Apr 032017

I read with interest that this past Saturday, April Fool’s Day, was International Tatting Day. No kidding. Now, I realize this may not be momentous news to you, but since tatting is on my list of needlework techniques to learn (yes, it really is), I had to look up who started this special day. And for those of you who don’t know what tatting is, it’s a type of lace created by a series of knots and loops using a shuttle that looks like a little boat. It’s not surprising, then, that in Germany tatting is known as Schiffchenarbeit, or “work of the little boat.”

This beautiful ebony tatting shuttle with rosewood inlay, crafted by Banyek in Hungary, is available on Etsy. Tatting shuttles are typically available in plastic or metal at your local fabric store or needlework shop.

Here’s a photo of a tatted Christmas ornament I bought some years back.

But before I researched the answer to who started International Tatting Day, I couldn’t help wondering whether there are also special days for crochet, knitting, weaving, embroidery and other fiber arts. Here’s what I learned; you can visit the links to learn more about each fiber craft celebration:

But back to my question about tatting—when did the annual celebration begin, and who started it? According to an article titled International Tatting Day, the holiday has apparently been around for 44 years, and it’s a day when tatting enthusiasts introduce the art to newbies, and eat chocolate. I guess that’s as good a way as any to start a tatting club!

If you missed International Tatting Day, as I am afraid I did, you can still catch up with more experienced tatters everywhere by stopping at your local grocery store for your favorite chocolate (mine is Lindt Classic Recipe Hazelnut).

Then, enroll in a Craftsy video tutorial called Shuttle Tatting with Marilee Rockley, and settle in for a nice, long watch. Alternatively, you can enjoy both a glass of wine and a bar of chocolate while browsing through Karen Cabrera’s library of YouTube tatting tutorials some Friday night when you’d rather stay home. If you’re not feeling that ambitious, you can still enjoy some chocolate and browse through these photos of tatted items available on Etsy—probably nearly as satisfying!

Clockwise, from top left: Tatted lace bracelet, by BardarSvetlanaLace / Tatted earrings with beads, by DescoTru / Tatted lace collar, by Felt Zeppelin / Tattered heart ornaments, by SnappyBirdCrafts

Clockwise, from top left: Tatted snowflake, by GracesLaces / Tatted bridal necklace, by Silhuette / Silk bridal purse with tatted lace, by Silhuette / Cotton bridal handkerchief with tatted edging and hand embroidery, by LaceAmour

P.S. Writing this post was more enjoyable than cleaning up the dishes after tonight’s dinner.

P.P.S. All chuckling aside, I do believe we fiber crafters take secret glee in having our own special crafting calendar. If you know of other fiber art holidays, please add them in the comments below.

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Mar 192017

Pulling together the supplies for a handmade card is in many ways like getting ready to color a coloring book page, except that you need more of everything—more tools, more coloring supplies, and more supplies in general. As I dragged my tools and supplies to the kitchen table for an afternoon of stamping, coloring, and gluing, I couldn’t help thinking that this was the grown-up version of the round table at which I sat with my kindergarten friends. In the center of the table was a basket filled with crayons; scattered at various locations were scissors and jars of white paste that got passed from one person to the next.

My task for this afternoon was a card for a baby shower to accompany a package that will be shipped tomorrow. I recently picked up a new stamp set that I thought would be perfect for this card, as well as another that will soon accompany a baby gift. The stamp set, called Rubber Duckies from Stampendous, includes some cute sentiments for new babies, as well as three ducks, a sailboat, a ribbon of bubbling water, and heart and star shapes.

I cut my card stock to size, and inserted a rectangle into my Misti stamping tool from My Sweet Petunia. If you’re not familiar with this tool, it’s a stamp positioner that allows you to arrange your stamps on the front of your card before you ink them. This is especially helpful if you are making duplicates of the same card, but even if you are not, it’s handy for previewing where your stamped images will sit on the paper, and for inking multiple images at once. It’s also great for those instances when the first stamping isn’t as bold as you’d like it to be and you need to re-stamp it. The tool does the stamp alignment for you; all you do is re-ink the stamp.

The Misti is one of several stamp positioning tools on the market. It comes in three sizes—the Memory Misti at $100 for a 12-1/4 x 12-1/4 inch stamping area, the Original Misti at $60 for a 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch stamping area, and the Mini Misti at $45 for a 6 x 4-3/4 inch stamping area. If  you are in the market for a stamping press, you’ll want to compare the Misti to the following other tools:

As you might expect, each tool has its strong and weak points, depending on what you are looking for and what your pocketbook will support. Although I have the Original Misti and have no complaints about it, if I were shopping today I would probably choose the Tim Holtz tool because it is so sturdy (at 2 pounds) and it is priced so reasonably.

But I digress.

After I had stamped my card, it was time to color the images with Copic markers. This was the part of the project that felt most like a coloring book page. When I was finished, I decided that the setting of the card—a bathtub—needed to look more like a bathroom. The bathtub walls, in other words, needed tiling. To achieve this effect, I scored horizontal and vertical lines a centimeter apart, with a scoring tool. Then, I cut a rectangle of royal blue card stock to frame the image, and adhered both to the front of the card. The last step was adding dimension to the bubbles, for which I used JudiKins Diamond Glaze. I probably could have used Glossy Accents by Ranger, but I couldn’t find my bottle.

I probably don’t produce handmade cards as frequently as I should, but it sure is a fun, relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. How often do you make handmade cards?

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Mar 122017

Each time I craft a paper flower for the cover of one of my handmade books, it turns out differently, which is probably why I enjoy making flowers so much. The surprise factor keeps the process fresh. That being said, this weekend I made two paper flowers using the same set of Donna Salazar Carnation Creations dies by Spellbinders, with different results each time.

I described how I used these dies previously in How to make a paper flower using ink, water and scrunched paper. At that time, I stacked nine layers of floral shapes, inserting a brad through them. I spray-misted the layers with water, then scrunched them around the brad. When I spread apart the layers, they ended up looking like a rose. Of course, there were a few other steps I took along the way to add color to the bloom.

The trick to creating nice-looking 3-D paper flowers is having enough layers. The fuller you want your flower to look, the more layers you will need. For my purposes, I like to use five to nine layers. But the tools and techniques you use to manipulate the petals also make a difference. I made two completely different flowers this weekend using nine layers of flower shapes, all cut with Donna Salazar Carnation Creations dies. The only difference between the flower shapes was in the quantity of each type of shape. You’ll notice that I stamped the white Bazzill card stock with a Hero Arts rubber stamp called Old French Writing, inked up with Hero Hues Chalk Ink in Latte.

For the first flower, I literally ran each floral cut under the faucet, then shook off the excess water, scrunched it up, and gently pried apart the petals. Then I dried it with a heat gun.

I glued the layers together using Scotch Tacky Glue, then ran a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad in Rusty Hinge against the tips of the petals. After I spray-misted the layered flower with water to make the ink run, I dried it with a heat gun.

All that was missing was a center pearl. I had some white adhesive pearls and decided to color one of them with a Copic marker (E95) to match the flower and pick up some of the color in the book cover. You need an alcohol-based ink to make sure it adheres to the slick surface of the pearl.

For the second flower, I pre-inked the floral shapes with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Tattered Rose.

Then I manipulated the flower petals using a combination of flower shaping tools from my McGill™ Paper Blossoms Tool Kit.

After I glued together the layers of the flower, I applied one of those white adhesive pearls to the center. Finally, I adhered both flowers to their respective book covers using Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive. This is my go-to substitute for a glue gun, as the glue is acid-free where glue gun adhesive is not. It’s also far less bulky. Although both flowers have nine layers, they are markedly different. The first flower—which was scrunched—is a fuller flower. The second flower’s layers were manipulated with flower shaping tools. While it is a full flower, it lies flatter.

It’s a lot of fun to experiment with flower cutting dies and assembly techniques. From the photos in this post, you can see that the same set of floral dies—Donna Salazar Carnation Creations—yielded different results each time I applied a new technique. Can you add a variation to these techniques with similar dies?

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.