Rather a lot.  Or so it seems.  When first  I registered for a WordPress blog, I had no idea whether I would be writing about knitting, tatting or, the more interesting part of my life: my adventures in farming.  All I knew was that I wanted a WordPress blog.  For what seemed like hours, I flailed about trying different usernames.  My two other screen names were already taken: Lace Lunatic and Magpie, and most everything else I tried was too.  Tired and frustrated, I typed in mordueparladentelle.  It was accepted!  Good enough.

Alas, it was not good enough.  For one, I am perfectly aware that the expression is incorrect.  It is a literal translation into French of  ‘bitten by  lace ‘ and, at the time, seemed vaguely amusing to me.  I had visions of a piece of fine lace with its teeth sunk firmly into my derrière.    The correct expression is:  ‘mordu(e) de dentelle’.  Anyway, what possible difference could it make on a blog written in English? Some time elapsed, I made a couple of posts; then I let several months slip by with no activity whatsoever.

The move from eTatters to InTatters, which did not sit well with me,  prompted me to resume blogging.  In the interim, I had begun communicating with Elisadusud and a couple of other French lace bloggers.  Now, I am suddenly embarrassed by the idiomatically incorrect username and it irritates me every time I pull the blog up.  So, since we are only 8 posts into the blogging journey, let’s have a fresh start here.

This blog will remain in place.  The only post on it that I think anyone might want to refer back to is the one on clunies, and I will put a link back to it from the new site.

A few of you have already had the kindness to add a link to this blog in your sidebar.  I would appreciate it if you would please take the time to update it with the new address and  I apologize for the inconvenience.  In all honesty, I did not expect you to find this blog so quickly because I have not linked it to my signature anywhere in the cybersphere.  I thought I would have at least a month of broadcasting in the blind to fine tune the blogging process and set the site up as I want it.  Apparently not. You can’t sneak much past a tatter!

Thank you all for your warm welcome and kind comments.  See you on the new site.


This morning, I started a bijou little teapot with what I had immediately at hand (i.e. within a foot of my tatting chair); which turned out to be about a yard of blue Anchor Mercer 20 and the remains of a ball of yellow Hakelgarn 20. I knew it would not be anywhere near enough, but also figured that I probably needed to rehearse the folded ring spout. Of course, the spout came out right first time and I ran out of blue thread about a third of the way into the pattern.

As I painstakingly made the last little bit of blue take me to where I could add some more (thus wasting quite a bit of time), it occurred to me that not enough is said to beginners in any discipline about learning to deal with abnormal situations right off the bat. Knitting, for example, is fraught with stress, hand wringing and frogging until one learns to ‘read’ one’s knitting and implement the drop-down repair. In tatting, one might as well master all manner of thread hiding and adding from the get go. Unless, of course, one totally relishes tatting the same thing over and over until it is right. Granted, that in and of itself  is a good exercise, but a person can learn more from tatting new patterns than from repeating an old one over and over. For any new tatters reading this post who might be wondering where to find everything you need to know, and are afraid to ask, about ends and additions, Judi Banashek’s book: Impeccable Tatting is the reference I use most often. It is available from Handy Hands.

May I present the Tiny Round Teapot (joins and all), without benefit of blocking


The pattern is in Tea is for Tatting by Martha Ess, which can be ordered on her website.  Now I happen to have a thing for teapots but, even if I didn’t, I would not have been able to resist this book.  This little teapot is just one of the quickie patterns.  The real attraction is in some stunning complex ones that are truly thread art.  Go check it out, if you haven’t already ordered it.


It looks a bit like an egg, but that would be too obvious. Now the fun begins with multiple options among the directions…

Disclaimer: I am not, and do not claim to be, any kind of an expert on clunies. However, I do use a couple of little tricks involving a coilless saftey pin that make the start and the end of the process a little easier. Having failed miserably at explaining these to a friend via e-mail, I have put together a little series of photos.

I first hang the marker on the loop below the pinch as I am forming the loom on my fingers.Loom setup

Since I was holding the camera, it was not possible to illustrate how I pull down on the stitch marker to adjust the warps within the pinch, so that they lie flat and as close to the left warp as I can get them; all of this is now firmly in the pinch and ready for weaving.

the start

In this next photo, the first few weft passes have been woven and worked down against the start by packing the weft down with the tip of the pic

bubbling the weft

In the course of the weaving, one way to keep the sides of the tally from drawing in too much is to ‘bubble’ the thread across the warps and pack it down with the pic, before drawing it all the way through.

Now, the weaving is complete and the warp has been removed from the hand. What you have should look something like the photo below.

weaving is completeend first pull

Transfer the marker to the back loop and use it to control that loop as you slowly draw it closed.

first pull

This photo actually comes before the one directly above it, but I had the devil of a time getting it to sit still and not push and shove the other pics. It shows how I use the marker to control the thread while I am closing the loop.

When the loop is mostly closed, remove the marker and finish drawing it closed. Then hang the marker on the front loop and close it. Here is the final pull away from you:

closing pull

Unhook the stitch marker, and you should have something that looks like this:


I hope that this little photo essay was of some help to those of you who find the tallies a pain to weave.

It seems that I have had some difficulty getting the photos and text exactly where I wanted them. Can someone point me toward a tutorial on that? 🙂

In the next post, we will see where the TIAS is going…

How did you mark the day? I celebrated with double chocolate and a crack at Dani’s new TIAS. This is what I have so far:

tias-1Don’t know if it is right side up, or not. Time will tell.

I like the idea that there will be different choices among the clues as we advance. Truly an opportunity to make it one’s own, and possibly a recipe for hilarity in the various outcomes.

Tatting another set of wings for Miss Priss did nothing to alleviate her excessive frills, nor her identity crisis:

Miss Priss

and I ran out of thread in the worst possible place. For those of you who have not yet played with Ruth Perry’s balanced double stitch, it is really useful for long chains, but a serious thread eater.  It is here, and it is a pdf file.

Poor Miss Priss’s confused identity is entirely my fault. The top wing was tatted looking at a photo of the ornate butterfly collar in Priscilla Tatting No 2. Just before tatting the lower wing, I glanced down at the shelf below the one on which I keep my tatting materials and caught a glimpse of this colored drawing that was given to my by the ranch hand’s son carlitos-butterfly1

Now you see where the idea for the Josephine rings and scalloped chain came from.

They say that we all live with a certain amount of denial in our lives and that we would go mad if faced with the entire truth of our shortcomings. After more than a year of really focused tatting, I thought that I had tension under control. Then Patti Duff’s ‘Mini Tats’ came into my life. As far as I know, it is not currently in print, but you would have to contact Patti through the Shuttlebirds website to know for sure. The book has been in my tatting library for some time, but I had tatted only a few motifs from it. A call from the guild for additional motifs to be used in making table favors for the Shuttlebirds Workshop got me to tatting a few more of them. Pretty little things, an inch to an inch and a half in diameter. Some are quite ornate, and look like miniature rose windows. So, I loaded up the shuttles and started tatting. It did not escape my notice that the circular motifs were tending to cup quite a bit before blocking, so I redoubled my vigilance as to even tension between rings and chains. The result?no10-crop

No amount of blocking will flatten this puppy without overlapping chains and mangling petals. It is not a complete loss (could be a good start for a 3D Easter egg), but I really must face the fact that, despite my delusions to the contrary, my tension in chains does not match that of my rings. (sigh)

In closing, I leave you with a pretty assortment of motifs from Mini Tatsmini-tats

and the promise that I shall find out how to insert active links in the text before I post again. It is ironic that I have no trouble with this on the various cyber sites that I frequent, but do not seem to be able to make it happen on my own blog.

Because of an incident some years ago at the “Butterflies Alive” exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, in the course of which my digital camera got dropped and was never quite the same again, I have no particular fondness for butterflies. Their erratic flight patterns irritate me by reminding me of that day. So, it was with precious little enthusiasm that I embraced the Shuttlebirds Tatting Guild’s current workshop theme: Butterflies Take Flight. For the longest time, I used up leftover bits of thread while I fiddled around with 4-ring butterflies; destined to be added to nametags and such for the workshop. Then, as a member of the guild, I volunteered to help with other workshop prep and was asked to tat butterflies for the T-shirt design. Each butterfly was to be either original or from a pattern in the public domain. In a moment of madcap optimism, I tackled the task of designing one:

First draft of butterfly for the T-shirt

First draft of butterfly for the T-shirt

That wasn’t so awful. Encouraged, I pressed on to fine tune the pattern:

Meet Victoria

Meet Victoria

Off she flew to Spokane, along with two other designs from Sherry Pence’s book, which I was using with her permission, and I thought no more about butterflies. Then I learned from the guild newsletter that another large butterfly was needed for the T-shirt… The deadline for getting the design to the print shop is looming, so it did not seem wise to attempt to design another butterfly from scratch. After consultation with Patti Duff, the Workshop coordinator, I set out to adapt the butterfly from the ornate collar in Priscilla Tatting No 2, which is in the public domain. On the first run, I got a little carried away with stacking picots without enough space between them (these will not render well on a T-shirt graphic):

Adaptation of Priscilla No 2 butterfly

The lower wing treatment that was so much fun to execute also looked rather disconnected from the whole. So, I put this aside and started over. Five and three quarter hours later, I had this:



It was my intent to put the work aside and add a lower wing the next day. But then I looked at it again and deemed the creature to be complete, as is. The lower portion of the upper wing droops just enough to allude to the existence of a lower set of wings. She is a moth. Since this scan was taken, she has been blocked and is now en route to Spokane.

The first version, Miss Priss, deserves to be finished, and there will be  a picture for the next post.

An adaptation of Judi Banashek’s Marchanne motif from Advanced Tatting Patterns+, in Anchor 40, with Swarovski crystals.

What a start! A grammatically incorrect username and an off-topic first post.

This brooch was made more than a decade ago, using some of the more precious seed beads from stash. The cabochon, which is glued to ultrasuede, is poppy jasper. The peyote stitch frame is made from some particularly delightful antique French transparent blue beads with a coppery metallic finish. A thin line of size 16 cobalt cuts is sewn around the edge. Then a modified daisy chain stitch in size eleven matte transparent beads was used for the outer frame.

Flickr Photos