Just a few updates in Snappy Tatter-land

I wanted to let everyone know of upcoming events and some Blog and shop updates.

~I have been incredibly busy here in Snappy Tatter-land. Continue reading

Flyaway Butterfly Gala…from imagination to tatting shuttles

I have been wanting to create this design for some time now. I thought I would take the time to share how something like this develops from the spark in the brain to the clicking of the shuttles to complete fruition. I enjoy making the Gala designs immensely. Quite possibly more than any other jewelry designing…maybe. The Gala Couture are bib or statement necklaces intended to be a tribute to a time of year, a season, a sense of something. In this case, it is a tribute to my beloved butterflies; PIXIE, Vivien, Sara, Daphne and Emma. The idea was butterflies flowing around your throat in a release, turning this way and that. A flow. And a delicate invasion frozen in time. The idea was in my head. The trick is to get it to my shuttles.


I was first concerned about the sizing and shape of the selected butterflies and how they should connect to one another as well as the overall shape of the design. I looked through my current work to find various representations of each and made simplistic outlines of them on paper. After copying the b-flies and cutting out the shapes, I manipulated them on paper until I came out with this concept:

Thread sizing is written beside the b-flies along with color. I wanted the heaviest shade at the bottom with a gentle gradient to silver/white at the top. Black, charcoal, silver and white were the chosen shades. Chic, neutral and sophisticated. No beading was tatted into the actual b-flies, I wanted them to steal the show! Now that I have a map, it’s down to tatting. Hours of tatting.


My sizing was off a little but I was pleased with the result. Here is the collection, initially after a few more hours of sewing in ends, adding Hematite beading to all the bodies and making antennae. On the left it is shown with my favorite tools; tapestry and quilting needles, needle threader, a tiny crochet hook, exceptionally sharp Ghinger embroidery scissors and my wooden awl for pulling picots into shape and flattening knots inside a flat velour lined box that allows me to store works in progress away from curious kitties.


The design lacked stability and I was concerned that the necklace would not lay properly without something anchoring the design in place. I don’t want my patrons to have to fix or play with my work to get it right. It should be easily worn. So I decided to add sheer black organdy to the back of the larger b-flies. This became a task all in itself. I traced the shape of the b-flies on paper and used the paper shape to cut out the organdy. Next I needed to tack the organdy in order to sew it straight to the b-flies in the right shape so they would not go askew. I wanted them to fly away not create chaos. I used a bright yellow floss so it could be removed easily when I was finished and there would be no question that it was the tacking thread. After hand sewing the organdy to specific points that not only anchored the b-flies, was undetectable and added a few more Hematite beads, I trimmed it very…VERY carefully around the outside edge. I wanted it to show through Emma at the bottom and both Daphne b-flies without showing through the picots. I decided to create a plunge in the organdy in the middle of the b-flies.


After all of this work I realized that my Gala was not long enough on one side to create the shape I wanted and there were a few points that seemed a bit bare. The design was unbalanced and was heavy on one side. In come the PIXIES! I worked three more wee PIXIE Butterflies into the design, added beads and antennae as I secured them to the design. And the work is not over! Next I created two silver organdy bands for the necklace. While the glue was setting inside the ribbon ends, I flipped the Gala over and added an anti-fray compound to all edges of the black organdy. I straightened, trimmed and molded the antennae and made sure there are no weaknesses. I pulled picots and wings into shape adding a small amount of an invisible fluid here and there for moderate stiffness to retain the shape of the design. I went over the work about three times in this manner molding the Gala into the effect I wanted. Voila!


A labor of love, this one of a kind creation was well worth the time. The total length is about 15″ including the plunge with a 2″ extender to make it easy to adjust. I am seen wearing it above with a plunging blouse and below with a black corset top. I am particularly small (4’11”) and after seeing this on my best friend who has a wider chest and neck, I think this will be well suited for anyone larger than me…which is pretty much everyone. The width and length of the actual butterflies is 5.75″ x 6.5″ respectively. The wingspan at the bottom of Emma is 3.5″. A true statement piece I am very happy with the end result of my idea. There will be more Butterfly Galas as Abagail and Sophie were not included in this one. If you have any questions visit the official Etsy listing for all the specs: Flyaway on Etsy

I hope you enjoyed this peak into my creative process. Thanks for listening!



New Snappy Couture just in time for Spring!

The Dandelion Gala

I am celebrating the lovely and so often rejected Dandelion in a way that will not lead anyone to spray their lawns with caustic substances, stab at it with sharp tools or yank on it with gloved fingers. A beautiful Gala for the sadly abhorred blossom. I worked on this over the 5 days we spent in a cabin in March for our birthdays and anniversary. I began with the nearly dozen layer golden flower and tatted the different leaves and flowers together as much as possible. The larger than life Dandelion is shuttle tatted with a variety of glass beading worked into the layers. The shimmer and sparkle is wonderful.

The flower alone took several hours to complete. Beads must be strung on the cordonnet in advance and pulled into the tatting as I work. So it is knot, loop, knot, bead, knot….and so on. The knots, loops, and beads of each layer are counted in advance and graphed on paper. A time consuming process but enjoyable and so worth the time.

The leaf design was made especially for this piece. I used the holly design that I have made before for other fiber art works as seen on this barrettehttp://www.etsy.com/listing/68380804

I made the stem twist tighter, the beginning narrower and end wide and added lockstitches at the edges to make the stitiches turn in. I was trying to give the leaves the rounded but jagged look of true dandelion leaves. I used references from the internet to redesign the leaf pattern. Several attempts were made before I was happy with the effect.

I used two weights of leaf green cordonnet to make the leaves and changed the core thread to give more dimension. I wanted the larger leaf to stand out more and used a dark gold thread at the core which leaves little flecks of color through the leaf adding brightness and congruency. The two smaller leaves have an evergreen core thread making them recede a little and deepen in color slightly. Finally, when I worked the outside chain, it was reversed so the edges curl up. I like that effect. It feels fresh and natural to me.

This is a photo of my work station beside my chair in the cabin. It was so nice to have all of my stuff out for days and not have to worry about curious kitties dragging things off! You can see my thread balls, beads, tons of shuttles, needles, hooks, embroidery scissors and a few comfort things like chapstick and Udder Cream hand lotion which keeps my worn hands soft but does not stain threads and fabric. The blue cup is for snipped thread ends. I get very bothered by loose ends…imagine that!

After the main flower and leaves are tatted together I began to make ” Teeny Tats”, tiny one ring flowers that I named when I began making notecards.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/71546370

I could have stopped with just the Dandelion and its leaves but I wanted purple  to set off the gold and the Teeny Tats are an adorable way to add color without detracting from the design. I had to decide how many and where to position the Teenies. So, laying the motif flat I move the little flowers around. I placed the richer colors and heavier weight threads closer to the Dandelion and faded them out to the very finest and lightest Teenies at the edges. I took a photo of where they are to be placed so I can remove them  while I work but still have a reference saving me time. In the end I did not use all of them and the remainder go into a small round box to be used on other projects. Each Teenie was hand sewn into the work using its own ends. A glass bead was sewn into each center for sparkle. For pricing, I add 3 minutes for each Teenie plus the amount of time it took to sew them into the design.

I was tickled pink with the way this work evolved. Originally I was making a Spring Gala but the Dandelion is so large and such a focal point that I thought it was appropriate that the Gala be just for this Dandelion. It’s own formal affair. I brought the motif home and added Sterling links and white organdy ribbon with a fantastic shimmer. A two inch chain extender is at the clasp so it can fit any size neck. the “V” shape of the design makes this statement necklace a natural fit.

The Dandelion Gala Statement necklace is now listed in my Etsy shop for sale. It is part of my Snappy Couture line, a glamorous collection of statement jewelry that is one of a kind.