with a smaller box inside it.
The second image looks like a big box with a small box piece missing.

If you can't see the differences, then maybe the images are too big---step away from the screen, or squint at the images. 
I understand that some people cannot see three-dimensionally very well.  My new husband and I just went to the 3-D movie, 'Gravity' last night.  Jerry claims that it's a waste of money for him, that he can't see the dimensionality of it anyway.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Free SRT Pattern of the Week

Here is a Bookmark/Edging Pattern

My theory is that if you make 5 inches of a repetitive pattern, you call it a 'bookmark'.

It's an 'edging' if you make it whatever size you need, for what every you want to use it for.


The pattern is at:

The actual pattern is a PDF file.






Friday, September 27, 2013

More Lace from Prague




About 24 inches across


About 36 inches across--stunning!

Not sure if this one is Knitted or Bobbin Lace--Very interesting!

My first thought was Knitted....but now I think it is Bobbin Lace


My Wedding Lace Gifts

 My very sweet, wonderful friend Jennifer Bartling from Fremont, NE made me a bridal nosegay for my August 2nd wedding.  When I told her the details of my wedding (there weren't many!) and that I wasn't going to have any flowers, she decided that that couldn't be!  So she asked what my colors were.  I told her that I had bought yellow and teal blue plastic table coverings and that I guess those would be my colors.  She made this darling nosegay.  Jennifer's neice helped with reception details and came early so Jennifer sent it with her.  The last few minutes before it was time to go to the church for the ceremony were a bit chaotic with getting kids ready (and they were mostly grown) and lost uncles rounded up...I almost forgot to get the nosegay.  I'm sure glad I remembered to ask for it at the last minute! 
I features tatted flowers in 3 colors:  blue, yellow, and coral (Jennifer knows I'm partial to yellow and orange).  It also had chiffon & pearl tufts and leaves.  It was finished with a lace base and covered in white tape.  Not pictured is the penny hanging in a darling crocheted pouch.
I tried my best to photograph it but my pictures don't really do it justice.  The first photo shows it in a glass vase. 

Another lace wedding gift came from my friend Cher Camacho who created a beautiful bobbin lace flower in my favorite color, yellow.   This was a real surprise/honor because Cher was in the process of pulling together a large wedding for her youngest daughter with only about 3-4 months to prepare!
I was unable to attend that wedding because I was on my honeymoon trip to Europe.

Again the photography does not do the piece its justice.

Lace Finds on Recent Trip to Prague, Czech Republic

Om my recent honeymoon trip to Prague, I was looking for lace.  I finally found an antique store with a basement full of lace, textiles, and Czech costumes.  I was in heaven!   It was later pointed out to me (gently) by my new husband that we had spent 2 hours there.  YIKES!  I thought it was only about a half hour.  Jerry scored points for patience that day.

I did NOT find any Tatting in any of the cities I visited. (Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest)

I did find three examples of Teneriffe Lace.  One was in another antique store (It was not for sale).

I found several pieces of bobbin lace