Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Do It Yourself... Master Bedroom floor reinforcement-replacement and electrical upgrade from knob and tube.
Sister boarding the joists for added strength and leveling.
Upgrading all outlets and light fixtures from knob and tube wiring
(all on one circuit - yikes) to Romex and multiple circuits
Living in a construction zone is always a challenge and a good test of a marriage.  The challenge is finding the time to get it done, finding a temporary spot for all of the displaced items (including us!), keeping every day items nearby for easy access and keeping the entire house as debris-free as possible.  All the while hoping the budget planned for is sufficient but realistically expecting it to be double or even triple the original estimate, especially when renovating an antique house.

The Mad Tatter

In January of 2012, my friends and I got together for a girls’ retreat at our dear friend’s bed and breakfast in Beaverton, northwest of Midland, Michigan.  Luann opened her home to us and closed her business during that week so that we could visit as long as we wanted with no guests to be concerned about.  We had so much fun catching up, staying up late, sleeping-in, eating, weaving, spinning, eating, knitting, sewing, baking and eating, crocheting, and learning to tat.  It was hard to believe how fast the time flew by.  Did I mention eating?    Oh yeah, and the chores… feeding the animals, feeding the wood-burning furnace (thank you, Luann, for keeping us warm!!) and the shoveling of snow. 

Nestle Inn Bed & Breakfast - Beaverton, MI
Luann O'Dell, Owner
Since then, I have fondly revisited our gathering multiple times in my memory.  Although the temperatures were well below freezing that week, we had warm hearts all around.  On our second or third day together, Mary lovingly gifted Luann with a tatting kit, including an instructional book with DVD and two tatting shuttles.  It was such a sweet and unexpected surprise!  Luann was so tickled that she immediately popped the DVD in the player and we watched it together while the two of them started practicing.

As the video played on, I mentioned that “someday” I hope to learn to tat also, stating that it will have to be put off for another time since I have so many other projects going right now, but it's on my bucket list.  Despite our distraction with the thread knotting and shuttles flying,  I didn't realize Mary caught my comment.  Within a month following our get-together, I also received a gift pack from Ms. Mary,  my very own tatting kit!!  Thank you again Mary, what a sweetheart - I hope to make you proud! 
It had been several months since receiving my generous gift and I am still stuck on learning the basics – the double stitch, chains and rings. I need to graduate to picots and joining rings, since I’m way behind my peers. Tatting is the ultimate craft for the perfectionist. There are many types of shuttles to try and patterns to learn.  It takes patience and daily dedication to teach oneself the muscle memory for creating proper tension and consistent stitches –  something I have not been good at upholding. 

While testing my nerves with this craft, I realized all too well how my eye sight is not what it used to be and I became a bit overwhelmed with the vision issue compounded by the attempt to teach "my left-handed self" to perform right-handed shuttle tatting.  Manipulating the shuttle over and under the thread while maintaining tension requires dexterity that my less-than-adept right hand can produce.  It’s making me a little crazy but it’s better to force myself to learn this way since the majority of patterns are written for right-handed tatters.  At this point, it’s a love/hate relationship.  Several attempts at creating rings have produced little to no progress, certainly nothing worth picturing on the blog, so I have set the shuttle aside for another day……