I think a weekly WIP update would be fun. :-) I hope I can keep it up throughout the year, then I’ll have a nice narrative to reflect on later. Plus, you know, progress pictures are awesome!
Here’s my first addition, the Dreaming of Tuscany project. I’ve been taking it to my son’s exercise class twice a week, and I get to work on it uninterrupted for 45 minutes (at least!) each time. I’m getting a lot done! I only have the vineyard, both sides of the wall, and then finally, backstitching. That’s my favorite part, honestly. It brings the whole piece to life! These pics are from the last two weeks, one night at a time, from my most recent pic backwards in time to the first one of the year.

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:-)
Here is Bruce’s Tatted Doily, I’m almost done with the second Round. The third and fourth should go much faster.
(I hope!)

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I’m trying to update my Ravelry page more often too for my knit and crochet stuff.

Feeling stuffy and sore today, so here are some progress pics. I’m going to meet this potential head cold head on (haha) with coffee, hot chocolate, and yarn. Hoping to make serious crafty progress today with my friend PBS.

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I have this picot round to finish row 2, then it's onto row 3.
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I know no one will see it because they don't have the pattern in front of them, but I got some grass on my cheese. Heehee

I started the vineyard part, in the middle. I found out that I made a mistake somewhere around 4 years ago and, long story short, that middle vineyard part will be mainly made up. The pattern is just a suggestion at this point, lol, but luckily that area allows for some imagination.
Hoping everyone has a nice relaxing pajama Sunday. ;-)

Jane Eborall (kind of like the Yarn Harlot of tatting, in my opinion) has an annual tat-along and I’m going to try it this year! I have all my supplies ready:

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She’ll post a new row each week, and we won’t know what it is for a few weeks! I’ll post my progress here as I go. Fun!! I haven’t tatted with a button yet. I’m excited to practice split rings, too.

Day 1: Jan7
I can’t believe it. I stitched this up in about 15 minutes! I think the diagrams she provides are very good, plus I compared my work to pictures on Craftree that other’s have tatted already. Wonder what this is going to be?? Any ideas so far?
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OOPS! Thanks to the lovely people at Craftree, I found out I goofed. I was supposed to join in the same button hole, so here is the fixed product. I did take about 20 minutes of patiently undoing the tatting, but it worked out.

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hmmm. This windowsill makes an excellent background.

Day 2 January 7:
No mistakes this time! The little rings are getting…littler. I’m guessing a starfish or star at this point…ideas?
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Day 3 January 13:
Even more teeny tiny rings!! I hope they get bigger next time.
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Day 4 January 16:
I think it’s a tail of some kind. Crocodile or T-Rex? Still thinking starfish too. We get another one in just a day and I’m excited to keep going! B thinks it might be a caterpillar.
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Every year I think about all the things I’m happy and thankful for, and try to keep in mind I should keep doing those things next year, since they worked. I also try to think of one or two things to do for the next year to make things easier or generally better for myself. Last year I wrote this on an index card and taped it above my calendar:

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That calendar in the middle of the kitchen is a happy thing. Everything is at a glance so I don't have to remember all of it. whew!

which turned out to be very good advice. I stopped worrying so much about finishing WIPs and had more fun actually making things, regardless of when I finished them. I also stopped worrying so much about how often I exercised, and instead worked on eating better all the time and getting exercise when I had the chance. It’s not what I want to do, I want to be able to go for a run anytime, or a ride, or have delicious healthy food all the time, but that’s not realistic. I’m much better about eating better, but I could do…better. (maybe find my thesaurus too)

UNO: So my first goal for 2015 is to cut down on fast food. Like when I’m working and need something quick, or I’m craving the dreaded delicious cheeseburger. Or when it’s been a long day and pizza is just easier than forgetting dinner again. I have a freezer full of ready to make crockpot meals (that can also be cooked in my super cool covered baker in the microwave), not to mention frozen veggies and fruit for quick sides and smoothies for breakfast. If I can eat the food we have at home, I’ll be able to experiment more with fun lunches (and use those bento boxes!) for myself, save money, and everyone eats healthier. I’m the one in charge of groceries and food consumption, so if I eat better, so do they. Win-win. Of course, consuming less gluten will also be high on this list. Luckily for me, fast food tends to go hand-in-hand with bread and I already cut it out at home.

DOS: My next goal is to really make an effort speaking Spanish. I tried it last week while doing some inspections, and guess what? Everyone was super helpful and we had fun being bilingual together. They seemed surprised I knew as much conversational Spanish as I do, and so was I, honestly. I started learning in 7th grade, all the way to college. I never had many people to speak it to though, but I can read it and understand it very well. It’s mostly a matter of confidence, so I’m throwing that out and giving it a go. A good friend from high school learned to speak fluently only because he was the only one in his office at the time that could speak more than 5 words in Spanish, so at his call center all of the Spanish speakers were sent to him. He was nervous but said absolute every one of his callers were helpful and that’s how he learned. Being truly bilingual has always been a dream of mine, so this is the time to get going on that. I love this state, it’s cultures, and especially the languages. If I can master Spanish, I may try for German someday.

TRÈS: And the third and final goal, perhaps the easiest and definitely the most fun, will be the Year of the Cross Stitch! It’s my favorite craft, so I’m going to dive into it again. Cross stitch is heavy on the prep work, but if I can knit as much as I do, I figure I can stitch one or two x-s here and there. I celebrated my decision by starting Clipper Ship Voyager (Dimensions #3886). I’ve loved this forever! I barely got it organized yesterday, so I have yet to start actually stitching. I hope to get to that today after we rake the leaves in the front yard, then decorate the yard. We haven’t done that before but my 3yo is insistent, and boy is he persistent too. ;-)

So how am I starting these lofty but achievable goals? I have only been out to fast food twice in the last two weeks. We like to run errands on Saturdays and get lunch (all four of us) and Freddy’s Steakburgers is a favorite. I tell you, that special family burger was really good, not just because Freddy’s is awesome, but because it was the only cheeseburger I’d had all week. Yesterday we met friends at a local diner joint (Ironwood Kitchen) and I had some seriously yummy tacos. Yay for homemade salsa!! I have a brick of frozen spanish rice with hamburger for the crockpot tonight.
I spoke quite a bit of Spanish at my sites on Friday and had a great time. I learned a couple new words too. My favorite phrase right now is “Perdi mi pluma” which is “I lost my pen”. I do that a lot, lol.
And I’m planning on getting the yard done after hitting “publish”, then watching movies with the little guys and stitching all afternoon. Sounds like the start of a very good year.

P.S. This post needs more pictures. Este post necesita màs fotos.

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New doily for funsies, step one of four.

(This is a free pattern from Nancy Tracy on her site www.be-stitched.com btw)

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A pretty bookmark I made last month with new thread. I love adding charms to bookmarks.

Shuttles are so easy to collect. They are exactly like knitting needles and pens in that respect; before you know it you have a box full! I have seen a lot of organizing ideas for tatting stuff, and one of them is those little drawstring bags with a bunch of pockets. We got those in our welcome boxes at NMT in the dorm…I knew I had at least one of them somewhere…I remember they were popular back then. It had little bottles of shampoo/soap/perfume samples/etc. (Side note-I’m still hooked on Cool Water. It smells like memories.)
Hey I found it!

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I wanted to find this because I scored a few more shuttles this week. My neighbor and his retired US Marine friend went antiquiing and offered to find some for me. They ended up finding a bunch, and got a good deal for the whole bag. That’s the second time I got a deal on a bag of shuttles…must not be a big demand for those. ;-)
He brought back three plastic ones marked “Gloria” (four actually, but one was broken right in half, I threw that one away.), a Bakelite shuttle (maybe? I think it’s the large black shuttle), and a big plastic one (that needs to be cleaned, I swear those are teeth marks on there…maybe someone had an adventurous puppy). I had everything kind of crammed in a basket in my thread box. Not the best organizing skillz.

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There were some shuttles in bags and in the silver tin. Bits of tatting mistakes are in the M&M tin for reference. Oh! See that cool spool of thread? That was an empty wooden spool that I wind leftovers on. The leftovers are great for sashiko embroidery and they look pretty on a wooden spool, lol.
Here are my shuttles (the ones not in use and the ones scored from antique stores).

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OK, so the big fat Starlight shuttle isn’t antique, but I grabbed it on sale at a hobby store last summer. It’s big so you can put beads on the thread. I’ll try that eventually…I have some super cool beaded dragon patterns to try once I mast the split ring/split chain technique. The shuttle beneath the red one is a Detach-A-Spool that I do use, it’s sturdy and I love the sharp pick. The one below that is a Just-Rite, and it’s very cool, but it felt awfully fragile when I used it, so it’s retired now. I would hate to break it! The three Gloria shuttle are in the middle top, with the toothy plastic one, and what was told is Bakelite. Bakelite is so cool! The rest on the right are my extra Boye shuttles. Classics, them. About 2-3 of them are in good shape but the others need to be cleaned and polished. Someone somewhere wrote on them with either a wax pencil or *gasp* a Sharpie so I need to get that off. ~Sigh~ The brown Gloria shuttle was scotch taped (like the old yellowed kind) to the broken shuttle, so now it has 20+ year old tape residue on it. Blech. Orange oil should get that off, plus the markings. We’ll see! Some weekend when I have time I’ll go through them and clean them all up, hopefully with before and after pictures. I love before and after pictures.
I put them in the cute bag:

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Big Red wouldn't let the bag close, so I put it back in the basket with the beads. They're friends so it made sense to keep them together.

I kept the rough ones in a small plastic bag and grouped the Glorias together. (now I have the GLOREE-AH! GLOREE-AH! song in my head)
And a shot of my thread box, better organized:

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Note toddler pj legs on the left.

Those bits in the basket are actually finished projects I need to block. There is some pretty blue edging from one of the usable shuttles in there too, that some long ago crafter made. And of course you might be asking, “If those are the shuttles you aren’t using, where are the shuttles you are using?” (I know Beth is wondering that)

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so many pretties so little time....

Going clockwise from the top center: The Twirls Autumn-something might become a neat square motif bookmark with a charm (on top of the ball), the grapey edging is for a pillowcase (the Starlit shuttle from Handy Hands is amazing!), the Twirlz purple stuff is the mask (I’m finally on the outer row. It’s another one where I’m writing out the pattern in US terms as I go) with the Dymondwood shuttle, two Clover shuttles for practicing split rings and chains, and another Detach-A-Spool with a Twirlz Patriotic sample. I’m using the same pattern as the edging, but making it into a bookmark.
It was a lot of fun to think about my neighbor and his friend asking about “lace tatting shuttles”. ;-)

Some thoughts on how old these shuttles are:
Boye:  Some of these are all marked “BOYE IMPROVED MORE THREAD-LESS KNOTS” with “PAT. APR. 17, ’23” around the center. I have four  of these, they were manufactured up to 1947, so these are pretty old! The others are marked “TATTING SHUTTLE MADE IN U.S.A. THE BOYE NEEDLE CO.CHICAGO”. That dates them to around the mid to late 20th century. The current Boye’s have a straight label, these are curved along the edge. They are very common in the stores I’ve visited and I own a few of them.
Celluloid: I’m pretty sure the unmarked toothy cream colored shuttle is a celluloid shuttle. I suppose it could be Bakelite, but it doesn’t feel like it. Bakelite is a little hefty, light but strong. This just feels like plain old plastic. It’s pretty beat up and almost looks handmade.
Detach-A-Spool: I have two of these, both marked “Detach-A-Spool PAT.APPL’DFOR”, which I think dates them to around he 1920s? But I have read that they were made by a different company into the ’40s as well. These are in great condition, so I’m leaning towards the ’40s.
Gloria: Produced by McCoy & Jones Co. I have a white, tortoiseshell imitation, and black. They are the smaller size without a pick. Marked “Trade Gloria Mark”. The tortoise shell imitation is bent open a bit, I wonder if a previous owner put too much thread on it. I can’t use it in this condition but I’m chuffed to have three Glorias in different colors! They came in ivory but I don’t;t think mine is real ivory, whew.
Just-Rite: Marked “Justrite PAT APPLIED FOR”. Dates to around 1940s. I have one of these.
Pumpkinseed: I have a feeling this is not Bakelite, but rather a “Pumpkinseed” shuttle produced around the 1920s (?). I can’t find a lot of information about them. It looks exactly like the pics I did find online, though, it’s even the right color. It’s a little larger than the others. It doesn’t look like the pictures of Bakelite shuttles I found. Oh well. The quest goes on!
All the rest are modern, either Clover brand or Handy Hands except for the Dymondwood and the bone shuttle from Hobby Lobby. All the older shuttles were purchased in bags, except for the Just Rite.

I’m still on the lookout for interesting shuttles wherever I can find them. ;-) I’m going to have to find a book about shuttle collecting for more info on these and any more I find. I love the history of an old crafty item-I just know someone used this before me and it feels like I’m adding my own history to it with every project.