Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monsoon Season Has Arrived on the Ridge

As I'm working on Christmas in July Exchange and my 25-Challenge, nothing to scan today. Works in progress include Colorado Columbine and a number of small designs for the x-change; plus, going through my 'stash' so I can please and surprise my partner. I'm always enthusiastic about giving and making a new acquaintance in the tatting world.

The Colorado Columbine turned more problematic, as a motif, than I had anticipated. It is listed in the advanced pages; but, it isn't so much the design itself as it is in the manner of the instructional writing. No visuals here and the photo is too small to really get a good look. I have had to rewrite the pattern in a modern method so that I can tat it with success. I've done three ~ am happy with one ~ so far!
One my husband calls a 'sport.' Because of the lighting, the yellow center and white petals looked exactly the same that evening and I forgot to SS (switch shuttles); ended up with an all yellow Columbine!
So DH said, "In plants, you often get sports; just as with animals you get mutants - and that's how we developed polled Herefords." LOL How sweet of him to try to make it 'okay' for his dearest.
The next one I lost count and made only four petals instead of five. The one I'm working on now, will be the final attempt. Remembering this time that the white 'ball' (shuttle 2) thread is the petal whilst the running line is the yellow. (sigh) No more "sports." I'd like to present a group of three, with the water colored stems and leaves.
I also tatted one ------- for the exchange, decided to make it into a frig magnet and ordered some hematite magnetic beads (not all hematite is magnetic, BTW) so the first bit the dust; and, will tat a new ----------. Have 1 other 'ho hum' piece and a lovely motif in wonderful variegate of soft to med blues and soft to medium pinks. I found a 'special' container to hold the 'goodies" I'm sending to my partner. I was sending a tin; but, found something better from an earlier visit to the Seattle Fish Market in Washington state! hehehehe
The Monsoon season arrived yesterday; dropping our high 90's temps to 60's with accompanying Light Show and Thunder Boomers. Unlike our poor Midwest friends, here on the ridge it is very dry - low humidity - and water just evaporates. It does come in gushes down the Big Ditch in town (in the early days of Silver totally washed out Main street ~ the street that is 'main' now is actually the second street in from the Ditch) and the southern arroyos/washes (If you are in AZ it's a 'wash' and in NM, an arroyo) We began with hail, then the wind picked up to around 45 mph and a horizontal downpour followed; light show and thunder. The Thunder here really booms and bounces off the mountains ~ quite a show from the ridge. Who needs fireworks?
In the midst of the weather our ten-year old, small microwave died; consequently, DH was in the eye-of-the storm shopping for the new one ~ which is a bit larger, but cost less than the original! That was a surprise.
Having received my 'paycheck' (retirement) I've ordered from Yarnplayer, earrings for the 4Th of July, nectarine HD wool/silk yarn; shuttles, size 100 silk thread ~ marine blue! (both from Ladyshuttlemaker's ); hematite beads (Artbeads) roly-poly bag (Jane Eborall's creation), needle minder(Grizzly Mt) which turned out to be really lovely ~ a dove ~;and, a special order to Nina Libin's site for shuttles, gauges and ear ring kits.
Arriving in the mail was a packet from my close friend who is mentoring BJ's tatting and helping me with consistent tension.
Which reminds me ~ Constructive criticism is always welcome; particularly on the 25-motif challenge as they are my 'learning' pieces. I have increased my tension and have dropped the habit of counting the picot as a stitch. I'm not talking about joins - just the picot which is merely a space. It makes a difference in the balance of the finished piece! I hadn't realized this difference until my mentor pointed it out and sent samples ~ tatted both ways. Long-distance learning is time consuming for the both of us; however, it really helps to hold the exercise in my hand and see and feel the differences. I send back my homework and she faithfully e-mails me an honest critique with 'helps' how to improve. I am blessed to have made such a friend in Zena Herbert; herself, an impeccable tatter and teacher.
All of which brought me to a personal opinion about learning to tat! While it is true that how one holds their work may be different (having taught myself from that book without photos, I hold my pinch differently than the photos shown in books) ; there are things that have to be learned correctly to get a pleasing result. I had read that "as long as one is consistent" it didn't matter about counting the ds after a picot ~ but it really does change the size, design balance of a doily, even if one does it in a onsistently improper way! Given a choice, I'd rather learn the correct way from the beginning rather than unlearn bad habits.
It is a given that the student has already mastered the flip! Example: When I tatted my first motif of 3 ds separated by 3 picots with a chain of 8 ds, it measured 1 5/8 horizonal inches with medium loose tension. Nice, crisp tension produces 1 3/8 inches in length horizontally. That is the effect I want, your goals may be different. My only point is that one knows what they are striving towards and that tatting, as with anything worth learning, takes time, patience and practice, practice, practice. While I am practicing, I prefer to do it correctly.
I understand that the academic side of tatting might be boring to a beginner, but unless one understands the construction and why things are done the way they are done ~ the art isn't completely learned. I have found that after tatting for a few years, one begins to think, "What if" or "I wonder if I could draw and tat a . . . " At that point, frustration can settle in one's mind!
Perhaps Intermediate level would be a good place to begin learning this aspect of tatting along with the different techniques; split rings, joins, chain stitch and so forth. It might be advantageous to think of this when planning workshops. It would certainly explain why tatters design as they do ~ and the difference it makes.
I admit, I am working from the bias of a person who has taught technical skills ~ not tatting ~ but manual skills none-the-less. I acknowledge that other's do not agree and prefer to get a quick result and assume the new tatter will eventually think about tension in their tatting, However, if you are a new tatter or new to tatting or want to learn tatting ~ learn it correctly from the beginning.

Tatting is a fiber art that can be thought of as being 'easy' and then one lets particulars slide and the tatting doesn't look like what the learner had in mind. I was actually dismayed when I compared the pieces in my hand to what I had been producing. It didn't look the same at all, except it was rings and chains! I wanted 'crisp' stitches, "standing in a row like soldiers". This is what I was seeing in the tatting gifts I had received - nice crisp stitches and the 'hand' was not the result of starching but of the tension!
If you are learning, help your instructor by telling them which sort of result you are working towards. It adds to the fun factor when the motif turns out the way you see it in your mind's eye!


Grizzly Mountain Arts said...

BJ, I've really enjoyed reading your beautiful blog! Jo :)

BJ said...

How very kind of you, Jo. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.
Your jewlery and the shuttles and collaborations on grizzlymountainarts are beautiful works of art. I enjoy your site and the work of your hands, also.

BJ said...

I received a comment which I rejected because it did not address the subject I was covering - picots; and, it was served with a side of sarcasm.
Constructive exchanges are welcome, constructive! There was no intention of suggesting that I am an impeccable taatter - I'm learning; and, no slur was intended towards this person with regards to their tatting. The comments are merely my opinion of what I am learning as I go along. They are not 'aimed' at anyone who is reading the blog. That would be a real stretch of immagination, in my opinion. Chill darlin'

Mrs. John said...

Hi BJ... I have enjoyed your blog posts and your notes on HBT! :)
I have tagged you...
to name 6 unimportant/unusual things about yourself! Here are the rules:
1. Link back to the
person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share 6
unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag 4 people at the end of your entry.
Don't feel obligated.. this is to be fun!