A new distraction!

It’s been embarrassingly long since I blogged last.
There’s a simple reason for that. Sadly I have almost not picked up my shuttle for a very long time. Did a little motive in February but that’s the first thing I did in several months.
I’ve not been bored though. I discovered a new way to express myself. It’s called Zentangle and is a very creative way to doodle.

Sample of a few patterns

Sample of a few patterns

Zentangle is about repeating the same pattern (usually a few strokes of pen) to create a breathtakingly beautiful and seemingly complex piece of art with minimal skill requirements. I mean, you just follow some pattern instructions and combine it with a new pattern and so on and so on and voila! You have an amazing looking art in front of you.

Since I’ve been planning for a long time to get a BA degree in graphic design this is helping me a lot on the portfolio-front. Since you need to have a good and well structured portfolio to get into the good schools. It’s a major pain in my behind to figure out this portfolio of mine. What to put in it? What not to? How to present it? Do it in a timeline maybe? Is that silly? How do other people do it? Well, that’s a big headache for me these days.
Maybe I’m just overthinking it, but I want to make it good and impressive. Blow them away with my amazing wits and artsy thinking…

So, yeah. I have to say I really recommend the zentangle method. There’s a reason the name starts with “zen”, cause it really calms you down, centers you and focuses you. It’s kind of a yoga-thing for your brain. Try it, I bet you’ll fall in love like I did! 😀

Zendala = mandala in a zentangle style.

Zendala = mandala in a zentangle style.

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Decoupaging and alcohol – great combo!

Well, what do you know. I just decoupaged my first shuttle. It’s nothing really fancy, just wanted to try it out. Last Saturday, the 8th, I went with my sister to a craft store here in Reykjavík and we bought some stuff for her necklace crafting. Won’t go into details about that now but will post a blog about that once she’s well on her way.
Anyways, we went to that craft shop and I found Mod Podge believe it or not, had no idea it was sold here, lucky me!

2014-11-08 21.49.12That saturday had been planned in advance with our friend, Solla, and we ordered in and had some wine and beers and were doodling in our crafts the whole night, it was really fun and relaxing. I was so excited to try decoupaging for the first time. I don’t know if I did it correctly but I found out that I feel the shuttle slip between my fingers more often than before. Also it’s more difficult to reach for the thread when joining. I took care of that problem though, I just chipped the end off with my nail but now it has an edge that the thread seems to get stuck on. I don’t know, maybe it’s just trial time with me, it might get better. Only time will tell.
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I like the flowers though, they are pretty cute. I don’t have many napkins and the stores don’t have a very big collection of them so I asked my dad to look for moms old napkins, she has a LOT of them. He did and I spent almost an hour last night looking through two boxes of napkins only to find THREE that I liked – well, there were many more that I liked, but the pattern or drawing or whatever was too big. 99% of the napkins had way too large patterns on them to fit a small plastic shuttle. I’ll have to go hunting 🙂

On a side note… Katla is flying to Amsterdam as we speak, or boarding very soon at least from Swiss. She and her hubby are having a nice long weekend in Amsterdam to celebrate his b-day which is today. Have to say I envy her a little bit, Scotland last month and Holland now. We’re teasing her that it’s becoming a monthly thing to travel out of the country for her hehe. But I hope she’s having fun, can’t wait to see what kind of tourist junk she brings home 🙂 Love that stuff!

Have a good day and happy tatting 🙂

Too many projects!!

I’ve been experiencing something new lately. I don’t know if it’s connected to the shorter hours of daylight this time of the year, knowing that Christmas is coming or if I’m just being impatient. The thing is I’ve been doodling with few projects and can’t seem to be able to finish one before I get a burning desire to start another one. I’ll give you the most recent example.
I don’t have so many shuttles so this is getting quite problematic since I just can’t seem to find the will to finish off one of my projects. It’s a black gorgeous necklace. I’ve done the middle piece but am stuck doing the chain around the neck. Constant repeat of the same ring and the same chain is making me nuts.
The whole thing also has about 4-500 beads. 249 JUST on the middle piece. I have no idea how many of them will be on the chain, but since I’ve started I’m halfway through 200 beads and I haven’t reached the middle yet.

Took a photo of the bookmark in use. Love it.

Took a photo of the bookmark in use. Love it.

While I was doing the middle part of it I found a pattern for this very cute, very “me” bookmark and it was all I could think about. Tatting is one of my bigger hobbies now and the other one, the biggest one is reading and writing so it was a combination of both, and I could just picture me reading before bed and having the bookmark on my nightstand, I wanted it NOW! So when I got the chance (ran out of thread on the necklace-shuttle) I started tatting it. First time I’ve done split rings and guess what…. they’re not as terrible as I thought! I’m gonna stop avoiding patterns with SR from now on. I just love that I’m on that stage in my tatting that I’m learning some advanced techniques and actually being able to do them. Being a self taught tatter and searching for everything on my own is a very new concept to me and I have to say I feel a bit proud of myself (and my sister of course) that we did it and didn’t quit.

Oh yeah, if you guys were wondering why my sister never writes posts it’s mostly because she feels insecure with her English vocabulary and feels she can’t write with the same “flow” as I do. So you’re kinda stuck with me until she feels she can do it, I won’t pressure her 🙂
Anyways, have a nice day and happy tatting!

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Collectaholic – is that even a word?

My first "advanced" tatting piece. Pattern by yarnplayer.

My first “advanced” tatting piece. Pattern by yarnplayer.

I will start this blog by posting a photo of my latest work. I’m really proud of it. I wanted to advance my tatting ability by learning something new so I decided to make one of yarnplayers pattern which required me to use two shuttles and make floating rings and self closing mock rings, which I’ve done before but with a lot of cursing and annoyance and still need a lot of practice doing them. This isn’t perfect but I love it. It has been nice being able to tat with stories and news about the volcanic eruption in my ears. I’ve been fascinated by it, I love volcanoes and eruptions. Since I live in Iceland I’m bound to experience them on and off through the years. Not so keen on the poisonous mist though since I’ve got asthma and it increases irritation in my lungs even though I haven’t experienced much discomfort from it so far. Hope it stays that way. Sorry, I just had to mention the volcano eruption somehow. I hope I am forgiven.

But to other things. To tell you a little bit about myself (Ingunn), I’ve always had this little quirk about collecting stuff. F.ex when I was a teenager I had to use the bus to and from school every day and always when I wanted to go do something. It became a habit to get “skiptimiða” which is this little piece of paper you get when you pay so you can switch buses within a certain duration. Those little tickets piled up in my pockets and when I got home they usually ended up on my desk, in my drawers or went to the washer and became this hard mass of washed paper in my pockets. When I was cleaning my room one day I counted my tickets and if I remember correctly they were over 20 then so I got this brilliant idea to start collecting them. I had this old ice cream box that I used to store them in and every time I put one in I drew a line in my diary. When I finally stopped this I had over 500 of them, near 600 and it almost filled a whole page in my diary.

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These are the most precious and fancy books I’ve collected. It’s a series from Barnes and Nobles with all the Classics.

Through the years I’ve also collected key chains, stamps, books, DVD’s, pens and on one point I collected the little paper stuff you pull from inside cigarette packs. That was to keep track of my smoking habits for some strange reason unknown to me today. And I’ve started collecting countless other stuff too. I still collect books though, oh yeah, and concert tickets. I still own my Metallica concert ticket from 2004 f.ex. I also keep little things that remind me of good days, nice trips, a certain person. They don’t have to be of any value, just trash really but they mean a lot to me. F.ex I went to a cabin trip with lots of people a few years ago and to prevent us from using ALL the plastic cups we brought one girl drew our names and a smiley, a toon or something on a little piece of paper and we jammed it between two cups (they were clear) and that was ours for the night, no mix up. And of course on Sunday when we were cleaning up I pulled mine from between the cups and secured it in my journal for my keepsake from that trip. It’s still there btw.

What I’m pointing out by telling you this is that now I have this new collecting mania and it’s all things tatting related. Beads, yarn and shuttles. I haven’t exactly been able to buy any fancy vintage shuttles yet but I can imagine in about 10-20 years I’ll have more shuttles than I’d care to admit. They are so cool. there are so many different materials used, different designs, colors, makers etc. Like the well known phrase from Pokémon, gotta catch them all – or gotta collect them all in my case. That’s my newest collecting mania. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I’ve spent hours looking at shuttles online, decorative tips and all kinds of stuff concerning shuttles. I had no idea that there were this big sub culture of shuttle collectors. That really surprised me. All the forums, the facebook group (yes I joined of course) the photo galleries, the tutorials, I looked at it all.

A picture of most of the yarn I have for tatting.

But beads and yarn I’ve started to gather. I counted 15 different Lizbeth yarn colors – quite a collection compared to how little of it is delivered to Iceland and in the shops. And there’s only size 10 and 20 sold in Iceland btw, so everything smaller than 20 I’d have to buy online – which I’d rather not since I have no patience for that kind of stuff. But as the picture shows there are 15 Lizbeth yarn balls there (one without a bag – the brown one) and one golden yarn I have yet to try but included it in the picture. There needs to be so many more colors available here though. I saw something new in one of the craft shop earlier this month that I haven’t seen before. It was this twisted yarn, two colors twined together in one thread, looked very cool and very interesting to tat with it I think. I have to try that out soon. I have a huge problem picking out colors, I get very anxious when I’m in the shop and looking at all the colors, cause I don’t want to buy a color that people don’t like and it will just sit there, untatted and lonely in my bag. Am I being weird? I think I am.

My ever growing collection of beads.

My ever growing collection of beads.

The beads are no different, I own so many of them now but still need more (and more andmore). Me and my sister bought a pack of beads at the same time we bought our needles and the how to book on needle tatting – the shipment from Walmart that we waited ages for – and there are 24 cases of seed beads in it, 23 different colors and one a mix of all the others. They were all glassy and half clear and I wanted some matted beads as well so I bought another set with matted seed beads. Beside all those beads we needed some big ones too so I bought a lot of them too. There was this offer on a bag of different beads in all different sizes so I bought that and lots and lots and lots of beads that you can buy separately. Those are almost filling the biggest compartment in my toolbox that I converted to a tatbox or “my box of tricks” if you prefer a little mystique. Four of those compartments are dedicated to beads in different sizes and for different purposes. The rest of that box contains everything I need for my tatting, scissors, threaders, needles, shuttles, yarn, earrings, jump rings, paperclips etc. If I say so myself I think I’ve got quite a nice collection of tatting items in such a short period of time. I will sign off with a picture of my box of tricks. Hope you’re having a good one and happy tatting 🙂

Tatting Ingunn 21 okt 2014 004

Aaaand we’re back!

Oh gosh! I am an idiot. A total idiot!! I forgot my email/password combination to this blog *facepalm* I just found it by accident when I was looking for an old email on my “blizzard email account” since I only use that email for blizzard stuff (World of Warcraft – yeah I play it and yes, I’m a nerd). Well, DID only use it for blizzard stuff apparently.

Anyways. We’ve been having a lot of tatting fun lately. The last entry I made was right after we got our shipment from Wall-mart which took forever to arrive. And we had just bought the online course on Craftzy. Ok, well… so I guess we have A LOT to cover now.

For starters, we have totally given up on needle tatting, shuttles are the way to go, at least for us. We’ve made some amazing stuff lately, lots of necklaces, a bracelet or two and some earrings too. And I found a pattern for this adorable little 3D flower and we’ve been putting it on hairpins,they look so adorable. I just have to show you…

The little 3D hairpin.

The little 3D hairpin. So cute, SO CUTE!

I’ve also been working on a rose pattern by Tatting box called Cornelia. It’s very nice, almost all done with chains and LJ. Which is nice, simple and I’ve practiced LJ very well lately. I was never able to get it quite right. I always ended up with a string at the end of my chains and the chain very loose, not right up to the picot I was joining to like it should be. This pattern helped me to overcome that little problem of mine. And it looks so fancy. Have I mentioned that I love beads? I put beads on EVERYTHING now, even if it’s not in the pattern, beaded pattern it will become!!

Cornelia necklace. Tatted by me, pattern by Tatting box.

Cornelia necklace. Tatted by me, pattern by Tatting box.

A friend of ours, Icelandic girl that now lives in England with her boyfriend has been in Iceland for the past one and a half month or so visiting and enjoying the home country and we introduced her to tatting. She loves it and is getting quite good at it. I love the fact that I’ve started mentoring people in tatting, being such a noob myself. But I don’t know if she’s just very good at picking up new things or if it really matters this much to have someone teach you face to face. Because if my memory is not playing tricks on me then I’m pretty sure she’s learned tatting way easier than we did. I want to thank my teaching abilities a bit but I don’t know if that’s it. I’m usually quite quick to pick up new things too and it took me a lot more time to get tatting right. I think it’s because we didn’t really have anything to go on except a few videos and pictures in a needle tatting book to assist us. Having someone show you live, face to face is a much better way to learn I think. What do you think?

Now I’m working on a pattern by Yarnplayer – my idol. It’s called Rotation Tatted pendant with beads. It has SCMR with a bead in the middle and lots of other beads on it, a floating ring which means I have to use two shuttles, and more technique I’ve never used. I got as far as finishing the SCMR and one floating ring with a bead in it and the chain it’s on. That took my only what… like 1 and a half hour or so!! I made mistakes, had to re-thread some beads, fix some mistakes here and there and at the end of it I had a way too big SCMR compared to the bead – it was still the same size she used in hers – and a crooked floating ring on an uneven chain. But hey, practice makes perfect right? It’s the first time I use two shuttles and my first time making a floating ring and of course that floating ring has to have a bead in the middle just to complicate things a bit further. Marilee wasn’t kidding when she wrote that this pattern is for advanced skill in tatting….
But I’ve felt the need to challenge me a bit and start to learn new techniques so I’ll stick to this. This necklace will just be for practice but I hope I can get it better on the next one!

Will show you some progress report and probably a whole blog of me raging on how difficult and impossible this idea of mine was. But until then… happy tatting! 😀

Your package has arrived!

Well, finally our shipment came on the 4th of march after a long 3 weeks of waiting. 

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to blog after we got our shipment, been rather busy, both with tatting and other stuff. But we got needles jeij! And we put our shuttles down and started needle tatting like crazy, we found it MUCH easier than shuttle tatting. I’ve made a few pairs of earrings, quite a lot of pairs actually, two necklaces and lots of items that didn’t quite sit well with me, mistakes etc, that were just thrown away. I still have to finish some of the work, put chains or ribbons on the necklaces and such and will post pictures as soon as I finish it, thread all ends and take some good photos with an actual camera, not the crappy one that’s on my phone.

I’m thinking it might be easier to make an album of our finished work than post all the pictures on here, so I’ll just put in a link as soon as possible when I’ve finished the work. It’s just so much more fun to keep tatting and not finishing the works, do the chains or earring hooks etc. But ofc I would have done it right away if I’d had the needles to thread the ends right from the start, took me about two weeks to finally go and buy them.

Oh yeah, talking about that shopping trip! Both of us sisters went to a store here in Reykjavík after I called my aunt to ask here where we might be able to buy very fine threads – cause I didn’t really like the selection in the other place we bought the Lizbeth thread. She referred us to another store which is more of an office supply / school supply store and I didn’t really think we’d find anything there, but to my amazement she nailed it! It was filled with Lizbeth thread, size 10 and 20 and all kinds of other threads as well, lots of pearls, earring hooks and just all the supplies that you might need for jewelry making. So we bought a few colours, needles, needle threaders (which we’ve ruined already, they’re really crappy) and we found a very nice plastic box with lots of little compartments and with it came these little plastic thingies that you wind your thread on and it fits perfectly in the little compartments, it’s very neat! So you don’t have to have the whole ball of thread with you, just this little piece, and you can wind enough on it to last for a while. 

One thing we learned that same day, after getting really excited about maybe being the only ones here that were tatting and we were doing something completely new, well besides the old ladies doing doilies and edging clothes and stuff, we were the only ones tatting jewelry. But we were wrong! There is this girl here that we had no idea about but my sister found by accident online, that’s been needle tatting for quite a while now and is even teaching needle tatting in that store we found – so THAT’S why they had all this selection of Lizbeth thread. I have to admit that I was kinda disappointed, I really wanted to be the first and hopefully the best in the future. And she’s even selling her works on facebook, which would be perfectly fine (nothing wrong with healthy competition) if she weren’t overprizing her product so much. F.ex she’s charging around $60 for a pair of earrings that aren’t even that complex and don’t take that much time to do… it’s just really wrong. So I don’t like her. I would never charge that much for a piece of earrings, even though they’re homemade and maybe even her own design. Or what do you guys think? And some of her works that she’s selling for even higher prizes come from free patterns online. I don’t think that’s such a nice way to go, or maybe it’s just me being irritated and negative towards her cause she’s doing the things I was planning on doing, I don’t know. I still find it wrong to overprize so much. 

But to other things. We’ve found out that Marilee Rockly (yarnplayer) is a very big name in the world of tatting. Or at least I think so, given the fact that she’s published three tatting books, which I really want to own and I come across her designs all over the internet. I wish I could tat like her, omg she’s SOOO talented.
The reason I’m mentioning her is that both me and my sister have found out that shuttle tatting might be the way to go, most of the tutorials online are for shuttle tatting, patterns are mostly made for shuttle tatting and lots more. So we decided to buy her online course on craftzy.com yesterday. I reaaaally recommend it for tatters that are just starting, it’s amazing. She’s just a fountain of knowledge on everything tatting, and she’s so adorable. So I finally found out how to make a chain with shuttles and her videos explain things so much better than any other tutorial I’ve come across so I’ve started shuttle tatting again, and hopefully will “master” that soon. 

And like I said, pictures will come soon! 🙂

Our first steps into shuttle tatting

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This is the national uniform of Iceland

Today has been, well, special. We decided to go look for some very fine yarns for our tatting experiment while we’re waiting for our tatting supply delivery from Walmart. We really weren’t that optimistic on getting some really good yarn and were preparing ourselves to have to go store to store all afternoon. But by some kind of a miracle the first store we stumbled into had this amazing collection of Lizbeth yarn size 20, which is the yarn some girls on the tutorials we’ve been watching have been using. Well, maybe not exactly Lizbeth yarns but at least it was size 20 and I remembered that from the tutorials. The woman that was working in the store asked us what we were going to do with the yarn and we told her it was called tatting but to my amazement she knew what it was and even had some shuttles, which of course we bought, the impatient trolls we are. But apparently it’s called “Orkering”, which is the Scandinavian word for tatting, or if you’re referring to it like you’re “Tatting” it’s “Orkera” and that particular method has been used here for centuries in our old traditional “National Uniform”, imagine that! If I understood it right tatting has been used to lace the end of the shirtsleeves the girls wear and the hem I think too, maybe even used in something else, I don’t know. I really want to research this and find more information about it, it really fascinates me. 

On a side-note, when we stepped out of the store we saw the doppelganger of Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmatians driving past us on our way to the car. It was so funny, she had the luxury car, the fur coat, the crazy white hair (not the black half though) and the shiny red lipstick and of course she drove like a maniac. The resemblance was uncanny! Just had to share that haha.

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These are some of the tries we did before we found out about the “flip” thing. Not all of them though, they kept coming for a while after this photo was taken

Full of hope and excitement we rushed home, clicked on the first shuttle tatting tutorial we could find on youtube and started to tat. Well, tried to tat, we didn’t really accomplish much. When we got the hang of how to make the stitches and do it properly all kinds of other problems surfaced. For the life of us we could NOT complete one single ring, the stitches were completely stuck so we couldn’t slide them down the yarn. We tried another tutorial with other techniques but the same happened over and over again. Our frustration kept increasing and we were starting to bitch about it, almost shouting at each other, we were so annoyed. After about 1-2 hours of this we had this little pile of “stitches” that we’d cut away from the shuttle to try it all over again with the same result. Why on earth did this damn thing not work?!? I finally figured out we had to flip the loop and the next tutorial we watched confirmed that. Then everything started to be bright and shiny and we were happy and full of excitement again… for about 5 minutes. When we close a ring, how do we start another one? Do we tie a knot or just go on with the next one? How do we make chains with shuttles? Do we always need to have two shuttles while doing a chain? These questions and many, many more surfaced and I’m too tired right now to search for the answers. Double stitches and picots are all we know so far and I have a feeling that won’t get us really far.

So this is the accomplishment from today’s work; frustration, annoyance and rage-quitting with a little dash of experience along the way. We got our shuttles and few balls of yarn. And of course I have to mention it again, even though it hardly counts as accomplishment but the Cruella DeVille doppelganger was priceless!