Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back Home again in Indiana

I just got back from a wonderful vacation in Northern Indiana, about 100 miles east of Chicago, which is where I grew up.  I left Indiana almost 30 years ago, right after college, because I found Indiana boring, ugly and very cold in the winter.  Although I've returned for visits many times over the years, during this trip I gained a new appreciation for my home town.  One thing I realized is that tatting is much more prevalent in Northern Indiana than it is in Texas, where I now live.  Not only did I find vintage tatted handkerchiefs at an antique store in Mishawaka...

I found tatting thread in a store that did not say "Hobby Lobby" on the outside.

The balls on the left are Finca Pearl Cotton size 12, the larger balls to the right of center are Valdani Pearl Cotton size 12, and the smallest balls on the far right are DMC size 80.  This is the first time (outside of Hobby Lobby) where I have actually gotten to see and feel the thread in order to make my selections. Almost my entire stash of thread was purchased online using a picture on the computer to decide if I liked the color.  I purchased these threads in an Amish town in Northeast Indiana called Shipshawana. Shipshawana has a large Amish population and they sell a lot of their handmade items (especially quilts and woodworking), attracting a lot of tourists like me and my family to come and shop.  There are also a lot of shops that cater to the domestic arts: Knitting, sewing, quilting, crochet, tatting, cooking, canning, etc.

While in Shipshawana, we visited the grocery store where the local Amish shop.  There were a lot of items sold in bulk, like 10-20 pounds of flour and sugar, or 5 pounds of baking powder.  I don't think I could use 5 pounds of baking powder in 10 years.  All the decor in the store was farming related.  This picture shows a beautiful, colorful display of metal seats from farm equipment.
And this is a typical Amish buggy.  You see these everywhere when driving in this town.
Our last stop was to the local second hand store.  I wanted to see if there were any tatting treasures to be found.  There were not, but we found another treasure:  Used Amish dresses.  My sister, my daughter and I all bought an Amish dress and went home to play dress up.  How do we look?
This is me and my daughter in the picture above.  Below are my sister and my daughter.

And here are all three of us.
I haven't had this much fun playing dress up since I was a child.

More on my trip to Indiana and some actual tatting in the next post.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

One More Toddler Tee

Just a quick post before I go off to Indiana for vacation.  We are taking an Amtrak train from Fort Worth, Texas to Chicago, Illinois, a 23 hour journey.  I hope to have plenty of tatting time on the train, but with two kids, I'm sure much of my "free" time will be spent playing cards and entertaining the kids.

I managed to finish one last toddler t-shirt to take with me.

This is the "Dog" pattern from Inge Madsen's Tatted Animals book.  I really like her patterns for children friendly (especially boy) projects.  The designs aren't as frilly or feminine looking as many other tatted items. This pattern was pretty easy and straightforward, done in one round, with the only advanced technique being a couple SCMRs.  The thread is Lizbeth Acrtic Waters in size 40.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tie Dye and Hand Dyed Thread

I love using hand dyed thread for tatting and always wanted to try my hand at it, so when my daughter asked to do tie-dye, I thought this would be the perfect time to dye some thread.  We went off to by some Rit dye and white t-shirts and bandannas.  As you can see below, the tie dye turned out beautifully.

The colors are bright and the tie patterns turned out really well.

The thread, on the other hand, didn't turn out so well.
See how wimpy the colors are.  The one on the left is supposed to be purple, the same color as the big t-shirt above.  The middle one is variegated blue and fuchsia, and the one on the right is supposed to be royal blue.  I dyed the thread the same way I dyed the t-shirts: 3 gallons hot water to one bottle of dye, 1 cup salt, soak for 30-60 minutes.  Why did the thread not color as well?  I'm almost positive it's cotton (the label is missing, but it feels like cotton).  The dye seemed to rinse right out of the tread when I took it out.  The purple is a little darker because I didn't rinse it right away.  I let it sit for 20-30 minutes after taking it out of the dye bath.  Can anybody out there tell me what I'm doing wrong?  Is it the dye? the thread?  Should I add vinegar instead of salt?  Please help.  I would love to dye my own thread.

On the tatting front, I did manage to get one small motif done this week.
This is from the book Butterflies Migrating by the Palmetto Tatters.  It is done in Lizbeth Pink Parade and Tropical Punch, leftovers on shuttles from previous projects.  It ruffles quite a bit.  Maybe the picots on the inner rows are a little too big.  But I like the shape.