Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hanging by a thin thread

The struggle with the size 80 thread continues. Or at least I think it is the size 80 thread. I did make a small cross from Patti Duff’s Minitats. Having actually started tatting again is wonderful, but I feel so much the beginner. Bare threads, gaps at the bases of rings, but mostly it is just surprising how many different shapes and sizes a 4-4 ring can be.

I know part of this is the thinner thread but I must also contend with the loss of much of what was once second nature and now almost forgotten. I have started another cross, a very different pattern and though I find I am finally getting control of the thread I am making so many of the mistakes I made as a beginner; wait I only tatted for six months back then. To be honest I have probably started this cross a dozen times.

Even tonight I almost finished the first onion ring when I realized that I had skipped one little element; a picot. Oh well, though I am going through a lot of thread and not producing much, I am starting to get my technique back under control and I am starting to think about those little things one just knows to do when starting and working up a pattern.

I did buy another ball of the thread I am using ($1.07 before taxes with the 40% discount). When I finish all the practice pieces I need to do to feel up to starting the small doily I want to do, I will still have enough thread.

I thought about starting a second project using size 30 just to have something a little easier to work with, but I really do think that I am getting enough control of the size 80 that most of my errors are from a lack of practice and not the lack of experience with the thin thread. I do want to try out my new shuttles though.

My wife gave me two GR-8 tatting shuttles for our anniversary, but I will get the size 80 under control before I start the size 30 project. The size 30 project is one I have wanted to do for over a year now, as are most of my desires, but this one is nice since it consist of one small motif. Each repetition of the motif is joined during construction to the previous work until a doily, centerpiece, table runner, or table cloth is made. So this can become one of those projects that one just works on between projects. Unfortunately I am already starting to visualize an edging to go around a large doily made from this motif, and that adds a whole new element to the project. But this is part of the fun of any craft; the want to do more. I think.

Well I will have to take a break from tatting for a couple of days. I need to get the patches on my six-year-old son’s Scout uniform. I also have to make sure I am ready for school to start next Monday. I have no clue what to send for lunches this year.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A short introduction and history

I am a bit apprehensive about starting a BLOG. I have a bad tendency to say more than I know I should about myself and this is a very public forum. I think I can avoid over exposure by trying to stick to my life as it involves tatting.

Of course everything else I do effects my tatting so at some point I will be bringing up other aspects of my life and other avocations.

I began tatting in November of 2005 and ended the majority of my experience in May of 2006. It is easy to see that I have a little over half a year of experience which ended over year and a quarter ago.

What is not apparent is that I have spent that year and quarter thinking about tatting and studying the craft. This in itself is both satisfying and highly frustrating. Though I have done a few small things every once in a while, they have all been in support of some theoretical or technical study I have been thinking about.

I do think after more than half a century of life that the practice of visualizing tatting and various techniques has improved both my ability to visualize and my memory.

I also enjoy chess and I am trying to learn Go (Wei-ch'i, Baduk), but with three kids and a two houses to care for I do not have time to engage an adults in games. We just moved from the home where our children were born into a house belonging to my brother-in-law. This should allow us to clean and fix up the other home so we can sell it. Unfortunately this does take a lot of time.

My two older kids will start school in a week so at that time I should be able to start in earnest cleaning the old house but as with everything else this leaves little time to tat.

I am hoping in this BLOG to be able to start passing on some of my ideas on tatting. I had a great mentor and have been lucky to study the books of several great teachers. The problem that will probably become apparent is that even though I think I have arrived at some good approaches to tatting I have lost the dexterity I developed in the first six months.

I have had some little success and I hope to pass on my thoughts in these entries. I have in particular spent a lot of time determining a path through a particular Mary Konior (one of my favorite designers) doily. With weeks of thought I have discovered a path that will allow me to go from start to finish with out having to cut and tie. This is particularly exciting since the main part of the doily consist of 16 motifs that are each tatted, with a cut and tie method.

The one thing that visualization finally made me realize is that certain approaches to split chains and split rings may not (actually probably will not) produce a smooth curve in which case using magic thread techniques with cut and tie tatting may actually produce a nicer looking doily than “uncut mobility.”

Well the first problem is finding time to actually tat the doilies. The second problem is that I have become obsessed with another aspect of tatting and in this case my lack of tatting practice has really limited my ability to tat properly. Plus there is another challenge with this obsession, but that will be the subject of a later entry.

Thank you for reading this, and just so you can have a little more enticement here is the motif from the Mary Konior doily.

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