Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everything's pretty

I made this thimble ring last week, just in time for Chloe Patricia's monthly 'Share your thimbles'. I wasn't very happy with the colours (not enough contrast). I showed it to my little guy and told him it wasn't very pretty. He told on "Oh Mak (Mak means Mom in Malay) I think it's pretty. You can make it any way you like, it's still pretty to me!". He's such a sweet heart.

The little guy turned 6 last week. For the past two years I've made him origami to give to his nursery friends. Two years ago, he even had little hand sewn totes as goody bags. This year, he told me he didn't want origami. He wanted normal plastic bags, with chocolates, jellies and sweets.

I was a bit sad, because, well, he's growing so fast, developing his own opinions. Sigh, sometimes we all wish they could be babies forever. I was also relieved. Origami takes time. He still wanted baked goodies though, and we had to negotiate a bit to get the baking down to acceptable levels (60 choc chip muffins and 12 cupcakes). Here's a picture of one of his birthday cupcakes. The silver balls are a compromise too. I hate them, but they are his favourites.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Motif 9: Snowflakes

It's already July and I'm still in single digits for the 25 motif challenge. Either I've got to tat faster or stop grouping my motifs. Oh well, I it is supposed to be a challenge. It wouldn't be fun otherwise.

Motif 9 is a trio of snowflakes done in DMC 80. The first is pristine white, but those darn colours were impossible to resist.

The first is Jon Yusof's 'Hearts in a Snowflake'. I really like working Jon's designs. Her diagrams are very clear. I didn't block it properly, so the hearts don't show. The second is a round snow crystal from 'Tatter's treasure chest' and third is Kira's Star by Birgit Phelps. I can't seem to find the pattern online anymore.

I'm contemplating a largish design in size 80 so these snow flakes are for practice. For the past year, I've tried to to do front and back side tatting. I do modern joins (as taught by Teri Dusenbury) and I post my shuttle back to front (as outlined on Elizabeth's Lace).

My tatting still doesn't look that professional, but I think the picots and joins are getting better, so I figure it's worth the effort. However, with these itty-bitty snowflakes, I can barely see the stitches. At this size, wonder if it's still worth the effort...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thimble ring stitching

I was sad that I missed Chloe Patricia's 'Share your thimbles' last month. So this month, I'm starting early. I'm also doing a thimble ring post, just for my own reference.

From her blog post (third picture down), I think Chloe Patricia takes her stitches from the middle to the edge. One of the Japanese books shows how to stitch from the edge to middle.

I tried both ways, but for both methods, I kept turning the ring over and over to get the needle at the correct angle to take a stitch. To avoid tangling and needle pricks, I ended up unthreading and rethreading the needle after every round. This was causing shredded thread and frustration. Threading needles is hard on the eyes.

I really wanted to work out a way to keep my needles threaded between rounds. Here's the method that works for me.

So here's a bangle in progress. It has 6 paths. At this point, 4 paths have been started and I've secured the thread to start the 5th round. You can see the 4 needles stuck in the base fabric and the 5th needle waiting to go.

Here's the first stitch. The needle goes from the edge to the middle (right to left) with the thread under the needle.

Here's the second stitch. The needle goes from the middle to the edge (still right to left) with the thread still under the needle.

So I just go around this way to get a full path. With this method, I just hold the ring vertical with my left had, rotating the ring as I go and always taking my stitches from right to left. I leave my needles threaded and stuck in the base fabric as I stitch.

Here are the 3rd and 4th stitches.

I also found some computer aid to help me do base markings. I use this site to generate graph paper. I set the horizontal grid spacing to the height of my ring. I set the vertical grid spacing to the width of a section. Then print, cut and use.