Look, Ma, I’m tatting!

Back in March, my friend Amanda lent me a tatting shuttle and some crochet thread after she had shown me tatting.  Amanda did a demonstration on how to do it, and I thought it looked pretty.

A few nights after that, I tried to teach myself.  And I tried.  I just couldn’t do it.  I could not get that darn stitch to flip.  I gave up on it.  Until a few nights ago.

Oh, what is tatting?  Tatting is a way to make lace, usually with a shuttle.  Legend has it that tatting was the poor women’s way of getting lace for fancy clothing.  It evolved into an art that was fading and nearly forgotten, but is now making a comeback.

Three basic parts of tatting are the double stitch, the flip, and the picot.  The double stitch is the knot you make.  The flip is manipulating the knot to slide up and down the shuttle thread.  The picot is a little loop between double stitches.  Not the greatest explanation, but you get the point.

I was ordering a few things off Amazon for a friend’s birthday, and decided to grab a few things off my own and my DH’s to even it out for free shipping.  I had a few tatting books on my list, so I decided to get the cheapest one, Easy Tatting.  It had decent reviews and I thought it would be good.

The well-illustrated diagrams helped me A LOT.  I can do the double stitch! The stitches do the flip! I can make sloppy picots!  They slide up and down the thread like they are supposed to! Huzzah!

 I have been practicing making rings with the double stitch and picots.  See my poor little ring?  I’m proud of that ring. It’s not spiffy like Amanda’s, but I’ll get there.  I’ve only been tatting a few days!

This seems to be a repeating theme in my crafting life.  If I don’t succeed, put it down, and pick it up a long time later, and, BINGO, I’ve got the right idea! 

So, Amanda, THANK YOU!  I will get my own shuttle and return yours to you.  I think I’m going to like this craft.


Fall Fair Season Revisted

I’m getting ready for fall and am ready for fall.  That means pumpkins, my birthday, and crisp, cool weather.  Though I will sadly miss summer, fall is great time to celebrate the fruits of the previous season, be they actually fruit or the proverbial kind.
I have given some thought to my previous ambitions to enter in the local town fair next week, and I have decided against entering my knitting for the following reasons:
  1. I am sick and tired of knitting those shells.  I felt obligated to do them, and there seemed to be no end in sight.  Maybe I will pick them back up again one day, but I’m shelled-out.
  2. I’ll be WAY out of my league.  People enter things like intricate lace and outrageous Fair Isle.  I haven’t even hit those realms yet. 
  3. I have a photography job on the day people are supposed to pick their item up.
I think those are three good reasons, I suppose.  Maybe it’s my own lack of self-confidence, I don’t know.  My DH suggested we go and check out what people have entered this year so I can get a better idea as to what people actually enter.  I think that is wise.  I’ll get the scope of things and then plan accordingly for next year. 

Now, YOU win something!

Ludicraft is coming up on it’s 150th post!  To celebrate, I thought I’d have a quick contest/giveaway.  Interested?  If you are, leave me a comment below.  Here’s the awesome stuff you could win!

  1. A skein/ball/hank of NICE new yarn.
  2. A small knit item by yours truly.
  3. Some coffee or tea (specify which in your comment)
  4. A signed 4×6 print of the sunflower photo, without the watermark, of course. 

Sound good?  Great!  Leave me a comment below with your e-mail or Ravelry account name, and tell me if you like coffee or tea.  Follow me via the Google button on the right or on Facebook for another entry each!  Just be sure to leave a  separate comment to tell me you did so.  That’s three chances to enter!  Please, only one comment, “Like,” and Follow per person.  The winner will be decided through a random number generator.   The contest ends on Sunday, September 16th at 11:59 PM EST. 

Creative Reuse Finds

I know, I know, I’ve been all about creative reuse lately, but I’m really excited about it!  As one reader pointed out, I forgot to post what I got at both stores!  So, in one big combined photo, here’s what I bought.

Besides a whole lot of yarn, here are some other fun treasures:

  • Two older pattern folders, one for sweaters and one for dishcloths, hence all the cotton yarn.
  • A pair of US 10.5 Susan Bates needles, a good brand and one of my favorite needle sizes.
  • Note cards from a recently deceased local artist.  Artwork was by her, not sent from.
  • Copper leaf for a decoupage project I’m starting.
  • A teeny tiny sock kit.  I wanted it mostly for the pattern.
  • A 2008 Knitting Pattern A Day calendar that is going to be scanned, databased, and given to the next person for their use.

I have found some awesome yarn in similar places, and Art of Recycle and Lancaster Creative Reuse were no exception.   What are you able to find in your local thrift and creative reuse stores?  I’d love to know what you have found. 

Lancaster Creative Reuse

A few weeks ago, my friend Jessica shot out of her office as she saw me pass by.  “Jenn, I have to tell you something, ” she said, and proceeded to tell me about Lancaster Creative Reuse.  The more she told me, the more I was interested.  I got back to my office and checked out Lancaster Creative Reuse’s website and I was even more interested.  A place where people donate their unwanted crafting goods?  A place where I can purchase craft supplies at a nominal cost?  I was more than interested now;  I was intrigued, and I had to learn more.  So, I contacted Andrea Stoner-Leaman at Lancaster Creative Reuse and ask her if I could do a blog article on them.  She enthusiastically gave me the affirmative, and I prepared for the interview.

Fast forward to last Saturday, where I found myself looking up at the former Stahr Amory, now the Stahr Center, in Lancaster, PA, the location of Lancaster Creative Reuse.  The Stahr Amory used to be used by the Army, but now it hosts a variety of different creative endeavors.  It’s an historic building and I’m glad it’s being used.

I went down into the basement, where I found a cheerful, two room shop filled to the brim with lots of cool things with many crafty applications.  I met Daria, the volunteer I was interviewing, and we sat down at one of the crafting tables in the back room.

Lancaster Creative Reuse just celebrated its second birthday this month.  Recently, they just expanded into a second adjoining room because they were growing. The center is a non-profit, as many creative reuse centers are.  Eight regular volunteers staff the center, besides groups coming in intermittently to volunteer.

The center has an interesting story.  The founders, Stoner-Leaman and Jeanni Zeller didn’t know each other, but each had an idea to start a creative reuse center.  Luckily, they have a mutual friend who put both women in touch with each other.  After a few brainstorming meeting and after space was found at the Stahr Amory, Lancaster Creative Reuse was born, along with the Ugly Duckling logo that shows that something unwanted can turn into something beautiful.

Perhaps I should have explained this first.  What exactly is creative reuse?  Creative reuse is a concept that extras and unwanted materials are used.  “It’s a way to keep things out of the dumpster,” explained Daria.  Creative reuse centers depend on the donations of items items.  Half come from individuals cleaning up crafting stashes or attics, and half come from businesses who are getting rid of old fabric and paper samples.   Types of donations that Lancaster Creative Reuse takes include marbles to yarn, to sewing patterns to card stock.  Recently, Lancaster Creative Reuse acquired thousands of note cards from Lancaster County artist, Myrtle Tremblay, who recently passed away.  Basically, it’s the crafting supplies that no one uses.

Lancaster Creative Reuse has a steady stream of customers coming to shop, too.  About 800 people came through their doors last month, and about 30-40 children came in to use the crafting tables.

Ah, the crafting tables.  Let’s talk about these wonderful things.  For two dollars, anyone can come into Lancaster Creative Reuse and use one of their two crafting tables for as long as they’d like.  There are many supplies there for people to use.  It’s a great rainy day activity to do with the kids.  Also, if the children want to do craft, and you don’t want the expensive supplies and mess, Lancaster Creative Reuse is your place to go.

 Lancaster Creative Reuse hosts events, as well.  Besides being open for Lancaster’s First Friday, you can also hold birthday parties and other events at the center.

The center excels at community outreach.  Lancaster Creative Reuse is doing a great service to Lancaster County by offering a place to reuse unwanted crafting good.  The center offers its services to teachers and students by going into schools.  They also have a similar program for retirement homes.  As for getting the word out, Lancaster Creative Reuse has free crafting tables at local festivals.

 “Crafting is expensive,” Daria stated, and nodded my head heartily in agreement.  You can get a lot at Lancaster Creative Reuse for just a couple of bucks, and find some pretty unique things there, too.   Big craft stores have their place, but I urge you to check out your local creative reuse center or to learn more.  You may want to go shopping and find something special.  You also may want to thin out your stash and donate some items.  Either way, your local creative reuse center will be happy to see you.  

For more information on creative reuse, here are some links for you to check out.


Etsy Craft Party 2012 and Art of Recycle

Yesterday was Etsy’s Craft Party 2012, and a time where people all over the world could go to places and celebrate the wonderful world of crafting together.  I was excited to find one such event was being held in Ephrata, which is one town over from me.  I signed up, and went.

Ephrata’s event was at Art of Recycle, a creative reuse shop.  Creative reuse is a neat concept.  Take a large space and fill it with all kinds of crafting supplies people don’t want anymore.  What do you get?  A non-profit that has a crafter’s dream of inexpensive supplies, awesome events, and an excellent resource for the community.  Needless to say, I left not only with my craft that we made, but also a bag full of yarn.

We made kaleidoscopes.  How cool is that?  Chelas and Nobody, the fine proprietors of Art of Recycle, put together a great workshop for all ages.  There were teens, kids, and adults all working on their projects.  You can see my posh, velvety creation here. 

I would say that Craft Party 2012 was a worldwide success and I was glad to be a part of it.  And I got my first taste of creative reuse.  I’m addicted, but more on that later.