I dragged out Man’s Best Friend by Dimensions again. I read some neat sites and articles about different stitching methods to make it easier to transition between lots of color changes, as well as make it easier to count stitches as you go along. Normally, I will start in the dead center of the pattern and go from there, counting little sets of stitches as i go; it is fairly random and tedious. But one method I’m going to try is splitting up the pattern into columns that are 10 stitches across and use another method called “parking”. Parking is when someone is using lots of colors, but instead of stopping/securing an old color then rethreading a new color, the colors are all left on the piece and parked for later. Some people use multiple needles (one for each parked thread) and others use one needle. I have a wall of half stitches to do after finishing this section, so I think I’ll go for both of those methods. I won’t have to count so diligently and go cross eyed keeping all those greens in order. I hope it goes as quickly as those articles said it would! Here is my progress so far, I need to fill in that little white area with dark green, then I might backstitch the dog and grass. I have some french knot snowflakes to do too, but since those are delicate, I may wait until the end. It sounds fun to add the snow last and then see the scene really come to life! I want to backstitch each section (there are four) as I finish them. I think it will go by faster and encourage me to finish.

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I love labrador retreivers

I spent too much time on the forest background. I was stitching the half stitches (with the recommended 5 strands of floss! That’s twice as thick as the usual 2 strands! So that is tiring in itself) In a bad way, so I was wasting a lot of thread. No big deal because Dimensions will replace it if I need to order some. You can see on the back where I was using too much thread, then where I tried a different way. It’s slower going but much more effective. I also broke down and bought a hoop big enough for the whole thing and having that extra fabric tension is really helping. Whew! This project turned out harder than I expected, but now that I changed my game plan it is going well. Normally I don’t use hoops/frames at all.
More soon! I’ll post more pics of parking and columns when I get to it.

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P.S. For reference, this is what it will look like when I’m done:

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I finished my header for the site. It’s made of DMC thread (whose color names I have misplaced). I tried different ways of stitching, like back and forth, up and down, traditional x vs. half stitch then halfstitch, I even went in circles. I love variegated colors! The black is DMC metallics in, well, black. Thread Heaven helps keep it from fraying with stitching.
The alphabet is from 2001 Cross Stitch Designs from Better Homes and Gardens.

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I finished my epic Batman sampler with all of the Wee Little Stitches bat-patterns!

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There are of course a few changes here and there and some mistakes I won’t point out (because they don’t matter): I used gold for the Riddler’s cane head and I added chest hair to Bane on Penny’s suggestion because it’s hilarious and I would think Bane has lots of hair. Clayface and Two-Face were the most  difficult, and Joker has the most colors at something like 15. Commissioner Gordon might be my favorite here, because he just looks exactly like the animated series Gordon, and the colors are spot on. The crooked tie and glasses! Each one took about an hour on average, give or take. Clayface took the longest and Dr Strange was probably the fastest, or Catwoman.

Anyway, here’s the line-up, starting from the top left and going left to right, and top to bottom:
Penguin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Joker, Harley Quinn, Bane, Riddler
Alfred, Robin, Nightwing, Batman, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon, Catwoman
Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Raz Al Ghul, Dr. Strange, Clayface

I will have it framed soon and probably put it in the boy’s room. :-) One of these days I’ll frame them myself, but I get some great coupons at Michaels now and then, and that’s just easier.

So I’m head over heels into this tatting gig. I’ve made a few bookmarks, played with different thicknesses of thread, and bought a ton of stuff to play with! Whee! I have five shuttles already (oh boy) and lots of thread (not counting the size 10 DMC Cebelia doily stuff I already have) and even a tiny hook for joining picots (the little loops). Hobby Lobby has some tatting stuff, like books, thread, etc, while most craft stores only had the Clover shuttles, if anything. Handy Hands and Be-Stitched are the nicest sites that I found so far. HH is by far my new favorite site and I need to stay away for awhile, lol.

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Shuttles are plastic Clover (used together), bone (what kind of bone?? This keeps me up at night…I like to pretend it’s dragon or chupacabra, but let’s be honest it’s probably pig or cow), plastic Moonlit (HH) with a tiny hook (fantastic idea), and my Dymondwood shuttle (also from HH). I splurged on that one…just look at those stripes! (heart) I even have a couple thread holders. They’re awesome. I can knock them off the table and they keep everything neat and clean and wound. You can really see the difference in thread weight here too. The size 20 threads are in the top left corner and the green edging. My favorite size 10 is the one on the right (that’s half of a heart right now), and the massive size 3 is on the bottom, soon to be a bookmark. I’m using the sample HH sent so I hope I have enough! I’ll improvise if not. ;-)

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I’m making more bookmarks and a couple edgings for hankerchiefs. My friend bought me the bone shuttle and the green holder, so she gets a green edged hanky. Everyone needs hankies, in my opinion. I’ve embroidered them before and now, by gum, I can put pretty edges on them!!

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Most of the thread is Lizbeth from HH, those variegations are so very cool. If I know you, and you read this blog, I will make you a bookmark! Whee! Just comment about it and I’ll get one for you (eventually). This is a neat hobby because it doesn’t pretend to be useful. It’s just relaxing and pretty. I did some more research and learned how to fix mistakes by just cutting them out, and how to add more thread withouthaving the ends show. It’s so much like crochet, but not. Easier, really. And the cutting the mistakes out? Not near as scary as I thought they would be, in fact, much easier than trying to pick the knots out.
These books have been really helpful to teach myself how to tat. I’m going to learn split rings eventually, but I’m having a lot of fun with the basics now and don’t want to do too much. *cough*notlikewhenilearnedtoknitandcrochet*cough* I haven’t seen anything harder than split rings yet. Whew!
I’m still knitting stuff while watching shows with B. The Hitchhiker scarf for Game of Thrones and a new one, Leila’s Shrug Driftwood Tee, for House of Cards (and everything else). I’ve been crocheting too but it’s for birthday presents, so I’ll post those after I finally send them in the mail. Better late and hand-made than never! ;-)
I totally considered how to attach a thread holder to my purse so that I can bring it with me everywhere. I decided against it.
I just put a rubber band around the holder to keep the shuttle in place, and put it directly in my purse instead. ;-)

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Ha, I get some weird looks with this guy. Kids love it! B says I look like a spider weaving webs. (cool!)

I haven’t gotten to the fancy shamrock yet, partly because I messed up the little one, and mostly because I received a fun package in the mail from Handy Hands, Inc. They are a catalog/phone/web store that specializes in all things tat! I requested a catalog a few weeks ago, and they sent it along with three FREE SAMPLES OF THREAD.

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eeeeeee!! I wasn’t expecting that!
There are three sizes and three colors. The sizes range from 3, 10, 20 going left. The larger the number the thinner the thread. Look at that 20. I have dental floss thicker than that.
I am all over the size ten (that’s why it already off the spool). Size three is a lot like doily thread (only in crochet it’s a size 10. Confused yet?) and I bet that will be nice for a larger project. I dunno. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur about bedspreads or even doilies made from tatting. Well, maybe a doily or two someday…
Good gravy can you imagine how much thread it would take to make a bedspread?? How much time?? oof.
Anyway, I tried out two of the patterns included in the catalog so far. Here is the Bookmark by Sandy:

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I ordered some rainbow thread (duh, who can resist rainbows?) and some green/blue thread. I also found a tatting dictionary, which should be easier than surfing the interwebs, and a shuttle with a tiny hook on the end (for joining the loops).
I found a little bag in my stash, too. There are balls of thread on the kitchen table because I like looking at them.

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And here is my progress into the adventure of tatting so far, from the earliest attempts on the left to my current project on the right.

My oldest will pretend to snip the thread that dangles down from my left hand when I tat. I’ll hear “snip. snip!” and see those little fingers snipping. <_3br>SO much fun. It’s all Franklin Habit’s
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Would you like to know more about tatting? It’s thought to be over 200 years old, with it’s heyday in the late 19th century with, who else? The Vicotirans. I like this excerpt from Wikipedia:

Some believe that tatting may have developed from netting and decorative ropework as sailors and fishers would put together motifs for girlfriends and wives at home. Decorative ropework employed on ships includes techniques (esp. coxcombing) that show striking similarity with tatting. A good description of this can be found in Knots, Splices and Fancywork.

Some believe tatting originated over 200 years ago, often citing shuttles seen in eighteenth century paintings of women such as Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Madame Adelaide (daughter of Louis XV of France), and Anne, Countess of Albemarle. A close inspection of those paintings shows that the shuttles in question are too large to be tatting shuttles, and that they are actually knotting shuttles. There is no documentation, nor any examples of tatted lace, that date prior to 1800. All of the available evidence shows that tatting originated in the early 19th century.[5]

As most fashion magazines and home economics magazines from the first half of the 20th century attest, tatting had a substantial following. When fashion included feminine touches such as lace collars and cuffs, and inexpensive yet nice baby shower gifts were needed, this creative art flourished. As the fashion moved to a more modern look and technology made lace an easy and inexpensive commodity to purchase, hand-made lace began to decline.

Tatting has been used in occupational therapy to keep convalescent patients’ hands and minds active during recovery, as documented, for example, in Betty MacDonald‘s The Plague & I.”

All of tatting revolves around the Double Stitch, which is a set of two individual knots. Once mastered, you can make rings, chains, and little loops to make endless lace patterns for collars, doilies, edgings, covers, whatever. I like making bookmarks so far and I love how portable it is.
More updates soon!