Up and At Em’!

I have been so very busy the last week. I am trying to get a volume of work done by December the 7th when I will be attending the Keystone Summit in my husband’s industrial park. This is a Christmas show in Warrendale, PA where my husband works for Heinz. I am excited about the exposure. I will be one of 5 or 6 artists/artisans displaying my fiber art for sale. I am a lacemaker that designs fiber art that is framed or on keepsake boxes as well as original designs of jewelry and snowflakes. My work is on display at The Blue Heron Art Gallery in Volant, PA as well as online at http://www.snappytatter.etsy.com, my online Etsy shop.
Trying to get enough work made for this Summit has turned out to be quite the task. Tatting is not a fast process and I have been shuttle-tatting for about 10 years now. You would think it would get faster! Although I can continue to tat without staring unwaveringly at my hands, the process of tying tiny knots over and over can only go so fast. I was crocheting little posies the other night and my husband was saying “Wow! I can’t believe how much faster that is!”. Indeed, it is. And I do love to crochet although it makes my wrist ache after sometime.

So. Up and at em’! Rise and shine. I am up by nine. In my studio by ten. Then I get to work tatting or finishing my lace into a garden or jewelry. I work in my studio till 5 pm simultaneously answering emails, taking Etsy orders, creating, designing, organizing, photographing…the list goes on. At 5, I wrap things up and take a break to hang with the husband. Then it’s back to tatting, with a break for dinner, till 10 o’clock at night.

I like routine. I like my days to stay the same. I work well by myself. I never get lonely and rarely go anywhere except to the post office two blocks away and occasionally out with my husband. I manage my time well. And I will work hard for this Summit. I will do my best. In the end that is all you really can do.

One of my favorite quotes…
Success is not how far you get…it is how far you’ve come.


4 thoughts on “Up and At Em’!

  1. Dear Snappy:
    As you know, I just purchased two of your ETSY pieces. Since I’m not at home at the moment, I don’t know whether they’ve arrived — but I look forward to seeing them. As you also know, I’ve been wanting to learn tatting for a long time now. One sentence in your post has caught my attention — that you love crochet but it can make your wrists hurt. I have this problem as well, in both crochet and knitting. So — my question to you: does tatting hurt your wrists at all? Thumbs? Because that would definitely be a plus!!!
    Take care and best of luck in your December exhibit!

    1. Hi Jill! I hope you are enjoying your getaway. Your Snappy Tatter order should arrive any day now if not already. I shipped on Monday. As for my wrists….I will tat for hours, literally to get a piece finished. My hands will get tired after awhile (I know because I start to drop my shuttle) but they don’t ache like with crochet. When I crochet there is a “twist” to my right wrist to pull stitches through. It feels like Carpal Tunnel. When I tat the motion is more in my fingertips as I weave the shuttle back and forth through the thread. It is a smoother motion with less “twist”. I also use my whole arms more as I move in and out with the shuttle. (I have great forearms :o)) You can also take into account that in order to get a piece the same size of something that has been crocheted you have worked four or five times longer…so there is a lot more work. I did buy cheap compression gloves that cover my wrist when it gets tired or a achy. I use them rarely but have needed them for large orders. Keep me posted on how the tatting goes. Take care! Jennifer

  2. Tatting is definitely time-intensive and it’s why you don’t see a lot of LARGE items for sale. The price would be exhorbitant. I spent well over 20 hours tatting the lace for my DIL’s bridal hanky. It was more ornate than most and involved 2 rows. Some things I can tat in less than an hour if they are small, simple in technique and not too dense, but the average snowflake or heart takes a few hours and the more intricate, the longer it takes. I don’t like to see tatter’s undersell their work. It is NOT easily duplicated and it’s all done by hand whether it is shuttle or needle. I prefer to shuttle tat myself.

    For the person saying they want to learn to tat, I would recommend Janette Baker’s book with the DVD which sells for around $15 at Hobby Lobby and online. The projects are simple and the DVD is at a good pace visually and explains things clearly. I don’t do everything the same as she does and everyone has their unique style, but this is the best I’ve seen to date to learn from.

    Ergonomics is my job and what I would watch is how tightly the tool you’re using is gripped and how much you bend/twist the wrist. The more neutral you can keep your position, the better. If you’re holding the tool, whether it’s a hook or needles or even a tatting shuttle, try to keep the hand more relaxed and not use a death grip hold. Use good lighting and TAKE BREAKS, stretch out your fingers, shake your shoulders and roll your head around on your shoulders. Refocus your eyes periodically at a distance.

    Okay…off my soapbox!

    1. Fantastic advice. Thank you. I do keep my fingers relaxed and try to just use the motion of my arms and switch of my fingertips. I shuttle tat as well. Since this is my profession, I have a lot of non-tatting/needlework tasks that give me breaks including paperwork and tax records, creating packaging, organizing my materials, photography and this fun Blog. I also am Operations Manager for my gallery so I am constantly in contact with our artists about schedules, training and I write procedures. I do all my work under Ott-Lites. And take breaks to do housework which stretches me out. My husband calls me the “admin of the house” since I take care of just about everything around here.

      The previous person first contacted me on Etsy about my snowflake patterns. I recommended Tatted Snowflakes by Vida Sunderman. It has easy and complex patterns and is an excellent source for the basics of tatting designs. I get my tatting supplies online at Handy Hands…a huge tatting supplier. http://www.hhtatting.com.

      I agree that it is sad when people under price their tatting. It is a much longer process than crochet but I think that a lot of people do not understand the difference. I really try to educate the people I come into contact with about the history and the involved process of tatting. On top of tatting a piece, most of my work involves beads that are tatted in or hand-sewn in….which just means more time but great “bling”.

      Thanks so much for commenting. Great advice.

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