Tuesday, May 14, 2013

For the Oklahomans in the reading area...

Oklahoma weather humor!
This was sent by the wife of the head meteorologist of the Nat'l Weather Bureau, based in Norman, OK---Considering the past couple of weeks here, we all need a little touch of humor.
A Little Taste of Oklahoma Living

For those of you who aren't familiar with tornadoes and are hearing news coverage of this, I put together a short glossary to help you understand.
Fujita Scale: Scale used to measure wind speeds of a tornado and their severity.
F1: Laughable little string of wind unless it comes through your house, then enough to make your insurance company drop you like a brick. People enjoy standing on their porches to watch this kind.
F2: Strong enough to blow your car into your house, unless of course you drive an Expedition and live in a mobile home, then strong enough to blow your house into your car.
F3: Will pick your house and your Expedition up and move you to the other side of town.
F4: Usually ranging from 1/2 to a full mile wide, this tornado can turn an Expedition into a Pinto, then gift wrap it in a semi truck.
F5: The Mother of all Tornadoes, you might as well stand on your front porch and watch it, because it's probably going to be quite a last sight.
Meteorologist: A rather soft-spoken, mild-mannered type person until severe weather strikes, and they start yelling at you through the t.v.: "GET TO YOUR BATHROOM OR YOU'RE GOING TO DIE!"
Storm Chaser: Meteorologist-rejects who are pretty much insane but get us really cool pictures of tornadoes. We release them from the mental institution every time it starts thundering, just to see what they'll do.
Tranquilizer: What you have to give any dog or cat who lived through the May 3rd, 1999 tornado every time it storms or they tear your whole house up freaking out of their minds.
Moore, Oklahoma: A favorite gathering place for tornadoes. They like to meet here and do a little partying before stretching out across the rest of the Midwest.
Bathtub: Best place to seek shelter in the middle of a tornado, mostly because after you're covered with debris, you can quickly wash off and come out looking great.
Severe Weather Radio: A handy device that sends out messages from the National Weather Service during a storm, though quite disconcerting because the high pitched, shrill noise just as an alarm sounds suspiciously just like a tornado. Plus the guy reading the report just sounds creepy.
Tornado Siren: A system the city spent millions to install, which is really useful, unless there's a storm or a tornado, because then of course you can't hear them.
Storm Cellar: A great place to go during a tornado, as it is almost 100% safe, though weigh your options carefully, as most are not cared for and are homes to rats and snakes.
May-June: Tourist season in Oklahoma, when people who are tired of bungee jumping and diving out of airplanes decide it might be fun to chase a tornado. These people usually end up on Fear Factor.
Barometric Pressure: Nobody really knows what this is, but when it drops a lot of pregnant women go into labor, which makes for exciting moments as their husbands are trying to drive them to the hospital and dodge tornadoes at the same time.
Cars: The worst place to be during a tornado (next to a mobile home). Yes, you can out run a tornado in your car...unless everybody on the road decides to do the same thing, and then you're in grid lock.
A Ditch: Supposedly where you're supposed to go if you find yourself without shelter or in your car during a tornado. Theoretically the tornado is supposed to pass right over you, but since it can lift a 20 ton truck and up root a three hundred year old tree, I'd bet my life on out-running it in a car.
Mobile Home: Most people are convinced mobile homes send off some strange signal that triggers tornadoes, because if there's one mobile home park in a hundred mile radius, the tornado will find it.
Earthquake: What any Californian would rather go through on any scale of severity than face a tornado.
Tornado: What any Oklahoman would rather go through on any scale of severity than face an earthquake.
Twister: Slang for 'tornado' and also the title to a movie starring Helen Hunt, which incidentally everyone thought was corny and unrealistic until May 3rd, 1999.
Power Flash: One of the most reliable ways to track a tornado at night, it's the term used when the tornado hits a power line and a bright light flashes. It's also the emotion experienced by meteorologists when they get to make the call to interrupt prime-time must-see t.v. and a million dollars’ worth of advertising to track a storm for viewers.
Here are some phrases you might want to learn and be familiar with:
"We'll have your electricity restored in 24 hours," which means it'll be a week.
"We're going to be out for a week, so buy a lot of supplies and an expensive generator," means it's going to be on in twelve hours, probably as soon as you return from Wal-Mart.
"It's a little muggy today." Get outta town. It's getting ready to storm.
"There's just a slight chance of severe weather today, so go ahead and make your outdoor plans." Ha. Ha ha ha ha.

And Rene's BIG TIP of the day:

When your electricity goes out, and you go to bed at night, be sure to turn off everything that was on before it went out, or when it is unexpectedly restored in the middle of the night, every light, every computer, your dishwasher, your blow dryer, your washing machine, your microwave and your fans will all come on all at once.
1) You'll just about have a heart attack when they all come on at the same time, waking you from a dead sleep.
2) Your breakers will blow, leaving you in the dark once again.

When you are done laughing remember Rene's Big Tip of the day...it works everywhere...have a great day, a safe day and enjoy a moment of tatting.

Rant on why I don't fly....as in airplanes!

First a bit of a rant as I was asked why I did not just fly to New York...a) cost, b)lost luggage, c) time waiting for a plane and d) TSA

I know a gal (she wishes to remain anonymous as she still has to fly) who had her handmade knitting needles  and had the wool yarn that come from England confiscated from her carry on--trip to and back from England--where the security makes the TSA look like jokers as security in Europe is way higher than in the USA.  She had no problem on international flights but here in the USA on a domestic flight the yarn and knitting needles were destroyed by the TSA.  She would have put the carry on in the "carry on put on the plane" had she known that the work of 2 weeks worth of work would be destroyed (You can ask that the 'carry on' be put in the hold at the gate...my daughter does that all the time and has not lost a bag yet). She can not get the yarn shipped as the US will not allow it to be imported without $5/skein import duty as the US has nothing like that wool but does have acrylic yarn. They are NOT the same.  Just as tatting with crochet thread is not like tatting with Lizbeth thread from Handy Hands.  That is another issue altogether! She was down to working on the Fair Isle/Fisherman Sweater sleeves when the remaining yarn was destroyed along with the handmade needles, I certainly would not chance losing my hand made wooden shuttles and Lizbeth thread to the scare tactics of the TSA. She and her attorney are considering a lawsuit against TSA for the loss.  We are talking about almost $4000 (plus expenses in the suit) in work, material and travel.  Yes she will have to return to England to replace the yarn and needles.   I'd have had to go to the Finger Lakes area with nothing and buy shuttles and thread to participate then toss them or mail them home--waiting until Monday to leave...so I could mail them just to sit on a plane and have my hubby take a day off of work to pick me up over 2 1/2 hours away...Stillwater does not have an airport.  

With the travel time...2.5 hours minimum (each way) plus getting there 2 hours before boarding...I can be almost 1/4th the way to my destination before the flight, if on time, leaves the ground.  Then when I get to the destination I have to rent a car...and coming back an extra night in a motel and tossing the thread and shuttles or mailing them to myself...doubling or more the original cost.  I just don't fly.

TSA is sure there is a terrorist in every pair of shoes...I'm sorry but that smacks of McCarthyism (according to wikipedia...McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism."[1] The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by heightened fears of communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents.) because it is playing on the fears we all have of not being safe and I find that incredibly offensive.  I do not fly unless there is an overwhelming need.  As my father, and Air Force pilot, said 'If you have time to spare go by air.'  

Now you know why I do NOT fly unless there is no other realistic alternative.


Friday, May 10, 2013

 Shuttle v Needle

I recently read a cute article about the difference between knitting and crochet.  My mind did a fast turn and kept seeing shuttle for knit and needle for crochet.  Please don’t ask why as that is just how it is…It started my 5 brain cells running around and here is what they came up with.

First off I would like to give a big thank you to Writer/illustrator/knitter Franklin Habit and to Lion Brand for their neat article that can be found here:

There have been famous feuds in history….Hatfields v McCoys, Capulet v Montague, knit v crochet, and now we add shuttle v needle for tatting.   Why??????????  Don’t ask me…I don’t have the answer.  I just report what I see.

Shuttle tatting has its strengths, needle tatting has its strengths, and both are TATTING!  Yes I know traditionally needle tatters and shuttle tatters have squared off on which is actually tatting…both camps claim the other isn’t tatting.  I will not go into the history of the battle nor who is right and who is wrong.  Both are right and both are wrong.  Remember thread is long, life is short.  Tatting will last a long time. 

Shuttle tatters find an easy rhythm with the shuttle making each half of the double stitch, the flip (some have called it a pop or snap or switch), picots, rings, chains and the stitches come easily  with muscle memory taking over so you don’t have to think about the flip.  Needle tatters, in general,  can tat a bit faster as the stitches are put on the needle with a wrap technique…wait aren’t they different?   Not really…yes in how the stiches are formed but both have a core thread, both have double stitches over the core thread, both do picots, rings, chains, split rings, split chains, and a plethora of additional techniques for making interesting parts of a pattern. Yes they do them differently but that is inherent with the differences in the tools…shuttle as different from needle so different procedures are used to make the same look from the thread. 

Some tatters include making the stitches in reverse order for the second half of split ring/split chains/front side back side tatting as part of the difference.  I disagree because we both do both halves of the stitch.  Essential we are talking about the difference between the English method of tatting and the French method of creating the stitch and not about the stitch itself.  Georgia Seitz has an interesting article at: http://www.georgiaseitz.com/2007/1hs2hs.html  about the difference between the English and French stitches.  Typically we use the French stitch aka 1h or first half of the ds first and then the English stitch aka 2h or second half of the ds second.

 If we are doing the second half of a split ring or split chain or the contemporary fs/bs (front side back side) also known as 1 sided tatting (in some circles) we  use the  stitch halves in reverse order...that means instead of tatting the double stitch as 1h/2h we do it 2h/1h.  Before you string me up please do this simple exercise as it shows the difference between the 2 manners of forming the stitches. 
Tat a  *ring of 3 picot 3 picot 3 picot 3 close ring and reverse work, chain 3 picot 3 picot 3 picot 3 reverse work* repeat for 4 rings ending with a ring.    Tie the thread off.  No need to hide ends…just tie them off and cut the threads.  This is just an exercise for your edification and amusement.
Now tat a ring of 3 picot 3 (join to the middle picot of the first ring previously made) 3 picot 3 close ring and reverse work.  For the chain start with the 2h then 1h and continue the chain doing the halves in reverse order commonly abbreviated as RODS. Repeat joining each middle picot to the ring that would be next on the previous row so each ring is joined to the same ring from the first part of the exercise.  Tie and cut off as before.  Now the big reveal look very closely at the rings and chains on the first part…see how the stitches look different between the rings and chains?  Look at the second set …do the stitches look the same on both the rings and chains?  They should.  Now compare the rings from both rows…they should look the same but the chains should look different.  Did you even notice I did not say shuttle tat….or needle tat….I just said TAT.  The first row is traditional tatting and the second row is contemporary tatting also called 1 side tatting or front side back side tatting.  Both are good techniques and have positives and negatives.  The 1 sided tatting takes a bit of time to get ingrained as a habit but it is a good technique.  Neither of the techniques are all good or all bad…just different. 

And now this brings us back to is needle tatting or shuttle tatting …not better/worse, not good/bad, not right/wrong just 2 different techniques for us to all learn and enjoy.

Needle tatters find split rings (if there are a bunch in a pattern) to be irksome with the continual unthread, thread, re-unthread, re-rethread….it continues that way for each split ring.  Shuttle tatters don’t have that issue but split chains are easier with needle.  Both are useful. 

Very few….I repeat…Very few patterns cannot be done with either tool.  Read the pattern and decide which tool will be easier and go with that one.  I found, and deleted so no longer have the pattern, one pattern that was more challenging with shuttle than needle but it specified that it was a NEEDLE tatting pattern.  The pattern had several spots where you put a chain thru the ring several rows below and continuing to make a chain with rings on it.  That meant I did a lot of unwinding shuttles (shuttle and ball were both shuttles fortunately!!) putting the threads thru the ring and rewinding the shuttles as I had to do that several times!  It would have been so much easier with the needle but I did it with the shuttle.  So yes you can do the pattern with either…just 1 is way easier than the other would be.  I then could see the value of needle tatting.  Before that I considered it a lazy way to tat—you don’t have to learn the flip and not really the same skill at all.  I have learned there is value in each tool and each skill.  Yes new tatters learn can learn both.  I recommend beginners get comfortable with 1 tool and then give the other a try.  Some tatters find learning to needle method to be harder than shuttle method  while some find the opposite to be true.  I knit and crochet and shuttle tat right handed but needle tat lefty as when I learned to needle tat I could not use my left hand except to stabilize the needle.