Monday, August 31, 2015


We had quite the whirlwind weekend. We were gifted tickets to the see the Zelda Symphony in San Francisco earlier in the year when they went on sale. We've been saving money and getting a little family help to afford to stay in the city for the night since then, so we were able to not only see the Symphony which was wonderful, but we weer also able to go to the California Academy of Sciences the next day. This is the family in the theater right before the show began. The kids loved it as well and it was quite the people watching event. There were folks decked out in full symphony attire, folks cos-playing as charters from the games as well as people who looked like they just walked in from the street. The music of course was wonderful and well worth the trip.

The kids had never been to Golden Gate Park, so we walked around a little bit before the museum on Sunday. Of course that was only one teeny tiny section of the park anyway. The place is massive. We'd not been to the Academy of Sciences either so we were there until almost closing time trying to see everything from the Planetarium, to the earthquake shake house, an enclosed rain forest complete with free butterflies and their living roof. This picture is the family up on the roof.

So you might imagine I'm pretty wiped this morning. We have a park day for the kids school later this morning and then schooling proper starts tomorrow. Maybe some lace later today, if I have some energy left at all. I'm not certain that I will.

Friday, August 28, 2015


After another short morning of mini schooling, I was straight to work on my idea for that crochet cord. I knew I could do a couple of rows of small loops before I was forced to do math, so this is what I started with. It also confirmed my theory that the cord would be a good base for the Armenian lace. It was perfect. If you're unfamiliar with the crochet cord used for Romanian Point lace, it has perfectly spaced loops on the sides which I found ideal for starting the knotted loops. It's also a nice firm, thick cord, easy for hiding ends of threads and holding onto.

Next up was some math and some doodling. I had a plan, but I needed to work out whether the base I had created would support that plan. It never fails to surprise someone that I need math to make lace, but this stuff, every kind I've tried anyway, is so based on counting and planning, that math almost always is necessary. Of course I've gotten enough practice in some things, like tatting, that I don't have to write anything out. Not on this though, there was much math. Anyway, the math and the drawings got me my plan and I went to work on a design.

A few hours later I went ahead and called it complete. Of course the whole time I was working, I was having other ideas. I think I might do one exactly like this, but with seed beads on the rows of long loops. I thought about how I could make a bigger version with more rows, or a thin choker with just a couple of rows, or a huge triangle shaped one out of just simple loops. Really, I went into creative overload.

I'm going to try to get this necklace up in my shop today and I'll be straight to work on one of those other ideas. Then this weekend it's a short trip out of town to see the Zelda Symphony with the family as well as a visit to the California Academy of Sciences as a last goodbye to summer.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Vague Idea

After a short day of mini schooling, we ran a couple of errands and then it was back home with no idea of what to do with my day. I mean I had some laundry to take care of, but otherwise I was lacking in ideas. Eventually I settled on crocheting up a length of RPL cord in order to try out an idea that actually has nothing to do with RPL at all. I got the length made, but didn't have time to try out the idea I had.

The idea, which I'll try out today involves using the cord as a base for some Armenian knotted lace. It works well in a circle with no other material, but all the instructions for straight lace have it worked on the edge of a piece of material or over a doubled piece of thread. I've tried the doubled thread and it was a nightmare for me. I just couldn't get it started properly to save my life. I figure the denseness of the cord should be perfect for giving me something to hold onto as well as looking nice as the base for a piece. What that piece will be is still up in the air. I've got some design ideas, but I need to do some math to figure it out. Yes, my favorite part of lace making, the math, but if I can suss it all out in advance it will work out better. So that's the plan today, math, then lace...hopefully.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I had a rather negative reaction to the online teacher meeting I had to do yesterday. I know I shouldn't go into details, but suffice it to say that when you've been doing something for six years, you get used to how things work, so when a new teacher decides to add their own new policies that aren't standard and mean more work and unnecessary oversight, one gets annoyed. So unfortunately I spent much of the day annoyed. I'm sure I will come around to acceptance eventually, but it definitely put me off for the day.

I did get some tatting done, though nothing too terribly interesting. I finished the extra pair of ankle corsets. I sewed the cat ears I'd already made on headbands giving me two extras of those. Then I made another of the newer choker that has the macrame slide clasp.

Once that was all done, I went ahead and looked back at last year's holiday sales to see what else I might get extras made of and reminded myself that last year, my sales were abysmal. I mean really, really bad. In fact most of my sales during November and December were patterns. Not that I don't appreciate those sales, they're just very small dollar amounts and obviously they don't give me anything to make for the shop. I'll search my listings again today and see if there is anything listed as a custom order that I can get made ready to ship. Otherwise I'm done with that task and I'll have to summon up my creativity again and try to design something new. Of course I won't be able to do that until I'm less annoyed. So here's crossing my fingers that something new and good happens to pull me out of the mood.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


I spent the morning starting schooling stuff with the kids. The didn't complain even though schooling doesn't officially start until next Tuesday. I think deep down, they like getting a little ahead too. This morning we have another teacher meeting along with some early schooling. This meeting is online though. I'm not so keen on doing it that way, but I don't really have a choice. I'll just roll with it, like I try to do with everything.

After our mini schooling I sat down to work on a few pieces for the shop. There was this necklace that actually needed to be remade and back in the shop. It's the same as the white one I made recently. It was also one of the first big vintage pattern conversions I did. There wasn't a huge amount of modifications to change it from one side of a collar to a necklace, but it's still one of my favorites.

After that was made I worked on things that I should just have backups made of for the shop. I made some cat ears and started work on a pair of ankle corsets. I'm hoping that I still get a little busy for the holiday season and without all the extra time summer affords me, it's good to get some things done when I do have time. Once these are made, I'll probably look over what sold last year and get backups made of some of those pieces as well. At least that's what I'll do with any spare time I have. It's not exactly interesting, but it seems like a good idea. I'm also still toying a bit with an Armenian lace idea, but so far it hasn't quite gelled. I'm certain to let you know when it does.

Monday, August 24, 2015


So, early Friday I washed the new doily and laid it out to dry. I don't normally bother, but since I was framing it, I wanted it super clean. This also meant I had to wait for it to dry and it wanted to take its time doing so. I had another little project with the kids, so I worked on that instead. We had recently put some new sugar skulls heads on the wall and we had a small space that wanted filling, so we found an appropriately sized skull acquired during one of our walks, and a piece of laser cut wood from the craft store. We whitened the skull, painted the wood, and then decided that a small piece of knotted lace would be a great finishing touch. I tried to manipulate the natural circle into more of an oval as I made it. It worked out pretty well and took most of the time I needed for that doily to dry.

On Saturday I got a piece of thick, black textured paper and cut it to fit the frame. I spent the morning tacking it onto the paper carefully with clear filament thread. I had intended to put it behind glass, but the frame I got had a plastic sheet instead. It warped the lace something fierce when looking at it from any angle other than straight on, so I opted to frame it without it. It went up on the wall pretty quickly as well. You can also see where the skull piece went as well as a lovely photograph I received for a birthday present.
By Sunday, I was playing around with knotted lace ideas and working on getting some pieces tatted for the shop. Schooling officially starts next week, but we're going to start getting to work today. I have a nasty habit of wanting to be ahead in everything. I love time cushions that allow us to play hooky every so often, or just be a little lazy once in a while. That does mean my lace making will begin to suffer again, but hopefully I manage a little time every day. Of course I'm just going to be happy with my new wall art for awhile.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Done!!!! Yes, that's right, after three weeks of knotting, and occasionally unknotting thread, I have finished the Armenian lace doily. The finished piece is about 14.5 inches across with size 30 vintage ecru thread. I almost killed the ball of thread with the piece, though it was partially used to begin with.

Let's see, what did this piece teach me? Well I think I'm no expert in this fiber art, I have gotten the knot down cold and I understand the spacing needed for the stitches to look right. I did learn that I have a lot to learn about making a piece without a written pattern. About halfway through, I completely miscounted and ended up with a frilly mess. Luckily I managed to mostly tame the frill, but it took an iron to get it completely. I'm definitely going to use these skills to make something for the shop, but what I've no concrete idea. I've been so focused on completing this project before schooling begins that I haven't given any real thought to anything else.

No, I have no plans to sell this. I couldn't begin to price something that took this much time and ended up as just a doily. Of course even if I could, I'm such a novice and this piece is full of mistakes. It just wouldn't be a sellable piece. So the plan is to frame it instead. I already acquired a frame, I just need a nice black background for it. Of course I also need to figure out the best way to get it tacked down without ruining it. That's a new one for me since I've never framed tatting. If anyone reading this does, I'd love to hear how you do it. That's it for me then. I think I'm going to just rest for a bit with this feeling of accomplishment, though honestly, that probably won't even make it through the day.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Getting There

I fully meant to go back and forth between the two projects I have on hand, but I just couldn't be bothered. I sat down with the doily in my lap and worked on it the entire day. In fact that's pretty much all there is to share this morning.

There is only a week and a half before the kids are back to schooling. That's when all my extra time will dry up and what time I have left we'll need to be for things that need doing. That does not really include making a doily for weeks that will serve do purpose other than decorative when it's done.

While I'm working on it, it serve an instructive purpose I suppose, but learning new things is for free time. The point I'm getting at is I need to get this thing finished soon so I'm fully free and focused for the kids schooling. There's a small chance I'll get it done today, a better one that it's done tomorrow. Then I can start to assimilate what it has taught me and use it in my work. I do already have some interesting ideas, but I can't get too wrapped up in them, schooling is more important and the start of the year is always very rough. So here's to some productive knotting and no distractions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Yesterday morning I had to go out and run some errands with the kids. When we got back home I had an order for a necklace that actually needed to be made. That's right, I had an actual tatting task with an immediate need to get it done. It had been so long since I made this one that I had to dig around for all the beads and crystals before I could even start. It also took me most of the day to complete, which was nice. Once I get this in the mail today I'll actually need to remake the other piece in the order since I keep this one listed as custom, but not the other one. So that's two days of tatting tasks from one order.

That's isn't all I got done though. In the evening I had just enough time to add a couple of medallions to the knotted lace doily. It looks like I'm almost halfway around it at this point. I am getting ever so slightly better at joining in the knotted lace, but it's still an imprecise process and that bugs me a bit. I suppose all of this knotted lace by virtue of all the bare thread is more  imprecise than tatting with its even knotting. Of course that's what makes learning a new lace skill interesting, the differences.

So today I have that one tatted piece to make and more medallions to add to the doily. I guess that should keep me pretty busy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I was all ready to get some tatting done and then I checked on the pieces I thought I needed to make. Turns out they were all pieces that I had already made extras of in the past. I of course used this as an excuse to just work on the knotted lace doily for a while. I started out the day by pressing the medallions that I had made so far. In between laundry and dishes, I got about five more made during the day and apparently forgot to take any pictures of the progress. I did measure the piece though to see what the final dimension will likely be. It seem like it's going to top out between 13 and 14 inches. I also started to think about maybe framing it for the wall when I'm done. It's certainly full of mistakes, but it still looks rather neat I think.

Toward the evening the tiredness brought on by the weekend revelries started to creep in and I was compelled to do something that takes a little less thought, so I did start tatting up one piece that sold, though I still have one on hand. Even though it's just the simple center start to my ankle corsets I took a picture of it. I thought the lace on lace was worth the minor exertion of effort.

I'll probably go back and forth between these two projects today as well. It's funny that after using the size 30 thread and the tiny sewing needle for so long, my usual tatting needle and size 10 thread feel like a giant's tool and rope. I'm sure that'll go away if I can remember to never stay away from the tatting for this long again.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Thank You

Well, I had a lovely birthday weekend. There were friends, family, and good food. We got out a little, stayed in a little and I even got a few sales in my etsy shop, so I have some tatting to do. I got some wonderful, thoughtful gifts including handmade ones from my daughters. Thanks to all of you as well for the birthday wishes here and elsewhere. Despite no longer wanting to mention the number my birthday is attached to, it was one of the better ones.

I also did get some work done on the knotted lace doily. The medallions are pretty small and easy to work on their own. Unfortunately the book I'm using never actually expands on what it means to 'join' pieces with Armenian lace. It just says join and none of the pictures of joined pieces are close up enough for me to be certain what they did for that. I went ahead and guessed that I just knot them together at those points. It is also much harder to do that evenly and effectively than I hoped. It seems to be working though and I've gotten about a quarter of the way around the piece, if my math holds out.

Other than the doily I have some surprise gifts with purchases to put together today and then some tatting to remake a couple of things. So for the first time in quite a while I will have to put the doily down for a while and get some work done. So here's to the whole week being busy like this!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Almost & Sale

Oh, how I thought I would get further on this yesterday. I was certain that I would speed through the square loop round, but not only did it take most of the day, I had to add thread three times. Then I thought the simple loop round would fly by, but then after a closer look at the photo I realized that there were two simple loop rows, not just one. The result of all that is it was quite late in the day when I was finally faced with any math.

The counting was scary too. I mean I was so off by the outside round that I'll need ten more medallions on the outer edge than the pattern I'm trying to replicate. Of course since I was on my own for most of it, just guessing what was to be done next, I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on myself. I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough thread to finish it though. The thread I'm using is a vintage ball of Clark's size 30 thread that was bought for me at a second hand store. I had already used much of it on the Armenian lace pieces I tried before this. So I ended up making one medallion, measuring the thread used and then doing more math to see how much I would ultimately require. Then I actually measured out that much thread. Yes, it was tedious. The result was that I do have enough so I share start on the medallion edge today. If history is any indication I'll be at it for quite some time.

One last thing today, tomorrow is my BIRTHDAY! To celebrate I'm offering a 25% off coupon code and a free surprise gift with physical purchases through Sunday. Use the code 'HappyBirthday25' to get this deal in my etsy store.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Next Round

I did manage to avoid all forms of cleaning yesterday, save for picking up after myself. All that gained time got the doily all the way through this pattern section, the next plain loop round, and onto the square loop round. It's you're keeping track at home it's now at about 11.25 inches across and unfortunately the ruffle has not yet fully gone away. At this point I'm not hopeful that it will. I suppose after I finish I made be able to black it into shop, but since it's just a really, really long learning learning experience I'm not going to stress on it at all.

I was pretty proud of the square loop round so far. The last one I did was so very terribly inconsistent. I just did not have control over my loop sizes at all. I think that round after round of the last design has earned me some muscle memory. These first ones seem all the same. or close enough anyway.

After the square loops there's another round of plain loops and after that I have to do some counting to see how I need to modify the edge to work with whatever count I end up with. I should at least get to start all that today. There will be math involved so wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I tend to clean when I have a reason to. Yesterday our cable was acting up, but before we could call someone to look at it we needed to clean where the equipment lives. I however, can never just clean that one thing, so I cleaned my desk area, the t.v. area, the laundry room and then did some laundry. It's a sickness I tell you. So the cleaning ended with the cable seemingly fixing itself and undoing the need for it in the first place. It had taken a big chunk out of the day so you can't even really tell that I made any progress on the knotted lace doily at all.

I answered a couple of questions about it elsewhere that I thought I'd mention here as well. It's size is about 10.75 inches across at this point. There's no mention of the final size in the book, but even if there were, the one pictured there was made with smaller thread. I know I've mentioned it before, but as I've been asked again, the book I'm using is a vintage Priscilla called the Armenian Lace Book. It was published in early 20's. I've been working on this piece almost non stop for the last 10-11 days, so I'd say I'm definitely slower at this than I am at tatting, but it's not really a fair comparison because I haven't made a tatted doily in years. I do know that even the large pieces of tatted lace I make don't take quite this long. Since I'm brand new to the knotted lace, I can't say that that means anything at all.

I'm looking at another day of knotting this doily and hoping that the cable doesn't unfix itself. I'm also hoping that I don't find another reason or room to clean, because I'm pretty tired of it at this point.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mile of Knots

Another day, another mile of knots. Well, that's what it feels like anyway, though I wasn't very
focused. Without my laptop sitting next to me, I was a bit more antsy than usual. This resulted in my getting up and cleaning things at strange intervals all day. While that's probably better for the cleanliness of my house, I think this behavior would drive me mad eventually. Like I said, I did get some more work done on the doily.You can finally see what the pattern on the outside is doing. Though I screwed up royally on it. There was some miscounting on my part and I think that is what contributed to the ruffle that is not laying down as quickly as I had hoped.

There have also been a few smaller mistakes, but I'm not about to even try to cut them out and start again. It's forward to the end on this one. I still have quite a few rounds before this pattern section is finished, but it's been my favorite to work so far. After this it's another round of square loops, which are not my favorite, a simple loop round and then the edging of individual rounds. Since I know my count is way off from the original pattern, there will have to be more counting and adjusting to make it work once I get there. That's probably quite a while away though. So today there will be yet another mile of knots.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Weekend Recap

It was a nice long weekend of family adventuring and doily making. Let's see Friday was mostly the doily. Saturday we took a trip out of town because my laptop has been acting up in a way that potentially makes it eligible for a free fix. Of course that also means that my daily lifeline is now sitting in an Apple store several towns away getting checked out. We had a nice day of mostly window shopping and we stopped by the BevMo to pick up some ciders. I mention that just so that this picture makes sense. It was actually Sunday evening when I had this lovely cider and continued the seemingly never ending task of knotting this doily.

Just to back up a bit to the beginning of Sunday now. We stayed in most of the day while I laundered new bed linens and we binge watched a couple of shows that had backed up on the DVR. I also used the time for the doily. It's taken to a bit of a warp during this last section and I was quite worried at first, but as I keep going with the same sized loops it seems to be flattening out slowly, but surely. There are still quite a few more rounds before this section is finished and then there are still a few more simple rounds before the outside which consists of small circle pieces joined all around. So, no where near finished yet.

As you've probably guessed, I'll be working on this today yet again. I'm still crossing my fingers for some tatting interruption because the shop gets suddenly busy or something,  but I'm content to keep knotting this doily that will have little or no use after it has given me so much practice with this technique.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Next Stitch

The broken record is back. Yes, it was the doily, reading, and a few household chores yesterday as
well.This first picture here is the doily just as I was finishing the last fancy side stitch section, I think. Wait, no at this point I still had 2 more rows to finish. It was getting mind numbing at this point. On the plus side I got another quarter of the way through the book I'm reading.

I did manage to finish the fancy side stitch section, eventually, and there was one simple row of loops after that. Then I started a round of square loops. This is another stitch I clearly need some practice on to get it a consistent size. I did manage to get about half this round completed before I wrapped up for the night. After this I think is another plain row of loops before the section I've been not so patiently waiting to try just because it looks neat. Hopefully I'll at least get to start that today. These rounds are definitely taking a lot longer than previous ones and there are still a few more sections of designs before the end of the piece. So unless I'm happily distracted by sales in my shop, you'll see more of the doily next week as well and probably the week after that too. I apologize in advance.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Slow and Steady

I'm started to feel a little like a broken record as I work on this doily day in and day out. I mean I can see that it's noticeable getting bigger, but when I stopped working in the evening I still had two more rows of this fancy side stitch before I get to even go onto the next section. That's right all I did was the same stitch all day long. One length of thread doesn't even finish a round anymore, but if I make it longer it's too unwieldy.

Sure I used the repetitive nature of the stitch to relax a bit and read at the same time and got through nearly half a novel. I was also able to watch some shows with the kids all while knotting away, so there's that. I even took a break and cleaned out the pipes beneath our bathroom sinks, which was a horror show. Why? Well they were running slow and 30 minutes of horror plaque removal beats emergency plumber when the sinks have an eventual heart attack, right?

So today I'm hoping that I can at the very least finish this section and start the next one. I will have to find something else to photograph it on soon though. It's getting far too big for the kindle to be the background. At least that means I'm doing okay with progress, slow, but steady.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Another Round Down

Another day, another few rounds on the Armenian knotted lace doily. I've been posting pictures of my progress on my Facebook page and every time someone new sees it, since Facebook over curates to the point of hardly anyone seeing anything I post, they ask what technique it is. I don't know why, but that makes me happy. Anyway, I managed to get through the last section of the design relatively unscathed though it was definitely the hardest bit so far. The book said the section was similar to another taught in the book, but it really, really wasn't and I had to just stare at those tiny, blurry sections on the photograph and make my best guess. I was really worried about the numbers not working out since I've already done a lot of guessing, but I was rewarded once again.

I got all the way to the next section which is just multiple rounds of the section before this one. It's
called the fancy side stitch in the book and since I've had plenty of practice with it, I guess I wasn't have to think much today as I work. I can't imagine I'll get any further than that today though. The doily is getting a bit unwieldy already. I'm having to gather it up in my hand to work on it and the rounds are getting really long. I guess I should just be proud that I've made it this far without throwing in the towel and even if I did stop, it would still look like a real doily. That and I think I can now make the knot in my sleep.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I basically spent the entire day yesterday with the Armenian knotted lace doily. Rounds and rounds
and like most doilies the further you get, the slower your progress. This picture was just two rounds before I called it a day on it. This is also the point where the book's description of the pattern fell apart. At this point I had to start relying on my ability to count stitches on grainy old photographs and make educated guesses. Except here it's counting knots and loops instead of double stitches and picots.

I did start the next section and so far it seems to be working out correctly. The round after this involved long loops, skipping over some of the small ones and I think I managed to count accurately. Of course this is still relatively the beginning of the rather large doily. I'm hoping that I get so much practice during this project that when I'm done I can tackle those knotted lace flowers that this technique is so striking in. Of course I'm also thinking of all the other things I can do with this technique including meshing it with the other ones I know. Maybe when I'm done learning all these classic lace techniques I'll get really creative and something really unique will get made, or's too early to tell.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Let's see, Friday I spent getting some pairs of pine cones made into earrings. I got three pairs made up before I decided that there were enough of them to put together a listing for them. It was a little harder making sure each variegated pair was matching enough, but I managed it. The earrings are listed in my shop here.

After that was done I pored through the Armenian lace book for a place to concentrate my attention. After all though pine cones I was doing pretty good with knots and spacing, so I figured it was time to try and take on one of the doilies again. Of course I managed to pick the one without a full set of instructions. The book has just the center written out and then you have to follow the picture since according to the book, this one was made several years before it was photographed for them. I really loved the middle part though, so I opted to give it a go.

The book notes that the one they had was made with sewing thread
and I'm using size 30 so it's already quite a bit bigger. That said, it's coming along pretty well. I also picked up some fray lock glue over the weekend to keep all the end knots permanent and trimmed down. I've had to add thread quite a few times already and I figured better safe than sorry with those new thread knots, especially since I hate leaving those tails for later and want to cut them off straight away. I'm also not super great on some of these fancier knot configurations, but several rounds of them is definitely good practice. So I guess if I do in fact finish this doily, it will be a messy practice piece, but that's how we learn, right?