Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Growing Doily

Still no resolution on the homeschooling issues, though at this point we're just rolling with it and hoping that it gets fixed sooner rather than later. My biggest concern right now is starting to be the catch up we'll need to do once it's all been fixed. It's going to be rough.

On the plus side the stress continues to fuel pretty much nonstop knotting. When my fingers are busy I can keep focused on just that and getting our work done, but not all the setbacks. The piece is at about 18cm across now. If things keep going at this pace, I should have this one finished by weeks end. I still have at least one more on my gift list to make, though that may turn into more as I got started early enough to do more if I need to. I'd love to be shifting gears to some tatting, but my shop is still pretty much a ghost town with only the occasional visitor. Everything has to start looking up sometime, right?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


So I wrote the blog yesterday before I found out that the homeschooling glitch I referred to was much more robust than previously imagined. The day was a pain in the arse, at least for the oldest child. Unfortunately none of it has yet been resolved, thus today will likely be the same kind of pain, if not worse.

On the plus side my need for stress relief was so high that I knotted even during schooling. That resulted in quite a lot of progress for the most recent doily. Something about the stress is also pushing me to make more interesting choices with the design and I'm quite pleased with the way it's turning out. Too bad I can't fix everything with a nice piece of lace.

I imagine that I'll get more done today as well, since there's bound to be no resolution to our issues. Yes, I'm aware that I'm being super pessimistic. It's a gift. I'll still cross my fingers for things to work themselves out, but I have no illusions that it's likely.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Radial Symmetry

Well, here we are at the start of the homeschooling year. My free time will shrink to what I can accomplish outside of that much more important responsibility. This year is starting in somewhat of a rough patch as there's been some sort of glitch with the older daughter's account. The issue is supposedly being worked on, but in the meantime we have no class materials and I can tell you it's going to be a frustrating week as we try to work around that huge handicap. So I fear I shall be whining more than usual this week, my apologies in advance.

I did mange to start another gift doily. I've sorted out all the colors for each of the recipients and managed to actually find some proper thread in stock somewhere local. Of course I'm still playing the 'use a filter to obscure the color' game just to keep something a mystery. Good thing I have so many photo editing apps on my phone, huh?

I am still also working on the shawl, but I didn't get a picture of that. I'm also pretty distracted with all that stuff from the first paragraph, so here's hoping I manage some creative work this week at all. I'll likely really need the stress relief it brings. Pleasing radial symmetry bring me peace.

Friday, August 26, 2016

One More Done

For some reason I thought I was much further from done with the doily I was working on, but I managed to finish it up yesterday. Of course the photo is manipulated again to obscure the color since it's a gift for someone who might see it online and I want to keep at least some part of it a mystery.

Once this one was done and pressed, it hadn't been yet in the photo, I went back to the shawl. I didn't make enough progress on that piece to warrant a photograph though. I'll likely grab another ball of thread and start another gift doily soon. I sure hope the intended recipients are okay with these as gifts, because I appear to be going all in on them.

In other news, some of the pre-schooling year drama has been resolved, but there are still more issues that are clearly not going to be resolved in time for Monday's first day of school. I spent much of yesterday in a state of heightened anxiety and I imagine I'll be living there for the next week or two. I'm just one of those people who likes to be prepared and get started on things early. These delays and set backs are  seriously eating at me. At least I have knots to tie to try and keep myself distracted.  I fear it's going to continue to be rough beginning.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fit For A Cat

If anything, my stress levels went up yesterday as the oldest child's teacher attempted and failed to resolve some of our issues. It's not really her fault, it's just time is short and I'm losing my ability to be patient with things like busy help lines. So instead I focused on knotting. I got the shawl experiment to about 14 inches. It's now big enough to be a cat shawl. No, the cat did not enjoy the modeling gig. I was starting to lose patience with the yarn about this point as well, so I switched back to the doily.

I cannot begin to explain how much nicer the thin thread is to work with especially after the stretchy yarn that snags on itself. The smaller piece also has the advantage of perfect density which allows no sliding of the knots. It was actually relaxing to go back to the doily for awhile, so I think switching back and forth between them is definitely the way to get them both done faster.

Today will likely bring more school stresses and hopefully more knots will be tied. I'm just hoping that I survive the next couple of weeks without day drinking, because it feels like that's a distinct possibility right now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


So the homeschooling year starts on Monday, but we've been fielding all sorts of setbacks as the day gets closer. The youngest child is all set and ready to go, but the oldest child still hasn't gotten her class materials and we've had various account issues. The teacher is working on it all, but we've had no progress on resolutions thus far. All of this has led to me being way more stressed out than I like to be. Stressed out also equals distracted and distracted equals unproductive. I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's a miracle I managed to spend any time make lace yesterday at all.

I got a few more rows created in what I'm now calling the Armenian lace shawl experiment. It's about 9 inches across right now. I've no set end length, but I think it's a long way off. The biggest challenge now is trying to keep the top edge straight as I'm really making up the rules of reversing work right now. I'll likely end off by working a row along the top edge anyway. Of course I have no idea how long from now that will be, but I suppose this project will work well as a, between other pieces, time killer, so it could be months.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


So yesterday I was working along on my most recent doily when I had a thought, well, it was a resurgence of a thought actually. Days ago, someone on my facebook page made a comment on one of my Armenian lace photos about wanting a shawl like that. I thought, well of course that's possible, but I let it pass by. Then yesterday I grabbed a skein of yarn and decided to try it out for a change of pace.

So first let me talk about the yarn choice. It's Loops and Thread,
Wool-like. It's soft and has a bit of a stretch to it which does not lend itself well to the knotting process. To say it's fiddly would be an understatement. That being said it's working up with a lovely drape for a shawl. If I had something perhaps cotton on hand, I would have probably chose that instead, but I work with what I have. I'm using a large blunt embroidery needle, so undoing any mistakes is pretty much right out. Luckily that hasn't been an issue yet, but it is more difficult to create loops in the right size as the fibers seem to grab on to each other where the yarn runs over during the knotting. I guess what I'm saying is that this takes a lot more concentration and attention to detail.

As you can see, it's working up quite quickly regardless of the difficulties. I know it will slow down as it grows, but I'll keep at it as long as I can. I don't even knit or crochet shawls save for maybe once or twice, but I do want to see if I can get it to size if, for no other reason, to say that I've done it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Weekend Recap

The weekend wasn't very productive, but I did get an order in for a bracelet that needed making so I had that to do at least. I've only made this piece maybe twice before and I couldn't initially figure out how I did it. Yes, I'm aware how sad that sounds. Eventually I remembered and got it done in the requested brass beads. I actually like it better with them, but these represent the last of those beads I have on hand. I might finally order some new supplies before the holidays get here, but sales continue to be painfully few and far between, so it will likely just be absolute necessities when I do.

I also missed the closing ceremonies yesterday which apparently had a tribute to the lace making of Brazil, which if I'm guessing right, looks like a form of bobbin lace. Almost makes me want to bust out my bobbins again, not quite though. They turned out to be too cumbersome a process for me to really enjoy. I prefer the simplicity of creating with just a needle and thread. It certainly is lovely to see giant lace on the world stage though.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Happy Friday all. Yesterday I discovered that I could pedal my new recumbent stationary bike and knot Armenian lace at the same time. Of course I was slower at both, but it's nice to know that I can exercise and make lace at the same time. I haven't tried tatting yet because I'm afraid the ball of thread would be unwieldy, maybe I finally need one of those ball holders from Handy Hands.

In other news today is the last day for my birthday sale. Use the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY30 for 30% off everything in my etsy shop. This is my last sale until the holidays, so take advantage while you can.

I also have a winner for the fusion lace pendant giveaway. The random number generator picked Trish G! I don't have any contact information, so shoot me an email(my address is in my profile) or message me on etsy to claim your prize. Again, thank you for all the lovely comments everyone.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I spent most of the morning finishing up an Armenian lace necklace that recently sold and then it was just back to the doily. The one I'm working on now is at about 18cm right now. I'll likely work it to that same 25-28cm as the others. It makes them a nice Goldilocks size. I'm working on a section of basket stitch right now and I do love the little star that forms as I finish one.

I did have one more sale yesterday. This time it was a cat ear headband. I already had extras of those made so there's no rush to make more. Though now that I think about it, Halloween is coming soon and that's when I do tend to sell more of those, so maybe today I'll make some ears along with the doily knotting. I guess we'll just have to see how the day goes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Not Much

I spent all day working on orders and then didn't take a single picture. Thus today's post is extra boring. I still have one more piece to finish for the orders I've gotten, but it has been a rather unsuccessful sale so far and once that's finished I'll be back to the Armenian lace doily. The home schooling year is less than two weeks away now as well, so I need to start focusing on that and getting the kids back in the schooling groove. And well, I guess that's it for me this morning.

Oh, and just the usual reminder that the sale and giveaway are on until Friday. The sale code is HAPPYBIRTHDAY30 for 30% off in my etsy shop and the giveaway is located here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Well, That's Over

Thank you guys so much for all the birthday wishes. I really do appreciate them! I had a nice, if low
key, day. We tried to shop and found nothing to buy. We went out for frozen yogurt, watched a movie, and had some family over for pizza because I just couldn't be bothered to clean the house enough to do anything more elaborate.

I did have some sitting time so I worked on this Armenian lace piece. Since it's going to be a gift, I'm taking these slightly ridiculous colorized pictures to share my work without giving away the color and fine details.

I did get a couple of orders yesterday for my birthday sale, so today it's down to getting those made up. I've got a pair of barefoot sandals that need making and a pair of earrings that just need to be remade. I decided I earned taking yesterday off, so I saved them for today.

The sale is still up until Friday. Use the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY30 for 30% off anything in my shop. Also, you can still enter to win the fusion lace pendant by leaving a comment on yesterday's post.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Happy Birthday To Me

Okay, so I wasn't sure until this very moment that I was going to go ahead and celebrate my birthday in a public manner. You see it's one of those 'big' birthdays. You know, the ones with a zero at the end that card companies have a whole section devoted to. I know it's not really a big deal, but it's made maybe not worse, but more prominent, by the fact that I am the oldest child in my family and they are all making a big deal out of it. So if I'm going to suffer the slings and arrows of the birthday anyway, might as well be in on it too, right?

So while I'll gladly accept gifts(address provide upon request, or amazon/etsy gift cards to totusmel[at], I'll just default to my traditional birthday celebration of an etsy sale. Get 30% off this year, partly because that's how old I wish I was, with the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY30. The sale will run through Friday to give everyone enough time to see this and take advantage of it if they choose. a bonus I thought I'd do a really small giveaway as well. Just leave a comment here on this post to win a fusion lace pendant in your choice of colors. I'll choose the winner of this on Friday as well. I guess it's off to face the day now, goodbye 30's, I'll miss you.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Well, as you might have guessed, yesterday was a bit of a slog. I spent the morning getting to the doctor to get treated for what ailed me. Luckily it was pretty obvious what that was, so I didn't spend too much time there. On the down side, the rest of the day was almost as bad as the morning had been. It'll likely be at least a couple of days on antibiotics before I get to feeling back to normal. And don't get me started on the day long headache that started right after returning from the doctor, it was brutal.

Despite all that I got an order in my etsy shop just before I left, so when I got back, I had pieces to make. First up was my Rosette tassel necklace. I love making tassels, though I'm not exactly sure why. The tatting on this piece is pretty small, so it was done quickly.

After that it was one my best selling necklaces, well it used to be
anyway. This one I could make in my sleep. It was adapted from one of my favorite 40's era tatting books where it was part of a chair cover. Once this was made I kinda curled up on the couch and tried to rest the remainder of the day. I feel a touch better this morning, but I can already feel the headache started to form at my temples. I just hope this clears up quickly and I'm in a better mood come Monday.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


I'm not feeling so hot this morning, so this will be just a quick post to show you what I worked on yesterday. It was a custom order for a purple petals slave bracelet. After that was done I worked on a new Armenian lace piece that is most likely a holiday gift, I hope. That's all I'm going to write for now. I think it's time to go lay back down for a spell and see if I feel any better later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


All done. It took much more of the day than I had anticipated to finish, but the gray Armenian lace piece is now finished. It measures just over 27cm which makes it just a touch smaller than the purple one. I've pretty much accepted that I could never come up with a reasonable price point for these that would come close to how much labor is put into them. Instead I think they might be the beginning of holiday gifts after all. I'm starting to think a nice shadow box frame should work to make them gift-able.

I was worried about what I was going to start on today, but I woke up to another small custom order. That should at least take care of this morning. Then I suppose I'll try to decide what colors would fit what people in my life to make more of these doilies. I also hope I have enough design ideas to make each one unique. Of course this idea is still brand new in my head so it could still die a painless death. I'm not really certain that anyone I know would actually want one as a gift. I suppose I could ask, but that's always awkward. Oh well, I have tatting to do today. I'll worry on it later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Back To Work

It was nice to have projects all day long yesterday. In fact, I only got to touch the Armenian lace doily after dinner. Even then I wasn't even able to finish a whole round. The day started making a custom length bracelet in linen thread. I like the way the linen works up , with a bit of a unfinished look to it, but it can be a pain to work with. It's got such an inconsistent width and it's peppered with little lumps that I can sometimes fix, but not always.

After that it was onto remaking my hybrid lace bracelet. Originally the customer had requested it in anther color, but then settled on the original. Since it was the first one I sold, I needed to remake it with the original here to make sure I had the design right. I can do it from picture, but it's so much easier with the piece in my hand.

The last one for the day I didn't take a picture of. It was a wide tatted bracelet. Again, it was originally suppose to be a custom piece, but the customer opted for the original length. Since I sold it as a custom with the original still listed, I needed to remake it quickly or take it out of the shop. Luckily I was working quite quickly yesterday and I managed to get that remade as well.

Today I have nothing left in queue, so I should be able to finish the gray Armenian lace doily. Of course once that's done I'll need to come up with a new side project to keep me busy. Maybe it's already time to start thinking about holiday gifts that I could be making. Maybe not...I'll think of something.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Weekend Recap

Well, I woke up this morning to a custom order in my etsy shop, so I have something new to work on today. Over the weekend it was just the Armenian lace though. I'm very close to done on this one. I'm at about 23cm across and I'm going for about 26cm. I think after the next pattern section it will actually be a little bigger than that and I will be almost out of the the thread I'm using for it as well. I also thought it would be more fun to add the cat to the the doily picture for this one.

The rest of the weekend was pretty lazy. There were some errands, a movie night and some cleaning. The summer definitely feels like it's winding down even though there are about three weeks left before we're back to schooling. I fear I have missed my opportunity to anything 'big' creatively over the summer. I have enjoyed the doilies though, so I suppose it's fine. They may not have been hugely challenging, but I think they turned out well.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Two Days

Sorry that I didn't write yesterday morning. My computer didn't want to play nice with our internet connection. It was fixed later in the morning, but my routine had already been upended so I didn't bother. That just means that you get two pictures of Armenian lace progress, the one from Wednesday and the one from yesterday. Wednesday I was still working it with the same basic repeating design.

Yesterday I decided that it was getting unwieldy at the long loops and it was best to revert to small loop rounds to strengthen the piece. After a few rounds of those I'm changing it up again. Initially I was going to repeat the design at the center, but the spacing won't work right, so I'm just winging it again and hoping that I have developed enough of an instinct with the knotting to not screw it up entirely at this point. It's at about 18cm right now and I'm already running low on thread so I'm not sure how big it'll grow before I have to call it finished. I'm pretty pleased with it so far though, so whenever that it should be fine.

One last thing, thank you for the comments regarding teaching this skill. I'm still a little wary as my information on the background of Armenian lace is so thin, but I suppose that's not the most important bit. Maybe I'll get up the courage when this one is done to do a basic tutorial. I'll just think on it some more I guess.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


A full half of yesterday was spent sitting in the eye doctor's office with the family, because that's what happens when you schedule 4 appointments in a row and 3 of you have your eyes dilated extending the appointment. The first half of the day was pretty nice though. Look what I got in the mail from Instructables. It's a neat new prize pack. I know I haven't put anything new on that site in a while, but I do go there all the time to learn new things. It's my first stop when curiosity hits.

I've been getting a few comments on facebook asking for an Armenian knotted lace tutorial, but I don't think I'm quite good enough, or more importantly, knowledgeable enough of the technique to teach it. I mean, everything I know I learned from one book or experimentation. Does that even remotely qualify me to teach something to other people? No, really I'm asking. What do you think?

Leaving that question, this is what I got done on the gray piece during the day. I actually worked on it a bit in the waiting room before my eyes were dilated and I could no longer see. I didn't measure it so I'm not sure how big it is right now. I think I'm going to continue with the design I've worked out by growing the points every new round. So far it's working out okay, but this one is just pure guesswork. I'll likely just work it up to about the same size as the purple one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Done and Started

I had a weird day yesterday. We had AT&T guys coming out to work on our internet and of course
anytime that's happening, you spend much of your day waiting. Bonus, I got to spend much of it without the television or internet to entertain me while I knotted. Regardless, I still got the purple piece done. I still don't know what will be done with it though. For now it's just sitting on my desk looking pretty.

Since I was waiting all day and couldn't think of anything better to do with my time, I picked up some gray thread and started another Armenian lace project. I started the piece based on an existing pattern. Then, a couple of rounds in, I decided to just make it up as I went. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing at this point. I'm just making choices at the beginning of each round and hoping that they look nice as the piece grows. It appears I have become a little addicted to the knotting. Though I do really miss tatting. I guess I just haven't had any good tatting ideas in a while and the Armenian lace keeps my hands busy.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Almost Done

Much of the weekend was spent binging the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix with the family. I know we're late to the party, but I'm glad I watched that first episode on a whim. Anyway all that sitting got me almost to done with my purple Armenian lace piece. This picture was Friday as I was just starting the last round of pineapples. I made these ones even bigger than the previous round and there was the fear of ruffles again. Pressing after each round proved to be the way to go though. It's not flat as a board.

This is last night just before the last couple of rounds. It looks like the final size will be around 28cm or 11 inches. I had initially thought it should be about 10 inches, but it needed that pineapple round on the outside, so I'm stopping as soon as I get a nice small loop edge on it. That means it'll be done today and then I get to wonder what to do next. I really want to keep it, but I also really need to be selling things, so perhaps I'll list it in the shop anyway and if it doesn't sell after a few months, then I'll frame it. Of course I've never tried to actually sell a doily because the amount of work involved is so much more than the perceived value of a purely decorative piece of lace. Part of that is because you can get crochet doilies for a couple of bucks pretty much anywhere and most people don't know the difference. I guess I'll just think on it for a while. Then I'll have to think on what lace project to tackle next.