Thursday, February 9, 2017

A little early for decorating?!

I have long known about shuttle collections and personalised shuttles. I always said I would not get the bug, because I prefer functionality over appearance.

My first proper shuttles are made by Milward. They are bobbin shuttles, with a crochet hook and a tail for winding the bobbin. People call them Aero copies. Bad Aero copies. They have all the symptoms: jaggy edges in the plastic, bobbin not fitting on the tail and some bobbins fitting a bit loosely.

But these were quite my only immediate choice. Most of the time the shop assistants had no other brands or no idea what shuttles were. Milward are great, don't get me wrong. Most of their needles are very good for tatting and they usually have good quality products. But these shuttles had to be adjusted.

I chopped off the tail and hook (it was too big for most of my threads and I had a lovely tiny crochet hook inherited from my grandmother or even great-grandmother and amazing things came from it) and filed it smooth. And as any beginner who can't figure which shuttle comes next, I had to decorate them to tell them apart.

I saw nice tutorials for decoupage and bought some cute floral pattern napkins, white and clear nail polish (yes, I hear the agonised gasps) and got some sandpaper and our big jug of wood glue (did someone faint in the audience?) and got decorating.

The result is of couse far from perfect but I can use them very well, so who really cares?

I only just started shuttle tatting about a month ago. A bit too early, eh?

My two customised shuttles and an heirloom crochet hook. Although the hook's handle was fixed with tape and is not pretty, I treasure it more than the shuttles...

Saturday, February 4, 2017

From needle to shuttle

I had been tatting using a needle for two and a half years and more often than not I ran into the problem of finding the right needles for my thread or even finding the right thread for my needles. It was getting very frustrating.

My little journey into tatting land began from watching people create their own cosplay clothing and especially one of the ladies make her own embroidery. I was fascinated. So, I decided to try and learn hand embroidery.

I practiced on an old bed spread and made quite a few cute flowers. I even have a favourite stitch that looks like a braid.

But then I figured I needed to make my lace first and then sew it onto the garments, to be sure I have the right measurements and not make any mistakes. I had a needle and thread, so off I went on the internet to research the options...

I found out about tatted lace, which looked very pretty and it could also be made with a needle. I learned off Youtube, using the tutorials made by Totusmel. She makes quite lovely jewellery, you can see her blog here.

I learned and explored and made quite a few pieces of jewellery and some snowflakes which I was going to sell, but most of them ended up being given as gifts in the end, even to strangers. Spreading the lace love, hehe.

I then saw people arguing about needle tatting versus shuttle tatting and I kept my ground, based on a few people who said they can follow any patterns and techniques using a needle as well.

But I became more and more upset at how bulky my lace was and how restrictive the choice of needles and threads (no I have not ordered off the internet, I don't have quite that much money to spend on a hobby). When I wanted to make overlapping rings, I became very frustrated at not being able to make the join properly having all my thread on the needle.

And so, I put my foot down and created two cardboard shuttles and proceeded to learn shuttle tatting from Youtube videos as well. I learned from Tatted Treasures. She has not been updating lately, but the videos are good for a newbie.

I keep learning a lot from everyone who was kind enough to share their own experiences and painstakingly learned lessons.

Shuttle tatted on the left - needle tatted on the right. Pattern by Tatting Box

I hope at some point I can become good enough at this to also inspire others.

Monday, February 16, 2015

What will they think?

This is the question that probably runs through every designer's mind at least once. What will the client think of the finished product?

This can be quite gruelling when you are just starting out in the handmade business, making a couple of things here and there, most as presents, because then you know for sure they will not easily refuse or criticise your work. It is a time of great doubt, when your confidence is below sea level and when you find a hundred little flaws in everything you make.

I have felt this every time, especially since I had been keeping my little craft more or less a secret from my family and friends. This is another issue. Making things by hand and especially making lace is mostly viewed as quaint at best and a ridiculous waste of time at worst. "Why don't you do this other thing if you want to make money? It would be more profitable." Well, I am mostly doing this because I enjoy it. Money comes second and I definitely will not quit my day job for this, or I will be broke.

So when someone does decide to ask for a piece made by you, you will try to make sure it is perfect, or else you wouldn't be able to live with yourself, even if the client might never show again in your life.

It is very difficult to shake all this doubt off and put on the "client-vision" glasses. You will often find flaw in your own work, although the flaws are almost invisible. Try to see things from the point of view of your client and see that you made something exceptional and the flaws disappear or even become part of the design and give it "that little something".

Indeed, what will they think?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Love is in the air

It is still very cold here and it seems that winter doesn't want to step aside just yet.
However, rather than snowflakes, it's time for hearts (and kisses and huggies :D) for the upcoming Valentine's Day and Dragobete, which is a Romanian holiday that takes place 10 days after, on the 24th of February.

One of the old customs was that young people went in groups to the woods to look for spring flowers and then sit and talk. Around midday, the girls would run back home chased by boys that liked them. If the boy was fast enough and caught the girl he liked and she liked him back, they would kiss in front of everybody.

Such lovely traditions our country has!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Snowflakes, lots of snowflakes

What does a tatter make for the winter holidays? Lots of snowflakes, of course.

And that is also what I have been doing, in lots of sizes and colors, but just one design, this one, by Jennifer at Cariad Tatting. It is sturdy and very pretty as well.

You might have seen my set of snowflakes with beads in my Jewelry page. I called it the "Snow for Christmas" set, since we all like a little bit of snow for the holidays.

"Snow for Christmas"