Friday, January 31, 2014

New Tatter---YEAH!

Welcome to the tatting ranks a new tatter!!!

This is the lovely lady that called me out of the blue a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would help her learn to tat.  It seems that she had kept a business card of mine from an era when I was teaching tatting at the local craft shop.  I'm having a hard time remembering (nothing new!) when that could have been....but to my closest recollection, it was at least 15+ years ago.  So we met at a bookstore until we were chased out at closing time.

She picked the actual DS formation/transferring process quite well and hopefully with the verbal instructions and the basic tatting book that I authored and sent along with her, she will continue to progress.  I shall further inform her of the local tatting club we have here in Omaha, Nebraska (The ShuttleBugs of Omaha) so that she has other tatters to learn from.

From the late 90's into the 2000's (don't remember the dates right now!) I was on national needlework show circuits (Spirit of CrossStitch & Creative Arts & Teaching Shows--CATS)  in which my main goal was to 'convert' needleworker (mostly cross-stitchers) to tatting and other lacemaking forms--needlelaces.  I had 3 hours and 45 minutes to teach tatting (both shuttle and needle) technique to 12 or 24 people (respective of the technique).  I took the challenge quite seriously.  I created my own how-to booklets which included not only a class project pattern (all the basics in one pattern) but also how to read patterns, how to block/finish work, etc,....everything that I could put into a handout to entitle the student to continue their quest to become a tatter after they left my classroom.  I had some resounding successes....previous students that came back in subsequent years, showing me their tatting prowess and professing their love for the technique.  But for the most part, most of the students were first and foremost cross-stitches and couldn't be tempted from their love of that artform.  I could tell that many of the attendees were 'been there/done that' kinda students.  They  took the classes just to say that they had 'done that'.  But had my opportunity to spread the love of tatting and I took it!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My new lamp--Tatting related

This is my new lamp.  And as you can see it IS tatting related in that it is filled with size 80 tatting cotton.  The color range is quite fantastic...not a white ball in the bunch!
My new husband and I were shopping for a new little table & lamp to put in the front window of our living room when he found this lamp.  Jerry was the one who recognized that it could be filled and pointed it out to me.  He knows that I am partial to my glass bowls filled with tatting thread and knew that I would be interested in this lamp.....he is such a KEEPER!

To further point out the tatting relevance, I would like to draw your attention to the dirty windows.  Instead of cleaning them, I tatted!  There are also leaves still in my yard.  My idea is 'why rake leaves' when the wind will possibly carry them away and you could be tatting!

OK.....maybe I'm just lazy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Not sure what direction to take

I have been having alot of fun designing and tatting Split Ring Tatting designs.  Right now I have two books published that showcase my tatted designs.  At the time of this writing, I have probably enough designs created (some tatted, some still in my design notebook) to fill 4-5 more books.

The problem is, that I don't have enough time to devote to these tasks as I work outside the home, full time.  The major time users are the actual tatting of the designs and creating the illustrated patterns on the computer.

Right now, I have a book of Cross designs about 90% done. Direction #1.  But the problem with this book is that I routinely come up with 'one more' design that 'has' to go into this book....thus I'm not sure that the Cross Book will ever be done.  To further complicate things, several of the cross patterns utilize Padded Split Ring Tatting Technique.  I have not introduced that technique yet.  So I am thinking that maybe I should put out/publish my book of Padded Split Ring Tatting designs first.  Direction #2.

I've also been playing around with a couple of theme-based design concepts:  Greek Key pattern(s) and Quilt-Inspired SRT designs. Direction #3 & #4.

Another book that is in a fairly advanced stage is one that features:  3-dimensional SRT boxes and Interlocking Rings---both regular and SRT.  Direction #5.

SOOOO,  I was thinking about taking snapshots of what I am working on, even though they may not be perfectly blocked and photographed and let you all decided what you are interested in seeing more of.....and what Direction I should take in utilizing my time.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Spotlight on SRT Videos--#2

This video demonstrates two methods of how to tat the second portion the split ring:

1. The method of taking the ring off hand and then turning it around
2. The dead spider method.

Author is: Linda Davies from England
aka Toptattyhead

3 Ways to Tat (the 2nd portion of) a Split Ring

Before I go any further in introducing the great YouTube videos of Split Ring Tatting Technique, I need to stop and point out the 3 ways to tat the second portion of a split ring.  I have a chapter on this in my book Fun with Split Ring Tatting

I mention the SECOND PORTION of the Split Ring.  This is the UNIQUE part of the Split Ring that is new and different compared to regular, traditional tatting technique of the first portion of the split ring.  It is the part that experienced tatters have to retrain their fingers (& minds) to create the double stitches:  both in the order of the half stitches are used to create a double stitch & in the fact that the half stitches are not 'flipped'/transferred.

There are 3 various ways to physically hold the ring to more easily create the 2nd portion.  This is where many tatters find that tatting split rings is uncomfortable. 

Historically 2 ways have been recognized:  1.  Take the ring off the hand, turn the work around (basically 'turn' it), and then put it back on the hand.   2.  The 'Dead Spider' Method in which the ring hand is turned so that the the fingers are pointing up (from the dead spider joke) to bring the area of thread that the 2nd portion, untransferred stitches are to be made on.

I have introduced a third way/approach to easily work the 2nd portion stitches:  Bring the lower area of the ring thread (from the base of the ring where the 1 DS is, then extending down and counterclockwise from the base) UP onto the top of the ring index finger. (I really need an illustration/photo to introduce this approach! KB)  This brings the ring thread up into the area that is comfortable to create DS's and is more recognizable a working approach than the dead spider method and takes less time to set up that the 'take off the hand, turn work, put back on hand' method.\

As I go through the published YouTube SRT videos, I will point out which technique is being used.  If my method of working is now represented by the published videos, I MAY consider doing my own demo video....but I'm not really looking forward to that task.

Now when you view the Split Ring Tatting YouTube videos, you may have a better understanding about the technique that that author/demonstrator is using.  Thus you have a better chance at finding the method that works best for you!  Just like any other working technique in tatting, it is not so much how you do is just important in getting the technique/task done.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Quick Tatted Baby Gifts (socks)

Just thought I'd share with you one of my favorite quick gift ideas for tatting.
This started when one of the doctors at work gave birth to twin girls.  Their last name was 'Lacey'.  With a name like that, I felt compelled that those babies needed some sort of lacey gift.  But as always, I was short on time for the project.
So I went to Target and bought a very basic package of baby socks.  Just checked a week ago and the socks are called 'Bobble Socks' and come 6 pairs for $6.29. 
I have all kinds of beautiful variegated baby-colored threads to choose from.  The one I did choose is a Manuela, size 20.
The pattern is a simple ring/chain pattern.  I left the shuttle thread attached to the ball while working.
The sock top has cables that I used to judge where to attach the center of the ring to.  I joined to one cable, skipped one (same side) and then joined to the second cable.  The only joins are to the sock itself.  I just hooked a few threads of the base of the sock edge and joined that way....little to no fuss!
* Ring:  2 - 2 - 2 + 2 - 2 - 2 (to the sock edge).
Chain:  2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2  (or 3 - 2 - 2 - 3).
RW.  **
Repeat from * to ** until desired length.
Cut & Tie.
- ='s picot
+ ='s join
RW = Reverse Work

Note:  The edging in this picture does not match my pattern.  This was my prototype sock and after creating this one, I realized that the chains were not big enough to allow for stretch of the sock.  So my pattern corrects this and uses 10 DS's total (instead of the 8 DS in this picture). 
I gave away all the 'good' socks.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Does anyone recognize this pattern???

This is a pattern that I tatted a looong time about (probably 15-20 years ago) and I do not remember where the pattern came from.

I started with this pattern and tatted it up with Manuela variegated thread that was just brand new to the USA at the time.  This is an edging that I sewed to one side of a button placket on a denim shirt.
I think it took as much time to sew the darn thing onto the shirt as it did to tat it!  I decided to remove picots from the piece so that the tatting would wash/dry well without the picots getting out of shape.

I then continued to tat additional pieces for the denim shirt and started manipulating the design elements to create 5 more different designs from this basic pattern that I used on various places of the shirt.

So now I need to figure out where the original pattern came from--whether or not it is public domain.  Then I can decide if I can publish the other 5 patterns that I created from the one pattern that I started with and that is not my copyrighted design.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Blog Menu Additions

I have been playing around with my Google Blog site and realized that I can add 'pages' to my menu.

So I have added a link to not only my website ( but also to another blog/website that I have created to share what I learned about self-publishing in the quest to get my tatting books published.

The new tab title/name is quite lengthy but I'm not sure how to shorten it because it relays the subject of the posts effectively:  Cost Effect Desktop Self-Publishing of a Niche Market Book.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'm still trying to figure this out!

I'm trying to figure out how to 'live' with my my current website and my blog here.

I originally started to blog on my website ( but got a few comments (off the blog/website) to realize that my current website didn't allow people to leave comments.  I started to wonder if maybe that was an important feature tatters wanted.

So I created a 'true blog' here (google blogger, bbbbbuuuuttttt  very few people have left comments.

SOOOOOO...... I'm kinda confused as to how to proceed.   From my perspective, I am working in a bubble---my own solitary, lonely, little bubble.  I see that people are visiting my blog, but I don't know if what I am posting is of interest to anyone (I don't get any comments). 

My thoughts are that I may migrate my website to a new hosting service that would allow me to update the 'look' of my website to not be as junkie as it is now.  The address would be the same as it is now.   I think that the new hosting site/content management system will allow me to more seamlessly blog on my actual website.  I will continue to keep and update my website as that is a way for me to deposit my information and disseminate it. 

I'm thinking about keeping this blog site but I may post the same stuff to both this blog and my website.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shape of Rings (regular and split ring)-Round vs Tear-Drop Shaped

Recently there was a question/discussion raised about 'round rings' in tatting.  The question started in regard to a pattern that featured a round center ring.  The original poster expressed surprise that a 'round-ring' was called for.  She thought that all rings were oval/teardrop shaped. 

In traditional tatting, most rings are (how I see them) tear-drop shaped.  This is recognized by tatting pattern designers and the shape is designed into the piece. 

However, not all rings are tear-drop shaped.  All the rings in my books (both regular, take-off, and split rings)  are intended to be round not teardrop shaped. The designs are completely based upon multiple, adjacent round rings.

It's all in how you close the ring

If you pull the ring closed by pulling the shuttle thread directly down, away from the base of the ring, you will get a 'teardrop' shaped ring.   See the following illustration.

If you pull the shuttle thread to the side of the ring (towards where the first DS was made) you will get more of a 'round' shaped ring. To further coerce a ring into a round shape, I use my fingers to push the base of the ring towards the upper edge of the ring every time I close a ring.  See the following illustration.
In actuality, there is no such thing as a perfectly round ring. The first DS and the last DS do not perfectly match up when the ring is closed in the same plane due to the mechanics in which the ring is created--see last illustration.  As tatters, we have trained our eyes to overlook this slight imperfection.  Closing the ring as in the first method (pulling the shuttle thread down) will result in a more aligned first and last double stitch.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Historical Split Ring Tatting Pattern #1

Anne Orr, Cross-Stitch and Tatting, Book No. 14,  pattern #1

I have done some research into the history of the technique of Split Ring Tatting.  The results of my research are published on my webpage:  This webpage is a repository of the information I am sharing. 

Direct link to the pattern:

The Origins of Split Ring Tatting Technique
I believe that Anne Orr was the originator of the Split Ring.  It was in Tatting, Book No. 13, published in 1918, that the concept of Split Ring Tatting technique was introduced. It was titled “New Method in Tatting” and was illustrated nicely with 4 clear photographs of the steps/progression of how a split ring is created. New Method In Tatting was accompanied by “Directions for the Reverse Stitch”. The Reverse Stitch is what we know as untransferred double stitches on the second portion of the split ring. However, in Tatting, Book #13 there were no patterns or illustrations to show what the ‘new method’ or the ‘reverse stitch’ could do/create in tatting.

The Missing Split Ring Tatting Pattern Links !!!!!
In 1923 Anne Orr published two books that DID have the first Split Ring Tatting technique patterns.

These two books are quite obscure and are the missing link between Anne Orr’s creation of Split Ring Tatting technique (ca. 1918) and usage of the technique in a physical form (1923).
Miscellaneous Needlework, Book No. 24 (pub. by Anne Orr Publishing)   has five Split Ring Tatting Technique patterns as well as "New Method in Tatting/Directions for Reverse Stitch" on pages 6 & 7. The remainder of the book is devoted to needlework and crochet patterns.
Cross-Stitch and Tatting, Book No. 14  (pub. by J. & P. Coats Co.) has “New Method in Tatting” and “Directions for the Reverse Stitch”. Page 7 & 8 has 12 tatting patterns which are purely Split Ring Tatting technique patterns.
With that introduction in mind, I (The ShuttleSmith) have recreated Anne Orr's historical patterns and have produced modern patterns in Illustrated Pattern form.
The actual pattern will be in PDF form and found on my website.  Look under SPLIT RING TATTING HISTORY  and then  ANNE ORR PATTERNS.
I shall add new patterns as I get them ready for publication.  Watch for further details on this blog or my website.

These patterns are treasures & deserve recognition and use!!!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Spotlight on SRT Videos--#1

I really haven't dabbled in video production and when I went out to the internet, I found that there were already several wonderful 'How-To' YouTube videos in regard to learning how to do Split Ring Tatting technique.   So I decided not to 'reinvent the wheel' and try to produce my own video. 

So I am going to start a series of pointing to YouTube videos that teach how to Split Ring Tat.

The first one that I am highlighting is done by Mark Meyers who is also known as 'Tatman'. 
Mark has written several tatting books and is well known for his wonderful cartoon illustrations relating to tatting and bobbin lacing.

This video is 3 minutes, 3 seconds long and utilizes the 'dead-spider' method of creating the second portion of the split ring.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Textile Finds in Prague, Czech Republic

This is a final posting about my lace/textile finds on my honeymoon trip to eastern Europe.

Prague was my favorite stop (out of Berlin, Dresden, Vienna, and Budapest)--not only because it was such a cultural city but because I found this great antique store with a basement full of lace and other textile treasures.   I have already reported about my lace finds in a separate post.  This post is about the Czech women's folk costumes that I found in the same shop.  I shop keeper generously let me photograph them.  I asked for her to be in one of the photos and she was delighted.  She spent about 2 hours showing me different textile gems.  I thought I was only there for under half and hour....later my new husband gently pointed out that we were there for over two hours!  He's a keeper.

This is the lady that was selling watching over the basement treasure trove of fiber artforms in Prague.  She seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm for what I was seeing and finding and kept pulling out more stuff for me to see.  She was completely OK with me taking pictures of the folk costumes and was delighted when I asked her to be in this picture.

This is the costume that I was VERY tempted to buy.  My mother's family was of Czech I spent summers going to Czech festivals.  I always wanted, but didn't get, a Czech folk costume.  This costume above was the most beautiful and complete in the shop.  It featured hand-embroidery on every component.  It even had bobbin lace on the bottom of the skirt.  This may be a continuing regret that I didn't purchase it.  The cost for this complete outfit:  $200.