Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

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08 November 2005

When I Have Deadlines, I Add More Projects

I'm supposed to be working on my Shetland Lace workshop knitting, so naturally I have sidetracked off into a number of other projects.

Here is one of them, the tatting I attempted to start at Saturday's Kalamazoo Valley Museum demo.

The pattern is "Pointed Medallion" on page 20 of Ann Orr's Classic Tatting Patterns, still in print from Dover.

The thread is Coats & Clark Machine Quilting thread, 100% cotton, that I bought at Wal-Mart. I went to the Coats website to see what other colors they had, and this product doesn't even appear (Article AV33, 225 yard spool, color 818). I don't know if it's discontinued, or if Coats only sells it to Wal-Mart. The Star Quilting thread on the 1200 yard spool appears to be the same product. Anyway, I got nervous and went back to Wal-Mart and bought some more in a different color!

The shuttle is one of my "neutered" Clover tatting shuttles. I don't like that pick they come with, so I whittled it off and smoothed it with a nail-buffing kit. I love the nail-buffing kit for jobs like this: it even restores the shine to the plastic.

So how is the thread to tat with? While it tats up beautifully, it is a challenge for me to work with. My fingers sweat enough that they sometimes dampen this fine thread, and then I can't close my rings. That's what I was struggling with at the demo. If I put the tatting down and let it dry, the ring still closes. I have to use a lighter touch than my normal tight tatting, and use care to close the rings so the ring thread doesn't kink. But I love this colorway -- I think it's called Plumberry.

So many variegated threads look yucky when you tat them up. The colors pop out and fade in strange ways, and you end up with rings that look like they are hanging in space, or chains that don't look all there. But I like this one. It doesn't change drastically in color or darkness, so all the pattern elements show up nicely.

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