Alright. I’m ready. I’ve seen a ton of pictures of it and by gum I’m ready to take it on too. I’m talking about the Renulek Doily. (or the Renulek Napkin) Here is the link to her site, which is in Polish, and I regret I don’t know her name or any other info besides the blog and “Renulek”. I’m trying the Spring Doily/Napkin 2014 because, well, I like it better than the summer one. I tried to figure out the summer one and my brain caught on fire.
See, the site, as I may have mentioned, is in Polish. No worries there because a) google is nice enough to translate it for me to the best of it’s abilities, and b) holy snakes the tatting patterns from that part of the planet are…out of this world! I found the tatting rabbit hole on the webs and I swear on every single one is at least a reference if not a WIP picture of something she is working on. Renulek posts pictures of what she’s working on, plus a pattern, row by row. The doilies are pretty big (12+ rows!) and she’s making a collar now. I wish I could read Polish and get all the details…anyway, I found a picture on a new-to-me blog by Batty Tatter and I fell in love. You know how it is, you see something amazing and go “I could make that!”

UGH!! I am in love with this freakin doily.

Ok. Way back at the beginning I mentioned brains catching fire and here’s why: there is no written pattern, nor are there diagrams. I’m spoiled, see. I learned to tat with the written patterns (ex: R 4-2-2-4) and seeing a beautifully rendered diagram is super helpful. Tatting. Is. Fiddly. But Renulek only posts a (admittedly gorgeous) picture of her WIP, then another with the pattern kind of written over it. I see how that works, and it’s not a bad idea, but it makes for some deep thinking for me to figure out where to start, what direction to go (typically clockwise if you were wondering), did she start with a ring or a chain?, how many shuttles?, how many colors could this take?, etc. So I stare at the picture with the numbers over the work and then I write down the pattern as I see it, plus any notes to myself like “clockwise”, which color to use on which row, and that sort of thing. Well, here, lemme show you:


I only got to Round 3 because that’s when I saw the picture for Round 4 and smoke came out my ears. I think I heard a gear grind so I popped the old melon in neutral and decided to go as far as Round 3 and see how I fare. I am barely on the first round, using Mint (Lizbeth 689) and then I’ll use Confetti (Lizbeth 105) for the even rounds. It’s a solid plan.

I love this little box! Kind of sorry about another night pic, it's hard to see the bright colors of the thread but it's after the kiddo's bedtime, hence time to blog!

You may be thinking, “WHYYY would you pick something so fussy and hard? You already have like 15 hobbies and around 6 projects going on shuttles alone!” with work (I picked up a ton more to do from home which is simultaneously wonderful and nerve-wracking), little kids (did I mention the smaller one is potty training? No? Probably for the best), and life in general. Crafting and reading are my favorite ways to wind down, to go somewhere else for awhile (hello Tal Verrar!) or think about something else for a change…
but…I don’t want to think about all that stuff right now…
Thinking about how to attach a ring to that last row of chains, and watching something beautiful and intricate bloom in front of me that came from my own fingers is a very very nice way to recharge my thoughts.
So, off I go! I’m thinking of Emmet’s voice in my head now (from The Lego Movie) “Alright guys. LET’S DO THIS.”

P.S. I couldn’t find a way to contact the ladies I mentioned in this post for expressed permission to link to them. I hope they don’t mind me referring to them since I have nothing but respect for their work, patterns, and property. Tatting-bloggin Ladies, please drop me a line anytime if you feel otherwise!

Penny, Mike, and I went to the Pride parade last weekend (as in early June) and had lots of great mini adventures (the mini ones are the best). We found the Boiler Monkey, a very cool steampunk/cowboy bebop-esque food truck where we ate delicious eggs benedict and cheesy polenta with eggs and andouille sausage. (two of my favorite words are “hollandaise” and “andouille”).

Note the red lipstick!

Then we saw the parade of course, and it was awesome as usual. Lots of cheering and dancing and rainbows and happy people. :-) Next year I’ll bring the kiddos. I wanted to this year, but the little one is a bit too little still, and I can’t bring one without the other. Ugh, mom guilt.
Anyway, it wasn’t as hot as last year and we sat around our friend’s salon for awhile. It was nice and cool in there, with nice cool people and mimosas. At 12 on the dot, businesses opened and we went exploring. We visited an apothecary (like with candles and crystals, the high school me was squeeing uncontrollably) and two antique shops. Nob Hill is riddled with them, and it was super fun to finally get to go in some of them. We only had time for two: the first was Barrymore’s,¬† it was small but jam-packed with amazing stuff. I found a shuttle there and a sweet little ring. Penny found two big jars of spools of thread, most of which were still on wooden spools! Then the second store (ugh, forgot the name…Sole Art & Antiques? Maybe I dunno) was huge. Room after room and even an upstairs. I found another shuttle there too, after embarrassing myself by asking for shutting tattles instead of tatting shuttles. lol I got it right on the third try and admitted I was too excited to speak. This was my first shot at antiquing in years. I usually look at jewelry, since I know a little about it, but this time I looked for clothes and sewing implements as well. Turns out I still have excellent radar for sterling silver and asking for things (like shuttles) gives me a chance to chat with employees. I could get into antiquing…
ANYWAY, here are the shuttles I found and what I think of them:
(you know, my fingers hovered over the keyboard just then, trying to type “tutting” again)
Barrymore’s had two shuttles. One might have been a bobbin, but it was sterling and quite old. It was gorgeous but I couldn’t bring myself to get it. I got this one instead, it’s a JustRite shuttle that says “Justrite” at the top and “pat applied for” on the bottom. It is metal, possibly aluminum-plated or nickel plated. It’s light weight. I looked a bit online and determined that it is not any younger than 1940 because JustRite stopped making them in that year. They are reproduced by a company called Lacis now, and bear the Lacis name on the newer ones. This doesn’t have that, so I’m guessing 30s. Pattern is Blue Edging (nope, I’m a rebel, Dottie, using purple/grey variegated) from New Twist on Tatting : More Than 100 Glorious Designs by Catherine Austin . This shuttle might not get much more use after this edging because it feels too delicate for my taste. I don’t want to bend it on accident! The hook is a little wide and blunt too, so it’s tough to do the joins without splitting the thread. I still love using it though, just because it’s old and I want to add my own little experience to it’s story.


I found this one at the huge store, a Boye shuttle. I clucked and cooed over the familiar name and told the shopkeeper (who confessed he didn’t know about them) that Boye is a big manufacturer of crafty things like knitting needles. It has a little hook on the end (always helpful) and is unique in that it has a bobbin, and the thread doesn’t click on the ends like my other shuttles. The piece is mainly one piece of metal bent into shape with the bobbin kind of clipped in the middle. I didn’t think I’d like it, bobbins I mean, but you can see I dove right into another book mark. This one is Clover Bookmark by Kelly Luljak.


The basket is from a sewing expo Penny and I went to the weekend before. We found sashiko (!) there too. She got a huge striped basket and I found an octopus sashiko pattern. More on that later. :-)

P.S. I don’t know why I didn’t post this sooner. It’s a month old! Here is a picture of all my shuttles to compensate. I may have a serious tatting issue now, up there with knitting and crochet….but hopefully it won’t get as overboard as cross stitch…


Soon I’ll try split rings, and I needed those two plastic Clover shuttles for that so I finished up another bookmark. Onward!! Tatt on!!

Still crazy for tatting. Here are some bookmarks I finished (finally!). That orange one is Clover Bookmark by Kelly Luljak and it was tough! The pattern is fine but I learned a lot by making a bunch of newbie mistakes, then fixing them. I added one too many clovers to one end but I like the effect. I gave this one to Penny because she reads a lot (like even those massive 1000+/multiple volumes tomes) and she liked the colorway. It is Orange Crush from Lizbeth, size 10. It came out pretty big (hey! it’ll fit those tomes) so I’m making another one with size 20 thread for myself (see WIP pic below). It blocked out really well and you can’t even tell where I made newbie mistakes. Love it!


The other flowery bookmark is Flower Bookmark by . I used size 10 in two colors (Confetti and Mint). This was my first shot at using two different threads and I think it worked out beautifully! I already have like 3 more of these in different colors planned out. It was super quick to tat.


I branched out to try motifs next, which are mostly in the round, with several rounds/layers. I am working on the Tatted Rose Medallion by the extremely talented Nancy Tracy at She has the best patterns and diagrams. I’m using Honey Drizzle (size 10, again Lizbeth, yup, I have a lot of Lizbeth). It’s night time, so the colors won’t pop in the pic like they do in person but I am really pleased with it so far!

That's an Aerlit shuttle on the left and a Dymondwood shuttle on the right. It's a little pricy but super nice. Both are from, oh you can guess, Handy Hands.

I made myself a little to-go box for my tatts. I just love it when the shuttle/needles/hook matches the yarn/thread. The clover bookmark will be done in Patriotic Twirlz Lizbeth thread. It only comes size 20 for now but you just wait, I’ll have more when it’s released. It is made of three separate strands of colored thread that are then spun together so it has a unique blended look to it…”twirly” I guess. I’ve seen other reviews that claim it twists more than other threads…but I haven’t noticed. Thread gets twisty by it’s nature, no biggie. I like how my hand looks when the shuttle is spinning out, like some kind of spider woman’s hand.
Last but not least I also made these fun lego travel boxes for the boys:


Dance party! Everything is awesome!

I have a gluten allergy that makes my stomach hurt when I eat anything with gluten in it, especially whole wheat or processed foods. It isn’t Celiac (thankfully) but it is a pain nonetheless. I figured it out in about 2004/2005 and have worked since then to partially eliminate gluten from my foods, but not entirely. Since it isn’t a severe allergy, I can have some, about a slice of bread’s worth, per day. Most days I don’t eat bready at all, which is pretty neat considering this country loves everything with bread, meat, fried, or both.
Anyway, this year I have gotten around to baking and cooking gluten free. I gave away about 2lbs of ap flour to Penny, then went out and bought everything I might need to go gf. I found America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten Free cookbook at CostCo and it completely changed everything!
It goes from which gf products work best, why, and even how to mix my own ap gf flour. I did that today and made some banana cookies based on a recipe from Bake at 350 (omg go there and drool). I modified it to use gf flour instead of regular ap flour, and used a trick with the bananas from another ATK book that gets a ton of banana flavor without the excess moisture gumming up the works. As far as my baking at high altutide (we’re, what, 6000ft? ish), I just crossed my fingers….and then….


They are so fluffy and they pack a sweet nanner punch of flavor. Look how well they rose! Normally I’d have flat, sad cookies. Num. I think I’ve eaten six of them so far and the fourth sheet is in the oven. To the baker go the spoils, friends, and victory is sweet.

Here is the original recipe from Bake at 350, and the only things I changed were:
*Substitute the same amount of your favorite gf ap flour.
* For the mashed bananas: freeze some brown bananas, about 3 or 4, and let thaw in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Keep all that liquid and simmer it to reduce it to about half the original amount. Add it to the bananas and mash, then measure out a cup for the recipe.

P.S. Nanners are what bananas turn into when they ascend to a higher plane of delicious.
P.P.S. I haven’t been paid or endorsed to talk about these methods or recipes. I did obtain (gratefully) permission to link to Bake at 350’s free recipe. It makes me deleriously happy to bake food I can eat without getting a stomachache! Thanks Bridget!

Around Christmas time, knitty came out with another fantastic Franklin Habit pattern, a plaid (yes! PLAID) scarf! I immediately printed it out, read the blog post, found some stash yarn (yay me!) and got to it. I have fond memories of knitting on it while watching  Brisco County Jr with B and while sitting next to the tree with a glass of pale yellow wine. *sigh*
Then I messed up on it, and after feverishly knitting for a week or so, I had a small hissy fit and stuffed it in a drawer. Everything had been going so well! I used stash yarn, even when I ran out of a color I used a new one, boldly transitioning into a color that didn’t “match” but nonetheless looked wonderful. I punched through that pattern in like 9 days. During the holidays. With kids. BAM.

See those vertical stripes on the right? That's where I messed up. They're too short, although you can't tell in the picture.

Ugh! SO rather than throw it across the room after my own mistake (went too fast, didn’t think it through) I put it away for later. When I wasn’t mad. My journal entry says “I’ll get back to it soon”.
Aaaannnd, cut to 6 months later. Franklin Habit has a new article in the First Fall Knitty 2014 and I thought of that damn scarf again.
If I were to make another one, and honestly I might, I would not connect the cowl until I finished the final stripes/weaving. Then I would notice if it was too tight and could stretch it a bit as I wove, so it would fit better the first time. I didn’t do that this time, but I can fudge it. Like any good crafter, and like many crafty people before me, I’ll repeat to myself “I can fix this” as many times as I need to. ;-) I may have to frog it and start over…as in take the whole thing apart…sigh…I hope not. It would most likely sit in the drawer for another 6 months/years.