Norma's Needleworkz

Friday, January 04, 2008

A New Year and some Tatting Shuttle Tales

The year 2008 is not off to a bang of a start with lots of quilting sane or crazy LOL Instead I've chosen a completed WIP to begin the year with .... a denim bag with embroidery. On my CQ4Newbies group a recent discussion developed on how hard or easy was it to embroider on denim and what kind of patterns would you use. Although the discussion was aimed mainly at children's denim wear I decided to post the pic of the bag I had finished. This happened to be a DMC "Denim Bag" kit that was on sale at Michael's and included all the materials needed ..... the finished bag with the pattern marked, two different color skeins of DMC #5 perle cotton and a #22 chenille needle. Diagrams and instructions for the stitches were also included. I must say that this weight denim is not the easiest to stitch on and had to resort to using my thimble. Now the only times I really use a thimble is when I am actually quilting, doing handwork on garments (hems, buttons, etc.) and embroidering on denim! BTW the two stitches on the bag were: pumpkin color - stem stitch and green - running stitch. Suggested patterns for denim embroidery - very simple and use basic stitches such as stem, running and lazy daisy.

Also with the CQ4Newbies group I'm working on a "Season to Season" block and my partner for the winter block was Ati. The one guideline she suggested was to "think snow" ..... therefore most of what I added does not show up here as I used lots of tatting, and clear beads. I'd not used a monogram before so thought I'd better not get to complicated with that and used a wintery looking Wildflowers by Caron for that bit. I also used some blue/aqua beads on one seam and a bit of beige silk ribbon with pale pink and clear beads on another seam. In the center I stitched some snowflake patterns and used some purple beads. For the longest time I could not get anything to work in the upper left corner and I had some #16 Krenik blue metallic braid that kept calling "use me". So finally, one morning when the wind chill factor said 5F. and the wind was howling, the braid became whirling winter wind and was couched with a single strand of pale blue YLI silk thread. Hee, hee, you can't see it because it was added after the photo was taken so only when it shows up on the CQ4Newbies StS winter swap album will it be seen by anyone other than Ati.

The HBT group has recently been sharing pics of their shuttles and so I thought I'd share some of mine and include some "tales" about some of them. Now in a previous post I showed the shuttle that had been given me by my grandmother ..... well, that was the start of my shuttle collection. So how do I describe some of these shuttles ..... the two on the left that look different from the rest are made from buffalo horn and the design was "invented" by Lady Katharin L. Hoare, lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Roumania during the WWI time frame. Lady Katharin designed this shape for her mother who had become blind and was finding her traditional shuttle most difficult to use.

The top shuttle on the left is in very delicate condition as it is made of tortoise shell which is on the endangered list. It is the only shuttle in my collection that I have not used and will not use due to its condition. Directly under the tortoise shell is my ebony shuttle. Directly under the buffalo horn shuttles is one made of Gutta Purcha (from the rubber trees in the Phillipines), the same material that was used in making framing material in 1898. Of the remaining two in this group, one is celluloid and the other is a highly polished wood.

The next group of shuttleswith the exception of the tiny wooden one at the bottom left were all hand made especially for me. The tiny one is an unpolished hand made child's shuttle that I purchased at an antique show. The hand made shuttles were made by a young lady living in Washington State who learned how to make them from her grandfather. After he could no longer work with the wood she took over and used the monies earned for college spending funds. Beginning on the left side reading from top to bottom the shuttles are made from: Black Walnut, Maple, Zebra wood (tropical America), and Holly. I'm using the holly shuttle with some #70 shaded yellow/brown Star thread that I purchased when it cost 19 cents a ball so you know how long I've had that thread!

The shuttles on the right hand side are made from: Hawaiian Koa, Vermillion (a hardwood from the Andaman Islands off the southern tip of Burma in the Sea of Bengal). Note: I believe that Burma is now known as Sri Lanka (???) The next shuttle is made of Cocobolo, another tropical American hardwood that is only sold by the pound. The final shuttle of this group is made of Bubinga, a hard heavy wood found in western Africa. It is a wood widely used in archery bows.

Now one of the shuttles in this photo is not a tatting shuttle .... it is a weaving shuttle, but I have often wondered how it would do to tat with! Let's look at the left side first - the top shuttle is made from Purple Heart, a hardwood found in British Guiana, below that is another ebony shuttle then the weaving shuttle and the last one in that row is made of Rosewood. The weaving shuttle and the rosewood one were purchased at an antique show. All the right hand side shuttles were again made to order - Oak, Myrtle ( this wood grows only in southwest Oregon and Palestine), Olive wood (from southern Europe and not readily available), Ziracote (an expensive hardwood from Central America and the West Indies), and the last in photo is made from Teak (a hardwood from southeast Asia, said to be acid and pest resistant - the sailing and clipper ships were made of teak).

Most of these shuttles were purchased at antique shows while I was still working .... I "retired" in 1996 for health reasons - my job as a "Special Education Teacher's Aide" proved to be too stressful for me after 11 years. Again, starting on the left at the top - the first shuttle is brass and is engraved on both sides. When I purchased it it was totally unusable ..... the tip had been bent up in a 45 degree angle. At the suggestion of my hubby, who said brass is a soft metal, I used one of his cigarette lighters and a small needlenose pliers ... repeatedly heating and gently bending until the point was at last in its proper position. This is one of my favorite shuttles. The second shuttle is a small shuttle possibly made of German silver and is engraved only on one side, next is my sterling silver one and is engraved on both sides. My abalone and mother of pearl shuttles complete the row.

On the right hand side the first shuttle was a gift from a former member of our church who said it was made for her mother and it is definitely handmade .... I believe the material is aluminum as it is very light weight and the post is made of wood or possibly gutta purcha. The next shuttle is a "BOYE" IMPROVED
Pat. applied 7.'23 MORE THREAD-LESS KNOTS and has a removeable bobbin. The next shuttle has no markings of any kind anywhere on it but came in a "package deal" with two of my antique shuttles. The next shuttle was one of two owned by my MIL and is a Susan Bates .... it was broken and I repaired it with some fine wire. My niece was given the "good" shuttle which she still uses. The last shuttle is a scrimshaw shuttle that I purchased from LACIS, a speciality needlework shop located in California. I still have more shuttles but they will wait for another time.


At 1/04/2008 04:13:00 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

That's a lot of shuttles!! Thanks for sharing!

At 1/04/2008 04:32:00 PM, Blogger Judy S. said...

Wow! I had no idea there were so many differnt kinds of shuttles. Tatting totally intimidates me, but it sure is beautiful. Ati's CG block is very nice, too.

At 1/05/2008 04:51:00 AM, Blogger Ati. Norway. said...

Hi Norma, What a beautiful collection of shuttles you have. I have one Ivory from my grandmother but I don't know how to use it :(
My block looks very nice, I LOVE the tatted pieces !!
I know that shiny fabric and beads are always difficult to photograph.
So, better the surprise when it comes home.
In advance: thank you very much !

At 1/05/2008 05:47:00 AM, Blogger Faye Dianne said...

Norma, What a wonderful collection of shuttles. I, too , had no idea that you could get so many different ones. I love tatting, although I'm not very good at it at all... need more practice!!! Thanks for sharing your lovely work.
cheers - Faye

At 1/05/2008 07:15:00 AM, Blogger Mrs. John said...

Norma, I enjoyed your shuttle tales! NEAT! :)

At 1/05/2008 07:58:00 AM, Blogger Mandy said...

What beautiful shuttles. I had not realised that they came in such a multitude of shapes, colours and sizes.

At 1/05/2008 12:15:00 PM, Blogger Susan said...

The denim purse looks like it was worth the effort it took. I love your shuttle collection. Mine is much smaller, but it does include a couple from Laci's. =) Of course, you actually *use* yours, too!

At 1/06/2008 10:18:00 AM, Blogger Candi said...

Wow! What a lot of shuttles:)
BTW You've been tagged by me for the "You Make My Day" Award. The rules are on my blog:)

At 1/07/2008 09:50:00 AM, Blogger crazyQstitcher said...

Ati's block must look wonderful in life, with the tatting. The shuttles are great and the stories very interesting.
Love the denim bag and embroidery. I agree that denim is harder to work with and choosing the right needle is necessary. Your finished bag is just great.

At 1/15/2008 04:42:00 PM, Blogger tangled stitch said...

Your change of seasons piece is beautiful and your lovely collection of tatting shuttles makes me want to learn tatting.


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