Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First HAP rectangle and NaBloPoMo

Well, I finished it last night- my first 6x9 rectangle for the HandMade Afghan Project!! It took 4 start-overs to get exactly the right number of stitches to make it exactly 6 inches wide, but now I know so I can repeat indefinitely. I like the yarn, called Stars and Stripes; it is a Red Heart Super Saver and I have two big skeins of it so I guess I will be able to make quite a few rectangles.

I did this one in plain, old single crochet. When I get tired of or bored with single I will change up to another stitch- but for now I am set with single.

This is, for me, the perfect TV project. DH and I both teach all day, and we like to relax in the evenings with someone ELSE putting on the show. I found that I can successfully work on this while watching TV- which is more than I can do when trying to combine stitching and TV, or tatting and TV, etc. 

Remember- HAP is accepting new members for a few more weeks. If you want a pleasant diversion in the form of knitting or crochet, and one that will benefit our country's wounded service men and women, then this is the program for you. Use the link above, and check it out!

If you routinely check my sidebar- which has many, MANY links to all kinds of things that *I* find interesting (and you might also), you will see a new badge there. It is actually just the December badge, but it is a new version, all dressed up for the holidays.

When realizing earlier in the fall that I have blogged far less this year than previously, I decided to try harder at getting on here. I found NaBloPoMo at the beginning of November and signed up. It stands for National Blog Posting Month, and is a group to encourage people to try blogging every day for a month. I didn't do all that well in November- 18 posts- but that *is* better than I have done for the rest of this year. Look at it this way: 60% is a failing grade in my class, but it would be a satisfactory average for a coach, and a history-setting average for a baseball batter. Want some encouragement to keep up with your blog? Check out NaBloPoMo at the link above or on the sidebar.

Time for dinner!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beautiful Sampler Stitch-a-Long starting

There is a Stitch-a-Long (SAL) starting in January for this gorgeous sampler!

The sampler was worked by Mary Glover, in 1787, when she was 12 years old. The chart will be a reproduction done by examining and counting the stitches in the piece. 

There is a *little* hitch for most of the readers here- the blog and the group are in French. Fortunately, I still can read enough French to muddle through; writing is not as facile and I speak it almost not at all anymore. Well, it *HAS* been almost 40 years since I lived in Switzerland- and I've forgotten a lot more than the French I once knew, lol!

However, a chart is a chart, so if you are interested, check it out HERE.

Teneriffe Lace web completed and Crochet for a Cause info

So, this is how the web looks when it is completed. I need to take it under the last stitch, but when I do that I will also have to start the darning stitch for the center of the medallion.

Working with a stiffer thread (Cebelia #10) than I have before (I previously always worked with perle coton) was a little tricky. I found that if I sat in the recliner and each time I went under a thread I sent the extra thread to the side of the chair, well spread out on the floor, it didn't tangle too much. As I worked on it, it became more relaxing.

This step also took longer than I remembered- about 3 hours, or maybe a little more. I used to think of this as "setting up" for doing the Teneriffe, but when I made my mind think of it as part of the finished piece and not "set up", it seemed to be much less tedious. Strange how our minds work, isn't it?

Once I finished the web, I put the Teneriffe Lace aside last night; I also wanted to get started working on my first crochet rectangle for the Handmade Afghan Project.

HAP is a great program for those who like to knit and crochet. Each participant makes small (6x9) rectangles that are then sent in to be combined into afghans for wounded service men and women in military hospitals. The afghans are assembled by volunteers, who use rectangles from 49 different donators in each afghan.

The rectangles must all be exactly the same size in order to be successfully included in an afghan. Last night was spent making three rows, then checking for size, then tearing out and removing a few stitches from the foundation chain, and starting over. My last effort removed too many stitches, so another start will be necessary today. Once I determine the exact number of chain stitches for the foundation that work out to exactly 6 inches, I will be good for this hook for as long as my two skeins of yarn last. I found this Red Heart Super Saver Yarn-called Stars and Stripes- and it seemed perfect for this project.

I am really enthused about this project. Crochet is one of my favorite winter activities and one that I can do in front of the TV in the evenings without much stress. (Cross stitch and tatting require too much counting and paying attention; I don't get much accomplished with the TV on.) To be able to enjoy myself while sitting with DH every evening, AND be able to put the time to SUCH good use is really great.

HAP is currently accepting new volunteers, so if you knit or crochet and want to do something special for our country's wounded warriors, then check it out!

Laundry and lunch are calling. Teneriffe and crochet are on the agenda during the Eagles game. Then it's time to get ready for a new week!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Starting the Teneriffe Lace web

This is the back of the Stitch-Around as I get ready to make the web. The web is the basis of all Teneriffe lace, regardless of the pattern for a specific medallion. You can see where I simply knotted the base thread to hold it tightly in place. The base will support the medallion until it is completed and will then be cut away to release the medallion.
Here's where working on Teneriffe becomes a little complicated. The directions call for cutting the entire length of thread you will need in one piece- in this case, 7 yards!

You can see that 7 yards of loose thread can get tangled pretty easily. I work my web with the thread laying out on the floor in front of my chair- it seems to tangle less that way.

I chose Cebelia #10 in white for this medallion. I threaded one end through a size 22 tapestry needle- I find the regular needles are easier for me for laying the web, and will switch to the curved needle when I begin the wrapping. I tied a large knot in the other end of the thread after feeding it through the Stitch-Around form. As I find that surprisingly large knots can work their way through the hole at the center of the form, I also tape the end of the thread to the back of the form.

The web is easy in principle and the only difficulty is keeping those 7 yards of threads untangled. Working out from the center hole,you run the needle under the base thread at any point, pull all the thread through, then run it towards the center under the next base thread section to the right. You are essentially centering the thread around each opening on the form at the position you originally chose to control your size. Here's a close-up:

You then go directly across the form and do the same thing at the hole opposite to the one you just surrounded. Next you will bring your thread back to the first side, and there you will move one hole to the right and repeat the process. You continue around the entire form until you have a complete web.

Next time there will be a picture of a complete web.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Next Step Teneriffe Lace and some more tools

Well, it took a lot longer than I planned to get back here, but here it is. This is the Stitch-Around "fully loaded" with the base thread. Next step, which I *will* have ready for tomorrow is the beginning ( and hopefully more) of the web thread.

With my interest in Teneriffe Lace re-piqued as it were, I've been doing some reading and some Internet cruising. I've found two fun old tools that I purchased from ebay last week.

The first is called a Crazy Daisy. It has spokes that come out of the body of the gizmo with a wheel in the center, allowing you to mount the web, do the design, then just retract the spokes, and VOILA!, there is your medallion. Sorry for the blurry picture; my scanner doesn't do 3-D very well.

Another fun new to me but very old tool is the Proctor 1903 Teneriffe Lace wheel. I have not had time to read any instructions, so I don't even know for sure how this one works. 

I did get the base thread done for a second medallion, on the needlelace loom I got last week from Hand Dyed Fibers. So, I will also be seeing how this tool works out.

All three of these tools here have a distinct disadvantage compared to the Stitch-Around, and that is that the sizes possible are limited to one size with the Crazy Daisy and the needlelace loom, and I don't know if there are two options with the Proctor tool, but certainly not more than that. The lines in the Stitch-Around are also very valuable for helping you to make your knots evenly, so we will see how that works out with the other tools.

I found another tool for Teneriffe lace at Lacis, but that won't be here for a while and I am unclear how it works, so that might have to wait until the second round of tests- I really can't quite figure it out from the picture above from the Lacis website.

The one thing I *CAN* tell you is that I found the plastic grids sometimes sold for "making Teneriffe lace" are nothing more than plastic canvas and I could NOT make them work. I tried them several times several years ago and I am guessing that someone could do Teneriffe lace medallions on them, but that someone was sure not me!

Down the road even a little farther I am going to try using my bobbin lace pillow for making Teneriffe lace- I've been told on good authority that they do work that way- but that is another item on the list for after this first exploration is done.

Tomorrow, the beginnings of the web.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our Gettysburg Legacy - Speaking Out Against the Gettysburg Casino

No Casino in Gettysburg

I joined No Casino Gettysburg. It is a group that is opposing the opening of a slots casino one-half (1/2) mile from the battlefield at Gettysburg.

Check out THIS LINK to find out more.

There will be a final hearing by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Tuesday, November 16. Go to the NoCasinoGettysburg site and see what you can do to prevent a casino being opened within walking distance of the most hallowed ground in the United States.

Operation Write Home Blog Hop

Today is the latest Operation Write Home Blog Hop! Click on the picture to go and see the wonderful work being done for this terrific group- and consider supporting it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Teneriffe Lace, step-by-step

There's been some discussion of Teneriffe Lace over at InTatters (an online tatting forum) lately. A few ladies have expressed interest in learning more about it. 

Well, I'm no expert, but I do know how to make basic medallions of Teneriffe lace using my Stitch-Around board, so I am going to make a new medallion over the next several days. I will be taking pictures at every step of the way and posting them here and at Intatters, so if you are inclined to want to learn more about how Teneriffe Lace is made, just follow along here.

The picture above is of a new medallion at the very first step- laying down the base thread, also known as a holding thread. You go around the form, threading over and under, filling in every hole. You can use any available thread, as long as it is strong enough to hold your working thread- I am using some left over #5 perle cotton. When I complete this round, I will do the same thing again, but doing the over-and-under on the opposite sides, so that there will be a complete holding thread- no spaces- on both the front and back of the form. Next picture will be a completed holding thread, and the beginning of the web, so check back tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Here's to the Heroes: A Military Tribute

Thanks to all the Veterans who have served our country!

Went With The Wind!

I am so excited- my first Barbie doll in 50 years arrived today!!!

I am totally not a doll collector- the closest thing I have to a doll collection is either my Byers Choice Christmas Carol Carolers to decorate for Christmas, or the couple dolls I still have from childhood, including my beloved Lizzie (an original Suzy Walker) and my beautiful Shirley Temple doll, both of which are kept for sentimental reasons.

How I stumbled across this one I don't even remember- but when I saw it, as Carol Burnett says in the skit, "I just couldn't resist it!" I saw this skit the night it was first performed on the Carol Burnett Show. I laughed until I cried, literally. I have probably seen the clip 50 times since then, and I still laugh. It is, for me, one of the great comic moments of television.

So, with the gown recreated for Mattel by the original genius designer, Bob Mackie, and the face such a wonderful image of Carol Burnett- well, I just couldn't resist it. Tomorrow it gets set up in my classroom- the kids probably won't "get it" but I know the faculty of a certain age will enjoy it- and I will smile everytime I see it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tatting Supplies Arrived!

Well, I got a nice package from Handy Hands today! For those who don't know, Handy Hands is a terrific company for buying tatting supplies- they have a tremendous selection. Now, I have been tatting for about 12 years but still consider myself a beginner; I cannot do split rings or mock rings or any of those other fancy things. But I can do rings and chains and picots, and that's really all you need for many designs.

While still in my own Beginner Level, I have taken on teaching basic tatting to a group of students at school. So, this package was 10 shuttles and the original Fancy Pants book. I bought the book so that I had a reference I can leave in the classroom with lots of pictures to help the girls learn.

I will also take in my duplicate copy of Rebecca Jones' Complete Book of Tatting- remember when I posted that I could not find my original copy and bought a new one, which would guarantee that I found the original? Well, I did- and that extra can now be a classroom reference as well.

Yesterday I went to ACMoore and bought 10 crochet hooks- I forgot to include them in my shuttle order from HH, and could not face another shipping charge for such tiny things. As for thread, I have plenty of that- several generous ladies from InTatters, the online tatting forum, sent me boxes with balls of #10 and #20 for the girls to get started with.

I will be showing some Youtube videos to help them see what the stitch and hand positions are all about. If anyone has any recommendations for which videos they think are best, please let me know!

I've started a new project for the 25 Motif Challenge, but it isn't far enough along yet for even an "in progress" picture- but it will be motif #8. One of these days I will dig out #3 and #5 and see if I can finish them- they got me frustrated and got put aside.

Time to go take a nap until dinner!