Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This one needs some tweaking on the chains. I should have made the first row 1 stitch longer so that the last one was equally divisible, but I didn't and had to add an extra stitch on the last row so it doesn't sit with each row neatly snugged up. It's an OK design but not anything really special. I have to get cracking on writing out the patterns for these designs. I only have 2 or 3 done so far. I can tat while sitting with hubby in the evening but drawing the patterns means being at the computer so it takes a little longer to get finished.
Writing out patterns is faster if it's done right after you completed the design because you can remember all of the stitch counts. Of course when getting to creating the drawing takes a while, there's usually a new design on the shuttles so the stitch counts get replaced by the new set. There are always a few where you have to go back and count the stitches. There will be a book eventually. I was hoping to have it done before Christmas and I might yet if I can get the computer time.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Like the previous snowflakes, this one can have a bead added to the centre for interest and it would probably make this one more attractive. It's also an ideal design for the lovely variegated HDT's since it's just one long continuous chain.
Monday, December 14, 2009
This is the snowflake I showed earlier but this time it's been blocked and it doesn't look like the design needs to be modified.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
This is another design that can incorporate a one inch Bead, Button, Picture or be left plain. I didn't like the way the design was going and then suddenly on the last row, I love how it looks. I think I might tweak the penultimate row a little, or not. I'll know better after it's blocked.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
All of these designs can be made without the stones and some of them have 2 stones back to back so that they look the same from both sides. You could use any one inch size stone, bead, button or even a picture like the small wallet size photos they do for kid's school pictures. I think they'd look cute as Christmas ornaments.
I was thinking of doing a book of them, but then wondered if other folks would think they looked chintzy, inelegant and clunky with this big beady thing in the middle. So I modified it yet again so that the one inch bead cand be replaced with one inch of lace.
So what do you think? Can the world take one more book of snowflakes?
Edited to add
Here is a large picture of one of the pieces with a double stone. The blurriness is due to the depth of the stones being much greater than the flat lace. And yes I know it's still a bit of a tease, but what else will keep you wanting more? :-)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It's the same basic idea with rings off the top of the chains added. In place of the beads we have size 10 thread with a metallic filament. Sparkle without hassle. Each of the ladies managed about one third of a snowflake during class. If they work on it at home, they should have one finished or nearly finished, by next week and we'll do another the same. Not spectacular, but at least it is something that they will be able to do and display on their Christmas tree.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
This is one of the designs in my new book Marvellous Motifs. I was playing around with square motifs, but I wanted a daisy in the middle of one and this was the results. When I had tatted it the first time I did it again in size 80 thread and it looked like it would work well as either earrings or as a pendant. The heart shaped bead was a perfect match and all I did was take the end of the ball thread on the last chain, feed it through the heart around a small pearl and back through the heart before I finished the chain. I quite like the way it looks and although I don't wear much tatted jewelry, this is one I will be wearing.
Still no web page for the book but the pricing in Canadian funds is:
If you are interested email me and I can send you a PayPal invoice for it. My email address:
tatdlace at gagechek dot com.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Day one we did chains in 2 colours of thread. Day 2 we started the beginner pattern flower bookmark in the sidebar. It's still mostly chains. Most of them came back the next week with a creditable bookmark and I started them on a small beaded zipper pull. It was just 4 rings with beads and they had it half done in class, but most of them failed to finish it. So I went back to a plain ring and chain edging. They got the flip down so that they're tatting OK, it's the joins that seem to be causing them grief.
I want to get them to the point of knowing rings, chains, split rings, split chains and beads so that by Christmas they can do this:
Sorry for the crappy picture, it wouldn't stop spinning. We did the beaded snowflake in class. It's just ring and chain with 3 beads in the centre of the chain to make a point. Most of them got it. One of the ladies really got into it, finished one snowflake and made another on her own.
Last week I showed them this ball without the middle band of split rings. I showed them that it was just 2 snowflakes laced together. They were quite impressed and it gave them something to work toward. When I pushed the middle band on the ball it really wowed them and gave them the desire to get split rings. I think the idea that they already had the skills to make it really helped give them the incentive to keep going.
Next week I'm going to get them to finish the second snowflake, although for some of them it may be just the one. We only have 4 more classes and I want them to know that they CAN tat on their own. Some are really trying to learn, but others, I think, just want the company.
They've asked if I'm going to do another class for the winter session. I've agreed to it although they may not run the class unless there are more people signed up for it. Most of the ladies want to come back for more so I guess we'll see.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The second one looked good on the drawing board but failed in execution. The flower shapes are apparent t the points only because the open chains take nothing away from them. Of course the open chains lack the structure to allow it to hold it's shape and the method of tatting withe chains in the middle of the flowers worked but it was a sloppy way of achieving the design. Which is why it's not been blocked or drawn because I consider it a failed design.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We started with the Flower Bookmark, it's the Beginner pattern in the sidebar 3 of the ladies completed a bookmark and the next week we went on to working with beads. That seemed to be challenging, so the next week I went back to simple ring and chain edging, but that seemed to confuse them again. This week I did a simple ring and chain snowflake with beads and we got about a third of the way through it in class, so I'm hopeful that by next week they will have made progress.
I took my Marvellous Motifs in for them to look at, but honestly most of the designs are probably beyond them at this point. Still they all seem to want to buy it. There are 6 more weeks of class and they should have a good grasp of it by then, at least everything except clunies, but I'm hoping we get to them as well.
Speaking of Marvellous Motifs I was able to get to the post office and get the shipping costs so here's the price in Canadian funds including shipping.
Hubby is working on a project for a client and so it's not up on the web site yet, but if you email me I can send you a PayPal invoice for it. My email address:
tatdlace at gagechek dot com.
Monday, October 12, 2009
As good as all that is, I am most thankful that Jesus laid aside His Divine nature and became a man showing us how to live. Then He died as a sacrifice for all mankind that whoever would choose to believe in Him could come under that banner of His love and forever be united to God. I am thankful that I made that choice and was accepted into the family of God. I am thankful that every day He is my source and my supply. He meets all my needs and his well of love never runs dry, He is never too tired to listen, never too weak to save. On the contrary, the same power that allowed him to take His life back up again after He laid it down as a sacrifice for all, works now in Him to bring all mankind to Himself.
Thank You God! You're the Greatest!
Friday, October 09, 2009
I've been trying to keep up with work and the 25 Motif Challenge and the Round Robins and the Design-Tat course and more recently I've been teaching the seniors to tat at the local rec centre, in between which we've had some fun going on with car repairs and the launch of new software and... Well, you get the idea.
Today I finally managed to get the first few copies of my newest book done. Marvellous Motifs containing 19 versatile patterns. Here's a sneak peek of the front cover. Ordering information will be posted as soon as I know what the shipping costs will be.
Hubby is working on a project for a client and so it's not up on the web site yet, but if you email me I can send you a PayPal invoice for it. My email address:
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The garage and the parts store are on the same street just a few blocks apart, and this time, although the engine sounds bad, we can at least still drive it to get the parts. We are fortunate that Fred is willing to drop what he's doing to work on our car and he proceeds to remove the old coil. Sure enough, it has a couple of cracks in it, but when he attempts to use the new coil he realizes that we have been sold the wrong part and this one won't fit on our car so he has to pull one out of stock. That's all right because this particular part is only about $10 more.
The new part is installed and Fred starts plugging in the spark plug wires, only for some reason one of them doesn't make a solid connection. He pushes the wire further into the boot so that the connector inside is closer to the end. That's normally what you would do. While we are watching, he still has trouble getting it to connect so instead of fighting with it he sticks needle nose pliers inside the boot and pulls the connector up, which is good, and out, which is not so good. He gets the connector on and jams the boot over top of it. So half an hour later it's connected, but not very well.
Everything gets put back together and the car runs, but it's noisy and he assures us that it's just because the battery had been disconnected while he was working on it and the computer has to relearn everything. He suggests that maybe there's a problem with the spark plug wires (Well I guess, Bozo!) and maybe we ought to replace them.
The wrong part gets taken back to the store and we come home with the car chugging just like it did when we took it in. When we get home and inspect the old coil and see that although there is a crack in the housing, it's just on the surface and doesn't go right through. We test it with the meter and it appears to be OK. So it looks like we replaced a part that didn't need replacing. The only way to know for sure is to swap it out with one of the other coils and see what happens, but that's a lot of work and we already have a lot to do.
We check in with the garage around the corner and ask if they have an old spark plug wire we can use for testing. We put new wires and spark plugs on last year and we don't drive much so the wires should be OK. We use the test wire and use it to replace each wire one at a time. Everything checks out OK but just in case we bicycle back up to Canadian Tire and get a new set of spark plug wires.
It held the pieces firmly in place while two tiny holes were drilled. The holes were tapped and heat treated bolts inserted and tightened down. Miracle of miracles, it worked! The repaired plenum was bolted into place with some liquid gasket used along all of the seam lines of the repair. Once again we tried it out. Vroom, VROOM. We have car!
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
You don't do anything fast while riding with a macaw. At any moment something might startle her into spreading her 3 foot wingspan and totally obscuring your vision. Or she might decide that brake cables look like good snack food. Or she might just dig her claws in and yell in your ear. After years of riding with her I have learned that I have more control over her when she's on my forearm. Not only that, but I'm more likely to get home and still have clean clothes instead of a shirt with little birdie deposits on it.
Of course riding this way means that you can only change gears on one side of the bike anyway. So I have become accustomed to only gear shifting on the right. The old bike got demolished when I was hit by a car a few years ago and I was sans bike until I persuaded hubby that I was quite able to ride again. The new one is 18 speed. I'm not too sure what I'm supposed to do with the left gear shift never having had occasion to use it before, but the right ones have the familiar slipping problem. Well, not quite the same. These gears don't want to shift at all. After much struggling they go all the way one direction or the other, with nothing in between.
Lately, with the car in the garage, we have found it necessary to do most of our running around using the bikes. These trips were on busy roads and needed to be done as quickly as possible so Dusty has been left home. Long trips with both hands free have left me the luxury of trying different gears and with hubby constantly reminding me to change to low gear going uphill, I tried to comply, without a lot of success. The stinker is so stiff I can barely get it to move and my wrist is starting to give me constant pain from fighting with the gears. So the other day he took a look at my gear shift. Sure enough there was no way the derailleur could shift into high it just wouldn't go. After a few minutes of looking at it he realized it was missing a screw which he cannibalized off the old bike, but it still wasn't right.
He checked out a few videos on the internet and saw a really nifty stand that held the working bits of the bike at eye level so he built his own stand. He got my bike up on the stand and started adjusting the gears. Then the phone rang. It was the garage.
Initially they thought it was one of the fuel injectors which was going to run around $175. Ouch. We've had them changed before and knew we could get them for less. So we called around and got a price of $49. Much better, but it comes from a competitor's shop so we have to get the part first and they would install it. At least both shops are on the same street. This time they called to say it's not the injector, it's a faulty ignition module at $285. We've had them changed too and know we can get the parts for less. Considering the time of day we have to hurry by bike to get down to the parts store and back to the garage before closing.
So without making any adjustments to the gears we rode off to the garage. Three times this week we have gone the 7 km there and 7 km back all the while I'm fighting with the gear shift. My wrist started screaming at me every time I have to use the mouse from all the abuse it's taken trying to shift the gears. Rob's bike has Shimano gears properly installed and his move forward and back with almost no pressure at all. Conversely mine almost take 2 hands to shift. Last night he got the bike up on his newly made stand and adjusted the gears. They now move forward and back through the full range. They're still a little stiff, but much better than before.
This morning the garage called. The car's fixed.
In case you're curious, it wasn't the module after all, it was a burned out wire leading to it. So we took the module back for a full refund. We did replace the fuel injector, because if it's ready to go, better replace it now while the engine's already apart. And the PCV valve that Rob's had for years but couldn't face pulling the engine apart to put it in, and the gas filter he had, that's easier to reach with the car on a hoist. So in the end they did a good job and it didn't cost us anywhere near what we had anticipated and certainly a lot less than a new car.
Tatting? Did I hear someone ask about tatting? Who's had time for tatting.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Our car has served us very, very well. since we bought it in 1988. We checked the records and since 2001 we have paid $4298.00 in repairs or $537.25 average per year. That's above the regular gas, and oil change maintenance stuff that you'd pay on any car, but when you figure that the car is over 20 years old and it's been paid off for a long time, that's not too bad. What we've paid in repairs in a YEAR is less than one month's payment on a new car. This time however, we're not sure what's wrong with it and if it can be fixed. This time it may have well and truly, bit the bullet.
Buying a car doesn't seem to be in the budget. I suppose it might be, but I don't like the idea of going into debt just to be able to run to the store when I want. We've been looking at used cars and looking at what we can afford, but what you can buy with $0, isn't much.
Holding the light for hubby while he pokes and prods the vehicle has been interspersed with collecting up tatting bits for display to be used at the open house Friday. It was apparently a roaring success. All I know is that I tatted and gave away a lot of 4 ring butterflies, and talked to a lot of seniors about taking tatting classes in September. This is a paying gig, but it doesn't pay a lot. Which is a pity because getting paid to teach tatting is my cup of tea. They have set a minimum of 6 people for the class so if we get 6 or more I'm teaching and if they get fewer, I'm not. I'll let you know how it goes. They've set it up as a 12 week course, so if they stick with it for 12 weeks they will be truly hooked. Mwahaha...
In between these activities I have been trying to get some patterns into publishable format. The patterns are drawn and I'm down to the "pull it into the publication" stage. I had a set order in mind, but I've hit a point where I either have to change my order around or I have to create some new smaller designs as filler because I've hit a point where the designs are taking up three quarters of a page. That will mean I either have to leave large bare spaces or try cut drawings in half which I don't want to do. I have been struggling with this book for far too long, partly because I took out a chunk of time in the middle of it to make replacement pieces for some folks whose tatting got lost in the mail, and partly because I have overextended myself taking on things I shouldn't have. I already had a full plate of stuff that I had to do when I took on a bunch of stuff I wanted to do. Now I'm paying the piper in having to push back the publication date of my book. In the mean time the new design course is off to a good start. It never really occurred to me that I had much to teach about designing. I know I've learned from some earlier mistakes and there were a few things that I've figured out. When I started the first course I thought I might get 2 or 3 people that wanted a few pointers. When 60 people signed up I was flabbergasted. Seriously, I thought I might do 2 or 3 lesson with some pointers to get beginners started, but when I actually sat down and started to write out the lessons, there was quite a bit to go through, so I guess I did have something to teach after all.
The pictures shown? They're bits of the new designs of course.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Some people found out about it too late to join in, so I am running the course again. The lessons are posted to the Design-Tat blog, but the follow up is all done in the Yahoo Group. To take advantage of the course you need to belong to the Yahoo group which is by invitation only. I made it invitation only not to exclude any interested tatters, but to keep out trolls and spammers. If you are interested in joining the course which will start next week, please send me an email at sharon#gagechek.com change # to @ and you will be sent an invitation.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The dresser is an in between station where pieces get dropped while I think about how to proceed with a pattern or where they sit until I can mount them on my 3 foot square blocking board which is stored behind the cabinet. Small things can be blocked on the ironing board, but larger items, like doilies, hang off the edges so they need a bigger area. The bed makes a large surface at just the right height for holding the blocking board while I pin things out. So finished tatting often sits on the dresser until I have the time to block it. It gets thrown back on the corner of the dresser until it can be scanned or photographed and again until the pattern gets drawn out if I haven't done that first. It gets put back on the corner when it's done until I either give it away or find some place to store it. That's what this mixed stack of stuff is doing here.
The corner where I do most of my tatting is here, on the love seat. The light is appalling, but I tat as much by feel as by sight, so it isn't a big issue unless I'm using size 80 an a dark colour. I mostly only need to see to do joins. I have 2 projects sitting there at the moment, a motif I'm working on in pale yellow where things have gotten to the point where it needs my undivided attention and the bookmark that requires less attention in pink. The white and green threads will get added later, they're still upstairs by the computer.
When the weather is nice I grab the parrot and go sit on the bench outside to tat so that both of us get a bit of fresh air, so I guess you could say that my tatting corner is really all over the house.
Monday, July 20, 2009
The 25 Motif Challenge can take up a lot of my time if it's not handled regularly. I thank God for the many volunteers who have stepped in to help. As the interest in the challenge has grown, keeping up with it went from a pleasure to a pain and without the wonderful folks who volunteer their time it wouldn't be nearly as much fun. We have recently added some new volunteers and that takes a bit of extra time sending them out the information they need and answering questions they have. The Challenge has clearly kept people tatting and created another point of contact for the tatting community.
The Tatting Round Robins have been popular and you'd think that once everyone has their partner information, that my involvement would be over, and most of the time that would be true. The very first group of round robins I co-ordinated ran into all kinds of hiccups. Some of them went off without a hitch and others experienced all manner of road blocks, some of which are still being sorted out 2 years later. Many of these little speed bumps have been related to unexpected accidents and illness that have hampered people from completing their obligations.
If you are someone like my sister who checks email once every week or two, sorting things out can take a very long time. In the interim I can get 5 messages from other participant who are online every day. Last year the individual groups had leaders that collected the pictures for posting on the blogs and helped herd everyone toward the finish line. The most recent groups have been plagued with not only illness but also technical problems due to crashed computers.
This year I started the Design-Tat group to help people create their own designs. I'm not an expert, but there are some things I've learned from doing it wrong the first time, that may encourage other people to spread their wings. I had though of doing it as a paid class because of the time involvement, but I didn't because A- I didn't think I had all that much to teach, and B- I didn't think that there would be that many people interested. I had anticipated that 2 or 3 people might want to know what I know and I had to cut the group off at 60 because there was no way I could personally answer the design challenges of that many people. Really, I think a lot of the folks that joined, just did so out of curiosity, but I have another dozen people that have emailed since asking if they could join. So I'll be doing another course soon.
On the work front, hubby has completed some new software and I helped out with Beta testing and writing the help manual which required setting the software up in a logical manner for doing screen shots that could be incorporated into the manual and the web pages. These had to be done twice. The first were done in a small size for the manual and the second set were done larger and created with transparent backgrounds for use on the web site. We have been fortunate to already have several users promote the software, so we are very encouraged by that.
Things have been especially challenging over the last few weeks as our high speed connection was out and a lot of my "normal" activities are very graphic and require that high speed connection.
In the in between minutes I have been doing some tatting that will go into an upcoming book. I have the designs done and I'm tatting up some additional samples for filming. That's one of the reasons that there haven't been any pictures, as it's all a surprise.