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!

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.


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. ;-)



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!!



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. ;-)

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.


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:


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.


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
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!