Award for The Thread Bears Tatting Blog

I was pleasantly surprised this past week to receive notification that The Thread Bears has won a place among the top 75 Tatting Blogs!  This means we are permitted to use the award banner you see here now.  Thanks to any of you who helped make this happen!

Keeping up a blog isn’t easy, especially if you have more than one ball to juggle in a day – and boy do I ever!  But Tatting is the one thing that helps keep me sane, so I make sure to work at it some almost every day!  There are a number of us who just put ourselves into sharing the patterns, tips, techniques and images that are what tatting has become.  We hope the pleasure is shared by many readers on a regular basis and that what is shown here helps to inspire others to grow in the craft!

Thanks again!

Back to the Drawing Board

Having had to stop working on my LLBean Top in favor of other projects for the group, for Tat Days and for the Yule Tree at the Monte Vista Hotel, at last I am ready to return to the blouse edging.  


Here is the basic design I had drawn out some time ago.  Over all the concept is a good one.  It follows the line of top-stitching just inside the boat neck upper edge of the blouse.  Previously I had begun working in a brightly colored thread – some older size 10 Flora in a pink – that wasn’t what I wanted at all, but would help me see what I was doing as I sized out the pattern for the neckline.  


While it’s not a bad start, it wasn’t really what I had in mind either.  So it’s back to the drawing board.  With a more subtle color in mind (I had chosen Lizbeth Herbal Garden in size 40) the bright pink in a larger than necessary size wasn’t really going to help.  So I’ve loaded up the shuttles and am ready to go again.

The Never Ending List of Projects

Every so often, projects are actually completed, at least that’s how it seems.  There are always several shuttles filled with thread attached to some length of edging, shuttles filled with some odd color of thread for demonstration or to help someone tat their way into or out of their current situation.  But then tatters also have projects in mind.

For the past couple of years, we have missed Sherry’s mothers Angel at the top of our Monte Vista Tree.  It has gone out on loan.  But the pattern is still available.  Tatsy is a company that has been around for some 30 years or more and with a presence on ebay, it’s pretty easy to obtain patterns.  So I got one.  The pattern pamphlet looks like this: 


Obviously the same pattern from the photo on the cover, it has a copywrite date of 1981 and looks to be rather simple to do over all.    So re-createing this for the top of the tree has become my personal endeavor for the year.  I am adding small gold beads to the skirt and will to the yoke as as well, when I finally get to it.  It’s coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to having the angel back atop the tree this year!


Who Needs Extra Shuttles?

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that la tatter should only have enough shuttles or needles to complete the project.  Any more and you never quite get finished.  oh….  but if you are a teacher?  What if you need that extra tatting needle or shuttle to demonstrate how a particular technique is carried out?  How is that concept reconciled?  Or what decisions can be made when your only granddaughter looks up and says “Will you make something for me, Granny?”  

That’s one thing that definitely requires a free shuttle.  So starting with a headband that fits her head, I embarked on creating a tatted cover for said headband.  It was going to be 2 specific colors and with beads.  So the project began with #10 Flora thread in white and purple with #10 glass beads that looked like little pearls.  Going out from the beg

inning wasn’t too bad, but the return trip up the second side involved 2 shuttles with beads and joins both above and below the molded plastic headband.  It was it’s own special challenge without a pattern of any sort!                                                                                

The headband had been decided upon in advance, but Granny felt like a little something extra would be in order as well.  And an available, pretty pink spring clip would certainly fill the bill.  It was adorned with a butterfly fashioned out of size 30 hand dyed cordonet  blended with silver Diamante metallic thread and following Deb’s Gr8 SCMR butterfly pattern , tatted as much for the practice of the Self Closing Mock Ring technique as for the design. 



So I guess I’ll continue to indulge myself with a few “extra” shuttles that are at the ready for that unexpected lil project I didn’t see coming.  Now back to my neckline. . . 


Tatted edging Phase 1


Well, my adventure into designing that began with the Barbara Foster’s reprint of several older books now known as “Tatting: A Potpourri of Patterns” began in the frustration of having to wade through a pattern written in language now more than a century old.  Sometimes those patterns are easier to read, and sometimes they are not.  In either case, my personal efforts to work out the perle tatted edging and add the stitching either as described in the pattern or as perceived from the photograph of the finished product ended in a jumbled knot now deep in the waste basket.  There appears to be tatted additions what attached to either side of the perle tatted length and to be honest, that one pattern will be set aside to be worked on another time. 


So the next step was to carefully examine the neckline and chart out a strategy for creating the edging.  There’s exactly 12 inches of hem-stitching from each shoulder to the outward bend that begins the “V” at the center of the blouse.  That next length is 4 inches, followed by an inward bend that takes the edging another 3 inches before rounding inward again and continuing 4 inches to the corresponding outward curve before stretching the 12 inches more to the opposite shoulder.  Rather than use the perle tatted motif, I thought I’d try for trefoils.  I drew out the diagragm to look like this: 




Now that a diagram exists to guide the creation, I’m ready to go with a prototype of the edging I want to decorate the blouse with.  Selecting a color that not only will stand out from the blouse is a great way to make sure everything fits.  My chosen thread will be a size 40, but I’m beginning with a size 20 because it is larger and I think I’ll be able to see the stitch count better when it comes to writing the pattern down. 


It’s not certain whether the first row holds the third leaf or if that was to be part of the second round .  The only way was to try.






Adding the extra ring created a curve that was NOT what I had hoped for.  By the time the second additional ring was made, there could be no doubt that an error had been made.  Back to the drawing board!

How a new shirt relates to designing


It’s not very often that I buy myself new clothes. So when this offer came from a particular clothing company, I looked through their closeouts and found a top that I thought rather pleasing.  So with my offer and the close-out pricing, there was no way to lose. I bought it.  It’s a little more green than shows up in this image and is very plain.  What an excuse to create my own edging along the hem-stitching at the neckline!  I looked at handkerchief edging, collars, images on the web, old books, new books – nothing seemed to POP.  I had the perfect thread: Lizbeth 179 (Herbal Garden) in size 40, but no edging seemed to work for this gently sloping boat neck.

The old Corticelli book, reprinted along with other patterns as “Tatting: A Potpourri of Patterns” by Barbara Foster of Handy Hands has a lovely edging that attaches to “braid” which oddly enough looks a lot like a length of perle tatting.  Complicated pattern worked on both sides of the perled edging.  Hmmmm…  I worked it for a bit using some old KnitCroSheen thread that was of sufficient size to allow me to see how the pattern worked up.  A difficult pattern with many cut threads, this pattern looked like it was written in the style of a number of older patterns with so many opportunites for alteration, that either a complicated re-write or looking on seemed like my only options.

In group recently, someone asked me when they should begin designing.  This is a loaded question.  Designing may be easy for some people.  It’s harder for others.  Some days, following a well written pattern is challenging enough, let alone trying to perfect something on one’s own.  Pretty soon I realized that a design was going to be my only option if I were going to get the look I was going after. 

Designing requires a pretty thorough knowledge of not only the basic stitches, but also the more complex motifs and how even slight modifications shifts the way the rings and chains look on their own and in relation to each other.  In Sharon Briggs’  Design-Tat course (offered back in 2009, but apparently is no longer available), participants spent a lot of time on just these concepts.  Georgia Seitz offers many wonderful hints and tips throughout her website and offers on-line tatting sessions each week as well as a YouTube Channel featuring all sorts of tatting techniques.  So I started out with a diagram:    My neckline is 12 inches across, which made standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ quadrille paper the perfect basis on which to begin. 

I generally keep some older threads about to use for creating “prototypes” that will allow me to work out the “kinks” of design work.  These threads are usually white or some other color I would not ordinarily use and in somewhat larger thread sizes than usual.  This makes it easier to see what I’m doing and modify the pattern as necessary.  Knowing whether or not beads are going to be involved helps too, for as Georgia points out, planning where and how many beads are desired is essential to the success of the pattern.  I’ll be working with some old discontinued Flora thread and so the color will be bold.  Will keep posting as it develops!