I’m not sure if it is vanity or not that I want people to come to my website, find information they can use, and possibly give me feedback on what they may or may not have found to be interesting/informative/worthwhile. I guess the bottom line is that I am a slight bit of an extrovert and because of this, I crave social interaction.
Regardless of my motive, I have a large amount of information related to tatting (& some other lacemaking/needlework techniques) on my website that I want utilized. So I thought I would use my blog posts as a way to gently point to the content on my website: www.TheShuttleSmith.com
My website main page features two main items:
the menu barin which I have all my information in ‘pages’ archived permanently.
My blog posts….which are uploaded periodically.
Since I like to read and learn about other people (especially tatters!) I thought I would share things about myself. That is why I have an ABOUT THE SHUTTLESMITHpage on my menu bar. I just updated it by adding a picture of my tatted motorcycle and a photo of my ‘real’ motorcycle (also red–just don’t relate my choice of motorcycle color & me to the state football team that most Nebraskans are fanatical about!) and how I enjoy traveling to tatting events.
A little while ago, I came across a box of ‘stuff’ in my studio and found my Tatting Shuttle Winder collection. I use center-post tatting shuttles and these shuttle winders are made for them. I had gobs of Boye plastic ones & have recently discovered the joys of the Handy Hands Moonlit shuttles (they holds lots of thread). I occasionally use one of my shuttle winders when I’m at home and tatting in my favorite spot. Usually my tatting is done is small spurts of time while I’m at work (breaks) or waiting for something to happern—I don’t carry a shuttle winder with me.
In future posts I’ll give you close ups of these shuttle winders and what I know about them. The one on the left is handmade by a local tatter. I’m ashamed that I don’t know her name. But what I intend to do is find out more info to share with you all, possibly find out if she is still selling these beauties so that you all may purchase and enjoy one too.
If anyone has any information on the second one from the left (the dark brown wood one) please email me at email@example.com so that I can share with everyone in the future.
I’m actually kinda embarrassed that I have 2 of the same shuttle winders (the right 2). That’s from a bygone era in which I had the expendable cash to buy almost anything I wanted and didn’t even realize I was buying duplicates!
This still sounds like a great way to take a trip. One day we are going to do it! When both my husband and I have vacation 🙂
I was going to just leave a reply but thought I would express further my appreciation for train traveling and how it relates to my tatting.
Keep in mind that I live in Omaha, Nebraska and am traveling to Grand Junction, Colorado. Not only is this trip 800 miles long, but it has two interesting portions of travel:
Traveling from Omaha, NE to Denver, CO–about 500 miles of mind-numbing interestate travel through the river valley of Nebraska (which is quite flat) and then traveling through the high plains of eastern Colorado. One of the few great points about traveling this area in a personal vehicle is stopping in a tiny town called Paxton, Nebraska which has a very interesting restaurant/tourist attraction called Ole’s Big Game Cafe. Check it out here: olesbiggame.com It is truly one of those little travel secrets.
Traveling from Denver, CO to Grand Junction–about 300 miles of breath-taking scenery through the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Keep in mind that this is still interestate travel which can be nerve-racking in that there can be alot of traffic including many trucks while navigating steep ascents & descents. But there is also another factor involved in this section of travel–that being weather, namely snow. My husband and I have already experienced this once last May when we left Grand Junction, CO in our truck wearing shorts and sandals because the weather was so beautiful only to end up in very scary/hairy snowstorms in the mountains and high plains.
May snowstorm while driving through the Rocky Mountains—going into the Eisenhower Tunnel at the Continental Divide in Colorado…it was just as scary on the other side of the Continental Divide, all the way into Denver and beyond.
So, with that introduction to traveling from Omaha to Grand Junction I will discuss my recommendation to travel via train:
I get on the train in Omaha, Nebraska at 11 pm. I immediately settle down to sleep–I take along a blanket and pillow. When I awake in the daylight hours we are in Denver where we have a bit of a get-off-the-train break & I get one of the most delicious coffee lattes (Pig Train Coffee Co.) I have ever tasted in the newly remodeled Denver Grand Central Station. Even if you aren’t thirsty or hungry, DO just wander into the station…it is quite wonderful. From Denver on, I am fully awake and taking advantage of the most beautiful scenery possible!!! The climb up and out of Denver is nothing more that spectacular. If possible, park yourself in the Vista Car. If you are lucky there may be volunteer tourist guides in the Vista Car, talking about the history, flora, fauna and geologic & man-made points of interest along the way (& there are alot!). At first the Vista Car can be a bit crowded, but eventually everyone goes back to their assigned seat or sleeping berths and I can find a seat. The Vista Car allows you to see up and out alot better that the regular, coach cars. As an added bonus, you usually get to talk to people. Turns out I really am my father’s daughter….I love to talk to people!! In the Vista Car, there are tables that seat 4. You are encouraged/suggested/actually they demand that you share the table seats. This is OK with me–a chance to meet and learn about someone else. Of course, just the fact that we are traveling on a train means that everyone has a destination reason and story to tell. OF COURSE I HAVE MY TATTING WITH ME!! The tatting seems to be a great ice-breaker to get someone to start talking. Of course you get the “My grandmother used to do that” and the “I wouldn’t have the patience to do that” comments, but despite what they think of my artform (yes! artform!) conversation has been started and I get to learn about someone new. For many years I thought I was an introvert….I was wrong about that! All the time I’m ‘extroverting’ in the Vista Car, my husband is getting to do what he enjoys doing in the Coach Car–napping, reading, watching movies, with the side bonus of he doesn’t have to listen to me talk for awhile–it’s a win-win travel arrangement. Even when I’m not actively talking to someone, I love to people-watch. You know everyone is coming from or going to somewhere special–whether they want to or not. Everyone has an active story on the train. Of course, there is also the whole scenery, scenery, scenery issue—lots and lots of the most beautiful mountains, canyons, meadows, rivers, valleys in the country, if not world. The train goes through some regions where there are no roads, thus the scenery is unique. Of course, for US (tatters!) the added bonus is we get to relax and tat while enjoying all this scenery!!! No worries about road conditions, where to get gas, driving fatigue, etc.
Our travel companions, Phil and Sheryl enjoying their time on the train. Seats are quite spacious & recline quite a ways and include leg rests. There is lots of room to store your stuff above you (unlike the crowded conditons on an airplane).
This is me tatting on the Amtrak train ‘The California Zephyr’ somewhere in the Colorado Rockies—every glimpse outside was spectacular. I’m tatting in style with a wonderful beer. Later we found out it is against the rules to consume your own liquor on the train (they want you to buy their awful-tasting stuff).
This is my newly-finished celtic cross. I just held it up and pointed the camera outside my window. This is beautiful scenery but not as spectacular as can be seen on The California Zephyr train between Denver, CO and Grand Junction, CO.
Here is a Quilt-Inspired Split Ring Tatting piece I have not posted yet. The top photo shows the piece as a work-in-progress–it shows a bit about how the piece is worked.
The middle picture is a diagram of how “Rail Fence” traditional quilt block works….it shows the individual quilt block and then how the quilt block looks/works when the basic design is repeated.
In traditional Split Ring Tatting Technique, the block would have to be make with each of the four colors as a separate ’round’ with only the darker color being ‘continuous’ from one block to another. However with the addition of Padded Tatting Techniqueto Split Ring Tatting Technique, I can tat a fairly large round continuously. It’s all about efficiency in tatting and minimizing/negating thread ends!
The top photo shows 2 rounds being tatted at the same time.
Each ’round’ requires 3 shuttles: 2 for the ‘base-color’ (yellow & black)–Split Ring Tatting Technique; 1 shuttle for the ‘padded-color’ (grey & blue).
‘Rail Fence’ in progress–working two rounds at the same time (3 shuttles per round)
Traditional “Rail Fence” Quilt Block Basics
These are the two motifs that I used as the ‘challenge project’ at the recent 2015 IOLI Convention tatting class (Fun with Quilt-Inpired Split Ring Tatting) I taught. Both motifs utilize both Padded Tatting Technique & Split Ring Tatting Techniquesimultaneouly. The bottom motif shows “Rail Fence with several ‘repeats’ of the basic design element.
The ancillary tatting tools I keep in my tatting bag
My tatting bag
The shuttles in my tatting bag
I was on the Amtrak train 2 weeks ago heading from Omaha to Grand Junction for a long-weekend vacation when I decided to take inventory of what I had in my tatting bag. I love those little round, ‘jewelry-travel’ bags. My personal favorites are the ones without a rigid base—they squish-down better to stuff into my purse. I have this tatting bag in my purse and with me ALL THE TIME! In fact, if it accidentally gets left at home, I sort of freak out. It feels like a major part of my life is missing.
In regards to my shuttles: I use the Boye plastic fixed-center post shuttles. These are the shuttles I could find growing up in the 70’s (yikes I’m giving away my age!!) in rural NE Nebraska. Thus I got use to them: their feel in my hand, the (larger) amount of thread they hold, the usefulness of the point, etc. If you look close you can see my tatting-in-progress, a SRT snowflake of my own design. The ‘aero-type’ shuttles (the 2 colorful ones are HH Aerlits) are only in my tatting bag to be used as crochet hooks. I recently purchased the 3 HH Moonlit shuttles on the lower right. They seem to have everything I like in a shuttle: larger size (I have larger hands), same size as the Boyes; holds a decent amount of thread–probably more than my beloved Boyes; & a built-in hook—something I’ve never had before in a center-post shuttle. Pictured is also a Clover shuttle (my secondary-favorite shuttle) and a NAG (Needle Arts Goddess) handmade wood shuttle.
In regards to my Ancillary Tools (top to bottom): A paper copy of my current pattern; my reading glasses in a hard case (I’m old!); pen & mechanical pencil (to jot-down new pattern ideas & correct current patterns); Uncle Bill’s Tweezers (for the occasional opening-a-closed-ring problem); safety pins (for pinning my work in progress out of the way); scissor-snip in an enclosed case (God’s gift to my tatting!); an old perfume-sample glass vial, probably from the 60’s to house my size 24 tapestry needles that I use to sew-in ends; metal tooth-pick & sheath (my irreplaceable Split Ring Tatting tool to encourage tiny ‘joining-picots’ to be big enough to get a crochet hook into to create a join); 2 pieces of plastic (used to unwind/wind thread to create ‘continuous thread method’ between two shuttles–See previous post http://survivalarchitecture.com/shuttlesmithblog/continuous-thread-method-my-tip/ for my how-to.
My vacation time (from Omaha, Nebraska where I live/work) has been spent this summer in Grand Junction, Colorado. This is where I was last weekend.
My time was spent working on the house there (a little bit) and seeing the sights of the beautiful area. One day we drove through the Colorado Monument National Park, getting out and hiking into different biomes along the route. It is truly beautiful/majestic.
Hiking in the Colorado National Monument–what a view!
The other thing that we did was go motorcycling (dirt-riding to be more precise) in the desert and region around Grand Junction. We spent two days doing this and it was a great way to see and experience the desert. There are miles and miles of trails on BLM land that are there to be explored.
Me and my motorcycle in the desert and the Bookcliffs of western Colorado
But I am happy to report that I did get some tatting done! I completed 3 snowflakes during the trip. I am now in ‘Snowflake-mode’, having fun designing different snowflakes on graph paper and then tatting them into thread. Look for a future book!
3 Tatted Snowflakes I got done on this trip (split ring tatting–of course!)