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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Let's Help a Friend

 Hello, Lovely Tatters.

I know we're all in full swing with this pandemic, and I truly hope that all those I reach with these mediocre little posts of mine are safe and happy and prospering.

I have something that is weighing on me, and I'm hoping you will indulge me by listening and letting your heart be your guide.

Lisa Adams, who runs the Tatting Corner in Indiana, does a LOT for the tatting community, not just in the USA but internationally.  I know for a fact that she arranges for things to be shipped to her store and then makes a regular bulk shipment out of the country to many places simply because the cost of shipping to places of say, Australia, can be prohibitive.  She does other things, too, and I really am not privy to those, but it's a lot.  

Things in her world right now are a bit dark.  Her husband, Chuck, is currently in the hospital recovering from heart bypass surgery.  There were some setbacks they didn't foresee, and although he should be at home right now recovering, he isn't.  He's improving, and that's the good thing, but it means he has spent more time in hospital with critical care than they were expecting, and in the USA, this causes the costs to rise exponentially.  Their insurance will cover SOME of the costs, but not all of them.  If Lisa can't get help financially, she's going to have to close her shop to get a "regular" job that will pay her bills.  

Please understand that The Tatting Corner is not in trouble.  It is self-sustaining, and anything extra that Lisa has been able to take from the store has been invested in finding things to sell to the crafting community she serves, so there's no real "income" taken from the business.

Lisa and her family are in danger of losing their home.  Yes, they are.  For my Canadian readers, this is something we don't need to deal with at all.  When we have a medical need, our Universal Health Care (which isn't free, it's paid for with our taxes, but it's something we all need) usually takes care of it and we aren't faced with trying to deal with the stress of a recovering loved one AND the stress of collection agencies trying to get blood from a stone, and we're not faced with the possibility of losing our home just to pay for medical care.

Lisa has set up a GoFundMe and while it has had lots of activity, it's short of what they need for Chuck to recover comfortably.  If you can find it in your heart and your pocketbook to contribute, please do so.  You can post anonymously, but Lisa will know who you are and believe me, she WILL thank you personally.  Here is the link for that:

Help the Adams Family with Medical Expenses


That smiling fuzzy face is the man himself, Chuck.  He is as much a part of the Tatting Corner as is Lisa. No, he doesn't tat, but he is frequently involved when there is a long drive to be made, or if there are things needing fixed.

Another thing Lisa has done since she opened her shop has been her "12 Days of Christmas" sale.  I'll post some links here, but I will also repost, in Lisa's own words, how the sale works:

Tatting Corner

Tatting Corner's Annual 12 Days of Christmas Sale

Tatting Corner Main Page on Facebook

And, as promised, here are Lisa's own words on how the sale works:

Welcome to Tatting Corner’s Annual 12 Days of Christmas sale! This year’s sale will start on Friday, November 13, 2020. If this is your first time participating in the sale, please take a moment to read the instructions below – they’re important.

How does it work? Each morning, at approximately 9 a.m., a product or class of products will go on sale. I’ll make the daily announcement on my Facebook page, several groups where I’m allowed to post sales, and a message will go out on the mailing list. You’ll have 24 hours to select your items and pay for them. (DON’T leave them in your cart; when the sale ends, your cart will return to the normal price.) You will use a special code in the coupon redemption box (this year it’s CHRISTMAS20) so the system will not charge you shipping. Do this as many times as you like throughout the sale (even more than once a day!); the code will tell me that you’re participating in the sale and I will not ship your product.

Once the 12 days have elapsed, I will pack everyone’s orders up and figure out one shipping cost for all the orders that each person placed during the sale. You’ll then get an invoice from PayPal for the shipping cost (which you can pay with a debit or credit card; no need to have a PayPal account). Once you pay that, I’ll ship your package. And yes, international participants are very welcome!

Please note: this year’s sale’s last day will be Tuesday, November 24. This will affect the final order delivery – it will arrive on Monday, November 30. That’s when I’ll be able to start the process of packing orders and invoicing shipping.

Seriously, what could be better? You’ll get products on sale, and save a bundle on your shipping costs by combining all your purchases into one shipment. Well, there’s one more benefit this year – for every $10 USD you spend (not including the shipping charges at the end of the sale, or any taxes) you’ll be entered into a drawing for three fantastic prizes - $50 gift certificates to Tatting Corner!



I will leave it at that. I hope you're able to take advantage of the sale. I know I will be!! I get to stock up on goodies at a good price and I get to help a friend, and I get a chance at a gift certificate! Like Lisa said, what could be better?!


In the meantime, I wish you all


Happy Tatting!



Tuesday, November 3, 2020

An Interview with Deana Mackenzie

Hello, Lovely Tatters!

I must apologize for my lack of presence.  I've been struggling with some personal matters and couldn't get online beyond a quick text here or there, but I'm here now.  I've not been out of contact, I've just been stupid busy with a great many things at home, and I humbly apologize.

I have another tatter for you all to "meet".  May I introduce to you Ms. Deana Mackenzie!  I first met Deana in 2018 when she and some friends from Ontario travelled to Indiana for Lisa Greenlee Adams' first Tat Days.  She's a lovely person to chat with, and she's made me giggle on many occasions since.

Let's get on with this post!  As before, the answers provided by this lovely person have been posted in red italics.  Without further ado, may I present to you "An Interview with Deana Mackenzie":

1.  How long have you been tatting?  

Approximately 40 years

2.  What first drew you to learn? 

An article in a miniature magazine for a table cloth tatted in silk sewing thread. (I have long misplaced the book and have never tackled the pattern)

3.  How did you learn; did you have a teacher? 

I basically struggled to teach myself from old books for about 2 years.  I eventually visited an aunt, who didn't know how to tat but finally took a look at what I was doing and could say I was missing the flip.  I practiced, practiced, and practiced more and finally achieved "the flip" she was describing to me.  Eventually the internet came around and I found lots of help there.

4.  Needle, shuttle, both? Why? 

I primarily shuttle tat, however I have dabbled in both and can see the usefulness of learning both methods.  Having learned with a shuttle I don't like the long piece of thread that you seem to have to pull through your work when using a needle.

5.  What do you get from this artform? 

I get the satisfaction of keeping an older artform current and being able to share unique handcrafted gifts.  Also, I love the looks on people’s faces when they realize it is NOT crochet but instead all completed with knots.

6.  Are any other family members tatters?

As far as I know we have no other tatters in our family's history.

7. Do you have an online “presence”; a blog or Facebook page you’d like to see folks visit more? 

I am active in Facebook but I do not have an active blog.

8. Have you published any books or patterns, designed any gadgets or developed any techniques? 

I leave this up to those who have the creative talents to design.  I do appreciate all those creative people and hours they commit to designing for those of use who are design challenged.  I support many of these creative people by purchasing their patterns and do some test tatting for some.

9. Does your family support your art?  What kinds of accommodations do they make?

My parents have been very supportive in my early years by buying everything tatting they could find tatting related, often having to stay to the end of an auction to buy a box lot for that one little shuttle they spotted in a bottom of a box or a seat of a sewing machine.  Thanks to them I have a "small" collection of older shuttles and books dating back to the 1800's (I think 1849)

10.  What does tatting do for you? 

Currently it is giving me lots to do during the COVID lockdown.  It a good relaxation activity as well as an instigator to many unfinished projects to make sure I’m never bored.

11.  Have you entered competitions? Shows? Anything you’d like to brag about? 

I have not entered any competitions.

12.  What do you hope to accomplish with your art? 

Hopefully I am passing along the artform to some younger people who might someday pass it along to another generation.

13.  Is there anything you DON’T like about tatting? 

Making mistakes and having to cut off hours of work or picking out 100s of knots.

14.  Have you taught others to tat? Are any of your family members interested in learning? 

I will teach anyone that is interested.  We have a small group that meets at a library it is free for anyone who wants to come and learn.  I have also done some one on one sessions and am always willing to teach when I'm demonstration this artform.

15.  Where do see this artform in general in, say, 20 years? 

Well tatting seems to become popular every 20 years every time there are new patterns, new techniques, and new ideas.  In 20 years, if I'm still alive, I can only imagine how awestruck I will be to see how it evolves.  I can't imagine since todays patterns are so wonderful and intricate.

16.  Anything you’d like to say about tatting in general?  

Although tatting can be frustrating, it is relaxing for the most part.  I can only look at an old piece of tatting with admiration and wonder about the tatter who completed the work, If it is old enough how did the person ever accomplish such a piece with only a candle or oil lamp? Although tatting may fall out of popularity, I know tatting will never become a totally lost artform; there will always be someone passing the artform down to another generation.  Currently we have a family with 4 children ranging from about 4 to 13 all who are tatting along with all us older folks and enjoying their accomplishments. 

I remember chatting with Deana when I first met her, and  was thrilled when I found out that she lived not far from Cambridge, Ontario.  I mentioned that I had lived in both Kitchener and in Waterloo, and that I had struggled to learn to tat when I lived there.  I didn't have consistent access to reliable internet or I would have been attending the Fringe Tatters events and getting some help!

By the way, Fringe Element Tatters are on Facebook, you can find them under "Fringe Tatters" in a search, but look for this photo.  

They hold an annual event (except for this year, of course) and it is very well-attended by artists from both Canada and the United States.  Deana is a regular attendee and you should look her up when you go.  I'm sure she'd be happy to meet another artist!

Happy Tatting!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

"Our Canada" Magazine

Hello, Lovely Tatters!  What a time I'm having in my garden!  I have tomatoes going gangbusters, a strawberry "patch" that just keeps on giving, raspberries of my own for the first time in my life, and a potato condo that looks like it's going to be a really wonderful idea!  My one lonely corn stalk, however, may cause me and Beloved to draw pistols over the one ear of corn it is producing.  My philosophy is that this is a "learning garden" and learning I am!  My broccoli and cauliflower are not usable at all, and my carrots are so small we will likely just make a meal out of the whole crop.  I have learned a great deal, though.  Container gardening gives me far fewer problems than gardening in the ground directly, that's for sure!

I wonder if any of you have ever heard of a magazine called "Our Canada"?  It's published about 6 times a year, and once in a while they publish stories that catch my eye.

In the October/November 2017, there was an article printed in their "Crafty Canadians" column that was titled "And Sew On".

Now, ordinarily I wouldn't give it another look, but there was a word that caught my eye just under the title:

...tatting...

I used to live in Nova Scotia, where this article is penned.  I didn't think there were other tatters there, although I have learned that Karen Negus (with whom I have done an interview) lives not too far from where I was, and now I find the author of this article lives not too far from there, too.

Here is the article:



This article is written by Barbara Watson and outlines how very special a bond can develop over a craft of any kind.  I have to admit to thinking "why didn't I know about any of these talented Bluenosers (that's what folks from Nova Scotia call themselves) when I was living down there 20 years ago and feeling like I was the only one that tatted?  

Well, it only goes to show that talented people don't like to blow their own horns.  At least, not tatters.  I have never met a more humble group of people than tatters, and more-so among Canadian tatters.  We love our chosen art, we love talking about it, we will help you until the cows come home, but as for bragging about our own skills?  Ah, no, we just don't do that.  Most Canadian tatters I know prefer to work in the shadows and quietly help those that find us with questions.

This is why I'm doing interviews with Canadian tatters, and snooping out articles and Canadian entries into the blogosphere.  I look for Canadian tatters online, something I couldn't do when I started because going "online" when I was learning just wasn't possible.  The internet didn't exist!  We muddled along in silence, not knowing where to look for information but overjoyed when we found a book in a library or found someone that knew what we were doing!

Canadians, as a whole, are exceptional craftspeople, and the world needs to know we're here and we're not going anywhere!

Happy tatting!

Monday, July 27, 2020

An Interview with Jeff Hamilton

Hello, Lovely Tatters!!!

Well, here we are in a week where the guy on the radio keeps warning of rain and thunderstorms and the app on my phone says it's going to be dry and warm, or vice versa.  Either way, I find myself daily ill-prepared for the weather that we get.  I would love more rain because it means less heat, (heat drives me downstairs)and allows things to cool off while giving my garden a fighting chance.  You should see my tomatoes!

I got a WONDERFUL note today from a gentleman named Jeff Hamilton, who agreed to answer my interview questions!!  There are a couple of things that I wanted to know about Jeff beyond the fact that he's a "knotty" guy.  One thing that I find interesting is that he lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is where my daughter lives!  I hope one day to be able to sit down and have a coffee with Jeff and spend time just getting to know him better.  He seems a lovely fellow (and tatters have great stories!)

However, yes, I was hoping to get a perspective on how he might feel being a big burly guy engaging in a delicate artform like tatting when it's perceived as a "ladies' " kind of craft.  I was so pleased to see he has had really positive receptions.  I know a lot of men that would never try something remotely like this.  Personally, I found it very refreshing!  I get so tired of "women's work" analogies because most men I know that do any kind of fibre art are doggoned good at it!

Jeff has a very nicely laid-out blog at Bridge City Tatting (link is in the list to your right), and there are a couple of patterns there that I find quite intriguing.  He's not just a tatter, either, but also enjoys knitting and crocheting, which are also featured on his blog.

I know you didn't tune in here to hear me yack.  As before, answers to the questions I asked are in red italics, and are copied word-for-word. Now, here we are with "An Interview with Jeff Hamilton":

1. How long have you been tatting? 

I’ve been tatting for about 21 years. I first learned when I was around 16 years old. 

2  What first drew you to learn? 

found a tatting shuttle amongst my mom’s stuff that belonged to a relative who tatted. I was curious about what it was for. I later found a tatting booklet with my mom’s crochet magazines. Recognizing what the shuttle was for I decided I wanted to learn how to tat.

3. How did you learn; did you have a teacher? 

I first attempted to learn from a tatting booklet I found. I later went on the internet and found additional information, including a website with very basic videos/animated gifs (by today’s standards), that allowed me to see and understand the movements. I should point out that the internet had only been around for a few years at this point. 

4. Needle, shuttle, both? Why? 

I can do both, but mainly shuttle tat. I learned shuttle tatting first, then gave needle tatting a try. I think I prefer shuttle tatting just because I learned it first. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages.

5. What do you get from this artform?    

Like most of the needlework I do, I mainly tat as a form of relaxation. It helps with stress relief as well and I get a pretty and/or useful object when I’m finished.

6. Are any other family members tatters? 

Unfortunately no. I’m the only living person in my family who tats. There has been a few in the past that tats, but I don’t know anything about them. I only have a couple shuttles from one of them.

7. Do you have an online “presence”; a blog or Facebook page you’d like to see folks visit more? 

I have a blog, http://bridgecitytatting.blogspot.com, that I've been documenting my tatting adventures.  unfortunately, I haven't updated it in a while.  I am also on Instagram @jeffhamilton2, which I set up to share my needlework.  Alas, it doesn't get updated as much as it should, either.  I should probably get on that!

8. Have you published any books or patterns, designed any gadgets or developed any techniques? 

I’ve released a few tatting patterns over the years. I still have a couple that are yet to be released.

9. Does your family support your art? What kinds of accommodations do they make? 

As a single guy, I don’t have to worry about it. I think for a most part, my family supports my tatting and other needlecrafts. My mom especially loved my work as she was unable to craft later in her life. I hope to one day have a partner who also does some form of needlecraft, so we can work on our projects together.

10.What does tatting do for you? 

It’s relaxing and I get a piece of lace when I’m done. 

11.Many people still have the old-fashioned idea that any kind of needlework or threadwork is “women’s work” and are shocked or embarrassed to see a gentleman engaging in anything like that. Have you had any comments made about your tatting? 

I’ve done some form of needlework since I was a kid. I used to do a lot of crocheting in public as a kid when my mom had a table at the local Farmer’s Market. Frequently had older ladies make lots of positive comments about it. They absolutely loved seeing a young boy doing some form of needlework.

12.Have you entered competitions? Shows? Anything you’d like to brag about? 

Sadly no. Although I have considered it many times. I was one of many tatters that were interviewed for an article in Maclean’s magazine in 2012. 

13.What do you hope to accomplish with your art? 

I hope to keep the art form alive. Tatting is still not as widely practiced as knitting and crochet are. I do want to publish more patterns and give back to the tatting community.

14.Is there anything you DON’T like about tatting? 

As I know many tatters are aware, tatting supplies aren’t as readily available as other crafting supplies. Finishing the lace, hiding ends, etc, are not as easily done and tend to require planning to look good. Definitely wish it could be done as easily as crochet or knitting.

15.Have you taught others to tat? Are any of your family members interested in learning? 

Not yet. Haven’t had anyone express interest, sadly. 

16.Where do see this artform in general in, say, 20 years? 

I honestly don’t see tatting becoming as popular as knitting during this time, but I do expect that it will still be alive and well. With tatting gaining popularity in many other countries, and many pattern books coming out of countries like Japan and South Korea, they’ll be plenty of new patterns for many years to come. The internet will continue to be a very important means for tatters to continue to share their work, patterns, new techniques, and of course access to supplies. 

17.Anything you’d like to say about tatting in general?

For anyone who doesn’t tat, you should totally give it a shot! It’s cheap and portable and you can make just about anything. Tatting may not be a mainstream craft, but it’s not lost!

I can't thank Jeff enough for his responses here.  I'm so very glad to be able to present these interviews with Canadian tatting artists from so many areas of the country and from such diverse backgrounds.  That's what I love about tatting!  We can all speak the same language and backgrounds be darned!

Happy tatting!

Friday, July 17, 2020

A Salute to "Lap Warmers"

Hello, Lovely Tatters!
It's a stinkin' hot day outside, I have work to do inside and I'm just not inspired to do it.  I'll get to it, but I have to get my work hat on and I just don't think it will fit without another cup of coffee, so here I am.

I make no secret about having pets, but I've had a great many inquiries about what I mean about a "geriatric cat".  Seems a lot of my knotty friends have a furry lap warmer and are always looking to see what someone else's looks like.  

Well, here is the story of Mrs. Katz.  This is her, in her favourite relaxation pose:


In case you can't see it, she has one wee white toe and her underside has white markings that look remarkably like a little teeny weeny bikini.

Mrs. Katz will be 13 years old next month, but you'd never know it.  She still hunts, fights with the neighbour's yearling cat (they cannot tolerate each other), and she is rarely home during the day in the summer.  She even has a boyfriend, although I don't know why as Mrs. Katz's "fun in the sun" days were taken care of by the vet shortly after she arrived at our house.

I "inherited" her when she was about 4 months old.  She was the tiniest little bit of fluff you ever saw and even at that small age, a complete and fully realized diva.  She demanded food at the most unforgivable hours of the night, loved to lay on my neck when I was sleeping, and followed me like a shadow.  Mind, I wasn't supposed to NOTICE that there was a tiny black puff-ball following me, but she did.

This is her supervising the cleaning of the bathroom:


I wasn't supposed to know she had quietly slinked her way into the bathtub, but you know that feeling when you think someone is watching you? Yeah... 

My most remarkable memory of her is of when she fought off three coyotes from under our step.  Yes, three.  We live in a very rural area, and it's nothing for the coyotes to gang up on housepets and other animals.  

I heard a really awful ruckus outside the door, and when I went to investigate, I saw three coyotes desperately trying to get at something under the step.  Suddenly this little black paw comes out from under that step and I think it did some real damage because that coyote yipped away across the road and into the field.  Another swipe with that paw and the second coyote yipped, but it wasn't until another swipe with that same paw had it shake its head (spraying blood on my step) and it, too, ran into the field behind his friend.  

By this time, I had realized it was my sweet kitty underneath that step, and these beasties were bent on making her their lunch!  I grabbed the broom and beat the third one away, and when I called to her, Mrs. Katz came into the house in a big hurry.

I know I shouldn't, but I still have to giggle at this 8-lb. cat standing stiff-legged and wild-eyed in the middle of my kitchen, tail straight in the air, and every hair in her coat standing straight up on end.  Her eyes were the size of loonies, and she looked like a black cotton ball with eyes glued on it.

I've not had to fight off any critters trying to make a meal of her, but she's still one tough little beastie.  She's my cuddle-buddy at night and purrs so loud I think she's going to burst, but sometimes it's the only way I can get to sleep.  It's an excuse to make sure she's in the house at night.

Anyway, I really should go get my work done.  Do you have any lap-warmers that help you?

Happy Tatting!




Thursday, July 16, 2020

Adding to the Shops List!

Hello again, Lovely Tatters!!  I'm just puttering along with all these wonderful places that are coming to me out of the woodwork!  I'm happy to keep adding to the list.  Even just a little bit of supplies is better than nothing.

May I present to you "Aunt Debbie's Knit & Stitch Shop" located at #6-5016 Vedder Road in Chilliwack, BC.  Because of the current pandemic, their operating hours are reduced, of course, but I think it would be a real treat to go visit the Fraser Valley's largest and oldest yarn shop.  You just know you're going to find something special when they advertise things like that!


Does this not look like the most inviting little space?

Again, Aunt Debbie's might be a place that has predominantly catered to the knit and crochet crowd, but they acknowledge, as do a growing number of vendors and suppliers, that tatting is growing in popularity and people need to be able to access supplies!  

In requesting her permission to add her shop's information to the blog here, the shop's namesake, Debbie Cote, did say that her suppliers were a bit slow lately with re-stocking.  Given the current global situation, that's not terribly hard to understand.  Everything is slowed down to nearly the speed of a rampaging sloth.  It's better than a standstill, but it's still really slow. She also indicated she was going to put more pictures of what they offer for tatting supplies on the website, so be sure to check back there frequently!

Anyway, if you're looking for something specific, I might encourage you to give the shop a call at 604-824-7790 and ask directly for assistance and if they have a specific item in stock.  Their site address is http://www.knit-and-stitch.ca/.  Go have a look!  There are a couple of things in their "Pictures" tab that I would really like to try for myself!  So many projects, so little time...  Story of my life.

Again, if you have any other resources for tatting stores in Canada, please let me know.  I'd love to hear about any place that offers supplies, from thread to tools to beads and beyond.  It all helps.

Until next time,

Happy Tatting!






Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Shopping is Growing!!

Hello, Lovely Tatters!  Here I am again.  I'm actually writing this ahead of posting because I want to be sure I have everything in here that I've been working on the last few days.

I have TWO more shops for you!  

First up is Romni Wools on Queen St. West in Toronto!  These folks are predominantly a store that caters to the knitting and crochet crowd, but they do recognize that tatting is an important and growing art form and are stocking more for knotty folks like us.  I received an email from them and Rachel has kindly provided photos of the items they've not yet had a chance to add to their shopping site.

     

Needles and Shuttles and Thread, oh MY!


Romni Wools has a lovely and easy to navigate website address at http://romniwools.com/ where you can shop from the leisure of your own home.  If you're a "gotta touch it shopper", their brick and mortar shop, located at 658 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON., is open 11-5 Monday through Saturday.  You can email them at info@romniwools.com, or call them at 416-703-0202.  Tell them you heard about them from me!  

Pursuant my recent interview with Karen Negus, she also has an Etsy site where she sells a great many things, including some truly interesting patterns! This is one of the patterns available: