Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 IOLI Convention Class–Pearl Tatting–part 1

Pearl 1Pearl 2

As I have stated before, I will be teaching at the 2015 IOLI Convention (Int. Organization of Lacers, Inc) in Iowa City, Iowa.

Go to this address for more information:

I have been posting alot about my designs for my Quilt-Inspired Fun with Split Ring Tatting Classbut am realizing that I haven’t shown much about my other tatting class titled Basics of Pearl Tatting.

Pearl Tatting Technique utilizes 3 or more thread sources to create beautiful rings & chains.

In the first half of class time we will learn the basics of Pearl Tatting Technique and how to
manipulate it to create diverse and unique decorative forms–both rings and chains.

We will also learn how to create other unique tatting combinations of the basic double stitch such as: Twisted Stitch, Ric-Rac/Zig-Zag/Sets of Stitches/Lattice Tatting/Node Stitch, and ‘Inside-Stitch’ Chains.

We will then take these fairly well-known techniques ‘up a notch’ by combining them with Pearl Tatting Technique to create “Hybrid” techniques originated by Karen—are you interested yet!!!????? These techniques have not been published so far!!!!

The left photo shows a collage of simple Pearl Tatted Chain projects that we will do to practice and learn the techniques while at the same time creating usefull tools for our tatting life.

The right photos show a collage of Pearl Tatted Rings. 
I will introduce the synopsis of the second half of the class in another post….watch for it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Another Quilt Block done–look at all the ends!!!


‘Granny Square’ or ‘Trip Around the World’ Quilt-Inspired SRT motif

This tatted quilt block was just cut fresh off the tatting shuttles and then I plopped it down on the couch cushion and took this photo (so it is not blocked in any way, shape, or form).

The give and take about my designs is that you get to use alot of color in a piece. I usually grab whatever shuttles/colors that I have wound and really don’t put alot of thought into my color selection. I just want to get going!!!

However, the down-side is that you have alot of ends to deal/contend with at the end of the tatting process. I always use Continuous Thread Method (CTM) to start my motifs….I have several procedures/techniques to make that happen. 
However, the ENDS are still an issue. So I thought I’d show you how ‘ugly’ a piece can be and describe what I’m going to do about it.

I am on the hunt for a finely woven piece of cloth that I can mount the piece on. The procedure will be to use a fine crochet hook to bring the ends to the back of the fabric and tie the ends in a square knot. To do this I need a high thread count fabric because I want to use white fabric and don’t want the thread ends to show/’ghost’ on the frontside of the fabric. When I stopped off at a needlework shop two days ago looking for what I wanted, I realized that I needed at least 32 count fabric. Of course the higher the count (more threads per inch) the more expensive the fabric. This particular shop didn’t have what I was interested in but I also realized that I don’t need pure linen fabric either (cost goes up!).

There are a couple more needlework shops in Omaha that I’m going to visit this weekend (can’t wait!). I think that a fabric called Jobelin or Lugana will work well for me. Both are cotton/synthetic blends and not as costly as linen.

I’ll let you know more about what I find and show you the mounting procedure and final product when I’m done.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Another Tatting Weekend


I spent a recent weekend on a mini vacation to Des Moines, Iowa which is about 150 miles away from Omaha, Nebraska (where I live) with my husband and another couple.

The theme of the weekend was primarily Blues (music) as it was the Central Iowa Blues Society festival in which they had 12 different regional blues bands on 7 stages throughout Saturday night.

The secondary theme of the weekend however was Beer. Our friends are really interested in craft beers and I have to admit, I am too! So we went to Des Moines a day early to explore the restaurants and bars downtown before the Blues festival started.

LIfe is Good! A dark beer & bacon-wrapped, jalapeno tater tots smothered in cheese dipped in ranch dressing!!!! Best thing ever!

I discovered probably the best thing I have ever eaten: tator tots with jalapeno (just a little) wrapped in bacon and deep-fried, then covered in cheddar cheese with ranch dressing to dip in at a unique bar called El Bait. It had over 100 beers (good ones!) on tap. The atmoshere was fun.

The ShuttleSmith and husband unit at Iowa ‘English pub’

We ate at a German restaurant (German beer was consumed) and later hung out at at lounge that looked like a English pub (British beer was consumed). The blues venue was great….we heard alot of great music.

However, the weekend had a new theme when a snowstorm/blizzard came through the region. It started snowing Saturday afternoon and continued until Sunday afternoon. We knew that the roads were terrible all the way home, so we decided to stay put in our cushy hotel and stay an extra day. Soooo on Sunday the theme was snow & tatting. When my three comrades decided to spend their Sunday afternoon napping, I grabbed my tatting and went down to the hotel lobby to watch people, the snow and tat. I met a woman who was a knitter/quilter and got her excited about tatting. I even pulled out a tapestry needle I have in my tatting bag (that I use to sew-in thread ends) to give an impromptu lesson on how easy it is to needle tat. I happened to have a copy of Handy Hands catalog and so I pulled out the ‘how to needle-tat’ directions in the catalog to send home with her. Hopefully she will become a new tatter!

Tatting, Coffee & Snow
Car with 10-12 inches of snow on its roof outside my window while tatting
My tatting project: start of ‘Sienna Square’ Quilt-Inspired Split Ring Tatting

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mathematics & Lace Discussion

Just recently (in fact it is still going on) there has been discussion on Arachne Lace list serve about mathematics and lace. It is focused on the work of Veronika Irvine, a lacemaker (bobbin lace) who holds a Master's Degree in Mathematics is is/was working on a PHD in computer science.
Click here for more information about Veronika Irvine:
The title to the paper is: "Developing a Mathematical Model for Bobbin Lace"
Bobbin lace is a fibre art form in which intricate and delicate patterns are created by braiding together many threads. An overview of how bobbin lace is made is presented and illustrated with a simple, traditional bookmark design. Research on the topology of textiles and braid theory form a base for the current work and is briey summarized. We define a new mathematical model that supports the enumeration and generation of bobbin lace patterns using an intelligent combinatorial search. Results of this new approach are presented and, by comparison to existing bobbin lace patterns, it is demonstrated that this model reveals new patterns that have never been seen before. Finally, we apply our new patterns to an original bookmark design and propose future areas for exploration
I pointed out to the discussion that there are some math ties to tatting too. A few years back, Patty Dowden introduced the tatting world to 'Hyperbolic Tatting' and taught it at the Minnesota IOLI Convention (so sorry I couldn't go to be in that class!).
Follow the following link to explore Patty Dowden's work on Hyperbolic Tatting:

Just recently I was in the Denver Art Museum Textile Gallery and they had some wonderful displays that introduced fiber/textiles as 'Art'. In the tatting display was a couple of small tatted bits of hyperbolic tatting. I faintly recall that Patty gave a workshop there...but could be completely wrong about that. I have a picture of the display and hyperbolic tatting in the previous blog posting.
I have been researching and playing around with the concept of Tesselation in my tatting design work. My last book, "MORE Fun with Split Ring Tatting", introduces that theme and features unique tatted designs with Tesselation in mind. However, "Tesselation" refers to designs 'made of identical shapes but the shapes must fit together without any gaps'. I have a few of these designs in my book. BUT....Lace is about the negative space (holes) enhancing the positive parts (the thread) in the design. Thus I came up with a new term: LACE TESSELATION. Many of my designs fit into that category.
You can see some of the designs on the front covers of the book at this address: There are more designs in the book.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Small Heart Pattern–free–just in time for VD

Small Heart BSmall Heart

Just realized that I had easy access to these patterns digitally so decided to share them with you.

Since it soooooo close to VD, I am including the smallest heart pattern with hopes that you could get it done by VD.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Textiles/Tatting at the Denver Art Museum


One gallery had a quilt exhibit. Since I have been studying historical quilt blocks and recreating them into my Quilt-Inspired Split Ring Tatting series, I was interested in this. As is usually my experience when viewing quilts (in a museum or at a run-of-the-mill local quilt show) I soon get overwhelmed by the incredible details in them.
DAM quilt on display featuring a picture created from small squares of fabric. Substitute rings for the squares and it could be a future SRTatting Design!
A second gallery had THE MOST WONDERFUL introduction to Textiles as ART. I WENT CRAZY WITH the joy of seeing such a comprehensive approach to the introductuction of using fibers to create art.
The exhibit was split into 3 different categories:
  1. Intro to what are fibers, spinning, weaving, dying process to create fabric
  2. Needlework Art
  3. Lace Art
Lace ART Exhibits

Tatting Display
L: Tatting shuttles, R: 2 GR-8 shuttles & what looks like one of Gary/Randy Houtz’s pattern, almost completed.
Traditional and Modern tatting examples. The modern is ‘Hyperbolic Tatting’–a mathmatical approach to tatting design–genius!
Tatting Exhibit with a quote from HM The Queen of Romania–a famous tatter
Sol Lace Exhibit Part 1
Sol Lace Exhibit Part 2
I will be teaching a 6-hour class on Sol/Teneriffe Lace at the 2015 IOLI Convention this coming August…..Come have fun with me exploring a simple yet fun technique of lacemaking.

Bobbin Lace Exhibit Part 1

Needle Lace Exhibit
Battenberg/Tape Lace Exhibit
Needle Lace Exhibit part 2
Filet Lace Exhibit