Tatting for 1700 miles

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After an all morning meeting, my head is swimming but I was able to secure a spot on an earlier flight, so barring any unforeseen issues I should be back home before everyone is in bed. On the one hand, it'd be so nice to have a couple days to see Chicago, but on the other hand, I sure do love being home. I bet you can guess why.

Flying out was pretty turbulent with plenty of delays, but the view was grand.

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Lovely Mt. Hood

I kept myself pretty entertained on the flight. First, I finished tatting that little flower design I was making.

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It's a simple choker based on a couple different motifs in my tatting book. I'll pick up some findings and finish it off, eventually.

I learned a lot working on this. I don't really have any need for a tatted choker, but forcing myself to create a project help me to perfect some of the techniques.

Once that was done, I started on a slightly more complicated border.

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This version uses two different colors instead of the single color and single strand design of the choker.

By the end of the trip, I had created this

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I think I want to use this as the top trim on a little evening bag, something just big enough to hold an ID, and some cash. Now I'm thinking I want more tatting books. Evil little craft.

The one thing I find a little challenging, right now, is starting a new thread, when the shuttle is empty. If any of you tatting experts have links to a good description, I'd love to know. It seems like the thicker the yarn, the harder it is to join a new thread, but that could just be my ignorance.

Inspir(al)ed

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I'm just heading out to a meeting...in Chicago. My flight in last night was delayed a couple hours, but I made it here in one piece. If I can manage to walk across the street without falling on my arse, I'll consider it a successful trip.

Since I got in at the time I should have gone to bed and my meeting is mere minutes away, I don't have time for a proper post, so instead I'll tell you to march your bum on over to MJ's site and check out her new pattern. I've already made one for myself and I love it. It kept my head toasty warm last night, in this brutal Chicago weather.

Accessorizing

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I've been working on lots of little things lately. There's a bigger item on the needles too, but I haven't had the time or mental fortitude to tackle it recently.

Firstly, the handsome one has been subtly hinting that he needs more hats. And by subtle, I mean he's been saying, "I need more hats." Leo wears beanies almost every day, and his favorites are soft, wool-free, and in a neutral colorways.

Worked in Frog Tree Pima/Silk [85% pima cotton/15% silk] this little beanie bears a striking resemblance to the Carlsbad hat, only worked in a larger gauge.
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I need to get a shot of him actually wearing the hat. Right now, this dark, blurry shot of Leo (and the hat) watching me teach Madeline to salsa dance, is the best I can offer.

Hey, you celebrate your birthday, your way, I'll celebrate my birthday, my way!

And now that one hat is done, I've cast on another.

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Beanie number two will be worked in solid black (same yarn) and entirely in 2x2 ribbing. This will be a variant of the Pismo hat.

I think Leo will really enjoy wearing these hats, because the yarn is so soft, but the fibers aren't as easy care as some of the other hats I've made, so I'll probably be casting on at least one more design, in 100% cotton.

My friend, Julia, was asking if I put elastic into my cotton hats. I never have and the hats don't seam to be any worse for the wear. Some negative ease seems to be enough for the hats to keep their shape.

On the tatting front, I feel like I'm really getting a grasp of the basic. I'm certainly no expert, yet, but it's all starting to make more sense.

These are the two types of thread I've been using.
The green is standard Pearl (or "perle") Cotton. It's size 5 and seems to come in a huge selection of colors.

The white is Pearl Cotton in size 8, which comes in little balls and is available in a much more limited color range. The craft stores have white, black and ecru, while a local needlepoint store had those and some primary colors.

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The latter produces very delicate little lace pieces, while the former really shows off the texture of the tatted stitches. They almost look like little beads, to my eye.

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I worked on this while riding the local public transportation and was really appreciating how portable it was. I was even able to work on it while standing, which I find harder to do with my bigger knitted pieces.

Passing fancy? New passion? Who knows, but it's fun so far.

How not to learn tatting

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I'll be the first to declare my love for Japanese craft books. The instructions are always so well photographed and illustrated and anything that can be charted, is, so that the obvious language barrier has had no impact on their usefulness. I'm beginning to amass a nice little collection of knitting and crocheting books from Japan and I refer to them often.

But I'm a relatively experienced knitter and crocheter, so it is only a matter of moments for me to translate the symbols based on the accompanying photographic tutorials.

I am not, however, an experienced tatter. Learning to tat from a Japanese crafting book was not my wisest choice. Still, there's something rather exciting about failing and then figuring out the solution. Well, it's exciting after the fact. During, it's infuriating.

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My little samples show a range of mistakes and uneven tension but the results are still gratifying. The finer threads are a little more forgiving, presuming your vision is average or worse.

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The thicker pearl cotton shown above, shows every little misstep. It probably doesn't help that I hate the color.

I definitely want to build skill enough to use tatting as an edge treatment on a knitted piece. It'll be a challenge to keep it from being overly dainty and twee, but who doesn't love a challenge?

Fantastic Birthday Weekend

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What a great weekend. It was really wonderful of the US government to make my birthday a national holiday, this year.

My birthday, itself, isn't much to talk about, unless you think it's fascinating that our washing machine is oozing some sort of oil and we went to Home Depot and bought a replacement. Also, there was some grocery shopping. But Friday and Saturday were many shades of good times.

It started with my dear friends throwing me a birthday party. There was homemade chili and guacamole....oooooh guacamole. I could write poetry about that treat, but it couldn't compare to the delight itself. Why more food isn't accompanied by guacamole, is beyond me.

What was I talking about?

Oh and there was a giant chocolate cake. Oh boy. Yah, it was a good party.

As the fete was coming to a close, my friends mentioned that they were going to the beach the next day and invited us to join.

After conferring with Panda, it was unanimous

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We'd jump at the chance to go.

We arrived at the coast, a while before the rest of the crew, so we hiked and played a bit, in hopes the girls might be a bit more manageable, when the rest of the folks arrived.

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Panda is a super star!

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When our friends arrived, they were looking no worse for the wear, despite the fact that half of them were subjected to my amateur salsa lessons, the night before.

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Thea greeted the group, as she does best, cooter displayed for all to see.

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Larry and Thea had a little game of "catch me if you can."

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And then it was back to the business of walking around the beach.

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And walk we did. For hours, we explored tide pools and rocky outcropping, and, at one point, a local bakery.

We walked so much, we did this...

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We wore out a herding dog. Someone please alert the media.

Those Canadians are good.

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Also, apropos nothing, I decided to learn how to tat

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It was a little tough for me to get the technique to start, but now I'm finding it really enjoyable, and delightfully portable.

Anyway, see all the pictures of the beach trip here.

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