Trying out Tatting

There are as many ways to make as there are people making. And by this I mean how you experience your making, whether it is a touchstone at the end of a long day, or if it is a means of income.  Some makers can make the same item over and over and over, while others can't keep focused on a single project for more than the time it takes to get a whim to start something new.  Some makers have learned the craft they love and stick with it like a lover, while others flit from one craft (or technique) to another, always looking for a new "fix".

Me, while I'm always committed to my first love, knitting, I can't help but sneak out and try all sorts of new stuff with the opportunity and interest arise.

And this weekend I started trying out something new, Tatting.

Trying out Tatting

For those unfamiliar, tatting is a technique for making lace that can use a needle or shuttles.  It's not a currently popular technique, however I've been seeing it pop up more and more in the last little while.

My first introduction to the idea of tatting through my grandfather back in 2011.  Apparently when his father, my great-grandfather, was a young man he was ill and learned how to shuttle tatt lace.  My grandfather offered me his father's shuttles, which he had been storing since his mother died.  However, when he went to find them they had been lost.

My first shuttle (taken from the Etsy listing), unfortunately it got dropped when moving and the shop is closed and so I can't get another.

My first shuttle (taken from the Etsy listing), unfortunately it got dropped when moving and the shop is closed and so I can't get another.

My second set of shuttles, Aero-type that have been "improved" by an Etsy Seller (LaCossette) both sides have different designs, so it is easy to remember which side is "up" when wrapping to do the first half of the stitch.

My second set of shuttles, Aero-type that have been "improved" by an Etsy Seller (LaCossette) both sides have different designs, so it is easy to remember which side is "up" when wrapping to do the first half of the stitch.

Not to be deterred, I went to the internet and bought myself a shuttle and the now-unavailable Craftsy class on Shuttle Tatting.  And I found that it was a confusing technique to learn and the available designs a tad ugly.  So I set aside the shuttle.

Tatting Books

However, about a year ago, I found that there were new books on tatting that had attractive projects. So this past weekend I decided to pick up the shuttles and try something new.

Here are the results of my labor.

Tatting Experiments

So it's not much to look at, and it is slow going at times, but I'm enjoying the challenge of learning something new.

So I'm going to keep plugging away at this and make some fun little bits of lace that I might be able to work into a piece of embroidery.  I'm using KnitPicks Curio #10 crochet thread because it's what I have on hand and all the colors coordinate well. 

KnitPicks Curio Thread

So did you try something new this past Easter weekend?  Have you ever bobbin tatted, any good resources to suggest?

Little knits for little ones

For those of you who follow my sister Carla over at Georgian Bay Fibre Co., you may already know this, but I have some baby knits in my future, because I'm going to be an Auntie!

My sister is having a baby in August and as the designated knitter, I already have a few things on, and off the needles for the future little one.

So far, I've completed two sweaters, a Newborn Vertebrae and a Beyond Puerperium both by Kelly Brooker.  Both have been made out of Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label DK, in club and OOAK colourways that have been hanging around my stash for ages.  Because Carla hasn't had her gender scan yet, I thought that sunshine yellow (aka Saffron) and autumnal red-orange (aka Paprika) would be perfect for any baby, and great for hand-me-downs, because these little knits really don't last very long, because babies have this nasty habit of growing, or so I hear.

NIco at 6mo in his brown sweater - he is turning 3 on his birthday this month!

NIco at 6mo in his brown sweater - he is turning 3 on his birthday this month!

Up next I have plans for another, fingering weight, Vertebrae that is, in a 6 -12mo size from some yarn in my stash.  Many years ago I made one for a friend, and apparently it was one of the best clothing items she had for her son, Nico.

Another one I'm excited to knit is the R&R Hoodie by Tanis Lavallee. I snagged some Kilcoursie Aran in Asparagus in the April Fools Day sale at Georgian Bay Fibre Co. that will be just perfect for a spring hoodie in the 6-12 month size.

Also, my big knit for the baby is a blanket.  I will be using the Heirloom Chevron Throw pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts and downsizing it for a baby.  Carla and I are still picking out the colors (some part of her regular collection and a couple of OOAKs) but I expect to be knitting it on the Kilcoursie DK base.  With superwash BFL and nylon, which will be awesome for an item that is going to get a whole lot of wear and tear, and trips through the washer and dryer.

So, what other baby knits should I be adding to my list?  Parents of little ones, what knitted items did you appreciate the most, and which ones were more trouble than they were worth?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments so I can tailor my to knit list to just the most useful items.

Thursday Things: Cooking for One

I know that I mostly talk about knitting on here, but I can't help but share about my latest discovery that is making my life easier. 

Here's the thing, cooking for one sucks.  Most people know this, I think it was a meme before there were memes. But it's hard to know how much it sucks till you do it, but the motivation myself to make something other than mac and cheese or salad is somewhat scarce. 

That's where my new friend comes in ... CookSmarts.

This is a meal planning service that has started to motivate me to actually cook meals!  Every Friday they publish 4 new recipes that can be scaled from 1 to any number of servings and will adjust it's ingredients to suit the servings. Also, sometime the meals have pre-planed overlap, so a grain may be cooked for Monday is served with Thursday's dinner.  Or an exotic ingredient will be needed a couple of times during the week to make sure you use it up.

Here is the look of next week's (April 6th) meal plan.  As you can see I started checking off the boxes as soon as I checked it out.  And because I'm not a fan of chicken thighs or shrimp, I selected Monday and Tuesday as Veg, then the other two as GF because I've been finding that wheat and I don't agree with one another so I don't cook it or eat it at home. I've been known to mix and match meal types to make sure I'm getting GF/Veg as my tastes prefer.

CookSmart MealPlan

 Now if some of those meals don't appeal to you or you  want to plan dinners for 7 days, you can add in any of the thousands of previous recipes to your week. With Original, Gluten-Free, Paleo and Vegetarian versions of each recipe, this system has managed to make me try new things and get out cooking. 

Once you've picked your  meals and your servings, CookSmarts generates a shopping list for the meals of the week. It assumes you need everything (like sugar, salt etc) but you can go through the grocery list on the website and "check off" the ingredients you already have in your pantry and then they will either let you print or email your list for when you go to the store.

So far I've only made a few of the meals, but most of my delays have been due to changes in plan, but because of the pre-planning involved, I've been able to store those ingredients (freeze for meats, mostly) and then re-select those meals the next week to make sure the ingredients get used before they go bad.

My two fave meals so far have been Ginger-Beef Stirfry and Swiss Chart and Goat Cheese Frittata (which I made with spinach and feta because that's what I had on hand).

So I'm a fan, it takes the thinking (my main barrier to entry) out of dinner and is helping me be  more responsible about my eating, because I'm an eater not a foodie (to quote Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast, another new fave) I don't have the internal drive to create incredible meals just for me.

So this is my first Thursday Thing, which are just things I love and feel the need to share about. This can range from crafting to cooking, and all the other good stuff I love.