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

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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!