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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My stash and my sweetheart!

IsDihara asked us What's in your stash? of HDT...we addicts know exactly what that means!

Now I dye my own thread so you wouldn't expect me to have a stash....except the enormous stash of my own threads, favourites and lots of trials.......but I do have and it's getting bigger.

Dyeing takes such a long time (my way anyway!)that I just can't dye all the colour combos that are spinning around in my head. I have tried to develop my own style of dyed thread and not copy anyone that leaves me free.......TO BUY and not feel guilty!!

Here then is my stash....

....I do use it...honest....there are some bits left on card....but mainly I just take it out and adore the wonderful colours.....making the great mistake of saving it for something special!!

IsDihara has been tatting with my Rainbow Bright thread. She posted a long time ago a picture of Birgit Phelps Sweetheart design....

...she needed extra thread to complete an idea she had to add more rounds to this pattern.....well she has finished it and posted about it today...

...isn't that just stunning?

She set me off wanting to tat that I did...months ago...didn't get round to posting it.

First in a boring pale pink Flora 20....with a spiral tail ending in a trefoil...

...then in Altin Basak exactly the same as Birgit used....with a lock stitch chain tail ending in split rings...

...and finally in my Raspberry Sorbet in size 20 Coats Mercer

...I actually like this one the best because the subtle varigation does not overpower the design as with the Altin Basak.

It's a pretty easy pattern to tat once you get the hang of what joins to what.
In Flora 20 it took a total of 5m, 3.5m on the shuttle and 1.5m on the ball. It measures 6cm, (2.25in) across. add about 1m on two shuttles to make the tail.
Altin basak would take slightly less. It measures 5cm across.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fun Day!

The fun day was.....FUN!

I wonder if it could possibly have anything to do with AGE.....and a decided lack of enthusiasm for standing in a field all day queuing up to do the different activities. There are never enough to occupy us all of the time,.....maybe it had something to do with November and rain....which gradually seeps into your bones!!

I just don't know!!

We had the use of our Community Hall and the Youth Club leader very kindly said that we could use their new hall as well.

In true Girl Guide fashion we left the place as we found it. The organisation was superb...all the children were checked in by their parents on arrival and checked out before they left. All coats and bags went into gigantic plastic sacks...It's the first time ever that we haven't had belongings left behind.

I promised to show you the turkeys made from tights....

...some of them look pretty scary...some of them look just plain scared!!.....

....there were more but these were the cutest!

This day was also great because there were only ourselves and the other town in our District....2 Brownie packs, 2 Ladybird groups and 2 lots of Guides plus Ranger Guides.
About 90 youngsters and 22 Leaders/Rangers....manageable.
At some regional fundays we might get 600 children!!
This is just half of the hall!

We started our craft challenges by making Friendship Sticks...

The theme for the day was Thanksgiving so every activity (almost) had some tenuous American association and each was explained to them.
The Friendship sticks they were to decorate and then swap at the end of the day.
They had to include 3 spots, red green and yellow like traffic lights.
Let me explain the thinking.

When the first settlers left for America there was great danger and difficulties on the had to STOP and think.....
AS they overcame these difficulties they got the all
When all was well the sun came out....yellow...for Sunny Brownies.

they liked this...but we had to string it out a bit....before we could move on.
These are their sticks...

...who thought up all this....well not me this time!

On to making head dresses to remember the native Americans who already lived there.

Feathers, beads, corrugated paper (colour coded for each group!), staples and string!

Next the ages and groups were mixed up and we had to do 10 out of 16 challenges...vaguely related to America...we threw the turkeys thro hoops into a bucket, dressed up and were pulled in a box across the ocean, were pulled on a skateboard across the ocean, crawled thro tunnels, made stick men, threw wet sponges at photos of....and stuff. Plenty to keep us occupied in our 5 mins allowed.

Then it was snacks and drinks, followed by a fabulous campfire....a large foil tray filled with night lights...and the lights out.

We sang and we wiggled and jiggled until it was time to go home, swapped sticks.....sang our closing songs....

.....a big tidy up and we all agreed that it was the best ever and we should do it again.....and it was only a 10 minute drive home!!!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Update on life!

I have had so many uplifting things said about my trees and my pots, that I am beginning to rethink the purpose of blogging.

I think that it is a celebration of our lives, the things we did in the past an the things we do now...and encouragement for things we will do in the future.

Maybe you would like to see more of the stuff that I made in my pottery class???

The weather continues to be atrocious. Today is the day we had planned our district fun day for the Ladybirds, Brownies and Guides. We had a Scout campsite booked and so much planned. But it's not a good time to be thinking of travelling so it has been transferred to our Community hall where we hold our meetings. I have to raise my enthusiasm to go!

The theme is thanksgiving and all things American, they will make headdresses and bracelets, bookmarks whatever we can think of. We have all been making turkeys for a 'throw the turkey game'.
Our turkeys made by the brownies from stuffed tights are fabulous...must take a photo to show you.

Our beautiful city is still awash, not sure if the water has gone down yet as there is more and more rain adding to it. Ever since the dam released 535 tonnes of water per second on thursday night the situation has been dire. One of the main shopping street was under 5 feet of water, underground garages, the basement cafe in out new state of the art, art gallery on the university campus, hotels, shops...all swamped. The damage is estimated at 100 million euro.
I have been watching lots of U tube videos..even one on urban skim boarding down city streets. That's a new one!
The whole of the city center and a lot of surrounding districts are without drinking water, due to a major problem with a pump.

So many other small towns all built by rivers are also many roads impassable...the worst flooding ever.

Gosh am I glad I live on a hill!

Before and during all this foul weather we have been upgrading our own flood defence!

The house behind us is further up the hill and with the new deluges of torrential pours down their driveway in a torrent...across the drain that they put in , across the road and down our driveway. Our temporary barrier, drain and soak away all helped. Now we have a full barrier to send the water on it's way past somewhere else!....and a beautiful new Donegal stone crazy paved driveway..that slopes every which way to ensure the water runs off into the new drains...and not into our house and garage.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My potting experiments!

It's stopped raining for today at least, the sun shone and the sky was blue. Moved all the trees to a sheltered place...but can't keep an eye on them anymore.

Ireland is saturated, the ground can't take any more rain. Today the City is flooded,even a city hospital. The Uni has cancelled lectures as the approach road and some buildings are flooded. In the night the electricity board had to open the dam flood gates and release some water, coincided with the high tide and the river overflowed.
A dreadful weekend is forecast, we were to take the Brownies for a fun day to a Scout campsite, thankfully it has been transferred to out community hall.

I know I had you worried yesterday that all my pots had broken!!
Had me worried too! Broken pot count is up to 6 but can't find a single broken twig.

Your comments cheered me up so much. Oh LadyShuttlemaker, how I would love to have a pot made by that's not a hint...don't even think about it.

Today I thought that I would show you some of the pots that I made myself...way back when.

I went to evening class at a secondary school....the teacher made the mistake of letting me take home wadges of clay to 'play' with and she even fired all that I made...think she was proud of me!

One of the things I most wanted to make was Bonsai bowls. Mostly they were hand built with coils and slabs but on my second course I got to use the wheel...not very sucessfully but I did make enough to please me......well not nearly enough..I would have loved to have my own kiln...but ended up with a tiny enammeling kiln instead and that shut me up!

Here goes... these photos all date back to 2000 so if the trees in them have survived they look quite different today..better usually!!

This is my absolute favourite, thrown on the wheel, its tiny (about 4 inches)and has a tiny elm in it..grown from a seed...I can remember the exact tree in Italy...this pot survived the crash..unfortunately the tree I think was already defunct!

....this was made from coils and decorative lumps of clay and is much bigger...about 6 inches. This is a dwarf arctic birch. The pot was stored in my stash so survives.

...this is a rather wonky slab built pot, contains a Buxus (box), also in storage..a survivor. about 7inches.

This is another coil built pot, not a good idea to make a bowl narrower at the top than the middle. This one succumbed to frost a couple of years contains a Cotoneaster...dug up from the garden. About 5 inches.

This is another slab built pot, not very strong was smashed to smitherines yesterday a tiny 4in it contains Fuchsia molinia.

This was a pretty decent coil built pot, had an ash tee from the garden in it, now in storage.

Another slab built pot about 7 inches, contains a holly seedling from the garden, pot also in storage.

That was probably the best thrown pot that I achieved, even with decorative ridges, made by cutting notches in an old credit card!

Would have been too thick for tableware but perfect for my purpose, about 6 inches, also in store. Here it contained a blackthorn seedling Prunus spinosa.

AND this is only the tree pot part of what I made in my classes!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not my lucky day!

Remember I told you only yesterday, how atrocious our weather has been...and is!

Last night was awful....sheeting rain and blowing a gale....and it has continued all day with no let up.

Just before lunchtime while I was busy making leprechauns to placate Fergeal and listening to my iTunes....there must have been an enormous my display stand for my little trees collapsed!

Lets take a closer look....

........let's zoom in and see what's in there......see that very pale turquoisey blue the bottom left of the previous picture.....remember it.

These photos were taken through the window.....I was gutted.
We had replaced all the slats on the tables only a year or so ago and had just decided that we needed to replace the whole frame. Trying to remember how long it was since hubby made it for me...I found my photos of it's official opening....

Gosh it was 1996.....that's 13 years ago.....unlucky or what!

I started keeping and training these little trees in 1990 after a friend gave us a bag of acorns!.......Great things from little acorns grow.
They are mostly from seedlings dug up from the garden....and from garden centers.......nothing of any value...except to me. In 1990 they were nearly all in flower pots they were so small and new. Anything that didn't move I dug up and put in a pot!

My stash of pots almost exceeds my thread stash! The trees that I favoured tended to get bigger over the years...mainly because they are easier to look after.

2002 and they were looking their best....before tatting and thread dyeing reared their ugly heads. I had been suffering from a very bad neck for several years which had put an end to my craft the little trees filled the craft gap.

OK see the pale turquoisey blue pot on the bottom table, isn't that it's very best before my son forgot to water it while we were away one time and it lost a lot of it's branches..... it is again in spring 2003 together with my apple (of Apple Blossom fame)and my Japanese maples.

Now can you imagine my horror when I saw what had happened!!!!!

We decided that it called for drastic measures and rescue before it got even we donned our waterproofs......

....and look there it is one piece...a miracle.

One by one they were taken out and handed to me...but that was the one sheltered spot in the garden! so now they face the wind and rain again.
OK I know it's not a real catastrophe but it felt like it to me!

You will be amazed to know that only about 5 pots got broken and all the trees look ok but time will tell.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More on Autumn!

I was surprised how many tatters also owned a Lucet, a lot had never used it and were not sure how it was done. I am glad that I was able to stimulate you to give it another go...similarly with the French Knitting/Corking.

So how am I doing...I was away in UK for the weekend...buying even more stuff!! I did my luceting while waiting at the airport, using a large skein of a twisted pink thread..polyester I think. I would make several inches of cord ...then I would suddenly find that I had lost the plot...had one loop short!! and didn't know if I had turned or not. Un-lucetting proves again unravel and start again!

We have had so many gales and torrential rain...enough rain for the whole month already...that the beautiful autumn leaves just reaching their peak are being blasted off the trees.

A while ago I tatted more Autumn leaves but didn't have chance to show them to you.
I had downloaded the pattern by LadyShuttleMaker a long time ago...but it looked difficult and was put on one's not difficult at all! It's in the patterns section on the right on her blog.
It was just a question of not being frightened by having to use 3 ball threads and 1 shuttle...the ball threads are only used one at a time in different rounds.

I started off using colours similar to Sherry's all in Flora 20, just so that I could get the rounds right!

A darker red this time....

...and two in different colours....

It looks great in any colour mix.

I left the tails ends to bother about and added beads to make bookmarks.

The design takes in 20
...on the shuttle 2m
Ball 1...1st round 1m
Ball 2....2nd round 1.25m
Ball 3....3rd round 1.5m

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Becoming a Luceteer!

My second class was in Luceting.

I really didn't have any idea what this was...but I remember tatters mentioning it in their I signed up!

The class was given by Mr Lucet himself...Ziggy Rytka...a fellow that was a very good start.

This is what Ziggy says about Luceting

The Lucet has made cords for over one thousand years and is what ties doublet and hose in the middle ages, bodice ties for the Elizabethans, ornamental frogging in the 18th century, right up to the Victorians who made neck chains and watch fobs from silk.
It is the birthplace of bag ties, glasses cords, shoelaces...the list is endless.

This is the introduction to Ziggy's story..

I first came across the Lucet in 1992 whilst playing the part of a wounded 17c soldier in the Whitefriars Museum in Coventry. Of our troupe two of the chaps were from a medieval society and one evening, in camp, I saw them using a Lucet… They taught me the Lucet in ten minutes flat. On the way home on the mini-bus I luceted a piece of wool I had acquired from somewhere, and when that ran out, unravelled it and started again, and again!

The Lucet that he copied from the medieval players made his hands ache so he set about designing his own, came up with his best design and started producing them by hand in his workshop to take to Civil war events teaching people how to use them.

He found that the loops kept coming off the lucet in transit so he invented a bobbin which fits on to the lucet to kept them well as holding thread.

In 2003 he started The Lucet company producing a new design of plastic Lucets and bobbins.

He gave us a little drawstring bag....he said we would use our first cord for that, instruction leaflet and a card....and our choice of ceramic beads and coloured thread for our work...we never did get as far as using the beads!

And we were off, learning the beginners method...

Having mastered that we were on to his Fast Grab method...

It was all pretty easy until I forgot where I was, my threads came off the lucet and I needed to learn to unlucet....definately not to be recommended.

All to soon the hour was over....

Ziggy wears what he makes and I had to admire his shoe laces...

..."they look like tatting" I remarked.
"they are not tatting!" was his reply sounding rather offended.

Yes I know that!!

Off to his little spot on the Braidmakers buy a kit...Lucet, 2 bobbins, 2 hanks of perle 5 and his book on Advanced Luceting...and to watch him work.

Absolutely amazing!!

More lovely stuff on Ziggy's website

Now I know you are going to ask what I have made!!!

Well I luceted on the train all the way home,like he says it's very relaxing.
I did finally master the fast grab's quite difficult to make an even cord...make that VERY difficult!!

This little bit, less than 6 inches took 3 meters of thread...well at least I know that.

I don't know if I will ever have the time to master the Advanced Luceting but at least I know what it's all about.

I am thinking necklace cords and am about to dye Rainbow Bright in size 10 to play with...and yes Rainbow Bright is coming back!!!!

Next I must get back to showing you some real tatting! too many diversions!!!