Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brilliant New Tatting Technique

Sharing news of a new (at least to me) tatting technique that has knocked my socks off today.

First, British tatting ace Jane Eborall has posted about a "double double stitch" on her blog, Tatting and Not Much Else. She says the idea of the double double stitch isn't new and isn't hers. It first appeared in Rhoda Auld's book "Tatting the Contemporary Art of Knotting with a Shuttle" (1974).

And the amazing Ruth Perry (a.k.a. Rozella Linden) posted a YouTube video showing how to tat rings with rings thrown off using a reverse ring technique.

Need more to impress you? Ruth shared a technique she calls Balanced Double Stitch with the online tatting class last year.

It turns out that Ruth and Jane are actually describing the same technique. They just approached the idea from slightly different perspectives. You know what they say about great minds thinking alike...Ruth and Jane are Genius Minds in Tatting. (Hmmm, doesn't that sound like a good title for a tatting book?)

Have you seen this impressive stained glass effect that Marilee achieves with her tatting?

Image from Yarnplayer Arts

Find out more about her strikingly beautiful work on her blog, Yarnplayer Arts.

Sharing new techniques over the Internet is quite exciting, as it opens up new lace design possibilities. It also shows the dynamic state of our art form. Tatting is not a lost art!

You can bet I'll be focused on learning them all over the next short while (don't know how long it will take...) and working them into new projects.

Watching big names in tatting circles (like Georgia Seitz, Mark "Tatman" Myers, Martha Ess, "Maus," Karey Solomon, Betsy Evans, Wally Sosa...just to throw out a few off the top of head) weigh in on these new developments is pretty awesome too.

Thanks to Mark and all the other Genius Minds (GMs) out there in tat-land who so graciously and generously share their breakthroughs with us.

Thoughts on Chagrin and Embarrassement

I like Jessica's style on It's My Life blog. Her writing is real and effortless. Uncontrived. Its spirit speaks to the writer in my soul.

So I sympathised and agonized along with her when she shared her embarrassing writing story.

Could I commiserate by sharing my own doozies? Sure! But unlike Jessica, I probably couldn't handle the scrutiny and rejection.

Like Kari (comments), I think I want to hear more about the naked babysitting adventure...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My First Sock!

In knitting news, I've launched into the realms of sock knitting with my first practice sock. It's a toddler sock made with some cheap-o, self-striping acrylic in fun springtime colors.

As is the norm for me, I jumped in without a plan or a decent set of instructions. Instead of following a basic, top-down sock pattern, I decided to knit from the toe up.

Having never done short rows or turned heels or Kitchener stitch, it seemed smart to try toe-up first. Anything to avoid Kitchener stitch grafting, right?

Online resources favor the magic loop technique for toe-up socks. This knitter knows naught of the magic loop technique. I freely admit rationalizing about needing to buy a set of Addi Turbo Circular Lace Needles. (For more on knitting impulses, see my blog post: Startitus and Knitting Delusions) Rather than buying new circulars to tackle magic loop theory, I'm using DPNs that I already have.

No one ever said my way (a convoluted dirt-track meandering aimlesly along the the path to sock knitting enlightenment) was easy. Needlessly complicated is how I do things, whether or not I mean to.

Wiping away sweaty palms, I set to work: adult-size Toe-up Socks with a Difference by Wendy D. Johnson, stitch counts from a top-down kiddie sock pattern, plus an actual toddler sock for reference.

First, I learned the Turkish cast on; a fascinating, weaverly technique. It did take several tries before I got the correct tension in my wrapped loops, but it was so much fun to do I didn't mind ripping out and starting again until I got it right. This link includes a quicktime video tutorial: Mingled Yarn: Turkish Cast On

That got me to the point of creating the gusset. Wendy's toe-up sock pattern uses gusset increases on the bottom of the foot, instead of two small side gussets underneath the ankle.

The photo above shows the halfway point in the heel gusset increases by my best guess-timation. After this section is finished it will be time to turn the heel and tackle short rows.

But I've blathered on long enough about this little sock. The rest is best left for another day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Turn Coat," the new volume in The Dresden Files series, is #1 on the NYT Bestseller List!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Emancipation Proclamation

Today our miracle dog Julie officially stops taking steroids! We're having a pork dinner tonight to celebrate.

NY Mom Leaves Bickering Kid on the Road

My mom wanted to do this many a time!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Puddle Jumpin'

In sharp contrast to the sunny and bright weekend, today the skies opened up and a steady, drubbing rain poured down. Lucky for us, mommy bought a new pair of rain boots so she could tromp around in the rain with her splash-happy son.

And that's how we spent the morning. We didn't go far; barely past the neighboring yards. Mother Nature provided plenty of small, muddy pools to run, stomp and frolic in in front of our house.

Sticks and pebbles probed the murky waters, but most of the morning's effort was spent splashing away. A couple of twigs and...drum roll, please!

Right outside of our front door is a small sink hole that usually gets filled with a flower pot to prevent tripping accidents. It was a perfect wading pool-for-one. Boots water tight? Roger that.

It is a good thing the puddle wasn't any deeper. Little Sprout would have needed waders.

Check out the self-satisfied smirk after a good depth check. Mission accomplished.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Posts Gone Awry

I've been posting from my account lately, so that posts upload simultaneously to several places (LiveJournal, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and this blog). It's a marvelous tool when it works, but lately the files have not been posting to Facebook.

This morning is promising to be sunny and bright, so we'll most likely spend it out in the yard, playing with sidewalk chalk, water toys and the inevitable sticks, rocks and dirt that boys love. We did this yesterday for a bit while I weeded the flower bed. Big fun!

The spring flowers really make the yard look inviting and
Little Sprout's pinwheels add color and energy to the garden.

During today's front yard foray I'll snap a few shots of the pinwheels and upload them for you all to see.

What a difference a year makes! Look at this photo of Little Sprout out in the front yard on April 1, 2008.

And here is what he looks like now. They grow up so fast!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oh JibJab, How I Adore Thee

Sharing some 2008 Easter egg goodness from JibJab:

Easter Eggs!
Uploaded by JibJab

and new JibJab chocolate bunny funny:

JibJab - Chocolate Bunny Attack!
Uploaded by JibJab

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Couch Fort Confidential

We've been spending a lot more time on the couch lately, but not zoned out in front of mindless television. Interest in fort-building has ramped up! Just look at this happy face.

Some call them sofa forts, while for others they are couch or indoor forts. Lil' Sprout has taken to calling his latest creations "choo choo tents."

Here's my lil' conductor sitting in the caboose, not the engine, shouting, "All aboard, mommy," and "Choo, choooooooo" in between juice breaks.

It brings back memories, doesn't it? Those forts and tents of yore, built from household furniture, cushions and old blankets. Who could forget the rush of crawling along the tunnels and around the corners, feeling hidden and stealthy and proud. Did yours have a secret back door for emergency escape? How about walkie-talkies? It pays to be prepared on cold, rainy days.

Let's not forget the thrill of knocking it all down and rolling in the rubble! Or in Lil' Sprout's case, running wildly back and forth over the debris, pretending to be a bulldozer.

Sometimes an expression says it best. "Oh no! What have I done?"

Not to worry, little man. We'll build another one tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

International Tatting Day -- No Foolin'!

For many, April 1st is a day for tomfoolery, pranks and hoaxes. But for tatters it is a day devoted to furthering a lacemaking art.

This time last year I described why I think April 1st is the perfect day for International Tatting Day. Links to honor the day:

Martha Ess released her new book today! Tea is for Tatting
TattingChic honors the day: Happy International Tatting Day
Oldie but Goodie: Erin's "The Buhlawg" post from ITD 2006.
(Be sure to click on her banner for today's big announcement!)

This morning Little Sprout and I copped a squat on throw rugs and sipped tea out on the deck. Amazingly enough, it was HIS idea. He has been in a tizzy about deck activities lately. So he dragged three small, braided rugs outside to sit on, announced his intentions saying, "Murmel, murmel, murmel, dowt-sss-EYE-d. Mommy too!"

It was a beautiful, springtime morning so I took my cup of tea, poured some into his kiddie cup, sat down cross-legged on a rug and set about soaking in the morning air, the sweet birdsong and the blooming trees. It is so great to share such simple moments. They come all too infrequently.

This afternoon we'll take a moment to nibble on dark chocolate covered strawberries and play with string. For him, stringing wooden beads on long shoe laces. For me, finger tatting.

Happy International Tatting Day!